Offshore SeisNews ©
••• 16.12.09 Geo-Seas - providing online access to marine geological and geophysical data sets.
Geo-Seas (www.geo-seas.eu) is an EU FP7 project, implementing an e-infrastructure of 26 marine geological and geophysical data centres, located in 17 European maritime countries.
Users will be able to identify, locate and access harmonised marine geological and geophysical data sets and derived data products held by the data centres through a single common data portal. Geo-Seas will expand the existing SeaDataNet marine and ocean data management infrastructure (www.seadatanet.org).
Geological and geophysical data comprise analytical data and derived data products from seabed sediment samples, boreholes, borehole samples,geophysical surveys (seismic, gravity, magnetic) of the seabed and sub-seabed, cone penetration tests, and sidescan sonar surveys.
Geo-Seas data, data products and services can be used by the following sectors: environmental research and monitoring; academic research; government; national and regional agencies; dredging; marine hydrocarbons; beach nourishment; land reclamation; sustainable energy; civil engineering (pipelines, offshore construction, aggregates); communications (submarine cables); shipping; fisheries; tourism; and health.
New data products and services will be developed following consultations on user requirements.
An online user survey is being run by Geo-Seas from mid December 2009 to end January 2010 to learn more about requirements and preferences of users.
Geo-Seas invites potential users to go to the Geo-Seas portal (www.geo-seas.eu) and to participate in the online questionnaire.
••• 15.12.09 More pain before gain for vessels and rigs.
Aberdeen and London-based Offshore Shipbrokers has suggested that there is more pain to come for North Sea vessel operators before any market pick-up can be detected early next year.
In its latest North Sea rig and vessel market analysis, the broker says there are signs that the market rates for support vessels may have bottomed out and it notes that some owners are choosing to lay up vessels rather than run them at a loss.
Vessel day rates in November "..Gave very little for owners to be optimistic about with rates showing no improvement at all from last month's levels," the broker notes. "On the plus side however, rates did not drop any further and it looks like they may now finally have found the bottom."
Platform supply vessels are fixing regularly at rates of between GBP 2,000 and GBP 3,000 a day, while anchor handling tug support. Others are opting to put boats in lay-up: Ten North Sea vessels have been laid up already and more heading the same way, Offshore Shipbrokers' November market report says.
Conversely rig rates are indicating an improving market for the drilling sector, Offshore Shipbrokers suggests, and November indicated "some signs of hope."
There were a "healthy number" of rig fixtures concluded in November for drilling start-ups in 2010 and 2011, the latest report from the broker says.
And it adds: "It would seem that rig dayrates have now fallen to a level where they are nonce again becoming attractive to operators. For the latest round of rig fixtures we have seen standard jack-ups fetching between US 90,000 - 115,000, heavy duty jack-ups fetching US 140,000 - US 180,000 and standard semi-subs now fixing at around US 250,000 - US 285,000."
Nevertheless there are 12 North Sea units still idle and uncommitted, while potentially, another six are due back off contract in the next couple of months.
Turning to prospects for 2010, Offshore Shipbrokers says predicting next year's vessel market will be difficult, yet adds: "..The common belief currently is that the first half of the year will bring more pain with low rates and poor utilisation but the second half of the year see[ing] the beginning of the recovery."
And it adds: "Recent rig fixtures will certainly have reinforced this belief and it would seem some markets outwith the North Sea are still very buoyant, Brazil in particular with Petrobras fixing 13 vessels this month for commencement early next year."
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 14.12.09 Lukoil and Statoil win bid on the West Qurna 2 field in Iraq.
Around 40 companies are prequalified for participation in Iraq's second licensing round 11 and 12 December in Baghdad. On the licensing round's second day Lukoil and Statoil secured the winning bid on the gigantic West Qurna 2 field.
A total of four bids were delivered for the West Qurna 2 field in the southern part of Iraq. Lukoil and Statoil, with Lukoil as lead bidder, proved to be the most competitive consortia. 10 oil fields were included in this licensing round. Based on thorough analysis and an optimised development plan for the field, Lukoil and Statoil were able to bid a production plateau of 1.8 million barrels per day and a remuneration fee of 1.15 dollars per barrel.
"We are proud to win together with Lukoil in this strong competition and look forward to work with Iraq to increase their production, to the benefit of both the Iraqi people and the companies. We have worked with Iraqi authorities for more than five years, doing joint field studies and training of Iraqi personnel, and consider this an important milestone. Our focus now is to establish the organisation needed to develop this project in a responsible and safe manner," says Torgeir Kydland, senior vice president for Eurasia, Middle East and Asia in Statoil.
The security situation in Iraq is still demanding. There has been improvement over the last couple of years, but an increased number of incidents in the run up to the Iraqi election in March 2010 should be expected.
Security for personnel will always be main priority. The security situation has been evaluated thoroughly and adequate security measures to be able to handle the situation are prepared.
Lukoil and Statoil are bidding on West Qurna 2 with shares of 85% and 15% respectively. The consortium will be joined by an Iraqi state partner with 25% interest, bringing Lukoil and Statoil shares to 63.75% and 11.25% respectively.
••• 14.12.09 SeaBird - Helicopter incident on Kondor Explorer.
SeaBird Exploration Limited informs that an oncoming helicopter to the Kondor Explorer made a controlled emergency landing on water 11 Dec at about 1210 hours CET a few hundred meters away from the vessel on the Agbami field offshore Nigeria. The helicopter had 16 crewmembers onboard scheduled to go onboard Kondor Explorer and two helicopter pilots. No persons were injured and all 18 persons from the helicopter were safely picked up from the sea by rescue boats.
YouTube - Bristow Puma helicopter right after ditching in the sea near Nigeria
••• 14.12.09 Eidesvik enters a JV.
Eidesvik Shipping has entered into a joint venture with Exploration Investment Resources II AS, a group company in the CGGVeritas group.
Eidesvik holds 51 per cent of the shares whilst EIR II holds 49 per cent of the shares in the joint venture which is organised through Eidesvik Seismic Vessels.
All existing legal rights and liabilities in connection with the BN 285 and BN 286 which are under construction at Ulstein Verft will remain in Eidesvik Seismic Vessels AS, including building contract, Time Charter and all financial agreements. Eidesvik will still act as maritime manager for the vessels.
The parties have agreed on an amendment to the existing time charter, which gives EIR II 4 options of 5 year each to have the two vessels on charter after the 12 year fixed period.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 11.12.09 Crewsafe for fleet of 30 vessels.
Bhagwan Marine with clients including Apache Energy, BHP Billiton, Chevron, Fugro, INPEX, Neptune Marine Services and Woodside Petroleum has confirmed it will roll-out Mobilarm Crewsafe across its fleet of oil and gas marine vessels following successful installations in November 2009.
As a company publicly committed to the safety of the crew aboard its workboats servicing the South East Asian oil and gas sectors, Bhagwan Marine is leading the way installing Crewsafe - the innovative wireless safety system designed to reduce the risk of injury or death through man overboard - on three vessels including their newest vessel the multi-purpose utility Catamaran, the 'LAURI - J'.
The premium version of Crewsafe, which includes complete crew management systems was installed aboard the 'LAURI - J' and configured for 18 Crewsafe tags supporting six crew and up to ten clients.
The 'LAURI - J' has arrived at the Onslow oil and gas supply base on the Western Australian North West Shelf on contract to industry leader Chevron.
Bhagwan Marine's Managing Director, Loui Kannikoski said the company's policy is prevention and safety first.
"If you happen to save one person then the company's objectives are achieved.
"I've worked in the commercial Marine industry since 1974 and have experienced first-hand that prevention is the key to ensuring your crew are safe.
"Following the successful trials I can see Crewsafe will offer all our crew an extra level of safety which will help to save lives," Mr Kannikoski said.
Mobilarm Crewsafe is a wireless safety network, which provides a new level of marine employee safety and security through crew location monitoring and by automatically initiating a network-wide alert to all personnel within seconds of an incident occurring.
It enables marine employers to remove significant identified risks from the work place and reduce the likelihood of related fatalities.
Crewsafe is an active crew monitoring and reporting system, which immediately detects emergency events such as man overboard, providing a GPS waypoint, range and bearing in order to facilitate a quick, effective rescue of the person in the water.
It also offers additional security and communication functionality, such as crew location monitoring, covert alarm capability, crew paging, First Aid training, and rescue asset and safety equipment management. Future versions of the product are planned to incorporate bio-metric monitoring and gas detection.
Bhagwan Marine's 'Samson Explorer', which has had a pre-installation survey completed, is ear-marked for the next install and commission of Crewsafe within the Bhagwan fleet.
The company has also selected the Mobilarm V100 Digital PLB for use across the organisation to increase safety in crew transfer and operations on the vessels.
Source: Maritime & Energy
••• 10.12.09 Seismic Charter Agreement with TGS expanded.
Reference is made to the notice published by Polarcus Limited on 19 October 2009 regarding the update on the conditional Letter of Intent with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) for the charter of the 12 streamer 3D seismic vessel Polarcus Nadia.
Polarcus Limited (OAX: PLCS) announced today that further to the referenced notification, TGS has increased the size of the confirmed initial charter from 2,000 square kilometers to 5,000 square kilometers and that the Parties have now executed the corresponding Seismic Charter Agreement.
Polarcus Nadia is expected to arrive on the first prospect, Offshore Liberia, in early January.
••• 10.12.09 Otto Energy to Acquire 3D Seismic in SC55 Offshore Philippines.
Phillippines Otto Energy will be commencing a 3D seismic data acquisition program in SC55. The Company plans to acquire 590 sq.km of 3D data in the southwest part of SC55. The program is designed to mature the Hawkeye structure and several other key leads in the license area. The seismic vessel is scheduled to arrive in the survey area on December 14, 2009.
SC55 covers 9,000 sq.km in the southwest Palawan Basin, Philippines. It is located on a regional oil and gas fairway that extends from the productive Borneo offshore region in the southwest to the offshore Philippines production assets northwest of Palawan.
Otto has an 85% working interest in SC55 and is the operator. The seismic program will satisfy Otto's commitments under its work program for the current subphase of exploration of this block.
Source: Otto Energy Ltd.
••• 09.12.09 Fugro completes shallow hazards survey in Chukchi.
Fugro GeoServices has successfully completed the fieldwork portion of a shallow hazards survey in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea for Shell Exploration and Production. Data processing is currently underway, with the first set of interpretation and reporting deliverables scheduled for month’s end. Additional follow-on work is expected to continue into the new year.
Noting the importance of cleared sites for the company’s 2010 exploration plans, Shell’s Alaska Exploration Operations Coordinator stated, "The 2009 season has been extremely successful and positions us well for 2010 and beyond".
Fugro accomplished the surveys over a period of two months. Acquisition involved specialized equipment customized for the arctic environment and to meet Alaska outer continental shelf permitting requirements, as published by the federal Minerals Management Service agency.
••• 09.12.09 Salazar Conditionally OKs Shell's Exploration Plan in Chukchi Sea.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has approved, with conditions, Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.'s Exploration Plan to drill three exploratory, information-gathering wells in the Chukchi Sea.
"A key component of reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil is the environmentally-responsible exploration and development of America's renewable and conventional resources," said Salazar. "By approving this Exploration Plan, we are taking a cautious but deliberate step toward developing additional information on the Chukchi Sea."
In 2008, Shell's subsidiary paid $2.1 billion for leases during Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193. The 2008 sale was included in the previous Administration's 2007-2012 Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program to cover leasing for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf for that five-year period. The Exploration Plan now approved allows Shell to drill up to three exploration wells during the July-October open water drilling season.
Shell proposes activities using one drill ship, one ice management vessel, an ice class anchor handling vessel, and oil spill response vessels. The closest proposed drill site is more than 60 miles to shore and approximately 80 miles from Wainwright, Alaska.
"Our approval of Shell's plan is conditioned on close monitoring of Shell's activities to ensure that they are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner," added Salazar. "These wells will allow the Department to develop additional information and to evaluate the feasibility of future development in the Chukchi Sea.
The 2007-2012 OCS plan is currently undergoing review in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit order which required additional environmental analysis. The Secretary's decision on the remaining plan is forthcoming.
••• 08.12.09 Searcher Seismic and Seabird Exploration announce the completion of the Acheron 2D non-exclusive seismic program.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd in conjunction with its project partner Seabird Exploration is pleased to announce that the ACHERON Non-Exclusive 2D Seismic Survey (“ACHERON 2D Survey”) was completed on the 28th of November, 2009.
The Acheron 2D seismic survey acquired a total 2,678km of 2D long-offset seismic data immediately to the west of the Bernier Ridge which lies in the southwest of the highly prospective Carnarvon Basin. The survey covers a vast amount of unexplored open acreage which is proposed to be opened for bidding in the 2010 Federal acreage release round, as well has part of existing permit WA-385-P.
The M/V Aquila Explorer commenced acquisition on the 5th of November and Operations Manager Alan Hopping commented that "excellent weather and project planning had meant that both technical and operational downtime had been severely reduced", he continued to praise the vessel’s management and crew for their "efficient and timely acquisition whilst preserving the quality of the seismic".
Data will be processed at PGS in Perth, Western Australia and the full suite of deliverables are scheduled to be available from April 2010.
Source: Searcher Seismic
••• 08.12.09 Geotechnical vessel for Bluestone.
Following the announcement of Bluestone Offshore’s new shareholding structure, the company has released information about a new addition to the geotechnical vessel fleet.
Maya is a newly-built MT6016 multipurpose supply and support vessel that is 93.6m in length with a 19.7m beam, a 7m x 7m moonpool, 1,020m2 deck space and accommodation for 66.
Geotechnical equipment and drilling rig previously installed on Bluestone's Topaz is currently being transferred to Maya and the new vessel’s first confirmed contract is for a scientific expedition at the Australian Great Barrier Reef starting January 2010.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 07.12.09 50 years with nuclear powered icebreakers.
On December 3rd 1959, the world’s first nuclear powered civilian vessel was officially taken into operation. Lenin was the first of nine nuclear icebreakers designed for navigation in the Arctic out of Murmansk. Today Lenin is a museum of Russia’s nuclear fleet.
Equipped with originally three nuclear reactors, the icebreaker Lenin was launched from the shipyard in Leningrad in 1957. After two years of testing, Lenin was put into ordinary icebreaker operations by the end of 1959. She was then looked upon as a truly piece of master engineering.
Lenin was transferred to Murmansk and got its own pier and onshore wooden house in the northern part of the city, then known as base 92. Still, all maintains and repair works were done at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk near Arkhangelsk.
Later, the base in Murmansk was extended and renamed RTP Atomflot and all repair work and maintains of Lenin and the follow-up fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers were carried out there.
Although, Lenin was the world’s first nuclear powered surface vessel, she was not the first time nuclear power was used at sea. Both the United States with its Nautilus and the Soviet Union with its Leninski Komsomol had experience with nuclear powered military submarines.
But still, use of nuclear power at sea was not without problems. Many small problems with the reactors cooling system arose the first years. In 1966, after Lenin has sailed six journeys in the Arctic, the icebreaker was taken out of operation for necessary maintains. Leakages were discovered and when the uranium fuel rods were to be replaced it was discovered that several of them had expanded and were partly destroyed.
The fuel rods that could be taken out of the partly damaged reactor were transferred to the old service vessel Lepse, the rest – some 60 percent – were left in the reactor core which later was cut out and in 1967 dumped in the Kara Sea east of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic. Lenin’s reactor still rest on the seabed. The highly radioactive fuel rods that were taken out are still inside one of the storage rooms onboard Lepse, placed in a dry-dock at Atomflot in Murmansk waiting for safe decommissioning.
Lenin was then taken to Severodvinsk were she got two new reactors installed during a two-and-a-half year reconstruction period. The first of the new reactors was started in April 1970, at the 100 year’s anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth. The second was started on the 1st of May the same year. Lenin then sailed without any reported accidents until she was officially taken out of operation in 1989. The Soviet Union’s second nuclear powered icebreaker, Arktika, was taken into operation in 1975. Arktika was the first ever surface vessel to sail to break the ice and sail all the way to the North Pole in August 1977. In all nine nuclear powered icebreakers are so far built. The latest is 50-years anniversary, put into operation two years ago. In addition, a nuclear powered container vessel, the Sevmorput, was taken into operation in 1988, but the vessel has spent most of its lifetime in port. All of Russia’s nuclear powered icebreakers are based in Murmansk.
Since 1989 the nuclear powered icebreakers have also been used for tourist purposes carrying passengers to the North Pole.
Today, it is Rosatomflot that operates Russia’s fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers.
Three other countries have also sailed nuclear powered civilian vessels. The United States had its cargo liner Savannah, Germany had its cargo and passenger ship Otto Hahn and Japan had its NS Mutsu.
As BarentsObserver reported earlier this year, Russia is now planning to build a new generation of nuclear powered icebreakers for operations in the Arctic. Construction of the first vessel will start in 2010 and be ready for its first voyage in 2015. The new icebreakers will be equipped with a new type of nuclear reactor than used in today’s Arktika-class icebreakers.
BarentsObserver reported in June that 17 billion rubles are allocated from Russia’s federal budget to the development of the third generation nuclear powered icebreakers to operate from Murmansk. It will be a double-hull icebreaker capable of moving in both rivers and seas.
While the new icebreakers still only exists on paper, you can visit the 50 year old Lenin. It is permanently laid up in the central passenger harbour in Murmansk and works as a museum of the nuclear icebreaker fleet.
••• 04.12.09 PGS sells onshore division.
American Geokinetics Inc has acquired Norwegian PGS' onshore division, including their multiclient library business, at a total value of USD 210 million.
The payment will be in cash and stock, of which approximately USD 184 million will be paid in cash. The final purchase price is subject to certain post-closing adjustments, PGS writes in a press release.
It's expected that the transaction will be closed in the first quarter of 2010.
The combination of Geokinetics and the onshore business of PGS will create the second largest onshore seismic acquisition company in the world in terms of crew count, and the largest based in the Western Hemisphere.
••• 04.12.09 WesternGeco Kicks Off E-Octopus VII Survey in Central GOM.
WesternGeco commenced the acquisition of the E-Octopus VII survey in November. Located in the Walker Ridge and Keathley Canyon areas of the US central Gulf of Mexico, the multiclient survey covers approximately 300 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks.
E-Octopus VII targets the high profile Lower Tertiary trend in a challenging subsalt imaging area of the Walker Ridge. The survey integrates previously acquired E-Octopus IV and E-Octopus VI phases to further expand the wide-azimuth coverage of the WesternGeco data library.
The latest seismic data processing techniques will be applied to the survey, including 3D GSMP generalized surface multiple prediction and anisotropic Reverse Time Migration (RTM). Both techniques are enhanced by the Q-Marine point-receiver marine seismic acquisition system.
The E-Octopus multiclient wide-azimuth program in the Gulf of Mexico commenced in July of 2006. With the addition of E-Octopus VII, WesternGeco will have acquired over 3,100 OCS blocks of high-quality Q-Marine wide-azimuth data in the Gulf of Mexico.
The E-Octopus project is a member of the WesternGeco family of multiclient E-surveys that utilize advanced acquisition and processing technologies. The WesternGeco suite of advanced geophysical applications includes electromagnetic services and the Q-Technology point-receiver high-fidelity seismic acquisition-to-inversion platform.
••• 03.12.09 Polarcus to Acquire 3D Seismic Offshore Cameroon.
Reference is made to the notice published by Polarcus Limited on October 29, 2009, regarding the receipt of a Letter of Award from a leading independent oil company for 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa.
Polarcus announced that further to the referenced notification, the necessary governmental approvals and consent from Petronas Carigali have been secured for the award and a service contract executed with the client, Noble Energy Cameroon Limited.
The 1,500km2 3D seismic acquisition project, offshore Cameroon, will be acquired by Polarcus Naila, the Company's second 12 streamer 3D seismic vessel. The project will commence in Q1 2010 and is expected to run for forty-five days.
Source: Polarcus Ltd.
••• 03.12.09 BOS Initiates Merger Process With Global Tender Barges ASA.
Bergen Oilfield Services AS has initiated a process towards the board of directors of the OSE listed company Global Tender Barges ASA and Proposed a merger between the two companies.
Bergen Oilfield Services AS is a Norwegian marine geophysical company. The company owns three seismic vessels and manages the whole value chain from vessel ownership and management, data acquisition to data processing.
BOS has initiated process towards, GBT with the purpose of establishing a platform that will benefit both companies and their shareholders. BOS has engaged Arctic Securities as financial advisor and Weirsholm as legal advisor in this process.
Funds managed by Sector Omega ASA is largest owner of BOS, with 78% of shares and is also the largest owner in GTB with and ownership interest of 33%.
••• 02.12.09 Chariot Oil & Gas Kicks Off Additional Seismic Offshore Namibia.
Namibia Chariot Oil & Gas noted that a second 3D seismic acquisition program has commenced in the Northern blocks, 1811 A&B offshore Namibia. This program will cover 600 sq.km, focusing on an area of specific interest over the previously identified Zamba prospect. The work is being undertaken by CGG Veritas.
The program is expected to be completed by the end of December and processing and interpretation will commence immediately after completion. This activity complements the previously acquired 900 sq.km which will be available for review in the dataroom which is opening in the first quarter of 2010.
Paul Welch, CEO commented, "This final seismic programme will conclude a comprehensive acquisition campaign undertaken across all our Namibian acreage and is of particular interest as it is being shot over a target defined from an earlier 2D seismic program. We look forward to the results of the interpretation and will be reporting on these in due course."
••• 02.12.09 A NOK 44 million contract to deliver a complete handling system for an oceanographic research vessel, including the ODIM CTCU deepwater technology, has been awarded to ODIM.
This order has been placed by China’s Wuchang Shipyard, with the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS) as the ultimate user. Delivery is scheduled for December 2010.
In addition to the ODIM Compact CTCU cable traction control unit, with a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes, the delivery embraces deck equipment, overboard systems and associated control systems.
The company has more than 20 years of experience as a supplier of complete deck equipment and overboard systems for all types of research vessels worldwide. The ODIM Compact CTCU is a smaller version of the technology, which can be utilised as part of a complete oceanographic research system. This order represents the third of these compact units to be delivered by ODIM to the oceanographic market.
a“The Norwegian sales team has worked purposefully with this customer over a long period in close cooperation with the ODIM sales force in Asia,” says Jan Kjrstad, sales manager of the Oceanographic business area in Norway, in a comment on the new order.
“It’s very gratifying that we’ve won a contract from Wuchang Shipyard for the IOCAS, and it’s not least strategically important for us to reinforce our position in this segment,” says Sit Kok Lee, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Asia.
••• 01.12.09 AuDAX Resources selects PGS for Tunisia 3D seismic contract.
AuDAX Resources says that PGS (Petroleum Geo Services) is the successful bidder to provide Seismic Services for the 3D Seismic acquisition in the Kerkouane permit offshore Tunisia. The successful tender was based on the technical merits and commercial evaluation of the four seismic acquisition contractors approved by ETAP (Enterprise Tunisienne D’Activites Petrolieres) in Tunis.
AuDAX expects to acquire the 3D survey over a number of leads and prospects, including the Sambuca prospect and the Dougga field in the first quarter of 2010. PGS will be applying its unique but proven Geostreamer Dual Sensor technology for the first time in Tunisia. The survey will cover approximately 620 sqkm full fold subsurface area. PGS will not earn any interest in the permits from this programme.
Paul Fink, AuDAX Technical Director commented that the dual sensor Geostreamer incorporates the latest in technology and would accurately image both shallow and deep reservoir targets in an area where large hydrocarbon resource potential could not previously be interpreted, due to poor seismic imaging on both conventional 2D and 3D data.
••• 01.12.09 More vessels laid up on both sides of the Atlantic.
Nor-Ocean Offshore reports that availability in the spot market in the North Sea has been reduced the last few days due to bad weather delaying ongoing operations as well as quite a few new fixtures.
"PSVs have been fixed in the region GBP 3,000-6,000. However, there are still plenty available tonnage both in Aberdeen and Norway. The latest disclosed AHTS fixture was Maersk Logger at approximately Nkr50.000."
Nor-Ocean Offshore said laying up of vessels continues, and the latest companies to take vessels out of service is Danish owner Esvagt which has laid up four standby vessels in the North Sea, and Italian owner Augusta Offshore which is taking one older PSV and one AHTS which were trading in the Mediterranean out of service.
"In total around 150 AHTS and PSVs are now laid up, of which seven are in the North Sea," said the broker. "By comparison in the Gulf of Mexico 99 vessels have been laid up, with an average age of more than 25 years, which could imply vessels being naturally phased out."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 30.11.09 PGS Announces 100% Solid Streamers.
As Ramform Challenger sailed from the yard equipped with 12 new GeoStreamers, the transition to solid technology is complete. PGS has announced that its marine fleet is officially 100% fluid free.
The entire equipment park of operational marine sensor streamer sections now utilize solid gel fill, reducing environmental risk and removing any oil spill hazard from damaged streamer sections.
PGS started rolling out gel filled solid sections in 2004. Today the company employs around 11,000 solid 75 meter streamer sections on its marine fleet and in spare. These include the GeoStreamer dual sensor streamers.
"We started phasing out fluid filled sections in 2004 and have focussed on operational performance. Today’s product is superb and this is an important milestone," concludes Rune Eng, President PGS Marine.
••• 26.11.09 Double naming ceremony for Polarcus vessels.
The naming ceremony of the seismic survey vessels Polarcus Nadia and Polarcus Naila took place at Drydocks World Dubai on November 24th. The newbuilds were built for the account of Polarcus.
Polarcus Nadia and Polarcus Naila are the first two vessels to be named, and are due to be delivered in late 2009 and early 2010, respectively. Both will be fitted with a 3D seismic system and 12 streamer winches.
Polarcus Nadia is due to commence operating in December this year on its first assignment with TGS for a 2,000 square kms long-offset 3D survey.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 25.11.09 Double Award Win for BOS from Statoil, Offshore Mozambique & Tanzania.
BOS confirm the award of two large frontier 3D surveys offshore Mozambique and Tanzania.
"The award from Statoil is yet a strong confirmation of the excellence of BOS and our services after a fantastic operational year for BOS and the resent growth of new customers in our order book, this double award from Statoil reflects our strong reputation of excellent geophysical services". "We are extremely pleased to see this year end and next year start with all vessels in sound operation. This proves the strength of our global reach and our capabilities", - commented Jan S Sovik, VP Marketing and Sales in BOS.
The surveys will be acquired by the 3D vessel BOS Arctic following a program in West Africa.
••• 20.11.09 BP, ConocoPhillips Reduce 2010 Spending Plans in Alaska.
BP and ConocoPhillips have reduced their capital spending and developmental budgets for Alaska in 2010 because of higher costs to produce mature fields, disappointing exploratory results and the state's new tax regime, the companies said.
London-based BP's 2010 capital spending will be $850 million, or down 15% from more than $1 billion this year, John Minge, president of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. said Wednesday during a conference. One-third of next year's budget will be spent on infrastructure renewal, one-third in drilling and one-third in growth projects, he added. BP's Alaska budget includes projects such as the development of heavy oil and the Liberty prospect in the Beaufort Sea.
Minge said Alaska's new tax system, which was enacted in 2007 and increases rates on companies when oil prices rise, makes the state relatively unattractive for investment in new developments.
ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company by market value, is also cutting spending next year. The Houston-based company plans no exploration wells in 2010 after disappointing results from past explorations, said Charlie Rowton, a company's spokesman. The company is changing its focus to offshore exploration in the Chukchi Sea, where it expects to start drilling in 2012, he added.
BP and ConocoPhillips are owners, along with Exxon Mobil Corp., of Prudhoe Bay, the largest oilfield in the U.S. BP is the field's operator.
Source: Rigzone/Dow Jones Newswires
••• 20.11.09 Shtokman, a natural gas field in Russia's Arctic waters that is one of the world's largest gas deposits, will start producing two years later than OAO Gazprom's planned launch date, according to one of the partners in the megaproject.
Jean-Jacques Mosconi, head of strategy at French oil company Total SA, said the first gas from Shtokman would begin flowing into export pipelines in 2015, with liquefied natural gas production starting up a year later.
The reason for the delay is the "numerous technical issues" Shtokman presented, he said. Gazprom's original timetable, which envisaged the development coming on stream in 2013, was "impossible," he added.
The hold-up reflects the escalating costs, vast logistical challenges and uncertain outlook for gas now facing the Shtokman partners - Gazprom, Total and Statoil ASA of Norway. Spot gas prices have slumped as recession demolished demand and new supplies swamped the market from new LNG projects and the shale gas fields of North America.
Total's chief executive, Christophe de Margerie, said last month that Shtokman won't be profitable with gas prices at their current level. He said a final investment decision on Shtokman will be made at the end of 2010 months later than originally flagged.
Shtokman would not be the first megaproject Gazprom has delayed. Last summer, it said it was postponing the launch of Bovanenkovo, a huge field in the northern Yamal Peninsula, by a year to 2012.
The delays are important because Bovanenkovo and Shtokman are key to Gazprom's growth ambitions. The company wants to increase its market share in Europe from 25% now to a third by 2020. But its mature Siberian fields are in decline, and it needs to develop its reserves fast to avoid steep falls in output.
Located under the iceberg-strewn Arctic waters of the Barents Sea, Shtokman has reserves of 3.8 trillion cubic meters, enough to meet the world's demand for gas for more than a year.
Gazprom initially said it would develop the field on its own, but later tapped Total and Statoil to help. The three formed Shtokman Development AG. to carry out the first phase of the project. Gazprom owns 51%, Total 25% and Statoil 24%. The Russian company retains ownership of all the gas Shtokman will produce.
Under plans for the first stage, Shtokman was supposed to start producing pipeline gas for Europe in 2013, with production of liquefied natural gas for export to the U.S. beginning the following year. In total, the first phase would produce 23.7 billion cubic meters of gas a year just under 5% of the Europe's current consumption.
But Gazprom warned recently that the steep fall-off in gas demand in Europe could prompt it to review Shtokman's timetable.
The first phase of Shtokman will use a huge floating production unit connected to several subsea wells. The gas will be pumped ashore through a 550-kilometer pipeline to a terminal at Teriberka, where an LNG liquefaction plant will be built. The production unit will be moored on a turret that can be moved up and down to avoid the Barents Sea's biggest threat stray icebergs.
Source: Rigzone/The Wall Street Journal
••• 19.11.09 Geosounder completes Canada work.
Survey group DOF Subsea has completed a well site clearance survey offshore Newfoundland in the Laurentian Basin using the Geosounder vessel which is now heading back to Norway.
The Gesounder was working for DOF Subsea Canada and deployed multi-beam bathymetry and magnetometer equipment mounted on an ROV for the assignment for an undisclosed client.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 19.11.09 EMGS signs Gulf of Mexico agreement with Rocksource.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA (EMGS) has entered into a data-licensing agreement with Rocksource, in which Rocksource pre-committed to license newly acquired Clearplay Test EM data over a number of prospects in the Gulf of Mexico.
This agreement will generate fourth quarter revenues in excess of USD 2.5 million. EMGS and Rocksource are evaluating additional prospects to extend the program, including additional new acquisition as well as late sales of existing data library.
This new program to de-risk prospects in the Gulf of Mexico is an extension of the pre-existing relationships between FOCUS Exploration, Rocksource and EMGS.
••• 19.11.09 STX Finland to construct Polar Supply and Research Vessel.
STX Finland Oy and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs have signed a contract for construction of a Polar Supply and Research Vessel. The ship with a value of approximately EUR 116 million will bring some 600 man-years of work. The ship will be built in the Rauma shipyard and it will be delivered in spring 2012.
The ship will function as a multi-purpose vessel, serving, among other things, as a supply vessel, research vessel, icebreaker, expedition vessel, as well as a passenger ship. The ice-strengthened vessel will be approximately 134 metres long and it will have accommodation for a crew of 45 and some 100 researchers or passengers.
The Polar Supply and Research Vessel will be used to carry scientists and research equipment for the South African National Antarctic Programme in the sea area between South Africa, the Antarctic islands and the Antarctica. The ship can spend several months out at sea and it also acts as a mobile laboratory. Scientists can also conduct various marine research onboard the ship. The ship is classified for carrying passengers. Furthermore, the vessel keeps continuous record of weather data for meteorological institutions around the world. The vessel has a shelter and landing area for two Puma class helicopters and it will feature laboratories, a gym, a library, and a small hospital.
Source: STX Europe
••• 19.11.09 Bond bags Maersk flights.
Maersk Oil in the UK North Sea has selected Bond Offshore Helicopters to provide crew change services over the next five years in a deal worth over GBP 60 million.
Bond has been selected to provide the crew change services for the Janice, Gryphon and Dumbarton production platforms in the UK North Sea and will be using newly introduced Eurocopter EC225 helicopters for the flights.
Bond's deal is valid for five years with options for a further three years, and the contract will involve the creation of 15 new jobs at its Aberdeen airport base at Dyce, where the total number of employees will rise to 220.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 18.11.09 More gas condensate at Shtokman field.
Gazprom and the governmental commission for natural resources says the Shtokman field’s C1 deposit holds 53,3 million tons of gas condensate.
The estimated gas condensate reserves is enlarged by 71 percent compared with earlier estimates, reports Gazprom at its website. The increased estimates come after a new geological model of the reserves and a new data survey of that model.
From before it is known that C1 holds 3,8 trillion cubic meters of gas.
On Friday, the Shtokman Development AG participated at a meeting with Gazprom’s vice-president of the bord, Aleksandr Ananenkov, and other divisions of Gazprom where they discussed the realization of the Shtokman field regarding optimization of the technology to be used in the first phase. In particular, the questions related to transportation and storage of gas condensate was discussed, according to Gazprom.
••• 17.11.09 Fugro acquires major 3D seismic project offshore Alaska.
Fugro-Geoteam has entered into an agreement with Statoil USA E&P, Inc. for the acquisition and QC processing of 2400 square kilometres of 3D marine seismic programme around Statoil’s leases in the Chukchi Sea. The project is valued at approximately USD 26 million (EUR 17 million), with an estimated duration up to three months. The survey is planned to take place from approximately early August into October 2010.
In consideration of the challenging conditions of the Chukchi Sea, combined with the limited acquisition window, Fugro-Geoteam and Statoil have agreed to utilise one of the world’s newest and most technologically advanced, ‘C-class’ vessels. The large and modern C-Class vessels have a DNV ICE classification as well as the proven capability to tow an exceptionally high streamer count. The combination of which, will provide the capability to optimise production during the limited window.
••• 17.11.09 PGS upgrades seismic ships in anticipation of better market.
Despite the depressed state of the seismic market, Norway’s Petroleum-Geo Services is reportedly spending money upgrading the equipment on four of its vessels in anticipation of an upturn in demand.
PGS is also scheduled to take delivery of the newbuild PGS Apollo from Spain’s Factorias Vulcano yard during the first quarter of next year.
However, construction of a sister vessel PGS Artemis has been delayed partly due to a bankruptcy process at the Juliana yard in Spain.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 17.11.09 OHM Secures CSEM Survey in Offshore Equatorial Guinea.
OHM has entered into a strategic partnership with the Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting in China (BGP) to provide marine CSEM survey design, acquisition and processing services to BGP. BGP has awarded the first survey to OHM within the framework of this new agreement for the acquisition of marine CSEM data offshore Equatorial Guinea, with a contract value of approximately $2.5 million. The CSEM survey is anticipated to start in late November, 2009.
Richard Cooper, CEO of OHM commented, "We are delighted that BGP, one of the world’s largest geophysical contractors, has chosen OHM as their supplier of choice for our WISE integrated CSEM products and services. We look forward to working with BGP on this first joint survey and developing a strong and long-lasting partnership to the benefit of all."
Source: Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc
••• 16.11.09 Karoon Gas acquires Santos Basin 3D seismic.
A new 3D seismic acquisition to cover Karoon Gas Australia’s Santos Basin Blocks will commence in January 2010.
Karoon has contracted the WesternGeco Servicos de Sismica Ltd vessel, the Western Patriot, to undertake the new Wide Azimuth 3D seismic acquisition.
The objective of this acquisition is to provide uniform, high-quality Wide Azimuth 3D seismic coverage over the 730 sq kms Santos Blocks. The Wide Azimuth seismic acquisition is designed to image beneath and around salt structures allowing better prospect definition.
Karoon holds a 100% equity interest in all five Santos Basin Blocks.
••• 16.11.09 Hyperdynamics has provided an update on the progress of its recently announced 9,000-kilometer 2D seismic survey that is under way offshore Republic of Guinea.
To date, 1,200 kilometers of seismic has been acquired. The data is being partially processed onboard Bergen Oilfield Services' seismic vessel BOS Arctic, and processing will be completed at Bergen's center in Oslo, Norway. The technical staff of Hyperdynamics is reviewing all stacked sections each day as they are transmitted from Bergen. The survey, which began October 29, 2009, is expected to be finished on schedule in mid-January, 2010.
"The quality of the data we are getting from our survey is excellent," said Ray Leonard, Hyperdynamics' President and Chief Executive Officer. "It is proving very helpful to us as we prepare to select the 36% acreage portion approximately 28,800 square kilometers that we plan to retain." Hyperdynamics agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Guinea signed in September that Hyperdynamics would retain a 36% acreage position selected by Hyperdynamics and relinquish the remainder.
Source: Hyperdynamics Corp.
••• 13.11.09 Tender for Teriberka work camp for Shtokman.
Shtokman Development AG has announced a tender for the construction of the work camp at Teriberka near Murmansk which will be the site for the new LNG plant to serve the giant Barents Sea gas field development.
The tender is for installation, rent and operation of a "pioneer camp" catering for at least 200 people in Teriberka, and which needs to be operational by May next year.
Russian and foreign firms with relevant experience are invited to express their interest in the tender for the work.
The tender is a huge logistical challenge and requires a camp to be constructed in a virtually uninhabited region, with facilities for at least 200, and with the capacity for expansion to cater for another 500 people.
Power generation, water, sewage treatment, telecommunication and all other utilities necessary to operate the camp safely are outlined in the tender.
Expressions of interest have to be submitted by 20 November, which is the deadline for filing a request for a pre-qualification document, and a pre-qualification dossier has to be returned to Shtokman AG by 21 December.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 12.11.09 Shell stakes out in French Guyana.
Shell has steamed into French Guyana on South America's northern coastline to obtain new deepwater acreage after a deal with an affiliate of British-based Tullow Oil.
Shell has acquired an interest in 32,000 sq. km of offshore acreage with water depths between 2,000 and 3,000 m (6,500 – 9,800 ft) in the Guyana Maritime Permit area, following an agreement with Tullow's Hardman Petroleum France SAS to acquire a 33% stake in the area, which is 150 km (93 miles) offshore.
A 3D seismic research programme covering 3,000 sq. km of the acreage is already underway and subject to approval by French authorities, the deal includes the right for Shell to acquire a further 12% stake in the licence area later.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 11.11.09 New record for Norway's oil fortune.
The return on the Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global, popularly known as the Oil Fund, reached record levels in this year's third quarter. The fund grew with 13,5 percent.
The strong upturn in markets in the second quarter continued in the third quarter, leading to a return of 529 billion kroner so far this year, says Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), in a press release.
The fund is now worth a total of NOK 2,549 billion, and performed better than the market on a general level.
The fund's third-quarter return was 1.5 percentage points higher than the return on the benchmark portfolio, the National Bank of Norway reports in a press release.
••• 11.11.09 CGGVeritas saw revenue slump 31% in the third quarter this year to US $731 m and net income hit $12 m.
The company reported third quarter group revenue at $731 m, down 31% from $1.062 Bn last year, and net income down 93% to $12 m from $162 m this time last year.
Marine capacity adjustments: The Fohn and the Orion 3D vessels were decommissioned this quarter. Following contract completion, another 2D vessel will be de-rigged in the fourth quarter 2009. Three additional 2D vessels are scheduled for decommissioning in 2010.
Sercel: Revenue was down 35% in $ and 30% in € from a record third quarter last year with an increased contribution from marine with sales of two SeaRay OBC systems and one Nautilus for acoustic positioning and streamer control. Internal sales represented 21% of revenue.
CGGVeritas Chairman & CEO, Robert Brunck commented, "As expected, the positive contribution of higher margin 2008 backlog coming to an end, led to a more difficult quarter. Nevertheless, we delivered solid free cash flow thanks to strong and disciplined actions across the company".
••• 10.11.09 SeaBird has been awarded a 2D contract for a survey off East Coast India for approximately 3,000 line kilometers with an option for the client to extend the survey.
The recently reactivated vessel Osprey Explorer will be deployed for this survey commencing December 2009 following a periodical survey in Singapore. This contract has a value including mobilization and demobilization of about USD 2.4 million for the firm portion.
The Hawk Explorer recently redelivered from her term charter with Fugro and presently undergoing a periodical survey in Denmark, will substitute for the previously announced Gulf of Mexico time charter contract intended for Osprey Explorer, thus saving considerable mobilization costs and improving the net earnings combined for these two vessels.
Source: Seabird Exploration
••• 10.11.09 Seismic vessel ships with new beds.
Seismic ship M/V Hugin Explorer operated by Seabird Exploration is now working with new accommodation on board offshore Angola thanks to the swift delivery of a specially-equipped cabin by an Aberdeen-based accommodation provider which rapidly responded and delivered an order within 10 days.
Seabird's seismic ship was fitted with the A60-rated cabin converted to provide eight-man sleeping quarters supplied by HB Rentals in Aberdeen after a GBP 160,000 contract.
" Following initial contact in the Middle East, the specialist outfitting and installation team at our Aberdeen hub, where we have a fleet of some 400 cabins, carried out the bespoke fitting work needed by Seabird and readied the cabin for shipping," explained HB's managing director George Emslie.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 09.11.09 Production is resumed at the Snohvit plant outside Hammerfest in northern Norway after a three-month planned shutdown for upgrading and maintenance.
The extensive refurbishment and modification of the Hammerfest LNG facility on Melkoya is intended to make the gas processing and liquefaction plant more robust and to ensure that it can maintain a high level of production in the future.
The plant ran at virtually full capacity from February until the shutdown began in August, and the project has aimed to safeguard that high level of performance.
Replacing and modifying a number of heat exchangers and other systems will also make the facility more robust against production interruptions.
Among the big jobs carried out was the replacement of 15 heat exchangers, which form the core of the liquefaction process for the Snohvit gas.
"We replaced two of seven seawater exchangers, which have caused problems with leaks, as early as last autumn," says operations vice president Knut Henrik Dalland.
During this year’s shutdown, a further four of these units were swapped for a more robust type. The seventh could be replaced during the planned turnaround in 2010.
"With pre- and post-shutdown activities, more than 600,000 hours have been worked in connection with this turnaround," reports Dalland.
"That means the operation at Hammerfest LNG has been as big as all the turnarounds on the Norwegian continental shelf put together."
A total of 1,550 people were engaged at the plant during the shutdown. All work included in the original plans was done, and the facility was restarted as planned.
Hammerfest LNG is expected to be capable of operating at full capacity after the turnaround, and this will be verified by a performance test at the end of the year.
Source: Maritime & Energy
••• 06.11.09 Seismic vessels scrapped but others to be upgraded.
As reported in an earlier update CGGVeritas has scrapped three of its old seismic vessels this year, such is the current state of the market.
However, as broker Seabrokers also reported recently, on a more positive note, Norway’s Petroleum-Geo Services (PGS) is spending money upgrading the equipment in four of its vessels in anticipation of an upturn in demand.
PGS is also scheduled to take delivery of the newbuild PGS Apollo from Spain’s Factorias Vulcano yard during the first quarter of next year.
However, construction of a sister vessel PGS Artemis has been delayed partly due to a bankruptcy process at the Juliana yard in Spain.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 06.11.09 CCB goes north.
CCB is positioning itself for future activity in the Barents Sea and the Russian Shtokman field by acquiring 50 percent of Vardo Barents Base.
Vardo Barents Base disposes 2.000 acres of Svartnes harbor in Vardo, and is Norway's most northern dock - and thereby the closest dock to the Shtokman development.
In a press release CCB writes that Svartnes harbor is ice free year round, and has free capacity in addition to being close to large and flat areas which will be cost effective to build upon.
- Vardo, with its strategic position and large space, is a well suited place for temporary storage of large gas pipes that will be installed from the Shtokman field to onshore Russia, and CCB has positioned itself for this kind of activity. If we succeed, this mean more activity in Vadso, says marketing manager of CCB, Knut M. Landro, in a press release.
••• 05.11.09 Seabrokers reports that CGGVeritas has sold three of its vessels for demolition this year. Due to decreased demand it has disposed of the 3D vessels Harmattan, Fohn, Orion.
Said Seabrokers: "Other seismic companies have stacked vessels pending an upturn in the market which in common with other sectors of the offshore market is expected to recover next year on the back of rising oil prices."
However, as Seabrokers also noted, the arrival of new, ultra modern tonnage will no doubt make life difficult for older seismic vessels.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 05.11.09 In Havana Wednesday Cuban and Russian officials signed four international economic association contracts for hydrocarbons exploration and exploitation in discoveries that might be made north of the central and western part of the country.
These documents were signed by Nikolai Bunich, director of the oil company Zarubezeneft, and Fidel Rivero, director of the Cuban Petroleum Union, in the presence of Basic Industries Minister Yadira Garcia and Ivan S. Materov, vice minister for industry and trade of the Russian Federation.
The initial investigation work and subsequent drilling and exploration will be carried out in four blocks located in northern Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Villa Clara, and Matanzas, and both sides agreed to begin as soon as possible, once the timetable has been defined.
In statements to the press, Yadira Garcia described the contracts as being "very important, because they allow us to continue investigating our oil areas, this time with a very qualified company like Zarubezeneft, from Russia."
The minster stated that Cuban crude oil "is characterized by being heavy, but in the areas where work will be done we have a better outlook in terms of its quality and that of the associated gas, considering the use we give it in Cuba for electricity generation."
She noted that seven foreign oil firms are working in the island in crude oil exploration and extraction on land and offshore.
Sources from the Basic Industries Ministry commented that they include Petro Vietnam, Petrobras (from Brazil), and PDVSA (from Venezuela).
The contracts were signed in the Russian Federation's pavilion at the 27th International Fair of Havana, in Exopcuba, where Vice Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment Orlando Hernandez and Ivan S. Materov reiterated their interest in strengthening and diversifying trade ties between the two countries.
Source: BBC Monitoring
••• 05.11.09 PrimeGen announced that its wholly owned Russian subsidiary OOO Verkhne Michayu Group ("Verkhne") has been awarded the Layevozhskoye oil and gas exploration license in the Baltic Basin in Western Russia.
The vast majority of the area of the Baltic basin is under license or under application by numerous domestic and international companies. This award therefore gives PrimeGen access to a highly desirable region, during a period of considerable competition. The concession totaling 2065.32 km2 is located in the Baltic Basin western Russia including portions of license blocks 36, 45, 46, 73 and 74.
The License is valid for up to 10 years and covers a work program which includes geological studies, seismic acquisition and a one well drilling obligation. If a discovery is made the term extends to 25 years with an additional 25 years, if required.
The primary reason for applying for this license is the high potential of the Paleozoic shales that could lead to a commercial shale gas development similar to the Barnett Shale in the United States. In addition, PrimeGen believes that while testing the shale gas potential of the area there are conventional oil targets above and below the shale intervals further reducing the risk of exploration.
Robert Charlton, CEO of PrimeGen commented, "We are excited to expand our portfolio in Russia into the underexplored Baltic Basin. There is a potentially significant unconventional gas play in the Paleozoic shales that we believe will unlock an overlooked high potential play in the wider region. We also believe there is significant potential that has been overlooked in several conventional targets on the license."
In the initial exploration phase, an environmental study is planned to be carried out. Taking account of 2D material already available, a 3D seismic test is then to be conducted across an area 500 square kilometers in size. In addition, an exploration well is to be drilled once the seismic testing has been completed.
Source: PrimeGen Energy Corp.
••• 05.11.09 Spectrum has signed an agreement with OMNIS, the state agency responsible for upstream activities in Madagascar, to reprocess 6000 line kilometers of seismic data.
The surveys include data offshore the west, south, and east coasts, and are located over the Morondava and Majunga basins, the Cap Sainte-Marie and Ile Sainte-Marie (St. Mary's Island) respectively.
Under the agreement, Spectrum will produce new datasets for open licensing blocks offshore the south and east coasts, and the west coast where a long line ties both awarded and open blocks.
Spectrum's EVP of Multi-Client services, Charles Harmer commented, "Previous interpretation of these surveys suggests encouraging prospectivity for the occurrence of hydrocarbons. We believe that reprocessing this data with Spectrum's specialist seismic processing and imaging techniques will improve the quality and definition of the vintage data, particularly in less understood areas such as Cap St. Marie basin and Ile St. Marie." The reprocessed datasets will be made available through Spectrum's Multi Client library when the reprocessing is completed in Q1, 2010.
Source: Spectrum ASA
••• 03.11.09 StatoilHydro ASA is changing its name to Statoil ASA and simultaneously adopting its new visual identity.
The group is taking the opportunity to clarify its future ambitions and strategy. Chief executive Helge Lund will be leading a global town hall meeting on Monday, November 2, which can be followed simultaneously by all employees from Beijing to Calgary.
The group's almost 30,000 employees will be giving the new vision and identity a content through various activities in the time to come.
The new visual identity is based on a constellation of stars seen against the Nordic heavens, which has been refined to a guiding star as Statoil's new symbol.
This star represents the group's history, pioneering spirit and ambition to be a leader in efforts to find better solutions for meeting growing energy requirements in a responsible way. Its configuration as a three-dimensional object is motivated by Statoil's strong technological history and strategy.
Tests show that the star evokes a wide range of associations, from innovation and dynamism to drill bits and wind turbines. This fits well with the group's business today and tomorrow. The color chosen for the new logotype is magenta, which can clearly be seen in the Nordic evening sky. It will also help to give Statoil a distinctive identity and visibility in the global market.
All parts of the group will use the new identity with the exception of its service station network, which retains its existing Statoil logotype.
This reflects a view that this part of the business competes well on its own terms, with its separate requirements and target audiences.
Source: Statoil ASA
••• 30.10.09 Polarcus Tapped for 3D Seismic Acquisition Off West Africa.
Polarcus has received a Letter of Award from a leading independent oil company for a two month 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa.
The project is provisionally allocated to Polarcus Naila, the Company's second 12 streamer 3D seismic vessel, for acquisition commencing in Q1 2010.
"This is an important award that starts to establish backlog for our second 3D seismic vessel," commented Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus. "We are very pleased to have been entrusted with this work and we look forward to demonstrating our capabilities through a successful project delivery." The award is contingent upon final governmental approval and the execution of a service contract.
••• 28.10.09 CGGVeritas is confident that acquisition of the recently announced PEMEX Gulf of Mexico survey with the advanced Sercel Nautilus-Sentinel steered solid streamers will provide a new benchmark for safer operations, quieter data and better crew efficiency.
With one system already in production on the Symphony, CGGVeritas will make the next full-scale deployment of the advanced Sercel Nautilus-Sentinel steered solid streamers on the largest marine survey ever awarded.
The Alize will shortly be starting the acquisition of a 75,000 sq km 3D survey for PEMEX in the Gulf of Mexico, using twelve Sentinel solid streamers equipped with Nautilus streamer control devices. Two of the Alize's companion vessels, the Symphony and the Endeavour, have already been breaking industry production records, and the Alize is now expected to surpass them. This will be partly due to the ease of deployment of solid streamers and the fact that, with a 12 x 8km x 100m streamer configuration, the Alize will be towing the largest areal receiver array in the industry.
Sercel's Nautilus is the unique 3-in-1 automatic steering, positioning and depth control device, purpose-designed for Sentinel streamers. The combination of Sentinel and Nautilus provides the most advanced steered streamer available today.
The Alize has always been a capable vessel and a full upgrade in 2008 extended her competitive advantage. With 16-streamer capacity, the latest vintage of solid Sentinel streamers and the addition of Nautilus, the Alize is poised to deploy the world’s largest spread of steered streamers.
Combined with the reputation CGGVeritas has gained for service, data quality, safety and efficiency, this puts the vessel in an excellent position to set a new standard with the PEMEX project.
Nautilus-steered Sentinel streamers offer many HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) advantages. Nautilus is powered by the streamer and so requires no battery changes. This eliminates the need to handle and store lithium batteries and reduces workboat trips, making the system inherently safer.
The streamer has the largest tensile strength in the industry and is resilient to damage in-water and during deployment. Its solid fill means that it is preferred for use in sensitive environments such as the Arctic where, this year alone, Sentinel has seen service several times.
The Sentinel streamer, thanks to its solid design, is recognized in the industry as the quietest streamer at all frequencies and depths, particularly in marginal weather conditions.
Nautilus enhances the industry-leading low-noise performance of Sentinel, even under steering. Tests have shown that the overall noise levels do not vary with steering force, and are lower than those from conventional birds and acoustic devices.
Nautilus has an advanced fully-braced acoustic network which improves positioning accuracy compared with conventional tail-mid-head networks.
Each advanced Nautilus unit communicates with the devices on adjacent streamers, decoding and interpreting ranges in real time, and adjusting their steering automatically to maintain separation and position, without waiting for feedback from the vessel. This provides automatic spread regularization and allows efficient 3D recording, as holes in the coverage caused by 'trousering' are eliminated, reducing dramatically the need for infill shooting. The depth of the streamers is also automatically controlled.
The large wings of Nautilus are designed to provide higher steering force than is currently available, allowing faster spread regularization and better feather control. This powerful steering mechanism can also position the cables in any predetermined feather pattern for maximum 4D repeatability.
The Nautilus steering fins are coupled to in-line nodes in the Sentinel streamer, so can be easily mounted and handled using existing streamer deployment systems. Streamer deployment and recovery is simplified using Nautilus, as the streamers can be fanned out to prevent tangles.
Efficiency is also improved on line changes as the streamers can be steered out of turns faster.
Data quality is the most important aspect of acquisition. Sentinel streamers are proven to deliver low-noise high-quality data, especially in sub-salt areas. The PEMEX survey will include an area of wide-azimuth (WAZ) acquisition, a technique in which CGGVeritas has unrivalled experience and expertise. WAZ surveys have shown outstanding imaging results in this area, especially when processed using the true 3D algorithms and the unique TTI RTM of CGGVeritas. These are an important part of the new geovation seismic processing software.
••• 28.10.09 PGS saw revenue sliced by a fifth and net income fall by almost two thirds in the third quarter this year.
Revenue fell to US $416.4 m from $534.3 m in the third quarter last year – a 22% fall, while net income attributable to shareholders was down to $47.7 m from $124.4 m last year – a 61% fall.
For the nine months ending September, PGS reported revenue at $1.181.7 Bn, down 18% from $1.455.9 Bn in the same period last year, and net income was down 62% to $143 m in the same nine month period, from $378 m in 2008.
Chief executive Jon Erik Reinhardsen said the company had concentrated on cash flow during the past year, resulting in a 30% cut in debt.
"Vessel and streamer bookings have increased every month since April 2009 and the dollar value of the order book has stabilised.," he stated. "There continues to be risks related to market outlook, not least the levels of over-capacity in the industry, but a combination of industry leading efficiency and technology leave us well positioned."
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 27.10.09 TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company reports third Wide Azimuth (WAZ) 3D survey in the Constitution series of projects in the Gulf of Mexico.
This newest survey, Justice, adds more than 7,800 square kilometers of WAZ coverage to the TGS portfolio. The project is a northeast expansion of the existing and contiguous Freedom and Liberty projects. Justice will cover portions of the hydrocarbon rich areas of Mississippi Canyon, Viosca Knoll, and De Soto Canyon.
TGS has contracted WesternGeco to perform the seismic acquisition for this survey and the project is planned to commence late in December 2009.
Acquisition of the data will incorporate two streamer vessels and two source vessels with a total of 20 streamers and 4 sources deployed and synchronized on the project. TGS will perform all data processing on the Justice survey and the final deliverables will include a wide range of depth imaged products.
Contrary to the Freedom and Liberty projects which were done under a cooperation agreement with WesternGeco, TGS will be the sole owner of the Justice survey.
"The clients’ support of our existing Wide Azimuth programs and their willingness to pre-fund the adjacent areas has allowed us to again expand these efforts," commented Stein Ove Isaksen, VP of North and South America for TGS. "We look forward to the challenge of imaging this geologically complex and important producing region of the Gulf."
Upon completion of Justice, TGS will have more than 27,000 square kilometers of WAZ 3D available for licensing covering the most productive oil producing area of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
The Justice WAZ 3D project is being completed with customer funding.
••• 26.10.09 Schlumberger has provided a global overview of its WesternGeco's services, for the third quarter 2009.
Third-quarter revenue of $463 million decreased 17% sequentially and 48% year-on-year. Pretax operating income of $61 million decreased 37% sequentially and 83% year-on-year.
Sequentially, Multiclient revenue decreased mostly on reduced sales in North America and the North Sea. Marine revenue fell primarily as the result of weaker pricing and the completion of two large contracts. Land revenue was also lower due to project delays in the Middle East and Africa. Data Processing revenue was flat versus the previous quarter.
Pretax operating margin fell 421 bps sequentially to 13.1% primarily as a result of the lower Multiclient sales and Land project delays.
During the quarter, the WesternGeco Magellan left the shipyard in Spain on its maiden voyage to begin operations. The 12-streamer vessel is the world's second seismic X-Bow design to sail, following the WesternGeco Columbus earlier in 2009. The new design provides improved transit speeds, lower power consumption, reduced emissions and lower levels of pitching and vibration for a friendlier work environment.
WesternGeco recently completed the first ever wide-azimuth survey in Angolan waters ahead of schedule and within budget. The vessels Western Trident, Geco Diamond, Gilavar performed the survey and their crews and shore-side management were commended by BP for their professional approach, timely delivery of service, excellent data quality and outstanding performance.
Following the feasibility study completed for Apache on the Forties field in the UK North Sea, WesternGeco was awarded a 4D Q-Marine* seismic survey on the field. The contract includes data processing of the new survey as well as the reprocessing of several other existing datasets and is the first Q-Marine award by Apache.
In response to significant customer interest, WesternGeco began acquisition of multiclient surveys E-Octopus VIII and E-Octopus IX in early September. Located in the highly prospective Alaminos Canyon, Keathley Canyon and East Breaks areas of the US Gulf of Mexico, the surveys cover more than 450 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks and target some of the most challenging subsalt imaging areas of the OCS.
Operations commenced on a land 4D baseline survey for Chevron Australia during the quarter. The survey is a mixture of onshore and transition zone work within a Class A nature reserve on Barrow Island. The results of this and future surveys will be used to monitor the underground injection of carbon dioxide from gas produced from the Gorgon field and injected into a formation more than 2,000 m beneath Barrow Island.
In seismic data processing, the proven results generated by WesternGeco 3D GSMP* Generalized Surface Multiple Prediction and Reverse Time Migration (RTM) workflows resulted in the award of three significant contracts in North America during the quarter.
WesternGeco Electromagnetics completed a multiclient project in the Potiguar Basin, offshore Brazil. The project comprised integrated interpretation of 2D prestack depth-migrated seismic data, Petromod* petroleum systems modeling, and analysis of satellite oil-seep information to generate prospects. An accumulated total of approximately 1,300 sq km of Controlled Source Electromagnetics (CSEM) data were then acquired over these prospects and inverted to create resistivity datasets. The resulting geophysical datasets have been integrated into a Petrel database to be offered as part of a multiclient package.
WesternGeco Electromagnetics was awarded a contract to conduct the first CSEM survey in the Turkish sector of the Black Sea. The survey, to be acquired by Toisa Vigilant, is the largest volume of CSEM work tendered and awarded in the industry to date.
••• 21.10.09 SeaBird - Successful completion of OBN surveys on Green Canyon Atlantis field in Gulf of Mexico.
SeaBird Exploration announced that the previously reported Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) survey for BP Exploration & Production Inc. has been successfully completed by the SBX vessels Hugin Explorer and Kondor Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico. The proprietary survey represented the second stage (T1) of a time lapse program on the BP-operated Atlantis field.
The survey required 500 nodes to be deployed and the removable sensors then positioned in the seabed accurately using ROV support from the Hugin Explorer across a steep escarpment at depths ranging from 1300 to 2200 meters water depth. Operations started end July. The Kondor Explorer was used as the source vessel for the program. As the shooting program progressed, the Hugin Explorer was able to recover completed nodes and QC the data onboard simultaneously with the ongoing shooting program. The shooting program was completed on 19th September and all nodes were successfully recovered onboard Hugin Explorer by September 21. Onboard QC of all data was then carried out. A total of 494 nodes were good for data acquisition purposes, six were found bad.
The Hugin Explorer and the Kondor Explorer are now in mobilization phase from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for transit to Nigeria to carry out the previously announced Agbami field survey for Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, an affiliate of Chevron Nigeria Limited. Operations are expected to commence mid November after arrival and inward clearance of both vessels. An additional 250 Case Abyss deepwater nodes will be loaded onboard enroute to Nigeria.
CEO Tim Isden commented, "We are extremely pleased that the operation of our OBN division has proved to be what we had expected, especially after the late completion on our first survey in Angola. We have learnt a great deal from both these operations, and we now feel confident that the physical problems are behind us and that the quality of data acquired in both Angola and Gulf of Mexico will prove to be a key factor in the further development of OBN 4 component reservoir imaging contracts. We are also pleased to report that data owned by SeaBird from a proprietary test carried out in Gulf of Mexico prior to commencement of the BP Exploration & Production Inc. survey has now been licensed and sold to oil companies on a non-exclusive basis. Furthermore there is high interest in this SeaBird technology evidenced by the volume of enquiries supported by the subsequent Invitations To Tender requests now being received."
••• 20.10.09 BGP has been awarded three seismic survey projects by Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia with the total value over $300 million.
S53, a 3D TZ project, will commence in October 2009 and is expected to last approximately two years. The prospect is covered by shoals and shallow water, and crosses MANIFA oilfield and several urban districts.
S63, a 2D land project, will commence in November 2009 and is expected to last approximately four years. The prospect is located in the desert. S64, a 2D TZ project, will commence in October 2009 and is expected to last approximately 15 months. The prospect consists of water with a depth of 1700 meters, shallow water, shoals, islands and desert.
With more than 40 years experience and expertise in land and TZ operation, and a history of successful cooperation with Saudi Aramco, BGP has the capability to fully meet the demands of the client in these complex and challenging projects.
••• 20.10.09 Update on the Conditional Letter of Intent signed with TGS-NOPEC for the Charter of Polarcus Nadia.
Reference is made to the notice published 01 September 2009 on the Norwegian OTC trading support system regarding the signature of a conditional Letter of Intent with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) for the charter of the 12 streamer 3D seismic vessel Polarcus Nadia for approximately 3 months commencing in December 2009.
Polarcus Limited announced that further to the referenced notification, TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA has advised the Company that the first phase of this planned program, comprising 2,000 square kilometres of long offset 3D, is now confirmed.
The Right of First Refusal for TGS to extend the charter thereafter in two 6 month increments under pre-agreed commercial terms remains in full force and effect.
TGS has further requested that the charter of Polarcus Nadia should commence as soon as the vessel is ready for operations in December 2009, subject to execution of a Seismic Charter Agreement.
••• 20.10.09 Shtokman FID on hold.
A final investment decision on the Shtokman development appears to have been postponed until next year according to reports from Russia.
Alexei Miller, Gazprom chief executive is reported to have indicated that the final investment decision on the project will be made in March 2010, three months later than originally planned – and not by the end of this year as many were expecting.
According to one Russian source, this is the fourth time the decision has been postponed since early 2008 when Shtokman Development AG was established in Switzerland with Total and StatoilHydro to managed the Barents Sea development.
"The project is at the stage when a final investment decision will be taken. We figure that this final decision will be made in first half-year 2010," Miller was quoted as saying by Eurasia Oil and Gas magazine on its website, citing remarks made by the Gazprom chief at the First International Economic Forum which took place in Murmansk last Thursday, 15 October.
At the same forum last week, Yuri Komarov, chief executive of Shtokman Development AG told delegates Shtokman was "proceeding according to plan."
Recently Total's chief executive Christophe de Margerie said at the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires in Argentina that Shtokman was not economic to develop at current world gas prices. But of course the world gas price will change in the next five years as the Shtokman project moves forward to a planned first gas date in 2013.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 19.10.09 TGS Expands Regional 3D Coverage Offshore Liberia.
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) confirmed the start up of its next phase of regional multi-client 3D seismic acquisition in offshore Liberia. The new two-thousand square kilometer 3D program expands the existing 9,000 square kilometers of 3D coverage that TGS initiated in late 2008. The latest Liberia phase will be recorded with long offset acquisition and will incorporate state of the art Prestack Time and PreStack Depth data processing.
TGS expects preliminary data to be available in the third quarter of 2010.
Offshore Liberia has received significant interest in recent months due to the excitement generated by new oil discoveries in both the Gulf of Guinea and Sierra Leone.
"It is exciting to have data in a trend that has recently produced significant oil discoveries in Offshore Africa," commented Kim Abdallah, TGS' VP of New Ventures in Africa and the Middle East. "Our coverage of this emerging oil play will now be more than 14,000 kilometers of multi-client 2D data and 11,000 square kilometers of 3D data." The program is heavily prefunded.
••• 19.10.09 Wartsila Opens New Service Center in Russia.
Wartsila has opened a Service Centre in Murmansk, Russia to serve the rapidly growing number of vessels in northern waters. The Service Centre demonstrates Wartsila's commitment to expand in line with the increasing marine activity in the Barents Sea region. To emphasize the importance of co-operation, Wartsila's CEO and President, Ole Johansson and the Governor of the Murmansk Oblast region of Russia, Dmitry Vladimirovich Dmitrienko, jointly signed a document of goodwill.
Being the only year-round ice-free port in north western Russia, Murmansk is rapidly being developed as a major transport hub. It is also the operational centre for the development of the vast Shtokman gas condensates field. The port is home to more than 20 maritime companies, and is attracting an increasing number of international companies to the region.
"Local presence and availability are of utmost importance in assuring efficient customer support. The new Service Centre in Murmansk is a further step in our strategy to continuously develop our unique worldwide service network," said Christoph Vitzthum, Group Vice President, Wartsila Services.
The Wartsila Murmansk Service Centre provides a full range of sales and support services for all local marine and offshore customers. The service capacity will enable Wartsila to offer more efficient and fully focused support to the growing fleet of merchant vessels, offshore vessels, offshore platforms, and offshore facilities in the region.
The Murmansk Service Centre covers an area of 280 m2 and includes both workshops and offices. The Service Centre offers overhauling of main and auxiliary marine engines, as well as maintenance and repairs of ancillary equipment, pipework, electrical equipment, ship automation systems, and other equipment.
The Murmansk service workshop is being staffed initially with 15 employees, but this number is expected to increase in the near future. The majority of employees are being hired locally. They will be trained both at the Wartsila Land & Sea Academy in Finland, and on site according to Wartsila’s global standards.
Source: Wartsila Corp.
••• 16.10.09 Murmansk declared Arctic gas capital.
Gazprom will make Murmansk the base for its expansion into the Arctic, company CEO Aleksei Miller highlighted at the Murmansk Economic Forum. -Murmansk is very important, he underlined.
The forum, which opened in downtown Murmansk yesterday has "the conquering of the Arctic" as its slogan and puts prime focus on the development of the huge Shtokman gas field, located about 600 km off the Barents Sea coast.
-Shtokman is strategically important for all of Russia, Mr. Miller said in his presentation at the forum.
The Shtokman field was also the key component in the new cooperation agreement between Gazprom and Murmansk Oblast signed today. That agreement includes cooperation guidelines for the Shtokman development process, including for the laying of pipelines, construction of the LNG terminal and other facilities. Aleksey Miller after the signing ceremony stressed that Gazprom will build roads and develop infrastructure, establish staff training programmes and seek to take maximum advantage of the regional industrial supply potential. He also stressed that the company will spend significant sums on social projects in the region.
The Shtokman field will also result in the gasification of the region, and thus open up for new industrial establishments, Miller said. International cooperationIn the forum session, Miller stressed that Shtokman is a Russian project and that the partnership with foreign companies Total and StatoilHydro will expire after the first field development phase. At the same time, he praised the cooperation model of the project, saying that it should be used also in other offshore projects in Russia.
••• 15.10.09 WesternGeco Acquires Octopus Surveys Spanning 450 GOM Blocks.
WesternGeco began acquisition of the E-Octopus VIII and E-Octopus IX surveys in September. Located in the highly prospective Alaminos Canyon, Keathley Canyon, and East Breaks areas of the US Gulf of Mexico, the surveys cover more than 450 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks.
E-Octopus VIII and IX target the most challenging subsalt imaging areas of the OCS. WesternGeco will apply the latest seismic data processing techniques to these surveys, including Generalized Surface Multiple Prediction (GSMP*) and anisotropic Reverse Time Migration (RTM), which are both enhanced by the quality of Q-Marine* seismic acquisition.
"These new E-Octopus programs will provide value through improved imaging, resulting in reduced drilling risk," said Thomas Scoulios, North America Region Manager, WesternGeco. "WesternGeco has executed nine multiclient wide-azimuth surveys to date, and client interest continues to be very high."
The E-Octopus multiclient wide-azimuth program in the Gulf of Mexico commenced in July 2006. With the addition of E-Octopus VIII and IX, the WesternGeco data library of high-quality Q-Marine data in the Gulf of Mexico will exceed 2000 OCS blocks.
••• 14.10.09 DOF bags inspection contract for Blue Stream Pipelines.
DOF ASA's subsidiary DOF Subsea Norway has been awarded a pipeline inspection contract by Blue Stream Pipeline Company BV to execute two external pipeline inspection campaigns of the Blue Stream Pipelines located in the Black Sea. The work will be carried out onboard the company's vessel Geosund and will utilise its Ultra Heavy Duty Schilling work ROV.
The project will be split into two stages, the first of which will commence during the first quarter of 2010 and will last for approximately 1-2 months. The second stage will be completed during 2012.
DOF Subsea Norway's General Manager, Duncan MacPherson, said, "This is a strategic win for our team and allows us to demonstrate our project delivery capability to a new client on an exciting project in a challenging geographic location."
••• 14.10.09 Tierra, StatoilHydro Team Up for Seismic Technology Project.
StatoilHydro and Tierra Geophysical announced have signed a contract for joint development of seismic imaging software technology. The seismic imaging software is expected to improve StatoilHydro’s ability to assess exploration and production targets in areas of complex geology.
Dave Diller, president of Tierra, commented, "We are very pleased to be partnering with StatoilHydro on this project. StatoilHydro is one of the most technically adept companies in the world in geophysics, with broad expertise and experience. StatoilHydro aggressively pursues research, but they also enhance their internal projects by watching outside their company for new technology. Tierra has spent years optimizing our finite difference propagators, and combining that with StatoilHydro's imaging expertise and experience is an ideal marriage of complimentary skills and technologies. Today people may think of Tierra as 'The Forward Modeling Company,' but the same underlying technology has other uses in seismic imaging, which this project will leverage."
Rolf Helland, project manager in the StatoilHydro Exploration research program, commented, "The development of these tools in collaboration with Tierra Geophysical is an important component in our strategic effort to increase our capability to determine improved, reliable images in complex geological settings with large velocity variations. One of the key criteria in such projects is fast imaging turnaround time and this will be achieved using the finite difference core from Tierra. Tierra will be commercializing the software that is developed during the project. The first results from the project, a highly optimized reverse time migration (RTM), are available as both a software product and as services in the third quarter of this year."
••• 13.10.09 New checks ordered on helicopter gearboxes.
BBC News has reported that Sikorsky has ordered checks on gearboxes on S92 aircraft operating as search and rescue units in the North Sea. The order comes after cracks were found in the gearboxes of some S92s, the BBC reported today.
Both Bristow and CHC which operate S92s providing crew change flights and search and rescue services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have indicated they would comply with the new request. The MCA operates four S92s, based on Shetland and the Isle of Lewis.
Each gearbox will have to be checked after 10 hours flying time.
The order comes after S92s were given a safety clearance following a fatal crash offshore Canada in March.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 13.10.09 Fugro Signs Master Services Agreement with CNOOC Australia.
Fugro Survey Pty Ltd with head office in Perth, Australia, signed a Master Services Agreement with CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) Australia E&P Pty Ltd for the supply of site surveys, rig positioning and ROV services. The agreement follows on from the strong relationship Fugro have with China, developed over the last 25 years of operations by the China Offshore Fugro Geosolutions Joint venture.
The first work under this agreement took place in the Timor Sea using Fugro's dedicated survey vessel Southern Supporter for a number of site surveys.
••• 13.10.09 Shtokman: Not economic for now.
Total's chief executive Christophe de Margerie has suggested that even the giant Shtokman gas and condensate field is uneconomic at current world gas prices.
While Total, StatoilHydro and Russian partner Gazprom are still finalising project costs, based on a subsea installation exporting back to a new gas processing facility onshore at Teriberka near Murmansk, de Margerie, speaking at the World Gas conferences in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires said it is "definitely" not economic at $3/m Btu, he said, to Petroleum Economist magazine reported on its website.
However the Total chief made it clear that the development of the field would not be dependent on today's gas price, since the project will take five years to develop.
A final investment decision on Shtokman is due by the end of this year, and first gas from the field is targeted for 2013 with first LNG production from the field due to flow a year later.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 12.10.09 UK's Subsea Cos Could Unlock Russian Arctic Shelf's Potential.
The Northern waters of Russia promise to be the next global energy frontier and Subsea UK is making sure that British subsea oil and gas companies can capitalize on the opportunities.
The industry body has joined forces with Scottish Development International, UKT&I and Gazprom Vniigaz to hold an exhibition and workshop in Moscow and Murmansk from October 13-17 to ensure that UK subsea expertise is in prime position for securing lucrative collaborative projects.
"The unrivalled experience and expertise of the UK's subsea supply chain could hold the key to unlocking the potential in the Russian Arctic shelf," said Subsea UK chief executive, Alistair Birnie. "The technical challenges, lack of infrastructure and labour shortages in the region provide major opportunities for UK companies to work alongside Russian partners."
The trade mission will see half a dozen subsea companies showcase their skills and technologies with an exhibition, meetings and presentations over two days followed by a visit to SevTEK in Murmansk.
During Northern Russia's major oil and gas exhibition, Mr Birnie will present on why the UK subsea sector is ideally placed to assist Russian organisations overcome the challenges of producing oil and gas from the waters of Northern Russia.
"Through collaboration with the Russian government and industry, we can help build the necessary capability and capacity to deliver projects that are at the frontier of subsea field development," added Mr Birnie. "Our success of collaboration within the UK and other oil and gas provinces around the world is demonstrated by our instrumental involvement in so many major global developments and this proven track-record stands us in good stead for capitalizing on the multi-billion market in the Russian Arctic shelf."
At the heart of the opportunities in this area is the giant Shtokman gas field. Located at a depth of over 300 meters and nearly 600 kilometers from the mainland, this field is estimated to hold about 1% of total global gas reserves. Investment in Shtokman alone is estimated at USD 50 billion with investment decisions scheduled for 2010.
"The timing is absolutely right for making in-roads into Russia and Subsea UK will be promoting the UK's ground-breaking capability throughout the supply chain including field development engineering, pre-construction survey, fabrication, instrumentation, subsea electro-hydraulic controls, pipelines and umbilicals, mooring and connection systems, ROV technologies and subsea well intervention.
"Murmansk will play a critical role in the development of this field and become the centre of onshore production. The region has infrastructure developments totalling USD 8 billion planned which will transform this region of Russia, making it a hotspot for our member companies."
Phil Stirling, international business executive with SDI, commented, "This event represents a prime opportunity to showcase their capabilities and experience to the Russian market. It is one of the most promising oil and gas markets for Scottish companies and presents an enormous opportunity as the harsh conditions of the Barents Sea suit the companies' capabilities. We feel this level of mutually beneficial co-operation between Scottish and Russian companies is the key to the success."
Subsea UK is a self-sustaining industry body that champions the UK subsea industry at home and abroad. With over 200 members, it represents the entire subsea supply chain in the country which employs 40,000 people and generates sales of GBP 5 billion.
••• 12.10.09 Peak oil before 2020.
A report on the depletion of conventional oil resources by a UK based research group says the peak could come before 2020 or 2030.
The UK Energy Research Centre says "Despite large uncertainties in the available data, sufficient information is available to allow the status and risk of global oil depletion to be adequately assessed."
And it warns in its new report: "A peak in conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020. Given the lead times required to both develop substitute fuels and improve energy efficiency, this risk needs to be given serious consideration."
Although the research centre notes there are commentators forecasting a near-term peak in global oil production with potentially serious economic impacts, others are arguing production will be sufficient to meeting rising oil demand well into the 21st century.
But the centre also says in its new report, which has examined more than 500 studies, analysed industry databases, and compared global supply forecasts, that there is enough evidence to "..Bring some clarity to the debate."
It points out: "The rate of decline of production is accelerating. More than two thirds of existing capacity may need to be replaced by 2030 solely to prevent production from falling."
And it continues: "While large resources of conventional oil may be available, these are unlikely to be accessed quickly and may make little difference to the timing of the global peak."
The research centre was set up in 2002 to bring together government, academics, and industry, and comprises some of the leading universities in the UK.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 12.10.09 J. Ray Completes Yuri Korchagin Installation in Caspian Sea.
J. Ray McDermott's Caspian subsidiary has successfully and safely completed installation of offshore facilities at the Yuri Korchagin field for Lukoil.
The Yuri Korchagin field is the first of the North Caspian fields in the Russian sector of the Caspian Sea to be developed by Lukoil and brought commercially on-stream. The field development requires a number of major offshore facilities including an ice-resistant fixed processing platform (LSP-1) and adjacent living quarters (LSP-2) joined together by a 243-foot bridge. Oil from LSP-1 will be delivered to the marine transportation complex which consists of a Floating Storage Offloading system (FSO) and Single Point Mooring (SPM) via a 36 mile 12-inch oil pipeline.
Within the contractual scope of work, J. Ray performed the transportation and installation of 14 foundation piles for LSP-1, transportation and installation of the SPM substructure weighing 1,005 tons, including five foundation piles, and the SPM deck, in addition to hook-up of the SPM deck to the substructure.
Additional work included engineering, procurement, fabrication, transportation and installation of tie-in spools connecting LSP-1 and the SPM to the 36-mile sub-sea pipeline as well as hydrostatic leak testing and flushing of the entire pipeline system. The pipeline was laid by J. Ray under a separate contract with Lukoil in 2008; the company also successfully performed transportation and installation of the FSO, its connection to the SPM system and testing.
"We completed the installation scope of work offshore in a month and a half, and without a single lost time incident," said Dan Houser, J. Ray McDermott's Vice President and General Manager, Europe and Central Asia. "We are very pleased to continue to provide services to Lukoil for the Yuri Korchagin development, strengthening our cooperation as well as our presence within the promising and dynamically growing Russian offshore market."
Fabrication of the installation aids was performed by the company's fabrication base at Baku Deepwater Jacket Factory named after Heydar Aliyev, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), J. Ray McDermott's long-term business partner in the Caspian. For the offshore installation work, J. Ray utilized six vessels provided by the Caspian Marine Services, Ltd., as per their agreement with another SOCAR's subsidiary, Caspian Sea Oil Fleet.
••• 09.10.09 Oil exploration on hold.
The Norwegian government says it will not open the Lofoten and Vesteraalen areas in Northern Norway for oil and gas exploration in the next four years.
This means the newly elected government will not make a decision on the controversial area in its current parliamentary period.
However, in its statement, the government says it will continue data gathering from the coastal areas in the region.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 09.10.09 Santos to Access Full Scope of Paradigm's Seismic Solutions.
Paradigm has signed a multi-year enterprise contract with Australia-based Santos Limited. The contract will provide Santos essentially unlimited access to the full scope of Paradigm seismic interpretation and reservoir characterization products.
"After a detailed technical evaluation, we selected Paradigm technology for the functionality of their interpretation and characterization applications," said Trevor Brown, Santos Vice President Exploration. "At Santos, we place a strong emphasis on integrated workflows and data management, backed up by functionally rich applications."
The Paradigm seismic interpretation solution provides geoscientists multi-2D and -3D tools for creating seamless interpretation and analyzing seismic data. This improves interpretation time and greatly assists geoscientists in identifying potential exploration prospects and drilling targets. Paradigm reservoir characterization applications enable the integration of the interpreted model with reservoir properties obtained from well logs and core data so that engineers are better able to determine potential reserves and fluid flow behavior.
"Santos truly has technology at its core and believes in using cutting-edge science to generate real value" said David Betty, Paradigm executive vice president for Asia Pacific. "At Paradigm we share this vision and look forward to helping Santos meet its evolving business needs throughout the coming years."
••• 09.10.09 BOS HQ on the move in Bergen.
Bergen Oilfield Services AS is moving to larger premises in Bergen. The new location will double the available space and provide a much more efficient working environment to accommodate the spectacular growth of BOS and the recent reorganization which has seen the integration of SOM (Stad Offshore Management) into the BOS family. The office occupies an excellent dockside location, with a fine golf course nearby and most importantly room for future expansion.
••• 08.10.09 Total signs agreement with KazMunaiGas to develop the Khvalynskoye field.
Total announces the signature of a Heads of Agreement (HOA) establishing the principles of a partnership with KazMunaiGas (KMG) for the development of the Khvalynskoye field, located offshore in the Caspian Sea on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia.
Khvalynskoye is a conventional gas condensate field located in water depths of 25 metres which will be developed by Lukoil (50%, operator). The gas produced from this field will be transported to Russia.
Under the terms of the HOA, Total and GdF-Suez will acquire a participation of 25% (Total 17%, GdF-Suez 8%) from the initial 50% stake held by KMG.
"This agreement provides the opportunity for Total to further strengthen its ties with KazMunaiGaz, with whom the Group is already a partner on the Kashagan project in Kazakhstan," stated Yves-Louis Darricarrere, President Exploration and Production. "Total will bring to the Khvalynskoye’s partners the company’s know-how in developing offshore projects in order to successfully develop the field."
••• 08.10.09 Fast track survey data from a seismic survey over the Spanish Point licence area off the west coast of Ireland has indicated "good structural continuity" which will simplify any future field development.
Improved imaging of both the Spanish Point gas discovery originally made with the 35/8-2 well in the Porcupine Basin 200 km (125 miles) off the west coast of Ireland and of the nearby Burren oil discovery has been achieved with the first data from the seismic survey.
Licence operator Providence Resources also said that data from the 320 sq. km 3D survey which was acquired this summer also indicates excellent sub-surface resolution to below the reservoir level, "... and confirm the potential for further reservoir above that tested by the 35/8-2 discovery well within the existing hydrocarbon bearing block."
On the 35/8-1 Burren oil discovery, Providence said the new data has provided a significant improvement on the previous imaging of the find, allowing the licence partners to more fully assess its commercial potential.
Burren has previously been tested and flowed with high quality 34 degree API oil from thin Cretaceous reservoir sands, with a 121 m (400 ft) gross hydrocarbon interval.
Providence chief executive Tony O'Reilly was clearly pleased with the initial outcomes from the survey, which he said has exceeded expectations, particularly on Spanish Point.
"Whilst more work needs to be done to fully evaluate these 3D seismic data, the initial results substantially enhance our overall views on Spanish Point," O'Reilly stated.
"Of particular significance is the identification of additional potential reservoir up-dip from the discovery well - this indicates significant resource upside in terms of gas in place. We are also very encouraged by the data over the Burren oil discovery."
Providence operates the Frontier Exploration Licence 2/04 with 56% equity, partnered by Chrysaor E&P Ireland Limited with 30% and Sosina Exploration Limited which holds 14%.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 07.10.09 Northern Petroleum, Shell Proceed with Seismic Program Off Sicily.
West Sicily Thrust BeltNorthern Petroleum, together with Shell Italia E&P S.p.A. , will acquire a 3D seismic survey in their joint exploration area offshore Sicily. Shell will fund the prospect defining programme in the joint venture held thrust belt offshore of western Sicily. The joint venture currently covers six offshore licenses G.R17.NP, G.R18.NP, G.R19.NP, G.R20.NP, G.R21.NP and G.R22.NP covering a total area of 4350 sq. km in which a 2300 km 2D seismic survey was recorded earlier this year.
Under the terms of the farm-out agreement, Shell hold 55% in G.R17.NP, G.R18.NP and G.R19.NP; and 70% in G.R20.NP, G.R21.NP and G.R22.NP. Northern will continue as the operator during the seismic phase and Shell will assume operatorship for the drilling phase.
Commenting on the program Derek Musgrove, Managing Director, Northern, said, "This progresses one of the most exciting areas for exploration and material growth for Northern as well as significantly increased expenditure. Shell brings to this venture experience of exploration and production in the southern Italy part of the same Apennine-Mahgrebian Thrust Belt where the major oil fields of Val d'Agri and Tempa Rossa have been developed. The venture can also call upon their international major project and offshore expertise. If drilling is successful it could open up a whole new Western European and North African hydrocarbon province."
••• 06.10.09 Sovcomflot acquires PSV Pacific Endurance.
Russian tanker owner Sovcomflot has taken its first step into the offshore market by acquiring Swire Pacific’s 2006 built PSV Pacific Endurance (3,642 dwt).
Seabrokers reports that the Russian owner already owns a small tug fleet via its joint venture with Rosnefteflot but is now said to be planning further diversification into the offshore sector with the purchase of more PSVs and possibly tugs.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 05.10.09 SeaBird Exploration has signed a new firm contract and several letters of Intent and Letters of Awards.
A Firm contract for Munin Explorer to operate in Mexico as a source vessel commencing December 2009. Duration including mobilization and demobilization is expected to be two months. Contract value is in the region of USD 2.8 million. Negotiations are ongoing for an interim contract for the period between arrival Gulf of Mexico in October and commencement of the Mexico work.
Letter of Award for Northern Explorer starting October 2009 for 1,000 km 2D in North Java followed by a Letter of Award for 13,200 km 2D in Indonesia for a consortium of oil companies. This second Indonesia contract carries contingent options for the work to be expanded to 20,612 km 2D. Duration of these two contracts is expected to be 5-7 months and combined values are in the region of USD 10-15 million.
A Letter of Award for Aquila Explorer starting October 2009 in Indonesia and then mobilizing to Australia for a Firm contract 3,800 km 2D survey in Western Australia prior to commencing a previously reported firm contract of 4,500 km 2D in Bremer Basin, Southwestern Australia, due to commence December 2009. Following completion in Bremer Basin, Aquila Explorer has received a Letter of Intent for a further 2,200 km 2D in Australia, occupying the vessel until end February 2010. Combined values of these four contracts are currently in the region of USD 5.0-7.5 million.
The combined value of the firm work listed above is estimated to be in the range of about USD 20 million and provides our 2D fleet with employment for the next 4-6 months.
CEO Tim Isden comments "We are very pleased to see that the volume of 2D bids and tenders has steadily increased over the last months, but more importantly that awards are now being made after the slow progress through the spring and summer of 2009".
••• 04.10.09 Providence Shoots New 2D Seismic Offshore Nigeria.
Aje Field, Offshore NigeriaProvidence Resources has announced the successful acquisition of a new 2D seismic survey over its Oil Mining Lease 113 (OML 113) in the Benin Embayment, offshore Nigeria.
This new 2D survey was acquired by Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) using the vessel M.V Falcon Explorer and extended over a total line length of c. 130 kilometers.
OML113 contains the Aje Field, which is operated by Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited, with Chevron Nigeria Deepwater H Limited acting as Technical Advisor to the Operator.
The other partners in OML113 are Vitol Exploration Nigeria Limited, Energy Equity Resources Aje Limited and PR Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.
Source: Providence Resources
••• 02.10.09 Spectrum has completed a series of computer facility upgrades at its regional data processing and imaging center in Houston, Texas that will increase capacity by 50%.
The technology upgrades applied over the past 6 months will prepare Spectrum's largest computing facility for a scheduled increase in Multi-Client processing projects from Q4 2009 onwards, and help fulfill increased international demand for pre-stack depth and time imaging services on behalf of oil company clients.
Technology upgrades included increasing the CPU units in the Houston processing clusters by 50% and adding two new master servers. Other new equipment included a new 32 core Sun M5000 server with an additional 120Tb of high-specification Onstor primary disc storage. The processing centre infrastructure has also been enhanced with additional electrical and air conditioning support to maintain optimum operating conditions.
••• 02.10.09 Seabed Worker completes offshore gravity monitoring survey for StatoilHydro.
Seabed AS in Norway has successfully completed a contract to supply ROV and vessel services to Fugro Survey AS for the 2009 offshore gravity monitoring and subsidence surveys on the Troll, Sleipner, Midgard and Ormen Lange fields. The survey was conducted from Seabed's new vessel, Seabed Worker, and the end client was StatoilHydro.
Completion of the work involved taking 513 gravity measurements on pre-installed benchmarks using the ROV Deep Ocean Gravimeter (ROVDOG) instrument package.
During the 28 day campaign the system performed 272 dives with over 500 hours in the water while accumulating only 0.4 per cent downtime.
The combination of the vessel's Voith Scheider propulsion system and ODIM LARS active heave compensated launch and recovery system contributed to the success of these operations in sea conditions of up to 4m significant wave heights, where both minimising time between measurements and care in handling of the ROVDOG contributed to the quality of data acquired.
"The survey was a great success because the pilots all took the job seriously, they listened carefully to our requirements, and then they worked diligently to meet those requirements. They were willing to collaborate with us to obtain high quality measurements," said Mark Zumberge, Research Geophysicist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Scripps team leader onboard Seabed Worker.
••• 02.10.09 Black Marlin Energy commences second Seychelles seismic survey.
Black Marlin Energy Limited (BMEL), a subsidiary of East African Exploration Limited (EAX) and partners Avana Petroleum, have commenced their second seismic survey on their acreage in the Seychelles using Seabird Exploration’s vessel Geomariner.
The original 3,650km 2D survey, acquired in 2007 using an 8,000m cable, identified an extensive and deep sedimentary section between and around the granitic islands. The granitic features are linked to those that underpin the massive Bombay High field and flank the prolific Cambay basin on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent.
The new 1,100km 2D survey is designed to better image the potential reservoirs in the numerous tilted fault blocks to better delineate the leads mapped in the southern third of tranche A. It will complete the group’s seismic commitment under the first exploration period of the Petroleum Agreement (PA). The 15,000km2 PA acreage was awarded in November 2008 after the group reviewed 43,000km2 and selected optimal locations for more detailed study.
The survey area includes some very large structures in both shallow and deep water targets and is close to the wells drilled by Amoco in 1980/81. The wells had significant oil shows which correlate well to the tar balls occasionally found on Seychelles beaches suggesting an active, indigenous hydrocarbon system.
Jeff Hume, CEO of Black Marlin Energy, said: "We are very pleased to be moving forward with our work programme in the Seychelles and have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of the presence of Geomariner in the Seychelles at a very competitive price. We continue to believe that the Seychelles has excellent commercial oil potential and this concentrated programme, on one of the most prospective and interesting areas in our acreage, is designed to help us indentify firm drilling targets for the next phase of exploration."
Further seismic, beyond the work programme commitment, is planned for the remainder of tranche A and tranches B and C in 2010. Drilling is planned for the period early 2011 to 2012.
Recent independent evaluation of BMEL assets in the Seychelles indicates potential original oil in place (OOIP) of over 1 billion barrels.
••• 01.10.09 Karoon-Conoco JV Takes Bigger Bite of Browse Basin.
After exercising an option to add two more wells on the drilling contract with Sedco Forex International Inc., Karoon Gas and its joint venture partner ConocoPhillips, will drill at least four wells in the current Browse basin exploration program. Operator ConocoPhillips is drilling the wells using the Transocean Legend semisub.
A contract for a new 3D seismic survey to cover more than 2000 sq km over the greater Poseidon area, has now been tendered and awarded to CGGVeritas and will be started in early October and completed during the same period as the continuing drilling program.
••• 01.10.09 Hyperdynamics to Commence 2D Seismic Survey Off Guinea.
Hyperdynamics has signed a contract with Bergen Oilfield Services AS of Norway to conduct a 9,000 kilometer 2-D marine seismic survey on portions of its oil and gas concession offshore Republic of Guinea. The survey is expected to get under way by the end of October.
"This survey will help us make a final determination of which portions of our 31,000-square mile concession area we want to maintain for future exploration," said Ray Leonard, Hyperdynamics' President and Chief Executive Officer. "Under a new September Memorandum of Understanding that reaffirms the validity of our Production Sharing Contract, we are required to relinquish 64% of the acreage by December 31, 2009. This new data will enable us to choose the best acreage to retain from this vast area, and it will also help us high-grade our better prospects so we can choose the areas where we want to shoot a more limited 3-D survey next year."
"The raw field records or the Brute Stacks from the 'new' 2009 2-D seismic survey will be delivered by BOS in almost real time as it is acquired," according to James Spear, Hyperdynamics' Vice President of Exploration and Development. "The processing of this data will be done onboard one of BOS's modern seismic vessels, as each line segment or sequence is acquired offshore Guinea. The BOS vessel is equipped with modern-day, state-of-the-art, Sercel recording instrumentation along with Sentinel Solid streamers. The contractor's vessel is prepared to continue on 3-D acquisition on short notice."
The cost of the project is estimated to be $10 million. Hyperdynamics plans to fund the survey using proceeds from a farm-in arrangement it expects to complete with another oil and gas producer during the fourth quarter and/or with proceeds from a potential capital raise. The company will make an upfront payment of $500,000. In addition, as a guarantee to Bergen Oilfield Services (BOS), Hyperdynamics will allow seismic work to begin ahead of the farm-out and/or financing period. Hyperdynamics will issue the seismic contractor 2.5 million restricted common shares, or approximately 4.4% of outstanding shares. The deposit shares would serve as collateral for a mobilization payment of $1,100,000, and for three subsequent payments due as the data is processed and delivered to our office in southwest Houston (Sugar Land, Texas).
Source: Hyperdynamics Corp.
••• 01.10.09 Rock Solid Images has been awarded a rock physics and seismic inversion project offshore Guyana by CGX Resources Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CGX Energy Inc.
CGX's Vice President of Exploration, Warren Workman, said, "The conventional processing of our 3D program, the first shot offshore Guyana, is nearing completion. We are very encouraged by the time and depth images and our initial interpretation. To complement this analysis, CGX has engaged Rock Solid Images to determine the reservoir properties (lithology and porosity) and conditions (pore fluid) from the seismic data for our identified targets. In similar geologic settings, Rock Solid Images' rock physics and seismic inversion experience has been effective in achieving these goals. We are looking forward to utilizing Rock Solid Images’ knowledge of rock property-driven seismic signatures to reduce our risk in this underexplored, but highly prospective basin."
Rock Solid Images' Senior Vice-President, Gareth Taylor, said, "We are very excited to have been given the opportunity by CGX Resources to apply our rock physics and seismic inversion workflows on this high-profile project offshore Guyana. Following the completion of several successful projects in the middle and upper Cretaceous formations of West Africa, we are confident that this knowledge will be applicable to understanding the virtually identical stratigraphic succession that exists in the Guyana-Suriname basin."
••• 30.09.09 First two X BOW seismic vessels at work in Gulf of Mexico.
Ulstein Group in Norway reports that the first two seismic vessels with the ULSTEIN X-BOW, WG Columbus and WG Magellan, are now working together in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessels are of the ULSTEIN SX124 design.
WG Columbus, hull number 1657, was delivered in March, while WG Magellan, hull number 1658, was delivered 29 July. Both vessels were built at Barreras in Vigo, Spain. Due to strikes in the Vigo area earlier this year, WG Magellan was completed at Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
WesternGeco has four ULSTEIN SX124 vessels under construction, two at Barreras and two at Drydocks World, Dubai. These vessels are planned for delivery in 2009 and the first half of 2010.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 30.09.09 Israel survey work won.
Noble Energy has selected Aberdeen-based DOF Subsea UK to provide offshore survey services for a new field development offshore Israel.
DOF has been chosen to provide hydrographic, geophysical surveying and geotechnical investigation work for Noble for the Tamar and Dalit developments and will use its Geosund vessel for the work, and its own autonomous underwater vehicle and an independent geotechnical survey spread.
Project work is due to commence in the fourth quarter this year lasting for about 60 days and the total value of the deal is put at US $5.5m.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 29.09.09 TGS Acquisition on the Freedom Wide Azimuth Project Completed.
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) announces that the Freedom Wide Azimuth (WAZ) 3D seismic project in the Gulf of Mexico now has been fully acquired in cooperation with WesternGeco.
The Freedom project was first announced in December of 2007 with the formation of the cooperation agreement between TGS and WesternGeco. Acquisition of the survey began in January of 2008 and was completed on September 19, 2009. Fast track data products are being delivered to customers who have licensed the data. Additional imaging work will continue on the Freedom WAZ project throughout 2010.
Through customer interest and funding, the Freedom WAZ project grew from the original outline of 15,000 square kilometers to the final project outline which totals over 16,600 square kilometers in the Mississippi Canyon and Atwater Valley areas of the deepwater central Gulf of Mexico.
The WesternGeco WAZ crew is now acquiring the TGS Liberty WAZ project under an extension of the Cooperation Agreement between TGS and WesternGeco. Liberty is a sister project to Freedom WAZ and extends the contiguous Wide Azimuth data coverage by an additional 3,000 square kilometers on the southwest side of Freedom.
••• 29.09.09 Seismic explorer Polarcus IPO takes off.
Polarcus Limited has announced on the Oslo Stock Exchange that it successfully completed its Initial Public Offering and that its board on Sunday resolved to issue 161,388,889 new shares at a price of NOK 4.50.
In addition 24,208,111 shares were allotted under the over-allotment facility granted by the company to brokers ABG Sundal Collier Norge ASA and SEB Enskilda AS.
Polarcus is a pure play marine geophysical company, specialising in high-end towed streamer data acquisition.
Polarcus is launching an ultra-modern fleet of initially 4 advanced seismic vessels designed by Norway's Ulstein Design AS incorporating the innovative ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull, with the first vessels becoming operational in 2009.
The company announced that its IPO was "significantly oversubscribed" and gross proceeds from the offering totalled NOK 726.25m ($124m). Chairman of the Board, Peter Rigg, commented: "we are delighted to have completed such a successful offering," adding that the IPO had taken off despite choppy financial markets.
"Financial market conditions have been difficult for many months, however our offering of a fleet of modern vessels with unique environmental credentials operated by a proven management team has clearly proved attractive to investors," he said.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 28.09.09 3D Seismic Acquisition Commences Offshore Guyane.
Northern announces that seismic operations have commenced on the Guyane Maritime licence in which Northpet Investments Limited has a 2.5% interest (subject to Government of France approval). The Guyane Maritime licence is operated by Tullow Oil. Northern holds 50% of the equity in Northpet.
The Guyane Maritime licence covers some 35,200 square kilometres of the prospective area offshore French Guyane in water depths ranging from 200m to 3000m. Interpretation of existing seismic and well data indicates the presence of several large structural and stratigraphic prospects with potential to contain significant hydrocarbon volumes. To date, the exploration effort has focussed on structural prospects located on the Guyane continental shelf. However, the results of more recent geological work have identified the presence of stratigraphic prospects developed along the shelf edge and slope. These features are similar in age and form to the oil discoveries such as the Jubilee Field made by Tullow on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, offshore Ghana.
The 2009 3D seismic programme will acquire data across an area covering approximately 2500 square kilometres. The seismic acquisition should be complete before year end 2009. Thereafter this data will be processed and interpreted with the intent of high grading the prospect inventory and completing the work programme on the block within the current licence period.
Commenting on the development, Derek Musgrove, Managing Director of Northern Petroleum Plc said "Investment in French Guyane is consistent with Northern’s strategy to focus its resources in countries with low geopolitical risk. Through its holding in Northpet, Northern has a modest financial exposure to an exploration play that offers significant exploration potential analogous to the recent discoveries made by Tullow offshore Ghana. Tullow’s recent success and experience in these plays will make a significant contribution to mitigate the exploration risks. Northern looks forward to working with Tullow on the next stage in this exciting project."
Source: Northern Petroleum Plc
••• 25.09.09 Naming ceremony held for Normand Subsea.
Solstad and Subsea 7 have held the official naming ceremony for Normand Subsea, a newbuild ROV support vessel, one of the largest and most sophisticated of its kind.
Owned and built by Solstad and chartered by Subsea 7, the vessel was officially named at Stavanger Harbour in Norway on 17 September.
Normand Subsea, which will be delivered to Subsea 7 later this year, is a state-of-the-art dynamically positioned life of field vessel, specifically designed for inspection, repair and maintenance work.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 24.09.09 The Canadian government has taken delivery of two remote-controlled submarines that will be used to document its territorial claims in the Arctic.
"Canada is the first country in the world to use this type of technology" to map the Arctic, John Weston, a member of parliament, said at a ceremony in Vancouver Tuesday marking the delivery.
The unmanned submersibles built by Submarine Engineering of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, will operate under the Arctic ice to gather data on the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf.
Delineating the continental shelf in the Arctic is important because it would help Canada establish its rights under international law to natural resources in the Arctic ocean beyond the 200 nautical mile limit.
Ottawa has until 2013 to present its case under the U.N. convention on the law of the sea.
The Arctic is an immense, potentially energy-rich region that could become more accessible in an age of global warming. That has made it the object of rivalry between the five states that border it - the U.S., Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark.
Source: Dow Jones Newswires
••• 24.09.09 Bristow Group Purchases 3 New Helicopters.
Bristow Group has purchased three new AW139 medium twin engine helicopters and options for additional AW139 purchases from AgustaWestland. These purchases will be funded from currently available capital.
The AW139, which will be an additional model type for the Bristow fleet, is a new generation medium twin-engine helicopter and meets FAA and JAA FAR/JAR Part 29 requirements.
William E. Chiles, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are adding the AW139 to our fleet as a result of discussions with a number of customers who will require this aircraft model in several of our global markets over the next few years. Taking delivery late in 2009 and in early 2010 gives us sufficient time to have this new model type in our fleet to meet the demand for future requirements."
Source: Bristow Group Inc.
••• 23.09.09 Fugro Agrees to Acquire Submec Business.
Fugro has entered into an agreement to buy the business and assets of Submec Pty Ltd, a privately owned business engaged in subsea engineering and ROV tooling services, subject to completion of due diligence and contract.
Submec is a leading provider of subsea engineering and remote intervention tooling services to the offshore oil and gas industry throughout Australasia and has worked closely with Fugro on a number of projects.
Submec employees 10 people and is based in Perth, Australia. All management and staff will remain with the Company as Fugro plans to expand and integrate Submec services with its other subsea business line activities in the region.
Fugro expects the transaction to be completed around end September.
••• 21.09.09 Russia will look to Norway’s experience in attracting foreign investment in offshore exploration, says Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev.
Russia will discuss relaxing laws regulating foreign participation in offshore energy projects to attract investment from abroad, Trutnev told Reuters on Saturday. - We will look into this issue first of all in relation to offshore exploration. We believe that state regulation creates many obstacles for exploration.
Trutnev said Russia will look at Norway's experience in attracting foreign investment in offshore exploration, saying the government and not state-controlled firms should have a say in who gets access to Russia's resources. As in Norway, the state will maintain overall control of the industry but it is interested in foreign firms as co-investors which could bring new technology to Russia.
Russia should use offshore projects to develop other industries, the minister said: - We can use this God's gift to develop machine building, pipe production and other industries, producing everything that we are importing today.
The government could help to create consortiums with foreign participation, he noted. Russia would offer more attractive energy fields at upcoming auctions and seek to group licenses into larger blocks to create better conditions for building infrastructure, he added.
••• 21.09.09 World's largest wind farm in Denmark.
On September 17th, DONG Energy opened the world's largest offshore wind farm, Horns Rev 2.
When Horns Rev 2 was inaugurated today, it is now officially the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The wind farm is located in the North Sea 30km off the coast of western Jutland.
The 91 turbines, which have a total production capacity of 209 megawatt, will be able to supply power equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 200,000 households.
This is the end of 18 months of construction work at Horns Rev. All people involved in the project and invited guests can follow the ceremony on a big screen in Musikhuset (concert hall) in Esbjerg.
Horns Rev 2 is a grand construction masterpiece where many sub-elements have to form a synthesis. Horns Rev 2 is somewhat of a challenge because this wind farm is built furthest offshore compared to any other wind farm in the world, and on top of that it is located in the North Sea – waters which earlier in the Danish history have been known to swallow up many good men. That is why safety is such an important part of the project. The construction period goes from May 2008 to November 2009.
More than 600 people are involved in the project in Esbjerg, and more than 25 different vessels have been hired for the construction period. DONG Energy is the owner and coordinates the complete construction process with seven different sub-suppliers.
The water depth is 9-17 metres and the average wind speed is just below 10 m/s. The average wave height is 1.5 metres – ie 3 metres from bottom to top.
Source: Maritime & Energy
••• 18.09.09 GC Rieber Shipping has entered into an agreement with Sea4 to acquire Sea4's subsidiaries Sea4 I Shipping Ltd. and Sea 4 II Shipping Ltd.
The acquisition implies a total investment of approximately NOK 800 million.
Sven Rong, CEO in GC Rieber Shipping, comments: "This acquisition gives us ownership of two advanced and modern Inspection, Maintenance and Repair (IMR) vessels currently under construction. The acquisition also constitutes a part of our fleet renewal process - and the price level shall give us a competitive edge."
Sea4 I Shipping Ltd. and Sea 4 II Shipping Ltd have contracted two IMR subsea vessels of Skipsteknisk ST-254L CD design. The vessels are currently being built at Freire Shipyard (Spain) and expected delivery dates for the vessels are in the second half 2010 and in the first half 2011 respectively.
Both vessels have a length of 110.6m and beam of 20m. Each vessel is fitted with a 150t offshore AHC crane, 120 persons accommodation and 1000m2 deck space. Environmental topics have been emphasized in the design, through class notation "Clean Design", and will be built to IMO SPS 2008 rules.
GC Rieber Shipping has a communicated strategy of expanding in the value chain within the oil service market and has already established a strong position in the subsea market through its subsidiary Technocean. While the new vessels are multifunctional vessels, one option is to utilize the vessels to add high quality capacity to Technocean.
GC Rieber Shipping has a strong financial capacity with solid liquidity, low gearing and long contract coverage on several of the group's vessels. The acquisition of the Sea4 vessels will be funded through a combination of equity and debt financing.
Source: GC Rieber Shipping
••• 18.09.09 Schlumberger will open a international research center in Brazil.
Schlumberger signing a joint cooperation agreement with the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) to build a key international research center on the university’s campus. The agreement marks the first research and geosciences center to be located at UFRJ Technology Park.
The Schlumberger Brazil Research and Geosciences Center (BRGC) will focus on research and development activities in the deep-water pre-salt environment, with emphasis on the development of geosciences software for the exploration and production sector; new technologies to meet reservoir challenges in pre-salt environments; and the creation of a geophysical processing and interpretation Center of Excellence covering time-lapse seismic and combined electromagnetic and seismic measurements.
"Schlumberger has a history of fostering long-standing relationships with universities in Brazil in order to hire and train professionals in the local industry," said Ana Zambelli, Schlumberger Brazil operations general manager. "This contract not only marks a milestone for our history in the country, but also our commitment to continue contributing to the development of the local oil and gas industry and its future." Antoine Track, manager of the new center, commented, "Building the center on the university campus is critical for fostering a collaborative environment for knowledge sharing and for the development of technological solutions for local industry challenges."
Brazil was selected as the site for the center due to the availability of highly skilled professionals from many recognized universities, the broad availability of high-tech suppliers and the challenging technological needs of pre-salt reservoirs. Cesar Jaime, president of Schlumberger Latin America explained that, "while we are hiring locally to meet the immediate staffing needs of the center, a proportion of the new hires will be sent to other Schlumberger research centers worldwide to gain valuable experience in similar environments. They will later be brought back to the country to strengthen our local scientific workforce."
••• 17.09.09 Russia Seeks Foreign Energy Partners for Arctic Projects.
Russia wants foreign companies to help develop vast offshore hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic and is preparing economic incentives to stimulate exploration in the region, the country's deputy resources minister, Sergey Donskoi, said Wednesday.
"To work under difficult conditions in the Arctic sea, there is a need for modern technology and financial resources from private companies, including foreign ones," Donskoi said on the ministry's Web site. Control of projects should stay with Russian companies, he said.
Work in the Arctic is so far limited to Russia's two state-controlled energy firms OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft.
The ministry has put forward a number of proposals to stimulate work exploration in the region, including lower credit rates from domestic lenders. Gazprom, the world's biggest producer of natural gas, is working with France's Total S.A. and Norway's StatoilHydro ASA to develop the massive offshore Shtokman gas condensate field in the Barents Sea.
••• 17.09.09 APA 2009: Continued strong interest for mature areas on the Norwegian shelf.
At the expiry of the deadline for the awards in predefined areas (APA) 2009 on the Norwegian continental shelf, the Norwegian Petroleum and Energy has received applications from 44 companies. The Ministry aims to award new production licenses in APA 2009 during the beginning of the year 2009/2010.
There has been considerable interest in the APA system in recent years, which has resulted in many new licenses. Much of the APA site is for the time allocated. In spite of this, it has also in the APA 2009 has attracted great interest from companies on the Norwegian continental shelf.
This shows that the mature areas on the Norwegian shelf is still interesting. Through the APA scheme has many new companies have been given the chance to look at areas that have been available for exploration for several years.
"It is positive that companies are looking with new eyes in the mature areas on the Norwegian continental shelf, which can be attributed to the great diversity on the shelf", - Oil and Energy Minister Terje Riis-Johansen.
The purpose of the APA system is to encourage exploration activity in mature areas where in most cases expects to make smaller discoveries that can not justify an independent development. It is therefore good resource to discover and exploit these resources before existing infrastructure in relation to other fields shut down.
••• 17.09.09 TGS Executes Agreement for Deepwater Liberia Shoot.
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) announced that it has signed an agreement with the National Oil Company of Liberia to acquire 15,000 kilometers of long-offset regional 2D seismic, gravity, and magnetic data over the ultra-deep waters located offshore Liberia. This new multi-client survey is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2009, given sufficient industry interest. Offshore Liberia has attracted significant industry attention due to recently announced discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea.
"TGS has been acquiring data along this margin since 2000 and is pleased to expand our data coverage in Liberia. It has been extremely rewarding to see the value being generated from our activities for both the local region and the oil and gas industry in general over this extended period," said David Hicks, VP of Africa, Middle East and Far East for TGS.
The Liberia Ultra-Deep Program will extend existing TGS multi-client data out to 4000 meters of water. NOCAL is expected to announce a licensing round following the acquisition and processing of the data.
••• 16.09.09 Norway election paves way for Lofoten exploration.
The Norwegian Oil Industry Association - umbrella body for the oil and gas supply companies - has greeted the re-election of the Norwegian Labour-led government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as being a crucial step closer to the opening up of the protected offshore Lofoten and Vesteralen regions to oil and gas exploration.
"The election is a clear message that the Socialist Left Party and the Liberals have not been joined by the voters on a 'No' to the petroleum activity off Lofoten and Vesteralen," said Per Terje Vold, director of the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF).
The oil industry has long been licking its chops at getting access to the visually wonderous and pristine region off the Lofoten islands - and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has been helping to build the intellectual case for tapping a region believed to contain 2 billion barrels of oil with a succession of seismic surveys and studies of what evironmental impact oil production might have.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 15.09.09 StatoilHydro's head in Russia has indicated that his company is looking for new investment opportunities there beyond the Shtokman gas and condensate development.
Speaking to a investment conference in Moscow, Bengt Lie Hansen told reporters: "Regarding new business opportunities in Russia, we are primarily focusing on the offshore Arctic areas," the StatoilHydro was quoted as saying at the Reuters-organised energy event.
That aim included the Yamal Peninsula region, Lie Hansen indicated, and he underlined the suitability of the investment climate in Russia, saying conditions there were "acceptable."
And he also reiterated the aim of finalising the investment decision on the Shtokman development in the first quarter next year.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 14.09.09 Spectrum inks DGH reprocessing deal for Andaman Islands.
Spectrum has signed an agreement with India's Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) to reprocess up to 10,100 line km 2D of their seismic data offshore the Andaman Islands frontier on the East Coast of India, and to license the results to third parties.
The new agreement follows the Indian government's launch of the NELP VIII Licensing Round that comprises 8 blocks offshore Andaman Islands. Many of the lines proposed by Spectrum for reprocessing cross this frontier area.
Announcement follows the completion of Spectrum's highly successful reprocessing of 12,000kms seismic data offshore West Coast of India in 2007.
David Rowlands, CEO of Spectrum commented: "Our previous West Coast reprocessing project demonstrated that our combination of bespoke software and proprietary seismic reprocessing techniques can offer dramatic improvements in data quality, particularly in sub basalt imaging."
David continued, "With this second project in India in conjunction with the DGH, Spectrum is continuing its commitment to the promotion of exploration in the Indian sub continent."
NELP-VIII was announced on April 9th and bids will close on October 12th 2009.
••• 11.09.09 Norwegian oil production continues to fall.
Norway's oil output dropped to a preliminary 1.91 million barrels a day in the month of August on average, down from a total production level of 2.07 million in July, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said in a statement on Friday.
Output of natural gas liquids (NGL) and condensate moved up higher to 350,000 barrels a day compared with 283,000 the previous month, the NPD announcement said.
The NPD numbers painted a gloomier picture for Norway as western Europe's largest gas producer.
Latest statistics showed that August gas production fall to 7.4 billion standard cubic metres - down from 8.1 billion the previous month.
The latest numbers come against a backdrop of sagging production on the Norwegian continental shelf, as majors strive to replenish with new finds the mature fields.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 11.09.09 Petrobras reports new accumulation in the Pre-salt proves high productivity.
Petrobras says that the formation test at well 1-SPS-55 (1-BRSA-594), in block BM-S-9, in deep Santos Basin waters, informally known as Guara, has been completed and has proved the very high productivity of the oil-bearing reservoirs in the pre-salt layer in this area.
Based on the data obtained thus far, it is possible to estimate in Guara a recoverable volume of oil in the range of 1,1 to 2 billion barrels of light oil and natural gas.
Flows in the order of 7,000 barrels per day were observed during the test, limited to testing device capacity. This well’s initial production is expected to be some 50,000 barrels of oil per day.
With the result of this formation test, the Guara area will be prioritized to receive the production system which is currently up for bid for the Santos Basin pre-salt.
The tested well, 1-SPS-55 (1-BRSA-594), informally known as Guara, is located in an assessment area in block BM-S-9, at a depth of 2141 meters from the waterline, some 310 km off the coast of the State of Sao Paulo and 55 km southeast of well 1-RJS- 628A (1-BRSA-369A), known as Tupi.
The Consortium, formed by Petrobras (45% - Operator), BG Group (30%), and Repsol (25%), will give continuity to the activities and investments that are required to assess the fields discovered in this area pursuant to the Assessment Plan approved by the NPA. A new well is foreseen to start being drilled in this Assessment Area late this year.
••• 10.09.09 OYO Geospace bags new seismic contracts.
OYO Geospace has recently received several orders totaling more than $18 million. The company expects these product deliveries to occur throughout the remaining months of calendar year 2009.
"We have been very busy the last few weeks responding to numerous customer inquiries and closing deals which have been in the works for several months. These new orders span a variety of seismic products, including geophone and hydrophone sensors, cables, GSR units, and borehole products," said Gary D. Owens, OYO Geospace's Chairman, President and CEO.
"We are particularly pleased about two new orders for the GSR system, our new wireless data acquisition system. One of the orders is from a new customer, and the other order is to an existing oil company customer, doubling their GSR channel count.
"Separately, we recently announced the receipt of an order for a 3,000 channel GSR system. We have now delivered that system and the customer expects to begin deployment of these GSR channels in the coming weeks. In addition, we were recently requested by two potentially new customers to demonstrate our highly-efficient GSR system, and we expect to provide these demonstrations in the next 60 days. Customer interest in the GSR system has been outstanding.
"As a result of these new product orders, our backlog has increased substantially in recent weeks. However, we expect that a majority of these orders will be delivered to customers during the fourth quarter of calendar year 2009 (the first quarter of our fiscal year 2010). In this regard, we continue to believe that our near term operating results will be challenged. Nevertheless, we are pleased with this flurry of activity."
••• 10.09.09 GC Reiber unit cancels newbuild.
Suil Na Mara Offshore Review reports that Polar Marine I Pte Ltd, a JV company controlled by GC Rieber (51 per cent) and Otto Marine (49 per cent) has cancelled yard number 7037 at PT Batamec Shipyard.
The unit was a multi-purpose MT6009 and was part of a four vessel order the JV placed at the yard in May 2008.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 09.09.09 Bergen Oilfield Services (BOS) begins new Adriatic 3D Survey.
BOS Angler recently commenced acquisition of frontier 3D Survey in Adriatic for Cairn Energy.
The survey is approximately 400 km2 of high density 3D seismic over Cairn's Joni-5 permit in Southern Albania and the permit encompasses 2,512 km2. Water depths range from the coastline up to 1,000 meters.
BOS Angler is a "Geophysical Toolbox vessel" and for this survey is configured for high density 3D acquisition with 6 streamers. Additionally much attention has been given to environmental controls to complement the Angler's solid streamer advantage maintaining the strong BOS commitment to QHSE.
••• 09.09.09 CGGVeritas pockets $464m gig from Pemex.
CGGVeritas has won a $464m contract from Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex to look for crude in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Pemex said in a statement.
Pemex, which is pushing to stop falling output as well as reducing reserves, announced that the geophysical survey company would provide more than 46,000 square miles (75,000 square km) of 3D images over five years.
"This work will improve the precision in finding oil wealth in the deep Gulf of Mexico," Pemex said in a press release.
Oil production in Mexico has declined by almost 25% since 2004, in the wake of production from the mature Cantarell field having plunged.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 09.09.09 Marlink connects Polarcus vessels.
Global satellite communications provider Marlink has recently signed a three year contract with Dubai-based marine geophysical company Polarcus.
The new agreement is for the provision of Marlink's Sealink C-band VSAT services onboard four innovative 3D seismic vessels which are currently being built at Dubai Drydocks World in the United Arab Emirates.
Customized to meet specific requirements of the new Polarcus vessels, the Sealink VSAT system includes dual C-band antennas with automatic switchover and dedicated duplex bandwidth through a single channel per carrier satellite link.
The bandwidth is 256 kbps, burstable up to 2 MB. The system also includes several LAN Networks onboard, 8 simultaneous voice lines and access to a highly advanced prepaid platform to provide crew with low cost voice calls.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 08.09.09 New Fugro survey vessel starts operations in South East Asia.
Fugro Survey has launched its multirole survey vessel, MV Fugro Gemini for a wide range of surveys like shallow and deepwater geophysical analogue and multi-channel seismic site survey, pipeline and cable route survey, swathe bathymetry survey and AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) survey, serving the oil and gas industry, the cable sector and government agency clients in South East Asia.
The MV Fugro Gemini, measuring 49.3m length overall and 18.2m width, has been fitted with state-of-the-art Fugro Starfix navigation and positioning equipment, and high frequency digital seismic acquisition and processing equipment. Furthermore it contains sub-bottom profilers, an EM300 multi beam and single beam echo sounders, side-scan sonars, HiPAP500, magnetometer, vibro and gravity coring systems and off-line processing stations, enabling the integration of all survey activities from data collection to final onboard reporting.
The MV Fugro Gemini has also been fitted with a Hugin 1000 AUV rated to 3000m operating depth. The launch and recovery container is permanently mobilised on the vessel.
With deployment of the all-round MV Fugro Gemini better operational efficiency can be realised.
••• 08.09.09 StatoilHydro have found oil and gas at their Nona prospect in the Norwegian Sea.
Premilinary results show that the discovery holds between 13 and 31 million barrels of oil and one to two billion Sm3 natural gas.
The Nona discovery further confirms the good results achieved by infrastructure-led exploration on the Halten Bank, says Sivert Jorgenvag, StatoilHydro's head of infrastructure-led exploration on the Halten Bank, in a press release.
He thinks that it will be possible to make other discoveries in the area, too. Well 6407/2-5 S, located ten kilometers southeast of the Asgard field, was drilled to a vertical depth of 3.289 meters below the surface.
Extensive data collection was carried out, and the discovery will now be evaluated for tie in development.
"Ocean Vanguard" drilled the well, and will now head for license 442 in the North Sea to drill another exploration well.
••• 07.09.09 Fugro Discovery upgraded.
As part of Fugro’s ongoing policy to modernise its fleet of seabed survey vessels, the ex-Norwegian coast guard vessel, Tromso, which was acquired early in 2007, has recently been upgraded.
Built in 1997, the vessel was renamed Fugro Discovery and entered commercial service later that year. It rapidly gained a reputation as being a stable survey platform, delivering excellent data with well integrated marine and survey crews ensuring extremely efficient operations.
Immediately after the vessel was acquired it was converted into a geophysical survey vessel.
Already designed to meet high standards of safety and of the environment it was fitted with Fugro’s high precision DGPS satellite positioning systems, Starfix HP and Starfix Spot; HiPAP 500 USBL; EM710 Multibeam Echo Sounder; Edgetech 4200 Side Scan Sonar (3000m tow cable) and hull mounted sub-bottom pinger/profiler. It was also equipped with Fugro’s FOCUS-2 remotely operated towed vehicles and used to carry out external acoustic pipeline inspection surveys in the North Sea.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 07.09.09 PGS reports new level in dispute with Spanish yard.
Petroleum Geo-Services said on Friday that its dispute over its attempt to cancel a newbuild with the shipbuilding yard in Spain has now moved to a higher level.
In a statement on Friday, PGS made reference to earlier announcements regarding the vessels under construction at the Factorias Vulcano shipyard in Spain.
PGS announced on August 25, that its subsidiary Arrow Seismic Invest III Ltd had terminated the shipbuilding contract for New Build number 533. "Arrow has today received a formal notice of "commencement of arbitration" from the yard, disputing Arrow's right to terminate the shipbuilding contract for New Build number 533," PGS said.
PGS said that the shipbuilding contract was governed by Norwegian law.
The parties would, according to the contract, meet for arbitration in Norway.
"Arrow strongly believes that its termination is rightful, and will pursue its claim for refund of the installed amounts," PGS said.
Following the notice of "commencement of arbitration", Arrow could not expect to receive payments under the refund guarantees until the arbitration was resolved, PGS added.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 04.09.09 Fugro Awarded Chevron Indonesia Contract.
PT. Fugro Indonesia (PTFI) has been awarded a contract to supply Site Survey and Positioning Services to Chevron Indonesia in support of its oil and gas exploration and production facilities, offshore East Kalimantan.
The contract starts immediately on a call out basis and will cover Chevron's requirement for accurate offshore positioning of their barges, anchor vessels and drilling rigs. In addition to these services, hydrographic and geophysical surveys will be provided as required prior to drilling or pipe lay operations.
In support of this contract and other regional developments, Fugro has set-up an administration office and technical workshop facility in Balikpapan. This contract presents a significant opportunity to showcase to the major oil and gas players the depth of Fugro's resources and commitment to excellence.
As exploration and field development activity in the region is expected to increase over the next few years, Fugro will be well placed to service the needs of clients requiring high end solutions to the unique and challenging environmental conditions that prevail in the Mahakam Delta area and the deep water Makassar Strait.
••• 03.09.09 The first PX105 PSV under construction in China for Bourbon Offshore Norway, Bourbon Front, was launched 28 August.
"These ships are so efficient that it’s almost impossible to make them any better," claimed Bourbon Offshore Norway newbuilding and project manager Bjorn Bergsnes.
Four vessels are under construction at Zhejiang Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Ningbo, China.
"The ships will be the most advanced supply vessels ever designed and built due to the state-of-the-art cargo solution onboard," claimed Ulstein Design's project manager Inge Sleipnes.
"The ships are designed in compliance with Bourbon Offshore Norway’s demanding specifications. Conventional supply vessels have dedicated tanks, meaning they can hold only a few types of cargo. This requires plenty of space and is an enormous waste of resources. We use MACS tanks, which can hold both dry and liquid bulk. While conventional supply ships typically carry six or seven types of cargo, our ships can carry 21 different products at once. The ships can carry a much wider range of products, which means greater flexibility," said Mr Bergsnes.
"The ships have eight MACS tanks onboard, four of which are low flashpoint tanks – meaning that they can carry flammable goods. The vessels also have 12 conventional tanks. All of the tanks have separate pumps which allow them to be unloaded independently of each other through their respective piping system. This makes unloading safer and more efficient," Mr Bergsnes explained.
"In firefighting, the ships are equipped with FiFi class I, with fire monitors placed rearmost on the stern. With this placement, we improve safety for the ship and crew and provide a better overview for fire-fighting operations," Mr Sleipnes said.
"We should also mention the exhaust system on our ships. We use Mecmar’s wet exhaust system whereby the exhaust is released through the hull sides just above the waterline. This also frees up space in the ship’s accommodations where conventional exhaust pipes would otherwise be fitted. This way the ship runs more quietly and provides a 360-degree view from any point on the bridge. Without exhaust pipes in the accommodation, with super-quiet side thrusters, ULSTEIN X-BOW and carefully planned interiors, these vessels will provide maximal comfort for the crew," said Mr Bergsnes.
"Service and maintenance conditions dockside are also improved because of less noise in the engine room, as the harbour generator is situated in a separate compartment in the engine room," Mr Sleipnes explained.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 03.09.09 BP makes "giant" oil find in U.S. Gulf.
BP has made a giant oil discovery at its Tiber prospect in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.
The well, located in Keathley Canyon Block 102 approximately 250 miles (400 km) southeast of Houston, is in 4,132 feet (1,259 m) of water. The Tiber well was drilled by Transocean semisubmersible Deepwater Horizon to a total depth of approximately 35,055 feet (10,685 m), making it one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry, BP said.
The well found oil in multiple Lower Tertiary reservoirs. Appraisal will be required to determine the size and commerciality of the discovery.
"Tiber represents BP's second material discovery in the emerging Lower Tertiary play in the Gulf of Mexico, following our earlier Kaskida discovery," said Andy Inglis, chief executive, exploration and production. "These material discoveries together with our industry leading acreage position support the continuing growth of our deepwater Gulf of Mexico business into the second half of the next decade."
Tiber is operated by BP, with a 62 per cent working interest with co-owners Petrobras and ConocoPhillips.
••• 02.09.09 TGS Signs Letter of Intent for 3D Vessel.
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA announced that it has signed a conditional Letter of Intent with Polarcus Limited to utilize their first released vessel, the 12 streamer Polarcus Nadia. The charter will begin in December, 2009 and last for approximately 3 months with options for TGS to extend the charter in two 6 month increments under fixed commercial terms.
The vessel design incorporates many new and innovative features ranging from the distinctive ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull to the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, designed to maximize operational performance and minimize emissions. The sophisticated double hull design also incorporates a range of advanced safety features including a DP 2 dynamic positioning system.
"We are excited, looking forward to work with this new, promising vessel provider when expanding our Multi-Client data library further" Robert Hobbs, TGS Chief Executive Officer, commented.
••• 02.09.09 Norway cuts arctic barrel count.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has cut by 20 percent its best estimate of how much oil and gas lies in the budding near-arctic oil province of the southern Barents Sea, it was revealed Tuesday.
In its Resource Report 2009, the NPD also trimmed by 12 percent the reserves it expects oil companies to find in future, admitting in its Barents-focused reporting that the numbers could yet vary wildly.
"Unfortunately, many of the new finds (in the Western Barents) are small and signficantly less than that which was assumed before drilling started," the report’s authors wrote.
They said the NPD had "reduced expecations of large, future finds" in the southern part of the Eastern Barents.
The good news was that more prospects than expected have been uncovered by state-sponsored surveys and increased oil-company exploration since 2006.
But uncertainty reined for the Barents, once-touted as a major oil province in waiting, a conviction given strength by the latest U.S. Geological Survey appraisals of the Arctic that had lifted the reserve count by nearly 10 percent in recent years.
"After 43 years of exploration and 40 years with production, how much of the proven reserves can be produced profitably and how large the undiscovered resources are is still uncertain," the NPD report said.
Producible reserves offshore Norway, including in the Norwegian Sea and North Sea are said to be between 10 billion cubic metres and 17 Bcm of oil equivalents.
The lower Barents reserve count comes despite the confirmation of new exploration models by discoveries among the 18 wildcat wells drilled.
The news will come as a blow to an oil industry keen to grow large developments such as Snohvit and Goliat. Both StatoilHydro at the former and Eni at the latter have expressed hopes that satellite discoveries would further bolster their developments in remote, sparsely populated northern Norway.
••• 02.09.09 CGGVeritas has expanded its open processing & imaging center in Aberdeen, UK. The center has been comprehensively upgraded to facilitate and support the significant advances in the seismic imaging technology and services it provides. This commitment is a direct response to the increasing complexity of the technical challenges faced by the region’s explorers and producers.
Technology expansions within the center include a significant investment in enhanced compute power and data throughput resources. The center also has a new purpose-built client data room, complete with an industry-leading graphics computation center that provides advanced viewing of large 3D seismic volumes.
To complement the processing & imaging capabilities, the center upgrade also strengthens Hampson-Russell, our reservoir services department, with enhanced resources to best address the seismic industry's growing challenges and demands.
The CGGVeritas Aberdeen center offers the full range of processing services, including 3D and 4D processing of both towed streamer and OBC datasets. Onsite depth imaging experts draw on a wide variety of techniques, including Controlled Beam Migration and Reverse Time Migration using TTI models, to solve even the most complex challenges. The center's location encourages close technical partnerships with clients and allows interpreter input at regular intervals throughout the seismic processing process.
Part of CGGVeritas worldwide network of imaging centers, the Aberdeen location receives seamless technical and resource support, when required, from Europe's largest processing & imaging center the CGGVeritas center in Crawley, UK.
••• 01.09.09 Total to invest NOK 8 bn in Norway.
Total plans to invest NOK 8 billion next year to keep their position as a big company on the Norwegian shelf.
Martin Tiffen, managing director for Total in Norway, tells Bloomberg that a significant share of these investments will be made at Ekofisk. - We have a big, big position in Norway that will remain a big, big position, says Tiffen.
Total olds stakes in 35 producing fields in Norway, and therefore reckons that the company's production evolution will be pretty much parallel to the general evolution of the Norwegian shelf.
- Because we're in most of the producing fields in Norway, our production evolution will be very similar to that of the country, says Tiffen - We'll probably hold at current levels a while longer, Tiffen adds.
••• 01.09.09 Petroleum base on Barents Sea coast.
Norwegian engineering major Aker Solutions considers the establishment of a base in northern Norway, which is to help the company get deals in Russia and the Barents Sea.
-We have to get established in northern Norway to serve the customers in the north, company CEO Simen Lieungh told.
That new base will see the light if Aker Solutions wins a major contract in the Goliat oil field project in the Barents Sea, a project now under preparations by operator ENI, the company leader added.
However, the engineering company has Arctic plans far beyond the Goliat project. Company representatives have shown major interest in the whole region, and have organized several meetings with regional leaders, companies and expertise.
The Russian Shtokman field is likely to be the project currently of biggest interest to Aker Solutions. The Shtokman Development AG has recently announced a number of key tenders to the project, one of the biggest offshore gas fields in the world.
Kirkenes, the Norwegian town near the border to Russia, could be a possible site for a new Arctic supply base. In a meeting with local companies in Kirkenes, Aker Solutions’ sub-sea team is reported to have positively assessed conditions and facilities in the area.
As BarentsObserver has reported, Shtokman Development AG is in the process of selecting locations and contractors for the Shtokman supply base. Sites on the Norwegian side of the border could possibly meet requirements and provide parts of the supply functions.
••• 01.09.09 Russian Oil Group to Expand Cooperation with Vietnam.
Russian oil and gas group Zarubezhneft will expand cooperation with the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (Petrovietnam) and other Vietnamese partners, a Zarubezhneft executive has said.
Zarubezhneft general director Nikolai Brunich made the statement at a meeting with Vietnamese Party politburo member Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi on August 29 during his current working visit to Vietnam.
Brunich said that Zarubezhneft always attached importance to cooperation with Vietnamese partners, committing to effectively implementing projects on oil and gas exploration and production in cooperation with PetroVietnam.
In order to prepare human resources to expand cooperative projects with PetroVietnam, Zarubezhneft will grant scholarships to Vietnamese students to study in Russia, the group leader said.
Truong Tan Sang, standing member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, spoke highly of cooperation and new agreements between the two oil and gas groups in Vietnam, Russia and the third countries.
The Vietnamese Party official said the Vietnamese Party and State had supported and created the most favourable conditions for businesses from the two countries, particularly PetroVietnam and Zarubezhneft, to boost cooperation and develop their respective potential for long-term benefits of the two peoples.
••• 28.08.09 Electromagnetic Geoservices has been awarded a contract from Total to provide 3D EM data acquisition and processing services in relation to the Frigg field in the North Sea.
The survey will be conducted in September using the purpose-built 3D EM vessel BOA Thalassa.
Frigg was the world's largest and deepest offshore gas field when it was discovered in 1971. Field production ended in October 2004, and the decommissioning activity is expected to be finalised soon.
The license is operated by Total.
"The objective of the EM work programme is to develop a better understanding of the reservoir as of today," EMGS said.
The Clearplay Evaluate 3D EM data will be acquired in an area of 100 km2 and in water depths of approximately 100 meters using densely sampled, wide-azimuth 3D EM grids.
••• 26.08.09 PGS to complete Honduras seismic work by year-end.
Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) is due to complete hydrocarbons seismic studies in the Caribbean offshore Honduras by year-end, the Honduran Natural Resources and Environment Minister Valerio Gutierrez told BNamericas.
The work aims to help determine the quantity and quality of the country's oil and gas reserves. The program covers 3,500 square kilometers (1,351 sq miles) and entails collecting 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) of new seismic data and reprocessing 5,000 kilometers (3,106 miles) of existing information.
Gutierrez also announced that a review of consultancy work on new hydrocarbons legislation has been completed, and that the "socialization" process has begun.
The initiative covers block areas, contract terms, canons and company and government shares. The seismic and legislative work is being carried out in the lead up to a possible hydrocarbons E&P round.
Companies that participated at an event earlier this year in Houston to showcase Honduras' Tela offshore basin included ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, Repsol YPF, BP, Teikoku Oil and Japex.
••• 26.08.09 TGS Announces a New 3D Multi-Client Survey in the North Viking Graben.
TGS announces the third 3D Multi-Client survey acquired and marketed in partnership with PGS in 2009, called the NVG09 3D survey.
This new project covers a 640 square kilometer area in the North Viking Graben area and the majority of the survey lies in Norwegian waters. The dataset is acquired by the PGS Atlantic Explorer and utilizes the PGS Geostreamer Technology.
The NVG09 3D survey is supported by client funding and the processed data will be completed and delivered in mid February 2010.
••• 25.08.09 PGS terminates another Spanish vessel contract.
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA today informed Factorias Vulcano that its subsidiary Arrow Seismic Invest III Ltd. has exercised its right to terminate the shipbuilding contract for New Build No. 533.
PGS has called for the refund of EUR39 million (US$55.6 million) with the addition of interest, as specified in the shipbuilding contract. Most of the requested funds are covered by bank guarantees. GS will be exposed to an impairment charge relating to this vessel of approximately US$50 to US$60 million.
Arrow Seismic Invest II Ltd. had previously terminated the shipbuilding contract for New Build No. 532 and that the shipyard has disputed the termination. Arrow Seismic Invest II Ltd has received a formal writ of summons from the yard, disputing Arrow's right to terminate the contract and claiming damages for incorrect termination.
PGS said in a statement that the company strongly believes that the terminations are rightful, and will pursue its claims for refund of the installed amounts.
••• 21.08.09 Polarcus increases its financial flexibility.
Polarcus Limited has announced today that it has entered into a transaction that will reduce the overall capital needs and consequently increase the Group's financial flexibility. Polarcus will sell two of the Group's six vessel owning companies and receive an option to repurchase them for a price equal to the cost incurred of completing each vessel. Polarcus will therefore maintain the ambition of being a 6 vessel company, but reduce its short term capital requirements.
The two vessel owning companies involved in the transaction are Polarcus 4, owning the rights to Polarcus Selma, and Polarcus 6, owning the rights to Polarcus Alima.
The transaction will significantly reduce the capital needs of the Polarcus Group going forward. The board of directors and the management of Polarcus are confident that by this action the Group will be able to raise the remaining equity and debt capital required, estimated at US$170 million, to complete the four remaining vessels and meet working capital needs.
Polarcus is actively pursuing a number of alternatives in respect of the remaining financing requirements.
Rolf Ronningen, CEO of Polarcus, commenting on the transaction said: "We are very pleased with the transaction and the contribution made by our founding shareholders as it will significantly reduce the financing risk of Polarcus. The fact that Polarcus gets an option to repurchase the vessels at cost means Polarcus will have an alternative to get a 6 vessel fleet without the short term capital requirements for the two vessels involved.
Additionally, the transaction will have limited impact on the total cost of these vessels for Polarcus if we choose to exercise the option".
Polarcus 4 and Polarcus 6 will be sold to Zickerman Holding Limited and Zickerman Group Limited (together ZL), the founders of Polarcus Limited, for the sum of US$1 each. ZL will complete the maritime work on Polarcus Selma and Polarcus Alima and include all fixed equipment that is required in order to qualify each vessel as a fully prepared seismic vessel.
Polarcus Limited will receive an option from ZL to repurchase each of Polarcus Selma and Polarcus Alima at a price equal to the total cost of completing each vessel for ZL. The options will be valid until delivery of each vessel and subsequently will be replaced with a right of first refusal to purchase each of the vessels.
Polarcus has already invested US$46 million in the two vessels which would be considered sunk costs if Polarcus does not exercise the options.
Polarcus Limited will continue to supervise the ongoing construction of the vessels and liaise with the suppliers of equipment related to the vessels. Polarcus has received pre-approval for the sale of Polarcus 4 and Polarcus 6 from lead suppliers and the vessel constructor. Both sales are made on an arm's length basis at terms which the Board believes reflect current market conditions.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 20.08.09 SeaSCAN acquires shallow draft seismic source vessel.
Shallow water seismic source provider SeaSCAN has completed the purchase of M/V SeaSCAN Speculator, a purpose-built vessel designed to operate marine seismic source air gun arrays in water depth as shallow as 1.5 meters (4.9 ft).
The vessel is constructed of aluminum, with dual jet propulsion, including two integrated Price A300 air compressors. Using a custom launch and recovery A-frame capable of lifting 7,000 pounds, the vessel can support a variety of SeaSCAN source arrays and specially designed ultra-shallow water seismic source arrays.
"We are responding to the requests we have had from our customers to provide a turnkey, all inclusive shooting package to acquire seismic data in ultra-shallow water," stated Harold Barber, president and founder of SeaSCAN.
After modifying SeaSCAN Speculator to better accommodate the company's arrays, the vessel was mobilized for its first contract. It will be shooting offshore Trinidad in less than two meters (6.5 feet) of water.
••• 19.08.09 CGGVeritas signs Western Australia R&D agreement.
CGGVeritas has signed a research and development agreement with the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance, a prominent oil and gas research alliance within the Asia-Pacific region.
CGGVeritas signed the agreement with the three partners that form the Alliance: the University of Western Australia, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), and Curtin University of Technology, on 6 August in Perth, Australia.
The agreement defines a framework to support the rapid identification of opportunities for research, development, consultancy, education and commercial application of advanced geophysical technologies in the search for, and optimum exploitation of, energy resources. The framework provides formal guidelines for planning, agreeing and executing individual R&D projects once they have been identified.
As the first geophysical company to sign this kind of partnership with the WA:ERA, CGGVeritas will act as a focal point for exploring new topics for collaborative geophysical R&D projects.
The agreement will be of mutual benefit to all parties by maximizing the success of these projects in addressing regional E&P challenges, extending their scope, and adding value to a wider field of application.
At the signing ceremony, Thierry Le Roux, President & COO of CGGVeritas, said, "We are very pleased to partner with this unique alliance. We have a long operating history here in Western Australia as well as in the wider Asia-Pacific region, and it is one of our strongest growth areas. Our R&D commitment in the region needs to mirror this trend. We believe our investment in this agreement will pay significant dividends by enriching both our global and local research to ensure, along with our alliance partners, that we can best meet the needs of the industry today and well into the future."
••• 19.08.09 EMGS awarded 3D EM survey offshore Greenland.
Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS) has been awarded a contract worth about US$4 million by the Cairn Energy group through its subsidiary Capricorn and its joint venture partner Nunaoil, to perform a 3-D electromagnetic (EM) survey in the Disko West area offshore Greenland.
The survey is due to start around 25 August and will be performed using the newly launched, purpose-built 3-D EM vessel BOA Galatea. The vessel is currently completing a survey worth about US$1 million for a customer in Norway.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 14.08.09 Searcher Seismic, CGGVeritas complete Foxhound survey.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd. and CGGVeritas have completed the Foxhound non-exclusive 3-D seismic survey in the Carnarvon Basin offshore Australia. The Foxhound 3D survey covers six active exploration permits and one area of vacant acreage in the Northern Carnarvon Basin.
The newly commissioned M/V Geowave Voyager completed 3,454 sq km (1,336 sq miles) of acquisition on schedule, utilizing 10 streamers. There were no major health, safety or environmental issues during the acquisition. Foxhound was the vessel's first project.
Operations Manager Alan Hopping commented, "It is a tribute to the quality of the vessel and crew that this survey was completed to the highest safety standards."
Searcher Seismic Director Odd Larsen further added, "The completion of the Foxhound 3-D Survey will provide the industry with an excellent opportunity to further evaluate the under explored potential of the Northern Carnarvon Basin."
Data is now being processed at the CGGVeritas facility in Perth, Western Australia. The first deliverables are expected by the end of August 2009. A fast-track cube is scheduled for delivery in October, with the final processed cube scheduled for completion in February 2010.
••• 14.08.09 Niko Resources plans seismic surveys off Indonesia.
Calgary-based independent Niko Resources has acquired interests in several deepwater blocks offshore Indonesia. The company is now planning seismic surveys for its new acquisitions.
According to Niko, the deepwater areas offshore Indonesia remain essentially unexplored. Each block has sea-bottom oil and gas seeps and large structural features. Several have direct indications of hydrocarbons. There is a single-well commitment for each block, which will follow seismic acquisition and interpretation.
Niko's planned seismic program for each block includes 3,000 km (1,864 miles) of 2-D seismic data for Bone Bay, 1,200 sq km of 3-D seismic data for Cendrawasih, 1,062 km (660 miles) of 2-D and 3,150 sq km (1,216 sq miles) of 3-D for Kofiau, 3,000 km (1,864 miles) of 2-D for Kumawa 3,500 km (2,174 miles) of 2-D for Seram, 4,400 km (2,734 miles) of 2-D for South Matindok, 284 km (177 miles) of 2-D and 2,700 sq km (1,042 sq miles) of 3-D for Southeast Ganal and 371 km (231 miles) of 2-D and 702 sq km (271 sq miles) of 3-D for West Sageri.
The company arranged for a major international seismic contractor to shoot a 3-D spec survey in both the Southeast Ganal and West Sageri blocks. This survey began in July. Additional 2-D seismic surveys will be acquired in these blocks. A contract for these surveys is expected to be signed in September 2009 with acquisition to commence prior to the end of 2009.
The 2-D vessel will also conduct new seismic surveys in the Bone Bay, South Matindok, Kofiau and Seram blocks. In the Kofiau Block, both a 2-D and a 3-D seismic program are planned, with acquisition of the 3-D is expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2009.
••• 12.08.09 CGGVeritas inaugurates Saudi Arabia Technology Center.
CGGVeritas says that ARGAS, one of its joint ventures with TAQA in the Middle East, has opened a Technology Center in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The new facility is an open center designed to serve the oil and gas community in the Kingdom with a suite of state-of-the-art capabilities and resources.
This unique center offers a focal point for both local oil and gas players and researchers from the Earth Sciences Department of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to benefit from: co-operation with R&D experts to address specific geophysical challenges, high-end processing & imaging technologies, including a visualization center, access to world-class training from CGGVeritas University.
Robert Brunck, Chairman and CEO of CGGVeritas, said, "Our investment in this Technology Center is a significant milestone in our long and productive 40-year partnership with TAQA in the Kingdom through our ARGAS joint venture. Our ambition is to locally apply and advance the sophisticated processing algorithms we develop globally in order to unmask the embedded value of the seismic data we have been acquiring here for so many years. CGGVeritas will continue to stand by the side of ARGAS to serve Saudi Aramco and their partners in a continuous drive to improve the understanding of reservoirs in Saudi Arabia."
••• 06.08.09 Fugro Awarded Nautilus Minerals Contract.
Fugro has been awarded a significant contract by Nautilus Minerals Inc. to provide exploration services for Nautilus' 2009 programs in Papua New Guinea (''PNG'') and the Solomon Islands. The DP2 ROV support vessel Fugro Solstice will be used to expand Nautilus' Seafloor Massive Sulphide (''SMS'') prospect inventory within its 100% owned Bismarck, Woodlark and Solomon Islands exploration licenses.
The contract with Fugro is for 124 days of services, mobilising from Singapore on approximately August 10, 2009 with options to extend this initial period by up to 98 days.
••• 05.08.09 Statoil warns it needs more stability for Shtokman.
Norway's StatoilHydro says that it requires more stability in Russia before the company invests in the massive Shtokman gas project in the remote Barents Sea - whose first stage alone will demand investments of $22 bn from Gazprom and partners Total and Statoil.
Statoil's CEO Helge Lund told Norwegian business newspaper DN that problems experienced by other Scandinavian groups investing in Russia, including telecoms group Telenor as well as Sweden's Ikea, had given Statoil pause for thought - as well as the calculation that oil prices would need to be above $70 to make the project profitable.
Only the first stage of Shtokman - which has reserves of around 3.8 trillion cubic metres and is one of the biggest gasfields in the world - will cost Statoil investments of NOK 25 bn ($4.1 bn) in investments, Lund said.
"We work in an long term industry and stable framework conditions are essential when we invest so much capital for so many decades of time," Lund told DN.
"This applies also in Russia. I am not in a position to comment on Telenor case, but the stability of the framework is crucial," Lund added in his comments to the paper.
According to estimates, oil prices need to remain above $ 70 barrel for the Shtokman field to be profitable for StatoilHydro.
Lund said however that he believed the current oil price of around $73 was speculation-based, more driven by expectations of higher growth and greater demand in line with the improvement in the global economy and growing demand in developing countries, than fundamental factors.
".... we must be prepared for periods of low prices, " he told DN.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 28.07.09 Spanish Point survey done.
Seismic surveying over the Spanish Point gas and condensate prospect off the west coast of Ireland has been completed by Providence Resources.
Providence hired WesternGeco to carry out data processing after the survey, involving the acquisition of 300 sq. km of 3D data, which was carried out by the BOS Angler survey ship.
The work was carried out over Frontier Exploration Licence 2/04 where Providence is operator with 56%, partnered by Chrysaor E&P Ireland with 30% and Sosina Exploration which holds 14%.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 24.07.09 Spectrum starts acquisition of Big Wave - Phase 2 survey in Gulf of Mexico.
On 23rd July, the GGS-Atlantic commenced the acquisition of Spectrum's Big Wave Phase 2 multi client seismic survey in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Phase 2 of Spectrum's Big Wave multi client programme is a total of 14,000km long offset, high quality seismic data and includes a 2,000km well tie survey to the east of the main study area. This new survey compliments the previously acquired data sets and will expand Spectrum's coverage in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to over 52,000km.
Spectrum's seismic vessel GGS-Atlantic will be fully utilised acquiring Phase 2 until December 2009. The data processing will be undertaken at Spectrum's state of the art computer centre in Houston with a sequence including both pre stack time and pre stack depth migration.
An additional pre-funder has been secured for Phase 2, making it 5 major oil companies to date that have signed up ensuring it is close to being fully prefunded.
••• 24.07.09 Sakhalin delivers 200th export oil cargo.
Russia-based Sakhalin Energy has said that the Sakhalin Island, a Prisco-owned tanker on long-term charter to the company, will deliver some 100,000 tonnes of oil from the company's offshore facilities in the Sea of Okhotsk to a refinery in South Korea. The company has said that this is its 200th oil cargo export.
Sakhalin Energy has been producing oil offshore since 1999. Production from Molikpaq, the offshore oil platform, was initially carried out on a seasonal basis during the ice-free period.
The company has said that the year-round production began in December 2008 following completion of the offshore and onshore oil infrastructure. Exports are now handled from a purpose-built port at Prigorodnoye. A second oil platform, Piltun-Astokhskoye-B, came on stream the same month. Following first gas from the Lun-A platform and the commissioning of liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in February 2009, oil exports have risen due to the addition of gas condensate. The new oil blend, Vityaz, has now been successfully sold into the Asia-Pacific market for 10 years.
Since commercial oil production began, Sakhalin Energy has exported over 126 million barrels of Vityaz to Asia-Pacific customers. With its low sulfur content and high levels of light and medium-light hydrocarbon fractions, this crude is used to produce petrol, kerosene, diesel and as a feedstock for the petrochemical industry.
Ian Craig, CEO of Sakhalin Energy, said: "Our 200th oil cargo is clear evidence of Sakhalin's emerging role as a key energy hub for the Asia-Pacific region. The increasing frequency of oil cargo shipments will also be matched and then exceeded by the frequency of LNG shipments as we build up to plateau in the second half of 2009."
••• 23.07.09 COSL to build Skipsteknisk-designed seismic ships.
China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) has commissioned the Chinese shipyard Shanghai Shipyard to build a 3D deepwater seismic vessel.
The vessel COSL720 will be a 12-streamer vessel powered by with diesel-electric machinery. The 3D seismic vessel will be classed by China Classification Society.
The COSL 720 is based on a Skipsteknisk ST-327L CD design. The vessel will have a length of 107m and a beam of 24m. The accommodation is arranged for 75 persons.
The vessel's diesel-electric propulsion system will have four diesel generators producing a total of 18,000kW. The vessel has twin propeller arrangement each run by a 4,500kW AC frequency controlled electric motor.
For Skipsteknisk this is a very important contract. It is the first design contract the company has won from a Chinese company and the first ST-vessel to be built in China.
Delivery of the vessel is scheduled for the first half of 2011.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 22.07.09 Gazprom May Delay Shtokman Project.
Russian gas firm OAO Gazprom may delay development of the giant Shtokman gas condensate field depending on market conditions, the company has said in a eurobond memorandum.
Under Gazprom's original plan, it would produce 23.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year starting 2013 from the first development phase of the field and up to 7.5 million metric tons of liquified natural gas, or LNG, a year starting in 2014.
"This timeline may be revised accordingly to reflect natural gas market conditions," the company said in the eurobond memorandum seen by Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.
Gazprom has seen its European exports fall by up to one third this year, due to lower demand amid an economic recession and high gas prices.
Gazprom is developing the Shtokman field located under harsh conditions in the Barents Sea together with France's Total SA and Norway's StatoilHydro, which hold 25% and 24% in the project, respectively.
Peak production at the Shtokman project may reach 95 billion cubic meters a year, Gazprom said.
Source: Rigzone/Dow Jones Newswires
••• 20.07.09 Fugro Chance surveys damaged platform in Gulf of Mexico.
Offshore survey company Fugro Chance Inc. recently completed detailed survey work on a damaged platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Marine Construction Survey Division of Fugro Chance was responsible for the precise mapping of a platform jacket in around 380 feet (115.8 m) of water. The platform's deck had been damaged during a storm, with the platform jacket being inclined in excess of ten degrees from its vertical position.
Precise mapping of the platform jacket from sea level to seabed, and detailed mapping of the debris field on the seabed was derived using a Multibeam Echosounder (MBE) system. This was accomplished in conjunction with Fugro's proprietary Fine Track L200 Integrated Navigation System. Post processing of the MBE data was performed using Fugro's proprietary suite of Starfix processing applications.
Imminent rig arrival on location and an unfavorable weather forecast dictated that Fugro Chance mobilize personnel and the equipment spread to the dock within 24 hours of notification. The vessel departed dock after a mobilization period of only 18 hours.
••• 20.07.09 Gearbox particle found before fatal flight.
Just days before a helicopter crashed into the North Sea killing all 16 on board chips detected in part of the aircraft's gearbox had been found which pointed to a potential gearbox failure which was later blamed as the major cause of the accident.
Further investigation by the UK's Air Accident Investigation Branch into the loss of the Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma G-REDL on 1 April this year which was returning to Aberdeen from the BP Miller platform indicates that a problem was found on the gearbox but the cause was not correctly diagnosed at the time.
Days before the crash on 25 March, part of the helicopter's HUMS – helicopter usage monitoring system - detected a chip on one of the three epicyclic module magnetic chip detector plugs while the helicopter was in flight. The plugs are installed to detect any parts of the helicopter gearbox breaking off.
When the helicopter returned to Aberdeen that day the epicyclic magnetic plug was removed and visually examined, the AAIB reported, but no evidence of any chips was reported to have been found.
Because the aircraft was already due for a 25 hour check, the helicopter operator, Bond Offshore, decided to carry it out earlier, and the aircraft maintenance manual called for examination of magnetic chip detector plugs When the epicyclic module plug was taken out and re-examined, a particle was found, the AAIB says.
And the Board is still investigating the clarity of the information available to the aircraft operator and the manufacturer which informed decisions taken after this discovery.
"Had a different diagnosis of the chip type been made on 25 March, it is possible that the MRG (main rotor gearbox) would have been removed from service for further investigation," the AAIB states.
"...However, the outcome was that the MRG [main rotor gearbox] remained in service," the latest AAIB report into the accident continues. "It was concluded, at that time, that the particle was of a type that did not require further investigation of the epicyclic module."
Also, the oil system in the helicopter's main rotor gearbox was drained, and no other contamination was found after the oil was filtered and the filters examined.
"As a result of the discovery of this particle, a daily inspection of the epicyclic gearbox magnetic chip detector was initiated by the operator and the HUMS data was downloaded and analysed each time the helicopter returned to its base at Aberdeen for the following 25 flying hours," stated the AAIB. "This concluded on the 31 March, the day before the accident and, as no further abnormalities were identified during this period, this served to reinforce the view that a correct diagnosis of the chip had been made."
Accordingly the AAIB has recommended that the European Aviation Safety Agency and Eurocopter change procedures for the service manuals for EC225LP and AS332L2 type helicopters, "..to ensure that correct identification of the type of magnetic particles found within the oil system of the power transmission system is maximised."
The AAIB states: "As it appears that the process of assessing the relevance of a magnetic chip may, in this case, have led to an inappropriate diagnosis, consideration should be given to introducing appropriate methods of information exchange between an operator and the manufacturer to facilitate the accurate determination of a chip type".
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 20.07.09 EMGS launches second purpose-built 3D EM vessel.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA (EMGS) has launched its second purpose-built EM survey vessel in order to enhance hydrocarbon exploration across the world. The new vessel, the BOA Galatea, was built by Bergen Group Fosen and is leased from the owner BOA Offshore on a long-term charter.
As previously communicated, EMGS's core vessel fleet will consist of the two purpose-built 3D EM vessels BOA Thalassa and BOA Galatea.
Each vessel has the capacity to carry 200 receivers and offers two high power source systems, making these the most productive and fficient vessels available in the industry.
Roar Bekker, EMGS chief executive officer, commented: "We have experienced a breakthrough for our 3D surveying services over the last year, and our new vessels are especially designed for this purpose. EM data resulting from 3D acquisition provides superior data quality and can be more easily integrated into the exploration and production workflow, and interpreted alongside other subsurface information. We therefore believe that our purpose-built 3D EM vessel fleet will provide an improved basis for industry adoption of EMGS's technology."
The vessels' features include sheltered deck and work spaces, advanced on-board processing system, helicopter deck, hospital ward, conference facilities and modern workstations with broadband connection. Surveying efficiency and flexibility is increased by the vessels' high speed, large fuel volume, extensive storage capacity, efficient fuel consumption and extended weather window.
••• 17.07.09 Shtokman shipping tie-up.
South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries has signed a new shipbuilding agreement with a Russian partner also operating in the shipping sector which will form the basis for building LNG carriers for the Shtokman project and other Arctic gas developments.
"The main purpose of this agreement is to establish a cooperation which will include the mutual developing of shipbuilding projects, equipments and the designing of vessels," the two companies said in a jointly released statement.
Hyundai has linked up with Russia's United Industrial Corporation – OPK – to form the cooperation agreement which allows HHI to support construction of new shipbuilding facilities, shipyard management, and the construction of specific ship-types – described in the statement as "gas locomotives".
OPK, has several assets with a total value of US $13 Bn, including two shipyards, Severnaya Verf and Baltiysky Zavod, plus a design bureau, called Iceberg.
"OPK intends to modernize its shipbuilding assets and construct a modern shipbuilding complex with dry dock on large-capacity vessels, platforms and the production of offshore equipment," the company said, adding "OPK is also taking part in several shipbuilding programs, favouring Arctic shelf development".
Clearly signalling its aims on the Shtokman project, the company adds: "OPK anticipates it will build new LNG carriers and other vessels for Gazprom in support of the Shtokman gas field development, which will come on stream in 2013/2014".
And the Russian company points out that it is already taking part in several shipbuilding programs related to Arctic shelf development.
Yan Yanovsky, managing director of OPK signed the deal with BT Ahn, executive vice president of Hyundai Heavy Industries.
OPK's other interests throughout the Russian economy include mining, media and property, as well as shipbuilding.
Source: Offshore Media Group
••• 15.07.09 Polarcus seismic fleet takes shape.
Drydocks World has laid the keel for the final vessel in the new Polarcus six-vessel seismic fleet, and has delivered the first vessel in the series. Ordered 14 months ago, the fleet will consist of a combination of 3D and multipurpose 3D/source vessels.
The first vessel, Polarcus Nadia, has been designed to be environmentally friendly and technologically sophisticated, and is capable of towing up to 12 streamers. The vessel design incorporates a number of innovations, ranging from the distinctive Ulstein X-Bow hull to the selective catalytic reduction system, which is designed to maximize operational performance and minimize emissions.
The new vessel's name commemorates its place as the first in the series. Nadia means "beginning' or "first" in Arabic. Polarcus Nadia will enter service in October.
The final keel is for the Polarcus Alima, which is being built to Ulstein's SX134 design. As with the other Polarcus vessels, Polarcus Alima is designed for operations anywhere around the globe, including the environmentally sensitive and challenging polar regions. The entire Polarcus fleet is scheduled to be operational in 2010.
Polarcus describes itself as a pure play marine geophysical company with a pioneering environmental agenda, specializing in high-end towed streamer data acquisition from pole to pole. Launched in 2008, the company intends to operate worldwide providing towed marine contract acquisition services.
••• 14.07.09 The Russian government is ready to significantly cut red tape for investors in oil and gas projects on the Russian Arctic shelf.
The facilitated procedures will not reduce focus on environmental standards, government officials maintain.
The Russian government has approved new legislation which is intended to boost oil and gas investments in the country’s Arctic shelf. The current numerous permissions required to engage in the offshore projects will be abolished and replaced by extended license agreements, newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reports.
Currently, companies engaging at the shelf have to get separate permissions for each different operation. That significantly hampers project efficiency, given the fact that it takes at least 3-4 months to get the respective permissions.
Now, extended license agreement will reduce the bureaucratic burden for the oil and gas companies. That will help speed up field development and make the offshore resources more attractive for investors, the Ministry of Natural Resources argues.
At the same time, the new procedures will not lower focus on environmental security, the ministry maintains.
Over the last five years, the Russian Nature Control Agency (Rosprirodnadzor) has issued a total of 116 various permissions to offshore field developers, RG.ru reports. That number will get a boost as Gazprom and the Shtokman Development AG start the actual development of the Shtokman field in the Barents Sea.
It can not be excluded that the facilitated legislation could come now as the Shtokman developers move closer to the implementation phase of their grand project.
Russia has offshore fields in operation outside Sakhalin in the Far East and in the Caspian Sea. The Shtokman field and the Prirazlomnoe field in the Barents and Pechora Seas will be the country’s first Arctic offshore field in production.
••• 12.07.09 Helicopter crash in the Caspian Sea.
MI-8 helicopter, which belongs to "AZAL" crashed above the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Searching works are holding now, First Deputy Chief of "AZAL" Sabir Ilyasov told Trend Capital.
According to him, there were three crew members and three passengers on board. Four of them are saved, search of others continues.
Source: Trend Capital
••• 12.07.09 Economic worries hit oil price.
Concerns that the global economic recovery may not be recovering as quickly as first thought, have stopped the oil price in its tracks, says Mark McCue is a divisional director of Brewin Dolphin Ltd in Aberdeen.
"Having slumped to under US$50 a barrel earlier in the year it had risen above US$70 as optimism of a swift economic recovery embraced investors. But that optimism appears to be short-lived and the price has fallen back to early June levels," he said.
"It is a far cry from the dizzy heights the price of oil reached this time last summer, when it peaked at US$147 a barrel as emerging nations such as China looked to push ahead with their expansion plans. But the severity of the global economic crisis put many of the plans on the back burner, triggering a slump in demand."
"In a week when several oil stocks announce trading updates, including Premier Oil and Tullow Oil, most of the eyes will be on Chevron. Its interim statement on Friday will give investors an indication of how the past year’s price volatility has impacted its balance sheets in the short-term."
"In the long-term, the oil bulls remain unperturbed," he concluded. "They believe that the oil price will be well supported by the big trends, such as rising energy use across emerging markets and natural declines in existing oil production."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 10.07.09 CGGVeritas Provides Vessel Utilization Update for 2Q 2009.
CGGVeritas provides its vessel utilization and its fleet allocation updates for the second quarter of 2009.
The following vessel utilization rates for the second quarter 2009 do not take into account the Harmattan, a 3D vessel which was decommissioned during the quarter as part of the company's marine capacity adjustment program.
The vessel availability rate was 89%, including a 5% impact related to standby between contracts. This compares to a 93% availability rate in the first quarter 2009 and a 86% rate in the second quarter 2008.
The vessel production rate was 88%. This compares to a 89% production rate in the first quarter 2009 and a 80% rate in the second quarter 2008. During the second quarter of 2009, CGGVeritas' 3D vessels were allocated 75% to contract and 25% to multi-client programs, a decrease in multi-client investment in 2009, as planned.
••• 09.07.09 SeaBird seismic fleet utilization in Q2.
Vessel utilization is defined as the percentage of the full quarter where the vessel is in paid work either in the form of acquisition, mobilization, demobilization, steaming, standby or other. The vessel utilization for the 9 seismic vessels operated by SeaBird Exploration for the 2nd Quarter is 80%, up from 62% in the 1st Quarter 2009.
Geo Mariner had a utilization for Q2 of 50% after completing her last contract and lying idle in East Africa during June.
Hawk Explorer and Harrier Explorer have continued on their long term time charters to Fugro (to end November 2009) and PGS (to 4th Quarter 2011) with utilization for Q2 of 95% and 100% respectively.
Osprey Explorer and Northern Explorer continued to acquire data on the East Coast of India for April and May, both vessels successfully completing 100% of the contractual 82,000 kilometers in early June. The two vessels then demobilized and steamed to Singapore with utilization for Q2 of 80% and 81% respectively. Osprey Explorer is now preparing for a long term lay-up and the overall fleet manning has been reduced correspondingly.
Aquila Explorer continued her Far East surveys with utilisation for Q2 of 95%.
Munin Explorer completed her survey in Mozambique and mobilized to East Coast India to commence a further survey with utilisation for Q2 of 89%.
The Hugin Explorer has completed her first full scale Ocean Bottom Node seismic survey on the Dalia field for Total in Angola. She has since demobilized for Total and mobilized to GOM for the Green Canyon field survey for BP E&P Inc starting on site late July after commissioning and tests. Utilisation for Q2 was 86%.
The Kondor Explorer after being idle in GOM has in Q2 commenced mobilization and commissioning in preparation to join the Hugin Explorer on the Green Canyon survey as a shooting vessel. Utilisation for Q2 was 33%.
••• 09.07.09 ION has initiated the next phase of its ArcticSPAN seismic data program.
Recognizing the hydrocarbon potential of the Arctic region, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates could contain nearly 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources, several of the world's largest energy companies have agreed to underwrite a new, basin-scale imaging project to study the deep crustal architecture offshore Greenland. Acquisition of this phase of the ArcticSPAN program will be undertaken by the Octio Group, a subsidiary of Norway's GC Rieber Shipping, utilizing ION's Intelligent Acquisition streamer technologies.
Ken Williamson, Senior Vice President of ION's Integrated Seismic Solutions group, commented, "ION has been actively acquiring seismic data in the Arctic since 2006 when we acquired the initial phase of our ArcticSPAN regional program offshore Alaska and northern Canada. Based on our success with this program, several of our BasinSPAN customers asked us to undertake a deep crustal study in a region offshore Greenland that is largely unexplored and potentially prospective. Given the harsh operating conditions in this area and the short weather window for acquisition, we needed to design a highly customized seismic program that allows operations to proceed in a highly efficient manner and with the utmost environmental sensitivity."
Bjarte Fageras, CEO of the Octio Group, added, "The GC Rieber Shipping Group has a long history of building and operating special-purpose vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. While a seismic program in this area poses a unique set of challenges, I am confident that we will be able to acquire the data in a highly productive and environmentally aware manner to meet the demanding criteria set forth by ION and its program underwriters. For this project, ION's streamer portfolio was the only suitable technology solution. We purchased DigiSTREAMER due to its unique continuous recording capability and environmentally friendly, low-noise solid cable that enables operations in a wider weather window. We'll also be deploying DigiFIN, DigiBIRD, and the Orca command and control system to actively steer around and beneath any ice we encounter."
Acquisition for this phase of ArcticSPAN is expected to be conducted during an extended seasonal window with operations beginning in July 2009 and ending by October 2009.
BasinSPANs are deeply imaged seismic data programs acquired and imaged using the most advanced technology available. SPANs allow geoscientists to trace the basin-scale history of entire petroleum systems to determine where source rocks are most prevalent, where sediment fairways are located, and where the most promising migration paths from source to reservoir exist. SPANs are customized to image deep within the geologic section, cover an entire petroleum province, and overlay with areas of heightened structural or stratigraphic interest. Nearly 20,000 km of seismic data currently exist within the ArcticSPAN library. This season's Greenland program is expected to add an additional 6,500 km of data that will be imaged by ION's GX Technology subsidiary using the most advanced processing techniques available.
Source: ION Geophysical Corp.