Offshore SeisNews ©


••• 03.08.12 Polarcus reported a 74% rise in revenue to $114.3 million for the second quarter this year.
Earnings were also up 157% to $42.9 million. Improved market conditions were seen in the seismic shipping market during the second quarter this year, the company reported: "This was reflected in the high utilization of 89% in the quarter. Revenues increased largely due to having two more vessels in operation and profitability rose as a function of improved utilization," Polarcus stated.
Looking to the future market, Rolf Ronningen, chief executive of Polarcus added: "The second quarter has seen the start of another very active North West Europe season giving rise to a healthy improvement in market conditions, with further stimulus expected to come from major license rounds in both the UK and Norway."
"We continue to see tangible evidence of a globally developing market underscored by exceptionally high tender activity by the oil companies in the second quarter across all regions, including new exploration frontiers. We expect these tenders on award will contribute to maintaining a robust market outlook through the fourth quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013, effectively reducing some of the market's traditional cyclicality."
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 02.08.12 EMGS wins 3D EM contract in Asia.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA has signed a contract worth approximately USD 7 million with a major international oil company to provide 3D EM acquisition and processing services in the Asia Pacific region.
Data acquisition will be performed from the vessel EM Leader and is expected to commence in early September.
Roar Bekker, EMGS chief executive officer, commented: "This is a significant contract win for us as it is our first major project for this customer, which is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies. We look forward to developing this customer relationship and delivering high-quality 3D EM data that will help de-risk hydrocarbon prospects in an exciting area."
Source: EMGS

••• 01.08.12 Dolphin has received a Letter of Intent from Shell for a major 3D seismic survey in South Africa.
Dolphin Geophysical received a Letter of Intent by Shell South Africa Upstream B.V. for up to 8,000 sq. km 3D seismic acquisition, offshore South Africa. The survey will be acquired by M/V Polar Duchess and will commence in Q4 2012.
M/V Polar Duchess is a purpose built high-end 3D seismic vessel, capable of towing 14 streamers at 100 metre separation.
"We are very pleased to be working for Shell on this survey, our first for a super-major" says Atle Jacobsen, CEO. "This is the second high profile 3D job that Dolphin have been awarded this month and is a confirmation that Dolphin Geophysical have developed into becoming a recognised supplier of seismic services after only 18 months in business".
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 31.07.12 The new survey vessel for Fugro.
On 27 July 2012, Fugro formally took delivery of a new-build vessel, M/V Fugro Equator; the third of Fugro’s FSSV series of dedicated survey vessels.
Designed to Fugro specifications and fitted with the latest survey equipment these are the most advanced vessels of their type. The vessel will be utilised on various projects in the Asia Pacific region.
The new vessel will have permanently mobilised geophysical and hydrographic survey spreads, and will be able to carry out the full range of site and route survey tasks to obtain the high resolution data necessary for safe, efficient and cost-effective planning, design and engineering activities for offshore projects. When needed, an AUV for deep water site investigations can quickly be mobilised.
Fugro Equator is part of Fugro’s global vessel replacement schedule with the objective of removing older tonnage from the fleet and meeting stringent industry safety standards.
Source: Fugro

••• 27.07.12 Record-breaking revenue for PGS.
Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) has recorded strong growth in its second quarter, driven by the operational performance of its GeoStreamer technology and record-breaking revenue from its MultiClient library.
Revenue for the quarter reached almost $405 million, with the company posting a 50% leap on last year’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisations (EBITDA), to $246.2 million.
PGS’ profits were mainly attributed to its MultiClient 3D seismic database, which brought in $236 million, up by almost half on 2011’s second quarter.
"We have delivered strong growth in all business units driven by our great people, unique Ramform vessels and differentiating GeoStreamer technology," PGS chief executive John Erik Reinhardsen said in a statement.
"In particular, we have achieved another record-breaking MultiClient quarter and significant margin uplift in Marine Contract."
PGS also recorded a considerable jump in cash flow from operations, up 78% on last year to $176.5 million, and its pre-tax profit more than doubled to $65.4 million.
"The profit improvement programme is beginning to deliver results," Reinhardsen said.
The company’s order book totalled $689 million by the end of the quarter, including $160 million of committed pre-funding on scheduled MultiClient projects. However, contract revenues had decreased by $9.7 million against the 2011 second quarter.
PGS said this was primarily due to less capacity allocated to 3D contract work.
"The seismic market continues to strengthen with improvements in project leads, active bids and order book size. Demand for GeoStreamer is stronger than ever," he said.
Source: Upstream

••• 27.07.12 PetroVietnam, Zarubezhneft Mull Barents Sea Oil Joint Venture.
HANOI - State-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, or PetroVietnam, said Thursday that it is in talks with Russia's state-controlled Zarubezhneft to form a new joint venture to operate in the Barents Sea, as it is seeking to boost its overseas crude-oil output.
The new joint venture, likely to be named Rusvietshelf, will mark another step in oil and gas cooperation between Vietnam and Russia, which have already created several oil joint ventures.
"PetroVietnam gives its top priority to Russia and former Confederation of Independent States when investing in oil and gas overseas, as they have favorable environments," PetroVietnam chairman Phung Dinh Thuc said in a statement on the company's website.
Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang is leaving Thursday for Russia, where he is expected to witness the signing of several energy cooperation agreements and to visit oil and gas projects.
PetroVietnam said all of its joint ventures with Russian partners have been operating effectively.
Vietsovpetro, 49% owned by PetroVietnam and 51% by Zarubezhneft, as of next month will have produced 200 million metric tons of crude oil from Vietnam's offshore fields since its first commercial oil production in 1981.
Meanwhile, Rusvietpetro is expected to raise its annual crude-oil output from Russia's Neneski Autonomous Region to 3 million tons or 60,000 barrels a day next year, from an estimated 2 million tons this year and 1.5 million tons in 2011, according to PetroVietnam.
Rusvietpetro, also 51%-owned by Zarubezhneft and 49% by PetroVietnam, is expected to start commercial production from a third field in Neneski this month, PetroVietnam said.
In addition, PetroVietnam has also formed joint ventures with and Gazprom to operate in Vietnam and Russia.
PetroVietnam, which has operations in 18 countries, has previously said it hopes to raise its overseas crude oil output to 4 million-5 million metric tons, or 80,000-100,000 barrels a day, by 2015 and 8 million-10 million tons by 2020. Most of the output will be from Russia and Venezuela.
The company's total output is expected to be 15.86 million tons or 318,000 barrels a day this year, up from 15.18 million tons in 2011.
Source: Rigzone

••• 26.07.12 Veripos Inc. listing on Oslo Bors.
Veripos Inc. announced its successful listing on the Oslo Bors which occurred today with the commencement of trading in VERIPOS shares.
VERIPOS is a leading global provider of precise satellite positioning services. Formed in 1989, it provides reliable GPS and Glonass positioning services with accuracies of better than 10cm. These services are received through state of the art hardware, software and supported with multiple back-up systems and unparalleled customer service.
VERIPOS customers include a wide range of companies from the marine seismic, survey, construction, DP Drilling and DP Marine sectors. It has achieved over 1800% growth since 2004 and sees the flotation as the most effective means to focus entirely on its business and customers, continue its growth, allow rapid decision making, further advance its technology and product development and offers the possibility to raise capital for future growth.
Source: Veripos

••• 26.07.12 Shell signs two PSCs and conducts 3D Seismic Surveys in Yinggehai Basin (China).
Shell announced that it has signed two offshore oil and gas Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) with CNOOC, and a PSC amendment with CNPC for a new development phase for the Changbei gas field in China. Shell has also entered an agreement with CNOOC for its participation in two Shell exploration blocks offshore Gabon, West Africa.
The two offshore oil and gas PSCs with CNOOC are for blocks 62/02 and 62/17 in the Yinggehai Basin. Shell, as operator, will apply advanced seismic acquisition and processing technologies to conduct 3D seismic data surveys in the Yinggehai blocks. Shell will cover the costs for the acquisition of seismic data and will use advanced drilling technologies to drill exploration wells during the exploration phase. Shell will hold a 100% working interest during the exploration phase, that will be reduced to 49% in any eventual development phase, with CNOOC as majority partner.
The onshore tight gas PSC amendment with CNPC represents a new phase for the development of the existing Changbei block with 1,692.5 square kilometers in the Ordos Basin, and adds scope to develop additional tight gas sands and further develop the already producing main reservoir. Subject to government approval and pending the outcome of the appraisal campaign, this additional development project could increase the current production plateau of 320mmscf/d. Shell will continue to be the operator at Changbei.
In Gabon, CNOOC will acquire a 25% participating interest in offshore exploration blocks BC9 and BCD10. CNOOC will reimburse Shell for 25% of certain past exploration costs and carry part of the future exploration costs. Shell will remain operator with 75% interest. The agreement is subject to government approval. Lim Haw-Kuang, Executive Chairman of Shell Companies in China, said: "We are delighted about the return to offshore exploration in China and the opportunity to work with CNOOC again on a major project in the country. We are equally delighted to continue and expand the Changbei success story in partnership with CNPC. Moreover, we are very pleased to have entered the farm-out agreement with CNOOC in Gabon. These new projects in partnership with Chinese companies are the latest showcase of our China strategy to work with our Chinese counterparts both in China and globally to help meet the country’s energy needs to fuel its fast growing economy."
Source: OilNews

••• 25.07.12 Eni has agreed to fully finance geological studies covering three licenses offshore Russia.
This follows the signing of an agreement under which Rosneft will take a 66.67% stake and Eni Energy Russia 33.33% in the Fedynsky and Central Barents blocks in the Barents Sea and the Western Chernomorsky block in the Black Sea.
Expenses for geological exploration outside of the license obligations will be met by the companies according to the equity split. Additionally, Eni will pay the majority of historical costs on completed geological programs on the three blocks.
Eni will recover its investment via cash flow once production starts at any of the blocks. However, Rosneft will not be obliged to return that sum if production does not go ahead.
The license obligations are as follows:
- at the Fedynsky block: Acquisition of 6,500 km (4,039 mi) of 2D seismic, 1,000 sq km (386 sq mi) of 3D seismic, and the drilling of one wildcat, and one exploration well;
- at the Central Barents block: 3,200 km (1,988 mi) of 2D seismic, 1,000 sq km of 3D seismic, one wildcat, and one exploration well;
- at the Western Chernomorsky block: 2D seismic and 2,000 sq km (772 sq mi) of 3D seismic, and two prospecting and appraisal wells.
Rosneft estimates prospective recoverable resources at the Fedynsky and Central Barents license blocks at 2 billion metric tons (2.2 billion tons) of oil and 1.9 tcm (67 tcf) of gas.
The estimate at the Western Chernomorsky block is 1.36 billion metric tons (1.5 billion tons) of oil. During 2004-2011, 4,495 km (2,793 mi) of 2D and 3,319 sq km (1,281 sq mi) of 3D seismic data were acquired.
Source: Geonews

••• 24.07.12 Norway completes seismic data acquisition in Northern Area.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate reported Monday that the Artemis Atlantic seismic research vessel has completed the acquisition of data acquisition in the northernmost part of the Nordland IV and V areas.
The seismic acquisition mission for Nordland IV and V began on July 10 and is scheduled to last one month. The mission was commissioned by the Norwegian Parliament, who tasked the NPD with mapping the subsurface to gain knowledge of possible petroleum deposits in the area.
The acquisition activity is split into four areas, with the objective being to complete one area at a time so as to impede the fishing industry as little as possible.
Source: Rigzone

••• 23.07.12 CGGVeritas announced strategic alliance with SMNG for Marine Acquisition.
CGGVeritas announced today the signature of a framework agreement with JSC SEVMORNEFTEGEOFIZIKA (SMNG) to form a strategic alliance. Together, CGGVeritas and SMNG intend to jointly address the growing Russian and CIS high-end seismic vessels market and coordinate their complementary capacities worldwide.
SMNG is the largest marine geophysical company in Russia and the CIS and provides a wide range of marine geophysical services worldwide, including 2D/3D marine seismic acquisition, navigation and positioning services, seismic data processing and integrated interpretation of seismic data.
Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO, CGGVeritas, said: "At a time when seismic Russian and CIS exploration is becoming increasingly important, we are very pleased to sign this strategic alliance with SMNG, the leading marine geophysical company in Russia and the CIS. It creates a solid foundation for future growth in the region."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 23.07.12 CHC wins Statoil helicopter contracts.
Norwegian operator Statoil has awarded CHC Helikopter Service three new helicopter contracts worth a combined Nkr5 billion ($821.5 million).
The contracts will see CHC provide Statoil four transport service helicopters to be based in Kristiansund, two in Bronnoysund and one search and rescue helicopter which will be stationed on the Heidrun platform, off Norway.
Under the contract terms a replacement helicopter for the rescue helicopter will also be made available that will initially be stationed in Bronnoysund.
Statoil said the Kristiansund contract would run for a duration of five years and seven months, starting from 1 July 2014, while the Bronnoysund and Heidrun contracts would run for five years, starting from 1 February 2015.
It added all three contracts carried extension options for up to three years.
Statoil said it held the right to adjust the number of helicopters during the contract period and woul be allowed to move the helicopters between bases, both in the region, in the rest of the country, and possibly also internationally.
Four of the helicopters supplied by CHC will be Sikorsky S92 type helicopters, three will be Eurocopter EC225 and the search and rescue helicopter will be a Eurocopter L1.
Source: Upstream

••• 20.07.12 COSL secures geophysical contract in Andaman Sea, Thailand.
China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) received an official contract award letter from PTT Exploration & Production PCL, confirming that it has won the tender for 3D seismic collection in Andaman Sea, Thailand.
This will be the first international winter 3D seismic collection operation for COSL’s geophysical segment in 2012.
With excellent operational capabilities and good reputation in the market, particularly the high safety, quality and efficiency standards the seismic vessel fleet, led by HYSY719, exhibited when it performed in a project for PTTEP in winter 2011, COSL successfully won this tender amid fierce competition against other renowned international geophysical companies.
Winning this project will significantly boost operating efficiency of COSL’s geophysical equipment, as winter has been historically a low season for offshore geophysical operations in China.
Source: World Maritime News

••• 19.07.12 Fugro bring offshore survey experience to first offshore windfarm in US.
Fugro has commenced a major geotechnical and geophysical survey operation for America’s first offshore windfarm, Cape Wind.
The windfarm will be situated on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound and once operational is predicted to provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs.
Cape Wind President Jim Gordon said: "Our geotechnical programme this summer on Horseshoe Shoal begins our detailed design engineering and construction phase, and with Fugro’s help will allow us to optimize our project to ensure that Cape Wind will deliver its important clean energy benefits over its design life." The offshore programme will involve up to 50 scientists, engineers, archeologists and geologists using specialized vessels.
Fugro, as the lead Cape Wind contractor for the project, brings to the table an impressive offshore wind site investigation track record, having performed similar work for a majority of the offshore wind farms built in European waters.
When asked how many wind farms Fugro has been involved with, Fugro’s Global Renewable Energy Business Development Manager Tony Hodgson answered: "In Europe we have now studied projects in 11 countries and are beginning to looking at one or two new geographic areas this year."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 18.07.12 PGS has increased its full year earnings guidance after revealing its second quarter results are expected to be "significantly better" than current market expectations.
Petroleum Geo-Services is expecting pre-tax profit to be total more than $55 million for the three months to 30 June, compared to $30 million during the second quarter of 2011.
Revenue for the second quarter of 2012 is expected to exceed $395 million while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisations (EBITDA) are expected to top $230 million.
PGS also increased its full year 2012 EBITDA forecast to more than $750 million, up from its previous guidance of about $700 million.
It is the second time PGS has increased its 2012 guidance, with the company increasing it in May following better than expected first quarter results.
Source: Upstream

••• 17.07.12 CGGVeritas announced first GOM FAZ Survey with StagSeis Subsalt Imaging Breakthrough.
CGGVeritas announced today that it has started acquiring its first StagSeisTM dual-vessel, long-offset multi-client full-azimuth (FAZ) survey in the Keathley Canyon area of the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM).
This 221-block (5150 sq km) full-fold 3D seismic data survey, known as IBALT, will take approximately 6-7 months to acquire and is the first phase in a multi-client program that CGGVeritas will conduct in the Gulf of Mexico over the next few years. A Fast Track data volume is expected to be available by mid-2013 and TTI RTM data will be the primary deliverable in the second half of 2013.
The survey will benefit from the improved illumination and penetration capabilities of StagSeis, a CGGVeritas new-generation acquisition and imaging solution designed to deliver the very best seismic images of complex structures such as the subsalt structures of the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of its patented acquisition design, based on a staggered vessel configuration, very long offsets (up to 20 km) and full-azimuth coverage (up to 10 km), with BroadSeisTM, the CGGVeritas broadband marine solution, will achieve better deep imaging of pre-salt plays than ever before.
Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO, CGGVeritas, said: "CGGVeritas has always been at the forefront of developing and applying the most advanced seismic technologies in the Gulf of Mexico where we have a very strong multi-client data library. After being the first to use wide-azimuth technology in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago, we are proud to go one step further with the introduction of StagSeis. Its power to illuminate under the salt heralds a new era for subsalt exploration in the most challenging areas and is especially suited to large-scale multi-client surveys such as IBALT."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 16.07.12 Gazprom delays Shtokman again.
Chief executive Alexei Miller once again pushes back investment decision on the Barents Sea Shtokman field.
"At the present time we are in final consultations on the configuration and conditions of the Shtokman project, which we expect to conclude by the beginning of fall," Miller told Interfax on Friday.
A key question is the tax regime for both the investments and sale of natural gas from Shtokman. Statoil has long stressed that project development costs need to be reduced and that tax breaks must be introduced. The development costs for the project's first phase have reportedly grown to about $30 billion, up from the originally planned $20 billion.
Source: BarentsObserver

••• 13.07.12 Total has won the rights to Bulgaria’s Khan Asparuh deep-water block ahead of the UK’s Melrose Resources after US supermajor ExxonMobil dropped out of the tender.
The 15,000 square-kilometre block off the western Black Sea coast is located 15 kilometres from the Neptun block off Romania where ExxonMobil and Austria’s OMV made the huge Domino-1 gas discovery in February.
The French oil giant has said it intends to work with OMV and Spain’s Repsol on the five-year licence, Reuters has reported.
ExxonMobil had filed an initial offer, but later withdrew from the tender.
Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev has said that gas production could start within three to four years, provided that the exploration activities point to substantial gas reserves.
OMV has said the nearby Neptun block could produce up to 84 billion cubic metres of gas, calling the discovery of more than 70 metres of net gas pay the "find of a lifetime" earlier this year.
Source: Upstream

••• 12.07.12 Bristow helicopter group has won a key search and rescue deal for Norway's offshore sector.
New service contracts announced by Bristow worth a total of US $2 billion in revenue have been announced by the Houston-based helicopter group and it includes a new deal to provide Search and Rescue (SAR) services offshore Norway.
Bristow is to supply three new Eurocopter EC225 helicopters for the SAR role that are due to start operating in September 2014 for up to five years, with options for another five.
Also the company has won an extension to an existing Norway contract using four S92 large helicopters, over seven years with options for another five years.
In addition, the company has landed a deal to supply on S92 for the UK North Sea, which commenced work this month, and another EC225 which starts operating in August for a minimum of two years.
Overall, the latest deals involve a total of 20 large aircraft in multi-year deals which Bristow says are expected to generate in excess of $2 billion in revenue.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 11.07.12 Dolphin 3D seismic contract with Statoil in Tanzania.
Dolphin Geophysical AS has received a Letter of Intent from Statoil for the acquisition of a 5500 km2 survey offshore Tanzania.
The survey will be acquired by one of Dolphin's high capacity 3D seismic vessels commencing in the fourth quarter of 2012.
CEO Atle Jacobsen, commented "This marks Dolphin’s entry into the prospective East African Market and will secure backlog for the vessel into Q1 2013. We also look forward to commencing our first large project with Statoil outside Norway".
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 10.07.12 Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) acquiring seismic in the Nordland IV and V areas.
Dolphin Geophysical’s seismic vessel Artemis Atlantic start the one-month shoot in the Nordland IV and V areas in the Norwegian Sea.
The Storting (Norwegian Parliament) has tasked the NPD with mapping the seabed to gain knowledge regarding potential petroleum deposits in the area.
Originally, the acquisition was to start on 1 July, but it was postponed to avoid the Institute of Marine Research’s mackerel mapping in the same area.
The acquisition is divided into four partial areas, and the plan is to complete one area at a time so as to disturb the fisheries as little as possible. The work will start in the northernmost area.
Source: NPD

••• 10.07.12 Melrose Resources plc, the oil and gas exploration, development and production company, provides an update on its operations.
The interpretation of the 3D seismic data acquired over the central area of the offshore Galata Block, Bulgaria, in 2011 has been completed confirming the presence of a number of potential reservoir structures. A revised prospect inventory has been compiled and audited by the Company’s independent reserves assessors.
Seven structures have been identified in the area with a total combined unrisked P50 prospective resource estimate of 125 Bcf. The highest ranked prospect is called Kamchia, which has an estimated P50 prospective resource of 27 Bcf and a chance of success of 40 percent. Preparations are underway to drill this well as early as operationally practicable which is expected to be in early 2013 as part of a multi-well rig programme. The programme includes the completion of the Kavarna East discovery and two exploration wells in Romania.
In the event of drilling success on the Kamchia prospect, the discovery would be developed using a low cost subsea tie-back to the Galata field production platform which is similar to the approach used for the Kavarna and Kaliakra field developments.
Also, the company informs that seismic acquisition operations have recently commenced on its Muridava and Est Cobalcescu concessions in the Romanian Black Sea using the Vyacheslav Tikhonov seismic vessel. The planned acquisition programme comprises 1,920 square kilometres of 3D data, sufficient to cover both licences, and the survey is now 28 percent complete.
Source: Subsea World News

••• 09.07.12 Another milestone for Dolphin.
Dolphin Group ASA announced that its flagship vessels Polar Duke and Polar Duchess are both operating with 12 streamer configurations.
Both crews reached this milestone during week commencing 2nd July in an almost seamless display of teamwork and cooperation. This illustrates and further proves the excellent experience of our operations and crews.
The rest of Company fleet also continues to reach new milestones, with the Artemis Atlantic achieving record production in the Barents Sea, Polar Explorer successfully towing 12,000m and the efficient upgrade of the Artemis Arctic to 8 streamers.
The Dolphin fleet continues to operate in a safe and efficient manner.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 06.07.12  Statoil is preparing to shut down production on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) following a notice of lockout from the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF).
A lockout means a complete shutdown of Norwegian oil and gas production, highly possible government intervention and an end to the strike, which is now running into 12 days.
The decision made by the OLF affects all 6,515 members of Industry Energy, the Organisation of Energy Personnel (SAFE) and the Norwegian Organisation of Managers and Executives (Lederne) who are covered by the offshore pay agreements.
"The conflict is deadlocked and the demands are unreasonable," chief negotiator of the OLF Jan Hodneland said in a statement.
The announced lockout will start on July 9, 2012 at 2400 local time (2200 GMT), and all production on the NCS will be halted, Statoil said.
"Statoil is planning a controlled shutdown of production and return of personnel to land from July 9, 2012 at 2400 [local time]. It will take one to four days to shut all production on the NCS, depending on the characteristics and complexity of each field," Statoil added.
The shutdown on the NCS means that Statoil will have to grapple with a production shortfall of 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. The group's lost revenue resulting from the production stoppage will amount to around $87 million (NOK 520 million) per day, up an eye-popping $57 million (NOK 340 million) from the OLF's earlier estimate on June 27, 2012.
The striking workers are demanding for an early retirement age for offshore workers at 62 but the OLF has argued that their demands are not in line with government reforms.
"The strike could be a short-term factor supporting Brent prices, but not in the long-term as there are ample crude supplies," IHS Pruvin & Gertz managing director Victor Shum told Rigzone.
The NCS contains 70 oil and gas producing fields sited on the following blocks: The North Sea 56, The Norwegian Sea 13 and The Barents Sea 1. Among the affected fields is the Oseberg field which is critical in the oil market as crude produced from it forms part of the Brent Index. The index represents the average price of trading in the 21-day BFOE (Brent Blend, Forties, Oseberg, Ekofisk) market in the relevant delivery month as reported by industry media.
Source: Rigzone

••• 05.07.12  Successful completion of Life of Field Seismic Survey.
WGP Exploration Ltd announced that it has completed the fifteenth Life of Field Seismic (LoFS) survey over the Valhall field in the North Sea for BP. This is the fourth LoFS at Valhall to be carried out using the Group’s Portable Modular Source System (PMSS™).
As per previous surveys, the PMSSTM was mobilised onto the M/V Stril Myster, a field platform supply vessel that is converted into a seismic source vessel for the duration of the project.
In total the full data set of 2,552km of data was acquired in 6 weeks, including time for mobilisation and demobilisation, during what was a particularly busy period of field activity in and adjacent to the Valhall producing area.
Source: WGP

••• 05.07.12  Hallin Marine is making a charge on the Russian market after tying up a strategic alliance with local services provider Romona.
Singapore-based Hallin and Romona actually inked the long-term agreement in mid May but have only now revealed it.
The frame agreement covers projects throughout Russia including the Arctic, comprised of the Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Baltic Sea and other areas. The pair will also collaborate on work in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea as well as Russia’s Far East coast.
Romona's General Director, Boris Kornoukhov said: "Integrating Romona's technical skills and geographic knowledge with Hallin's surface fleet and remotely operated submersible vehicles creates a partnership which is ideally placed to serve Russia's expanding offshore energy industry.
"Our business focus will be on drill support, construction support, inspection, maintenance and repair, and decommissioning."
Source: Upstream

••• 04.07.12  Laser technology specialist Measurement Devices US, LLC (MDL) has introduced the industry's first custom designed land and marine survey vessel.
Following the success of their Dynascan mobile mapping system and the increasing market demand for a combined multi-beam sonar and LiDAR data collection system, MDL has designed and built a hydrographic survey vessel, appropriately named Dynascan 1. The innovative vessel is an easily towable 30 foot 'V' bottom aluminium work boat designed and built for shallow water survey operations. MDL's vessel also features an extended 12' cabin and instrument room which is fully air conditioned and can comfortably accommodate a skipper, two survey engineers and two client’s representatives. The Dynascan 1 can operate in all weather conditions, has a comprehensive inventory of safety equipment and is suitable for use in inshore and inland waterways, ports and harbors, dams and rivers.
Every detail of the boat was meticulously planned, from selecting only the best-of-breed technologies available to placement of each sensor for optimal performance. Among the many features of the Dynascan 1 are a number of Trimble® GNSS positioning systems, short range(150m) and long range(500m) LiDAR systems, and a full multi-beam echo sounder system.
Onboard survey and positioning sensors, together with the data acquisition software, are precisely time synchronized to each other using the GNSS 1PPS (Pulse per second timing source which varies by less than a second over a thirty year period). Accurate dimensional control and precise time synchronization gives MDL’s survey vessel the ability to generate a near perfect 360° field of view 4D data set which requires little or no post processing. The resulting real-time geo-referenced point clouds generated by the vessel can be exported in a number of industry standard and user customizable formats.
The suite of applications can be used for various types of surveys, ranging from simple single bathymetry surveys up to complex dredging or offshore construction operations. On the Dynascan 1, the system is configured to acquire and QC the data from all of the onboard survey and positioning systems in real-time. The Dynascan 1 has full onboard capability to complete a project from start to finish, including data acquisition, data cleaning, post processing and final production of the project deliverable.
Source: World Maritime News

••• 03.07.12  Total announced a new commercial discovery in the Caspian Sea on the Absheron field after evaluating results from a well drilled last year.
After drilling the Absheron X2 well which was announced last September, Total said that the find could contain between 150 and 300 billion cubic metres of gas.
Located 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) south east of Azerbaijan's capital Baku, the field could be developed with a limited number of wells during a first phase, Total said.
Forward work includes a 3D seismic survey to further assess the extent and the geometry of the Absheron structure.
Total operates the Absheron licence block with 40%, and Azerbaijan's state oil company holds another 40% and GdF Suex 20%.
Source: Oilinfo

••• 02.07.12  Up to 200 million barrels of oil equivalent has been drilled by Statoil with a new North Sea well.
Statoil declared that its King Lear prospect has uncovered a giant gas and condensate field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea after drilling with the Maersk Gallant jackup proved up a 48-metre (157 foot) payzone in the 2/4-21 well.
An additional 70-metre (230 ft) gas and condensate column was discovered in a side-track well 2/4-21A. "Statoil estimates the total volumes in King Lear to be between 70 and 200 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent,” the operator disclosed today."
King Lear is being billed by Statoil as the eighth high impact discovery in the last 15 months, after and Lavani in Tanzania, plus Skrugard and Havis in the Barents Sea, and Johan Sverdrup - formerly Aldous and Avaldsnes - in the North Sea, as well as Peregrino South and Pao de Aqucar in Brazil.
The King Lear discovery well, 2/4-21, has been drilled across two licences, 146 and 333, operated by Statoil with Total, and it is located kilometres (12.5 miles) north of Ekofisk in an area which has previouslybeen regarded mainly as oil-prone and it is defined as a high pressure and high temperature find.
"It is encouraging to see that this part of the Norwegian continental shelf – home to the first commercial oil find in Norway – is still delivering significant discoveries," declared Gro Gunleiksrud Haatvedt, Statoil's senior vice president for exploration in Norway.
Already the operator is talking about potential development, either as stand-alone project, or tied-in to existing infrastructure, which could mean Ekofisk: "This area, normally considered an oil province, may on the basis of this discovery and other gas resources form the basis for future gas development," Statoil commented.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 02.07.12  Polarcus Limited announces resignation of Director.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Board of Directors has today accepted the resignation of Carl-Peter Zickerman as a Director of the Company.
With the previously announced delivery of the 3D seismic vessel, Polarcus Adira, on 21 June 2012 marking the completion of the Company's eight vessel building program, Polarcus has entered a new phase of maturity. Carl-Peter Zickerman together with the Board of Directors have concluded that with this milestone, combined with the substantial change to the shareholder structure of the Company that took place at the end of 2011, a different Board composition is now appropriate. The Board would like to express its sincere thanks to Carl-Peter Zickerman for his important contributions during his service as a Director through the formative years of the Company. Mr. Zickerman will not be replaced by a new director.
Carl-Peter Zickerman maintains his position within the executive management team of Polarcus where he will continue to focus his resources fully in his capacity as Executive Vice President & Head of Strategic Investments.
Source: Polarcus

••• 29.06.12  SeaBird - Company update.
SeaBird Exploration Plc announced that the Voyager Explorer shallow water 3D job in Mozambique has been extended into August 2012 under the current contract.
The Aquila Explorer has just completed a short contract in Indonesia and has commenced a well prefunded multi-client project with an estimated duration of approximately 30 days.
Source: SeaBird

••• 28.06.12  Two rigs and support ships left Seattle to head for Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Two rigs and support ships on Wednesday left Seattle to head for Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where they will await a federal decision on a high-stakes drilling programme in the US Arctic.
The Noble Discoverer and Kulluk will then wait for an ice-free passage into the Beaufort and Chukchi seas to the potential drilling sites, Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said.
"The journey north marks the beginning of another historic offshore exploration programme in Alaska", spokeswoman said. "We look forward to adding to our long, successful history in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas; providing jobs and verifying what could prove to be a significant and extremely valuable natural resource base for Alaska and the Nation."
Meanwhile, US regulators said Wednesday that testing had been underway for a special capping stack that would contain a potential spill.
"During the tests this week, Shell successfully deployed the capping stack to 200 feet of water, deeper than their proposed well sites in the Arctic, and also confirmed that the capping stack would function properly under pressures exceeding the maximum expected pressures they will encounter," the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said in a statement.
"Similar pressure tests will also be conducted regularly in the Arctic if Shell receives permits from BSEE for exploratory drilling operations offshore Alaska this summer."
Source: Upstream

••• 28.06.12  Fugro to embark on Baltic and Bothnian Survey projects.
Fugro OSAE GmbH (Bremen, Germany) has been awarded an allocation of the Baltic Sea and Bothnian Survey for the years 2012-13, consisting of a 7,100 sq.km segment worth EUR 2.1 million.
Data acquisition will be accomplished by Fugro vessels, two of which, M.V. Meridian and M.V. Victor Hensen, have already done survey work on the previous year’s allocation of Baltic and Bothnian surveys. With water depths up to 300m, the survey will be undertaken following the Swedish and Finnish adaptation of the IHO Standards for Hydrographic Survey, S-44, namely FSIS-44.
The Baltic and Bothnian survey projects are co-managed by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Finnish Transport Agency. These projects form a part of the EU-financed MONALISA (‘Motor-ways of the seas’) Project which aims to achieve efficient, safe and environmentally responsible maritime transport.
Source: Fugro

••• 27.06.12  Research centre to open in 2013 to pursue new technology for Barents Sea.
Norway’s Oil & Energy Ministry has decided to establish a new Arctic research base for technological development to support expansion of the country’s oil industry in the Barents Sea.
The new centre, to be financed jointly by the oil & energy and foreign ministries, is scheduled to open in mid-2013 in on the three northern counties, with the exact location yet to be decided.
"The expansion of petroleum activity in northern areas will be strengthened through increased knowledge and new technology," said Oil & Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe.
"With this new centre we are getting to grips with building up a competence environment in northern Norway. Our goal is that academia and business in the north will work together to move the frontiers of knowledge related to Arctic challenges."
Development of oil and gas fields in the Barents, such as Statoil’s Skrugard and Havis discoveries, poses new challenges due to their remote location in ice-prone waters, with sub-zero temperatures and harsh weather conditions.
This is likely to require new technological solutions for topside platforms to operate year-round in the Barents as well as an increased focus on developing fields subsea.
Source: Upstream

••• 26.06.12  Sovcomflot places USD 1 Billion order with OSC (Russia).
Russian shipping company Sovcomflot has placed a USD 1 billion order for construction of four seismographic ships with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (OSC), RIA Novosti writes citing Deputy General Director of OJSC United Shipbuilding Corporation Roman Trotsenko.
Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Trotsenko stated that the order represents the biggest contract signed at the forum, adding that the construction process will take place in pairs.
While commenting on the value of the deal he stated that the price is dictated by the fact that the “ships are technologically advanced.”
Joint Stock Company Sovcomflot is Russia’s largest shipping company and its fleet is amongst the five leading tanker companies in the world, consisting of 157 vessels with 11. 8 million dwt and 15 newbuildings of 1.58 million dwt capacity. The average age of the fleet is circa 7 years.
Source: World Maritime News

••• 25.06.12  Searcher Seismic - 3D seismic survey in the Norwegian Barents Sea.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd announced a high resolution 3D multi-client seismic survey (Gulspurv 3D) over the Bjornoya Fault Complex in the Norwegian Barents Sea using 12 streamer high capacity 3D seismic vessel Polar Duke (Dolphin Geophysical).
Following a very successful 2D multi-client survey earlier in the year a niche area has been high graded and is now the focus of the 3D campaign.
The high resolution 3D seismic survey of 734 square miles (1,900 square kilometers) will in particular target the shallow prospective sedimentary section along the Bjornoya Fault Complex located in the proposed 22 round acreage release area about 19 miles (30 kilometers) north of the recent giant Skrugard and Havis oil discoveries (500 MMbbl + recoverable reserves).
The first data is schedule to be delivered to the participating companies in 3Q 2012.
Source: Searcher Seismic

••• 22.06.12  Polarcus takes delivery of Polarcus Adira.
Polarcus Limited announced that Polarcus Adira AS, a member of the Polarcus Group, took delivery of POLARCUS ADIRA, the eighth 3D seismic vessel to date to join the Polarcus fleet. The vessel was built at Ulstein Verft in Norway and following a short shakedown will commence operations on the previously announced charter for TGS.
With the delivery of POLARCUS ADIRA, the fifth and last tranche of the USD 410 million fleet bank facility granted to the Polarcus Group has been fully drawn.
Tranche four, related to the vessel POLARCUS SAMUR, was drawn on 19 June 2012 in connection with the redemption of the 13 per cent Polarcus Limited Senior Secured Callable Bond Issue 2008/2013, ISIN NO 001 0445935.
POLARCUS ADIRA is the second of two 12 - 14 streamer Arctic-ready 3D seismic vessels being built at Ulstein Verft AS and the fourth vessel in the Polarcus fleet of the ULSTEIN SX134 design, with an overall length of 92m and a beam of 21m. The vessel design includes a high ice class ("ICE 1A super"), increased propulsion and other innovative efficiency enhancing features. POLARCUS ADIRA is also one of the most environmentally responsible seismic vessels in the industry, with diesel-electric propulsion, high specification catalytic convertors, a double hull, and advanced ballast water treatment / bilge water cleaning systems. The vessel carries the stringent DNV CLEAN-DESIGN class notation.
POLARCUS ADIRA has a maximum speed of 16 knots and is capable of deploying up to 14 Sercel Sentinel® solid streamers.
Source: Polarcus

••• 21.06.12  Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) began acquiring 2D seismic data in the northeast part of the Barents Sea.
In all, approximately 14,300 kilometres (40 lines) of seismic data will be acquired in this area. The work will be carried out by the vessel Artemis Atlantic, and will continue until October.
The ship has been acquiring seismic data in the southeast part of the Barents Sea since early May, and operates with two escort vessels.
"The acquisition activity in the south has been very efficient and successful, and we finished a couple of weeks earlier than expected," says Director of Exploration Sissel Eriksen in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
The area being surveyed by the NPD is located in the former disputed area on the border between Norway and Russia. The acquisition is commissioned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and is the first time the Norwegian government is acquiring seismic data in this part of the Barents Sea.
During the summer, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is planning to acquire a total of approx. 30,000 kilometres of seismic data in the Barents Sea, at Jan Mayen and in the Nordland IV and V areas.
Source: NPD

••• 20.06.12  Polarcus awarded extension to 3D acquisition project offshore Australia.
Reference is made to the notice published by Polarcus Limited on 06 March 2012 regarding the receipt of a Letter of Award for a 3D seismic acquisition project offshore Australia.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company has received confirmation of an extension to the previously announced Letter of Award from Woodside. The project extension is expected to add a further approximate 3 months, bringing the total contract duration to 10 months.
Source: Polarcus

••• 19.06.12  Australian Beach kicks off Tanzania seismic.
Australian company has commenced a 1800 kilometre 2D seismic campaign over its Lake Tanganyika South Block in Tanzania.
The seismic programme will allow Beach to identify prospects and leads of further interest and run infill seismic on those leads which Beach said would take place after acquiring the first 1200 kilometres of the survey.
"This is an exciting exploration play for Beach as it is now only months away from delineating prospects and leads along the prolific East African Rift," Beach managing director, Reg Nelson, said.
"The Lake Tanganyika South concession is a world class asset which has generated much interest to date and contains the type of exploration play with the potential to deliver substantial upside for the company."
Beach said a local ferry, the MV Mwongozo, had been upgraded into a seismic acquisition vessel with the necessary equipment on board to quality control process the 2D data after it has been gathered.
Nelson added preliminary results from the 2D seismic on Lake Tanganyika had confirmed a rifting structure similar to that in Lake Albert where UK company Tullow Oil has discovered large oil accumulations in Uganda.
"We are targeting big oil here, and by that I mean fields in excess of 200 million barrels," Nelson said.
"This is very much an asset to watch and has the potential to provide major economic benefit to Tanzania."
The survey is being carried out by Fugro Oceansismica and is expected to take about two months to acquire and seven months to process and interpret.
Source: Upstream

••• 19.06.12  Flensburg to build two offshore ships for WesternGeco.
Flensburg shipbuilders have chalked up another remarkable success. Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has signed a contract with globally operating seismic company WesternGeco, a frontrunner in its sector, for the construction of two offshore ships. The delivery of the 127 metre long vessels is planned for 2014. The Flensburg new buildings are for worldwide operation in the location and exploitation of seabed oil and gas reserves.
"The sector we have succeeded in penetrating is a new and important field of business for us", said FSG Managing Director Peter Sierk. The competition for the order was global and in order to win the contract, the Flensburg shipbuilders had to beat off competition from many strong and established rivals. Sierk said "our proven contract and delivery reliability, absolute quality and worldwide reputation as well as our ability to react swiftly and competently to the demands of the customer" were the decisive factors in winning the contract. He added that FSG had been recommended to WesternGeco on a list of bidders and that the complete shipyard had been subjected to a concentrated audit process.
"After careful consideration of the audit findings and after further detailed technical discussions WesternGeco was convinced that could build these complex ships in outstanding quality and on time. This testifies to enormous trust in our performance ability - an ability which we will now undoubtedly prove once again". Both companies have the same philosophies, marked by pronounced research and development skills, which will be bundled for this project. The ships now ordered are the first of their type to be designed in this form especially for the envisaged seismic operations and which, in terms of efficiency, comfort, reliability and endurance, guarantee safe operation worldwide including the Arctic regions and in the most adverse weather conditions. They are being prepared for fitting with state-of-the-art equipment.
Source: Marine Technology Reporter

••• 18.06.12  China National Petroleum Corporation 'interested' in Statoil partnership in Norway's High North.
State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is reported to be interested in investing in Norway’s oil sector, signalling a possible shift in Beijing’s hardened position in relations between the two countries.
"If we have the opportunity, we would be interested in co-operating with Statoil on the Norwegian continental shelf and in new areas of the Barents Sea," CNPC executive Wang Dongjin told Norwegian business daily DN.
"We already have a good and close co-operation with the company," he added.
Norwegian state-owned Statoil inked a partnership pact with CNPC in 2007 and subsequently, in 2009, announced it would explore for shale gas in China, although this has so far failed to materialise. The company is also working with China’s Sinochem.
Norway’s Oil & Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe told Reuters the country would welcome participation by Chinese oil companies in its offshore sector.
"We want diversity on the Norwegian continental shelf, though they must of course prequalify and like everyone else submit a good proposal," he said.
Borten Moe was himself invited to speak at a carbon capture conference in Beijing last year, further indicating that China is open for co-operation in the energy business.
Source: Upstream

••• 15.06.12  WGP Group signed a new joint venture (JV) agreement with P-Cable 3D Seismic AS for the commercialisation of new, patented High Resolution 3D seismic technology.
The joint venture will trade as WGP Survey Ltd.
The benefits of P-Cable’s new technology includes the ability to produce low cost high-resolution 3D seismic data with rapid deployment and retrieval from small vessels, as well as high production rates (up to 25 sq Km/day) and the ability to acquire data in shallow waters.
With its expertise in operating seismic equipment, as well as its experience in securing data acquisition contracts WGP is the operational and administrative partner of the JV with P-Cable supplying the technology. WGP and P-Cable believe that their combined capabilities provide an attractive offering for oil and gas exploration and production companies operating on the continental shelf throughout the North Sea and further afield.
WGP is also announceD that the JV has secured its first contract with an agreement to provide seismic data acquisition surveys using the P-Cable 3D seismic technology for Spring Energy Norway AS, a privately owned Norwegian oil and gas exploration, development and production company.
Mobilisation for the project commenced on the 12th June 2012 and the programme of work is expected to last for four months.
Source: WGP

••• 14.06.12  ION launches Calypso Seabed Seismic System.
ION Geophysical Corporation announced the launch of Calypso, its next generation redeployable seabed acquisition system. Leveraging ION's industry-leading VectorSeis digital sensors to deliver the same unrivaled broadband imaging, Calypso is designed to operate at twice the depth and to deliver twice the operational efficiency of its predecessor system, VectorSeis Ocean (VSO).
The seabed seismic market has grown over 250% in the last five years, with over $300 million in contracts awarded in the first quarter of 2012 alone. Prompting this tremendous growth is seabed seismic's ability to deliver superior image quality and operate in areas of dense infrastructure. Yet, despite its increasing popularity, seabed seismic still represents a relatively small percentage of total marine seismic projects, largely due to historically high costs and long cycle times relative to towed streamer acquisition. ION's new Calypso system has the potential to mitigate both barriers to wider adoption by doubling cable lengths and productivity while significantly expanding operating depths.
Since 2004, ION's seabed acquisition systems have delivered the highest quality seismic data on numerous projects worldwide, including in the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Caspian Sea, Middle East, offshore Brazil and West Africa. ION's next generation Calypso system leverages ION's award-winning VectorSeis sensor to provide the same superior imaging as VSO, but with step-change improvements in efficiency, operating depths, and flexibility:
-Tilt-insensitive multicomponent (4C) VectorSeis sensors record broad bandwidth seismic data with superior vector fidelity, capturing richer frequency content at both the low- and high-frequency ends of the spectrum;
-Buoy-based recording eliminates the operational expense and complexity of dedicated recording vessel(s);
-An unlimited number of cables with twice the length (12-24 km) dramatically increases productivity and shortens cycle time.
The newly designed rugged system excels in water depths from 5 to 2,000 meters, providing flexibility to work in the most challenging fields and conditions.
Source: ION Geophysical

••• 13.06.12  WGP supply Gravity Services to TGS-Nopec.
WGP Exploration announced two contract awards with TGS-Nopec for the provision of marine gravity equipment for their on-going multi-client projects in the North Sea.
The projects, which commenced in late May, have an anticipated duration of six weeks and two months respectively.
Complimenting marine seismic data with magnetic and gravity acquisition is of great benefit to clients operating in new areas of exploration as well as those who wish to increase their opportunity for data sales. WGP has been successfully operating magnetic and gravity services to a high portfolio of clients including CGG Veritas and PGS worldwide.
WGP has over 10 years’ experience operating the industry approved and recognised SeaSpy Magnetometer and Chekan-AM Gravity Meter. These systems are supplied with WGP’s complete Project Management services from mobilisation, operations through to data processing.
Source: WGP

••• 13.06.12  CGGVeritas announced that it has opened a new processing & imaging center in Melbourne, Australia.
The Melbourne center extends the services and accessibility of CGGVeritas in Australia where it has had an ongoing presence since 1981 and opened its main Perth office in 2000.
Although Perth has traditionally been the center of the Australian oil and gas industry, there are also major E&P activities on the east coast. Melbourne, in particular, is home to both traditional and emerging Australian oil and gas players. The remit of the new CGGVeritas Melbourne processing & imaging center is to serve clients in eastern Australia, particularly the emerging CSG (coal seam gas) hub of Brisbane, and the expanding New Zealand market. The center is staffed by a team of experienced geophysicists who provide advanced seismic processing & imaging services.
Colin Murdoch, Executive Vice President, Processing, Imaging & Reservoir, CGGVeritas, said: "Our Perth office already has an excellent, well-established reputation with Australian and international clients with a wide portfolio of domestic and international oil and gas interests. We intend to build on this strong west coast position to take advantage of the thriving east coast activity and a wider region that offers enormous E&P potential."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 11.06.12  EMGS signs contract extension with PEMEX.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA announced that it has signed a contract extension worth approximately USD 39 million with PEMEX, one of the world's largest national oil companies.
"This contract extension is an endorsement of our technology and the value that EM delivers in hydrocarbon exploration. PEMEX and EMGS have worked closely over the course of the last two years, and we look forward to further developing this relationship and supporting PEMEX in its efforts to improve Mexico's reserves replacement ratio," says Roar Bekker, EMGS chief executive officer.
The BOA Thalassa will continuously acquire 3D EM data in the Mexican sector of the Gulf of Mexico throughout the contract extension period.
Source: EMGS

••• 08.06.12  CGGVeritas announced fourth acquisition on North Sea Ekofisk Life-of-Field Seismic Program.
CGGVeritas announced that it will begin acquiring a fourth repeat survey (LoFS04) on the Ekofisk field in the North Sea as part of the multi-year Life-of-Field Seismic (LoFS) program for which it was awarded both the seismic data acquisition and processing.
Mobilization is starting early June 2012, and the shooting period will last approximately one month in accordance with the LoFS program schedule. The program is being acquired with a four-component (4C) fiber-optic permanent reservoir monitoring (PRM) solution, deploying 16,000 Sercel OPTOWAVETM ocean-bottom channels. More than two years after the full-scale fiber-optic installation all channel sensors are providing data that is being utilized to provide 4D reservoir monitoring images to the client.
Quality Control and processing of the data from each repeat survey is performed by a team of CGGVeritas acquisition and processing specialists based in the client’s dedicated processing center in Tananger (Norway). In addition to the full optical sensor network trenched at the seafloor, a fiber-optic connection to the shore allows real-time remote operation. CGGVeritas imaging experts are drawing on their experience and expertise in processing multicomponent 4D data to generate high-resolution time-lapse seismic images of the reservoir.
Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO, CGGVeritas, said: "With the start of this fourth repeat survey, it is extremely satisfying to see OPTOWAVE and our Permanent Reservoir Monitoring solution providing reservoir monitoring data to our partner in this revolutionary and unique full-scale permanent monitoring technology. Our planned R&D collaboration with the client for improved 4D repeatability on Ekofisk confirms the position of CGGVeritas as a leading provider of reservoir monitoring seismic solutions."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 07.06.12  CGGVeritas announced BroadSeis award with BroadSource Broadband Source for Johan Sverdrup Discovery in Norway.
CGGVeritas announced that it has been awarded a contract by Lundin Petroleum to conduct a survey of over 2,700 km2 with BroadSeis™, its broadband marine solution, using for the first time its broadband source option, BroadSource™. The survey of the Haugaland High in Quadrant 16 of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea started in May 2012 and is expected to last 3.5 months. This survey covers the fields formerly known as Luno and Avaldsnes which were renamed as Edvard Grieg and Johan Sverdrup in early 2012. The Johan Sverdrup is widely estimated to be the largest oil discovery in Norway in recent years.
BroadSeis was selected for this project as a direct result of several successful commercial surveys conducted by Lundin at the same location in 2011 which confirmed the technical and operational performance of BroadSeis. There was extremely positive R&D collaboration between both companies on acquisition and processing aspects and this latest BroadSeis survey will see the first pre-commercial deployment of BroadSource™, in order to achieve widest-bandwidth ghost-free data.
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 07.06.12  Russian Gazprom is considering finding new partners to develop its Shtokman field off the Russian Arctic as it seeks to turn it into a full liquefied natural gas project.
Vice chairman Alexander Medvedev told a global gas conference on Wednesday that the current partners, Statoil and Total, each holding around a quarter share, had "good chances" of remaining, Dow Jones reported.
He also said he had "a good idea" of who Gazprom's new partners could be but he declined to say.
Last month, Statoil was rumoured to be on its way out of Shtokman after Gazprom hinted one partner would leave the giant development, leading to rumours Shell could be in the frame. However, Statoil has since insisted it remains committed to the project.
Gazprom has been seeking to develop Shtokman, one of the world's largest natural gas fields, since the early 1990s, and after several attempts has put together a consortium comprising Statoil, Total and itself.
But technological challenges and precipitously low gas prices, as well as the emergence of the US as a gas exporter, have called its financial viability into question. The final investment decision for project hasn't been announced.
The three partners have extended negotiations until 30 June, and the past weeks have been rife with rumors of Statoil dropping out of the project.
Earlier on Wednesday, in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Statoil Vice President Eldar Saetre said his company remained fully committed to the project and that he hoped it would go through after having received "positive signals" from the Russian authorities on the financial framework.
"Our decision to switch Shtokman to a full LNG project reflects our vision for gas demand and supply," Medvedev said, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.
Source: Upstream

••• 07.06.12  Sercel SeaPro Nav selected by Seabird Exploration.
SeaPro Nav, Sercel’s integrated navigation system for all in-water seismic equipment, has been selected by Seabird Exploration as the master system for two vessels in its marine seismic fleet, the Harrier Explorer and the Aquila Explorer.
Seabird Exploration is the fourth industry player to choose SeaPro Nav as a master integrated navigation system. The Harrier Explorer has been successfully deploying SeaPro Nav on its seismic projects since the start of 2012 and the system is currently being installed on the Aquila Explorer.
The Sercel SeaPro Nav integrated navigation system offers the most flexible and innovative multi-vessel architecture, allowing easy operation and fast adoption of new marine seismic acquisition techniques.
With SeaPro Nav and the other members of its navigation portfolio, including SeaPro Bin, SeaPro Current and SeaPro Resolve, Sercel has the most complete navigation offering available today, providing real-time and offline binning features, an advanced sea current forecast tool for 4D repeatability and automatic data processing and analysis.
Graham Knight, Department Manager Technology, Seabird Exploration, said: "Seabird’s deployment of SeaPro Nav on its vessels is a natural progression, further cementing our commitment to the use of Sercel products across our fleet. Our first SeaPro Nav system was successfully deployed and received the full support of the SeaPro Nav team at Sercel."
Pascal Rouiller, CEO, Sercel, said: "With over ten seismic vessels currently equipped with our advanced integrated navigation system, SeaPro Nav is proving to be the new-generation system of choice for 2D, 3D, 4D and multi-vessel marine seismic operations."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 07.06.12  Schlumberger launches breakthrough Marine Seismic Technology.
Schlumberger announced the launch of IsoMetrix* marine isometric seismic technology and the IsoMetrix family of marine seismic products. This breakthrough technology outputs isometrically sampled point-receiver data in both crossline and inline directions - capturing the returning wavefield in three dimensions and providing the most accurate images of the subsurface ever recorded.
The IsoMetrix system uses calibrated, multisensor MEMS technology that forms part of the new WesternGeco Nessie-6* point-receiver seismic streamer. The sensors measure acoustic pressure as well as vertical and crossline acceleration throughout the frequency range, and these measurements are provided as customer deliverables.
"Through an extensive 10-year research and engineering program, we have developed a new category of seismic that not only includes the acquisition technology, but also the algorithms and workflows needed to manage such an unprecedented amount of data," said Carel Hooykaas, president, WesternGeco. "The step change in imaging is as profound as was the move from X-rays to full 3D scans in the world of medicine."
IsoMetrix technology enables efficient exploration, high-resolution near-surface characterization, well integrity planning and unmatched 4D repeatability. The technology is compatible with other WesternGeco services such as the Coil Shooting* and Dual Coil Shooting* acquisition techniques. Field trials last year proved the technology’s high accuracy, achieving a 12:1 crossline reconstruction ratio and producing a 6.25-m data grid from streamers 75 m apart.
A new range of applications is now being developed based on IsoMetrix technology to address currently intractable exploration and development challenges while simultaneously improving productivity.
Source: Schlumberger

••• 06.06.12  TGS announced expansion of multi-client 3D survey in the Faroe Shetland Basin.
TGS commences expansion of a 3D multi-client survey covering 2,000 km2 in the Faroe Shetland Basin spanning the UK Faroe median line.
Source: TGS

••• 06.06.12  Sercel launches next-generation Sentinel RD Solid Streamer.
Sercel announced the expansion of its marine seismic equipment offering with the launch of the Sentinel® RD, the latest generation of its Sentinel solid streamer. With over 4,000 km of streamers delivered to more than 60 seismic vessels worldwide since its introduction in 2005, Sentinel has become the system of choice for streamer seismic survey acquisition.
Fully compatible with Sercel’s Seal 428 and Sentinel, the Sentinel RD has a reduced diameter and a 15% weight reduction, providing reduced cable drag and increased storage capacity onboard seismic vessels.
Sentinel and Sentinel RD are the perfect tools for marine seismic acquisition, as a result of their unmatched reliability and outstanding data quality at low frequency, allowing the application of advanced acquisition and processing techniques for more accurate interpretation and enhanced imaging of deep targets below complex overburdens.
Pascal Rouiller, CEO, Sercel, and Senior Executive Vice President, CGGVeritas said: "Offering the best signal-to-noise ratio, Sentinel is the most operationally efficient system available in the industry today. The new reduced-diameter design will further strengthen Sercel’s position in the marine acquisition market."
Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO, CGGVeritas, said: "Sentinel RD can be deployed for a wider range of layout options including denser or longer configurations to meet growing demand for high-end marine seismic techniques such as broadband, high-density and long-offset acquisition. It is yet another example of the industry lead our equipment division consistently takes to develop innovative technology to meet evolving industry requirements."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 06.06.12  Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) collects seismic data off Jan Mayen.
The collecting, which will be carried out by the vessel M/V Nordic Explorer (PGS), will continue until the beginning of August.
According to the plan, a total of 9,200 kilometres (63 lines) of seismic data will be collected in this area.
The vessel was mobilised at Torshavn in the Faeroe Islands before the weekend. It is now in place at Jan Mayen with three escort vessels.
"The escort vessels are there also for safety purposes. The seismic data are collected far out at sea, and our preparedness must be good in case anything should happen to the equipment or the crew on the ship," says Lars Jensen, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's project manager for this summer's seismic collection.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate collected 2D seismic data in the maritime zone off Jan Mayen last summer as well, when approximately 3,100 line kilometres were collected.
"Our data from this part of the continental shelf is scarce, and most of it is old. We are now approaching this in a systematic manner to better map the area," Jensen remarks.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's collection of seismic data takes place on assignment from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
The funding of the collection has been allocated over the national budget for 2012.
The results from the collection will form part of the factual basis relating to the Storting’s consideration of whether or not these areas will be opened for petroleum activities.
During the summer, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate is planning to collect a total of 29,000-30,000 kilometres of seismic data in the Barents Sea, at Jan Mayen and in the Nordland IV and V areas.
Source: NPD

••• 06.06.12  Newbuild contract marks biggest spend by Norwegian shipowner.
Eidesvik Offshore is making a big splash in the subsea sector with a Nkr1 billion ($164 million) order of a newbuild subsea installation vessel at a Norwegian yard.
The contract - the single biggest investment ever by the company - also is a further boost for the Kvaerner Kleven yard as it strengthens its position in the offshore vessel fabrication market in the face of tough competition from South-East Asian builders.
The latest subsea newbuild, ordered by Eidesvik’s partly owned subsidiary Eidesvik Neptun, will be equipped with two offshore cranes and have capability for operation in Arctic waters, with delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2014.
The vessel, dubbed SALT 301 OCV, has been developed by Eidesvik in co-operation with SALT Ship Design and Kleven Maritime.
Eidesvik also has an option for construction of a second newbuild for delivery in early 2015.
"We have a firm belief in the market for this type of vessel, and we are very confident that this is a correct strategic step for the company," said Eidesvik Offshore chief executive Jan Fredrik Meling.
Source: Upstream

••• 05.06.12  TGS announced Clari-Fi, a new technique to provide Broadband Seismic Data from Conventional Acquisition.
TGS’ Clari-Fi technique allows broadband seismic to be generated from conventionally acquired seismic data.
In order to achieve this, acquisition related frequency attenuation effects and the attenuation caused by the earth’s filter must be addressed. TGS’ proprietary Clari-Fi imaging technique enhances low and high frequencies and effectively solves for the earth’s attenuation, resulting in images that are broadband and focused, thus improving the resolution of the data. This technique works with conventional streamer acquisition and so enables reprocessing of legacy data.
"The industry is increasingly recognizing the benefits of broadband data," says Zhiming Li, Senior VP Data Processing and Research & Development. "Broadband seismic provides greater richness of both robust low frequencies - ideal for deep structure imaging and high frequencies - which aid temporal resolution."
Source: TGS

••• 04.06.12  Drug use among potential employees on offshore rigs is impairing the ability of US recruiters to meet the growing demand for jobs, according to reports.
Offshore drillers are facing a hiring crunch, as a booming onshore market soaks up many of the available skilled workers. Impending retirements of middle and senior managers is only fuelling the shortage.
But the inability of many applicants to pass required drugs tests is also eating into the ranks of hirable candidates, according to Hercules Offshore chief executive John Rynd.
While drugs are not the biggest factor in the squeeze for offshore labourers - Rynd also blames the rise of auto manufacturing along the US Gulf coast as well as the demand for onshore services - they do play a substantial role in recruiters' difficulties finding talent.
"We have about a 30% attrition just alone on the drugs, not passing the drug test," he told Houston public radio affiliate KUHF.
Rynd told KUHF that it is common for job applicants to show up with drugs in their system despite advanced warnings that they will be tested for illicit substances as part of the application process.
"We cannot afford to allow anybody under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to board one of our vessels," he told the radio station.
Source: Upstream

••• 01.06.12  ULSTEIN signed a contract for the delivery of a high capacity subsea construction vessel of the SX121 design to GC Rieber Shipping, with an option for a second vessel.
The newbuilding will be delivered in the first quarter of 2014 and has a value of approximately NOK 800 million.
The ship of SX121 design from ULSTEIN is equipped with a dynamic positioning system of the highest class (DP3). The subsea construction vessel is 130 metres long and 25 metres wide with a top speed of 14.5 knots. She will be equipped with a large active heave compensated offshore crane with 250 ton capacity at 14 metres outreach and with the winch placed below deck. The crane will mainly be used for lifting and lowering heavy equipment from and to the sea bottom.
The vessel will carry two ROVs; one is to be launched from the starboard side and the other through a moonpool.
The ship has a large cargo deck for OCV work. She will have diesel electric propulsion and three main azimuth thrusters. The vessel can accommodate 130 persons and will be constructed in accordance with the latest international environmental regulations.
The vessel will be prepared for a VLS tower (vertical lay system) and a 2,500 ton rotating carousel below deck, to be used for future pipe laying operations. For that reason, the vessel is also equipped with two moonpools, one for future VLS and one for launching the ROV.
Source: MaritimeAndEnergy

••• 01.06.12  PSA has designated a recent gas leak at Statoil’s Heimdal field in the North Sea as serious.
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has designated a recent gas leak at Statoil’s Heimdal field in the North Sea as "serious", saying the volume that leaked out was "substantial", as it kicks off a probe into the incident.
A PSA investigation team was due to have arrived at the field on Wednesday after the leak last Saturday that resulted in the near-evacuation of 98 personnel on the Heimdal platform and the mobilisation of emergency services, though no one was injured.
The safety agency said the leak occurred during valve testing on the field’s HMP1 drilling, production and accommodation facility.
"It has not yet been determined how much gas leaked out, but the gas leak was substantial and resulted in a serious situation on the facility," the PSA said in a statement. "The PSA has decided to conduct an investigation due to, among other factors, the significant potential of the incident," it added.
The Heimdal facility, located in the central part of the Norwegian North Sea, serves mainly as a processing hub for gas output from the nearby Huldra, Skirne and Vale fields, while it is also acts as a conduit for gas from the Oseberg field.
It was closed for maintenance work at the time of the incident.
Statoil operates the Heimdal field with a 39.44% stake, with partners Centrica (23.8%), state holding company Petoro (20%) and Total (16.76%).
Source: Upstream

••• 20.12.11  TGS commences a second 3D Multi-client Seismic Survey offshore Northwest Australia.
TGS has commenced acquisition of a new 3D multi-client seismic survey, Mary Rose Northeast, which covers 3,100 km2 over the Exmouth Plateau in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore NW Australia. This survey is located over parts of blocks WA-365-P, WA-346-P and W10-21 to the Northeast of the previously announced NW Australia survey (Mary Rose) in October 2011. Upon completion of this survey, the TGS portfolio of 3D multi-client coverage in this highly prospective area offshore Australia will exceed 11,500 km2.
The seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Geo Atlantic and will be complete in Q1 2012. A fast track volume will be available to the industry in Q2 2012 with final data available for the full survey in Q4 2012. The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 16.12.11  Norway’s EMGS and oilfield services giant Schlumberger have forged a partnership for joint marketing of their respective services in the marine electromagnetic field, ending a patent row between the two companies.
Schlumberger said it would immediately withdraw from ongoing patent disputes in the UK, Netherlands and at the European Patent Office (EPO).
The Norwegian company reported earlier this week that the EPO had ruled that EMGS' patent for the use of controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) data for detection of hydrocarbons in submarine reservoirs was valid after it was challenged by a third party.
Under the co-operation pact, the two companies will enter into cross-licensing of patents for CSEM acquisition, as well as provide electromagnetic-related services such as processing, advanced modelling and earth model building.
EMGS chief executive Roar Bekker said he hoped the agreement would "enhance the adoption of electromagnetic technology".
The Norwegian contractor specializes in electromagnetic survey technology intended to provide more accurate reservoir data to optimize exploration drilling and thereby reduce costs.
Source: Upstreamonline

••• 15.12.11  Petrobangla has approved a plan by ConocoPhillips to conduct seismic survey in Bangladesh's offshore blocks in February amid hopes for a discovery of a large hydrocarbon structure in the Bay of Bengal.
Senior Petrobangla officials said the start of the 2D survey by the US oil giant would usher in hunt for oil and gas in the country's deep waters, part of which still remain no-go area due to claims by India and Myanmar.
ConocoPhilips informed Petrobangla that it had hired a Chinese contractor to do the two-dimensional survey, whose results can ascertain presence of oil and gas in a structure, but can't pinpoint the size of the discovery.
"We've approved the ConocoPhillips's proposal to award the contract to the Chinese company BGP. It can now start seismic survey as soon as possible," Petrobangla Director on PSC Muhammad Imaduddin told the FE Tuesday.
He said the seismic survey by ConocoPhillips to delineate the deep offshore prospects will be the country's first-ever deep water hydrocarbon hunt. Irish company Cairn had earlier found gas in shallow water at Sangu in 1990s.
Australian oil company Santos now operates the country's lone operational offshore gas field just off the coast of Chittagong with average natural gas production of only around 14 mmcfd.
"The ConocoPhillips's exploration will help discover the country's deep water hydrocarbon prospects in the Bay of Bengal. It can go a long way to ensure our future energy security," he added.
Minimum work programme, under the deal, includes carrying out 973 line km seismic survey and drilling one (optional) well during the initial exploration period.
During the first extended exploration period ConocoPhillips will have to carry out 500 sqkm 3D seismic survey and drill one exploration well having a minimum of 2200 meter from seabed, as minimum bided work programme.
Because of a maritime dispute with Myanmar and India, the US firm will have an access to 5,158 square kilometres areas in the Bay.
It will get another 1,605 sq km for exploration if the maritime dispute with the neighbouring countries is resolved in Bangladesh's favour.
The two blocks that ConocoPhillips has been awarded lie in a water-depth of 1,000-1,500 meters and are some 280 kilometres off Chittagong.
Source: Rigzone

••• 13.12.11  Northern Petroleum reports the completion of a 2D seismic survey in the southern Adriatic Sea covering the Rovesti and Giove oil discoveries.
A total of 600 kilometres of data was collected over the F.R39.NP & F.R40.NP licence areas offshore Italy by the MV Princess on hire from CGGVeritas with the aim of obtaining more complete and better quality data. This will be used to upgrade definition of prospects identified on previous seismic data and a further 3D survey is planned for next year, the exploration company has indicated.
Already the two licence areas are known to contain the Rovesti and Giove oil discoveries and ten other prospects have been mapped.
Northern has previously signed a deal with Azimuth Limited, which will earn 15% in the permit by funding a future work up to the drilling phase.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 13.12.11  Polarcus awarded 3D acquisition project offshore West Africa.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company has signed a Letter of Intent with an undisclosed client for a 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa. The project will commence in January and is expected to run for approximately four months.
Source: Polarcus

••• 12.12.11  TGS commences Multi-client 3D Wide Azimuth Survey in Gulf of Mexico.
TGS has commenced acquisition of a 3D multi-client wide azimuth (WAZ) survey covering 11,655 km2 in the Gulf of Mexico in partnership with WesternGeco.
The survey, Patriot WAZ 3D, will be the first orthogonal WAZ survey covering a large portion of the existing Freedom WAZ data set. Following the acquisition of Patriot WAZ the data will be combined with Freedom WAZ and the resulting image will provide the industry with an additional level of subsurface clarity. Upon completion of Patriot, the TGS portfolio of WAZ coverage will exceed 39,000 km2.
"TGS is excited to resume our multi-client activity in the Gulf of Mexico and to provide the industry with modern seismic imaging in the most prolific and productive oil producing area of the deep water Gulf of Mexico. We have been active in this region of the Gulf of Mexico since 1998 and believe this data set will aid oil companies in their exploration and production needs for the area," commented Stein Ove Isaksen, Senior VP North & South America for TGS.
The new seismic data is being acquired by a four vessel WAZ fleet. The data will be processed by TGS and preliminary products will be available to participating companies in 2013 with a final processed product expected by Q1 2014.
The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 12.12.11  MEO Kicks Off Seismic Survey in Seruway PSC.
MEO Australia Ltd. advised that its wholly owned subsidiary Seruway Offshore Exploration Ltd. (SOEL) as operator for the Seruway PSC, has commenced the acquisition of the 705 km2 3D seismic data over the Ibu Horst area. SOEL holds a 100 percent interest in the PSC. The PGS seismic vessel M/V Pacific Explorer has completed the safe deployment of 8 streamers and has commenced field data acquisition. The program is expected to be completed in 30 days.
The acquisition of this 3D survey will fulfill the 2011 work program commitment and is expected to generate several drillable prospects as potential candidates for the commitment well due by the end of 2012.
Source: Rigzone

••• 09.12.11  Fugro completes the acquisition of OBN.
Fugro reported that the deal with respect to the acquisition of the Ocean Bottom Nodes (OBN) activity of Seabird Exploration PLC has been finalised.
The earlier agreed purchase price of USD 125 million is unchanged.
Source: Oilnews

••• 08.12.11  Polarcus receives Letter of Intent for Polarcus Amani.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company has signed a Letter of Intent with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) for the charter of the 12 - 14 streamer 3D seismic vessel POLARCUS AMANI. The charter, of minimum 5 months duration and subject to the execution of a service contract, will commence in April 2012 immediately after vessel delivery and shakedown.
POLARCUS AMANI is the first of two 12 - 14 streamer 3D seismic vessels ordered in November 2010 from Ulstein Verft AS of Norway. The vessels are being built to the ULSTEIN SX134 design and feature a high ice class ("ICE 1A super"), increased propulsion and other innovative efficiency enhancing features. The two newbuilds are scheduled for delivery end Q1 and end Q2 2012 respectively.
Source: Polarcus

••• 07.12.11  Polarcus awarded 3D acquisition project for Polarcus Nadia.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company has signed a Letter of Intent with an undisclosed client for a 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa. The project, to be acquired by POLARCUS NADIA, will commence this month and is expected to run for approximately 30 days.
Source: Polarcus

••• 06.12.11  Eni commits to Blackwood seismic survey.
MEO Australia Limited has received formal notification from Eni Australia Ltd (Eni) that it has committed to the acquisition of the Blackwood 3D seismic survey. The notification received is in accordance with the NT/P68 Farm-in Agreement.
Under the Farm-in Agreement, the option to commit to acquire the seismic was exercisable within 60 days after the Heron-3 well result and was for a minimum area of 500 km2.
Eni has contracted the Viking II from CGGVeritas to acquire a 698 km2 seismic survey (named the Bathurst 3D Seismic Survey) in Exploration Permit NT/P68 to the east of the Blackwood-1 discovery well. The survey is expected to commence in early December subject to the receipt of all required statutory approvals.
Under the terms of the Farm-in Agreement, Eni will pay MEO’s share of the costs to acquire and process the 3D seismic survey and will have 365 days from completion of the acquisition to elect whether or not to exercise its option to drill, and pay 100% of the cost of the Blackwood-2 well in order to retain its 50% interest in the Blackwood gas discovery.
MEO is pleased that Eni has elected to bring forward and expand the area of the seismic survey as this will enable more rapid assessment of the gas resources within NT/P68.
Source: Scandoil

••• 06.12.11  MMT awarded survey contract in Mediterranean.
MMT has been contracted by Nexans Norway to carry out a pre-engineering marine survey of an 80m wide corridor between Qalet Marku in Malta and Marina di Ragusa in Sicily.
The survey operation will be conducted by MMT's survey vessel Franklin. Franklin is fully equipped to perform marine surveys at depths of between 10m and 2,000m. The survey set-up aboard the vessel is optimal for the proposed survey area with a maximum water depth of 157m.
Franklin will conduct all aspects of the offshore survey including the geophysical survey, geotechnical sampling and habitat mapping using a sub-bottom profiler, sidescan sonar, GNSS RTG, ROTV, multibeam echo sounder EM3002 and EM710.
The geotechnical sampling and habitat mapping will be conducted using a gravity corer and ROV.
Enemalta Corporation owns the 100km project for the HVAC Malta – Sicily Submarine Electrical Interconnector. The electrical interconnector has a nominal capacity of 200MW and is designed to provide Malta with its first power interconnection with mainland Europe.
The interconnector will reduce the island’s reliance on local power generation and increase the security of electrical power supply. Nexans Norway has been awarded a turnkey contract which is commissioned by Enemalta Corporation.
The interconnector will be operational in 2013 and ensure that no less than 200MW is continuously delivered to the all receiving ends in order to facilitate the import and export of power between Malta and Sicily.
The subsea cable will run 100 km from Qalet-Marku in Malta to Marina di Ragusa on the coast of Sicily.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 05.12.11  TGS signs Letter of Award for 3D Vessel.
TGS announces that it has signed a letter of award with Dolphin Geophysical to charter the 12 streamer new build vessel, M/V Polar Duchess, for 3D multi-client projects in Europe during the 2012 summer season.
The charter is expected to begin during first half of April and will last for approximately six months.
Source: TGS

••• 02.12.11  Searcher Seismic in conjunction with Philippines DOE announced commencement of acquisition of the Pala Sulu Non-Exclusive 2D Seismic Survey.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd announced the commencement of acquisition of the Pala Sulu Non-Exclusive 2D Seismic Survey in the Philippines (project partner Seabird Exploration) in cooperation with the Philippines Department of Energy. This survey comprises 7,086km and covers the Palawan, Mindoro-Cuyo, Sulu Sea and Sandakan basins.
The Pala-Sulu seismic survey will for the first time provide a consistent link between the basins to create a uniform stratigraphic framework. The survey has been designed to better define the tectonic framework of the Philippines’ most important petroleum basins and to improve the imaging of the lower sedimentary sections and basement.
The survey commenced in November 2011, and utilises state of the art acquisition and processing to ensure the resulting dataset is of the highest quality. A full suite of deliverables will be produced during the processing to allow for further studies such as basin modelling, AVO and inversion.
Source: Searcher Seismic

••• 30.11.11  Damen received an order from Groen to build a pair of seismic research and support vessels.
The Dutch arm of Damen Shipyards Group has received an order from shipping outfit Groen to build a pair of seismic research and support vessels (SRSVs).
The order will be the first SRSVs built by Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam, Damen’s subsidiary.
Netherlands-based Saltwater Engineering helped design the SRSVs, both of which will be 40 metres long with a 9.3-metre beam. The vessels will be delivered in the first quarter of 2013, Damen said.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Maaskant Shipyards specialises in maintenance and repair of offshore support vessels, fishing vessels, guard vessels and standby vessels. The shipyard also delivers fishing and offshore support newbuilds.
Source: Upstreamonline

••• 29.11.11  Reservoir Exploration Technology ASA avarded a contract for acquisition of 4C seismic data in West Africa.
The multi-component seismic company Reservoir Exploration Technology ASA (RXT) has been awarded a contract with Afren Energy Services Ltd for acquisition of 4C seismic data in West Africa.
Start up of the project will be end November and the survey is estimated to take 26 days. The contract value is up to USD 3.5 million and the work will be done by the vessel Vikland while the vessel Ocean Pearl goes into dock to do a five year class inspection.
Source: RXT

••• 28.11.11  SeaBird confirms sale of Ocean Bottom Node business.
SeaBird Exploration PLC (SeaBird) has confirmed that is entered into a share and purchase agreement with Fugro Norway AS on 18 November 2011.
Under the agreement, Fugro will acquire SeaBird Technologies and Seabed Navigation Company Limited, which collectively hold all of the company's rights and assets related to the ocean bottom node (OBN) business for the agreed acquisition price of US$125 million, payable in cash.
SeaBird said the exact date for closing of the transaction "is not defined," but is expected within two to four weeks of the agreement.
Source: SeaBird

••• 25.11.11  RXT received LOI regarding acquisition of 4D/4C seismic data in West Africa. The multi-component seismic company Reservoir Exploration Technology ASA (RXT) has entered into a LOI with an international oil company regarding acquisition of 4D/4C seismic data in West Africa. The intention is to conclude the final contract during December and start up of the project will be in end Q4 2011. The work will be done by the vessels Ocean Pearl and Vikland and is estimated to take 45 days, depending on the final lay out of the acquisition design.
Source: RXT

••• 23.11.11  Chinese BGP has named Marlink as its supplier of high quality and high capacity VSAT satellite communications for its fleet of advanced seismic vessels.
The latest vessel to join the fleet is the 100m BGP Prospector recently delivered from a leading Korean shipyard and equipped with Marlink's Sealink™ C-Band, SCPC VSAT. The BGP Prospector has a1 MB full duplex and dedicated satellite communication service to support a range of applications on board.
BGP operates seismic vessels on a global basis to provide its customers with marine seismic data acquisition. The company's fleet is able to acquire high-quality 2D, 3D, 4D, and OBC Marine Seismic Data using the latest, state-of-the-art technology. The vessels are operating in the Gulf of Mexico, South America, West Africa, the North Sea, the Red Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South-East Asia. BGP has a long term strategy in developing new technology to improve both acquisition and processing of seismic data and reliable connectivity is crucial to supporting this commitment.
Gunnar Valle, Director for Marlink in Asia commented, "Our long term relationship with BGP is testament to our position as the premier provider of high quality and cost effective services, backed by local customer support and a commitment to our important region.
Marlink has a dedicated sales and service team based in Singapore which is likely to expand further in support of our growing customer base in Asia. By offering a comprehensive portfolio of both VSAT on MSS solutions, Marlink is able to satisfy any customer requirement for connectivity by customising a service package to satisfy specific vessel needs."
Source: Scandoil

••• 22.11.11  Dolphin Geophysical new 3D seismic contract North West Africa.
Dolphin Geophysical has signed one out of potential three 3D contracts in Africa, as previously disclosed as upcoming work for Polar Duke. If all contracts materialize in line with management expectation, the vessel will be occupied in Africa from December until April 2012.
Following a successful long season with high seismic demand in the Norwegian Barents Sea, Polar Duke ceased contract operations in early November, then performed various guarantee and yard work in Aberdeen. Awaiting permitting in West Africa, the vessel is carrying out seismic acquisition and equipment testing in the vicinity of the UK Blakeney area, before departure estimated to be end of this week.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 21.11.11  Neptune Larissa is 50th vessel designed by Ulstein Design.
The IMR/subsea construction vessel Neptune Larissa, a SX130 design developed by Ulstein Design in Norway, which was delivered by Zhejiang Shipbuilding Ltd to shipowner Neptune Offshore on 15 November, in the 50th ship designed by Ulstein Group.
As highlighted previously, Reef Subsea has signed five-year charter agreements for Neptune Larissa and her sister vessel Neptune Despina. They will be renamed Reef Despina and Reef Larissa.
Ulstein introduced its new generation of ship designs in 2000, designs that include the now well-known Ulstein X-BOW used on the new Neptune newbuilds.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 18.11.11  Cooper Energy completes Nabeul 3D seismic acquisition.
Cooper Energy has reported that the marine 3D seismic survey over the western portion of the Nabeul Permit has been completed on time and within budget. The 600 km2 full-fold data 3D survey was acquired by CGGVeritas between 13 September 2011 and 15 November 2011.
The Nabeul Permit Joint Venture comprises Cooper Energy as Operator with 85% and Dyas with 15%. The objectives of the 3D survey were to mature the Alpha, Gamma and Up-dip La Marsa leads in the western portion of the Nabeul Permit adjacent to the Birsa and Oudna oilfields. The 3D seismic was successfully acquired using the CGGVeritas BroadSeis technology, a new innovative solution for high-resolution marine seismic.
The 3D seismic data will now be processed by CGGVeritas in Singapore. It is expected that the data will be available for interpretation by Q3 2012. The high resolution 3D seismic is expected to enable the Nabeul Permit Joint Venture to define and accurately locate a well scheduled to be drilled by 2013.
Mr David Maxwell , Managing Director of Cooper Energy noted "The completion of the Nabeul 3D seismic survey is a key step in maturing a range of prospects in the Nabeul Permit in Tunisia for drilling in 2013."
Source: Scandoil

••• 18.11.11  EMGS announced multi-client basalt mapping survey in Norwegian Sea.
EMGS will in the fourth quarter of 2011 perform a multi-client 3D magnetotelluric (MT) survey covering approximately 3000 sq. km2 in the More basin, Norwegian Sea. The project is pre-funded by ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Norway AS.
EMGS will rig EM Express (formerly the OHM Express) to undertake this work on a one-month charter.
Aslak Myklebostad, EMGS president multi-client eastern hemisphere, says: "The More basin is an exciting frontier area with challenging basalt geology. We have been pioneering the use of MT methods for understanding basin-scale geology, particularly where basalt or salt make the interpretation of other geophysical data challenging. The key objective of this MT survey is to determine the thickness of basalt layers and the sediments below."
Processed data will be available in the first quarter of 2012 and 3D inverted data will be available in the second quarter of 2012.
Whereas 3D CSEM surveying uses a high-power EM source to create a subsurface signal, the MT method uses natural signals generated from the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetic field. Both EM methods use the same receivers. MT data is particularly useful in understanding complex salt and basalt areas.
Source: EMGS

••• 17.11.11  Hyperdynamics commences deep water 3D seismic survey.
Hyperdynamics Corporation reported the commencement of its deep water 3D seismic survey off the coast of the Republic of Guinea.
Using the survey vessel Oceanic Endeavour seismic contractor CGGVeritas, will acquire 3D seismic data in a deep water area covering approximately 4,000 square kilometers in Hyperdynamics' oil and gas concession offshore Guinea in West Africa. After it completes the data acquisition phase of the project, CGGVeritas will also process the data.
The survey area is located just southwest of and adjacent to the 3D survey obtained by Hyperdynamics in 2010. The primary goal of this new survey is to investigate multiple possible deep water submarine fans in the equatorial Atlantic margin that were identified from a 2D seismic survey acquired in 2009.
Ray Leonard, Hyperdynamics CEO, commented, "The deep water 3D survey will utilize CGGVeritas' BroadSeis broadband solution, which is expected provide a clearer and more detailed image of the subsurface. This 3D survey is a critical next step in our ongoing Guinea exploration campaign, one that should further de-risk our acreage and help us identify the most promising deep water locations for future drilling."
Hyperdynamics operates the Guinea concession with a 77 percent participating interest, with the remaining 23 percent held by Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Korean National Oil Company.
Source: Scandoil

••• 16.11.11  Dolphin Geophysical announced 2D Seismic Survey award offshore Brasil.
Dolphin Geophysical will commence acquisition of a new 2D Multi-Client seismic survey for Spectrum ASA in November 2011 which covers several blocks in the northern equatorial margin offshore Brasil. The survey area includes blocks expected to be announced for the 11th license round in second quarter 2012. The survey area contains recent discoveries in relatively unexplored basins.
The acquisition will focus on the Barreirinhas and Ceara basin with additional regional tie lines. Phase 1 of this program is 12,000 km. The survey is supported by industry pre-funding.
The seismic data will be acquired by the Polar Explorer. The data will be processed at Spectrum’s processing centre in Houston, with the final products scheduled for delivery during Q1 and Q2 2012 to coincide with the anticipated Licensing Round 11 close.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 15.11.11  Chariot Oil & Gas Ld - Commencement of Seismic Survey.
Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Africa focused oil and gas exploration company, announced that the 3D seismic acquisition programme in its Central Blocks has commenced in conjunction with Petroleum Geo-Services. The programme will cover 3,500 sq.km using the latest Geostreamer technology and is expected to take approximately 90 days.
The Central Blocks - Licence 19, blocks 2312 A & B and Northern halves of 2412 A & B - are located within the Luderitz and Walvis Basins and cover an area of 16,801 sq.km. Following reprocessing and reinterpretation of the existing 2D seismic data, Chariot and PGS have agreed to focus the 3D seismic acquisition programme in the northeastern area of the blocks. The attraction of this part of the acreage is the recognition of multiple target levels and numerous leads including analogues to the "Nimrod" feature in Chariot's Southern acreage with potentially two active oil prone source intervals. Overall these elements increase the likelihood of maturing multiple drilling targets within the 3D acquisition area. To capture as many of the high-graded leads as possible the survey has been extended to cover 3,500 sq.km from the originally planned 2,500 sq.km. An additional benefit is that the new 3D seismic area covers water depths ranging from 750-1,750m (significantly shallower than the depths in the originally proposed acquisition area) which will potentially result in a considerable reduction in expected well costs.
In keeping with Chariot's aggressive exploration programme, this 3D seismic survey will significantly exceed the minimum work and expenditure requirements of the terms of the First Renewal Phase as announced on 28 June 2011. It will also enable Chariot to further expand its prospect and lead inventory and mitigate risk as it looks to mature further targets for drilling.
Paul Welch, Chief Executive of Chariot, said: "As described in our recent technical update on 31 October 2011, this 3D acquisition programme is crucial to the understanding and development of our Central Blocks. We have identified new areas of interest that we believe will contain a significant number of drillable prospects and we look forward to receiving the data and interpreting this further."
Source: Oilvoice

••• 15.11.11  Seismic Acquisition to Commence Offshore Malta.
Mediterranean O&G announced that the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Malta Oil Pty Ltd, has now entered into a contract with Fugro-Geoteam Pty Ltd ("Fugro-Geoteam"), who will undertake the acquisition of 1,000 square kilometers of long offset 3D seismic exploration data on behalf of the Company, in relation to its license commitment at Area 4 Offshore Malta.
Fugro-Geoteam's vessel, R/V Geo Barents, has commenced mobilization and the Company expects 3D seismic acquisition to commence on or about Wednesday, November 16, 2011. The estimated duration of the survey is about 30 days. Processing of 3D data will start immediately after the completion of the survey, with the objective of obtaining the results towards the end of 1Q 2012.
Sergio Morandi, Chief Executive Officer of Mediterranean Oil and Gas, commented, "We are extremely pleased to have entered the 3D seismic acquisition contract with Fugro- Geoteam, a world class operator. This new 3D seismic data should allow the company to complete the assessment of the exploration potential of Area 4 Offshore Malta. We are hopeful that the seismic survey will identify further prospects in the area and make the drilling of an exploration more attractive."
Source: Rigzone

••• 11.11.11  Lukoil registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
The LUKOIL's Varandey fixed offshore ice resistant oil terminal (FOIROT) has been registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most northerly continuously operating oil terminal, namely, 69 degrees 03 minutes 11 seconds of the northern latitude.
The FOIROT is assembled at a 17-meter depth in the Barents Sea located 22 km off the coast of the Nenets Autonomous District. It is more than 50 meters tall and has a total weight of over 11,000 tons, which includes a substructure with living quarters, a mooring cargo handling system (MCHS) with a jib and a helicopter platform.
The FOIROT is connected to two underwater pipelines, 820 mm. in diameter, to pump the oil from the onshore tank battery with a capacity of 325,000 cu.m. The FOIROT was constructed by OOO LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft steelworks, a fabrication facility for metal structures used in construction. The FOIROT capacity totals 12 million tons of oil per year. Its first oil was exported on June 9, 2008. As of October 28, 2011, 20.4 million tons of oil had been loaded onto 295 tankers.
Source: Scandoil

••• 11.11.11  IAGC: EM & Seismic Surveys Cut Risks, Raise Success.
IAGC announced the completion and publication of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of electromagnetic (EM) techniques used for oil and gas exploration and production in the marine environment. The EM EIA was funded by the member companies of the IAGC EM Subcommittee and prepared by LGL Limited environmental research associates.
Electromagnetic (EM) survey techniques can identify differences in the resistivity of subsurface rocks that may be related to the presence of hydrocarbons. This information, when combined with measurements from other techniques such as seismic surveys, can help oil and gas companies reduce exploration risk and improve drilling success rates.
EM survey technologies currently in use offshore use an electric dipole antenna (source) towed behind a vessel. The electric and magnetic fields - either natural or subsequently induced in the subsurface - are measured and recorded by an array of receivers. To date, these receivers have usually been deployed on the seafloor then retrieved to process the measurements. Tests are currently being conducted to commercialize a system that tows the receivers underwater behind the vessel, similar to the method used in most marine seismic surveys.
The goal of the EIA was to provide a comprehensive resource summarizing available literature and potential effects of EM technologies on marine life. Designed for a broad audience, the document provides a basic description of EM survey technologies, naturally-occurring EM fields, and the potential use of these fields by diverse animal groups.
The assessment focuses on survey activities considered to have at least some potential to affect marine animals, such as EM, noise, light emissions, and accidental events.
The EIA concluded that EM sources as presently used have no potential for significant effects on animal groups such as fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals. In addition, cumulative effects from EM surveys are negligible compared to natural EM anomalies, induced fields from natural water currents, and anthropogenic EM sources such as those originating from undersea equipment.
Source: Rigzone

••• 10.11.11  Nido Petroleum announced the commencement of 2D seismic operations in SC 54B.
Nido Petroleum Philippines, as Operator of Service Contract 54B (SC 54B), reported the commencement of 2D seismic operations in SC 54B. NDO's partners in SC 54B are Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. ('SPEX') and Yilgarn Petroleum Philippines Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Kairiki Energy Ltd).
The 2D seismic program will comprise approximately 323 line kilometers of 2D seismic data over the large Pawikan Lead located in the central sector of SC 54B. The survey will be acquired by seismic vessel contractor Nordic Maritime Pte Ltd using the 2D seismic vessel MV Nordic Energy.
Pre-survey operations commenced on October 30, 2011 with the deployment into the survey area of the MV 'Eagle V' to acquire a high resolution bathymetry survey ahead of the main seismic acquisition phase. The bathymetry work was completed on November 7, 2011. Seismic acquisition is scheduled to commence around November 25, 2011. The seismic survey will take approximately five days to acquire.
The Pawikan Lead lies 30 km to the south of the non-commercial Gindara-1 gas and oil discovery well which was drilled by the SC 54B Joint Venture earlier this year. The Gindara-1 well encountered a 144 meter gas column underlain by a 43 meter oil-leg in low porosity carbonates of the Nido Limestone Formation based on electric log interpretation.
The Pawikan Lead is a large inversion structure about 56sq km in size that is on trend with the Gindara-1 well and Malampaya gas field located 60km to the north in adjacent SC 38 which is operated by SPEX (refer attached map). The structure is also located 10km to the south-west of the producing Nido oil field in adjacent SC 14A and the undeveloped Nido 1X1 and Yakal-1 oil discoveries.
An independent Prospective Resource assessment of the Pawikan Lead undertaken by DeGolyer and MacNaughton1 for Nido estimates that the Pawikan Lead could potentially contain about 2 billion barrels of oil in place (gross, unrisked mean volume). The objective of the survey is to confirm the presence of a viable prospect for possible future drilling.
Source: Nido Petroleum

••• 10.11.11  Total and Statoil in Shtokman tax call.
French giant Total and Norway's state-owned Statoil have sounded an urgent call for clarity on a tax regime for the Shtokman offshore natural gas field in the Barents Sea, in order to meet a deadline for a final investment decision by the end of the year.
"Urgent action is needed to resolve these critical issues, otherwise the future of the project is jeopardized," Tim Dodson, Statoil executive vice president for exploration and production, said at the Global Energy Intelligence day in Moscow.
The Russian government has still to grant tax breaks for Shtokman, which has Gazprom as controlling shareholder and Total and Statoil as minority partners.
"We hear lots of good things from the government. Well, we're ready to get the message not only in words, but in facts," Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie was quoted as saying by Dow Jones.
The project has been delayed on two occasions. Shareholders are due to make a final investment decision by the end of the year.
"In order to make the project economical viable and to move it forward, improved fiscal terms and fair and reasonable commercial terms for use of infrastructure by the foreign partners are required," Dodson said.
Russian officials have said Shtokman shareholders have still to submit the necessary documentation in order to grant them tax breaks. "If not, we will have to do it," de Margerie said when asked about submitting needed documentation. "We need now to move quickly."
Source: Upstream

••• 08.11.11  Gazprom: Shtokman construction will start in 2012.
Construction of the onshore infrastructure for the Shtokman gas field will start in Teriberka in 2012, says General Director of Gazprom Dobycha Shelf Gennady Gavrilin. Tenders for drilling platforms will also be opened early next year.
While Norwegian Shtokman partner Statoil is impatiently waiting for a Russian government guarantee of tax breaks for the Shtokman project before making a final investment decision, Russian partners are more than ready to start construction and still believe that the first gas will come in 2016.
As soon as the shareholders in Shtokman Development make a final investment decision, which is expected in December, Gazprom daughter company Gazprom Dobycha Shelf will start construction of harbor facilities and communication lines in Teriberka.
Gazprom Dobycha also plans to post a tender for projecting of ice-classed platforms for Shtokman in the first quarter of 2012. The platforms have to be able to bear the harsh climatic conditions in the Barents Sea for 50 years.
Source: BarentsObserver

••• 06.11.11  UK marks 25 years since Brent tragedy.
Sunday marks 25 years since 45 men died when the Chinook helicopter carrying them home from the Brent field crashed into the sea off Sumburgh in the Shetlands.
Apart from the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster, in which 167 died, the crash remains the largest loss of life in one incident suffered by the UK oil and gas industry.
The British International Helicopters' Boeing 234LR Chinook helicopter with 47 on board fell into the sea off Sumburgh after suffering a catastrophic forward transmission failure that desynchronised its twin rotors, causing them to collide . Two men survived and were rescued by a coastguard helicopter.
Source: Oilnews

••• 04.11.11  Call for armed guards on UK flagged ships.
InterManager (an active member of the Save our Seafarers (SOS) campaign) is, after months of campaigning, delighted to hear the public vilification of piracy issued by the UK Government.
The SOS campaign has strived to bring recognition of the horrific and detrimental effect of Somali piracy to both Governmental and public awareness.
Alastair Evitt, President of InterManager, said that it was a quantum leap in public perception to hear the issue of piracy and merchant shipping addressed by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron so openly and frankly. Mr Cameron told the BBC yesterday: "Somali piracy is a complete stain on our world."
InterManager has campaigned for the freedom of Owners and Managers to choose to deploy armed guards onboard ships they manage. The UK Government's recognition of the value of armed guards and the right of the owner and manager to deploy them, in the right circumstances and in accordance with BMP4, is a great lead by the UK government and it is InterManager's firm belief that this stance should be adopted by all flags and charterers that still do not openly support it.
InterManager re-iterates its position that it is not calling for every vessel to have armed guards onboard, rather that when a detailed risk assessment deems this the preferred option, then individual flag state legislation or charter party clauses should not obstruct Owners and/or Managers in taking this decision.
InterManager further supports ongoing initiatives to licence the companies providing armed guards (based on qualification, competence and experience), to define the rules of engagement in the event of a pirate attack and to control the type and flow of weapons deployed both onboard and while in transit to and from vessels.
Source: Maritime & Energy

••• 03.11.11  Dolphin exercises option to charter high capacity 3D seismic vessel M/V Polar Duchess for a period of three years.
Dolphin Group ASA announced that it has formally exercised this option and will charter M/V Polar Duchess from Armada Seismic ASA for an initial firm period of 3 years. Dolphin can further extend the Charter by one extension period of 8 years, or two extension periods of 4 years each. The M/V Polar Duchess is expected to be taken on full charter in early April 2012 and be in operation during April 2012.
M/V Polar Duchess is a modern high-capacity 3D seismic vessel, with a towing capacity of 14 seismic cables and has been designed with strong focus on safety, optimised towing and a maximum speed of 20 knots. M/V Polar Duchess will be a sister ship to Polar Duke, which has performed flawlessly since she was launched in May 2011. The new Vessel is part of Dolphin's original company expansion plan.
Dolphin will be responsible for the seismic equipment investment of approximately USD 55 million dollars and the technical seismic design and outfitting, which will be performed during first quarter of 2012. Dolphin has previously raised equity capital for the project and is finalising additional external financing for the seismic equipment.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 02.11.11  Shell prepares for start of Offshore Alaska Drilling.
Royal Dutch Shell is currently deploying some workers and infrastructure in Alaska to start drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic next summer as the oil giant is "optimistic" that new legal challenges won't derail an exploration plan on which it has spent $4 billion, a senior executive said.
"We are already spending money building resources, putting people in place to be ready to drill in the summer of 2012," Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co., the U.S. unit of the Anglo-Dutch giant, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview. "Because the buildup time to have all the resources on time, it's a fairly long runway we have to start working now to be ready next summer. Spending is going to ramp up after the end of year, in the first months of next year."
The remarks came after some environmental groups filed this month a formal challenge to air-quality permits that Shell needs to drill in the Arctic. The permits under question were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September and they allow Shell to use the drillship "Discoverer" and a fleet of icebreakers and other vessels in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. In September, other environmental groups also sued the Interior Department for approving the company's exploration proposal for the Beaufort.
"We expect legal challenges every step of the way. But we are cautiously optimistic that we will be in a position to drill next year," Odum said.
Source: Rigzone

••• 01.11.11  ION acquires additional Seismic Data Offshore Northeast Greenland.
ION Geophysical announced that it has acquired an additional 5,200 km of regional seismic data from offshore Northeast Greenland, bringing the total kilometers the company has acquired in the region over the last two seasons to nearly 18,000.
The Arctic is one of the least explored, most prospective regions in the world, containing an estimated one-quarter of the earth’s undiscovered hydrocarbons, including an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil and 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The successful acquisition, during an extremely challenging ice year, was further validation of the company’s proprietary, purpose-designed marine streamer technology that enables data acquisition in the presence of ice. This technology, coupled with ION's Arctic program management expertise, again enabled the company to acquire data further north and in the presence of heavier ice than had been previously possible, at the same time mitigating HSE risk and reducing cycle time.
In addition to its Northeast Greenland survey, ION was also engaged during the summer season in the 2011 Arctic Expedition at the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Russian Federation. The survey was performed by order of the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency, under the guidance of the State Research Navigation and Hydrographic Institute, in support of submission of Russia to the U.N. for extension of the limits of the continental shelf. Seismic data (approximately 6,000 km) was acquired over 57 days, culminating in the acquisition of data at a distance of less than 300 km of the North Pole.
Joe Gagliardi, ION's Arctic Solutions and Technology Director, commented, "This extension to our Greenland regional program and our acquisition in the Russian High Arctic served as further validation of the value of our proprietary Arctic acquisition technology. Together, this data provides the sponsoring entities with an understanding of the relationships among micro basins in the area, which they can use to more effectively assess the Arctic's hydrocarbon potential, identify new opportunities, and mitigate exploration risk."
Source: ION

••• 31.10.11  Oceanic Sirius acquiring 3D BroadSeis Survey on Avaldsnes Field.
CGGVeritas announced that the first project for its recently launched Oceanic Sirius X-BOW® seismic vessel will be a 3D BroadSeis™ survey on the Avaldsnes field, potentially estimated to be the third largest oil discovery in Norway, on behalf of Lundin Petroleum.
The Oceanic Sirius joined the CGGVeritas fleet on 3rd October and is now starting acquisition of the 3D BroadSeis survey for Lundin. As one of the most advanced, high-capacity seismic vessels worldwide, the Oceanic Sirius is designed for superior acquisition data quality combined with the highest environmental standards and the minimum operational downtime. Her operational efficiency is expected to match if not exceed the outstanding seismic performance already shown by her sister ship, the Oceanic Vega.
BroadSeis, the new CGGVeritas broadband marine solution, was selected to improve the resolution and imaging of the field. The vessel will acquire BroadSeis data with Sercel Sentinel® solid streamers equipped with the Sercel Nautilus® streamer control device. DoveTailTM, a proprietary CGGVeritas acquisition and processing solution designed to achieve more regular sampling and to reduce infill, will also be deployed on this project.
Hans Christen Ronnevik, Exploration Manager of Lundin, said "An essential part of the Lundin exploration philosophy is to continuously learn and seek new understanding through new technology. Broadband technology represents a step-change in marine seismic acquisition. Based on very encouraging results from a 2D BroadSeis R&D test over the Luno Discovery that we conducted early this year, Lundin as an operator of the PL501 license, has chosen to proceed with 3D BroadSeis acquisition over the Avaldsnes Discovery."
Jean-Georges Malcor, CGGVeritas CEO, said: "The Oceanic Sirius acquiring BroadSeis data represents the best marine seismic that the industry can offer today, and the Avaldsnes field is a significant North Sea discovery which holds tremendous promise for the oil industry in Norway. We are very pleased to provide these highest-end capabilities to Lundin for this noteworthy project."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 31.10.11  Fugro awarded Mareano Survey Contract by the Norwegian Hydrographic Service.
Fugro OSAE GmbH has been awarded a € 2.3 million hydrographic survey contract by the Norwegian Hydrographic Service (NHS). The survey is part of the MAREANO project and will encompass an area over 12,000 sq.km in the Barents Sea.
The area is located 200 km offshore in the northern-most part of Norway, near the Russian border, in water depth down to 300 metres. As the North Atlantic current keeps the waters in this area open and navigable most of the year, the survey will be carried out in early 2012. Data will be acquired by the survey vessel Victor Hensen using the new, high resolution Kongsberg EM2040 multibeam echo sounder. Processing will take place onboard the vessel and at Fugro OSAE’s processing centre in Bremen, Germany.
MAREANO is Norway’s program to fill knowledge gaps related to seabed conditions and biodiversity along the northern Norwegian coast. The goal is to contribute to a better knowledge base for Resource Management, in particular for fishing and oil and gas exploitation. The acquisition of detailed and accurate bathymetry is an important first step in the collection of seafloor data.
Fugro OSAE has previously conducted surveys as a part of the MAREANO project area in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 as well as collecting high resolution bathymetry data for Norwegian electronic nautical charting (ENC).
Source: Fugro

••• 28.10.11  Eni Boosts Mozambique Discovery 50% to 22.5 Tcf.
Eni announced that the discovery of gas made in the exploratory prospectus of Mamba South 1, Area 4 offshore Mozambique, is about 50% larger than what announced by the Company on October 20th. During deepening of the well, it encountered a new separated pool that contains a potential of up to 7.5 Tcf of gas in place in clean sands from the Eocene age. The new sequence has about 90m of gross gas pay and has also been successfully cored.
The well will be now drilled to the total depth of about 5000 meters after which Eni will move to drill the second commitment well, Mamba North 1, located about 22km north of Mamba South 1 location.
It is expected that the unprecedented potential of Tertiary Play existing in area 4 will be further defined in the forthcoming appraisal campaign.
Eni has already begun the front end activities to timely market the gas both internationally and locally.
Eni considers that this discovery can lead to a potential of up to 22.5 Tcf of gas in place in the Mamba South Area.
Eni is the operator of Offshore Area 4 with a 70-percent participating interest. Co-owners in the area are Galp Energia (10 percent), KOGAS (10 percent) and ENH (10 percent, carried through the exploration phase).
Source: Rigzone

••• 27.10.11  UK and Norway sign energy pact.
UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and Norwegian counterpart Ola Borten Moe signed the cooperation agreement in London, according to a joint ministerial statement, to support industry in developing North Sea oil and gas resources using emissions-mitigating technologies.
Britain and Norway signed an energy pact on Tuesday aimed at expanding ties in renewable and fossil fuel energy sources, including carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies under threat after the UK government scrapped a flagship project last week.
"Our energy security is enhanced by close links with Scandinavia and Europe," UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry said.
"As North Sea neighbors, the UK has long enjoyed close and beneficial ties with Norway based on the development of oil and gas. And as renewables and CCS develop further, it is increasingly vital that we work closely in these areas too," Hendry said.
As part of the deal, Britain and Norway plan to coordinate long-term energy policies out to 2015 in a bid to meet ambitious emissions reduction targets, both sides said.
Both sides reiterated that Norwegian gas will underpin UK power generation for years to come, saying its use into the 2020s is consistent with UK emissions targets as CCS is rolled out.
Further points included the joint development of fields along the line separating the UK and Norwegian Continental Shelf, while accelerating development of resources and working to extend the lifespan of mature North Sea fields.
It promised to put power interconnectors between the UK and Norway back on the drawing board, further integrating the energy networks of the UK and its biggest foreign gas supplier.
Source: Maritime & Energy

••• 25.10.11  BP boss Bob Dudley said his company has reached a turning point and is now able to offer growth again.
Today's third quarter results saw BP report replacement cost profit for the third quarter at $5.1 billion compared with $1.847 bn for the third quarter 2010. And for the first nine months of this year the figure was at US $15.9 bn, compared with a $9.5 bn loss for the same nine-month period in 2010.
Last year's figures were hit by $40 bn of costs related to the Gulf of Mexico clean up operation after the Macondo well blowout and the Deepwater Horizon accident.
Dudley signalled that BP's divestments will be extended to $45 billion, adding another $15 billion of assets which are to be sold off by the end of 2013, on top of thee existing $30 bn divestment programme. This will include two US refineries and related marketing activities in the extended programme.
On the Gulf of Mexico, Dudley said: "BP was severely tested by the Deepwater Horizon accident. It is now over a year since the well was finally sealed and we have continued to respond with a strong sense of corporate responsibility. I believe we are living up to our commitments in the Gulf; learning, applying and sharing the lessons of the accident; restructuring BP and putting safety and risk management at the absolute heart of our operations." This will further de-risk the firm, Dudley said.
During this year Dudley said his company has settled all claims related to the Deepwater Horizon accident with its co-licensees in the MC252 Gulf of Mexico lease area Anadarko and Moex, and with Weatherford. Payments totalling $5.1 bn have been made into the Gulf of Mexico Trust Fund this year and all payments into that fund are due to completed by the end of next year.
But now Dudley is much more optimistic about the future for BP, saying: "We have now reached a definite turning point. Our operations are regaining momentum and we are facing the future with great confidence. I believe we will build on our strengths to substantially grow operating cash flows, allowing us to directly increase returns to shareholders as well as invest for future growth."
This year has been the best for a decade in gaining access to new exploration acreage, the BP chief executive pointed out, after the company acquired 67 new exploration licences in 11 countries.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 25.10.11  Premier Oil report the start of gas production from the Gajah Baru field in the Natuna Sea Block A in Indonesia.
Premier has achieved first gas after receiving ministerial consent to complete commissioning at an expected rate of up to 50 bbtud. In the meantime the previously announced gas swap documentation to deliver gas to domestic buyers is being completed. Premier has been requested by the Government of Indonesia to work towards completing this documentation this year. Thereby a further 40 bbtud of gas can be delivered to Indonesian gas buyers ahead of the planned pipeline on to Batam Island as well as to the committed supplies to Singapore buyers.
Premier, with a 28.67 percent equity stake, operates Natuna Sea Block A in the West Natuna Sea on behalf of its partners KUFPEC, Hess and Petronas.
Source: Scandoil

••• 24.10.11  Acquisition of 3D seismic data has been completed by Bahamas Petroleum as part of its ongoing exploration programme.
Preliminary results from the 3,075 square kilometres of data have indicated high quality information and Bahamas indicates that full processing results should be available early next year to allow the company to gain a better understanding of potential play-types from the Tertiary through to the Jurassic down to a depth of 6.097 metres (20,000 feet), and to help select potential drilling locations.
Data has been acquired by CGG Veritas over the four southernmost blocks in the company's portfolio after Bahamas raised GBP43.3 million to fund its technical exploration programme in the region, of which GBP23 m has been paid to CGG for the seismic acquisition programme.
Data acquisition was extended to allow inclusion of further areas which showed encouraging results, and good data quality, Bahamas said, while the work was also delayed due to a very active hurricane season it the region.
"Processing and interpretation of this data will refine and reinforce conclusions drawn from the initial 2D survey over the same area and allow the definition of individual structures which will be screened as targets for future drilling activities," said Bahamas chief executive Simon Potter.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 21.10.11  GC Rieber Shipping has signed a two year contract for its second subsea newbuild with the Mexican company Oceanografia.
The vessel, which will be named "Polar Queen", has recently been handed over from the Spanish shipyard Freire Shipyard, and the contract will start up in November. Three of the four vessels in the Company's newbuilding program are thus delivered and all of them are on hire. "With the whole fleet engaged, we are very well positioned going forward", says Irene Waage Basili, CEO of the company.
Oceanografia has more than forty years experience in offshore contracting and operates a substantial fleet of owned and chartered vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. "Polar Queen" will operate on a contract for the Mexican state oil company PEMEX.
"This is the first contract in the Gulf of Mexico for GC Rieber Shipping, and gives us presence in a new and growing market for us", says Basili.
"Polar Queen" is 110.6 meters long and has a a beam of 20 meters. She is equipped with a 150 ton offshore AHC crane, has accommodation capacity of 112 people and a deck area of 1000 square meters. The vessel is designed by Skipsteknisk and meets the latest environmental standards through the class designation "Clean Design".
With the delivery of the "Polar Queen", only one vessel remains in the company's ongoing newbuilding program, the seismic vessel yn 533. The seismic operator Dolphin Geophysical has an option to charter this vessel. "Implementation of our new building program and a diversified client portfolio puts us in a strong position to meet what we believe will become active and exciting years for the offshore industry", says Basili.
Source: GC Rieber Shipping

••• 21.10.11  Lundin Petroleum kicked off an advanced seismic survey.
Lundin Petroleum kicked off an advanced seismic survey of the Avaldsnes area in the quest for even more resources at the giant Norwegian find.
The 300 square-kilometre survey, being carried out by French contractor CGGVeritas using its proprietary BroadSeis technology, is intended to map further prospectivity in the south of Lundin-operated Production Licence 501.
BroadSeis uses variable depth streamers and low to high-resolution frequencies for high-resolution imaging to identify shallow features such as sedimentary traps.
Source: Upstream

••• 21.10.11  Eni announced a giant natural gas discovery Offshore Mozambique.
Eni announced a giant natural gas discovery at the Mamba South 1 prospect, in the Area 4 Offshore Mozambique. The discovery well encountered a total of 212 meters of continuous gas pay in high-quality Oligocene sands.
The Mamba South 1 discovery well is located in water depths of 1585 meters approximately 40 km off Cabo Delgado coast, in the Northern offshore of Mozambique. This is the first exploration well in Area 4. Results exceed pre-drill expectations and confirm the Rovuma Basin as a world-class natural gas province.
The well will be drilled to reach an expected total depth of around 5000 meters. After completion of drilling and testing activities, the rig will move to drill the second commitment well, Mamba North 1.
Eni considers that this impressive discovery can lead to at least 15 tcf of gas in place in the Mamba South Area where the potential of the Tertiary Play that exists in Area 4 will be further assessed under the present drilling.
The outstanding volume of natural gas discovered will lead to a large scale gas development with a combination of both export to regional and international markets through LNG and supply to the domestic market. This will support the industrial and economic growth of the Country.
The Mamba South discovery marks a new milestone for Eni since the resource potential assessed with the first exploration well makes it the largest operated discovery in the company's exploration history. The exploration success in Mozambique expands the leadership of Eni in Africa by opening a new eastern front of activities.
Eni is the operator of Offshore Area 4 with a 70-percent participating interest. Co-owners in the area are Galp Energia (10 percent), KOGAS (10 percent) and ENH (10 percent, carried through the exploration phase).
Source: Eni S.p.A.

••• 20.10.11  Polarcus enters into research collaboration project to reduce CO2 emissions.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company has entered into a research collaboration project with Cambridge Carbon Capture Ltd (CCC) in the United Kingdom to develop carbon mineralization technology. Such technology could potentially be used to reduce CO2 emissions from ships, including emissions from Polarcus’ fleet of 3D seismic vessels. As part of the agreement Polarcus and CCC have agreed to jointly fund a 3 year Ph.D. research program at the University of Sheffield. The program will operate under the "E-Futures Doctoral Training Centre" scheme operated at the university.
Dr. Robin Francis, CEO Cambridge Carbon Capture, commented: "We are delighted to be working with Polarcus, an acknowledged leader in reducing emissions from marine vessels. The collaboration will help us to further develop our carbon capture technologies for use in the marine and other sectors."
It is believed that the research project will make an important contribution to Polarcus’ goal of being the most environmentally responsible towed marine seismic service provider in the industry.
Source: Polarcus

••• 20.10.11  Spectrum have released details of more than 10,000 kilometres of 2D seismic data for the new Icelandic licencing round.
The data covers the Dreki/Jan Mayen Ridge area offshore the north-eastern coast of Iceland, within the acreage on offer from the country’s energy authorities.
The new licencing round, the second for the Icelandic continental shelf, opened on 3 October with applications due by 2 April next year.
The Jan Mayen Ridge and northern Dreki areas are believed to have potential for hydrocarbon accumulations due to their similarity to the hydrocarbon basins in Norway and East Greenland, Spectrum said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company says its datasets have identified pre-Tertiary basalt sequences (possibly Mesozoic) and a number of seismic anomalies indicating hydrocarbons may be present.
All the elements of a potential working hydrocarbon system have been identified within the area in both structural and stratigraphic play types, Spectrum said.
The seismic surveys date from 1985, 1988, 2001 and 2008 respectively, much of which was reprocessed in 2009 and some of which is currently being reprocessed.
Taken together, the seismic surveys will allow exploration players to assess the prospectivity across the region for early-stage evaluations of the hydrocarbon resource potential, Spectrum said.
The same area was the focus of the country’s unsuccessful first licensing round in 2009, which saw interested companies withdraw their bids, citing difficulties raising funds to explore in such a frontier area.
The National Energy Authority of Iceland is hopeful for success this time around, pointing out that "there is no danger of sea ice under present climatic conditions and wave heights are lower than off Norway’s west coast."
Source: Upstream

••• 19.10.11  Statoil enters Bakken and Three Forks oil plays through cash acquisition of Brigham Exploration Company.
Statoil ASA and Brigham Exploration Company announced that they have entered into a merger agreement for Statoil.
The total equity value is approximately USD 4.4 billion, reflecting an enterprise value of approximately USD 4.7 billion.
Brigham, based in Austin, Texas, has over 100 employees in Austin and North Dakota and a strong position in the attractive Bakken and Three Forks tight oil plays in the Williston Basin in North Dakota and Montana.
The Bakken and Three Forks formations are among the largest oil accumulations in the United States. Various sources have estimated the technically recoverable reserves to be in the range of 5-24 billion boe, over a 38,000 square kilometers area. The attractiveness of the Bakken and Three Forks plays has resulted in Statoil offering a 36% premium over the average trading price of Brigham stock for the last 30 days.
Source: Statoil

••• 18.10.11  Dolphin - new charter agreements.
Dolphin Group ASA announced that it will enter into an agreement with Sanco Shipping AS regarding a five year chartering agreement for Sanco Swift a 16 streamer seismic vessel currently under construction at Kleven Maritime, Norway, with delivery in June 2013.
As part of the agreement, Dolphin will acquire the streamer package to be installed on Sanco Swift, expected to have a total cost of approximately USD 55 million.
Dolphin also confirms that it will exercise the option to charter Polar Duchess from Rieber Shipping AS, with expected start of production in April 2012.
Dolphin sees a continued strong market for seismic services in Q4 2011 and going into 2012, and sees a strong demand from clients for its Multi-Client project in West Africa.
Source: Dolphin

••• 17.10.11  TGS Commences a Third Multi-client 3D Survey in Barents Sea in 2011.
TGS has commenced acquisition of a 3D multi-client survey covering 1,500 km(2) between the Finnmark Platform and Nordkapp Basin in the Barents Sea. The 150 km long survey follows the bended strike direction of the inverted margin between the two major structural elements in the region.
"We believe the survey will be instrumental in reducing trap risk on the narrow structural trend stretching east to the border of the previously disputed zone between Norway and Russia," commented Kjell Trommestad, Senior Vice President and General Director of Europe and Russia for TGS.
The new seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Polar Duke. The data will be processed by TGS and available to clients by Q2 2012.
The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 17.10.11  Local Seal Saved by WGP Marine Mammal Medic.
WGP employee Marilyn Botham was called out to rescue a seal stranded on the coastline near WGP’s main premises in Cornwall.
As part of WGP’s commitment to maintaining the local marine environment, nominated members of the team are trained as voluntary Marine Mammal Medics. When a stranded or distressed marine mammal is spotted by a member of the public a volunteer close to its location is contacted by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) to attend the scene.
"We had a call in from the BDMLR to assist in the rescue of a stranded 6 week old pup seal near Northcott Mouth. He was a very feisty pup with a poorly weeping eye and a few nips from seal bulls, he was in distress and needed urgent care. After a period of calming him down we were able to handle him into a seal carry bag to move him to the car park, he was then put in a carry cage for his journey to Gweek Sanctuary.
A big thank you to some onlookers who provided us with watering cans full of water so we were able to hydrate the seal for his journey. I have since found out he has been named Buffy the Vampire Slayer! I will keep in touch with the Sanctuary for an update of his condition", - Marilyn Botham, WGP Accounts Manager.
Seal season in the UK is from October to early January so WGP have their equipment and personnel ready for any future call outs.
Source: WGP

••• 14.10.11  RXT Refocuses OBC Strategy with Strengthened Management Team.
Norwegian company Reservoir Exploration Technology (RXT) announces that it is refocusing its ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic operations to meet expected demand for its services in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and most of West Africa, and has made two senior management appointments to lead the process.
The company has announced the appointment of Kim Gunn Maver as vice president of sales and marketing, and Fredd Causevic as vice president of business development, both based in the company’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway.
The new strategy follows RXT’s successful formation of GeoRXT, a joint venture with the major Brazilian oil and gas services company Georadar. Under the agreement, in which Georadar has a 55% holding, the joint venture will have exclusive marketing rights in the highly prospective Brazilian offshore, as well as the rest of South America, Angola, and some areas of the Middle East.
Kim Gunn Maver joins RXT from Schlumberger where his positions include vice president of reservoir seismic services. He was managing director of Odegaard, the Danish seismic reservoir characterization company until it was acquired by Schlumberger in 2006. He holds a PhD in geology and an executive MBA.
Fredd Causevic came to RXT last year as senior sales manager. Previous senior management positions include managing director, Northern Europe for Thorn EMI, and president and CEO at both Otrum and the Impact Europe Group. He holds degrees in business administration and marketing.
Source: Scandoil

••• 13.10.11  Dolphin Geophysical renews agreement for Polar Explorer.
Seismic operator Dolphin Geophysical has extended a charter party regarding the seismic vessel Polar Explorer for 12 months, starting from January 2012.
The vessel is a 2D/ice class seismic ship that was rebuilt in 2004.
"The agreement ensures continued high employment and good balance for our fleet, substantiating the positive guidance we have given for the company's development," said the company's CEO Irene Basili.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 12.10.11  CGGVeritas provided its vessel utilization and its fleet allocation updates for the third quarter of 2011.
Vessel utilization for the third quarter 2011:
- The vessel availability rate was 91% including initial shipyard of the Champion for upgrades as part of our performance program. This compares to a 92% availability rate in the second quarter of 2011 and a 87% rate in the third quarter of 2010.
- The vessel production rate was 93%. This compares to a 85% production rate in the second quarter of 2011 and a 87% rate in the third quarter of 2010.
Fleet allocation update for the third quarter 2011:
- During the third quarter of 2011 3D vessels were allocated 88% to contract and 12% to multi-client programs.
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 11.10.11  TGS announced new 3D Multi-client Seismic Survey Offshore Northwest Australia.
TGS will commence acquisition of a new 3D multi-client seismic survey in November 2011 which covers 9,700 km2 over the Exmouth Plateau in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore NW Australia. The survey area is adjacent to existing large gas discoveries and covers newly available acreage in blocks WA-364-P, WA-365-P and WA-367-P.
"Regulatory changes in Australia make this market more attractive for multi-client investment and TGS is excited to acquire seismic data in this new market, an area where industry believes there is high exploration potential. This Australia 3D project is consistent with our strategic plan and represents a new milestone of growth for TGS in a promising region," commented Rod Starr, Senior VP Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific for TGS.
The seismic data will be acquired by the M/V Viking Vision and will be complete in Q1 2012. A fast track volume will be available to the industry in Q2 2012 with final data available for the full survey in Q1 2013. The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 10.10.11  Providence completes seismic study Offshore Ireland.
Providence Resources has completed a seismic inversion study over the Dragon gas discovery in the St George's Channel Basin, offshore south east Ireland. The Dragon structure is partly situated in Standard Exploration Licence (SEL) 1/07 which lies in c. 100 metre water depth and is located c. 40 km offshore Ireland. The Dragon structure extends across the Ireland/UK median line into UK block 103/1 where the 103/1-1 discovery well was drilled by Marathon Oil in 1994. Providence operates SEL 1/07 (100%) and has applied for UK block 103/1as part of a recent UK Government "out of round" process.
Previous work on Dragon has suggested in place resources of up to c. 100 BSCF with a c. 25:75 split between Ireland and the UK. A recently completed Dragon study, which was carried out by IKON Geoscience, involved the modeling of historical well and seismic data using the latest available technology. This study has determined that the presence of the Dragon gas bearing reservoir sands may be directly detectable from the 3D seismic data. Revised mapping using these inverted seismic data indicates that the Dragon gas accumulation may extend further into Irish waters than had been previously been mapped, with a potential resource base of up to c. 300 BSCF and a c. 75:25 resource split between Ireland and the UK. Additional reprocessing of the 3D seismic data has now commenced as part of the planning of an appraisal well to be drilled in 2012.
Source: Scandoil

••• 07.10.11  PRIMAR signs ENC distributor agreement with NAVTOR.
Newly-established e-navigation company, NAVTOR, has signed a distribution agreement with PRIMAR for the supply of official electronic charts (ENC) for the global professional maritime market. NAVTOR is a part of the Stavanger-based company, Smedvig.
As carriage requirements for ENCs move towards an official IMO mandate, Smedvig saw the opportunity to establish an e-navigation company to provide electronic navigation services for the distribution and updating of electronic charts and related maritime information. In Egersund, a coastal town south of Stavanger well known for its maritime electronic industry, Smedvig established NAVTOR together with experienced personnel from the maritime industry, all with extensive experience in electronic chart production and distribution.
The ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) will be the central navigation console aboard ships once the IMO mandate comes into force from July 2012. ECDIS manufacturers, data and information providers will meet the growing demand from the maritime industry and NAVTOR will join forces with these players to jointly develop and supply a fully automated cost-effective, user-friendly electronic maritime navigation services.
PRIMAR is an international cooperation for the provision of a consistent and reliable Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) service. PRIMAR is a worldwide ENC service operated by the Norwegian Hydrographic Service (NHS) on a non-profit basis. Its core aim is to provide the maritime community, through authorized distributors, with an ENC service recognized for its quality, user-friendliness and overall contribution to marine safety and efficiency at a global level.
Source: Navtor

••• 06.10.11  Searcher’s ever expanding 3D seismic database.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd announced the completion of the Phase 2 southern extension to the Barrow Ultracube (project partner Fugro Multi Client Services) and the completion of the Canning TQ3D PSTM reprocessing project (project partner Geotrace). These two PSTM reprocessed 3D cubes are new additions to the ever expanding 3D seismic data library on offer at Searcher and bring the total Australian 3D data library to over 30,000 km2.
The Canning TQ3D PSTM reprocessed cube has illustrated significant uplift in seismic imaging as well as the reprocessing incorporating an additional 1 second of data for deeper exploration. The PSTM cube is currently being interpreted at ISIS Petroleum and is designed for rapid evaluation of the 2011 acreage release block W11-9, available now for licensing with estimated delivery date of mid November 2011.
The Ultracube concept which involves reprocessing multiple vintage 3D surveys from field tape into a regionally consistent high quality PSTM volume has been well received by the Australian market and is a flagship product for Searcher. The benefits of improved data quality combined with additional products such as angles stacks and gathers allows the data to be used both for regional studies and for new venture opportunities.
The Barrow Ultracube now in its third phase of expansion totals some 17,000 km2 and offers regionally consistent high quality data coverage over some of Australia’s largest development projects such as Gorgon and Wheatstone as well as extended coverage over open acreage that is likely to be offered for bidding in future federal acreage releases. Linking these known discoveries to exploration areas is a key benefit of the Ultacube concept.
Following success from the Barrow project the Ultracube concept has recently been expanded to the Browse Basin with some 9,000 km2 currently undergoing reprocessing (Project Partner Fugro Multi Client Services).
The Ultracube projects are well supported by industry funding which has allowed Searcher to amass the largest non-exclusive 3D PSTM reprocessed database in Australia.
Source: Searcher Seismic

••• 06.10.11  ULSTEIN delivers seismic research vessel Oceanic Sirius.
Oceanic Sirius is designed and built in accordance with strict environmental standards and equipped with state-of-the-art technology for advanced seismic research operations. She is owned by a joint venture between Eidesvik and CGGVeritas.
The vessel was named in a ceremony in Ulsteinvik on 1 October. Oceanic Sirius is sister vessel to the Oceanic Vega, delivered by ULSTEIN in July 2010.
Oceanic Sirius is the second of two vessels of the SX120 type designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions. She is a powerful seismic research vessel with a dynamic towing force of 140 tons. The vessel is ideally suited for acquisition of large 3D, 4D or high-resolution projects. The vessel's 20 streamer winches are each capable of spooling 9 kilometres of streamers. Carrying an ICE-C classification, the Oceanic Sirius can operate in new frontier areas.
Source: Maritime & Energy

••• 05.10.11  Chevron unveils World's Largest Solar Enhanced-Oil-Recovery Project.
Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A., launched a unique demonstration project to test the viability of using solar energy to produce oil. The project uses over 7,600 mirrors to focus the sun's energy onto a solar boiler. The steam produced is injected into oil reservoirs to increase oil production. The project is the largest of its kind in the world.
"Through this demonstration, we want to determine the feasibility of using solar power for enhanced oil recovery," said Desmond King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures. "This technology has the potential to augment gas-powered steam generation and may provide an additional resource in areas of the world where natural gas is expensive or not readily available."
One of America's oldest oil fields, the Coalinga Field began operations in the 1890s. Because the heavy crude oil produced at the field does not flow readily, it is more difficult to extract than lighter grades of crude.
Chevron enhances oil production from the Coalinga Field by injecting steam to heat the crude, thereby reducing its viscosity and making it easier to produce. This steam is currently generated by burning natural gas. The solar-to-steam project will supplement the gas-fired steam generators and help determine the commercial viability of using heat from the sun instead of natural gas to generate steam.
Throughout the course of the day, more than 7,600 mirrors track the sun and reflect its rays to a receiver positioned on a solar tower. Using heat from the concentrated sunlight, the solar tower system produces steam that is distributed throughout the oil field and then injected underground for enhanced oil recovery. The solar demonstration generates about the same amount of steam as one gas-fired steam generator.
"Our region has a long history of pioneering innovative technologies," said Bruce Johnson, vice president of Chevron's San Joaquin Valley business unit. "The work we are doing at Coalinga continues that tradition, enabling us to examine a new technology that could have significant implications for heavy-oil production."
Chevron contracted BrightSource Energy, Inc., as the technology provider and for engineering, procurement and construction. The project will be operated by Chevron Technology Ventures.
Source: Rigzone

••• 04.10.11  SBX - Contemplated sale of the OBN business to Fugro.
SeaBird Exploration PLC has entered into an LOI with Fugro Norway AS ("Fugro") to sell its OBN business to Fugro. The main terms of theLOI are:
- Acquisition of SeaBird Technologies AS and Seabed Navigation Co Ltd which collectively holds all of SeaBird's rights and assets related to the Ocean Bottom Node ("OBN") business. The agreed acquisition price is USD 125 million on a cash and debt-free basis.
- A time charter arrangement where Fugro will charter the 2D/source vessel Munin Explorer for a firm period of 3 years. Furthermore, Fugro will time charter another vessel for a firm period of 1 year, plus 1 year plus 1 year in charterers option. The contract value of the firm part of these two contracts will be in the range of USD ~75 million.
- The parties shall agree on a management agreement for services to be provided by SeaBird, including crew and other services required to operate the OBN business during a transition period.
- Fugro has as a part of the contemplated transaction already acquired 11% of SeaBird Technologies AS and Seabed Navigation Co Ltd to improve the liquidity situation of SeaBird. This purchase price shall be deducted from the total purchase price for 100% of the two companies at closing. In the event that LOI does not lead to transaction, SeaBird is obligated to reacquire the shares at the same price and conditions. As security for a possible claim arising if SeaBird is not able to purchase the shares back, Fugro will be granted a second priority pledge on the remaining 89 % of the shares in both said companies. Fugro has been granted exclusivity until the earliest of 15 November 2011 and the signing of the transaction, which is planned for 30 October 2011.
The transaction remains subject to a confirmatory due diligence, finalising details and agreement of definitive documentation. SeaBird is, and will after the contemplated transaction still be in breach of its loan agreements and will continue the dialog with key stakeholders to find longer term solutions.
Tim Isden, SeaBird's chief executive officer, commented: "We are pleased to have agreed the terms of this LOI with Fugro and look forward to its final conclusion in 4 to 5 weeks. This is the first step in a process designed to cure the financial situation, stabilize the Company and allow us to bring value back to stakeholders. That has been and still is our intention, and is what we will concentrate on for the years to come. SeaBird has an excellent record in the 2D and smaller streamer configuration 3D market, and we will seek to capitalize on our position. We will remain very proud of the safety and performance track record we have established in this fast growing OBN market, and the client satisfaction on our surveys."
Source: SeaBird

••• 02.10.11  PGS - Regarding Seabird.
As a part of the ongoing restructuring process in Sea Bird ASA , PGS has decided to withdraw its two members of the Board of Directors in the company, in order to avoid any speculation related to conflict of interest in the upcoming decisions that will be put forward to the Board in SeaBird as a part of the ongoing restructuring of the company. The withdrawal will take effect immediately.
In January 2011, PGS and Seabird signed a strategic cooperation agreement to further develop ocean bottom node solutions for deep water. The intention of the agreement was to further strengthen each of the two companies leading positions in the reservoir monitoring market.
As a part of the agreement, SeaBird secured a five year convertible loan of NOK 240 million from PGS. (Ref. press release of 27 January 2011).
Source: PGS

••• 30.09.11  Polarcus achieves significant transit savings via the Northern Sea Route.
Polarcus Limited announced that the Company’s ultra-modern 12-streamer 3D seismic vessel POLARCUS ALIMA has achieved a significant first in the seismic industry, having successfully transited to Asia-Pacific via the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Her passage commenced on 15 September from Hammerfest in Norway after completion of seismic operations in the Barents Sea, taking her on a 3,000 nautical mile route along the northern coast of Russia to Cape Dezhnev in the Bering Straits.
The voyage was completed in just nine days. After passing the Bering Straits on 24 September POLARCUS ALIMA is presently continuing her onward passage to New Zealand to commence operations expected to run for up to 7 months in total. The voyage was made possible in part due to the vessel’s Arctic-ready capabilities, a unique feature of the Polarcus fleet in the seismic industry. Under the Russian Federation’s 1990 Regulations for Navigation on the Seaways of the Northern Sea Route, vessels making the passage are required to hold an ICE-1A or higher ice class.
The expected time savings in transit between Norway and New Zealand compared to the traditional route through the Panama Canal amounts to some eight days. The savings versus the Suez Canal, a necessity for some larger seismic vessels, amounts to thirteen days. The passage via the NSR therefore presents significant time-related benefits for Polarcus and its clients.
This is the first known passage of a 3D seismic vessel along the Northern Sea Route. Preparations for the voyage were carried out in close cooperation with Tschudi Arctic Transit AS through its Russian - Norwegian JV company Arctic Bulk AG, Atomflot, and the Northern Sea Route Administration in Moscow.
Commenting on the successful transit Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus, said: "The successful navigation of Polarcus Alima along the Northern Sea Route has been achieved through the dedication and hard work of our in-house operations personnel, the Northern Sea Route Administration, and our crew onboard the seismic vessel. The result of this outstanding teamwork has been to achieve significant savings in fuel, emissions, and most significantly time during a milestone transit that effectively provides Polarcus a viable new sea bridge between two important operational markets."
Source: Polarcus

••• 30.09.11  TGS received Gulf of Mexico Seismic Permit.
TGS announced receipt of a seismic permit from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulations and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to acquire 3D Wide Azimuth (WAZ) data in the Gulf of Mexico. This project is expected to be part of the 2012 investment plan.
Source: TGS

••• 29.09.11  ICS expresses appreciation for the efforts of IMO Member States and military navies to protect merchant ships and their crews from Somali pirates, but is deeply concerned that little real progress is being made towards developing any radical new strategy that will deliver immediate results.
To mark the occasion of IMO World Maritime Day and this year’s chosen theme, the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents 80% of the world merchant fleet, has produced a special brochure.
The brochure is intended to reiterate the urgent need for governments to do more to protect merchant shipping from being attacked by Somali pirates, with over 3,000 seafarers having so far been held hostage for ransom, and up to 60 having lost their lives.
The ICS brochure explains that the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency responsible for safety of life at sea, has had a pivotal role in orchestrating the response of the international community to the scourge of piracy, which is the theme of IMO World Maritime Day 2011. In co-operation with the shipping industry, IMO has been instrumental in bringing the seriousness of the crisis to the attention of the UN Security Council. However, the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean has continued to spiral out of control.
ICS expresses appreciation for the efforts of IMO Member States and military navies to protect merchant ships and their crews from Somali pirates, but is deeply concerned that little real progress is being made towards developing any radical new strategy that will deliver immediate results.
It also recognises that the long-term solution will have to be found within Somalia itself, supported by practical measures such as the establishment of a local coast guard. But the industry seems to be faced with the utter frustration of an increasing number of attacks for the foreseeable future.
The international community depends on ships to transport trade and keep the world economy moving, and the eradication of piracy is the responsibility of governments, as stipulated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, in the face of governments’ seeming impotence, says ICS, the shipping industry will be forced to look at all possible options, including alternative routes, which could have a very dramatic effect on transport costs and delivery times.
Piracy is already estimated to cost the global economy US$12 billion a year. If increasing numbers of ships decide to divert around the Cape of Good Hope, this will almost certainly have a major impact on inventories and costs throughout the whole supply chain. It could also greatly damage the economies of Africa and the Middle East at this politically delicate time.
However, ICS says that the principal concern of the shipping industry is humanitarian. It is simply unacceptable that seafarers have been killed, while thousands more have been held captive for months at a time.
The brochure is being distributed via ICS member national shipowners’ associations, but can be downloaded at www.ics-shipping.org.
Source: ICS

••• 28.09.11  CGGVeritas completed 3D survey for Chevron Norge.
CGGVeritas has completed acquisition of a 3D survey with BroadSeisTM, its unique broadband marine solution, for Chevron Norge AS.
The minimum commitment for the program comprised acquisition of a 3D survey over a 2,190 km2 area west of Bodo in the Norwegian Sea. Due to good progress the program was extended to 2,805 km2. In addition, part of the survey was acquired in wide-azimuth (WAZ) mode, making it the first commercial BroadSeis WAZ project. The survey was acquired ahead of schedule by the recently upgraded CGGVeritas vessel Oceanic Endeavour.
Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO of CGGVeritas, said, "We are very pleased that Chevron has selected our BroadSeis broadband marine solution for their exploration in the deep waters of the Norwegian Sea. This contract offered an excellent opportunity for CGGVeritas to demonstrate the value of the technology relative to sub-volcanic imaging in the sub-basalt areas which predominates in the western part of the Norwegian Sea."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 27.09.11  TGS announced second expansion of 3D Multi-client Seismic Data Library in Sierra Leone.
TGS has commenced the acquisition of a new multi-client 3D seismic survey offshore Sierra Leone. This survey marks over ten years of investment for TGS in the West African region and will add 1,038 km2 to the existing TGS data library. Upon completion, TGS will have over 6,200 km2 of contiguous multi-client 3D data offshore Sierra Leone. The new 3D seismic will provide important data for continued exploration on the Sierra Leone segment of the West Africa Transform Margin, where recent discoveries have established that a working hydrocarbon system exists.
The seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Geo Carribean and is scheduled to complete during Q4 2011. Data processing will be performed by TGS and data will be available to clients in Q1 2012.
The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 27.09.11  Vestdavit to supply extra-long outreach seismic multipurpose davits.
Norway-based boat handling system and specialised davit supplier Vestdavit has been contracted by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry on behalf of Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) to design and supply extra-long outreach workboat/lifeboat/FRC davits for PGS’s 5th generation Ramform new building seismic vessels.
The two davits for each of the two vessels building at Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Japan for 2013 delivery will have an extra-long outswing to be capable of launching and recovering 20 man tender boats safely in seas states 5–6.
Vestdavit has designed a special Vestdavit H–10000S dual point hydraulic davit with a dual winch system for the application.
Atle Kalve, development manager, Vestdavit, says, "These davits will make deployment and retrieval safer for PGS’ crews. The tender boats will normally be used in relatively calm sea states, but are constructed to handle safely even in sea state 6, and these davits will recover them safely in those seas."
The boats and davits also have the function as lifeboats and Fast Rescue Craft in an emergency.
A key benefit of these davits is the simplicity of use, which reduces crew training needs. They are also extremely robust and will work a long time on station without servicing.
The characteristic Ramform design seismic survey vessel has only a short flat parallel ship side for the boat to lie against. To overcome this Vestdavit will supply a painter boom travelling 12 metres, the longest ever supplied by Vestdavit. Both boom and davits are computer controlled with inbuilt auto tension and shock absorption to allow the boat to launch and recover safely in high seas.
Kalve says, "These boats will be used daily at sea for personnel and crew changes and supply between the support vessel and the seismic vessel which will continue working. The seismic work boats which would normally be used for this sort of application do not have the capacity for 20 men. The combination boat on the Vestdavit davits can work as a Fast Rescue Craft with six crew, as a tender with 20 persons on board and as a lifeboat with a 40 person capacity.
Our dual point system is designed to fulfil all the different functions needed for this multi operation davit. The davit design delivers launch and recovery that will be both safe and quick in high sea states, which means less risk for the crew and more operational uptime for both the seismic vessel and the support craft."
Source: Scandoil

••• 26.09.11  TGS announced expansion of 2D Multi-client Seismic Data in Eastern Indonesia.
TGS has commenced a 2D multi-client seismic survey in offshore Eastern Indonesia immediately north of the Sunrise-Troubadour gas fields and to the west of the Abadi gas field. The 1,500 km survey, MHI11, will infill a seismic survey previously acquired in 2007 and an extensive multibeam data set in the area.
The previously acquired seismic data in the area has revealed a series of undrilled fault blocks and horsts from the Permian up to the Base Tertiary levels. This project will provide a final detailed grid of data and assist with evaluating the Sahul Platform and Timor Trough area where data indicates an active petroleum system.
TGS maintains the industry's largest multi-client data library in Indonesia. Upon completion of the MHI11 survey, the library will include 120,000 km of 2D seismic, 3,500 km2 of 3D seismic, 400,000 km of multibeam bathymetric data and 1,200 core samples covering over one million km2 of Indonesia's deep water basins.
The seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Aquila Explorer. Data processing will be performed by TGS and available to clients in Q4 2011.
The survey is supported by industry funding and also supports the Indonesian Governments overall objective to attract exploration.
Source: TGS

••• 26.09.11  WGP in Arctic Exploration.
Independent British geophysical contractor, WGP Exploration Limited, is currently assisting ION’s GeoVentures group with their on-going Arctic exploration programme. WGP provided the source array, recording office and source workshop components of the Thalassa owned Portable Modular Source System PMSS™ in addition to the technical crewing required for the 2011 seismic programme.
The vessel utilised for the operation was selected due to its ice-class and research capability. As a non-seismic vessel it was recognised at an early stage that a custom umbilical winch design would be required, a solution was quickly designed by WGP Engineering and subsequently installed under the supervision of the field crew. The PMSS’s BOLT Technology Annular Port Gun (APG) is ideally suited to the deployment methodology whereby conventional tow plates, spreader bars and external air and electrical lines are negated. The PMSS’s self-sufficient recording office and gun workshop were quick and easy to install providing instantaneous instrument and workshop facilities.
"The PMSS™ systems are initially designed and constructed to target the Permanent Reservoir Monitoring market, this sector has been slow to develop however once again with WGP’s innovative approach and the equipment flexibility we are delighted to provide a custom source solution to ION".
Source: WGP

••• 26.09.11  December has been signalled as the new date for a Final Investment Decision for the Shtokman development.
An official statement from Shtokman Development AG (SDAG) has confirmed the aim on its website and a Russian project executive has been cited as saying that December is the FID date during a conference in St Petersburg.
Timur Sabirzanov, head of the structural analysis and regulatory documents development department of Shtokman Development AG, was speaking at an offshore conference in St Petersburg where he was reported to have confirmed the Shtokman phase 1 FID in December.
Referring to Sabirzanov's appearance at the conference, a short, two line statement from Shtokman Development AG said: "He noted that the project cost assessment will be presented to the shareholders in October 2011. In December shareholders plan to adopt the Final Investment Decision. Gas production at the Shtokman project is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2016, the launch of the LNG plant - in the end of 2017."
Also recently SDAG has signed a co-operation agreement with Russian shipping group Sovcomflot which specialises in the transport of oil, oil products and LNG. the agreement SDAG and Sovcomflot have agreed to exchange information on fleet support services, and on environmentally safe marine transport patterns, transport of LNG and on operating of onshore logistics bases.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 26.09.11  Fugro to Commence AUV Survey at Browse LNG Development.
Fugro is shortly due to commence a deepwater AUV survey as part of the Woodside-operated Browse LNG Development.
Woodside has commissioned Fugro to undertake a detailed seabed mapping program, extending offshore from the proposed Central Processing Facility, that will provide high quality data to assist with the engineering process for the proposed subsea pipelines and other infrastructure as part of this major project.
Following the success of a similar such project off NW Australia in 2010 Fugro will utilize its Australian based survey vessel, the 75m Southern Supporter, and its regionally based Hugin 1000 AUV. The Hugin AUV is a proven deepwater survey platform enabling multibeam echo sounder, side scan sonar and sub bottom profiling data to be gathered in water depths to 3000m. Powered by lithium polymer batteries and with a survey endurance of up to 24 hours the vehicle is ideally suited to the requirements of this project.
Source: Rigzone

••• 23.09.11  Hyperdynamics awards $29.0 million 3D seismic contract to CGGVeritas.
Hyperdynamics Corporation has signed a 3D acquisition and processing contract with CGGVeritas to cover an area of approximately 4,000 square kilometers in its exploration block offshore Guinea. The value of the contract is approximately US $29.0 million gross.
The survey is expected to begin in late October 2011, using the survey vessel Oceanic Endeavour. The area of the 3D acquisition is just southwest and adjacent to one of the 3D surveys obtained by HDY in 2010. The major goal of the work is to investigate multiple possible deepwater submarine fans seen on a 2D survey acquired for Hyperdynamics in 2009. The new survey will use the CGGVeritas BroadSeis broadband solution, which will provide a clearer and more detailed image of the subsurface. After acquisition, the data will be processed by CGGVeritas, with completion of that work expected in the second half of 2012.
Ray Leonard, Hyperdynamics CEO, commented: "We're pleased to have signed this acquisition and processing contract with an industry leader such as CGGVeritas. We consider this next seismic campaign as a critical next phase of our exploration program, which will concentrate on the major new play in the equatorial Atlantic margin. Once the seismic data is interpreted, we expect to be able to identify targets for possible drilling in this trend."
Hyperdynamics operates the offshore Guinea concession with a 77 percent interest. Aberdeen-based Dana Petroleum has a 23 percent stake.
Source: Scandoil

••• 22.09.11  Enhanced functionality for eBird.
The eBird system for lateral, vertical and roll streamer control in marine seismic acquisition has received an advanced functionality upgrade that enables the simple replacement of wings for different operational applications.
Kongsberg Seatex has enhanced the eBird concept with the release of AcuWing for eBird - a solution for streamer position and shape determination.
AcuWing represents a novel approach to streamer positioning by adopting the latest technology within hydroacoustics to interchangeable eBird wings.
eBird’s connector-less solution enables AcuWing to quickly and easily replace any wing on a standard eBird and utilize the same power and communication lines.
Gard Ueland, President, Kongsberg Seatex, said the new technology for eBird further strengthens KONGSBERG’s presence in the seismic industry.
"We are pleased to present Kongsberg's acoustic positioning technology in eBird. We believe our customers will appreciate the flexibility and ease of use AcuWing brings to planning, operating and maintaining streamer spreads," he said.
"It also shows our commitment to developing new and valued solutions in close cooperation with our customers."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 22.09.11  CGGVeritas delivers advanced imaging of The Three Corners Extension 3D Wide-Azimuth Survey.
CGGVeritas has completed the processing of its Three Corners Extension Wide-Azimuth (WAZ) survey. The deliverables for the multi-client survey, located in the Western Gulf of Mexico, include Prestack Depth Migrated (PSDM) VTI RTM, Controlled Beam and Kirchhoff volumes.
The survey extends the original Three Corners WAZ program to over 600 blocks of coverage in the East Breaks and Alaminos Canyon planning areas. These new highest-quality images are now available well in advance of BOEMRE OCS Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 218 - the first lease sale in over a year.
Luc Schlumberger, Executive Vice President, Multi-Client & New Ventures, CGGVeritas, said: "The images of this advanced wide-azimuth survey provide a step-change in the clarity and detail of the historically difficult-to-image geology of the Alaminos Canyon Area. We are very encouraged by the first feedback from our clients which is very positive and they are pleased to be able to access this data well in advance of the upcoming lease sale."
Source: CGGVeritas

••• 21.09.11  BGP launches 3D seismic vessel BGP Prospector.
BGP has announced the launch of a 3D, 12 streamer seismic vessel BGP Prospector at Sekwang Heavy Industry in Korea.
"This vessel is built specifically for the high-end 3D marine seismic market with towing capacity of 12 streamers each at 8,000m long with 100m streamer separation", said BGP. "As BGP’s flagship seismic vessel, it is equipped with the latest sophisticated technologies to provide advanced 3D marine seismic services to the oil and gas industry worldwide. It will be in service very soon".
The vessel is a NVC 830 CD design with an overall length of 100m and breadth of 24m.
"As one of the new NVC series with typical endurance of 80 days plus a cruising speed of 15 knots, the vessel complies with the most stringent industry standards," said the company. "Furthermore, it is also one of the most environmentally friendly seismic vessels in the industry."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 20.09.11  Sovcomflot expands fleet with advanced seismic vessel.
A new seismic exploration vessel for Sovcomflot (SCF) Vyacheslav Tikhonov was formally named by the company.
The vessel is designed for geophysical exploration on the continental shelf of the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas, operating in harsh weather and ice conditions.
Immediately after the ceremony Vyacheslav Tikhonov started working under contract conducting seismic exploration work for the Tuapse Trough Project on behalf of OAO NK Rosneft and ExxonMobil. The ship will be operated jointly by SCF and OAO Sevmorneftegeofizika - one of the leading Russian seismic companies.
The two companies participated together in the tender by OAO Rosneft, for the implementation of marine seismic surveys on the continental shelf in the Black Sea, during 2011-2012.
Previously, SCF Group had acquired the ship under a five year bareboat charter agreement with Polarcus, one of the world’s leading companies specializing marine seismic exploration.
The high-tech X-bow 3D seismic exploration vessel was completed in August 2011, formerly POLARCUS SELMA, is the same class of vessel as POLARCUS SAMUR, an ultra-modern and Arctic-ready 3D seismic vessel of the ULSTEIN SX133 X-BOW design capable of towing both conventional and wide tow spreads. The vessel has an overall length of 84.2m and a beam of 17m.
Vyacheslav Tikhonov has a maximum speed of 17 knots and will be capable of deploying up to 8 streamers each of 6,000m length, or 6 streamers each of 8,000m length, with lateral streamer separations of between 25 and 200 meters.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 19.09.11  TGS has commenced a new 15,000 km multi-client 2D seismic survey offshore Namibia.
TGS considers this region to have significant exploration potential and is pleased to acquire new data that both complements and extends TGS' existing seismic coverage in the area. The survey grid covers open acreage and images the main prospective plays due for drilling in 2011/2012.
Offshore Namibia is significantly underexplored and has the potential to hold large oil and gas discoveries. The positive mix of play types in the TGS survey area include basin floor turbidites, slope fans and channels, significant syn-rift structures and plays similar to those offshore Angola. Recent studies have also shown additional strong hydrocarbon indicators in significant structures.
The seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Northern Explorer. Data processing will be performed by TGS and data will be available to clients Q1 2012.
The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 16.09.11  Seismic 3D contract extension for the Polar Duke.
Dolphin Geophysical and TGS have entered into an agreement for the M/V Polar Duke to acquire 1,500 sq. km of 3D seismic data in the Barents Sea. The award follows Dolphin Geophysical successful Barents Sea operation to date for TGS. The extension will meet the increased demand for seismic data in the region.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 16.09.11  NPD completes seismic acquisition in Barents Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (NPD's) seismic acquisition in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea was completed around midnight on September 14.
The acquisition has been ongoing since July 8, after the new agreement regarding the demarcation line between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea was finally approved.
"This is the first time Norwegian petroleum authorities have carried out systematic data acquisition in this sea area," said Sissel Eriksen, the NPD's director responsible for exploration activity.
Some seismic data was acquired in the 1970s, but in accordance with the agreement with the Russians, there has been no petroleum activity here until this summer.
The seismic company PGS carried out a 2D acquisition on assignment from the NPD with the R/V Harrier Explorer vessel. 2D seismic entails that the vessel tows an 8100-meter long streamer. The seismic lines are collected in a 5 x 15 kilometer systematic grid. The NPD has used PGS' GeoStreamer technology for this assignment. This is new technology which is e.g. characterized by the streamer being towed somewhat deeper in the water than is the case with conventional acquisition. It can thus withstand greater wave heights and the acquisition becomes must less dependent on good weather, and subsequently more efficient.
The acquisition this summer has been very efficient. There has been minimal downtime due to inclement weather. In total, 11,400 line kilometers of seismic have been collected.
"This means that the seismic acquisition has gone according to our plans," said a satisfied Sissel Eriksen.
She points out that a very large sea area has now been mapped. The plan is to continue the acquisition next summer.
"We expect the area to be sufficiently mapped by then to formulate viewpoints on the potential resources in this new Norwegian area."
Source: NPD

••• 16.09.11  Cooper completes 3D acquisition program in the Hammamet offshore permit.
Cooper reported that the 300km2 3D acquisition program in the Hammamet Offshore Permit (COE 35%) has been completed on time, within budget and without incident.
Cooper also announced that the 600km2 3D acquisition program in the Nabeul Permit (COE 85% and Operator) has commenced, with the contracted vessels mobilizing from the Tunisian port of Sousse.
The 3D seismic acquisition program in the Hammamet Offshore Permit was located over the Tazerka oilfield and Kasserine Prospect areas.
he Nabeul Permit 3D seismic program is to be acquired over the western portion of the permit, adjacent to the Birsa and Oudna (producing) oilfields. The aim of the 3D program is to mature the Alpha, Gamma and Delta leads into drillable prospects. The program is expected to be completed in approximately 50 days.
The Nabeul Permit 3D is being acquired using the CGGVeritas BroadSeis technology, a new innovative solution for high-resolution marine seismic.
It is anticipated that the processed 3D seismic data will be available for interpretation in 2Q 2012.
Source: Scandoil

••• 15.09.11  Veripos wins Norwegian positioning contract.
Veripos has been awarded a contract by Dolphin Geophysical AS of Bergen for the supply of services aboard its recently-commissioned 3D seismic vessel M/V Polar Duke.
The purpose-built flagship vessel, which is currently working on behalf of a major global geoscientific data products and service organisation, is being supplied with Veripos’s Ultra and Apex Precise Point Positioning (PPP) services, each independently ensuring decimetre-level accuracies.
Proprietary support facilities comprise triple LD2-G2 integrated mobile receivers together with Verify QC expandable processing software for real-time monitoring and control.
Veripos will also supply similar services to two re-named seismic vessels operated by Dolphin Geophysical Artemis Arctic and Artemis Atlantic.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 14.09.11  Explorer Cairn Energy is about to start the final two wells in its Greenland drilling campaign without any discovery so far.
Updating its Greenland exploration drilling Cairn Energy said the Delta 1 exploration well is drilling ahead aiming for a Cretaceous sediments below a structure where oil shows were encountered last year.
Delta 1 is being drilled by the Leiv Eiriksson semi-submersible operating in a water depth of 293 (961 feet) metres at a distance of 365 kilometres (228 miles) from shore, in the Napariaq block in the West Disko area offshore Greenland.
This well is aiming for the Cretaceous horizon below a large structural closure underlying a Tertiary volcanic interval from which oil shows were detected during drilling of the Alpha 1 well last year.
"The well has so far encountered several hundred metres of Tertiary volcanic section, which is thicker than anticipated and with only minor hydrocarbon indications," Cairn stated. "A further update will be made later this month, once the well reaches TD".
After Delta 1 the Leiv Eiriksson rig is due to relocate to the south to spud the AT7-1 well in the Atammik block, in 909m (2,981 ft) of water and 198 km (124 miles) offshore Nuuk, and drill to a planned Total Depth.
Meanwhile the Ocean Rig Corcovado drillship is currently working to plug and abandon the Gamma 1 exploration well drilled in a water depth of 1,520 metres, (4,985 ft) and 294 kilometres (183 miles) offshore from Aasiaat, in the Eqqua block in the West Disko region. Gamma 1 was targeting a deepwater Tertiary basin floor fan structure located 100 kilometres (62.5 miles) downdip from the T8-1 where gas had been encountered during a previous well last year, and although the well intersected the target structure at the anticipated depth, no reservoir or hydrocarbon shows were encountered, Cairn has indicated.
After completing work at Gamma 1, the Corcovado is to move nearly 600 kilometres (375 miles) south to the Atammik block to drill Cairn's AT2 prospect well, in the South Ungava Area, the fifth well in Cairn's 2011 Greenland exploration programme.
Full results from Gamma 1 and Delta 1 will be reviewed once all data has been obtained from this year's Greenland campaign said Cairn Energy chief executive Simon Tompson. "The rigs are scheduled to move south to drill the final two wells of the programme on the Atammik block. We remain focussed on the potential of our multi-basin position in Greenland," he added.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 12.09.11  PGS and TGS Commence New Joint Seismic Venture in the Labrador Sea.
Petroleum Geo-Services in cooperation with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company have commenced a new 22,000 km multi-client 2D seismic survey offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
Under the cooperation agreement PGS is acquiring the initial phase of this large regional survey during the 2011 season utilizing the Canadian flagged vessel Sanco Spirit equipped with the latest GeoStreamer® dual sensor, broadband technology. The survey lies to the north of existing major oil discoveries including Hibernia, Hebron, Terra Nova and White Rose and covers areas currently nominated in the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board's call for bids (NL-11-03). Data acquisition will continue through Q3 2011 and the vessel will return in 2012 to complete the survey.
"PGS is excited to be bringing this important survey and GeoStreamer® technology to East Canada, in partnership with TGS. We will provide comprehensive modern seismic coverage over this as yet underexplored frontier basin" said Jerry Witney, VP North America MultiClient. "GeoStreamer® offers clear and proven operational advantages in the harsh waters of Canada's Atlantic seaboard, where minimizing weather downtime is vital. In addition its broadband dual sensor technology will provide explorationists with the highest quality 2D data."
The survey is supported by industry funding with initial data being available to clients during Q4 2011.
Source: PGS

••• 09.09.11  Piracy quick reference guide teleased by ABS.
In support of the maritime community’s efforts to protect seafarers against acts of piracy, ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) has prepared a quick reference guide (QRG) to assist ships’crews in implementing the industry’s "Best Management Practices for the Protection of Seafarers from Somali Based Piracy," commonly referred to as BMPs.
Designed specifically for onboard use, the QRG summarizes the recently published version 4 of the BMPs in a user-friendly format that can assist the Master and the Ship Security Officer in preparing the vessel for transit through a high-risk area. It also identifies actions to take should the vessel and its crew be attacked.
"This Guide is another tool ship operators can use against the menace of piracy and hijacking" says Hemant Juneja, ABS Director of Management Systems Certification. "It is not intended to replace the BMPs but rather act as a supplement designed especially to give the crew a quick reference guide for protection against these threats. It can also be used as a training tool in shipboard drills and exercises."
The laminated, pocket-size Guide available in ABS’ global offices beginning in early September.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 08.09.11  Russia can double Oil Reserves By Tapping Arctic Potential - Lukoil Exec.
Russia can double its oil reserves if the government is determined to exploit the potential in the Arctic, a senior Lukoil Holdings executive said Wednesday.
"The development of Arctic fields needs political will and support from the government," Sergey Chaplygin, chief executive of Lukoil International Trading and Supply Co. said, but didn't elaborate. Lukoil is the country's biggest private oil producer.
Russia, the world's top oil and gas producer, has proven oil reserves of around 60 billion barrels, Energy Information Administration data showed.
Lukoil plans to explore oil production in the Russian Arctic with state oil company Rosneft under a new long-term cooperation agreement that takes effect this month.
Rosneft will also explore in the Arctic area with U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, in a separate deal.
Source: Rigzone

••• 06.09.11  TGS announced new Multi-client 2D Survey in Northeast Greenland.
TGS has commenced a new 1,000 km multi-client 2D survey in Northeast Greenland in partnership with Fugro.
This survey will enable customers to prepare for the announced Greenland Licensing Round in 2012/2013 and will significantly add to a data set that TGS has been growing since 2008 in this promising region. After this year’s data acquisition, TGS will be able to offer approximately 4,500 km of new multi-client 2D data, a large volume of reprocessed multi-client 2D data and full coverage of aeromagnetic/gravity data over the basins that are to be included in the planned licensing round.
The new seismic data is being acquired by the M/V Akademik Shatskiy supported by the ice breaker M/V Fennicia and is scheduled to complete during Q4 2011. Data processing will be performed by TGS and data will be available to clients during Q1 2012.
The survey is supported by industry funding.
Source: TGS

••• 06.09.11  Dolphin Geophysical announced newbuild name and progress.
Dolphin Geophysical AS announced the name of vessel NB533 as M/V Polar Duchess.
The vessel option expires on 1st November and it is highly likely we will exercise the option. Good progress in the Factorias Volcano yard, Spain, safeguards a Q4 delivery ready for the North Sea season at the end Q1 2012. She will be the sistership to our flagship vessel the M/V Polar Duke.
M/V Polar Duke is a purpose built high-end 3D vessel, capable of towing 14 streamers at 100 metre separation. Rigged with Sercel SSAS Sentinel streamers and an impressive bollard pull of approximately 210 Tonnes, M/V Polar Duke and M/V Polar Duchess will undoubtedly be some of the most efficient vessels available to the market.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 05.09.11  MEO Australia purchases Zeus 3D Marine seismic survey offshore Western Australia.
MEO Australia Limited executes a contract with Fugro Multi Client Services Pty Ltd for the acquisition and processing of a 323 km2 3D multi-client seismic survey (Zeus 3D survey) in WA-361-P, in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. WA-361-P is located in close proximity to the existing North West Shelf Gas Project (16.3 Mtpa), the Pluto LNG project (4.3 Mtpa) under construction and the proposed Wheatstone LNG project (8.6 Mtpa).
The 3D survey is designed to enable improved mapping of Heracles and other leads which are potential candidates for drilling in 2014. The survey covers an area of poor seismic data quality and also fills some large gaps in the 3D seismic coverage for this area. In addition, the 3D survey is being acquired in an East-West direction which enables enhanced imaging via multi-azimuth reprocessing.
The 3D survey over WA-361-P is part of a 1,318 km2 multi-client survey to be acquired utilising the M/V Seisquest commencing on or about 1st September. The survey will take approximately 7 weeks depending on weather and possible extensions to the planned program. The final processed volume is expected to be delivered during Q2-2012.
The 3D survey brings forward and fulfils the minimum Permit Year 2 (Jan 2012 - Jan 2013) work program commitment of 150 km2 new 3D seismic.
Source: Scandoil

••• 02.09.11  SeaBird awarded USD 40 million Ocean Bottom Node survey by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd of India (ONGC) for Mumbai High Field.
SeaBird Exploration PLC announced through its wholly owned subsidiary SeaBird Exploration FZ LLC the receipt of a Notification of Award (NOA) from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd of India (ONGC) for a 4C-3D Seismic API Pilot Project in Mumbai High Field. This is an official notification that SBX has been awarded Tender No Y16KC10017 and consequently the Hugin Explorer and Munin Explorer will mobilize from the Norwegian North Sea immediately following the conclusion of the current ExxonMobil contract expected to be around 10th September 2011.
This is a most prestigious contract award for SBX - as well as being the eighth contract award since operations started - and a highly important survey for ONGC as the data to be acquired is necessary for the planned optimal placement of two development wells from the upcoming platforms within the survey area by June 2012. ONGC has requested start up as soon as possible and SBX estimation for commencement on survey site is around mid October 2011.
The total number of node stations deployed will be in excess of 2,300 at 200 meter spacing, and data acquisition will be carried out in two swaths by rolling phases of approximately 760 nodes each. The technical expertise and track record of SBX in previous surveys has been an important element of the choice of contractor by ONGC, and furthermore this contract is another important step forward in the developing OBN market sector as it covers processing and interpretation for both pressure and converted (shear) wave data.
Value of the contract is USD 40 million and duration is estimated to be about 110 days including mobilization from North Sea.
Source: SeaBird

••• 01.09.11  New TGS Multi-client 3D Survey in the Faroe-Shetland Basin.
TGS has commenced a new multi-client 3D survey in the Faroe-Shetland Basin. The survey covers 2,500 km2 west of the British Isles over quads 6004, 204 and 205 and is acquired in partnership with PGS.
The new seismic data is being acquired by the PGS Ramform Viking towing 12 X 6,000 m with 75 m separation and utilizes PGS’ GeoStreamer® Technology. Data acquisition will continue through Q3 2011 and the vessel will return in 2012 to complete the survey.
Data processing will be performed by both TGS and PGS. "This is TGS’ first investment in a 3D multi-client seismic program west of the British Isles, located in an area with a number of discoveries and further undiscovered hydrocarbon potential," - stated Kjell Trommestad, SVP Europe & Russia for TGS.
Source: TGS

••• 01.09.11  Searcher Seismic announces the completion of the Havspurv High Resolution 2D Non-Exclusive Seismic Survey.
Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd in conjunction with its project partner MAGE is pleased to announce the completion of the 2011 phase (5,853km) of the Havspurv 2D High Resolution Non-Exclusive Seismic Survey in the Norwegian Barents Sea. The total project is scheduled to comprise ~12,000 km of data to be acquired over two seasons.
It is the first ever regional 2D survey in the Barents Sea that is specifically designed to image the upper sedimentary units and fault patterns.
With both the acquisition and processing parameters fully optimized for high resolution shallow imaging, the dataset produced is set to further enhance the understanding of the emerging potential in the Barents Sea. The Havspurv survey will be seamlessly integrated with Searcher’s already completed Bjornoya Basin North High Resolution 2D Non-Exclusive Seismic Survey, utilising similar high resolution acquisition parameters.
The Havspurv survey is sponsored by North Energy ASA. The 2011 phase of data acquisition and processing is scheduled to be completed during Q4 2011.
Source: Searcher Seismic

••• 26.08.11  Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS) has been awarded a contract worth US$90 million by Petrobras to perform a range of electromagnetic (EM) surveys in frontier and mature basins offshore Brazil.
Data acquisition will be performed using the vessel BOA Galatea and is expected to take approximately one year. Petrobras has requested start-up as soon as practically possible.
"This contract, which is the second largest ever for marine EM services, represents a major milestone for us and underpins the growing demand we are witnessing for our unique technology. We are delighted that yet another national oil company has chosen to use EM data as an integral part of its exploration strategy," said Roar Bekker, EMGS Chief Executive Officer.
"This long-term contract demonstrates our leadership position in the EM market segment and provides us with a solid foundation for future expansions of our capabilities."
EMGS has recently strengthened its Rio de Janeiro office, which is headed by Country Manager Ricardo Perrone, with further EM expertise and processing capabilities to address the Petrobras contract and the growing market opportunities in South America.
Bjorn Petter Lindhom, VP Business Development Latin America, also recently re-located from Houston to the new office, and he will be working closely with EMGS's multi-client team to capitalize on the substantial market potential in Brazil.
Commenting on the significance of this award, Carl Hutchins, EMGS President multi-client group, said: "Brazil is a strategically important market for us, and this contract provides us with a strong foothold in one of the world's most prolific oil regions."
The net value of the contract after taxes is estimated at US$77 million.
Source: EMGS