Offshore SeisNews ©

••• 10.10.12 Petroleum Geo-Services ASA: Export credit financing for the new Ramforms established.
In April 2011, PGS ordered two new generation Ramform Titan-class vessels, with options for another two vessels, from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Deliveries of the two first vessels are in Q1 and Q4 2013. Export credit financing in Japan for the new builds has now been concluded.
The estimated total cost for each of the two vessels to be delivered in 2013 is approximately $250 million, including commissioning and a comprehensive seismic equipment package, but excluding capitalized interest.
PGS has through a wholly owned subsidiary signed two loan agreements for together $250 million to finance the two new builds. The lenders are Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) with Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) insuring the SMBC portions of the loans. The loans will have a tenor of 12 year from delivery of the vessels with semi-annual equal installments.
Lenders will have first priority mortgage in the two vessels. Half the loan will bear fixed interest rate while the other half will have a revolving 6 months floating interest plus a margin. Expected interest rate p.a. including insurance premium to NEXI is estimated to be approximately 2.30%.
Source: PGS

••• 10.10.12 Fugro awarded contract by Chevron for Gorgon project.
Fugro Survey Pty Ltd. has been awarded the combined geophysical and geotechnical survey contract by Chevron Australia for the Gorgon expansion project.
The work scope is approximately 5 months and will utilise the Fugro owned vessel Fugro Synergy starting in approximately November 2012.
Source: Fugro

••• 09.10.12 Research vessel Akademik Treshnikov ready for delivery.
Admiralty Shipyards is going to deliver research vessel (RV) Akademik Treshnikov tomorrow, October 10th 2012.
The RV Academic Treshnikov is a scientific and expedition vessel built for the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of Russia (Roshydromet).
The new flagship of the scientific and survey fleet is to replace the RV Akademik Fyodorov and is intended to support the activities of the Russian Antarctic Expedition: replacement of staff of the Antarctic stations, delivery of cargo onto unequipped shore and the ice, carrying out research in the ocean and the study of natural resources and events; removal of waste and debris from the Antarctic.
Amiralty Shipyards (Admiralteysky Verfy) is the oldest Russian shipbuilder, founded back in 1704. The company is part of Western Center of Shipbuilding owned by United Shipbuilding Corporation. JSC Admiralty Shipyards specializes in the design, construction and upgrade of civil vessels and warships for the Russian Navy. To date, the Company has built more than 300 submarines (including 41 with nuclear power engines), 68 deep and underwater vessels.
Source: Marine Technology

••• 09.10.12 TNK Vietnam produces first gas from Offshore Lan Do Field.
TNK Vietnam, a fully owned subsidiary of TNK-BP, today announced that the Company has successfully produced the first gas from Lan Do field in Block 06.1, about 360km offshore south of Ba Ria Vung Tau Province in Vietnam.
Lan Do wells were opened for gas production at 20:40 local time on Sunday, 7 October 2012.
The two vertical sub-sea wells in a water depth of 185 metres from Lan Do field are now tied back to Lan Tay Platform in Block 06.1, through 28 kilometres of single 12-inch flow line and umbilical, enabling TNK Vietnam to produce gas from the existing infrastructure.
Lan Do field, which has a maximum production design capacity of 5 mmscmd (175 mmscfd), is expected to bring two billion cubic metres (70 billion cubic feet) of gas to market annually.
"The development of our offshore fields is of massive significance in terms of TNK-BP’s long-term strategic development. This first gas at Lan Do field opens a new phase in the life of our Company. We have effectively delivered our first offshore drilling project in TNK-BP’s history , thereby proving that the Company has all that is required to undertake such sophisticated and complex projects. The experience we’ve gained will allow TNK-BP to successfully participate in the development of other offshore oil and gas projects in the future," said Alexander Dodds, TNK-BP Executive Vice President.
"Lan Do is the first offshore field development project in the past 10 years for the team in Vietnam, and the first ever for TNK-BP Group. We are honored to mark this significant milestone for our operations in Vietnam, and to remain a substantial gas producer in the country," said Hugh McIntosh, TNK Vietnam General Director.
Lan Do field development project started in 2010 and became intensive from the beginning of this year, with successful completion of drilling operations in April, umbilical installation in June, flow line installation in July, and mechanical completion and well test at design flow rate in October.
As a result of great team effort and support from all parties involved, the project was delivered without any lost time incidents, on time, and within budget.
Source: TNK-BP

••• 09.10.12 Millions to geological mapping of Arctic.
The Norwegian Government allocates NOK 130 million (€17.6 million) to mapping, seismic surveys and other geological data acquisitions outside Jan Mayen and in the Barents Sea in 2013.
The Government’s proposed state budget for 2013 was published today. Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe wants to allocate NOK 130 million to continue surveys in the parts of the Barents Sea that were opened for such activity through the Norwegian-Russian Agreement on delimitation of the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean that came into force on July 7 2011.
The agreement has specific obligations for cooperation in case there are found any cross-border petroleum deposits. If a deposit extends across the delimitation line, the parties shall enter into an agreement for the exploitation of the deposit as one unit.
Norway has already conducted seismic acquisition in the southern parts of the new area in the Barents Sea. Seismic surveys of the northern parts of the area have started, and with the new allocations from the State Budget this work can continue in 2013.
"Norwegian petroleum industry is doing very well. There is a high level of exploration activity, new large discoveries are being made and developed and a lot of work is done to improve recovery at producing fields", Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe says to the Ministry’s web site. The Government has ambitions to stabilize production on Norwegian shelf on a high level in the years to come. To put those ambitions into reality, new areas must be opened for petroleum activities, he adds.
Norway is in the process of opening Norwegian waters around Jan Mayen for petroleum activities. Seismic survey has been conducted both in 2011 and 2012. The new allocations will open for other types of geological data acquisition in 2013.
Source: BarentsObserver

••• 08.10.12 BP starts Offshore Uruguay deep-water plans.
BP confirmed Friday that it has signed production sharing contracts for three deepwater exploration blocks offshore Uruguay.
The signing of the contracts in Montevideo completes the award of the blocks, for which BP was the successful bidder in Uruguay's second offshore licensing round in March 2012.
The contracts cover blocks 11 and 12 in the Pelotas basin and block 6 in the Punta del Este basin. The blocks, which together cover an area of almost 10,039 square miles (26,000 square kilometers), are located approximately 31 to 62 miles (50-100 kilometers) off the Uruguayan coast, southeast of Montevideo, in water depths ranging from 164 to 6,562 feet (50 to 2,000 meters). BP will hold a 100 percent interest in the blocks and the Uruguayan state oil company, ANCAP, will have a right to participate of up to 30 percent in any discoveries.
BP will carry out 2D and 3D seismic acquisition on the blocks during the initial three-year exploration phase of the contracts. This work is expected to begin next year.
"This is a material entry into an under-explored deepwater basin on the Atlantic margin. We look forward to working with ANCAP and the Uruguayan authorities to explore this large area and understand the potential of these blocks," BP Executive Vice President of Exploration Mike Daly said.
Source: BP plc

••• 05.10.12 Shell kicks off drilling in Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska.
Royal Dutch Shell has started drilling a well in the Beaufort Sea off northern Alaska, making good on exploration plans that had been stalled by floating ice, technical delays and problems with meeting oil spill-preparation requirements, a report said.
Shell said it started drilling late on Wednesday at its Sivulliq prospect after getting clearance from Inupiat Eskimo whalers, who had just completed their autumn bowhead whale hunt, Reuters reported.
Under the plans, operations must cease by the end of October.
As with the well it began last month in the remote Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska, Shell is permitted by federal authorities to drill only to shallow depths that are far short of oil-bearing reservoirs.
The permits issued by the US Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement allow only "top-hole" drilling because Shell has not yet met oil-spill regulations. Shell failed to win US Coast Guard clearance for a required oil-spill barge, and key equipment was damaged during sea trials last month in the Puget Sound region.
The company announced that the barge, the Arctic Challenger, will not be available for use this year in Alaska, but that repairs should be completed in time for next year's open-water drilling season.
Shell says it has spent $4.5 billion to date on its offshore Alaska exploration program, which was launched with the purchase of federal oil leases at sales held in 2005, 2007 and 2008.
But drilling was delayed by ardent opposition from environmentalists and locals, adverse court rulings and regulatory changes imposed after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Sivulliq prospect being drilled by the Kulluk rig is 16 miles (26 km) offshore, according to federal officials.
The Burger prospect in the Chukchi, which Shell is drilling with the Noble Discoverer drillship, is about 70 miles offshore.
Source: Upstream

••• 05.10.12 Norway: "EU has no jurisdiction in the Arctic".
Oslo brushes aside the European Parliament’s Environmental Committee’s vote to enter a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling. Petroleum Minister Ola Borten Moe sees no reason to stop now, pointing to the fact that "Norway’s boundaries end almost right up at the North Pole."
Deputy Oil and Energy Minister Per Rune Henriksen says to the newswire NTB: "The EU has no jurisdiction in the Arctic, no member country has a Continental Shelf in the Arctic."
In another interview on the issue with Nationen, quoted by the Foreigner, the Deputy Minister says: "The EU is free to argue what it wants, but this would almost be like us commenting on a camel operations in the Sahara, which we do not have anything to do with."
BarentsObserver reported in September about the unanimous vote in the Environmental Committee of the parliament to introduce a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling. The EU is now working on new and common offshore HSE standards following the Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Norway and Russia are today the two countries in Arctic Europe that are intensifying petroleum activity in the north. Norway has several sites where test drilling take place in the Barents Sea this autumn and seismic vessels are mapping the geology under the seabed all the way north to east of Svalbard. Russia prepares for oil drilling at the Prirazlomnoye field in the eastern Barents Sea and has seismic vessels mapping the Kara Sea.
While members of the European Parliament are voicing their protest against oil drilling in the north, Norwegian authorities are relaxed. The government makes it clear that it does not consider the measures by EU having relevance for Norway.
"But it’s important that we contribute our knowledge and expertise in the Arctic petroleum business, which we have been doing for over 30 years, when the European Parliament starts discussing these issues," Deputy Minister Per Rune Henriksen says to NTB.
Norway’s free-spoken Petroleum and Energy Minister Ola Borten Moe told Stavanger Aftenblad in the end of August that he disagrees with environmentalists concerned about the consequences of a possible oil spill.
"It seems some think that you have to choose between drilling in the Arctic and the environment. The first well was drilled in this area more than 100 years ago. It is not a new phenomenon. We have an oil company that has a lot of experience and they have a partnership that stretches up to the High North", Ola Borten Moe said.
The Minister is meeting the challenges with optimism and now wants to open new areas for drilling in the southeastern Barents Sea next year.
"I strongly believe that we can meet these challenges together. It’s not a question of whether we can do it, but how." He continues: "New areas will be opened up. There is no reason to stop now. Norway’s present boundaries end almost right up to the North Pole."
Source: BarentsObserver

••• 04.10.12 FairfieldNodal begins "Super Crew" ocean-bottom nodal survey.
FairfieldNodal’s data acquisition division has signed a contract with a major oil and gas company to conduct a large-scale, rich-azimuth, ocean-bottom survey in the Gulf of Mexico. Operations have already begun on this program, which encompasses approx. 2000 sq kms.
The 3D/4C survey will take advantage of FairfieldNodal’s unique Z700 nodes, which can be deployed safely and efficiently, even in heavily congested or obstructed waters. The crew will begin the survey using New Venture as its source vessel and C-Pacer for node handling. Eventually, FairfieldNodal’s newest vessel, European Supporter, will join them, nearly doubling the number of nodes available.
European Supporter has been specially designed and outfitted as a hybrid vessel, giving it the flexibility to function as both a source vessel and its own node handler.
The "super crew" will deploy more than 4200 Z700 nodes on a single patch, utilizing two source vessels. Survey acquisition is expected to take approx. 12 months to complete, with plans to illuminate both shallow and deep targets.
"This project represents the continuing advances we are making with ocean-bottom nodal technology," said Jim Thompson, FairfieldNodal.
Source: FairfieldNodal

••• 04.10.12 Tamar Platform En Route to Israel.
Tamar production platform has left the Keiwit Shipyards in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, and is now on the way to its location offshore Israel, according to Globes, the Israeli financial newspaper.
It took 18 months for the 280 m platform to be completed, and the project has been described as "the largest infrastructure project in Israeli history."
The Tamar platform will be located in approximately 800 feet of water and will be able to process 1.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day. The Tamar field is estimated to contain 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and will be produced through several subsea wells connected to the platform by 150 km long flow lines. The single-lift topsides facility has four deck levels and weighs nearly 10,000 tons.
Globes further reports that the platform is expected to reach its destination during the fourth quarter this year. First production is scheduled for March 2013.
Noble Energy operates Tamar with a 36 percent working interest. Other owners are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75 percent, Delek Drilling with 15.625 percent, Avner Oil Exploration with 15.625 percent, and Dor Gas Exploration with the remaining four percent.
Source: Offshore Energy Today

••• 03.10.12 DNV develops new class notation for seismic vessels.
DNV has developed a new class notation for seismic vessels in consultation with key industry players such as WesternGeco, PGS and Fugro-Geoteam. The need to have enhanced redundancy and proper deck arrangements to ensure continuous operation without loss of speed is the backbone of these new technical requirements.
Seismic vessels contain high end computerized technology to find resources below the seabed, and represent a key element in the value chain leading to future offshore field developments. Any interruptions in the ships forward movement can complicate the seismic data processing, and continuous operations with focus to avoid any downtime of key functions are hence of utmost importance. With expensive seismic streamer equipment mobilized at sea, sudden loss of service speed may lead to severe consequences as damage to cables impairing the whole seismic vessel operation.
The new notation focuses on increased availability of the vessels during critical phases of the seismic operations. As well as vessel operators, DNV has consulted seismic handling and high pressure equipment suppliers to ensure that all current and future industry challenges are comprehensively dealt with.
The new notation was released this summer and strengthens DNV’s position in the seismic classification market as the industry focuses more strongly on deepwater, frontier exploration. "DNV has the greatest share of this market. More than every second seismic vessel is DNV classed. By introducing the new class notation we are helping owners in this high-tech special vessel segment to meet future demands with the outmost safety and reliability," says Jan Kvalsvold, Director for Market and Business Development.
The maintenance of propulsive power is a key issue. The class notation has therefore taken the DNV concept for redundant propulsion one step further so that any failure on board will not lead to loss of more than 50 per cent forward trust. This is sufficient to maintain a minimum speed of a few knots and will protect any high cost air guns and streamers deployed.
Seismic vessels typically operate for many months continuously without seeking harbour. The class notation requires a deck arrangement that facilitates side by side transfer for crew and resupply from a seismic support vessel.
Beyond this, the class notation also sets a requirement for the bridge arrangement to ensure good view to the streamers and any workboats that are close by during normal operation. High pressure systems are also addressed in the class notation to ensure that deck operations can be carried out safely by the crew.
"The world’s energy demand is increasing," said Mr Kvalsvold. "Even though new energy sources are being developed, fossil fuel will maintain dominance well into the future. The demand for suitable seismic exploration vessels is already high and will continue to grow."
Source: WorldMaritimeNews

••• 02.10.12 Borders & Southern signs seismic contract with PGS.
Borders & Southern has signed a contract with Petroleum Geo-Services for the acquisition and processing of a new 3D seismic survey.
The survey, measuring approximately 1100, will be located in Quad 61 adjacent to the northern margin of the company's existing 3D area.
The aim of the survey is to provide more data on the proven Early Cretaceous play fairway, deliver greater definition to prospects that have been mapped on 2D data and potentially identify new leads. PGS, which was responsible for the acquisition and processing of the company's first 3D survey, will use its vessel Ramform Challenger.
Acquisition is expected to commence around the middle of January.
Source: Borders & Southern Petroleum plc

••• 02.10.12 China's most advanced research ship delivered.
China's most sophisticated research vessel Kexue (Science) was delivered to its operator in Qingdao, a port city in eastern Shandong Province.
The 87.5-million-U.S. dollar ship, manufactured by the Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd. based in Hubei Province, was handed over to the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS).
Weighing 4,711 tonnes, the vessel is 99.8 meters long and 17.8 meters wide. With a cruising capacity of 15,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 15 knots, it can travel with 80 members for 60 days.
R/v Kexue features better stability and a larger laboratory space as well as having more manoeuvrabilty in comparison with other Chinese research vessels, said Sun Song, director of the IOCAS. He added that the vessel is among the world's most advanced research ships.
Capable of global voyages and all-day observations, the ship is seen as a moving laboratory on the sea.
It will serve as one of the key vessels for the country's oceanographic studies for the next 10 to 20 years, with world-leading facilities for scientific detection and experiments, Sun said.
R/v Kexue is designed to conduct a wide range of tasks, such as water body detection, atmospheric exploration, deep-sea environment exploration and remote sensing information verification.
The construction of the ship began in 2010 and launched in November last year for trials.
Source: Xinhua

••• 01.10.12 Serica acquired 3D seismic data offshore Namibia.
Serica Energy plc announced that it has completed the acquisition of 4,180 square kilometres of 3D seismic data in its Luderitz Basin Blocks, offshore Namibia.
The survey, conducted by Serica on behalf of its partners in the Licence, BP, NAMCOR and IEPL, commenced on 10 May and took four and a half months to complete. The survey was undertaken by Polarcus Seismic Limited using the 10-streamer seismic vessel Polarcus Nadia.
Tony Craven Walker, Serica’s Chairman and Interim Chief Executive said: "The completion of this extensive survey, only nine months after the award of the licence, is an important step in the exploration of this largely unexplored basin. The data is of exceptional quality and has been acquired in the south east of the licence area over a clearly defined prospect which is located in a good setting for potential reservoir development. It is now being processed fully to delineate the prospect and to identify additional prospects associated with locally present channel sands. Initial results are expected to be available around the end of the year and will be amalgamated with regional geological information prior to determining a forward drilling programme."
Source: Geonews

••• 01.10.12 EMGS commences West of Shetland basalt mapping survey.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA announced that it has commenced a fully pre-funded multi-client survey in the West of Shetland area.
The vessel Atlantic Guardian will acquire controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) and magnetotelluric (MT) data for a minimum of three weeks in an area where basalt layers make the interpretation of seismic data challenging.
"We are excited by the market potential we see in combining seismic and CSEM/MT data to improve subsurface imaging in areas of complex geology. The objective of this survey is to improve the understanding of the basalt thickness and distribution and, ultimately, help to assess the hydrocarbon prospectivity of sediments below the basalt layers," said Roar Bekker, CEO of EMGS.
Source: EMGS

••• 01.10.12 Norsafe conducted the highest free-fall drop ever, featuring a so-called free-fall lifeboat.
The test was conducted from a height of 61.53 metres and was very successful. The test came in the wake of another successful drop from a height of 52 metres. Norsafe's groundbreaking new lifeboat, the GES50 MKIII is thus certified for heights up to 47 metres.
Norsafe's purpose is not to set records in free-fall drops of lifesaving equipment,says Norsafe AS CEO Geir Skaala.The essence of our products, however, is to save lives. Quality and trust is the foundation of our existence. It is therefore crucial to us that our customers have the safest and most secure lifesaving equipment available in a situation where another evacuation is not possible, says Skaala.
GES50 MKIII builds on cutting-edge technology and meets the DNV-OS-E406 standard for lifesaving equipment on the Norwegian continental shelf. The product is the first model in a series of 3 of Norsafe's newly developed free-fall lifeboats that comply with these regulations.
"Despite the fact that the new regulations will not take effect until 2015, it is important for us as the market leader to be ready ahead of time. We are therefore proud to offer the market a new and innovative product that meets the regulations three years prior to them coming into force",says Geir Skaala.
GES50 MKIII is 50 feet long, and has a capacity for 70 persons of 100 kg each.
Source: MaritimeAndEnergy

••• 28.09.12 Chinese research icebreaker Xuelong concludes Arctic expedition.
Chinese icebreaker Xuelong or "Snow Dragon" returned to its Shanghai base on Thursday after wrapping up the country's fifth Arctic expedition with a landmark trip.
The icebreaker, with a 119-member team aboard, completed an unprecedented round trip between the Pacific and the Atlantic via the Arctic route, making it the first Chinese vessel to have undertaken a high-latitude voyage across the Arctic Ocean, according to a statement from the Polar Research Institute of China.
During the three-month voyage, the icebreaker traveled 18,500 nautical miles, including 5,370 nautical miles in the Arctic ice zone.
The statement said the expedition team has successfully performed various scientific research tasks. The researchers conducted a systematic geophysical survey, installed an automatic meteorological station, as well as launched investigations on oceanic turbulence and methane content in the Arctic area.
They also held academic exchanges with their counterparts in Iceland, and the two groups conducted a joint oceanic survey in the waters around Iceland.
Xuelong, an A-2 class icebreaker capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, kicked off its journey from the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao on July 2. In early April, it completed the country's 28th Antarctic expedition after covering 28,000 nautical miles in 163 days.
Source: Xinhua

••• 27.09.12 Dolphin Geophysical conducts new multi-client 3D seismic survey in the Levantine Basin offshore Lebanon.
Dolphin Geophysical using its high capacity 3D vessel, the Polar Duke is acquiring a new, long offset high resolution Multi-Client 3D seismic survey in the Levantine Basin offshore Lebanon. This project is in cooperation with Spectrum who has an exclusive contract with the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) of Lebanon.
His Excellency, Energy Minister Gibran Bassil visited Dolphin’s 3D vessel M/V Polar Duke whilst it continued acquisition of the Multi-Client survey.
Built in 2010, the Polar Duke is 106.8m long, 22m wide, with gross tonnage of 7789 tons.
Polar Duke is equipped with some of the latest technologies in the seismic industry. For this particular Multi-Client 3D survey in the south west EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) offshore Lebanon, Dolphin are utilising 12 streamers as well as dual energy source.
This strategically placed Multi-Client 3D survey has been designed by Spectrum and will provide enhanced imaging of the geological picture allowing oil and gas companies to better evaluate the prospectivity.
Dolphin’s M/V Polar Duke will finish its acquisition before the end of September. A fast track volume, processed on-board the vessel, will be available to interested companies in November. The final products will be completed in early 2013 as required by the Lebanese government and in time for the indicated first ever licensing round.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical

••• 26.09.12 Survitec Group makes Fairfieldnodal vessel LOLER compliant.
Survitec Group has played a key role in the refurbishment of US registered seismic survey vessel Fairfield New Venture, which is owned by the seismic data specialist Fairfieldnodal. Survitec’s engineers have ensured the vessel is now fully compliant with LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) standards for operating in the UK.
The work involved inspecting and load testing the ship’s lifting gear as well as replacing substandard items. It was carried out on behalf of MMS Ship Repair in Hull’s Alexander Dock while the vessel underwent a major survey, refit and upgrade. Working to tight deadlines and alongside multiple contractors on site, Survitec successfully delivered an intensive programme of inspection and load testing in just three months.
In partnership with MMS and the vessel’s owners, Survitec inspected all of the vessel’s lifting points and replaced and retested new components to fit in with the shipyard’s busy schedule of work. This included destruction testing on five paravane chains. Survitec also supplied new trolleys, chains, connectors, shackles, loose lifting gear, deck crane and rescue boat davit wires as part of the refit. The project team, which included Tony Marshall from MMS, Fairfield’s Epi Cantu and Erich Willenburg and Survitec’s Jo Stamp and David Gilroy, worked closely to get the project completed on time.
Source: Offshore Energy Today

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