Offshore SeisNews ©
••• 01.11.12 SeaBird contract awards.
SeaBird Exploration Plc announced that the company has secured a continuous campaign for the Voyager Explorer that will keep the vessel occupied until May 2013.
The campaign consists of 8 back-to-back contracts in the Asia Pacific region and has a total value in excess of USD 30 million.
••• 01.11.12 After several weeks of work, Shell has wound down its brief stint of drilling activity off Alaska for the season.
Shell was able to begin top-hole drilling and other prep work on the Burger-A well in the Chukchi Sea and the Sivulliq well in the Beaufort Sea, a scaled-back version of original plans delayed by equipment issues and sea ice, among other things.
"The mandatory close of the offshore Alaska drilling window brings to an end a season in which we, once again, demonstrated our ability to drill safely and responsibly in the Arctic," a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
"This year, we had both rigs drilling in theatre at the same time, moved closer to the objective, and learned a tremendous amount."
Shell's bid to explore off Alaska had been tied up for years in permitting delays and court challenges, but finally advanced to action in 2012 after regulators approved limited tophole work.
The operations remained opposed by environmentalists throughout the season, spurring local and national protest action.
The company plans to start up drilling when possible next year, and a Coast Guard certification of an oil-containment barge will set the stage for the kick-off. Shell said it completed top-hole drilling to 1400 feet and laid casing in both wells.
"Currently, the Noble Discoverer is mobilizing south from its location in the Chukchi Sea, and the Kulluk is in the final stages of demobilizing in the Beaufort Sea," Shell said in a statement.
The Kulluk will head to Dutch Harbor, Alaska while options are still being weighed for the Discoverer during the off-season, a Shell spokeswoman said.
The efforts of about 500 employees using more than 20 vessels contributed to the project.
Some of the resources and workers will stay in the area while others will be deployed elsewhere.
••• 31.10.12 PanAmerican Geophysical selects Sercel UNITE Cable-Free System.
Sercel has sold a UNITE cable-free seismic acquisition system to PanAmerican Geophysical, a full-service geophysical seismic acquisition company specializing in land and well seismic services throughout the Americas. The new order relates to the sale of a RAU-3 unit, the three-channel version of Sercel’s proven UNITE system.
RAU-3 UNITE units offer enhanced flexibility and can easily be configured to record either 1-C or 3-C analog data, while offering the main advantages of the UNITE system. The system’s unique high-speed, long-range wireless capability improves in-field quality control of data acquisition by providing wireless harvesting and real-time data transfer.
This UNITE sale also represents the first purchase of Sercel equipment by PanAmerican, whose operating companies are leading providers in their local markets of Colombia, Canada and Argentina. The UNITE system is scheduled to be deployed on a seismic survey in the Amazon in late October.
••• 30.10.12 Wartsila to supply integrated power and automation systems for two Russian icebreakers.
Wartsila has been awarded the contract to supply integrated power and automation systems for two new icebreakers being built for a Russian state-owned enterprise by Vyborg Shipyard JSC, a long-time partner of Wartsila.
The vessels, scheduled to be delivered in 2015, will operate mainly in the Baltic Sea and in Arctic waters.
Wartsila's strong track record in supplying reliable and technically sound solutions for icebreakers, and other vessels operating in arctic conditions, was cited as being a key factor in the award of this contract. There is an option pending to supply similar equipment for a third icebreaker within this same project.
••• 30.10.12 Dramatic rescue of trawler Kamaro crew.
Dramatic rescue operation was held on Friday in heavy seas off the coast of Finnmark. Fourteen fishermen on board the Norwegian trawler Kamaro were winched to safety by a rescue helicopter.
The crippeled trawler was under tow in severe weather by a coast guard vessel near Soroya, when it was feared that the towline was about to break in heavy seas of up to 15 metres.
An attempt to lift the men directly from the deck of the heaving vessel had to be aborted when the wire snapped, and the men had to first jump into the churning waters one by one, before being picked up.
No one was injured in the rescue operation.
Kamaro was towed from the waters around the Arctic island of Bjornoya (Bear Island) after it had developed engine problems on Tuesday.
••• 29.10.12 Dolphin Geophysical - SHarp BroadBand 3D Multi-Client 27th Round Survey.
Dolphin Geophysical commenced acquisition earlier this year of a 5,000km2 3D Multi-Client high-resolution, AVO friendly BroadBand, SHarp seismic survey which will be completed Spring 2013.
This new BroadBand 3D survey in UK Quads 29 and 30 will provide data over a part of the basin margin that has been neglected for some time. The survey was designed to image potential Catcher look-a-like plays as well as Jurassic, Zechstein and Rotliegendes structural traps and stratigraphic features that may have been previously overlooked or simply not seen due to the lack of 3D data coverage. Since yesterday's award announcement, interest from clients in the survey has further increased and the coverage area may be extended beyond that currently programmed.
Of the Data Area already acquired and Fast-Track processed, two-thirds covers awarded 27th Round acreage. This initial Data Area is ready for immediate delivery.
For the remaining area and with Dolphin’s on-board processing facilities, a high-end Fast Track volume will be available to committed clients within a short period of time following the last data shipment from the vessel.
The adjoining and nearby existing production infrastructure could provide opportunities to tie-in any new discoveries and considerably reduce development costs and time.
Source: Dolphin Geophysical
••• 29.10.12 China builds first vessel for underwater archaeology.
A new vessel intended for boosting underwater archaeological search activities will be ready by the end of 2013 to set sail in the Chinese waters, China Daily reports citing a statement of State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH).
The challenging 80 million yuan ($12.8 million) task of constructing the 860-ton vessel has been entrusted to the Dongfeng Shipbuilding Corporation based in Chongqing.
Designed by the 701 Research Institute of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation it will be the first of its kind in the Chinese fleet. Featuring 4.8 meters in width and 56 meters in length, the ship will be powered by an integrated full electric propulsion system.
The ship will integrate information technology outfitted to detect, confirm and locate underwater relics along with relevant information necessary for retrieval of found artefacts.
The vessel will be used in China’s coastal areas its main task being protection of the nation’s underwater cultural heritage, officials with the heritage administration said.
Source: World Maritime News
••• 29.10.12 Damen Shipyards Galati launches NCV 1600.
Damen Shipyards Galati (DSGa), member of Damen Shipyards Group, on 25th October launched its hull number 1226: the Nuclear Cargo Vessel 1600. The NCV 1600 was ordered by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) and will replace her predecessor M/S Sigyn, which has been in service during the past 30 years.
The vessel is designed and built by Damen, with Damen Shipyards Gorinchem (The Netherlands) providing the design and the major equipment and DSGa (Romenia) building and finishing the high-tech vessel.
The NCV 1600’s main task will be to transport spent nuclear fuel from Swedish nuclear power plants to SKB’s facilities in Oskarshamn and Forsmark. It can transport up to 12 nuclear waste containers but also standard cargo containers or special trucks. In addition, due to its greater capacity, the vessel will be able to carry large components in line with SKB requirements.
Main characteristics: length overall 99.50 m, breadth 18.60 m, draft 4.50.m, class LRS, accommodation 21 persons, speed 12 knots.
••• 26.10.12 Gearbox oil fault found in Eurocopter ditching.
Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch has found fault again with the main gearbox lubrication system on a Eurocopter 225 Super Puma which ditched in the North Sea near the Shetland Islands a few days ago.
Initial information from a preliminary investigation by the AAB into the ditching incident on 22 October – in which all 19 passengers and crew were rescued uninjured – indicates the gearbox oil system was at fault.
The flight crew on board the helicopter, G-CHCN, have told AAIB investigators that a series of warning lights lit up in the cockpit as they were flying from towards the West Phoenix drilling rig north of the Shetland islands. The helicopter's transmission light illuminated on a central warning panel, and that the main pressure, main gearbox oil temperature and standby oil pump pressure captions also lit up in the vehicle management system and the main gearbox oil pressure light indicted zero pressure.
Together the pilot and co-pilot started emergency procedures for a total loss of main gear box oil pressure, which required activation of a main gearbox emergency lubrication system, (MGG EMLUB), but within a minute the MGG EMLUB lit up on the helicopter's central warning panel, indicating that the emergency gearbox lubrication system had also failed.
"As a result of the MGB EMLUB caption illuminating, the crew carried out the ‘Emergency Landing – Power ON’ check-list and successfully ditched the helicopter in the sea, close to a ship," the AAIB report says.
••• 26.10.12 Lukoil proposes financing Arctic Geological Surveys.
OAO Lukoil Holdings, Russia's second-largest oil producer, has proposed investing $2.7 billion in geological survey work on Russia's Arctic shelf, Interfax cited a company spokesman as saying Thursday.
The company sent applications to the government at the start of October expressing readiness to carry out surveys at four license sectors in the Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas, Intefax reported.
Under current legislation, only two state-controlled companies OAO Rosneft and Gazprom are allowed to own offshore licenses and other companies can enter projects as partners with them. Lukoil and other non-state companies have petitioned the government for access to offshore deposits.
The government is currently reworking its shelf-development program.
••• 25.10.12 Sebastian signs FMEA deal with PGS.
Consulting firm Sebastian AS recently signed a contract with seismic company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) to provide failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) verification services.
The Ulstein company will review the work that Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is to carry out on new PGS ships.
"PGS is known for setting high standards for its suppliers. In this project, Sebastian will provide the FMEA verification. The actual FMEA service is a job that the Mitsubishi yard in Nagasaki has already hired a company to do. Sebastian will conduct a full verification of that work," explained Johannes Kristian Bjoringsoy, the CEO of Sebastian.
"What is a bit special here is that we are to validate Det Norske Veritas (DNV), which will do the FMEA job. On behalf of the shipowner, we will verify and review DNV’s work and the conclusions that DNV arrives at."
Source: Offshore Shipping Online
••• 25.10.12 EMGS expands multi-client basalt mapping project to the Norwegian Sea.
Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA has in response to industry demand expanded the previously announced multi-client basalt mapping project in the West of Shetland area to the Voring Basin in the Norwegian Sea. The vessel Atlantic Guardian will therefore continue to acquire controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) and magnetotelluric (MT) data through to the second half of November 2012.
EMGS's data will be used with seismic data to determine the thickness of basalt layers and to improve the understanding of regional trends in geologically challenging basins with significant potential for hydrocarbon reservoirs.
The project is fully pre-funded and may be expanded subject to additional industry commitment and vessel availability.
••• 25.10.12 Norway plans to let a research vessel freeze into the Arctic ice sheet and let it drift across the Arctic Basin with researchers aboard. Russia launches similar plans.
Norway’s research vessel Lance will enter the pack ice to the north of Svalbard, let itself freeze into the ice sheet and drift until the ice releases it again. This journey, with is planned to start in November-December 2013 is assumed to take some six months.
When Fridtjof Nansen and his crew let their vessel Fram freeze into the ice sheet in the eastern part of the Arctic Ocean in 1893, it took two and a half years before the vessel became free of the ice in the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard.
14 different Norwegian and foreign research institutions have expressed interest to be part of the expedition. Also Norwegian oil major Statoil has researchers that want to join the cruise, NRK writes.
Russia has the same plans to let a research vessel follow the drifting ice across the Arctic Basin, RIA Novosti writes. Russia has had floating research stations placed directly on the ice since 1937, but the rapid melting makes it harder to find ice floes stabile enough to carry whole stations. The Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute believe that in the future ice floe stations will be placed close to vessels frozen into the ice, which can function as quarters and technical platforms.
A great part of the research activities onboard Lance will be conducted by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who will use the expedition to test its climate models for the Arctic.
"With more open sea the water absorbs more energy and gets warmer. The ocean jet streams are being reduced and as a result of this weather phenomenons are moving slower", Harald Steen of the Norwegain Polar Institute says to NRK. "We do not know to what degree this is happening, so this is something we will be researching on". The scientists will also be measuring the ice thickness to examine who fast it melts because. This has been done many times before, but then mostly on multi-year ice. Now the ice is one or two years old and behaves differently. Source: BarentsObserver
••• 24.10.12 Fastnet Oil & Gas hires WesternGeco for Mizzen seismic work.
Fastnet Oil and Gas plc, the recently listed E&P company focussed on near term exploration acreage in the Celtic Sea and Africa, announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fastnet Oil and Gas Ireland Ltd, has signed an agreement with WesternGeco Seismic Holdings Ltd, the world’s leading geophysical services company, (part of Schlumberger) to provide specialist reprocessing of key prospect-defining 2D seismic data across the Company’s Mizzen Basin licence option area, in the North Celtic Sea, as well as amplitude versus offset and rock physics work.
It is expected that this work will be completed early in 2013.
Cathal Friel, Chairman of Fastnet, commented:
"I am very pleased we have been able to contract WesternGeco to undertake this 2D seismic reprocessing programme, they are one of the most respected companies in the space and through their work we hope to continue de-risking the licence area in order to mature it toward exploratory drilling. I look forward to announcing the results of this work as soon as is practicable."
Source: Fastnet Oil & Gas plc
••• 24.10.12 MMT NetSurvey's equipment used in "Operation Iceberg".
MMT NetSurvey was involved in the "Operation Iceberg" that is a two-part BBC/Discovery co-production TV series.
The team in this production is looking to understand the forces making icebergs break off their mother glaciers and find out what happens to them once they are afloat on their epic ocean journey.
MMT Netsurvey's survey specialist was involved with the survey of the iceberg along with RESON Seabat 7125 and Applanix Landmark Marine laser.
••• 24.10.12 WGP Energy Services Ltd (WESL) announced the successful completion of the 2D survey completed in the Russian High Arctic on behalf of State Sevmorgeo Company (SMG).
The works completed in the East Siberian and Laptev Seas were part of a program of works for the Russian State in the delineation of the country’s continental shelf.
In order to work in Arctic waters, WESL converted and outfitted the Russian icebreaker Dikson in the port of Kirkenes, northern Norway, which involved the installation of a combination of a Portable Modular Source System (PMSS™), a seismic streamer and associated deck handling equipment. During the survey programme, the Dikson was also escorted by the icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn, to act as a lead vessel through pack ice and provide replenishments for the Dikson.
The vessel was able to operate in the Arctic waters during a 45 day period between mid-August and the end of September, during which some 5,300 line kilometres of towed streamer data was acquired, plus acquisition of OBS (Ocean Bottom Seismometers) data.
The vessel and crew were able to push the boundaries of Arctic exploration; working in sea water temperatures down to -2°C, and working in latitudes up to 83° North. Safety of the crew and equipment was therefore of paramount importance, protection against such inherent risks being mitigated by a proactive and pragmatic safety program.
Marcus Smith, WGP Exploration Ltd’s Operations Manager commented: "To achieve over 5,000 survey kilometres without incident or damage to in-water equipment endorses WGP’s expertise of working in challenging and frontier locations, providing bespoke marine geophysical services and solutions. Thanks to the outstanding ice navigation skills of the crew on the Dikson, the high level cooperation with SMG, and the experienced professionalism of our offshore personnel, WGP has delivered an excellent final product to our client of which we are all extremely proud".
Mikhail Skatov, General Director of SMG commented: "We have fulfilled an extremely complicated State program using a set of various geological and geophysical methods and techniques in difficult ice conditions".
WGP Energy Services Ltd is a WGP Group Ltd company. The WGP Group is a marine geophysical services organisation delivering a wide range of technologies and services throughout the global oil and gas industry. WGP supplies to and advises on the following sectors of marine seismic exploration: 4D / 4C Ocean Bottom Seismic systems, Life of Field Seismic (LoFS), Portable Modular Source System (PMSS™), Geophysical Project Management, 2D Data Acquisition and Magnetic & Gravity surveys.
Semorgeo is a marine geophysical and geological company based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The WGP Group is a subsidiary of Thalassa Holdings Ltd.
Thalassa Holdings Ltd, incorporated and registered in the BVI in 2007 and listed on AIM in July 2008, is a holding company with a focus on Marine Seismic operations.
••• 23.10.12 Aurora Australis, the Australian Antarctic supply ship, is stuck in ice near Casey Station.
The Antarctic Division's operations manager, Robb Clifton, says it is not a problem at this stage with scientists out on the ice doing research work as normal. Mr Clifton says the crew has until early next month to remain in their position, 80 nautical miles from the Antarctic coastline.
"It's in very heavy ice at the moment and it's unable to move from its current position because of that ice pack having tightened up from some very strong northerly winds," he said.
"We expect then, when we get a little bit of southerly wind and a little bit of swell and current through, then the ice will start to move apart.
"As it does then the ship will move to the the next station for some more science activity."
••• 22.10.12 CHC Helicopter confirms an incident today involving one of its aircraft flying out of Aberdeen.
At about 3:30 p.m. local time, a CHC crew executed a controlled ditching in the North Sea, west of Shetland. All 19 people who were aboard the aircraft – 17 customer passengers and two crew members – are safe and well after being recovered by a nearby ship.
CHC acted quickly to inform appropriate authorities; mobilise its incident-management team; and work with the U.K. Coastguard, the customer company and other operators to address the issue.
CHC said that the safety of its passengers and people is always the company’s top priority, and that the actions of its pilots were consistent with that commitment.
Planning is underway to recover the aircraft.
Source: CHC Helicopter
••• 22.10.12 Searcher Seismic announced that the ST9802 Ultracube 3D survey located on the Finnmark Platform in the Barents Sea is currently being fully reprocessed from field tapes.
The original processed 3D volume (1999 vintage) is missing many of today’s modern processing algorithms such as swell noise removal, surface related multiple elimination (SRME), hi-res radon demultiple, full pre-stack Kirchhoff migration, resulting in an extensive noise level and limited fault plane definitions over the entire recorded section (5.5 sec twt). By applying modern noise attenuation techniques, it will be able to reduce the application of the upfront low cut filter from 6hz to 3hz, which will give a further full octave of bandwidth, critical for any follow-on QI work. The output from the modern processing will also include angle stacks and final NMO corrected gathers for detailed amplitude work.
The 7131/4-1 (Guovca prospect) is the only exploration well drilled inside the 3D cube with the next closest well (7229/11-1) located 75 km towards NE. The Guovca prospect was drilled by Statoil in 2005 and is reported as dry with shows and residual fluorescence in the Realgrunnen subgroup.
The relative low frequent character and excessive noise levels in the original processed ST9802 3D Survey provides only a limited possibility to properly map the many interesting amplitude features observed on modern 2D surveys in the area. This in addition with the fact that the Guovca exploration well did not drill the deeper targets means the true hydrocarbon potential of the area is virtually unknown.
A full suite of additional deliverables is being produced during the processing allowing a thorough re-evaluation of the area.
Source: Searcher Seismic
••• 19.10.12 3D Seismic Offshore Mauritania starts in mid-November.
Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the independent Africa focused oil and gas exploration company, has signed a contract for acquisition of a 3,500km2 3D seismic survey in Block C19 offshore Mauritania.
The Company has contracted Fugro-Geoteam AS to carry out the programme in water depths ranging from 30m to 2,000m. The programme is expected to start on 15 November 2012 and the acquisition is anticipated to take approximately 90 days to complete.
Block C19, in which Chariot holds a 90% stake, is located in the Central Atlantic Margin, offshore Mauritania. The 3D survey will cover the southern portion of the block containing an extension of both Tertiary and Cretaceous age deep marine sandstone plays. These plays are anticipated to be charged by the same prolific mid Cretaceous age source rocks proven effective by fields and discoveries in adjacent acreage. The 3D survey is intended to identify both structural and stratigraphic traps with the latter offering potential for large trap sizes.
By carrying out this 3D seismic survey, Chariot will be fulfilling its work commitments for the initial three year period within Block C19. Once acquired, processed and interpreted, the Company will report its results in the form of both volume potential and prospect identification. From this, it is expected that a number of prospects would then be matured and tested in a subsequent exploration phase.
Paul Welch, CEO of Chariot, commented: "Chariot continues its aggressive exploration programme within its broadening West African portfolio. This 3D seismic acquisition campaign will enable the Company to mature the subsurface potential of Block C19 and create a portfolio of prospects in our Mauritanian acreage. I look forward to reporting on the results of this activity in the second half of 2013."
••• 19.10.12 Scientists predict that Arctic Sea Route will be Open Year-Round in 2013.
Russia’s Arctic Institute reported that the record reduction in Arctic pack-ice this year has created favorable conditions for year-long navigation along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in 2013 which will offer major savings to shipping operators.
The ice coverage in the Arctic reached its record minimum of 3.41 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles) in September, or almost half of the 1979 to 2000 average.
According to experts from the Arctic Institute, the NSR will be mostly covered with year-old ice, which melts down during the summer months.
"That is why navigation will be easy and reliable, without any problems for ships with a required ice class deployed on this route," Vladimiir Sokolov, the head of Arctic-2012 expedition, told reporters in St. Petersburg.
With ice floe receding at a high rate, the prospect of a commercially viable Northern Sea Route looks increasingly likely, as it provides the shortest link between Northern Europe and the Far East.
For instance, the NSR cuts down the trip from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Yokohama in Japan by 3,900 nautical miles compared to the regular voyage via the Indian Ocean.
That shortens the duration of the trip from 33 to 20 days, increasing fuel efficiency and significantly reducing the cost of shipment.
In 2011, 34 vessels transported a total of 820,789 metric tons during the five months the route was open.
This year, 35 vessels transported a total of 1,022,577 tons of different goods between Europe and Asia so far, and the season is not yet over.
The estimated annual capacity of the Northern Sea Route is about 50 million metric tons of cargo.
••• 19.10.12 Shell starts construction of "Game-Changing" Prelude FLNG Facility.
Construction has started on what Royal Dutch Shell calls its "game-changing" Prelude FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) project. The firm reported that first steel was cut Thursday on the project's FLNG facility's substructure at Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje shipyard in South Korea.
The Prelude FLNG facility is scheduled to be ready in 2017, when it will be deployed in Australian waters on the Prelude gas field some 200 kilometers from the coast of Western Australia. It will be 1,600 feet long and 242 feet wide, which will make it the largest offshore floating facility ever built.
"We are cutting 7.6 tons of steel for the Prelude floating liquefied natural gas facility today, but in total, more than 260,000 tons of steel will be fabricated and assembled for the facility. That's around five times the amount of steel used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge," said Shell Projects & Technology Director Mattias Bichsel at a ceremony marking the beginning of the construction.
The Prelude FLNG facility will produce gas at sea, turn it into liquefied natural gas and then transfer it directly to the ships that will transport it to customers. It is expected to stay moored at its location off Western Australia for 25 years and produce at least 3.6 million tons of LNG per year.
Shell sees LNG, and natural gas in general, as key to its future – as Marjan van Loon, the firm's head of LNG for Shell Products & Technology, explained at a presentation attended by Rigzone at the company's Rijswijk technology center in the Netherlands earlier this year. Global gas consumption is set to increase by more than a third between 2011 and 2030 (source: IEA), while this year will see the majority of Shell's hydrocarbon output be composed of gas rather than oil for the first time.
The company was involved in a fierce takeover battle with Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production in the spring of this year for Cove Energy – which has a significant stake in Mozambique's gas-rich Rovuma Basin that analysts believe could support more than a dozen LNG trains.