Offshore SeisNews ©

••• 28.09.05  Baltic LNG Plant in 2007.
The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in European Russia could be operative in 2007, two years earlier than planned, a Russian official said last night.
Gazprom and Canada's PetroCanada has previously confirmed that such plant, which is to have a total capacity of 3 million to 5 million tons of LNG per year, might be built in the St.Petersburg region, but not until 2009. But now Grigory Dvas, a deputy governor of the region, reportedly said the $1.3 billion project “would be implemented simultaneously with Gazprom's plans to build a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany.”
- The companies that are investing in the LNG plant construction assume that it will be built in 2007 and are confident that the North European pipeline will also be online in 2007, Reuters reports.Gazprom has declined to comment.

••• 28.09.05  Occidental Petroleum to Ship Libyan Oil to U.S.
Occidental Petroleum has lifted its first cargo of Libyan crude oil since returning to its historic contract areas in that Country.
This high quality cargo, which consists of approximately 900,000 barrels with an API gravity of 36 degrees and low sulfur content, will be delivered to the United States. This is the first shipment of a U.S. company's equity share of Libyan crude oil to the U.S. market since the U.S. lifted economic sanctions on Libya that were in place for nearly 20 years.
Current estimates indicate that Occidental's net Libyan production will contribute approximately 22,000 barrels per day to the company's year-end 2005 production exit rate, an increase from earlier estimates of 12,000 to 15,000 barrels per day.
Occidental's Libyan holdings, which include three producing properties and interests in 13 exploration blocks, encompass an area of approximately 130,000 square kilometers, making Occidental the largest net working interest holder of oil and gas acreage in the country.
Source: Occidental Petroleum  

••• 26.09.05  Russia will raise its oil output by three percent by the end of 2005, a Russian official has said.
Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin this weekend told a news conference in Washington that his country is to increase oil production by three percent, i.e., by 30 billion metric tons, before the end of this year. At present, Russia is producing to the tune of 9.33 million barrels of oil per day.
According to news service RIA Novosti, Kudrin added that Russia was planning to expand its infrastructure for oil production, refining and shipment, naming the Baltic pipeline as well as Barents and Caspian projects.
- The 2006 federal budget envisions separate line-item funding for the construction of new pipelines and geological prospecting, the Russian finance minister said.

••• 23.09.05  Fugro increases its presence in key oil and gas centers in India and Brazil.
Fugro has signed letters of intent to acquire Elcome Surveys Pvt. Ltd in India. The earlier announced joint venture with Oceansatpeg in Brazil will be operational as from 1 October 2005.
Elcome Surveys Pvt. Ltd
is located in Mumbai, India. The company is a major supplier of survey, geotechnical and oceanographic services offshore India and in the Arabian Gulf. The acquisition will strengthen Fugro’s resources base in this growing region. The company has 69 employees.
The joint venture with Oceansatpeg in Brazil (as announced on 12 August) is expected to commence operations as from 1 October 2005. The new legal entity involves some 250 employees. Fugro has an interest of 62% in this joint venture.
The undertakings above are expected to add approximately € 25 million to Fugro’s annual turnover and will further strengthen Fugro’s strategic position in these countries.
Source: Fugro N.V.

••• 19.09.05  CGG Wins New Seismic Survey Offshore India.
Compagnie Generale de Geophysique announced that it has been awarded a major 3D seismic offshore acquisition contract by ONGC for the third consecutive year in India.
This seismic program is located in deepwater off the eastern coast where CGG successfully operated during a previous campaign with ONGC in the first half of 2004. The project comprises a series of surveys covering a total area of approximately 8,800 sq km. It will be acquired between November 2005 and June 2006 by three CGG 3D vessels equipped with full onboard processing using Cog's proprietary software Geocluster.
"This third award, with a value of 112 million M$, will strengthen the very good working relationship we have already established with ONGC over the last three years. These large-scale offshore operations and the related data processing work will give our two companies another opportunity to demonstrate the depth of our collaboration," stated Christophe Pettenati-Auziere, CGG's President Geophysical Services.
Source: CGG

••• 17.09.05  Tropical Storms Will Not Hit the Norwegian Shelf.
A hurricane like "Katrina" would probably have inflicted extensive damage on the petroleum facilities on the Norwegian shelf. However, our hurricanes do not reach the same kind of wind force.
The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) requires all facilities on the Norwegian shelf to be able to withstand a hundred year storm - that is a wind force that statistically only occurs once in a hundred year period (up to 40 meters a second - 40 m/s). Read more...

••• 16.09.05  Norsk Hydro, Statoil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Total all made the five-company shortlist for Shtokman.
Russian news service RIA Novosti reported that the shortlist has been announced, including the above mentioned companies. Both Norsk Hydro and Statoil has sent out press releases confirming that they are among the remaining companies on the shortlist.
Presenting the shortlist, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said that the Shtokman natural gas deposit should be developed under product sharing agreements (PSA) and that North America will be the main destination for gas supplies from the Shtokman deposit.
Reserves in the Shtokman gas and condensate field, located in the central part of the Barents Sea, are estimated at 3.2 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 31 million tons of gas condensate. Production is scheduled to start in 2010, and reach full capacity two years later. The United States and Europe will be the main recipients of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with the U.S. receiving 25% of produced LNG.
Source: RIA Novosti  

••• 15.09.05  Norsk Hydro to Cooperate on Shtokman Well 7.
Gazprom, Sevmorneftegaz, Gazflot and Hydro have agreed to cooperate on the planning and drilling of well number seven in the Shtokman gas condensate field.
The well is planned to be drilled during the summer of 2006 with Odfjell Drilling's semisub, Deepsea Delta, on contract to Norsk Hydro.
The companies regard the joint work as an excellent opportunity to expand cooperation between the parties.
"This is good news", says head of Hydro's Shtokman efforts, Bengt Lie-Hansen. "And another confirmation of a long-lasting cooperation regarding the Shtokman development."
Source: Norsk Hydro.  

••• 15.09.05  Russia to Tender up to 20 Offshore Properties by 2010.
Russia will offer up to 20 viable hydrocarbons properties in the Barents and Pechora seas containing more than 6 billion tonnes of standard fuel equivalent at six tenders by 2010, Ilya Klebanov, the Russian president's special envoy in the Northwestern Federal District, said at the seventh international RAO/CIS OFFSHORE 2005 conference.
The tenders will include the Barents-2 section with a recoverable 640-680 million tonnes oil equivalent; Barents-3 with 354 million-382 million tonnes; Barents-4 with 1.2-1.3 billion tonnes; Barents-5 with up to 1.3 billion tonnes; and Barents-6 and -7 with 2.5 billion tonnes between them.
"Other Barents Sea license tenders are planned for 2010-2020," Klebanov said.
He said the Shtokman offshore gas project would begin in earnest once Gazprom has decided which foreign partners it wants to be involved.
"Gazprom will soon name its foreign partners in the huge Shtokman project on the Barents Sea shelf which will give impetus to the implementation of the project's real phase," Klebanov said.
Russian Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said at the conference that his ministry intended to hold 11 tenders by 2010 for the rights to explore 32 blocks in the Barents, Pechora and Okhotsk seas.
He said that there would be five tenders for 12 Okhotsk properties in addition to the six tenders for 20 properties in the Barents and Pechora seas. "These auctions could bring in bonuses ranging from $1.8 billion-$5 billion," he said.
Russia will invest more than 33 billion rubles into offshore exploration in line with a federal program to replenish the mineral resource base by 2020, Trutnev said.
He said geological work would be performed in the Barents, Kara and Okhotsk seas by 2010 and in the eastern Arctic between 2011 and 2020. "This will help to prepare 10-15 viable properties where large or even huge fields could one day be discovered," Trutnev said.
Source: Interfax Information Services, B.V.  

••• 14.09.05  Hydro has entered into three-year cooperative agreements with two universities in North-West Russia. The agreements include 19 educational grants and funding for equipment and books. Read more...  

••• 10.09.05  Falkland Oil and Gas Limited (FOGL) extension of 2D Seismic Programme.
FOGL announces that it has taken up the option, as reported at its AGM on 20 July, to extend the 8,000 km 2D survey, which commenced in June this year, by a further 7,000 km.
The GSI "Admiral" has been commissioned by the company to undertake this programme.
As stated in July, it is FOGL’s objective to define 20 drillable prospects from the numerous leads that had been identified from the 9,450 km 2D seismic survey. The aim of the current 15,000 km programme is to work up the 50 key leads that have been previously identified and identify drillable prospects. To achieve this outcome most of the new lines will be closely spaced (approximately 2km apart) to enable detailed mapping of prospects. The 15,000 km survey is split approximately 6,000km over the 2002 Licence area and 9,000 over the 2004 Licence area.
To date 4,560 km of this survey has been recorded and the whole survey is expected to be completed late this year or early 2006. The company anticipates that the results of the survey will be processed in the first half of 2006. Once the 15,000 km extension survey has been completed FOGL intends to carry out a 3D seismic programme in the areas of highest prospectivity.
John Armstrong, Executive Chairman of FOGL, said: “We have undertaken a vast amount of seismic surveying since our IPO and results continue to be encouraging. This 2D seismic contract extension will further enable us to define the full potential of our assets and together with the planned 3D survey will enable us to identify our 20 drillable prospects.”
Source: Falkland Oil and Gas Limited

••• 08.09.05  Paris, Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG) published today its unaudited consolidated results for the second quarter of 2005.
Group net profit of €7.0 M before non-recurring financial charge.
Group backlog of $481 M as of September 1st 2005, a 23% increase year on year.
CGG Chairman & CEO, Robert BRUNCK, commented: “Our results for the second quarter of 2005 show a strong improvement year on year and confirm a positive trend in the seismic market and in the CGG Group’s financial performance. The improvement of the Geophysical Services operating result, and especially the return to break even in land acquisition, substantiate and reinforce the validity of our strategic repositioning.
Sercel has once again shown a strong profitability during the quarter. In these conditions, we are confident that we will reach our 2005 target in operating results.
The acquisition of Exploration Resources, which will increase our offshore production capacity by approximately 60%, positions CGG as a first tier player in marine acquisition. Leader of the equipment sector and being now in stronger position in Services, CGG is well poised, as of 2006, to reap the benefits of a seismic market entering a growth cycle, which I believe to be strong and lasting”.
For the whole press release use the link: CGG

••• 08.09.05  Multiwave published today: "It is still too early to describe all the consequences of the acquisition but according to CGG the following is already clear:
- The purchase of EXRE is of strategic importance to CGG because it increases the fleet they control and places CGG among the leading 3 seismic companies worldwide. Further, the activities of Multiwave very nicely complements the CGG Group in areas were they have been relatively weak.
- Based on Multiwave they will establish a CGG operational centre in Bergen, Norway. This will be a centre for geophysical seabed activities in the widest sense (OBC, permanent & SBL) as well as vessel management of a part of the towed streamer fleet and the vessels used for seabed operations.
- Multiwave in Bergen will expand to become the research and development centre for 4C and seafloor operations within the CGG group as well as any other expertise that would naturally benefit from relations with Bergen University.
- The Multiwave name will be retained as an important brand name.
So to sum up: It is business as usual with a very positive outlook for the future of Multiwave".
Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG) has acquired more than 92 % of the shares in Exploration Resources, the parent company of Multiwave. Multiwave is the operational company within the EXRE group and is a Norwegian based provider of marine seismic services to the global oil and gas industry with focus on towed seismic data acquisition, multi-client seismic services, and 4c/4D/seabed operations.
Source: MGC

••• 07.09.05  PGS to Convert 4C Crew to Streamer Vessel Operations.
Petroleum Geo-Services has decided to convert its current 4C Ocean Bottom Crew operation, including the vessels "Ocean Explorer" and "Falcon", to towed streamer vessels. The third vessel used in this operation, "Bergen Surveyor", is on a short term lease and will be returned to its owners.
The conversion is expected to start around year end 2005. No personnel reductions are expected.
This move will add one more 6 streamer 3D vessel "Ocean Explore" and a 2D vessel "Falcon" to PGS' streamer fleet, increasing PGS' streamer capacity and flexibility in the strengthening streamer market.
PGS expects the conversion to improve EBIT and operating cash flow by more than $10 million annually compared to continued 4C operation, when completed. The conversion will require a one time investment (CAPEX) of approximately $16 million mostly relating to streamers and depreciation/write off of 4C equipment of approximately $6 million. PGS intends to retain a presence in the 4C market in the form of employee know-how and technology allowing for a future re-entry to the market.
PGS President and CEO Svein Rennemo stated the following regarding this strategic move:
"By converting these vessels we will take advantage of the substantial improvement in the towed streamer seismic segment and further enhance EBIT and cash flow from early 2006. At the same time we retain our competence in the 4C segment for a later re-entry".
Sourse: Petroleum Geo-Services ASA.  

••• 06.09.05  North Sea Workforce Drying Up. The North Sea oil industry is facing a crisis due to a shortage of skilled workers.
A report out today reveals that fresh blood is urgently needed to replace the ageing workforce that has fuelled offshore operations for more than 30 years. The warning comes as 46,000 delegates from 110 countries gather in Aberdeen for this week's Offshore Europe oil exhibition.
The report, by the city's chamber of commerce, highlights the skills shortage and warns the Government and industry leaders they must take action before it is too late. It says that schools and colleges are not providing enough young talent and calls forstronger links between industry and education.
The report also points out that cost-cutting has left oil firms unable to train replacements and workers are easily lured to other parts of the world for more money. Chamber chief executive Geoff Runcie said: "The industry is at a crossroads. It's critical we attract, train and retain the right people."
More than 185,000 people work in the UK oil industry, about 63,000 of them in Scotland.
About 80 per cent of firms are struggling to fill vacancies.
Source: Scottish Daily Record.  

••• 06.09.05  PGS Says Upswing in Market for Seismic Data Will Last Through 2006.
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA's CEO Svein Rennemo believes the present upswing in the market for seismic data will last through 2006, reported Norwegian daily Finansavisen. "We believe the upswing will continue through 2006," Rennemo told the newspaper, basing his estimates on an upswing in exploration and production spending by oil companies. Enskilda Securities estimates this increase at 20 pct in 2005, and 15 pct in 2006, according to Rennemo.
"If you look at the dynamics of the oil industry the arrows are pointing to a longer upswing than 2006. The industry is experiencing increased demand and order books are much larger now than 12 months ago, Rennemo added.
Source: AFX News Limited.  

••• 04.09.05  CGG Acquires More than 90% of the Votes of Exploration Resources.
On September 02, 2005 Compagnie Generale de Geophysique has acquired 1,766,953 shares in Exploration Resources ASA, at a purchase price of NOK 340 per share.
As announced on August 29, 2005, CGG has previously acquired approximately 60 percent of the shares in the company, also at a price of NOK 340 per share. Following the purchase of today, CCG holds in aggregate 5,833,603 shares in Exploration Resources, corresponding to approximately 88.35 percent of the issued shares.
Adjusted for treasury shares CGG holds approximately 90.02 percent of the votes in Exploration Resources.
Source: MediaNews.  

••• 03.09.05  Special R i g z o n e Report: Hurricane Katrina Damage Assessment....  

••• 31.08.05  TGS-NOPEC Announces New Seismic Survey in West Greenland.
Norwegian-American seismic outfit, TGS-NOPEC, has started shooting a new multi-client 2D seismic survey offshore western Greenland, a business sure to raise eyebrows in Canada.
The 7,000-kilometer survey will produce extra two-dimensional images of the Lady Franklin Basin and Discos Island areas.
An extension of surveying into the northern Labrador Sea and the area's structural graben trends might, however, get too near the contested Hans Island, a source of tension between Canada and Denmark, Greenland’s long-distance ruler.
Upon completion, TGS will have over 34,000 kilometers of modern 2D seismic available offshore west Greenland.
The program is highly prefunded by industry. Data delivery to clients will begin in the 4th quarter of 2005 and extend into early 2006.
Source: MediaNews

GGS informs that the US Open - West Florida 2D seismic project has started today.
The "Odin Explorer" has been waiting in Tampa, Florida for the Hurricane Katrina to leave the prospect area.
Source: GGS

GGS informs that Silver Queen Maritime Ltd (Silver Queen) has withdrawn "Geomariner" from a 5 year charter with GGS about 9 months prior to expiry on grounds of alleged late payment of hire. GGS disputes the right of Silver Queen to terminate the contract and intends to bring the matter to arbitration.
GGS further reports that it has entered into an agreement to charter the vessel M/V "Polar Duke" from Fugro-Geoteam.
The "Polar Duke" is a state of the art 2D vessel capable of long offset data acquisition and more suitable for some of GGS` planned projects than the "Geomariner" would have been. The vessel will be assigned to a project to be disclosed in the Far East scheduled to start in October.
Morten Andersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of GGS, states that the withdrawal of the Geomariner will not create problems for the operational plans of GGS. Our Syria project using Geomariner in co-operation with Inseis, has been successfully completed. The next project scheduled for "Geomariner" was third party work for which GGS is not liable. The "Geomariner" third party work up to now has been generally neutral to the GGS financial results.
Source: GGS

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