Offshore SeisNews ©

••• 10.05.06  New ROV Subsea Support Vessel for Fugro.
Fugro announced that has signed a long term charter agreement (with a purchase option per 2013) with E Forland Shipowners for a new-build ROV offshore construction and subsea support vessel. The vessel will be delivered in February 2008 and is largely based on the same design as the earlier announced new seismic vessel "Geo Celtic", which has been chartered for the long term by Fugro.
The new vessel, named "Fugro Saltire", will enhance Fugro’s ROVSV fleet and allow it to provide a wider range of subsea support and inspection, repair and maintenance services to its clients. With a length of 110 meters and a 150 ton heave compensated crane, the vessel will be equipped with minimum two of Fugro’s next generation FCV3000 ROVs with state of the art positioning, construction support, and inspection survey technology.
Following the recent commitments to new-build ROVs, the agreement for this vessel is in line with Fugro’s intent to grow its position in the ROV and subsea support industry. The vessel is designed to operate worldwide through Fugro’s worldwide network of operating companies and will meet the highest safety and environmental standards.
Source : Fugro N.V.

••• 10.05.06  Petrobras Forms JV for Exploration on the Argentine Continental Shelf.
Petrobras Energia SA said it has signed an agreement with Energia Argentina SA (Enarsa), YPF SA and Petrouruguay SA, forming a consortium for the exploration, development, production and marketing of hydrocarbons from two offshore areas, ENARSA 1 (E1) and CCM2, at the Colorado Marina basin, in the Argentine continental shelf.
Petrobras Energia has a 25% interest in the consortium while Enarsa, YPF and Petrouruguay hold a 35%, 35%, and 5% interest, respectively.
During 2006, the consortium is planning to perform 3D seismic works, with investments amounting to about US $20 million.
Source: RigZone

••• 08.05.06  Seabed Logging wins Hart’s E&P Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation.
In Houston at the Offshore Technology Conference, Electromagnetic Geoservices AS (emgs) has received the prestigious 2006 Hart’s E&P Meritorious Engineering Award in the exploration system category for its seabed logging survey method.
Svein Ellingsrud, vice president R&D, emgs, noted that the commercialization of seabed logging has brought the industry a completely new type of remote-sensing survey, which is changing the face of offshore exploration. Identifying hydrocarbon reservoirs before drilling is improving exploration efficiency and profitability for a rapidly increasing number of operators.
The Hart’s E&P Meritorious Engineering Awards honor achievements in 12 categories. Entries are judged by a panel of highly respected industry experts using criteria that include improved efficiency and profitability through new product development, and innovative applications of existing and new technologies. The winning entries represent techniques and technologies that are most likely to solve costly problems and improve exploration, drilling and production efficiency.
Source: emgs

••• 05.05.06  Multi-Client Agreement for Offshore Cyprus.
PGS announced that PGS in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Cyprus have signed an exclusive multi-client MC2D and MC3D seismic agreement for offshore Cyprus.
The acquisition has involved approximately 7000 line-km’s of MC2D seismic data which covers an area of 60,000 km2 over the Eratosthenes seamount, Levant Basin, and the prolific Nile Delta.
The survey will be available late in the 2nd Quarter 2006 and ties all the wells in the Deepwater Nemed Block in Egypt. It will form the basis for a future licensing round at the end of 2006.
Source: PGS

••• 04.05.06  Solstad ships contracted by Gazflot.
Seabrokers reports that two Solstad anchor handlers, Normand Titan and Normand Trym, have been contracted by Gazflot to support the semi Deepsea Delta in the Barents Sea.
The contract is to commence mid June and will last for approximately 100 days. The 12,000bhp Normand Titan is currently in the yard for maintenance until the beginning of May.
Seabrokers said both vessels will trade the spot market prior to commencing the Gazflot contract.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 04.05.06  Russia opens wallet for Barents Sea.
The Russian federal government wishes to step up their funding for offshore hydrocarbon exploration in the Barents Sea. Close to RUB 1 billion will be invested in 2006.
The money will primarily go to mapping of regions in the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea and the Laptevye. Leader of the Russian Agency on Mineral Exploitation, Anatoly Ledovskikh, says the petroleum resources in the western part of the Arctic Sea account for as much as 70 percent of all remaining Russian offshore hydrocarbons, Russian news agency B-port reports.
-The western part of the Arctic shelf is our national treasure and a huge reserve for the Russian petroleum industry.
Therefore it is of major importance to step up exploration in the area, he continued, Ledoskikh said during the Barents Sea Conference in Hammerfest, Norway, last week. He also stated that the Russian government will spend close to RUB 7,3 billion on hydrocarbon exploration throughout Russia this year.
Source: "Oilinfo"

••• 03.05.06  New petroleum optimism in Barents Sea.
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy believes new exploration models developed in cooperation with Russian researchers strengthen the chances to find hydrocarbons in the Barents Sea. -The oil companies are about to adjust their exploration models, which brings new optimism about the possibilities to make findings in the southern part of the Barents Sea, says Deputy Minister Anita Utseth.
Utseth, who spoke at the Barents Sea Conference in Hammerfest, Norway, last week, still stressed that uncertainties remain about the actual amount of oil in the Norwegian part of the Barents Sea. She believes the chances to find oil get bigger the further east in the area the drilling takes place. -If we are to get real progress in the Barents Sea we need more fields than just "Snohvit" and "Goliat", Utseth said.
Source: "BarentsObserver"

••• 02.05.06  "Ocean Pearl" will start operation in the UK sector of the North Sea.
Reservoir Exploration Technology announced the "Ocean Pearl" will commence operation West of Shetlands in early May. The contract period is 100 to 110 days. The vessel will then work on the Norwegian continental shelf. Estimated completion is around mid October.
Large programs are being tendered in West Africa for the winter period and well into 2007. Alternative programs are due for tender within the next few weeks in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Reservoir Exploration Technology (RXT) is a marine geophysical company specializing in multicomponent sea-floor acquisition of seismic data. The Company was formed originally as Terra Seismic Services in April 2002 in Norway. The first operation started in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2004, and the second will start in the North Sea in May 2006. RXT has offices in Oslo, London and Houston.
Source: Reservoir Exploration Technology

••• 29.04.06  Additional equipment for the seismic vessel "Geo Celtic".
Supplier of automated handling systems for seismic operations, have landed the contract to deliver additional equipment for the seismic vessel "Geo Celtic". The value is NOK 40 million.
The contract was awarded by seismic company Fugro-Geoteam, who gave ODIM the initial NOK 30 million contract for the first installation on "Geo Celtic" in January this year.
ODIM have over the last few years developed an area of expertise within the field of electronic control systems for 3D seismic operations. Fugro-Geoteam is one of the pioneers to use this technology; a fact ODIM describes as "joyous".
"For ODIM, this is proof of our development strategy based on close cooperation with customers, and we are extremely pleased to be the preferred supplier for this exciting project", - comments ODIM CEO Jogeir Romestrand.
Source: "Oilinfo"

••• 29.04.06  Gardline is upgrading the Sea Surveyor over the next few months, with a 2D digital exploration seismic capability.
The multi-role survey vessel, which also carries out site investigation surveys will receive an upgraded HTI SeaMUX digital recording system and 6 km streamer. Air gun source options up to 3,000 cubic inch will also be available. This upgrade will enhance Sea Surveyor’s capability to undertake 2D seismic surveys for hydrocarbon exploration and EEZ delimitation (UNCLOS) surveys.
Source: Gardline Marine Sciences

••• 28.04.06  Wavefield Geophysical AS mobilises M/V Bergen Surveyor for first job.
Newly formed Norwegian marine geophysical specialist, Wavefield Geophysical AS, has completed an upgrade of its Bergen Surveyor vessel in preparation for their first survey – a new multi-client 2D programme in the Central Nordkapp basin offshore Norway.
Now fully mobilised, the Bergen Surveyor is equipped with solid Teledyne SDS-55 streamer and dual Bolt Annular Port Gun source arrays and will acquire the regional 2D survey for sister company InSeis AS. The upgrade will also enable the vessel to acquire 3D data with a dual streamers and dual source configuration.
Originally converted in 1997, this latest upgrade to the Bergen Surveyor makes it an extremely flexible unit as it is rigged for the long offset 2D, development 3D/4D and source vessel markets. The use of the Bolt APG source in particular gives it a very compact, efficient and high output energy source that can be designed to meet the varying requirements for source performance in different regions world-wide and also to match as close as possible the output from other sources in multi-azimuth acquisition and legacy 4D surveys.
Source: Wavefield Geophysical

••• 27.04.06  Veritas to Deploy First Orca System.
Concept Systems Ltd.(CSL), a subsidiary of Input/Output, Inc., announced that Veritas DGC has purchased the first commercial application of its Orca(TM) integrated command and control software package for marine seismic acquisition.
Orca is the first of a new generation of integrated command and control systems designed to harness the complex data workflows found onboard modern seismic vessels. Purpose-designed to incorporate the latest technologies, Orca manages all aspects and stages of the navigation and seismic data workflows for vessel operators, enabling them to operate more safely and more efficiently during complex survey operations while delivering processing-ready data to their customers, said CSL. The system reportedly offers reduced downtime with increased functionality, flexibility, and operational efficiency.
Veritas and CSL have been collaborating on the specification and development of Orca for the last two years. The latest field trials have been underway for the last three months on the SR/V Veritas Vantage, an advanced marine seismic acquisition vessel capable of deploying up to 10 solid streamers.
"Veritas is committed to being the technology leader in marine streamer acquisition," said Tor Haugland, senior vice president of Veritas Marine Acquisition.
"We want each vessel in our fleet to be capable of deploying a wide variety of streamer spreads to meet the geophysical objectives of our global customer base. We also need to be able to support complex acquisition geometries, including wide-azimuth and multi-azimuth surveys, and be prepared to deliver highly repeatable images in time-lapse (4-D) programs. As the intricacy of marine streamer vessel operations continues to increase, we needed a software command and control system capable of handling them. We are pleased to have worked with Concept during the development input phase and during sea trials and look forward to rolling out Orca to the rest of the Veritas fleet in the months ahead."
Alan Faichney, CSL's managing director, added that his company is pleased that Veritas experienced first-hand the additional value that Orca can bring to complex, multi-vessel streamer operations. "They are known throughout the seismic industry for being on the cutting-edge of technology and for their safe, highly-efficient vessel operations," he said. "They provided us with unique insights into what the ideal next-generation command & control system needed to deliver. We incorporated their feedback throughout the development process and now have a more robust, higher-value product to offer to our customers."
According to CSL, Orca represents a "leap forward" in streamer vessel command and control. The product incorporates features that support the major imaging trends in the seismic industry, including tight streamer spacing, wide- and multi-azimuth geometries, and 4-D. "By delivering these imaging benefits while simultaneously supporting more efficient operations, enhanced safety profiles, and shorter cycle times, both oil & gas companies and seismic contractors should benefit," said Faichney.
Source: Input/Output, Inc.

••• 27.04.06  TGS-NOPEC Announced New Seismic Program in Russia. Additional 2D Seismic Vessel Chartered.
TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company (TGS) announced today that it will acquire a new multi-client 2D seismic program in the Sea of Okhotsk near Sakhalin Island in partnership with Dalmorneftegeofizika (DMNG). Based on strong pre-funding and industry interest, this season's program is targeted to be approximately 15,000 kilometers. TGS plans to commence acquisition in early July utilizing two vessels. DMNG will process the survey in its Yutzhno Processing Center and expects to deliver the final product by the first quarter of 2007. Upon completion, TGS and DMNG will have approximately 40,000 kilometers of modern 2D seismic coverage available to clients in the Sea of Okhotsk.
TGS also announced today that it has signed a charter agreement with Shanghai Offshore Petroleum Geophysical Corporation (SOPGC) to utilize the newly upgraded Discoverer-2 2D seismic research vessel. The charter agreement specifies a minimum 12-month term as well as two options for TGS extend the charter by six-month periods under the same commercial terms. The Company plans to utilize the vessel initially in the Sea of Okhotsk.

••• 27.04.06  Another seismic equipment contract for ODIM.
ODIM in Norway has secured another new contract for an automated handling system for a seismic vessel. The contract is worth some NKr 70 million and was awarded to ODIM by GC Rieber Shipping AS on behalf of Arrow Seismic and is an option contract.
The system is designed to handle a maximum of 16 streamers and ODIM will deliver it in April 2007.
Source: ODIM

••• 26.04.06  Arrow Seismic ASA is the group's new venture in the seismic business.
Arrow, a subsidiary of Rieber Shipping ASA, is a vessel owning company in the seismic industry. Arrow owns one existing vessel that will be converted to a seismic multi-streamer vessel. Arrow also has a Building Contract for delivery of two state-of-the-art multistreamer newbuilds in 2008, with options for delivery of two additional newbuilds in 2009. Read more...
Source: Arrow Seismic

••• 26.04.06  Havyard Lerivik has delivered a Moss 828 ice class MISV for FEMCO.
Havyard Leirvik shipyard in Norway has delivered an multi-purpose icebreaking supply vessel to FEMCO, a Russian management company owned by Rosneft.
Delivered in March, the newbuild will be operated on behalf of CSJC Sevmorneftgaz.
The Moss 828 MISV has high icebreaking class and is designed to provide icebreaking and ice management duties in ice thicknesses of up to 1.5m of level ice. Its primary role is as a support vessel with oil recovery capability with large onboard tanks, plus ROV/diving support and standby/rescue capability.
The vessel has diesel electric propulsion, utilising two Azipods each of 7.5MW.
Being designed to work in extremely low temperatures - as low as - 45 degrees C - the newly delivered vessel also has shelters to protect the crew and enhanced heating capacity as well as de-icing facilities.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 25.04.06  OHM sees fourfold revenue rise.
Geophysical survey company OHM reported revenue up fourfold to 5.9 million pounds for the six months to the end of February this year.
OHM, which has been rolling out electromagnetic sensing technology as a technique for detecting oil and gas and which recently carried out major work in the South Falklands said in its interim results today that it had also halved pre-tax losses compared with last year to 0.8 million pounds.
Pierre Jungels, chairman of OHM said the offshore industry is now beginning to see the value offered by its Controlled Source Electro-Magnetic Imaging technology. The CSEM technique was included as a pre-condition for some licences offered by Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for its19th licensing round.
Jungels described the technology as “..A key component of the explorer’s toolkit,” and added: “With a healthy order book, cash positive first half trading and the scientific advances created by our research team OHM is now managing for growth.”
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 25.04.06  Falklands drilling prospects to be firmed up with more 3D.
Further seismic could be shot in the South Atlantic region by two Falklands licence holders to further define drillable prospects next year.
Australia’s Hardman Resources, which is acquiring data in the South Atlantic in partnership with Falklands Oil and Gas, reported that two thirds of a 6,125 km (3,828-mile) 2D seismic survey in the South Falklands area had already been completed by the end of March, alongside data gathering in neighbouring licences.
“The data from the current survey, along with the existing data acquired in 2004/2005 will be used to define prospects and select the location for additional seismic, including a planned 3D seismic survey to define drillable prospects by mid 2007,” Hardman said in its quarterly report.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 24.04.06  Gazprom: No Decision On Shtokman Partners Until May.
Russian natural gas monopoly OAO Gazprom said Monday it had postponed until May the deadline for choosing partners to develop the massive offshore Shtokman gas field.
Gazprom had earlier said it planned to announce two to three partners by the end of April.
Gazprom has shortlisted five companies as potential partners - ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp., Norsk Hydro ASA, Statoil ASA and Total SA for the project.
The head of Gazprom's export division, Alexander Medvedev, said the choice had been postponed until April, a company spokesman said.
The spokesman said he couldn't immediately explain the delay.
Speaking at a London Conference, Trem Smith, president of Chevron's Russian unit Chevron Neftegaz, said "such minor delays are not something to worry."
"It's only natural that they have questions which internally they need to reconcile," he said.
However, Smith added: "The sooner there is some clarity (on the final selection)... the better it is for the project. And I think they understand that."
Shtokman holds an estimated 3.6 trillion cubic meters of gas, and Gazprom plans to use the field to export Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, to North America by tankers.
Source: RigZone/Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex

••• 24.04.06  Statoil Hires Wavefield Geophysical for 3D Survey Offshore Norway.
Following its recent launch, Wavefield Geophysical has already received a letter of intent from Statoil to carry out a large-scale 3D towed streamer survey offshore Norway.
Due to commence in Q3 2006, the survey is expected to take two to three months and will utilize Wavefield's "Geowave Commander" vessel. The newly commissioned vessel is being equipped with some of the latest seismic equipment available and will acquire the survey with eight streamers (6km each in length) and dual sources.
"We are delighted to have been approached by Statoil for such a prestigious project," commented Rick Donoghue, Vice President Marketing and Sales, Wavefield Geophysical AS. He continued, "Despite only commencing activities in early 2006, it is a clear demonstration of our management team's international reputation for delivering innovative and highly effective solutions."
Launched in January 2006, Wavefield was formed by a number of the most experienced professionals in the geophysical industry to provide a high quality range of services, designed to increase its clients' exploration success and to assist them in maximizing production from their existing reservoirs.
With headquarters in Bergen, Norway, the company has a global reach that covers the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region. Wavefield's range of services includes long offset 2D and high capacity 3D acquisition, together with full service permanent 4D acquisition and - through a number of strategic global alliances - the company has plans to bring new technologies to market to further accelerate and de-risk the replenishment of its clients' reserves.
Together with the deployment of highly specified vessels and the very latest seismic equipment, Wavefield personnel all have a common recent history and know the strengths that a dedicated, highly flexible and responsive team can bring to any project. Whether it is a conventional towed streamer survey, or a complex project that involves feasibility studies, front-end engineering and bespoke equipment design and processes - projects such as permanent seismic array installation, deep water OBC surveys, and one-off shallow water and source vessel rigging - Wavefield Geophysical brings years of industry experience and best practice to all projects.
Source: Wavefield Geophysical

••• 23.04.06  RXT received letter of intent from Statoil.
The seismic company Reservoir Exploration Technology AS (RXT) announced that it has received a letter of intent from Statoil for acquisition of 4C seismic data with its new vessel “Ocean Pearl” for Statoil this year. Estimated contract value is $7 - $8 million, depending on final survey duration. Duration is estimated to 6 weeks.
Reservoir Exploration Technology AS (RXT) is a marine geophysical company specialising in multi component seismic sea-floor acquisition.
Currently operating in the Gulf of Mexico, crew is configured with six 6km cables at 25m station spacing with dual seismic sources for maximum production of the highest fidelity data.
Source: RXT

••• 22.04.06  New seismic contract for ODIM.
ODIM ASA has secured a new contract for automated handling system for a seismic vessel. The contract value is worth some NOK 70 million.
The contract is awarded to ODIM by GC rieber Shipping AS and is for a complete ODIM automated handling system. The system is designed to handle 12-16 streamer cables.
ODIM notice a strong interest from the seismic companies for ODIM s automated handling systems. ODIMs systems are unique and preferred by most of the seismic companies. This contract is a confirmation of an option that was signed earlier and proves the strong seismic market, comments CEO Jogeir Romestrand in ODIM ASA.
ODIM will deliver the system in January 2007.
Source: ODIM

••• 20.04.06  Shtokman bid decision due next week – official says.
Partners for the Russian Barents Sea Shtokman development will be announced next week according to an official source.
Russian news and information agency Ria Novosti reports Gazprom will announce the outcome of tenders and partnership bids from Norsk Hydro, Statoil, Total, Chevron and ConocoPhillips next week, according to an un-named senior Gazprom official.
Novosti said the official gave the indication of the timing of the Barents Sea Shtokman announcement today but without giving any further details.
Hydro and Statoil have offered Gazprom interests in their Snohvit and Ormen Lange gas developments in the Barents and Norwegian Seas in order to gain a share of the Russian gas project.
Earlier today Alexander Ryazanov, Gazprom’s deputy chairman was quoted as saying: “We will analyze the results at the end of next week and then we will see,” Rio Novosti reported.
Phase one of the project is expected to be a liquefied natural gas development of the field, which is estimated to contain 3.2 Trilliion cubic metres of gas.
Shtokman is 650 km (406 miles) offshore from the Russian port of Murmansk in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea. It is one of the biggest development projects on offer to international exploration and production companies and is seen as a key lever for Gazprom to extend its involvement international gas markets.
Both Chevron and Conoco will be able to offer Gazprom easier entry to US energy markets – seen as a key strategic goal for Gazprom - while France’s Total can provide extensive technical expertise – along with the others – with its deep offshore development expertise.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 18.04.06  Recruitment drive begins for Subsea UK.
Industry group Subsea UK is launching a new campaign to try and bring new engineers into the offshore industry.
From today subsea companies will receive funding and support to try and recruit and train 100 engineers from other industries and attract 100 new graduates into the sector.
Money for the campaign is coming from Acergy, BP, J P Kenny, Technip and Scottish Enterprise for the recruitment drive.
Mature and qualified engineers already working in marine, aerospace, and construction industries are being targeted by the drive, through recruitment fairs which will seek to match subsea companies to potential applicants.
At the same time a communications campaign is being launched to highlight the attractions of working in the subsea sector, emphasising the challenges and global opportunities available.
Efforts are also being made to target school pupils through better liaison and development of information packages about the industry.
“By combining our skills and resources to deliver this initiative, the subsea industry can expand the talent pool in the UK. That’s absolutely necessary given the growth in demand for UK based services that we’re seeing and will continue to see,” said Gerwyn Williams, a member of the Subsea UK board and managing director of pipeline engineers J P Kenny.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 15.04.06  Vietsovpetro Makes Discovery Offshore Southern Coast.
A Vietnamese-Russian joint venture has discovered a new field of crude oil off the country's southern coast, Vietnam's state media reported Monday.
Tran Le Dong, general director of Vietsovpetro, run by the Vietnamese and Russian governments, said the new stream should be able to produce more than 5,000 barrels of crude oil per day, according to Thanh Nien newspaper.
The find last week was Vietsovpetro's first strike of oil in the central Rong field, offshore of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, 50 kilometres east of Ho Chi Minh City.
The Rong field will be one of the two major sources of oil for Vietnam, along with the producing Bach Ho field.
Crude oil is Vietnam's biggest export, averaging some 400,000 barrels per day in 2004 and earning at least $15 billion over the past five years.
Already Southeast Asia's third-largest petroleum producer, Vietnam has been reported to have 600 million barrels in proven oil reserves.
Petrovietnam Vice President Nguyen Dang Lieu last month stunned investors at a conference by claiming 1.25 billion barrels in both oil and gas reserves. He did not offer figures on how much of that figure was crude oil.
Vietnam late last year began construction on the country's first oil refinery, costing an estimated $1.5 billion, in the central town of Dung Quat.
Source: RigZone/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

••• 12.04.06  Battle Begins for Russia's Huge Arctic Sea Gas Field.
Russian gas giant Gazprom will this week begin deciding which of five international oil companies will win the right to take part in the largest single gas project - the $25bn (E21bn, Ј14bn) development of the Shtokman field in the Arctic Sea.
Reports that Gazprom will announce the final consortium members on 12 April are premature, The Business understands. The final proposals from Chevron, ConocoPhillips, France's Total and Norwegian oil companies Norsk Hydro and Statoil must first go to a working group led by Alexander Medvedev, director-general of Gazprom's export arm, and Vlada Rusakova, head of Gazprom's strategy department, which has been told to make a recommendation to Gazprom's board within a fortnight.
Bidders have as yet received no commitment from Gazprom about when they will learn the result.
A banker advising one of the bidders said: "It's an intensely political process. Gazprom is being instructed by the Kremlin so it will take time."
The prize is huge. Shtokman's 133 trillion cubic feet make it the third largest gas field yet discovered, with more reserves in one field than the UK and Norway have together. While its reserves make it irresistible to international oil companies, the challenges are immense.
More than 500km into the Russian Arctic Sea where the temperature is below freezing for nine months of the year, Shtokman is in one of the most forbidding environments on earth.
Gazprom has said it is looking for two to three partners, but has left it unclear as to whether any of these could themselves be consortiums. It has forbidden the companies from discussing groupings among themselves.
Of the five, Total and Conoco are seen as the most likely to be dropped, followed by Chevron. The Norwegians, given their expertise in the Arctic, are seen as the most certain. Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller last Thursday met Conoco chief executive Jim Mulva and Total chief executive Thierry Desmarest in what looked to be a final opportunity for the companies to make their cases.
Gazprom is expected to keep a 51 percent stake in the field, with its partners taking around 10 percent-20 percent each. Deutsche Bank argues that the net present value of the field is around $10bn, given that as much as $25bn may need to be spent developing it.
Conoco and Chevron are understandably arguing that Gazprom needs a US partner if it wants to export the gas to the US. A source said: "If it is going to be a long-term player in the US, it's better to have a US partner. If you look at the geopolitics, it's stacked against Total."
Conoco is emphasising its dominance of the US gas market, while Chevron will argue that the sophisticated US trading system means all that is necessary is access to a well-positioned terminal. Conoco's 16 percent stake in Russian oil giant Lukoil may also count against it.
Russian newspapers say Gazprom favours the idea of a Norwegian consortium and a US consortium.
The deal is set to transform Gazprom. In return for its stake, Statoil has offered Gazprom capacity in the Cove Point LNG terminal on the US north-east coast; Total and Chevron have offered capacity in the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana; and Conoco has offered capacity in Texas's Freeport LNG terminal. Total and Statoil are offering stakes in the Snohvit LNG plant in the Norwegian Barent's Sea, due to begin exporting to the US and UK in 2007.
The deal could also bring Gazprom to its goal of delivering 10bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas to the UK by 2010, up from 4bcm last year.
Norsk Hydro has offered Gazprom as much as 10 percent of its Ormen Lange field, which will next year start piping 20 percent of the UK's gas supplies. And Gazprom's gas supplies to the UK could be greater still if Total also offers some of its Alwyn gas field, or Conoco and Chevron offer part of their Britannia field.
Source: RigZone/The Business, London Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

••• 12.04.06  DNO strikes oil in Iraq.
Shares in Norwegian oil company DNO jumped nearly 11 percent on Monday, after the company confirmed that it had struck oil in Northern Iraq. DNO boss Helge Eide had good news from the company's high-risk drilling activities in Northern Iraq.
The company (Det Norske Oljeselskap, DNO) said it still wasn't sure how much oil it had found, or whether its exploration well was operational.
DNO sent a statement to the Oslo Stock Exchange, however, saying that its data showed oil in five areas of its Tawke 1 well in the Kurdish area of Northern Iraq.
DNO said it was now studying the possibilities for oil production in the Tawke area. If tests are successful, production could start in the first quarter of 2007, company officials said.
A drilling rig now placed at the Tawke 1 well will be moved to another site, Tawke 2, for more drilling. It lies two kilometres west of the well where DNO has found oil.
DNO said it planned to drill to a depth of 2,000 meters. DNO also said it has signed a contract to take delivery of another rig from Greatwall Drilling Co Ltd.
Source: Aftenposten/NTB

••• 10.04.06  Gippsland Offshore Begins Seismic Work Offshore Jamaica.
Following the signing of the Production Sharing Contracts with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica earlier this year, GOP and their partners in the Jamaica Joint Venture (Finder Exploration Pty Ltd) report that the extensive exploration program for the Walton Basin has commenced.
The Fugro operated Akademik Shatsky has begun acquisition of 7,180 line kms of long offset, 2D seismic data.
Close cooperation with the fisherman in the Pedro Keys region on the southern margin of the Walton Basin has been established to create minimum disturbance to their activities and acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of May with final products delivered to the joint venture in September.
The long offset (8km) streamer length has been designed to acquire high quality data beneath the extensive reef system in the basin. It is here that the source rocks and deeper potential traps are located in the section.
Together with the long offset seismic program, the BHP Billiton FALCON Technology will be employed over a large portion of the acreage to map structure, lithology of the basins and in particular to provide detailed information on the reefs which are the key exploration play for most of the region. The FALCON aircraft is planning to mobilize to Jamaica in April, 2006. It is the first survey that GOP will be flying with BHP Billiton under their recently signed technology agreement.
The integration of the extensive long offset seismic data and the detailed FALCON will be an exciting first for oil and gas exploration around the world. GOP and Finder Exploration bring unique technical expertise to the acquisition and interpretation of these data that will be key to unlocking the potential in Jamaica.
Both GOP and Finder Exploration Pty Ltd enjoy a good working relationship with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica who have not licensed the offshore Walton Basin area for over 20 years.
The joint venture has a very aggressive data acquisition and interpretation schedule planned for 2006 that aims to identify drillable prospects by the end of 2006/early 2007.
Source: RigZone

••• 08.04.06  Hydro and Statoil may team up on Stockman project.
Norwegian energy firms Norsk Hydro and Statoil have been holding secret talks with an eye to joining forces if it would mean winning work on the coveted Stockman gas project.
Both Hydro and Statoil are in the running to win contracts from the Russian authorities controlling the Stockman field in the Barents Sea. The Russians have seemed keen on tapping Norwegian expertise in drilling for oil and gas in extremely cold and stormy seas.
Newspaper Dagens N?ringsliv reported Friday that Hydro and Statoil, which generally are rivals, are considering setting up a joint venture firm to develop the huge Stockman (also known as "Shtokman") gas field.
Both companies are in the final round of candidates on the project for Russia's powerful energy company Gazprom. A Russian newspaper reported this week that the Russians want the Norwegians to form one consortium, and American firms Chevron and ConocoPhilips to form another.
Hydro and Statoil already are partners in the development of Norway's Ormen Lange field. News bureau NTB reported, however, that Hydro and Statoil have delivered individual applications to participate in the Stockman project.
Source: Aftenposten

••• 07.04.06  Ultra-modern standby boats ordered for North Sea work.
Two new ultra-modern standby vessels have been ordered to provide safety cover for Statoil-operated assets in the North Sea.
Stavanger-based Mokster Shipping subsidiary Mokster Safety has been contracted by Statoil to supply two identical vessels due for delivery in February and October 2008 in a deal worth NOK 1.6 billion (US $247 million).
One of the new ships will be assigned to Statoil’s Tampen area, replacing two existing emergency response vessels, and saving an estimated NOK 50 million ($7.72 million) annually. A second ship will be used as a relief vessel for Statoil’s exploration and production fleet.
Both vessels will see further development of the Stril Poseidon, already in use in the Halten area, and will feature helidecks and sick bays to offer immediate medical assistance to any offshore casualties.
Both boats will also be more robust and useable in adverse weather, Statoil said, with the ability to recover lifeboats from a specially-adapted stern slipway.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 07.04.06  Extension of US-Open Big Wave west of Florida.
GGS-Spectrum is extending the "Big Wave" Multi Client Survey with the acquisition of an additional 12,000 km of Non Exclusive seismic data as Phase 3 to the project which commenced in 3Q, 2005. Phase 3 will focus on the Southern part of the Lloyd Ridge area. The Big Wave project, when completed, will be comprised of the following data volumes: Phase 1 (10,000km), Phase 2 (7,500km) and Phase 3 (12,000km).
The decision to add Phase 3, is based on recent information regarding the likely location of upcoming lease sales (US Gulf of Mexico licensing rounds). The abyssal plain of the Gulf of Mexico in this area was until recently, considered to be a featureless plain, devoid of significant geological structures and underlain by oceanic crust. The newly acquired Big Wave data has revealed an interesting, complex structural province, with numerous, sizeable exploration possibilities. Only a few seismic lines had been acquired in the area prior to the Big Wave survey. This older vintage data was acquired with a short cable (3-4 km) and consequently did not resolve the deeper geological province buried beneath a Tertiary clastic sequence of more than 4 seconds.
GGS-Spectrum in co-operation with Rock Solid Images in Houston, are currently undertaking a comprehensive Multi Client study of the data, based on Pre Stack Depth Migrated data tied to and calibrated with all the deepest wells drilled in the adjoining areas to the North and East. The processed data from Phase 1 and Phase 3, will be available in June and October, 2006 respectively and Phase 2 will be available in 2007.
The collection of Phase 3 is planned to start in mid April using the seismic vessel CGG Venturer with a 10 km long cable.
Source: GGS

••• 06.04.06  Chevron Wins Barents Sea Exploration Rights.
Chevron's Norwegian subsidiary Chevron Norge AS has successfully bid for the exploration rights in six blocks awarded in the 19th Norwegian Licensing Round.
The blocks are located in the Nordkapp East Basin in the Norwegian Barents Sea, approximately 155 miles (250 kilometers) north of the coast of Finnmark, in 800 feet (250 meters) of water. Chevron has received a 40 percent equity interest in the PL 397 license, Blocks 7230/2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7231/4. The other partners in the blocks are Statoil ASA (40 percent equity interest and operator) and RWE Dea Norge AS (20 percent equity interest). John Watson, Chevron International Exploration and Production president, said, "Our successful bid for this exploration acreage reflects Chevron's intention to pursue attractive growth opportunities in the region and furthers our strategy to achieve superior exploration success from a focused, high- impact exploration program."
Added Rick Cohagan, Chevron Upstream Europe's managing director, "We are very pleased with our success in acquiring this equity, Chevron's first acreage in the Barents Sea, and we look forward to working with our partners to address this challenging, high-potential area."
The license was applied for jointly with Statoil ASA under a long-term Area of Mutual Interest (AMI) agreement signed between Chevron and Statoil in November 2005.
"The agreement complements the strengths of both companies -- Chevron's global exploration experience, particularly its seismic imaging capability -- and Statoil's significant regional knowledge and long-term operational experience in the Barents Sea," said Cohagan.
Source: RigZone

••• 06.04.06  New 3D shoot for South Falklands.
Exploration in the North Falkland Islands has been given a further boost with the signing of a letter of intent by Rockhopper Exploration for new survey work in the South Atlantic basin.
Rockhopper has signed for CGG to carry out a new 3D seismic survey in the North Falklands which is due to commence December this year – during the Falklands’ summer - covering a minimum of 685 sq. km (264 sq. miles) over two licence areas, PL032 and 033.
Rockhopper said the new seismic survey will target an untested oil play, different to that encountered in the two successful wells drilled in 1998, even though it already has access to 1,546 km (966 miles) of 2D and 368 sq. km (142 sq. miles) of 3D data over the same areas.
Earlier this year Rockhopper completed acquisition of 2D and controlled source electro-magnetic surveys on two other Falklands licences PL023 and 024.
Source: Rockhopper Exploration

••• 05.04.06  Gazprom holds final Shtokman meetings.
Final meetings have been held between Gazprom management and the companies bidding for partnerships in the Shtokman offshore gas development. Gazprom’s management committee chairman Alexey Miller held talks with Statoil’s chief executive Helge Lund and David O’Reilly, chief executive of Chevron.
At this stage the talks have been focussing on the first stage development of Shtokman, involving a liquefaction plant.
Gazprom described the talks as a working meeting, but there was no mention of further discussions with Total, Norsk Hydro, or ConocoPhillips, despite those three companies also being short listed bidders to partner Gazprom.
"The talks will end up with Gazprom identifying two or three companies that will form a Consortium for the Shtokman project implementation," Gazprom stated.
A final decision on the Shtokman partnership to be formed with Gazprom was expected by the end of April.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 04.04.06  Crowley to provide support offshore Sakhalin Island.
Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Marine Services unit has announced the deployment of Crowley Alliance, the company’s first Russian flagged and crewed vessel serving the offshore oil industry near Sakhalin Island, Russia.
The vessel is owned and operated by Crowley Sakhalin LLC, a Crowley subsidiary formed and incorporated in Sakhalin State, Russia.
The subsidiary, which is part of the corporation’s marine services division, offers marine and shore-side logistics and transportation services to the energy and construction industries in the region.
In the autumn of 2005, Crowley entered into a contract with Exxon Neftegas Limited (ENL) to provide an ice strengthened anchor handling tug supply vessel for the ORLAN, an 80,000 tonne offshore production and drilling platform. To provide this service on a long-term basis, ENL required the vessel to be flagged under the Russian Federation and crewed by Russian Nationals.
Crowley is no stranger to the ORLAN. The company towed the ORLAN from its original location off Alaska’s north slope to Sovetskaya Gavan, Russia in 2001; then from Sov Govan to Ulsan, Korea in 2004, and finally from Ulsan to offshore Sakhalin Island in the summer of 2005.
Alliance, which Crowley purchased from Maersk Supply Service, is a UT 708 design 12,000bhp AHTS with Lloyds Ice Class 1A Super.
The vessel has the hull strength and power to break first year ice up to 1m (39in) thick, and during the most severe part of the Sakhalin winters will follow an icebreaker to the ORLAN location.
In addition, Alliance can provide ocean towing, anchor handling, and general supply duties for ENL’s offshore projects and will help extend their operating season due to its capability to contend with early winter and late spring ice.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 03.04.06  Statoil slates new Barents Sea management plan.
New Norwegian government plans for the management of the Barents Sea including petroleum exploration and production and measures to protect the environment failed to deliver what was required according to Statoil.
Although the new government green paper allows for further development around the Snohvit gas field and around Eni’s recent Goliat discovery, Statoil said it had hoped for a more aggressive approach to the management of the far north regions including allowing more exploration in the Nordland and Troms areas – where exploration has been expressly forbidden by the management plan for the life of the current Parliament.
The exploration ban applies to the Nordland VI and VII areas and the Troms II areas off northern Norway.
"Statoil has had a leading role in exploring the Barents Sea, and we are confident that these waters offer exciting opportunities for new oil and gas finds," said Statoil’s executive vice president for E&P business in Norway, Terje Overvik.
He said the environment and the fishing industry could still be protected while petroleum exploration continues. He also said an environmental impact assessment should start now to assess the likely effects of oil and gas exploration in these areas.
However the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has permitted new seismic surveys for those regions in order to gather more data. "This is important if we are to improve our knowledge of the oil and gas potential in the area," Overvik stated.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 03.04.06  A new geophysical company delivering offshore exploration and production solutions has launched in Norway.
Wavefield Geophysical AS is a Norwegian marine geophysical company providing a high quality range of services including long offset 2D, high capacity 3D and full service permanent 4D acquisition. Read more...
Source: Wavefield Geophysical

••• 01.04.06  Thirteen exploration licences awarded for Barents Sea.
Seventeen companies have been offered 13 new production licences in Norway’s 19th Licensing Round covering 33 whole or part blocks mainly in the Barents Sea by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy today.
Licences have been offered to most of major Norwegian operators Statoil, Norsk Hydro and ConocoPhillips, Norske Shell, ENI Norway, and DNO, but also to Amerada Hess, BG Group, Chevron Texaco, Talisman, and Total, as well as Idemitsu, Gaz de France, RWE Dea, Revus Energy, Discover Petroleum, and Noreco.
“The awards today represent an important step on the way for long-term exploration in this area. We have seen an increased interest in the Northern areas over the last few years. Combined with the awards in the 19th licensing round and the work with the integrated management plan, the Barents Sea has been given new opportunities,” said Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen. Work programmes for the licenses include at least four exploration wells, one appraisal well, seven “drill or drop” decisions on allotted acreage, and the collection of a minimum of 9,860 sq. km of 3D seismic data, less than the 11,532 sq. km of acreage which has been awarded.
At the same the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) has today been presented with a much-awaited integrated management plan for the Barents Sea which the energy minister believes will provide a solid framework for exploiting petroleum potential in the Barents Sea while also protecting the sensitive environment in Norway’s far north regions.
“Within the framework of sustainable development and ecosystem based resource management, considerations to the different industries have been balanced. For the petroleum activity this means that the framework conditions in the Barents Sea now are predictable. This forms the basis for an effective and long-term exploration of the petroleum resources in this important area,” Enoksen has suggested.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 31.03.06  Houston-based Veritas Geophysical has appointed Veripos of Aberdeen as primary positioning provider for its entire worldwide fleet of seismic survey vessels under a multi-million US dollar contract covering a two-year period with options for future extension.
Under the contract, Veripos will provide continuous high-precision positioning via its Ultra Precise Point Positioning (PPP) service as well as its independent multi-station single-frequency Standard and dual-frequency Standard Plus Differential GPS network facilities via fully redundant global networks and multiple delivery satellites.
The proprietary services ensure optimum reliability and precision with those for DGPS being fully compatible with most types of GPS receiver using standards such as the established RTCM SC104 V2.1 correction format.
Service accuracies typically range from 10cm to 2m globally.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 31.03.06  Murmansk governor visits Hydro.
County governor of Murmansk, Yurij Evdokimov, paid a visit to Hydro's Research Center in Bergen on Wednesday as part of the ongoing cooperation between Hydro and the Murmansk region.
The Murmansk delegation was welcomed by the head of Hydro's Shtokman project Bengt Lie Hansen, head of Hydro's Moscow office Petter Nore, senior vice president Harald Martinsen of Aluminium and Benedikt Henriksen, who is responsible for Hydro's supplier development program.
Hydro would like to see the company's experience and expertise making a positive impact on the development of Murmansk, which now stands on the threshold to an offshore upswing similar to the one Norway entered into more than 30 years ago.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 30.03.06  Total Out Of Running For Shtokman Gas Field - Vedomosti.
France's Total SA has lost a tender to develop Russia's huge Shtokman gas field, Vedomosti reported Wednesday, citing a source close to the board of OAO Gazprom, which is leading the project.
Two consortia, one consisting of Norwegian pair Norsk Hydro ASA and Statoil ASA and the other consisting of U.S. giants Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, will be awarded the contract, the source told the paper.
The results of the tender will be announced on Apr. 12, Vedomosti said.
Source: Dow Jones Newswires

••• 30.03.06  Fugro Survey (Middle East) Ltd. has been awarded a large survey contract in Kuwaiti waters.
The work will involve pre-installation surveys, including ordnance searches, barge positioning, ROV touch-down monitoring and post-lay and CP surveys. Fugro Survey will employ its own survey and ROV resources mobilized on its own long term vessels "Zakher Fugro" and "Ekteshaf" plus client’s barges and vessels.
The work is to be carried out in phases covering 2006, 2007 and 2008, commencing March 2006.
Fugro Survey (Middle East) Ltd. is a United Arab Emirates based operating company of the Fugro Group. The company provides a wide range of survey services to the Oil & Gas, Civils and Telecommunications industries in the Middle East region.
Source: Fugro Survey (Middle East) Ltd.

••• 29.03.06  Norwegian Firms, Government Woo Russia for Shtokman Stake.
Norwegian oil and gas firms Statoil and Norsk Hydro on Tuesday wooed top Russian government officials in hopes they'll receive a stake in Gazprom's giant Shtokman gas project.
Just two weeks before the project's final partnership is expected to be awarded, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov joined Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg for a tour of Hydro's 400 billion cubic meter Ormen Lange plant in western Norway, meeting with top officials from 41-percent state-owned Hydro and its 71-percent state-owned rival Statoil.
The Russian officials are here on a two-day trip to primarily discuss "energy cooperation" issues, but Norwegian officials in the Foreign Office said no big agreements are expected to be signed.
Both companies, with support of the government, are trying to win at least 20-percent stakes in the 3.6 trillion cubic meter Shtokman liquified natural gas project in the Barents Sea.
Hydro's chief executive Eivind Reiten told Fradkov his company is considering building an aluminum smelting plant in Murmansk, Russia, fueled by gas from the Barents Sea, and that he would meet next week with a Murmansk regional governor to discuss the feasibility of such a plant.
Shotkman plans call for an LNG plant near Murmansk. Although much of the gas is likely to be shipped to international markets, particularly the US, it would also conceivably be able to supply an energy-intensive smelter.
Besides arguing that Hydro's competency makes it an ideal partner for Gazprom, the company has also made investing in the regional Russian economy a strategy for winning a stake in Shotkman. Hydro, also one of the world's largest integrated aluminum companies, has said it's searching for long-term smelting capacity growth in energy-rich areas.
While Statoil is hoping that its 200 BCM Snoehvit LNG project in the Barents Sea and LNG terminal capacity in Cove Point, Maryland, will secure it a Shotkman stake, Hydro has been intensively engaging regional Russian government and selling itself as a company that completes large, international projects "on cost, and on time."
Statoil CEO Helge Lund later said,his company wants "to build a common industrial platform for growth in the far north."
"Our joint knowledge and experience will be crucial if we are to tackle the challenges in tough, Arctic seas," Lund said. The ice-filled and environmentally-sensitive Arctic seas have proved to be some of the most difficult places to explore and develop petroleum resources.
Lund said his company wants Russia and Norway to work together to realize the potential for oil and gas activities in the Barents region, estimated at 40 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
ConocoPhillips, Total, and Chevron are also shortlisted for the final partnership.
Equity analysts have said the intensity of political activity between Moscow and Oslo in the past year, while not a sure sign of a Norwegian stake in Shotkman, increases the likelihood that at least one of the two Norwegian companies will win a place.
"The contact level between Russian and Norwegian politicians has been extremely high over the past six months," said ABG Sundal Collier analyst Oddvar Bjoergan, "far much higher than France-Russia and USA-Russia, for instance."
"This has added to our belief that there will be political support for a Norwegian participant in Shtokman," he said.
Source: Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex, Oslo

GGS reports that following a court decision in Colombo last Wednesday to hear a case raised by the Norwegian seismic company Scan Geophysical against the Russian seismic company LARGE over ownership to some equipment on board the seismic vessel R/V Mezen, there is a possibility that the award to GGS of a contract with DEOCOM can be cancelled. GGS is not a party to the dispute.
The effect of the ruling is that the court did not lift the arrest of the vessel and GGS has since the ruling worked with partners and LARGE to establish a bank guarantee for the claim of USD 2.110 million to allow the immediate release of the vessel to carry out the DEOCOM project. As the establishment of a bank guarantee, contrary to normal practice, has resulted in a new court hearing, GGS concludes that there is a possibility that its plan of action based on the ruling last week will not work and that the award may be cancelled.
GGS remains committed to do everything that can reasonably be expected for a successful execution of the project. Trond Christoffersen, CEO of GGS comments: "I am not happy about the problems encountered in the Sri Lanka project. I regret that both DEOCOM and GGS have become victims of this dispute among third parties that is outside the control of GGS."
Source: GGS
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••• 27.03.06  Gardline Shipping confirmed that MV Confidante is the latest vessel to join its fleet of multi-role survey vessels.
This unique and versatile coastal vessel was purpose-designed and built for shallow water survey operations in a wide range of marine environments. Since entering service in 2000, under charter to the Royal Navy on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Confidante has acquired an enviable reputation as a safe, effective and reliable survey platform. Confidante’s primary task to date has been performing routine resurveys in mobile seabed terrain around the UK coast for the Civil Hydrography Programme to IHO standards.
Cliff Whatrup, Marketing Manager for Gardline Hydro (Gardline’s hydrographic survey and seabed mapping specialist division) comments, "We are delighted with the acquisition, Confidante is set to strengthen our capability to undertake site investigation and seabed mapping surveys to support a wide range of offshore applications in the full range of water-depths."
At 28m length and 2m draft, with endurance of 10 days at sea, Confidante is equipped with a full suite of hull-mounted survey sensors, two large laboratories and spacious accommodation for up to 12 charterers. Ideally suited to integrated hydrographic, geophysical and environmental surveys in exposed and remote shallow water situations, and where 24 hour survey and all weather capability is an advantage.
Gardline also operates a fleet of seven multi-role survey vessels
, including the largest motor powered trimaran in the world – RV Triton. Gardline's multi-disciplinary base in Great Yarmouth enables it to apply the required technical expertise and professionalism worldwide.
Gardline Marine Sciences comprises Gardline Geosurvey, Gardline Surveys Inc, Gardline Hydro, Gardline Environmental, Gardline Geosciences and Titan Environmental Surveys.
Source: Gardline Marine Sciences

••• 27.03.06  Sinvest Enters Charter Agreement for Murmanskaya.
Sinvest ASA has acquired 100% of the shares in Beta Drilling AS from Skeie Group AS.
Beta Drilling AS and FSUE Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka have earlier entered into a charter agreement for hire of the jackup Murmanskaya for a period of 3 years after an initial reactivation period. The total consideration for acquiring the shares in Beta Drilling is NOK 16,000,000.
Murmanskaya is an independent leg cantilever unit capable of operating in water depth up to 300 feet of water and is currently stationed in Murmansk after having completed last season's drilling campaign in the Barents Sea. The unit was built in 1991 and is in a fully operational condition.
The charter hire during mobilization, re-activation and demobilization is US $4,000 per day. The charter hire when the unit is working under a drilling contract is US $25,000 per day and it is estimated that work related to re- activation of the unit will amount to US $10 to 12 million. Sinvest will be responsible for transport of the unit from Murmansk as well as re-activation and demobilization back to Murmansk upon completion of the charter period.
The unit will be transported from Murmansk with Dockwise's heavy-lift vessel Transshelf and this transport is estimated to commence within the next two weeks. The unit is planned to be moved to a South East Asian shipyard and it is estimated that it will be ready for operation in the third quarter this year.
The Company views the current market situation for this kind of unit as encouraging and marketing of the Murmanskaya will commence immediately.
Source: RigZone

••• 25.03.06  Hydro considers permanent field seismic by 2008.
Norsk Hydro could be one of the first companies to deploy a permanent array of time-lapse seismic equipment on one of its producing fields as early as 2008 after investing in a specialist seismic technology provider.
Hydro’s New Technology Ventures fund has put NOK 18 million (US $2.70 million) into British firm Stingray Geophysical which has developed a permanent seismic array suitable for seabed installation which can provide repeat surveys over a producing field to show how a reservoir is depleting over time.
Two other companies Energy Ventures and Chevron Texaco Ventures have also put money into Stingray.
BP is already deploying a permanent seismic array at its Valhall field to provide continuous seismic monitoring to inform future production decisions.
Hydro says the use of permanent seismic equipment has been limited until now because it is too expensive and the seabed cabling required to provide the array does not have had a long operational lifespan.
"Stingray Geophysical aims to be the first company to offer commercial solutions at an acceptable price and with a satisfactory operating life. This will open for increased use of permanent seismic technology, and it represents an interesting commercial opportunity for Stingray," said Arne Froiland, head of investment in Hydro Technology Ventures.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 24.03.06  ST Marine to contract trawler to seismic ship.
ST Marine in Singapore has secured a S$17 million contract to convert a fishing trawler to a seismic research vessel on behalf of BGP, which is based in China and part of China National Petroleum Corporation.
Two side tanks will be added and a new hanger deck and helideck installed.
Work will start immediately and delivery is expected to take place in the last quarter of this year.
The newly converted vessel will be the first seismic research vessel for BGP.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 23.03.06  Barents Sea Uranus well is dry.
Statoil Statoil’s Barents Sea Uranus exploration well is a dry hole it was confirmed today.
The 7227/11-1 well drilled with the Eirik Raude semi-submersible in production licence 202 which spudded 13 January and completed 22 February was dry, Statoil confirmed although the operator remains upbeat about the petroleum potential of the area.
Uranus was drilled 25 km (15.6 miles) north of a smaller oil discovery called Pandora which was made in 2001 but the same reservoir rock was not encountered in the Uranus well. "We still believe that the reservoir rock has been developed on Uranus and other structures in his basin", stated Statoil’s Barent’s Sea exploration mamanger Orjan Birkeland.
Statoil operated the Uranus well with 70% and Norsk Hydro held remaining well equity. Next the Eirik Raude moves on to drill the Edvarda prospect, in the Norwegian Sea.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 21.03.06  PGS orders new vessel.
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) announced today that it has signed an agreement to build a new third generation Ramform vessel at Aker Yards, Langsten, Norway.
The new vessel has a cost of NOK 562 million (ex cost of seismic equipment), and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter 2008.
PGS will also have an option of building a sister vessel at the same yard.
Aker Yards has previously constructed all of the PGS' six current Ramform vessels.
The new Ramform is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter 2008, in time for the North Sea season. The Company will also have an option of building a sister vessel at the same yard. Aker Yards has constructed all of PGS' six existing Ramform vessels, demonstrating a strong track record for timely and cost effective construction of this advanced design. This is the first PGS new build since the delivery of Ramform Vanguard in 1999.
The third generation Ramform is designed with the objective to further extend the PGS lead in 3D seismic acquisition productivity and efficiency. The design builds on the proven industry leading capabilities of the current Ramform fleet, while introducing several improvements. The vessel will be lengthened by approximately 16 meters, giving higher fuel capacity and transit speed. A substantial power upgrade will significantly increase speed while surveying. The vessel will be capable of towing up to 22 streamers. A range of technology improvements will be implemented to maintain or improve efficiency of handling, deployment, retrieval and maintenance of the in sea equipment.
The new vessel is a key step in the implementation of PGS' HD3D technical strategy. Customers are demanding clearer and more precise images of reservoirs on their producing assets. HD3D matches these demands by collecting subsurface data at up to eight times the density of conventional 3D surveys. To carry this out in a cost-effective manner, HD3D vessels need to deploy massive arrays of closely-spaced streamers. Ramforms are unmatched in this mode, and the third generation Ramform will be able to extend that capability even beyond existing limits. This is the market segment which has experienced the highest growth in recent years.
Additionally, this new vessel is an important step in the context of fleet renewal in the seismic industry. There has been little investment in new capacity over the last few years, and much of the capacity recently added or planned in the near future is older tonnage reintroduced to the market or converted from other purposes to seismic surveys. As customer and technology demands drive the seismic business forward in the years ahead, fleet investment is required to meet those demands at the same time as substituting for the inevitable attrition of obsolete capacity.
PGS President and CEO, Svein Rennemo commented the following:
"The strategic rationale for this investment is to further enhance PGS' productivity leadership in towed streamer acquisition, in general, and in advanced towed streamer acquisition, in particular.
The third generation Ramform represents a great step forward in seismic acquisition capability. The Ramform concept provides a competitive acquisition platform with high productivity and low unit cost on conventional surveys combined with unique capabilities in high density/high streamer count operation. This advanced vessel will ensure that PGS maintains its leadership in seismic acquisition technology, allowing us to deploy streamer spreads of extreme size and flexibility.
In the process of evaluating new builds, we have looked into all other new build vessel concepts available in the market for charter, but have found none which meet our demanding criteria for success in this market for both near and long term.
This is capacity both for upturns and downturns. Based upon current and forecasted bidding and award activity, demand for marine seismic services will be very strong over the next two years. Although significant additional capacity will come into the industry we believe that demand fundamentals longer term will support advanced high productivity capacity like the new generation Ramforms."
Source: PGS

••• 21.03.06  ConocoPhillips looking to up stake in Russia’s Lukoil.
ConocoPhillips will invest up to $3 billion this year to increase its stake in Russia's largest privately-owned oil company to 20 %, its chairman told a leading Russian newspaper Tuesday, according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
John Malva told the Russian paper Vedomosti that ConocoPhillips, which currently owns close to 17% of Lukoil, will invest an additional $2.5-$3 billion by year-end to bring its stake to 20%, the ceiling set by bilateral agreements with the Russian company.
ConocoPhillips is one of the five companies on Gazprom’s shortllist for a part in the development of the Shtokman field, and Malva said ConocoPhillips could invest billions of dollars into the project's first phase.
According to earlier reports, the first phase of Shtokman will cost between $10-20 billion, and it is scheduled to come on stream in 2011.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 20.03.06  Gazprom Exec: Shtokman LNG 2011 Startup "Still Doable".
A massive Barents Sea liquefied natural gas project led by OAO Gazprom probably missed its window to begin shipping cargoes in 2010, but a 2011 startup is "still doable," the Russian gas giant's top LNG executive said Thursday.
The official timeline for the first phase of Shtokman LNG, which involves the development of the offshore Shtokman gas field and construction of a liquefaction plant, remains 2010-2012, said John Hattenberger, head of Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd.
"Frankly, I think we missed the 2010 window, but 2011 is still doable," Hattenberger told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a conference.
As currently envisaged, Shtokman would produce 15 million metric tons a year of LNG in its first phase, and another 30 million tons would be added by the end of the third phase. Gazprom is close to choosing the final partners in its consortium and is holding talks with Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Total SA, Norsk Hydro ASA and Statoil ASA.
Hattenberger said Gazprom expects to announce its decision by mid-April.
Shtokman LNG would target North America, allowing Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, to diversify away from Europe, which imports gas from Russia via pipeline. The gas monopoly is 51% owned by the Russian state.
Gazprom is considering leasing or owning regasification capacity in the mid-Atlantic, Hattenberger said.
"We are looking at both," he said. "We have a big need for regasification capacity but ownership is a separate question."
While the U.S. Gulf Coast is a more liquid market, shipping costs to regasification terminals there would be higher.
Although Gazprom is leaning toward acquiring regasification capacity on the Atlantic coast - where it will deal directly with end-customers such as utilities - the company plans on trading in the Gulf Coast.
Gazprom's strategy is to have a marketing operation in place in the U.S. by the time the first LNG cargo arrives.
Source: FWN Financial News

••• 18.03.06  SeaBird 2D vessel fixed.
SeaBird Exploration Limited announced that it has fixed its 2D seismic ship R/V Hawk Explorer for 29 months plus a 12 month extension option to an undisclosed industry player.
The charter will commence upon delivery of the vessel from the shipyard where she is currently under conversion. Delivery is scheduled for early May 2006.
Contract value is estimated to be in the range of USD 33 mill. for the firm period.
Source: SeaBird Exploration Limited

••• 17.03.06  GGS raises its non-exclusive business profile.
Norwegian non-exclusive survey specialist company Global Geo Services, which recently acquired UK company Spectrum Information and Technology for NOK 137.5 million, has significant projects in hand.
In January the company was awarded a major NOK 25 million seismic contract offshore Sri Lanka after a competitive tender process. A Russian seismic vessel MEZEN from Large has been chartered to carry out the acquisition of some 6-8000 km of seismic to define the extent of the Sri Lankan continental shelf under the United Nations programme for defining continental margins. The project is financed by the Sri Lankan government with assistance from NORAD and a mixed credit facility from GIEK, and is said to be of strategic importance to Sri Lanka in providing the key documentation for the country`s claims to the extent of its continental margin.
GGS has also announced that Phase 1 (10,000 km) of its ‘Big Wave’ multi-client survey, offshore West Florida, is going to be directly followed by the collection of Phase 2 (7500 km) as a result of growing interest in seismic data all along the Florida Escarpment, an area which may be opened in the near future. The two data sets will be available to the industry in May/June and September/October respectively, a timing which may prove appropriate for the possible opening of exploration in 2006/2007. The company says the data show numerous textbook examples of very large petroleum traps, confirming possible existence of the large oil and gas reserve estimates previously made by the US Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) for the area.
The recent purchase of Spectrum has significantly increased the profile of GGS. Spectrum has been a small but established UK-based geophysical company for 20 years with a core activity covering seismic data processing, preparation of data packages for licensing rounds through scanning and reprocessing of vintage seismic data as well as having a substantial seismic multi-client business. Spectrum’s data library is of similar magnitude to that of GGS measured in terms of line kilometres consisting of 143,000 2D line km and 700 3D km2. In addition, Spectrum has syndicated interests in 540,000 2D line km. Its data library includes data from the Eastern Mediterranean, Brazil, the Falkland Islands, the Gulf of Mexico, Great Britain, Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
Source: "First Break"

••• 17.03.06  SeaBird Exploration Limited announced today that it has contracted two Source Vessels to Veritas DGC.
Kondor Explorer is fixed for 12 months commencing May 2006 with a 6 month option. Osprey Explorer, a source vessel under conversion, is fixed for 6 months from August 2006 with a 6 month option. Contract value is estimated to be in the range of USD 19.7 mill. for the firm periods. The vessels are intended as source vessels for a wide azimuth survey in the US Gulf of Mexico commencing in the second half of 2006.
SeaBird Exploration Limited is a global provider of 2D and 3D seismic data and associated products and services to the oil and gas industry. SeaBird specializes in high quality operations within the high end of the source vessel and 2D market, as well as in the shallow water 2D/3D market. Main focus for the company is proprietary seismic surveys (contract seismic).
SeaBird operates a seismic fleet of 4 vessels with two additional vessels under conversion with expected completion during the first half of 2006.
Source: SeaBird Exploration Limited

••• 17.03.06  Total wants part of Shtokman.
Total has offered stakes in Norwegian and Gulf of Mexico projects in a bid for a share of Russia's Shtokman field, Kommersant newspaper reported on Friday.
Total had offered the operator, Gazprom, more than 10 percent of the Snoehvit project in Norway and its share of the Sabine Pass regasification terminal in the Gulf of Mexico in return for 20 percent of Shtokman, according to Reuters.
Total is one of five companies competing for a share of the project. Gazprom has said it will name its partners by April 15.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 17.03.06  Geoshipping acquisitions bound for Europe.
Geoshipping reports that the cabel ships Geo Maru and Geomaster which it recently purchased in Japan are now both on their way to Europe.
Geoshipping said Geo Maru will be rebuilt as a seismic vessel on arrival Europe, and Geomaster has work lined up in Spain for six month before being rebuilt as a ROV/construction support vessel.
Source: Offshore Shipping Online

••• 16.03.06  Gazprom will announce its choice of partners in the Shtokman development by April 15, Gazprom executive Alexander Medvedev told reporters in Moscow.
Alexander Medvedev is the head of Gaxprom’s gas export unit, Gazexport.
He said the list would contain two or three companies, and added that if the Norwegian or American companies on the shortlist decided to form a partnership, the companies would be counted as one, according to news agency Reuters.
He also added that all the companies have participated individually up to now, and that no alliances are currently being discussed. Norway’s Statoil and Norsk Hydro are both on the shortlist, as is the US' companies Chevron and ConocoPhillips, in addition to France’s Total.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 12.03.06  Fourteen Firms Line Up for Trinidad and Tobago Bid Round.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad - Fourteen companies have paid the pre-bid application fee to Trinidad & Tobago's ministry of energy and energy industries (MEEI) for the 2005/06 bid round of onshore/nearshore blocks and shallow marine blocks, a ministry spokesperson told BNamericas in an email.
The fee entitles the buyer to the relevant data package, which contains 2D seismic lines and well data on the respective blocks.
The tender, which was launched in January, is for eight blocks in the Combined Southern basin land acreage, South Coast Marine Area and three blocks in the Shallow Marine Acreage off the north and east coasts of Trinidad.
Companies must pay US$150,000 to bid on any or all of the combined onshore/nearshore blocks and US$50,000 each for the three shallow marine blocks.
The US oil companies that paid the fee include Amerada Hess, Apache, EOG Resources and Kerr-McGee's Trinidadian subsidiary Kerr-McGee TT Offshore Petroleum.
Canadian oil companies include Talisman Energy, PetroCanada, Husky Energy International and Canadian Voyager.
Other companies that purchased bidding rules were Spanish oil major Repsol YPF, Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras' Venezuelan subsidiary Petrobras Energнa Venezuela, Japanese oil company Nippon Oil, Italian oil company Eni, Malaysian oil company Petronas and local company Ten Degrees North Energy Limited.
MEEI recently extended the deadline to receive bids in its 2005-2006 round to May 30 from the previous March 30 deadline because the tender began later than expected and companies did not have sufficient time to analyze the data, according to a previous BNamericas report.
The eight onshore/nearshore blocks include shallow and deep horizon areas in each of the Guayaguayare, Southwest Peninsula, Herrera and Central Range blocks.
The shallow marine blocks are 2(ab), comprising an area of 1,605 sq km, NCMA 2 and NCMA 3, both covering an area of 1,019 sq km. The three blocks have water depths ranging from 25-130 meters.
Source: Business News Americas Ltda

••• 11.03.06  Seismic operator Fugro sees profits shoot up 100%.
Netherland’s based seismic ship operator Fugro Geoteam ended last year with a doubling of profit on the back of higher oil and gas activity.
Profit for the year rose 101% to Euros 99.41 million compared with Euros 49.31 in 2004, while turnover rose 15.1% to Euros 1.606 Bn from Euros 1.008 Bn in 2004.
The company’s order backlog also grew substantially to Euros 814.1 million from Euros 589.2 million in 2004 and net income rose 75.5% to Euros 8.6 million from Euros 4.9 million in 2004.
After reporting “robust growth” in the seismic market in the last year, Fugro says it wants to operate up to eight seismic ships. In the near future, Fugro said it will have six ships available for a number of years, while it will maintain short term flexibility on a project by project basis, by chartering an additional two to three ships.
In the last year the company has bought assets to strengthen its capability, including the acquisition of Espana Geotechnical Consulting in California; Beardall Parry and Associates in Wales, which specialises in evaluation of oil and gas prospects and fields. Fugro also established a new operating arm in Brazil, Fugro-OceansatPEG, to provide offshore surveys, positioning, oceanographic, metocean, ROV and diving services for the oil and gas sector.
Fugro chief executive KS Wester said 2005 was the best year in the company’s history. “The markets in which we operate are picking up all over the world and our backlog at the beginning of 2006 is strong in all three divisions,” he said.
Source: Offshore Media Group

••• 10.03.06  Large contract for one of Fugro’s new seismic vessels.
Fugro-Geoteam AS has signed an agreement to charter out Fugro’s fully equipped seismic vessel Geo Barents to TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA for a period of 18 months plus two times 6 months options. This new-build 3D vessel will be delivered to Fugro in November 2006 and will go directly to the Gulf of Mexico to work for TGS-NOPEC.
This seismic charter agreement will secure TGS-NOPEC with a modern high capacity vessel with the latest technology for its multi-client programs, while Fugro-Geoteam secures a fixed and predictable income for 18-30 months. This is the largest contract in Fugro's history.
Fugro-Geoteam AS is a Norwegian operating company of the Fugro Group. The company operates a modern fleet of seismic vessels and is active in 2D, 3D and 4D marine seismic data acquisition world wide, as well as processing of the data.
Source : Fugro N.V.

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