Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Roxtec Bags $1.7 Bln Rampion Wind Farm Deal

Photo: Roxtec

International cable seal manufacturer Roxtec has delivered a sealing solution to support a new £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) offshore wind farm in the English Channel. Roxtec designed and supplied all cable seals involved in the Rampion Offshore wind farm, located 13km off the coast of Sussex. In April, the topside for the Rampion substation departed Rosyth for the project site and the first of 116 wind turbines began to be installed. A process which will continue throughout 2017. The site has a target capacity of 400 MW and is expected to be completed in 2018. It will occupy an area of 72 square km, close to three times the size of Manhattan Island in New York City.

Aquaterra Signs Investment Deal with EV

Photo: Aquaterra

Aquaterra Energy, a  global offshore engineering solutions provider, has secured a multi-million pound investment from EV Private Equity as the company gears up for service expansion and new technology launches. The deal is the first to be agreed following EV’s pledge last year to invest $200 million in North Sea businesses with new technologies and high growth potential. The independent private equity firm confirmed it was seeking to invest between $10 million to $40 million in each company. Aquaterra, which has operations in Aberdeen, Norwich and Cairo provides riser systems, offshore structures and rental equipment to the global oil and gas industry.

Hedge Funds Close Bearish Crude, Gasoline Positions

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) scanrail)

Hedge fund managers have continued to cover short positions in crude oil and gasoline, helping lift prices across the petroleum complex against a backdrop of improving fundamentals. Hedge funds and other money managers reduced short positions in the five major petroleum futures and options contracts by a further 44 million barrels in the week to July 18 (http://tmsnrt.rs/2gWa6Ui). Total short positions in ICE Brent, ICE and NYMEX WTI, NYMEX gasoline, and NYMEX heating oil were cut to 350 million barrels, from a record 510 million barrels three weeks earlier.

Saipem Looks to Novatek Arctic LNG 2 Participation

Italy's Saipem is likely to get a sub-contractor role in a new project to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Arctic by Russia's Novatek, one of Novatek's partners said. Novatek, Russia's largest non-state LNG producer, is aiming to produce as much LNG as the world's biggest exporter Qatar and is drawing up plans to build a second plant, known as Arctic LNG 2, on the Gydan Peninsula that juts into the Kara Sea. Production is due to start in 2022-2023. Four sources told Reuters earlier this month that Saipem was expected to be chosen to build offshore platforms for the facility.

Halliburton Beats Street on North American Demand

Halliburton Co swung to a quarterly profit that handily beat analysts' expectations, boosted by higher demand for its equipments and services in North America. Shares of the world's No.3 oilfield services provider, which supplies land drilling rigs, tubing and hydraulic fracturing services, rose 2.5 percent at $45.50 in premarket trading. Revenue from North America surged 83 percent to $2.77 billion in the quarter, due to increased demand for pumping and well-construction services in the region. U.S. oil producers added 94 rigs in the three months to June 30 as shale companies have been able to profitably pump oil even as crude prices hover below $50.

Activists Protest near Oil Rig in Norway's Arctic Sea Area

Environmental activists protested on Friday near an offshore rig contracted by Statoil in the remote Norwegian Arctic, where the firm is looking for oil and gas deposits. The Nordic country wants to open up northern areas for exploration to offset declining production in the south. Oil and gas production is Norway's leading industry, accounting for 20 percent of its economy. From the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise ship, 11 campaigners launched inflatable boats carrying banners opposing Statoil's Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km (170 miles) north of the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea. One of the banners read "“The People Vs. Arctic Oil”.

Schlumberger to Acquire Majority Stake in Eurasia Drilling

Photo: Eurasia Drilling Company

Russia's Eurasia Drilling Company (EDC) said on Thursday it would sell a 51 percent stake in the company to the oilfield services provider, U.S.-based Schlumberger NV. The agreement is subject to approval by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS), the company said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed since it is subject to approval. The agreement, if approved, would extend a strategic alliance with Schlumberger that dates to 2011, Eurasia added. EDC is an onshore and offshore drilling and well services contractor. EDC owns and operates one of the largest fleets of land drilling and workover units in the world.

Germany: 900 MW of New Offshore Wind in 2017

File Image: Credit CWind

Industry groups want higher long-term expansion targets; say latest auctions prove costs coming down. Germany connected 626 megawatts (MW) of newly built offshore wind capacity to power grids in the first six months of this year and expects to see total installations of 900 MW in the full year, five industry groups said in a joint statement on Thursday. The installed total is now 4,729 MW and if 900 MW were achieved, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. The rate of expansion could mean the industry will beat government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, they said.

Subsea Industries Introduces Ecolast Coating

Photo courtesy of Subsea Industries

Subsea Industries has launched Ecolast, the latest member in its range of coating systems. This product is UltraViolet (UV) resistant and preserves its color while at the same time offering the corrosion and abrasion protection. Regular coatings will quickly lose their original color when exposed to the ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight, Subsea Industries said, noting that this is especially problematic when colorfastness is required, as  is the case for offshore wind farms, for example. The bottom part of the tower of wind turbines are all coated in the same regulated yellow. It is essential that the coating used does not change color.

Scottish $2.6 Bln Offshore Wind Project Green Lighted

© Joe Gough / Adobe Stock

The developer of a 2 billion pound ($2.6 billion) Scottish offshore wind power project said on Wednesday it had won a two-year court battle with a bird charity over plans for the site. Scottish ministers in 2014 approved plans to build the 450-megawatt Neart na Gaoithe wind farm, off Scotland’s east coast. The project had been held up, however, by a legal challenge from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which said it could cause the death of hundreds of native birds. Mainstream Renewable Power, the developer, said the decision in Scotland's Court of Session cleared the way for the project…

CGG Wins Petrobras Data Processing Contract

CGG said it was awarded a contract from Petrobras to process the seismic data from a 3D Ocean Bottom Node (OBN) survey covering a full-fold area of 2,180 km2 in Brazil’s deepwater Santos Basin. This will be the largest node survey ever acquired and processed in the industry. The survey will be acquired by Seabed Geosolutions, CGG’s joint venture with Fugro. The resulting OBN data set will be processed in CGG’s Rio de Janeiro Subsurface Imaging Center.

LiDAR Technology for Wind Measurement

Photo: LiDAR

Wind measurement experts gathered in London claimed that LiDARs have been replacing met masts to become the sole wind measurement tool used for offshore resource assessment and power curve verification purposes. These experts stated that LiDAR technology had over the years fully proven its ability to provide wind measurements as reliably as met masts. They also claimed that LiDARs are faster, easier and much cheaper to deploy, enabling significant development and operational cost reductions. At a seminar hosted by Leosphere at the Offshore Wind Conference 2017…

Nature Group Wins Maersk Oil North Sea Contract

A Nature Group engineer operating one of the company’s Compact Treatment Units (CTU) (Photo: Nature Group)

Oil, gas and maritime waste collection and treatment company Nature Group has secured a five-year contract with Maersk Oil in the Central North Sea. The contract will see the company mobilize offshore slop processing environmental units and operational staff to drilling rigs on contract to Maersk Oil. The work has created 10 jobs for Nature Group, both on- and offshore. The Group’s offshore slops treatment units combine a small footprint with a high treatment capacity, without the use of filtration membranes. Thanks to continued innovation and investment in research and development…

U.S. Uncompleted Well Backlog Looms over Market

U.S. oil and gas exploration and production companies are drilling new wells faster than they can be fractured and hooked up to gathering systems, creating a growing backlog of drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells. By June, the number of drilled but uncompleted oil and gas wells across the seven largest shale plays had topped 6,000, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The estimated number of uncompleted wells across the seven plays has risen by more 1,000 since December 2016, the agency reported on Monday ("Drilling productivity report", EIA, July 2017).

Lundin Extends Contract for Ocean Rig

Image: Ocean Rig

Ocean Rig UDW, contractor of offshore deepwater drilling services, has announced that Lundin Norway AS, has declared their third option to extend the existing contract of the Leiv Eiriksson. In addition, Ocean Rig has granted Lundin 2 additional options to drill further wells in the future. As a result of these developments, the rig now has firm employment until at least the end of September of 2017 and should Lundin exercise its additional seven one-well options, currently un-declared, the rig could be employed until the first quarter of 2019. The total expected revenue backlog, including all the optional wells, is expected to be $85 million.

US Shale Oil Output up for 8th Month at 5.6 Mln BPD -EIA

© Roberto Giobbi / Adobe Stock

U.S. shale oil production is forecast to rise for the eighth consecutive month, climbing 112,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 5.585 million bpd in August, the U.S. Energy Department said in a report on Monday. The increase comes amid market concerns that rising shale output will dampen the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' efforts to curb a global supply glut. The U.S. shale production level would be the highest since record-keeping began in 2007, according to the EIA's monthly drilling productivity report. The Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico, the largest U.S. oil field, is expected to produce 2.535 million bpd, up 64,000 bpd from July, the U.S.

SBM Offshore, Repsol Get $247 Mln in Yme Insurance Settlement

Dutch oil industry services group SBM Offshore and Spanish energy firm Repsol will share an insurance payment of $247 million, less legal costs, related to a troubled Norwegian offshore project, SBM said on Monday. SBM said it had reached an agreement in principle with nearly three quarters of the insurers who provided $500 million of primary cover for the Yme project with a final agreement expected to be wrapped up in the coming weeks. SBM will receive a cash payment of around $247 million in full and final settlement with these insurers.

GE, Maersk Drilling Accelerate Digital Partnership

 The image shows Maersk Drilling’s rig Integrator. Photo Credit: Maersk Drilling

The 'digital revolution' continues in earnest in the maritime and offshore energy sectors, driven by new pilot programs with positive results such as GE (NYSE: GE) and Maersk Drilling, which announced this morning an extension of the scope of their digital partnership following the positive results of a pilot probem, with the bottom line focus of enhancing drilling productivity. During the extended partnership, Maersk Drilling and GE will expand the scope of the 2016 pilot project—one vessel, one asset, one year—to nine subsequent vessels…

Oil Edges Up as U.S. Drilling Slows

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Shamtor)

U.S. drilling growth slows but rig count still high; China's refiners process near record amounts of crude. Oil edged up to around $49 a barrel on Monday as a slowdown in the increase of rigs drilling in the United States eased concern that surging shale supplies will undermine OPEC-led cuts. U.S. drillers added two oil rigs in the week to July 14, bringing the total to 765, Baker Hughes said on Friday. Rig additions over the past four weeks averaged five, the lowest since November. "The slowing pace of increases combined with massive drawdowns last week on both official crude inventory numbers from the U.S.

Trump Administration Reduces Royalty Rates for GoM Leases

© Mike Mareen / Adobe Stock

The Trump administration on Thursday announced its first offshore oil and gas lease sale, offering 76 million acres (30 million hectares) in the Gulf of Mexico and reduced royalty rates for shallow-water leases to encourage drilling at a time of low oil prices. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the sale on Aug. 16 would offer leases offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for exploration and development. The sale will be the first of the administration's 2017-22 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Xodus wins Subsurface Contract with Cairn Oil and Gas in India

Xodus Group CEO, Wim van der Zande

Xodus Group won a contract with Cairn Oil and Gas of Vedanta Ltd. to conduct exploration and appraisal work on its Rajasthan block in north-west India over the next two years. The first stage of the work will focus on delivering new drilling prospects and an exploration drilling plan, in partnership with Cairn Oil and Gas’ in-house team. Subsequent stages, which will likely commence in 2018, will require project management of the drilling programme in the field as well as subsurface analysis of drilling results. The work will largely be undertaken from Xodus' offices in London and The Hague with regular visits to Cairn Oil and Gas’ offices near New Delhi for workshops.

Suriname Signs Offshore Oil Deals with Exxon, Hess and Statoil

Suriname's state oil company Staatsolie said on Thursday it signed production sharing contracts involving Exxon Mobil Corp, Hess Corp and Statoil ASA for two blocks off the coast of the South American nation. The thirty-year exploration and production agreements involve the areas known as Block 59, to be developed by a consortium consisting of Exxon and Hess, and Block 60, to be developed by Statoil. The area off the shoulder of South America has generated interest from oil companies after Hess and Exxon discovered crude off the coast of nearby Guyana. Hess and Statoil already own stakes in Suriname oil projects.

Trump Administration Approves Eni Plan to Drill Offshore Alaska

Image of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea, acquired on 3 June 2017 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, on board the Aqua satellite. (Photo: NASA)

Eni US will become the first energy company allowed to explore for oil in federal waters off Alaska since 2015 after the Trump administration this week approved a drilling plan on leases the company has been sitting on for 10 years. The approval is conditional on Eni getting other state and federal permits, which in past cases are generally granted once BOEM gives the green light. "We know there are vast oil and gas resources under the Beaufort Sea, and we look forward to working with Eni in their efforts to tap into this energy potential," said BOEM's acting Director Walter Cruickshank.

Turkish Navy Monitoring Drilling Vessel near Cyprus

Turkey has sent two ships and a submarine to monitor a drilling vessel in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the military said on Thursday, in a move likely to increase tension with Cyprus after reunification talks failed last week. The drilling work, a contractual obligation between Cyprus and France's Total, comes a week after the collapse of talks to reunify the divided island nation, split between ethnic Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Ankara has said it will take measures against Cyprus for engaging in gas and oil exploration around the island. It says that hydrocarbon resources in the waters around the divided island should belong to both sides.

Bibby Completes Decommissioning Work for Maersk Oil UK

Barry Macleod, UKCS managing director at Bibby Offshore (Photo: Bibby Offshore)

Bibby Offshore, a subsea services provider to the oil and gas industry, has announced a multimillion dollar contract with a global energy player Maersk Oil UK to provide late life production enhancement and decommissioning support in the North Sea. The contract saw Bibby Offshore’s diving support vessel Bibby Polaris operate at two separate locations, undertaking production system isolations and critical component replacements to facilitate late life production enhancement, together with decommissioning support, which includes subsea deconstruction and infrastructure recovery.

Facebook's Zuckerberg Drills Down into North Dakota's Oil Patch

© David Gaylor / Adobe Stock

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg toured a North Dakota drilling rig on Tuesday and peppered industry workers in the No. 2 U.S. oil-producing state with questions about automation, safety and fracking. The visit to North Dakota, which pumps about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day - more than some OPEC members - is part of Zuckerberg's plan to tour all 50 states this year and learn about their local economies and communities. While Zuckerberg, 33, is a vocal supporter of renewable energy development, he said the visit gave him an…

Drilling in Disputed South China Sea may Resume

Drilling for oil and natural gas on the Reed Bank in the South China Sea may resume before the end of the year, a Philippine energy official said on Wednesday, as the government prepares to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December. The Philippines suspended exploration at the Reed Bank, which it calls Recto Bank, in late 2014, as it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes. The bank is in waters claimed by China. Ismael Ocampo, director at the Department of Energy's Resource Development Bureau, told reporters the agency expected the suspension to be lifted in December.

Tariff Fight Roils Argentina’s Shale Patch

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Shamtor)

Argentina needs oil rigs to develop its vast shale oil and gas resources. The United States has plenty of idle equipment laying around after its own unconventional drilling boom cooled. But moving that machinery from the plains of Texas to the windswept Patagonian desert is proving complex and costly for global oil majors who say Argentina's protectionist past is slowing efforts to spark its own shale revolution. A move by Argentina's government to cut import taxes on used oil-field equipment has sparked fierce opposition from local manufacturers, who are lobbying the government to include protections for them in a measure they fear will destroy their livelihoods.

Shell Exercises FPSO Turritella Purchase Option

FPSO Turritella (Photo: SBM Offshore)

Shell E&P Offshore Services B.V. will exercise its right under the charter agreement to purchase the floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) Turritella, enabling a Shell affiliate to assume operatorship of the Gulf of Mexico ultra-deepwater Stones development in its entirety. The company selling the FPSO is a joint-venture (JV) owned by SBM Offshore with 55 percent interest, Mitsubishi Corporation with 30 percent interest and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) with 15 percent interest. The transaction comprises a total cash consideration to the JV of approximately $1 billion. The transaction is expected to close in early 2018.

Total to Invest $3.5 Bln over Five Years in Qatari Field

France's Total will invest $3.5 billion over five years in Qatar's offshore Al Shaheen oilfield and expects to keep production running at 300,000 barrels per day in future, French and Qatari executives said on Tuesday. Total's investment commitment was announced while Qatar is embroiled in a political crisis. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed sanctions on Qatar accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge Doha denies. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne told a news conference in Doha to mark the inauguration of the joint venture firm that will run the field that the French firm aimed to maintain Al Shaheen's output at 300…

Total to Maintain 300,000 bpd Output from Al Shaheen Oilfield

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne aims to maintain production of 300,000 barrels a day from the Qatari offshore Al Shaheen oilfield for "many years", he said on Tuesday. Pouyanne was speaking at a news conference in the Qatari capital Doha to mark the inauguration of North Oil Company (NOC) as the new operator and developer of Al Shaheen, taking over from Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk. Total won a 30 percent stake in Qatar's largest offshore oil field last year. State-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP) is keeping the remaining 70 percent in the new joint venture for the field.

Statoil Recruitment Plan Targets Skilled Workers

Statoil needs to recruit skilled workers to all disciplines in the coming years. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

Statoil said plans to recruit more than 50 skilled workers annually in the years ahead to ensure that the company has the right competence and capacity on the Norwegian continental shelf. “We believe it will be possible to maintain profitable and sustainable production at the current level on the Norwegian continental shelf up to 2030 and beyond. However, this means that we must continue to attract talented personnel with good qualifications,” said Aksel Stenerud, vice president human resources Development and Production Norway. As a result of the downturn in the oil and gas sector…

Virgina Offshore Wind Project Moves Forward

One of DONG Energy's turbines in the U.K. (Photo: DONG Energy)

An offshore wind project in the U.S. mid-Atlantic is moving forward, as project owner Dominion Energy Virginia has signed an agreement and strategic partnership with DONG Energy to build two 6-megawatt turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The two companies will now begin refining agreements for engineering, procurement and construction. Dominion Energy remains the sole owner of the project. Engineering and development work on the newly named Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is expected to begin immediately by DONG Energy to support the targeted installation by the end of 2020.

Marsol Signs Two-Year OOCEP Contract

Photo: Marsol International

Marsol International, a UAE-based global marine solutions provider focused on the offshore oil terminal market and related infrastructure, has signed a two years contract with Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production LLC (OOCEP) for the provision and management of the marine and offshore activities related to the tanker loading, via the single point mooring (SPM) offshore marine terminal including maintenance works, vessels, equipment and manpower. The Musandam gas plant, located on the west coast of the Musandam Peninsula, has a processing capacity of up to 20,000 barrels of crude; 45 million cubic feet of gas and 75 tons of LPG per day.

Stena Drilling Extends Inspection Contract with Sparrows

Stena Don (Photo: Stena Group)

Sparrows Group has been awarded a three-and-a-half-year extension to its inspection services contract for Stena Drilling’s global fleet of drilling vessels. The contract scope includes carrying out LOLER lifting gear surveys, potential dropped objects surveys, cargo carrying unit (CCU) and non-destructive testing (NDT) inspections as well as rig specific maintenance. As well as an extension to the contract, the scope has also been expanded to cover Stena’s entire fleet of seven vessels, including the Stena Don in Norway. Initially awarded until the end of 2017…

Oil Falls as Banks Cut Price Forecasts

BNP Paribas, Barclays chop price forecasts and oversupply keeping medium-term outlook weak. Oil prices fell on Tuesday as global oversupply encouraged several banks to cut their forecasts for crude for this year and 2018. Brent crude was down 50 cents at $46.38 a barrel by 1120 GMT. U.S. crude was 50 cents lower at $43.90. "The fundamental mood has taken a turn for the worse," Harry Tchilinguirian, head of oil strategy at French bank BNP Paribas, told Reuters Global Oil Forum. BNP Paribas slashed its forecasts for Brent by $9 to $51 a barrel for 2017 and by $15 to $48 for 2018.

OSV Companies Running Out of Options -Study

© corlaffra / Adobe Stock

As oil continues to sell below $50 per barrel, 2017 could be one of the toughest years in decades for Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV) companies, according to a study of 44 companies in the industry by AlixPartners. The firm’s analysis highlights these companies’ rising debt burdens, making it increasingly unlikely that most of them can maintain solvency. The industry faces grave financial pressure, which is clear from recent bankruptcy filings and distressed mergers. Exploration and production (E&P) companies have drastically reduced their rig counts, causing demand for OSV services to plunge.

Statoil Completes Two-well Exploration Drilling Campaign Off Newfoundland

The Seadrill West Aquarius drilling rig. (Photo: Seadrill)

Statoil, along with its partner, Husky Energy, has finalized a two-well exploration drilling program in the Flemish Pass Basin offshore Newfoundland. Both wells were drilled safely and efficiently by the Seadrill West Aquarius in the Flemish Pass Basin, located approximately 500 kilometres east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The two wells, located within tie-back vicinity to Statoil’s 2013 Bay du Nord discovery, did not result in the discovery of hydrocarbons. “These results are disappointing, as we had hoped to add additional optionality to the near-field area at Bay du Nord,” said Trond Jacobsen, vice president, Exploration, Statoil Canada.

Ampelmann Introduces New Personnel Transfer Gangway

Photo: Ampelmann

Ampelmann has launched its latest gangway for personnel transfer: the A-type Enhanced Performace (AEP). Now providing clients with 10 percent greater workability in sea states up to 4m significant wave height; the AEP also has the ability to use smaller vessels to obtain similar performance (compared to current A-type). The AEP features an advanced motion compensation control system with precision controls to enable fast landing and comfortable people transfers. The system significantly improves operational up-time on projects year-round and provides benefits to operators in rougher waters, including the North Sea and the coasts of South America and the Middle East.

Oil Traders Succumb to Dangerous Despond: Kemp

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Shamtor)

U.S. Independence Day marked a turning point in the oil market, when a short-covering rally ran out of momentum and gave way to a renewed and very aggressive bear market. Hedge funds and other money managers increased their net long position in futures and options contracts linked to Brent and WTI by 46 million barrels in the week leading up to July 4 (http://tmsnrt.rs/2uInAFV). Funds increased their net long position for the first time after reducing it by a cumulative 231 million barrels over the previous four weeks, according to data from regulators and exchanges (http://tmsnrt.rs/2tzCiRh).

Oil Falls as Global Supplies Increase

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) scanrail)

OPEC may ask Libya, Nigeria to cap output. Oil fell on Monday, adding to heavy losses at the end of last week due to rising drilling activity in the United States and no let-up in supply growth from both OPEC and non-OPEC exporters. Prices dropped even as OPEC signalled it may widen its production caps to include Nigeria and Libya, whose output has recovered in recent months after being curtailed by years of unrest. Brent crude futures fell 51 cents on the day to $46.20 per barrel by 1120 GMT, while U.S. crude futures were last 49 cents lower on the day at $43.74 a barrel. "The market is in trouble and looks very vulnerable to lower numbers," PVM brokerage said in a note.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs, Pace Remains Slow

© Jason Smith / Adobe Stock

U.S. energy firms added oil rigs for a 24th week in the past 25 as the year-long drilling recovery continues but the pace of additions has slowed in recent months as crude prices declined despite OPEC-led efforts to end a global supply glut. Drillers added seven oil rigs in the week to July 7, bringing the total count up to 763, the most since April 2015, Baker Hughes energy services company said in its closely followed report on Friday. That compares with 351 active oil rigs during the same week a year ago. Drillers have added rigs in 54 of the past 58 weeks since the start of June 2016.

Vattenfall to Save $356 Mln a Year after Sweden Tax Phase Out

Swedish state-owned power utility Vattenfall will save about 3 billion Swedish crowns ($356 million) a year after the country's nuclear tax has been phased out and will use the savings to extend the life of its reactors, its CEO told Reuters. On July 1, in a long expected move, Sweden started a two-year phasing out of its tax on nuclear power production, which many nuclear energy producers, including Vattenfall , said had created losses and halted investments. "The tax reduction will be 3 billion crowns per year ... This tax relief is (for us) more pointed towards investments on the prolongation of Swedish nuclear…

Renewed Slide in Oil Tests U.S. Shale Profits

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Shamtor)

U.S. independent oil and gas producers came close to breaking even during the first quarter of 2017 thanks to aggressive cost cutting and improvements in well productivity. Some shale producers claim they can drill wells profitably at prices well below $50 per barrel and in some cases below $40. But Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources , a major producer in North Dakota and Oklahoma, has said oil prices need to be above $50 to be sustainable. Prices below $40 would force producers to idle rigs again, he said in a recent interview (“Harold Hamm warns oil prices below $40 will idle U.S. drilling”, CNBC, June 28).

Connecting Tyra Future

(Photo: Hydratight)

Subsea connector specialist Hydratight said it has been awarded a contract to supply the critical tie in components for the 8”, 12” and 26” pipelines within the Maersk Oil Tyra Field. In the initial phase of the redevelopment of the Tyra field, a bypass route needs to be created to enable production flow from other Danish Underground Consortium (DUC) assets. The Hydratight MORGRIP Mechanical Connectors will provide the critical connections between the new bypass and the existing infrastructure. James Rowley, Global Subsea Market Development Manager…

US to Speed Approval for O&G Exploration on Federal Land

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday signed an order to hold more lease sales and to speed up approving permits to explore for oil and gas on federal land, a process he said got bogged down under former President Barack Obama. The order is the latest move by the administration of President Donald Trump to make it easier to drill and mine on federal land, which Zinke said is a source of income for the government. The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management is supposed to take 30 days to review applications for permits to drill but Zinke said the average time for processing in 2016 was 257 days.

Vietnam Renews India Oil Deal In Tense South China Sea

Vietnam has extended an Indian oil concession in the South China Sea and begun drilling in another area it disputes with China in moves that could heighten tensions over who owns what in the vital maritime region. The moves come at a delicate time in Beijing's relations with Vietnam, which claims parts of the sea, and India, which recently sent warships to monitor the Malacca Straits, through which most of China's energy supplies and trade passes. Vietnam granted Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128 in a letter that arrived earlier this week, the state-run company's managing director Narendra K. Verma told Reuters.

ENI pumps first oil from Ghana's Sankofa field

Italian oil company ENI started oil production from the 45,000 barrel-per-day Sankofa field offshore Ghana on Thursday, company and government officials said. The Sankofa field forms the first phase of the $7.9 billion Offshore Cape Three Points project (OCTP), which is expected to also deliver up to 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day by the end of next year, more than doubling domestic gas supply. President Nana Akufo Addo opened the valves on the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel, the John Agyekum Kufuor, named after Ghana's former president who ruled between 2001 and 2008.

French Wind Power Sector to Consolidate Further -EDF

France's wind power generation sector will consolidate further, the head EDF's renewables unit Antoine Cahuzac said on Wednesday as the company moves to complete the takeover of wind energy developer Futuren . The renewables subsidiary of the French state-controlled utility has acquired 67.2 percent of Futuren, and will on Thursday launch a public offer for the remaining shares in a deal worth 320 million euros ($363 million). "The consolidation will not end here," Cahuzac, Chief Executive of EDF Energies Nouvelles, told reporters. He added that after the acquisition of Quadran by Direct Energie…

Indian Renewable Firms Plan $2.5 Bln in Offshore Dollar Bond Issues

© Sergiy Serdyuk / Adobe Stock

Four Indian renewable power producers are planning to raise up to $2.5 billion via dollar bonds offshore because of caution among domestic lenders, banking sources said. In addition to the four solar and wind power firms, a fifth company that invests in renewable projects, Adani Group, has raised $250 million via a loan but has yet to publicly announce the borrowing, the sources told Reuters. A source working with one of the bond issues said foreign borrowing was attractive because state banks were reluctant to lend due to existing bad loans to the power sector, while domestic banks worried about falling tariffs for solar power.

U.S. Gas Rebalances as Power Returns to Coal

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Pisotckii)

The U.S. natural gas market has rebalanced with higher prices steadying production while reducing demand from electricity generators and making room for increased exports. Higher prices have averted the stock crunch many analysts feared in 2017 as a result of rising exports and the start up of a large number of new gas-fired combined cycle power plants. During the first six months of 2017, prices for next-month delivery at Henry Hub were almost $1 per million British thermal units or 46 percent higher than in the first half of 2016. Gas prices paid by electricity producers were up $1 per million British thermal units or 39 percent in the first four months of the year…

Load Cells for Offshore Mooring Project

TSM Molène and TSM Penzer. (Image: Iroise Mer/Straightpoint)

French maritime engineering specialist Iroise Mer used a 50 ton Straightpoint Radiolink plus (RLP) load cell during a refit of a tanker mooring system located 500m off the Corsica coast, recently. Iroise Mer's job was to update the site, comprising four different mooring lines, complete with anchors, chains and concrete deadweights, and all existing components had to be removed and new ones installed. The RLP was used to measure pre-tension up to 30 ton to check new anchors were properly installed into the seabed. The RLP was positioned between the anchor line (or chain) and the towing cable on a vessel, attached with two Green Pin shackles.

Yinson Sells FPSO Stake in Ghana

Photo: Yinson Holdings

Malayasia's Yinson Holdings has sold its26 percent stake in its floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit in Ghana to a consortium of Japanese companies, The Star reported. According to the heads of agreement (HoA) with the consortium, the value of the stake in Yinson Production (West Africa) Pte Ltd (YPWA), the company said yesterday, was estimated in the range of $104 million to $117 million. “The group welcomes the Japanese consortium on board FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor (FPSO JAK) via this monumental collaboration between both parties,” Yinson’s group executive chairman Lim Han Weng said in a statement.

GE Closes Baker Hughes Deal, Becomes No. 2 Oilfield Service Provider

General Electric Co on Monday completed its buyout of Baker Hughes Inc, merging it with its own oil and gas equipment and services operations to create the world's second-largest oilfield service provider by revenue. With headquarters in London and Houston, the combined company will have roughly $23 billion in annual revenue and offer oilfield gear including blowout preventers, pumps, drilling, chemicals, other products and services for oil producers in 120 countries. For Baker Hughes, the deal helps it grow in size and become an even-more important player in the industry after antitrust concerns scuttled a tie-up last year with rival Halliburton Co .

LUX Assure Appoints Partner in Malaysia

Photo: LUX Assure

Oil and gas technology firm, LUX Assure, has strengthened its presence in Malaysia with the appointment of a regional partner, Borneo Seaoffshore Engineering SDN BHD. Borneo Seaoffshore will support LUX in educating the local market on corrosion management best practice, whilst promoting its CoMic  technology. CoMic is an on-site deployable corrosion inhibitor monitoring kit, which is used to inform better corrosion inhibitor management and to identify if the optimum level of inhibitor is being dosed. The effective use of CoMic means that operators can save thousands of pounds through avoiding overdosing inhibitor…

DONG, CWind Extend Crew Transfer Vessel Contract

Photo: CWind

CWind, a provider of services to the offshore wind industry, informs that DONG Energy, one of the key energy groups in Northern Europe, has granted CWind a two-year extension to its existing three-year Crew Transfer Vessel contract at the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea. CWind, the offshore power focused business of Global Marine Group (GMG), will provide vessels for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) to the 108-turbine West of Duddon Sands site, including a summer campaign to ensure the site remains operating at peak performance throughout the busier summer months.

Trelleborg Wins Contract for Johan Sverdrup Oil Field

Statoil Image (Photo courtesy of Trellborg)

Trelleborg’s engineered products operation has announced it has been awarded a contract for the supply of elastomeric bearings to Statoil’s Johan Sverdrup oil field, Norway's largest offshore development in the past three decades. Located on the Utsira Height in the North Sea, 160 kilometers west of Stavanger, the Johan Sverdup oil field will be operated by electrical power generated onshore, significantly reducing offshore emissions of climate gases. Daily production during the project’s first phase is estimated at 440,000 barrels per day, while peak production is estimated to reach 660,000 barrels daily, 25 percent of all Norwegian petroleum production.

U.S. Shale Producers Drilling Themselves into a Hole

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Edelweiss)

U.S. shale firms are drilling themselves into a deep hole despite warnings from industry leaders about the risk of flooding the market with too much crude, says Reuters analyst John Kemp. Drilling and production are rising. Prices are declining. Companies are barely breaking even or losing money. Costs are starting to rise. And share prices are sliding. Current oil prices are not sustainable according to Harold Hamm, the chief executive of Continental Resources, said in an interview on June 28. Prices need to be above $50 per barrel to be sustainable and below $40 would force producers to idle rigs, Hamm said ("Harold Hamm warns oil prices below $40 will idle U.S.

Oil Down as OPEC Output Outweighs U.S. Decline

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Shamtor)

U.S. drillers cut rig count for first time in 23 weeks. Oil prices eased on Monday after rising for seven sessions in a row, as evidence of increasing OPEC crude production snuffed out earlier gains made on the back of data that pointed to moderating U.S. output. Brent crude futures were down 13 cents on the day at $48.64 a barrel by 1000 GMT, off a session high of $49.15. The price rose 5.2 percent last week in its first weekly gain in six weeks. U.S. crude futures fell 4 cents to $46.00 a barrel. Drilling activity for new oil production in the United States fell for the first time since January, dropping by two rigs, while U.S.

Low Oil Price Hurts Norway's Case for Arctic Exploration

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Tupungato)

Low oil prices mean drilling for oil and gas in an offshore zone between Russia and Norway will not bring the economic benefits Oslo had predicted, according to a report commissioned by two green groups that are suing the Norwegian state over its plans. The Nordic country wants to open up new areas for exploration in the north of the country to offset declining oil production in the south. Oil production is Norway's leading industry, accounting for 20 percent of its economy. A key part of the drive is to open up a border zone between Russia and Norway to oil firms…