Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Norway's Labour Calls for Debate on Oil Tax Regime

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Norway should review its generous tax regime on oil drilling because of climate change, the opposition Labour party said on Monday, three weeks before a parliamentary election which opinion polls suggest it is on course to win. Labour's Marianne Marthinsen, a member of parliament's Finance Committee, told daily Aftenposten that Western Europe's top oil producer should look at changing rules that allow oil firms to reclaim costs of "failed exploration campaigns". She later told Reuters that Labour did not have "any intentions of making changes in the oil taxation regime in the next parliament's term"…

Oil Dips as Rally Encourages Profit-Taking

Oil prices fell on Monday as a rally at the end of last week prompted investors to close positions at a higher price, against a backdrop of signs the global market is starting to rebalance. Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 15 cents at $52.57 a barrel at 1214 GMT, after surging more than 3 percent in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures traded at $48.50 a barrel, down 1 cent. The contract had also risen 3 percent in the previous session. "We are currently seeing some profit-taking after Friday's strong rally ahead of this week's inventory data," said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. U.S.

VA Governor urges Trump to drop VA Offshore Drilling Plan

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe urged the Trump administration to exclude his state from a federal offshore oil and gas drilling plan, citing concerns about revenue sharing and environmental issues, in a letter that his office revealed on Thursday. McAuliffe, a Democrat, had previously said that any federal drilling plan that includes his state must include a revenue-sharing program. In the letter, dated Aug. 11 and sent to Kelly Hammerle, national program manager of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), McAuliffe said he could not trust President Donald Trump…

Latest Gulf of Mexico Auction Signals Offshore Return

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Major oil producers pushed up high bids at a Gulf of Mexico offshore auction to $121 million on Wednesday, a nearly seven-fold increase from a year ago, as their return to deep water exploration gained momentum. This compared with $18 million in high bids at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Outer Continental Shelf auction last summer. Winners will be announced after a 90-day review. Some producers have signaled that they expect Gulf of Mexico projects to become more profitable now that they have trimmed operations to adapt to low oil prices. Offshore drilling typically requires higher prices for producers to break even.

Pullback in Fracking Sand Use Pressures Producers

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

U.S. shale oil companies are pulling back on the amount of sand they use to hydraulically fracture new wells, responding to rising prices of the material that are driving up costs. Investors worry a slowdown in sand use, combined with new mining capacity coming online, could lead to a glut of the material and bring down prices. The worries have pressured shares of sand companies. Sand prices soared in the last year as oil companies ramped up shale drilling and production. But with crude prices below where they started the year…

Transocean to Buy Songa Offshore

(File photo: Songa Offshore)

About 77 pct of Songa shareholders have so far accepted deal. Transocean, one of the world's biggest drilling rig operators, has agreed a deal to buy Norwegian competitor Songa Offshore for 9.1 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.1 bln), the two companies said on Tuesday. The deal, which would be mostly paid for in shares and convertible bonds, would strengthen Transocean's position in offshore drilling as Songa is Norwegian oil major Statoil's largest drilling service provider. The offer values Songa shares at 47.50 Norwegian crowns each, a 39.7 percent premium over Monday's closing price.

Drilling Ship Leaves Vietnam Block after China Row

The drilling ship at the centre of a row between Vietnam and China over oil prospecting in disputed waters in the South China Sea has arrived in waters off the Malaysian port of Labuan, shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon showed on Monday. Drilling by the Deepsea Metro I ship was suspended in Vietnam's Block 136/3 last month after pressure from China, which says the concession operated by Spain's Repsol overlaps the vast majority of the waterway that it claims as its own. The ship, used by Norway's Odfjell Drilling Ltd., was reported to be in Labuan at 9.17 a.m. (0117 GMT), according to shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Oil Slips on Chinese Demand, Rising U.S. Activity

Oil prices fell on Monday as a slowdown in Chinese refining raised concerns about demand in the world's second-biggest consumer, while an increase in U.S. drilling capacity could deepen a global supply glut. Chinese refineries processed 10.71 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, National Bureau of Statistics data showed, down around 500,000 bpd from June and the lowest rate since September 2016. Analysts said the drop was steeper than expected, exacerbating concerns that a glut of refined fuel products could weaken Chinese demand for oil. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were at $51.74 a barrel at 1134 GMT, down 36 cents from Friday's close.

North Dakota Oil Production Slips about 1% in June

North Dakota's daily oil production slipped about 1 percent in June amidst tepid crude prices , according to state data released on Friday. The state pumped 1.03 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in June, down from 1.04 million bpd in May, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, which reports on a two-month lag. Natural gas production dipped slightly to 1.85 million cubic feet per day. The state's oil well count hit 13,915 during the month, an all-time high. North Dakota's drilling rig count, a closely watched barometer of the state's oil industry's health, has been steadily rising.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs for Second Week in Three

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U.S. energy companies added oil rigs for a second time in the last three weeks, extending a 15-month drilling recovery, but the pace of additions has slowed in recent months as firms cut spending plans in reaction to declining crude prices. Drillers added 3 oil rigs in the week to Aug. 11 bringing the total count up to 768, the most since April 2015. General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. That compares with 396 active oil rigs during the same week a year ago. Drillers have added rigs in 56 of the past 63 weeks since the start of June 2016.

US Shale Output Poised to Keep Rising Despite Investor Concerns

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Shale production in the largest U.S. oilfield should rise by as much as 300,000 barrels per day by December, according to updated forecasts following the industry's latest quarterly results. The higher outlooks, amid worries the recent breakneck pace of gains may not be sustained, come on the heels of one high-profile Permian Basin producer's oil output miss last quarter and decisions by several other energy companies to trim annual budgets. Oil production from the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico is closely watched…

Distillates to Boost US Refiners' Bottom Line

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U.S. refiners such as PBF Energy and Valero Energy are heading into the winter season on their best footing in years, as months of surprisingly robust distillate demand has eaten away at stubbornly high inventories and boosted margins. Inventories of diesel, heating oil and jet fuel are approaching their lowest seasonal levels in three years, fueling expectations among refining executives, traders and analysts that strong margins will help the bottom line for refiners through year-end. "With the distillate inventory correction at a somewhat speedier pace than gasoline…

U.S. Senators Against Blockade of Venezuela Oil Cargoes

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Four U.S. Senate Republicans from oil refining states urged the Trump administration on Thursday to not block oil shipments from Venezuela as part of U.S. sanctions against the country, saying it could raise costs for U.S. fuel consumers. The United States sanctioned President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan officials after Maduro established a constituent assembly run by his Socialist Party loyalists and cracked down on widespread opposition. It has not placed sanctions on the OPEC member's oil industry. Senators John Cornyn of Texas…

U.S. Shale Breakeven Price Pegged at $50

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U.S. shale producers need a WTI oil price around $50 per barrel to break even, according to an analysis of financial statements for the second quarter. Fifteen of the largest shale oil and gas producers reported total net losses of $470 million for the three months between April and June when benchmark WTI prices averaged $48. Total losses were down from $3.7 billion in the first three months of the year and $7.4 billion in the same period in 2016, according to earnings statements published in the last week (http://tmsnrt.rs/2ftmgnd).

US Shale Breakeven Price Revealed

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U.S. shale producers need a WTI oil price around $50 per barrel to break even, according to an analysis of financial statements for the second quarter. Fifteen of the largest shale oil and gas producers reported total net losses of $470 million for the three months between April and June when benchmark WTI prices averaged $48. Total losses were down from $3.7 billion in the first three months of the year and $7.4 billion in the same period in 2016, according to earnings statements published in the last week. Nine of the companies in the sample reported positive net income in the second quarter…

Baker Hughes Clinches Contract for PNG Gas Field

Baker Hughes, now part of General Electric, has won a major contract to provide a wide range of services to develop Papua New Guinea's first offshore gas field which is sees as a new model to help producers adapt to a world of low oil prices. GE Oil and Gas completed its merger with Baker Hughes last month to become the world's second largest oilfield services company, bringing together traditional drilling and pumping gear with technology such as software, sensors and three-dimensional printing. The contract in Papua New Guinea (PNG)…

Oil Prices Slip Despite News of Lower Saudi Supply

Oil prices fell on Tuesday on increasing exports from key OPEC producers despite news of lower crude shipments from Saudi Arabia. Production from Libya's 270,000 bpd Sharara field is returning to normal after a disruption when protesters broke into a control room, the National Oil Corp said. Libya is exempt from limits on production agreed by most other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries designed to bolster oil prices that have been depressed for more than three years by a global glut. Oil production remains high in many parts of the world and fuel prices are around half the level seen in 2011-2014.

US to Relax Rules Protecting Sage Grouse, a Win for Oil

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The U.S. Interior Department on Monday launched an overhaul to an Obama-era plan to protect sage grouse that it says aims to both preserve the species of bird while expanding opportunities for oil development in western states where they live. The move is a win for the drilling industry which had long argued that the plan developed by former President Barack Obama was too restrictive, but a setback for conservation groups concerned the Interior Department under President Donald Trump is watering down wildlife protections. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a memo on Monday directed his deputy David Bernhardt to make nine broad changes to the program.

New Player Enters the Decommissioning Market

Executive Director of Well-Safe Solutions, Mark Patterson (Photo: Well-Safe Solutions)

A new entrant to North Sea decommissioning, Well-Safe Solutions was established by a group of oil industry stalwarts Alasdair Locke, Mark Patterson and Paul Warwick, setting out to provide a new approach to the safe and cost-efficient decommissioning of subsea wells. The new start company, which aims to attract £200 million ($260 million) in investment and create 400 new jobs, will offer a specialist well abandonment service. Well-Safe has secured funding from Scottish Enterprise, including investment from the Scottish Investment Bank and a regional selective assistance grant…

Sentinel Marine Secures Two New Contracts

(Photo: Sentinel Marine)

Sentinel Marine said it has secured two new contracts bringing the Aberdeen-headquartered firm’s contract wins to a total of £26.4 million ($34.4 million) since January this year. The latest contract wins will provide continued employment for 72 seafarers in the North Sea. Sentinel Marine’s contract with Statoil UK Limited will see the provision of an emergency response and rescue vessel (ERRV) Portland Sentinel in the energy producer’s Mariner field from the beginning of August. The Portland Sentinel will join Mariner Sentinel, the latest vessel to join the Sentinel Marine fleet.

Statoil Set to Drill Its Biggest Arctic Hope

File photo: Jamie Baikie / Statoil

Norway's Statoil will soon start drilling this season's most promising Arctic prospect, Korpfjell, after several disappointing wells in the Barents Sea, the company said on Monday. The majority state-owned company has stepped up drilling in the Barents Sea this year as the government seeks to attract more explorers to its Arctic waters to make up for declining North Sea output. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Monday Statoil's latest well in the Barents Sea, Gemini North, had found only minor volumes of gas and oil.

TWMA Wins North Sea Contract with Azinor Catalyst

(Photo: TWMA)

TWMA, a provider of drill cuttings and slop handling, management and treatment solutions, said it has been awarded a contract estimated to be worth around £1 million with UKCS-focused E&P company, Azinor Catalyst Limited. The project, which commences in August 2017, will see TWMA provide drill cuttings containment and processing services on the Ocean Guardian rig in the Central North Sea. Azinor Catalyst has contracted the semi-submersible rig for the drilling of two wells in 2017. Anticipated spud of the Partridge exploration well is in August, followed by the spud of the Agar appraisal well in September.

Oil Slides From 9-week Highs as Market Looks to OPEC

Oil prices edged down from nine-week highs on Monday, pressured by worries over high production from OPEC and the United States. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 67 cents, or 1.28 percent, at $51.75 a barrel at 1344 GMT. They traded as low as $51.56 a barrel earlier in the day. U.S. crude futures were down 67 cents, or 1.35 percent, at $48.91 per barrel, but up from the day's low of $48.78 a barrel. Both contracts stood more than $1 below the levels hit last week, which marked their highest since late May, when oil producers…

US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs for 2nd Week in Three

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U.S. energy firms cut the number of oil rigs for the second in three weeks, slowing the pace of a 15-month drilling recovery, amid plans to spend less in reaction to declines in crude prices over the past several months. Drillers cut one oil rig in the week to August 4, bringing the total count down to 765, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its report on Friday. There were 381 active oil rigs during the same week a year ago. Drillers have added rigs in 55 of the past 62 weeks since the start of June 2016. The rig count is an early indicator of future output. U.S.

Borr Drilling Aims to List in Q3, May Buy More Rigs

Norwegian drilling star-up Borr Drilling plans to list on the Oslo exchange this quarter and is considering buying more assets to position itself for a market upturn, Chief Financial Officer Rune Magnus Lundetrae said on Friday. The world's biggest oilfield service provider Schlumberger took a 20 percent stake via a private placement in the company managed by former Seadrill executives in March. "It's not about raising the capital. We will register the existing shares," Lundetrae told Reuters. It plans to list 315 million shares which on Friday were valued at around 9.2 billion Norwegian crowns ($1.16 billion), he said.

DNV GL's Tørstad Talks Energy Trends

Elisabeth Tørstad (Photo: DNV GL)

When Elisabeth Tørstad took the helm as CEO of DNV GL - Oil & Gas in late 2013, the price of a barrel of NYMEX (WTI) crude oil was more than $100. Today, that price has been halved, and the 40-month period between her ascension to the top post and our meeting with her in Houston in May 2017 has been arguably the most tumultuous in the oil industry’s history. Tørstad shares with Maritime Reporter & Engineering News her insights on the market going forward. With the energy slump entering its fourth year, Elisabeth Tørstad succinctly summarizes this latest trough: “The downturn was steeper than we were prepared for…

Macroeconomic Risks for the Oil Industry

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The global oil industry now appears to be in the early stages of a cyclical expansion which is likely to see prices rise over the next few years, slowly at first but then accelerating later. Deep and long cycles in oil prices have been the defining characteristic of the industry since the 1860s ("Crude volatility: the history and the future of boom-bust oil prices", McNally, 2017). The boom-bust cycle which started in late 1998, with prices briefly below $10 per barrel, and was only briefly interrupted by the recession of 2008/09, ended in January 2016, with prices briefly below $28.

TGS Shares Fall after Q2 Sales Disappoint

Shares of the world's leading provider of geoscience data to oil companies TGS fell by more than 6 percent on Thursday, after disappointing sales in the second quarter. TGS reported $108 million in quarterly revenues, 6 percent below consensus, and compared with $114 million in the second-quarter a year ago. "Part of the problem was that TGS failed to sell more in Brazil, where PGS and CGG did well, or in Mexico, where it had data in the wrong place or it was simply too expensive," Iver Baatvik at ABN-AMRO bank said. The so-called late sales of seismic data were down to $79 million from $84 million a year ago.

DNV GL Performs Offshore Drone Survey

(Photo: DNV GL)

Classification society DNV GL said its surveyors have carried the group’s first offshore drone survey on the semisubmersible vessel Safe Scandinavia in the North Sea. The 25,383 GT tender support vessel (TSV) Safe Scandinavia is owned and operated by Prosafe, supporting Statoil’s drilling operations off the coast of Norway. Using camera-equipped drones, DNV GL’s drone pilots checked the TSV’s fairleads and their connection with the vessel’s two columns as part of the intermediate survey. “We chose to try the drone survey, as it helped us optimize our survey requirements and allowed us to save significant amounts of time and money…

Chesapeake Energy Beats Street, Plans Rig Cuts

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

U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and said it expects production to rise for the rest of the year even as the company plans to operate fewer rigs. Shares of the company were up 4 percent in premarket trading. Oil and gas producers in North America are actively trying to cut back on expenses as they try to save money as oil hovers around $50 per barrel. Last month, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co warned growth in North American rig count was "showing signs of plateauing".

PXP Energy Eager to Resume South China Sea Drilling

Philippine oil and gas firm PXP Energy Corp expressed eagerness on Thursday to resume exploration in the disputed South China Sea and said any joint venture development would likely involve a Chinese company. Chairman Manuel Pangilinan told reporters he was looking to discuss plans to resume PXP's stalled Reed Bank project in the hotly contested waterway with the Philippine government. "We should start doing that because all of the pronouncements that appear to have been made by both China and the Philippines are moving in a positive direction," he said.

Repsol Suspends Drilling on Vietnam Oil Block Disputed by China

Spain's Repsol said it had suspended oil drilling in a block off Vietnam, where the prospecting in South China Sea waters claimed by China had infuriated Beijing and brought Chinese pressure on Vietnam to stop. Tension has been growing between Vietnam and China over energy development in the waterway, where extensive Chinese claims are challenged by five Southeast Asian countries and disputed by the United States. Repsol's chief financial officer, Miguel Martinez, said work had been suspended off Vietnam, according to the transcript of a conference call with analysts last week.

28% of Offshore Vessels Currently Laid Up

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Using VesselsValue's Offshore mapping service VV, Senior Offshore Analyst Charlie Hockless has put togther a snapshot showing the percentage of the offshore fleet currently laid up. Across all offshore types, 28 percent of the fleet is currently laid up. PSVs top the table, with 36 percent currently laid up. Hockless explained the definition of laid up used in this context: “Estimating the number of vessels in lay-up is an imperfect science. However, using a big data approach VesselsValue can provide a valid estimation using the following methodology. VV observes the recency of a vessel's AIS signal and filters the data appropriately.

Oil Near Two-month High as Producers Plan to Meet

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OPEC, non-OPEC meeting set for 7-8 Aug. in Abu Dhabi; bullish bets on WTI at three-month high - CFTC. Oil prices rose on Monday, putting July on track to become the strongest month so far this year, as news of a producers' technical meeting next week added to bullish sentiment driven by the threat of U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. Investors also eyed a tightening U.S. market after heavy inventory falls and slower new oil rig additions last week. "Sentiment in the oil market became very bullish after OPEC said it will meet with partners in Abu Dhabi next week to discuss compliance," said Frank Schallenberger, head of commodity research at LBBW.

Exxon Mobil profit disappoints Wall Street, Chevron shines

Exxon Mobil Corp posted a rare earnings miss on Friday, the only international oil producer to do so last quarter, as production slipped in its African and Canadian operations. Exxon's results were overshadowed by rival Chevron Corp , which easily exceeded Wall Street's expectations with a double-digit percentage increase in production. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA and Statoil ASA this week delivered profits that topped expectations also. Chevron for years has downplayed profits to spend heavily on megaprojects in Australia, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

Oil Extends Gains, Nearing 8-Week Highs

Brent, WTI futures near 8-week highs; U.S. rig count data expected later on Friday. Oil prices edged higher on Friday, reaching fresh two-month highs and on track to post the strongest weekly gains this year as investors digested signs of an easing oversupply picture. U.S. crude and gasoline inventories fell much more steeply than expected this week and the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia said it would further reduce oil output in August. Brent crude futures were up 22 cents at $51.71 a barrel at 0931 GMT after reaching a fresh two-month high of $51.75 a barrel.

U.S. Coal Exports Soar, Revived in Part by New Energy Policy

File Image: CREDIT Inland Marine

U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump's administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working. The increased shipments came as the European Union and other U.S. allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal. The previously unpublished figures provided to Reuters by the U.S.

U.S. Shale Producers Cut CapEx as Oil Prices Lag

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

U.S. shale producers have started to trim their 2017 capital spending budgets, a tacit acknowledgement that such plans were too aggressive when crafted months ago before commodity prices weakened. This week alone, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, ConocoPhillips, Whiting Petroleum Corp and Hess Corp cut a combined $750 million from their capex plans, each citing weaker-than-expected oil prices. The quartet are just the first in a wave of oil industry earnings results expected over the next two weeks, with many analyst expecting peers…

Hedge Funds' Active Positioning in Crude Oil: Kemp

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

Hedge funds are some of the most important and dynamic participants in the oil market but public information on their positions and behaviour is severely limited. The only comprehensive information on hedge fund positions that is regularly available is contained within the commitments of traders reports published by regulators and exchanges. Hedge fund positions are co-mingled with pension funds, commodity trading advisers and other firms that manage or conduct trading on behalf of clients in the “money managers” category.

Oil Rises to 8-week High on U.S. Inventory Draw

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

U.S. crude stocks fell sharply last week - EIA; some U.S. shale producers plan to cut spending. Oil prices traded close to eight-week highs on Thursday, boosted by a steeper-than-expected slide in U.S. crude inventories last week. Brent crude futures dipped by 2 cents to $50.95 a barrel at 1346 GMT, after rising about 1.5 percent in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures slipped 1 cent at $48.74 a barrel. Both contracts traded lower earlier in the session on a stronger dollar, but recovered most of the lost ground. A stronger U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated crude more expensive for investors holding other currencies.

Statoil Scales Down 2017 Exploration Plans

File Image: A typical offshore Statoil operation (CREDIT: Statoil)

Norway's Statoil has reduced its exploration ambitions for 2017 and will drill around 30 wells, down from previous plans for as many as 35, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. The company has revised its exploration spending guidance for 2017 to $1.3 billion from $1.5 billion, citing "strict prioritisation and efficient drilling operations" in a statement accompanying its second-quarter earnings. Its exploration spending in the second quarter was down to $224 million from $423 million during the same quarter a year ago.

Hess Losses Grow as Production Dives

Oil producer Hess Corp reported a bigger loss in the second quarter as the company produced fewer barrels of oil due to a cutback in drilling. The company said losses in the exploration and production (E&P) unit - its biggest - climbed to $354 million in the second quarter ended June 30, from $328 million a year earlier. Net production, excluding Libya, fell to 294,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) from 313,000 boepd. Hess cut its 2017 E&P capex to $2.15 billion from its previous guidance of $2.25 billion. Like many of its peers…

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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…