Thursday, May 25, 2017

OPEC Meets Again But Has it Had an Impact on Oil Prices?

Ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC oil exporters are meeting in Vienna today and tomorrow to decide whether to extend production cuts that have been in effect since the start of the year. The formal conference comes after extensive consultations in recent weeks which seem to have produced a consensus to extend cuts at the same level for a further nine months to the end of March 2018. But with oil traders focused on Vienna, it is worth asking whether the cuts agreed by OPEC on Nov. 30 and non-OPEC on Dec. 10 have had any significant impact on prices so far.

Mexico Oil Regulator OKs New Gulf Area for Pemex

Mexico's oil regulator on Tuesday approved a promising new deep water block to state oil company Pemex, but conditioned the allotment on the firm developing the area with a partner that would eventually operate it. The new Chachiquin area, adjacent to Pemex's Nobilis-Maximino block, could produce 80,000 barrels per day of oil once it reaches peak output, according to the regulator's estimates. Development of the area is not expected to begin until 2024 at the earliest. "It's incredibly important for the country to move forward with deep water projects…

Rosneft Cuts Oil Output Temporarily

Russia's Rosneft is ready to resume full oil output quickly once OPEC-led cuts end as the country's top producer has focused its own cuts on newer fields, its chief executive has said. Those cuts run until June 30, though oil ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries meeting in Vienna this week are expected to agree to extend a deal that has seen 22 countries reduce global output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) since January 1. "Restrictions (under the OPEC deal) are mainly applied to greenfields," Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin told reporters last week, referring to newer oil fields.

Odebrecht O&G Announces Debt Restructuring Deal

Odebrecht Óleo & Gás SA, the offshore oil drilling firm owned by Brazil's Odebrecht SA, reached an agreement with more than 60 percent of its creditors for a restructuring of about $5 billion in debt, it said in a statement on Tuesday.   OOG, as the company is known, had told Reuters earlier this month that talks with creditors were in final stages. OOG is among Odebrecht SA subsidiaries struggling with a widespread slowdown in Latin America and restricted access to credit in the wake of a huge corruption scandal. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione)

Angelle Named BSEE Director

Scott Angelle (Photo: BSEE)

Former Louisiana state official Scott A. Angelle will head-up the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). Angelle, who most recently served as Vice Chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, will assume his new position May 23. “Scott Angelle brings a wealth of experience to BSEE, having spent many years working for the safe and efficient energy production of both Louisiana’s and our country’s offshore resources,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said. Angelle, who will serve as the fourth director in BSEE’s history…

Statoil's Digitalization Drive

Eldar Sætre, Statoil’s chief executive officer. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland)

Statoil is establishing a digital center of excellence and launching a roadmap with seven specific programs for digitalization in the company towards 2020. Towards 2020 Statoil expects to invest $120 to $240 million in new digital technologies, accelerating the digital roadmap work. Digital technologies will also be part of other Statoil technology and research projects. “Aiming to be a global digital leader within our core areas, we are now stepping up our efforts to capture opportunities provided by the rapid development within digital technologies,” said Eldar Sætre, Statoil’s CEO.

China Threatened War If Philippines Drills for Oil -Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday Chinese counterpart China Xi Jinping had warned him there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea. In remarks that could infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines. Duterte said he discussed it with Xi when the two met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm, but friendly warning.

The New Offshore Reality

(Photo: Oyvind Hagen, Statoil)

Swedbank’s chief economist, Harald Andreassen, isn’t “too hopeful” about the long-term prospects for the oil price, but then again, “I’m less certain of this than I’ve ever been as an economist,” he told a floating production conference in Oslo. After two-and-half years of oil-price collapse followed by layoffs in the thousands; stacked oil rigs and order freezes for offshore shipping, price insecurity itself is a partial expression of confidence. Beneath some palpable yet halting movements toward recovery in 2017, there’s 2016’s rigorous cost-cutting by, among others, Statoil and its subsea supply chain.

Keppel on Track to Deliver Rig for Caspian Drilling

Photo credit: Keppel Offshore & Marine

Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M) through its subsidiary in Azerbaijan, Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC), is on track to deliver a semisubmersible drilling rig to Caspian Drilling Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). The rig was named Heydar Aliyev at a ceremony in Azerbaijan today by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. Built to Keppel FELS' proprietary DSSTM 38M design, the rig has been customized for the Caspian Sea's harsh environment condition. It is the first modern semisubmersible to be almost completely built in Azerbaijan.

Halliburton CEO to Retire, Replaced by Miller

Halliburton Co said on Wednesday that Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar will retire on June 1 and be replaced by Jeff Miller, Lesar's longtime deputy and fellow board member. Lesar will stay on as executive chairman of the world's second-largest oilfield service provider until December 2018, when he reaches the company's mandatory retirement age of 65. The transition, which was expected, comes as Halliburton tries to recover from a two-year oil price downturn that has eroded profit margins and forced the company to lay off thousands of workers.

Growing U.S. Shale Activity Confounds OPEC

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock ? (c) shamtor)

As oilfield workers for Lilis Energy Inc threaded together drill pipes one recent morning in the Permian Basin, a bulldozer cleared sagebrush to make way for the company's fifth well since January. Lilis aims to expand production sevenfold this year in America's most active oilfield. The whir of activity is all the more impressive after the small firm nearly collapsed in late 2015 - amid unrestrained production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). As per-barrel prices plummeted, Lilis piled on debt and struggled to pay workers.

South Africa Mulls First Shale Gas Exploration Licences

South Africa's government may award its first shale gas exploration licences by the end of September, after environmental objections delayed the process, a senior government official said on Monday. The five licence applications under review are for exploration in the semi-arid Karoo basin. Environmentalists criticised plans to work in the sparsely populated region, known for its rugged scenery and home to rare species such as the mountain zebra and riverine rabbit. Royal Dutch Shell, Falcon Oil and Gas and Bundu Gas & Oil are among five firms whose applications were being reviewed by the regulator…

Centrica to Boost North Sea Drilling

A typical North Sea Oil Installation (CREDIT: Craig International)

Centrica said it will drill a new production well at its Chestnut oilfield in the North Sea, which was going to be shut later this year. The Chestnut oilfield is off the coast of Aberdeen in Scotland and has been producing oil since 2008 but was only expected to do so for three years. The field produces 4,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day and the additional production well should bring a further 10,000 barrels a day on stream, bringing total daily production to nearly 14,000 barrels a day, Centrica said. The 35 million pound investment will extend the life of the field by at least three years.

Arctic Council Meeting Stirs Hidden Tensions

Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström

As foreign ministers from countries with territory in the far North celebrated an agreement on fighting climate change this week, one topic seethed below the surface: growing competition for Arctic resources and sea lanes as the ice melts. Russia, one of eight members of the Arctic Council which includes the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, has been pouring money and missiles into the Arctic as well as reopening and building bases there. This is bringing its Arctic military presence to the highest level since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Oil Firms, on Track for Biggest Gain in Five Weeks

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

U.S. oil inventories fell by more than forecast last week; OPEC-led production curbs expected to be extended. Oil prices on Friday were on track for their biggest weekly gain in five weeks, helped by expectations of an extension of OPEC-led output cuts and buoyed by falling U.S. crude inventories. Benchmark Brent was trading 5 cents higher at $50.82 per barrel at 1141 GMT, on target for a 3.5 percent rise on the week. U.S. light crude oil was up 2 cents at $47.85. A larger-than-expected fall last week in U.S. crude inventories <C-STK-T-EIA>…

ETP: U.S. Drilling Ban Won't Delay Ohio Gasline

File Image: A typical gas pipeline header arrangement. (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) pisotckii)

Completion of the Rover pipeline, the biggest natural gas pipe under construction in the United States, is not expected to be delayed by a U.S. federal order to stop new drilling to install pipe, Energy Transfer Partners LP said on Thursday. The company spilled more than 2 million gallons of drilling fluid - mostly water and clay - in Ohio wetlands in April during construction of Rover, prompting regulators to halt drilling in certain areas. The line, once finished, will have the ability to carry enough gas to supply 15 million U.S. and Canadian homes.

Options Bulls Betting on U.S. Energy Rebound

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) GEAR STD)

Some U.S. equity options traders are betting that the recent rebound in the price of crude oil spells good news for the battered energy sector. The S&P energy index is still down about 9.9 percent this year, making it the second worst-performing sector among S&P's tracking indexes. That contrasts against the broad benchmark S&P 500 stock index, which is up 6.9 percent for the year. Recent trading in the options market, however, shows traders putting on bullish bets in both options on exchange traded funds exposed to the energy market and individual stocks.

Spills Prompt U.S. to Stop ETP's Drill Work on Rover Pipeline

U.S. regulators on Wednesday prohibited Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) LP from new drilling to install pipe along the route of its Rover natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ontario following drilling fluid spills in a wetland area in Ohio. Concern that the ban was coming helped lift natural gas futures prices on Wednesday, traders said. The drilling ban will remain in place until the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff authorizes the company to start again. It does not prevent the company from finishing drilling activities already started or other non-drilling construction work.

Total: Brazil Drilling No Risk to Amazon Reef

A French oil firm on Thursday rejected concerns that exploration off Brazil could damage a unique coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon river as it awaits final approval to start drilling. "Drilling activity will not impact the reef system," a spokeswoman for Total told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The company is working closely with Brazil's environmental enforcement agency (IBAMA) and needs their go ahead before it begins to drill, she said in an email. It was not clear when a final ruling will be issued but Total says it expects to drill exploratory wells this year.

Suncor to Grow Oil Sands as Oil Majors Flee

Even as the world's largest energy companies exit Canada's high-cost oil sands the country's top producer Suncor Energy is lining up its next phase of growth in the world's third largest crude reserves. The preliminary plans for new projects in remote northern Alberta follow a stream of multi-billion dollar deals in which international oil majors sold off oil sands assets to Canadian producers, who are betting technology and economies of scale will make the region competitive with other plays globally. Suncor said on Monday it will file a regulatory application for its 160…

Fire Protection for Offshore Comms Hub

Photo courtesy of SeaRoc Group

A monitoring and voice and data communication solution launched by SeaRoc Group links land-based operations to distant offshore petroleum platforms and wind farms via satellite, fiber and other data services. In order to protect the sensitive and valuable electronics inside these unmanned SeaHubs, an engineered fire detection and suppression system from Sea-Fire Europe was chosen. The mobile SeaHub system can be installed aboard a vessel, platform or even on a remote land-based location, allowing  drill rigs and wind farms to be installed farther offshore than was possible in the past.

CFD Simulation of a Fully Featured Offshore Platform Model

(Photo: Hydrocean)

CFD simulations of offshore oil and gas platforms are used to predict the maximum wind loads acting on the structure of the platform topsides (the upper half of the platform, above sea level and outside the splash zone, including the oil production plant, the accommodation block and any drilling equipment). The wind loads are used as waves and current loads to design the mooring of the structure, and can be significant in specific ocean areas. Because platform topside geometries were traditionally considered too complex to mesh in high detail, CFD simulations relied on simplified, de-featured models.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs for 16th Week

© chirnoagarazvan / Adobe Stock

U.S. energy firms added oil rigs for a 16th week in a row, extending a drilling recovery into a 12th month even as the pace of those additions has slowed in recent weeks as crude prices have held below $50 a barrel. Drillers added six oil rigs in the week to May 5, bringing the total count up to 703, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday. While that is more than double the same week a year ago when there were only 328 active oil rigs, the pace of those additions has declined over the past four weeks to the lowest since the week to March 10. U.S.

Pemex Seeks Refinery Investors, but Who's Buying?

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

Sweeping energy reforms have turned Mexico into one of the world's most attractive offshore prospects, but one segment is getting no love from U.S. investors: the nation's aging refineries. Efforts by Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex to attract about $5 billion in capital to help modernize its two largest refineries so far have proved futile, according to two people familiar with the process who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The company is seeking a joint venture partner for its Salina Cruz refinery on the West Coast.

Statoil Profit Jumps on International Ops Growth

File Image: A typical Statoil offshore installation.

First-quarter operating profit $3.3 bln is firm's first international profit since third-quarter of 2014. Statoil reported a far bigger jump in first-quarter operating profit than expected on Thursday, helped by the first profit from the Norwegian company's international operations since 2014 and higher oil prices. Like rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell, the majority state-owned oil and gas company benefited from a 55 percent increase in crude prices from the same period a year ago and its cost-cutting efforts. Statoil's overall adjusted operating profit came in at $3.3 billion…

Slumping Oilfield Services Sector bets on Offshore Tech

File Image: CREDIT Global Marine Systems

The oil industry's top equipment and services suppliers this week are hawking vastly cheaper ways of designing and equipping subsea wells, aiming to slash the cost of offshore projects to compete with the faster-moving shale industry. At the Offshore Technology Conference, the industry's annual gathering of floating rig and subsea well suppliers, sales pitches this year are all about cost savings and faster time to first production. With U.S. crude priced under $50 a barrel, offshore projects with their typically high costs and long-lead times are now borrowing from leaner shale in the competition for oil company investment.

ABS Approves Innovative Drillship Design

Photo:  Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc

ABS is working with industry to improve efficiencies in offshore development. “ABS is working on multiple fronts to help the offshore industry find efficiencies and streamline operations,” says ABS Executive Vice President for Global Offshore Ken Richardson. “We are coordinating efforts for standardization and working one-on-one with companies that are changing the way offshore projects are executed,” he added. Recent work with Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. on the company’s Floating Factory drillship concept is an example of how ABS is working with drilling contractors, in this case, approving the basic design for this innovative concept.

Lundin Raises Output Guidance Despite Arctic Setback

Sweden's Lundin Petroleum lifted its full year production guidance on Wednesday and said it still expected to find more oil in the Barents Sea despite a recent setback. Lundin, a partner in Norway's giant Johan Sverdrup field, reported $355.8 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), above the forecast of $325 million in a Reuters survey of analysts. Lundin said it was able to increase production capacity at its Edvard Grieg platform to 145,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day (boepd) from its designed capacity of 126,000.

Conservationists Sue to Halt Fracking in Ohio National Forest

Four conservation groups on Tuesday sued the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in an attempt to halt fracking plans in a portion of Ohio's only national forest. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, argues that the federal agencies failed to sufficiently analyze risks to watersheds, public health, climate and endangered species including Indiana bats, before auctioning 670 acres (270 hectares) in December of the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio for eventual hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of underground shale.

Seadrill Sells Three Jack-ups to Shelf Drilling

Photo: Seadrill Limited

Seadrill Limited, announced that it had reached an agreement with Shelf Drilling to sell the West Triton, West Resolute and West Mischief for a total consideration of $225 million subject to customary closing conditions. The West Triton and West Resolute are scheduled to be delivered to Shelf Drilling by the end of May 2017 and the West Mischief during 3Q 2017 after completion of its current drilling contract with NDC in Abu Dhabi. The total debt outstanding on these three units is $102 million providing excess sale proceeds of $123 million. The carrying value of the three units totals $415 million.

Lamprell Delivers 9th Jackup Drill Rig to NDC

Photo: Lamprell

Lamprell announced the completion of construction of Al Lulu, the final jackup drilling rig in a series of nine delivered to Abu Dhabi’s National Drilling Company (NDC). The contract for the NDC Al Lulu rig was awarded in April 2015, one of only three rig orders awarded that year. All nine rigs have been designed according to the Cameron LeTourneau Super 116E (Enhanced) Class design and were completed to the highest standards of quality using the latest in drilling system technology, the builder said. Completion and delivery…

US Top Court Sides with Venezuela over Oil Rigs Claim

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday tossed out a lower court's ruling that had allowed an American oil drilling company to sue Venezuela over the seizure of 11 drilling rigs in 2010 but allowed the business another chance to press its claims. Siding with Venezuela, the justices ruled 8-0 that a lower court that had given the go-ahead for the suit must reconsider whether claims made by Oklahoma-based Helmerich & Payne International Drilling Company can proceed. Writing for the court, Justice Stephen Breyer said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2015 used the wrong standard in denying Venezuela immunity from the lawsuit.

Diamond Offshore Beats the Street on Cost Cuts

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower costs. Total operating expenses in the quarter fell 10 pct to $323.36 million. Contract drilling revenue fell 18 percent to $363.56 million from the first quarter. Offshore projects, which take years to develop and are capital intensive, were the hardest hit by the slump in crude prices, as oil and gas producers slashed spending. Diamond Offshore, majority owned by Loews Corp, said net income fell to $23.5 million, or 17 cents per share, for the first quarter ended March 31, from $87.4 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs for 15th Week

© Natalia Bratslavsky / Adobe Stocl

U.S. drillers added oil rigs for a 15th week in a row, but the pace of those additions slowed in April to the lowest in five months as crude prices fell below $50 a barrel on doubts OPEC will continue to cut production enough to reduce the global glut. Drillers added nine oil rigs in the week to April 28, bringing the total count up to 697, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday. While that is more than double the same week a year ago when there were only 332 active oil rigs, the pace of additions has declined in April with 35 rigs deployed, the lowest since November when 33 rigs were added.

Clean Power Plan Lawsuit Put on Hold

A U.S. appeals court on Friday granted a Trump administration request to put on hold a legal challenge by industry and a group of states to former President Barack Obama's regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse emissions mainly from coal-fired power plants, rules that the Republican president is moving to undo. A 10-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the request to put the litigation involving the regulations known as the Clean Power Plan in abeyance for at least 60 days while the administration plans its next steps.

Kongsberg Maritime, SES Form Strategic Alliance

Kongsberg Maritime and Stress Engineering Services form strategic alliance to serve customers within offshore drilling and floating production systems (Photo: Kongsberg Maritime)

Kongsberg Maritime Inc., the North American division of Norway headquartered marine and offshore technology company Kongsberg Maritime, and Houston headquartered Stress Engineering Services (SES) have formed a strategic alliance to better serve existing and new clients with cost effective engineering services and fully integrated technical solutions within offshore drilling and floating production systems. By combining Stress Engineering Services’ wide-ranging engineering expertise within all aspects of offshore drilling with…

Trump to Order Review of Offshore Drilling Bans

File Image: Credit James Fisher

U.S. President Donald Trump will today order a review of offshore areas currently off limits to oil and gas drilling to determine which might be reopened, in his administration's latest move to expand domestic energy production. The order could lead to a reversal of bans on drilling across swathes of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and the Gulf of Mexico that former President Barack Obama's administration sought to protect from development. "It is better to produce energy here than be held hostage by foreign entities…

Anadarko Shares Dive as Wells Close

Shares of Anadarko Petroleum Corp plunged on Thursday after the oil and natural gas producer said it would temporarily close more than 3,000 wells in Colorado in the wake of an explosion that killed two. The company's stock fell more than 5 percent to $56.69 in Wednesday afternoon trading, touching six-month lows. A recently built home in Firestone, roughly 30 miles (48 km) north of Denver, exploded on April 17. Local media reported that two men were killed while repairing a water heater when the explosion took place. A women and boy were injured but were treated and released from a nearby hospital. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

Keppel FloaTEC Secures Contract for TLWP in Vietnam

Keppel FloaTEC LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M), has secured a contract worth about $40 million from PTSC Mechanical & Construction (PTSC M&C) to provide engineering, technology and construction management support services for the Repsol Ca Rong Do Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP) to be built in Vietnam. PTSC M&C, the service arm of Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), is the main engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contractor for the TLWP. It will be the first TLWP in Vietnam and, when installed, the first three-column TLWP in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Trump Executive Order Requires Review of National Monuments

© Vince Bradley / Adobe Stock

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday requiring a review of national monuments which he said was aimed at ending an "egregious abuse of federal power."   At a ceremony at the Department of the Interior, Trump said people's ability to access and utilize land must be protected, and that the previous administration had put hundreds of millions of acres under federal control through monument designation.   The order is part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development - cheered by industry but opposed by conservationists. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Washington Newsroom)

Drilling Costs Rise Along with U.S. Oil & Gas Activity

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

U.S. oil and gas drilling costs have started to rise in response to a surge in activity and are set to increase further as the slack in the rig market declines. Drilling costs increased by 7 percent between November 2016 and March 2017, according to preliminary data on producer prices from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase has offset only a small part of the 34 percent slump between March 2014 and November 2016 (http://tmsnrt.rs/2q6RNzc). But it is the first sustained gain in three years for drilling prices, which are now rising year-on-year for the first time since November 2014.

Trump to Order Review of Federal Land Use

U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday to identify national monuments that can be rescinded or resized - part of a push to open up more federal lands to drilling, mining and other development. The move comes as Trump seeks to reverse a slew of environmental protections ushered in by former President Barack Obama that he said were hobbling economic growth - an agenda that is cheering industry but enraging conservationists. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters late Tuesday that Trump's order would require him to conduct the review of around 30 national monuments created over the past two decades…

Norway Expects Record Arctic Drilling in 2017

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

Norway expects 15 exploration wells to be drilled in the Barents Sea this year, two more than in the record year 2014, the head of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Tuesday.   Of these, Norway's Statoil is planning to drill five or six wells, including one in the formerly disputed border area with Russia, where the probability of making a discovery was the greatest, Bente Nyland added.   Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis

Norway Doubles Barents Sea Oil & Gas Estimates

Norway on Tuesday doubled its estimate of undiscovered oil and gas resources in its region of the Arctic Barents Sea as a formerly disputed area bordering Russia was included for the first time, the country's oil regulator said. The new forecast by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) predicted about 2.8 billion standard cubic meters of oil equivalent (17.6 billion barrels) could yet be found in the Barents, up from 1.4 billion seen earlier. "This figure is naturally associated with some uncertainty. It could turn out to be lower or it could be much higher," NPD Director General Bente Nyland said in a statement.

Oil Slips as Investors Fret About Rising US Drilling

© Volodymyr Shevchuk / Adobe Stock

Oil prices dipped on Monday, reversing earlier gains as concerns about a pick up in U.S. drilling activity trumped expectations that OPEC will extend output cuts till the end of 2017. "It's a still game of very narrow trading ranges between these mixed drivers," said ABN AMRO's senior energy economist Hans van Cleef. Brent crude futures fell 41 cents by 1447 GMT to $51.71 per barrel after hitting a session high of $52.57 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures lost 46 cents to reach $49.16 a barrel, after reaching a high of $50.22 a barrel earlier in the day.

Statoil Downplays Risks Ahead of Arctic Drilling

File photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Statoil

Norway's Statoil on Monday played down concerns that drilling in the Arctic is risky, days before it kickstarts its drilling campaign in the Barents Sea, where the country believes around half of its remaining resources could be located. "We will start drilling the first well, Blaamann, during May ... followed by Kayak, Gemini (Nord), Korpfjell and Koigen (Central)," said a Statoil spokesman, adding each might take about a month to drill. All the wells are in areas free of sea ice thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, with sea and wind conditions similar to the North Sea…

New Executive Orders Loom on Environment, Energy

© Stojanovic Milos / Adobe Stock

U.S. President Donald Trump this week will sign new executive orders before he completes his first 100 days in office, including two on energy and the environment, which would make it easier for the United States to develop energy on and offshore, a White House official said on Sunday. "This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines, innovations in energy production, and reduced unnecessary burden on energy producers," the official said on condition of anonymity. On Wednesday…

Oil Inches Back Up, OPEC Promises Support

OPEC looks set to extend output cuts through 2017; but rise in U.S. drilling undermines group's efforts. Oil prices recovered some lost ground on Monday after big losses last week, driven by expectations that OPEC will extend output cuts till the end of 2017, although a rise in U.S. drilling capped gains. Brent crude futures rose 38 cents by 1148 GMT to $52.34 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures added 41 cents to reach $50.03 a barrel. Prices fell steeply last week on the back of stubbornly high crude supplies…

Halliburton Gains from North American Drilling Surge

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

Halliburton Co said on Monday that oil producers are completing nearly as many wells as they are drilling, a major reversal from when companies left wells unfinished in anticipation of higher oil prices. Increased demand for Halliburton's pressure pumping and well-construction services helped the world's No.2 oilfield services provider report slightly better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue. Halliburton's shares were up more than 1 percent at $47.72 in morning trade on Monday. "There's no doubt that the pace of completions activity is catching up with the rig count…

US Will Not Issue Drilling Waivers to Russia Sanctions

The United States will not make an exception for American companies, including oil major Exxon Mobil Corp, seeking to drill in areas prohibited by U.S. sanctions on Russia, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday. "In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions," Mnuchin said in a statement. Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers had no immediate comment on the statement. The company this week declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that it is seeking permission from the U.S.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs for 14th Week in a Row

© Steve Boyko  / Adobe Stock

U.S. drillers added oil rigs for a 14th week in a row, extending an 11-month recovery that is expected to boost U.S. shale production in May in the biggest monthly increase in more than two years. Drillers added five oil rigs in the week to April 21, bringing the total count up to 688, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday. That is more than double the same week a year ago when there were only 343 active oil rigs. U.S. crude futures dropped below $50 a barrel on Friday, for the first time in two weeks and putting it on track for its biggest weekly loss in six weeks…

Schlumberger Sees Improved Pricing but Margins Still Slim

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

Schlumberger NV said on Friday a ramp up in drilling activity in North America boosted pricing for its oilfield services, but the cost of reactivating equipment idled during the oil price downturn dragged down margins. The U.S. rig count rose more than 25 percent in the first three months of the year, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. "In the first quarter, the North America land market continued to strengthen in terms of both activity and pricing, leading us to begin accelerating deployment of idle capacity for multiple product lines," Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said.

Rolls-Royce to Provide Mooring System for Statoil's Njord A

Photo: Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has been chosen by Norway-based engineering and construction services firm Kvaerner to provide a mooring system for Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil’s oil platform, Njord A. Njord A is being upgraded by Kvaerner and Rolls-Royce has been chosen to provide an upgrade to its mooring system. The contract has a value of about £15 million ($19 mln). Njord A is a semisubmersible floating steel platform, with an integrated deck with drilling and processing facilities, as well as living quarters. It is normally located in the Njord oilfield, around 130 km northwest of the city Kristiansund and 30 km west of the Draugen field.

Keppel's Q1 Profit up 23 pct

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

Singapore's Keppel Corp on Thursday reported a 23 percent rise in its first-quarter profit as improved earnings from the infrastructure and investments divisions helped offset weakness in its offshore and marine business. Keppel reported a net profit of S$260 million ($186.17 million) for the quarter ended March, versus S$211 million a year ago. Total revenue fell 28.4 percent to S$1.25 billion. This comes after Keppel posted its smallest annual profit in a decade in 2016. The conglomerate and its rival Sembcorp Marine Ltd have been suffering from an oversupply of offshore oil drilling rigs…

ConocoPhillips: Slow & Steady Wins the Race

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ConocoPhillips has beaten its 2017 asset sales target less than four months into the year, after shedding $30.8 billion worth of energy assets in six years. But instead of a chorus of cheers on Wall Street, Chief Executive Ryan Lance is facing investor skepticism that the company can deliver growth from remaining oil and gas fields. ConocoPhillips' most recent sales of Canadian oil-sands properties and U.S. natural gas wells for a combined $16 billion will part with nearly 30 percent of its proved reserves in order to deliver near-term shareholder payouts and pare debt.

Norway OKs Statoil’s Trestakk Plan

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Norwegian authorities have approved the Plan for Development and Operation (PDO) of the Trestakk discovery on the Halten Bank in the Norwegian Sea. Investments are calculated at NOK 5.5 billion ($646 million), almost half of the original estimate. Trestakk was discovered in 1986, and expected recoverable volumes are 76 million barrels of oil equivalent, mainly oil. Tied into the Åsgard A production vessel, Trestakk is expected to come on stream in 2019. On behalf of the license owners, Statoil submitted the PDO to the minister of petroleum and energy, on November 1, 2016.

Shell Receives Bids For Downstream Assets in Argentina

Royal Dutch Shell last week received bids for its downstream assets in Argentina, where the Anglo-Dutch super-major intends to focus on shale development. The company declined to name which firms were looking to buy its oil refinery and network of service stations, though local media said state-run YPF was a contender. Another firm rumoured to be in the running is Pluspetrol, a local oil producer that would use the acquisition to expand into the downstream business. Shell has said it wants to sell the downstream assets for up to US$1 billion…

Oil at 11-day Low on U.S. Shale Projections

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U.S. shale production set to rise to 5.19 mln bpd in May; OPEC to meet May 25 to consider output cut extension. Oil prices hit their lowest in 11 days on Tuesday on news that U.S. shale oil output in May is expected to post the biggest monthly increase in more than two years, fuelling concerns that U.S. production growth is undermining efforts to cut oversupply. U.S. government drilling data showed shale production next month was set to rise to 5.19 million barrels per day (bpd), with output from the Permian play, the largest U.S. shale region, expected to reach a record 2.36 million bpd.

Leaking Alaskan Well under Control -BP

BP Plc said workers on Alaska's North Slope had brought under control a company-operated well that spewed oil and gas over the weekend. The leak was discovered on Friday and a team from BP, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local government was brought in to coordinate efforts. The team halted the well leaks overnight, BP said in a statement on Monday. The volume of the leak was not disclosed. A BP spokesman said details of what caused the loss of control were not available. The oil producer had retained Halliburton Co's well control specialists to kill the well, the spokesman said.

US Drillers Add Oil Rigs for 13th Week in a Row

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U.S. drillers added oil rigs for a 13th week in a row, with the number of active rigs rising to near a two-year high, as energy companies boost spending on new production to take advantage of a recovery in crude prices. Drillers added 11 oil rigs in the week to April 13, bringing the total count to 683, the highest since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Thursday. At this time a year ago, there were 351 active oil rigs. Much of the weekly gain can be attributed to Texas's Permian basin, which added eight rigs on the week.