Saturday, February 17, 2018

U.S. Largest Offshore Oil & Gas Auction set for March

File Image (CREDIT: DNV GL)

The Trump administration on Friday said it would offer the largest oil and gas offshore auction in U.S. history on March 21 for areas in federal waters off the Gulf Coast, less than a year after a similar sale yielded little corporate interest. The Interior Department said it would offer 77.3 million acres (31.3 mln hectares) offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for oil and gas development, an auction that includes all available unleased areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The blocks are from 3 to 231 miles (5 to 372 km) offshore and in waters 9 to 11,115 feet (3 to 3,390 meters) deep. The department announced the auction in October, without an exact date.

U.S. Drillers Add Rigs for Fourth Consecutive Week

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

U.S. energy companies added oil rigs for a fourth week in a row even though crude pulled back from three-year highs over the past couple of weeks as more drillers boost their 2018 spending plans. Drillers added seven oil rigs in the week to Feb. 16, bringing the total count up to 798, the highest level since April 2015, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. That was the first time since June that drillers added rigs for four consecutive weeks. The U.S. crude prices began recovering from a two-year crash. U.S.

BP Plans No Azeri Platform Shutdowns in 2018

Photo: BP

British oil major BP, which operates a number of oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan, plans no maintenance shutdowns of platforms there this year and intends to advance with new projects, BP's regional president told Reuters. "There aren't any turnarounds planned for this year. I think there are some planned for 2019," Gary Jones, BP's head for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, said. He said the company would use different ways to conduct inspections, including the use of drones, to minimise the need for any shutdown. BP operates the giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfields in Azerbaijan as well as the Shah Deniz gas fields.

Turkish Blockade off Cyprus 'out of Eni's control'

A Turkish blockade of a ship hired by Eni to drill for gas off the Cyprus coast is a diplomatic issue that is out of the Italian oil company's hands, Eni's CEO said on Friday. Last week, the Saipem 12000 drill ship heading from a location southwest of Cyprus towards an area southeast of the island was stopped by Turkish military ships and told not to continue because of military activities in the destination area. The ship is still halted, a Saipem spokesman said. Asked about the incident, Claudio Descalzi said Italy, Europe, France, Cyprus and Turkey were discussing the issue.

Tidewater Names Rynd President, CEO

Tidewater Inc. (NYSE: TDW) appointed John T. Rynd as the company's new President and CEO and a member of the Board of Directors effective March 5. He replaces Larry T. Rigdon who has served as interim President and Chief Executive Officer since October of 2017. Tom Bates, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said "After completing a comprehensive search, the Board is very pleased to welcome John to the team. He brings with him considerable experience in the offshore drilling services sector and the global oil and gas industry as a whole. Rynd previously served as Chief Executive Officer and President, and as a director of Hercules Offshore from 2008 through 2016.

U.S. Bill Expands Carbon Tax Credit

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

A little-noticed addition to the U.S. budget deal approved last week will help Occidental Petroleum Corp and other oil producers by more than tripling a tax credit for injecting carbon dioxide back into the earth to increase crude output. The tax-credit expansion, although supported by environmentalists and energy producers, had failed to move out of Congress during the 2016 presidential election. Its passage now likely will further boost already surging U.S. oil output in a year that production is forecast to hit 11 million barrels per day.

Seadrill Close to Restructuring Deal with Bondholders

Photo: Seadrill

Seadrill's main owner, billionaire John Fredriksen, is close to a deal with unsecured bondholders and South Korean shipyards on a restructuring plan for the rig operator, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday. The Norwegian company, which last year filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court, has been working with creditors since last month on a restructuring plan to bring in more than $1 billion in fresh funding, allow it to maintain its fleet of rigs and pay creditors and staff. "The deal hasn't been signed yet, but I'm very hopeful...

Congo Defends Right to Explore for Oil in National Parks

Photo: Salonga National Park

Democratic Republic of Congo's oil minister on Thursday defended the country's right to explore for oil anywhere on its territory after media reports that President Joseph Kabila approved drilling in Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Oil minister Aime Ngoy Mukena declined to confirm a report in Germany's Die Tageszeitung newspaper that Kabila had this month authorised exploration inside Salonga National Park, but he said that no land should be off-limits. Salonga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, covers 33,350 sq km of the Congo Basin, the world's second-largest rainforest.

Dutch Plan to Build Giant Offshore Solar Power Farm

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An offshore seaweed farm in the North Sea will be turned into a large solar power farm that aims to pipe energy to the Dutch mainland in roughly three years. The project comes at a critical time for the Netherlands, which is struggling to curb fossil fuel use and meet greenhouse gas emission targets after years of underinvestment in renewable energy sources. After an initial pilot next year, a consortium comprising energy producers, scientists and researchers plans to ultimately operate 2,500 square metres of floating solar panels by 2021, said Allard van Hoeken, founder of Oceans of Energy, which devised the project.

Sparrows Wins BP Contract in Angola

Photo: Sparrows

BP has awarded Sparrows Group a three-year contract to manage crane operations and maintenance, and deck services off the coast of Angola. The contract covers four cranes utilized on two Floating Production Offloading and Storage (FPSO) vessels, the Greater Plutonio and the PSVM, located in Blocks 18 and 31 respectively, which are situated 160km north-west of Angola’s capital Luanda. Sparrows has two bases in Angola located in Talatona and Malonga and first worked with BP in the region in 2006. This latest scope of work, which was won as part of a competitive tender…

Vallourec Drilling Products Cuts Roughly 150 Jobs in Texas

Vallourec Drilling Products, a subsidiary of Paris, France-based steel pipe maker Vallourec , will lay off roughly 150 employees in Texas, according to a regulatory filing. Vallourec specializes in making tubular products for the energy and other industrial sectors. It has about 19,000 employees worldwide. The layoffs come as companies that supply equipment and services to the oilfield are still recovering from a three-year rout in oil prices. Although benchmark crude futures have traded above $60 a barrel for much of the year, they have fallen recently amid concerns of growing supply. On Tuesday, West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading around $58.74 a barrel.

Italy to Turkey: Legal Solution to Dispute Expected

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano on Tuesday met with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and told him that he wanted a solution to the standoff preventing Italy's Eni from exploring for natural gas off the coast of Cyprus. The two, who are both attending an anti-Islamic State coalition meeting in Kuwait, agreed both countries should maintain a relationship of trust because of "possible further projects in the energy sector, beyond those that already exist", a statement from Italy's foreign ministry said. A drill ship run by Saipem, a unit of state-controlled Eni, was blocked by Turkish warships from heading to explore an area southwest of Cyprus on Friday.

Jack-up Vessel Seafox 5 Departs DVR

Seafox 5 (Photo: Damen)

The 151-meter, self-propelled, DP2 jack-up rig Seafox 5 has left the Damen Verolme Rotterdam (DVR) shipyard following a four-month refit in which the boom of its main crane was lengthened to prepare it for a new contract, along with a range of maintenance and other upgrade works. Seafox 5 is now equipped to undertake offshore wind projects involving the next generation of larger wind turbines in water depths of up to 65 meters. Delivered in 2012, Seafox 5 is owned and operated by jack-up specialist Seafox BV; the world´s largest offshore jack-up ASV / offshore support company.

Trump Proposes $200 Mln Budget for BSEE

(File photo: BSEE)

President Donald Trump today proposed a $199.9 million Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) as the Administration aims to support a ramp up in domestic oil and gas production. The FY 2019 budget request includes an estimate of $67.9 million in offsetting collections. Offsetting collections includes $20.3 million for rental receipts, $3.8 million for cost recoveries and $43.8 million for inspection fees. “The President’s proposed FY 2019 budget will enable BSEE to fulfill its mission to ensure the safe and environmentally sustainable exploration…

Sonatrach Eyes More Vessels to Boost Asia Gas Sales

(Photo: Sonatrach)

Algeria will acquire more vessels to transport gas to Asia as it eyes increased sales in that region, the chief executive of state energy firm Sonatrach said on Monday. "With Russia and the U.S., gas competition is tough," Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told reporters during a visit to the Hassi Messaoud oilfield. He gave no details. Kaddour also said Sonatrach's oil drilling in Algeria's southern neighbour Niger, where a Sonatrach unit was awarded a production-sharing deal in 2015, had been "satisfying" so far. Oil was found in the Kafra region, some 80 km (50 miles) from the Algerian border, he said.

Seadrill Nears Comprehensive Restructuring Deal

(File photo: Seadrill)

Rig firm Seadrill, which last year filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court, is working towards a comprehensive deal with all its creditors that could be concluded this week, it said in a court filing late on Friday. Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Oslo-listed Seadrill filed its bankruptcy case in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices. The company, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, has been working with creditors on a restructuring plan to bring in more than $1 billion in fresh funding…

IKM Subsea Singapore Starts 2018 with Multiple Contracts

IKM Subsea work class ROV, Merlin WR200 (Photo: IKM Subsea)

IKM Subsea Singapore said it has kicked off 2018 with a double contract award. The first is a contract to provide two remotely operated vehicles (ROV) for a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) mooring installation in Bangladesh. IKM Subsea provided one Merlin WR200 and a Comanche with the necessary toolings onboard the vessel Jumbo Javelin. IKM said it was chosen due to previous experience with the client, Jumbo Offshore, and the ability to perform in strong weather conditions in Bangladesh. With the Merlin WR200, the operating weather window is extended to help and execute the project. The second contract is a repeat order from previous years.

BP, Kosmos Move Closer to Senegal and Mauritania Offshore Project

BP and Kosmos Energy have moved closer to approving development of the Tortue natural gas field offshore Mauritania and Senegal after the two West African countries agreed to split production from the cross-border field. Kosmos said on Monday it expected to make a final investment decision (FID) on the project in 2018, with first gas expected in 2021. BP had previously indicated it expected to reach an FID on the project towards the end of this year. The Greater Tortue Complex, which straddles the maritime boundaries of the two countries, is estimated to hold more than 25 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Eni Ramping up Production at Zohr Field

Production from Egypt's huge Zohr offshore gas field in the Mediterranean will reach 2.9 billion cubic feet per day by mid-2019, Italy's Eni said on Monday. Speaking at an industry event in Cairo, CEO Claudio Descalzi said the goal was to reach output of 1.8 bcf to 2 bcf per day by the end of 2018 and then ramp up to 2.9 bcf per day by mid-2019. Discovered in 2015 by Eni, the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. Descalzi confirmed that by mid-2019, seven trains would be operating. Egypt has been seeking to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019 and achieving self-sufficiency.

OPEC Sees Balanced Oil Market by Year-end

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OPEC said on Monday the world oil market would return to balance only towards the end of 2018 as extra barrels from the United States and other non-member producers offset an OPEC-led deal intended to clear a supply glut. In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said outside producers would boost supply by 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) this year. That was the third consecutive rise from 870,000 bpd forecast in November. "The steady oil price recovery since summer 2017 and renewed interest in growth opportunities have led to oil majors catching up in terms of exploration activity this year…

Diamond Offshore Revenue Beats Estimates

(File photo: Diamond Offshore)

Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc's fourth-quarter revenue beat analysts' estimates on Monday, helped by higher demand for its ultra-deepwater rigs. The company's revenue from its ultra-deepwater rigs rose more than 24 percent to $288.28 million in the fourth quarter. Total revenue fell nearly 12 percent to $346.21 million, but beat analysts' estimate of $331.91 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. "Although market conditions continue to be challenging, we were able to secure additional work for the Ocean Valor and Ocean Valiant, extending both of the rigs' current contracts through 2020," Chief Executive Marc Edwards said in a statement.

France Eyes Role as Tidal Energy Powerhouse

Photo: OEE

French Secretary of State for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Sébastien Lecornu, announced preliminary studies to the launch of a tidal energy tender in Paris yesterday evening. The announcement is an important first step and strong message to the sector. A tender for tidal energy will see France become the global center of tidal energy manufacturing. The tides in northern France are among the most powerful in the world. Following a decade of R&D development, tidal energy technology is now ready to use this resource. Tidal farms will generate predictable renewable energy, while creating significant jobs opportunities and local economic activity.

Lebanon Will Use Energy Block Disputed by Israel

Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil vowed on Friday there would be full exploration in offshore energy Block 9, part of which lies in waters disputed by neighbouring Israel. Lebanon said on Friday it had signed its first offshore oil and gas exploration and production contracts for two energy blocks. A consortium of France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek signed contracts for two of the five blocks that Lebanon put up for tender. Israel and Lebanon have exchanged threats and condemnation over the tender, amid rising tensions over territorial and marine boundaries.   Reporting by Ellen Franci

LNG Rebounds as Asian Buyers Replenish Inventory

file Image: A loaded LNG carrier transits the Med in a recent photo (CREDIT: Robert Murphy)

Interest for prompt spot cargoes still keen; demand could roll over to April. Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices rebounded this week as persistently cold weather in North Asia forced buyers to enter the spot market to replenish inventory. Spot prices for March <LSG-AS> delivery in Asia climbed 40 cents to $10.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, according to several LNG traders in Asia. Cargoes for delivery in the first half of March are trading between $10.70 and $11 per mmBtu while cargoes for the second half of the month are trading at just above $10 a barrel, they said.

Patterson-UTI Energy Reports Bigger Loss than Expected

Oil and gas driller Patterson-UTI Energy Inc, dealing with the fallout of a drilling accident that killed five workers last month, reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as expenses more than doubled. The accident at an oil well in Oklahoma in January has turned the spotlight on the Houston-based company's safety record and on safety in the shale industry in general as President Donald Trump seeks to boost U.S. oil output. The accident is still being investigated and Patterson CEO Andy Hendricks did not give any update on Thursday.

Eni/Total Find NatGas off Cyprus

Italy's Eni and France's Total have discovered a promising natural gas field off Cyprus, Eni said on Thursday, saying the find looked geologically similar to the mammoth Zohr field off Egypt. Further analysis was required to determine the range of gas volumes and define further exploration and appraisal operations, Eni said. "Calypso 1 is a promising gas discovery and confirms the extension of the 'Zohr like' play in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)," Eni said in a statement. Eni is the operator of the offshore block with a 50 percent participation interest, while Total is a partner with the remaining 50 percent.

Texas Flood: U.S. Oil Pours into Global Markets

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Jose Gill)

United States taking share from OPEC nations in Asia, Europe, as China’s biggest U.S. crude buyer to double imports. In the two years since Washington lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports, tankers filled with U.S. crude have landed in more than 30 countries, ranging from massive economies like China and India to tiny Togo. The repeal has unleashed a flood of U.S. shale oil, undercutting global crude prices, eroding the clout of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and seizing market share from many of its member countries.

Oil Dips Below $65 as U.S. Output Soars

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

Brent falls to 2018 low before recovering some losses. Oil prices fell to their lowest in six weeks on Thursday after data showed U.S. crude output had reached record highs and the North Sea's largest crude pipeline reopened following an outage. A stronger dollar, on track for its biggest weekly rise since November 2016, was adding pressure by making it more profitable for holders of other currencies to sell dollar-denominated assets such as oil. Brent crude futures dropped 58 cents to $64.93 a barrel by 1157 GMT, having hit a 2018 low of $64.77 earlier. U.S. futures fell 48 cents to $61.31 a barrel.

North Sea Forties Pipeline Ramps Up Again Slowly

Buzzard oilfield restarts, pumping below full rate-source; Forties has temporary flow restriction. Oil and natural gas flows along Britain's biggest and most important oil pipeline, Forties, were ramping up slowly on Thursday as the system restarts after its second unplanned outage in two months, industry sources said. The pipeline, whose oil underpins the Brent oil pricing benchmark, was shut on Wednesday, causing a brief spike in oil prices and raising concern about the reliability of ageing North Sea infrastructure. A spokesman for Ineos, the pipeline operator, said on Thursday oil and gas had begun flowing again.

California to Ban Crude from Trump Offshore Drilling Plan

© Don Bright / Adobe Stock

California will block the transport of petroleum from new offshore oil rigs through its state, officials told Reuters, a move meant to hobble the Trump administration’s effort to vastly expand drilling in U.S. federal waters. California's threat to deny pipeline permits for transporting oil from new leases off the Pacific Coast is the latest step by states trying to halt the biggest proposed expansion in decades of federal oil and gas leasing. Officials in Florida, North and South Carolina, Delaware and Washington, have also warned drilling could despoil beaches, harm wildlife and hurt lucrative tourism industries.

FairfieldNodal Welcomes New Member to Its Board of Directors

Seismic nodal technology and services firm FairfieldNodal has welcomed Knut Eriksen as the newest member of its Board of Directors. Eriksen recently retired from Oceaneering International where he served as Executive Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development. He has also held other key executive positions in the oil and gas industry, on the operator, service company and contractor sides of the business. He brings industry experience, strategic orientation, demonstrated business development track record and in-depth understanding of the offshore oil and gas segment as FairfieldNodal seeks to expand capabilities and capture new market opportunities.

Allseas Plans World's Largest Construction Vessel

Allseas’ planned vessel, to be called Amazing Grace, will be a larger version of the firm’s existing Pioneering Spirit ship, which removed Shell's Brent Delta platform in the North Sea last year (pictured). (Photo: Allseas)

Swiss offshore services firm Allseas is planning to build a vessel big enough to be able to remove the world's largest oil and gas platforms when they reach the end of their production lives, its chief executive said. The vessel, to be called Amazing Grace, is designed to remove the heaviest platforms in a single lift and could reduce decommissioning costs for global oil and gas producers, the firm said. It would be a bigger version of Allseas' existing Pioneering Spirit ship, which removed Shell's Brent Delta platform in the North Sea last year, and would cost about $3 billion, Allseas CEO Edward Heerema told Reuters.

Chevron Mulling Participation in Brazil's March Oil Auction

Chevron Corp is considering taking part in an oil auction next month in Brazil as part of a consortium of companies, Brazilian oil regulator ANP said on Tuesday on its website. The auction, slated for March 29, will offer 70 blocks in the offshore Ceará, Potiguar, Sergipe-Alagoas, Campos and Santos basins and on-shore basins of Parnaíba and Paraná. The deadline to register for the auction is Wednesday. Chevron did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Chevron did not bid in an October auction that opened Brazil's offshore pre-salt play to foreign operators and was dominated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Deep Sea Mooring Bags Quadrant Contract

(Photo: Deep Sea Mooring)

Deep Sea Mooring (DSM), a Vryhof company, said it has secured a contract with Quadrant Energy to provide turnkey pre-lay mooring solutions to the Transocean GSF Development Driller 1 semisubmersible drilling rig offshore Australia. The deal – a continuation of previous work for Quadrant Energy – begins in March 2018. The agreement, with the project scope and engineering consultancy coordinated out of Perth, will enable Quadrant to have access to DSM and Vryhof Anchors’ portfolio of pre-lay mooring solutions that include chains, fiber ropes, anchors, connectors, buoyancy and handling equipment.

Offshore Achievement Awards: Young Professional Finalists Revealed

2017 winner Marianne Mckevitt (Photo: SPE)

Four young offshore industry professionals have been recognised for their career achievements after securing places on the shortlist for the 2018 Offshore Achievement Awards (OAAs), sponsored by TAQA. Chris Stewart, engineer at Expro, Laura Steedman, graduate mechanical engineer at BP, Lyndsey Thomas, offshore operations engineer at Nexen, and Jennifer Brown, offshore HSEA supervisor at Nexen, are the finalists in the Young Professional award category. From 20 applications an initial shortlist of six candidates were interviewed. The four shortlisted individuals impressed judges in a rigorous panel interview process…

CNOOC: Stampede GoM Project Starts Output

File image: A typical offshore Gulf of Mexico oil installation (CREDIT: Mike Mareen)

Chinese offshore oil and gas company CNOOC Ltd said on Tuesday production at its Stampede deepwater oil and gas field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has started.   The facility is designed for a gross topside processing capacity of about 80,000 barrels of oil per day, 40 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day, and 100,000 barrels of water injection capacity per day, it said   Subsidiaries of CNOOC, Hess Corp, Chevron Corp and Statoil ASA each have a 25-percent stake in the project, while Hess is the operator.   Reporting by Josephine Mason 

Seadrill Postpones Restructuring Hearing

File Image: A Seadrill offshore rig (CREDIT: Seadrill)

Drilling rig company Seadrill said in a court filing it postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan to Feb. 26, buying more time to consider alternative plans. Seadrill, one of the world's largest offshore drilling rig operators, filed for bankruptcy in September after a steep drop in crude prices caused drastic cutbacks in oil company investment. The company, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, had been working with creditors on a restructuring plan to bring in more than $1 billion in fresh funding, allow it to maintain its fleet of drilling units and pay creditors and staff.

Midstates Petroleum Seeks Merger with SandRidge Energy

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

A merger could create $1 bln producer in the Mississippian Lime. Midstates Petroleum Co Inc on Tuesday sought to merge with larger rival SandRidge Energy Inc in a deal that could create the biggest oil producer in the Mississippian Lime shale formation. Both companies have a large presence in the Mississippian Lime, which is primarily an oil producing area spread across Northern Oklahoma and Southern Kansas. The basin was largely considered tapped out but horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have kindled hopes of new reserves there.

Greenpeace Appeals after Losing Norwegian Arctic Lawsuit

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

Environmental groups launched an appeal on Monday after an Oslo court rejected their arguments that Norway's oil and gas exploration in the Arctic violates citizens' right to a clean environment. Greenpeace and Nature and Youth disputed the Oslo District Court's verdict last month, particularly that Norway could not be held responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from the use of its oil and gas exported abroad. The Oslo court said a 2015 licensing round that granted offshore exploration rights to companies including Statoil, Chevron, Lukoil and ConocoPhillips was acceptable under Norway's anti-pollution laws.

Statoil Contracts West Hercules Rig

The West Hercules drilling rig in the Barents Sea. (Photos: Ole Jørgen Bratland)

The West Hercules semi-submersible rig has been contracted for drilling two exploration wells in the Barents Sea in 2018, and options to drill another five exploration wells. Statoil and the licence partners have signed a contract with North Atlantic Norway Ltd for use of the 6th generation West Hercules rig. The total estimated contract value is USD 15-20 million for the two permanent wells. Portrait - Geir TungesvikGeir Tungesvik, head of Drilling and Well in Statoil. Mobilisation and demobilization are included in the amount, but remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and other services will be charged extra. Planned drilling start is summer 2018.

Mero Field to Produce 40,000 bpd by End of Feb

Brazil's Mero field in the offshore Libra area should begin producing 40,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of February as part of a long duration test, an official at state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro said on Friday. Fernando Borges, Petrobras' manager for Libra, said the area is already producing 20,000 bpd, adding that the company completed an initial shipment of 500,000 barrels of oil.   Reporting by Marta Nogueira and Alexandra Alper

MagnaDense Aggregate Keeps Hywind Wind Turbines Floating Upright

Photo courtesy Statoil –photographer Jan Arne Wold

LKAB Minerals supplied high density MagnaDense for Hywind Scotland, the first commercial floating wind park. The design concept is based on a floating spar-type platform which is anchored to the seabed. The floating spar’s turbine is much taller than the hull and has a moving rotor that harnesses the strong offshore winds in the North Sea. The waves, currents and winds are strong external forces and keeping the very heavy and tall floating wind turbines upright in open sea is a big challenge. A lot of weight is needed to achieve a low center of gravity in the structure. This solution involved the use of LKAB Minerals MagnaDense as a loose ballast.

EnerMech Acquires Denholm Valvecare

Pics left to right: David Drysdale - Pipelines, Industrial and Process Services Director, EnerMech  Phil Bentley – Technical Director, EnerMech  Roy Wood – Managing Director, Denholm Valvecare Ltd (Photo: EnerMech)

EnerMech is expanding its valves division with the acquisition of the UK valves business of Denholm Valvecare (DV). The global integrated engineering services group has acquired the UK trade and assets of the valves division of family-owned Denholm Oilfield Services for an undisclosed sum. EnerMech expects its UK valves business to generate around £7m ($9.9 mln) revenue in 2018 following the deal, which will see all DV valves equipment, inventory and an estimated 25 staff transfer to the Aberdeen-headquartered business. EnerMech chief executive officer…

Weatherford Reports Larger-than-expected Loss

(File photo: Weatherford)

Weatherford International Plc on Friday reported a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss on $1.6 billion in charges, casting doubt among Wall Street analysts that the oilfield firm is turning around after years of losses. The quarterly loss widened from a year earlier, despite a general upturn in demand for oilfield services that has benefited rivals. The weaker results could accelerate planned asset sales to pare its $7.5 billion debt pile. Weatherford reported a fourth-quarter loss of 33 cents per share, excluding items, exceeding analysts' expectations for a 21 cents per share loss, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Role of Safety in the Offshore Environment

© currahee_shutter/Adobe Stock

On rigs and offshore vessels, the safety of crew and passengers is a top priority in the energy industry. However, with the particularly hazardous environments of remote offshore worksites, accidents can happen, and it’s up to the operators to ensure their crew members are well-equipped to handle an emergency situation. One of the ways they can provide safe conditions on their assets is to invest in the newest, most advanced technologies with enhanced safety features and better automation, keeping more of their crew out of harm’s way. Technological advancements toward safety are steadily being developed, thus decreasing the likelihood of a catastrophic event.

Shell Makes Big Deepwater Oil Discovery in Gulf of Mexico

Oil major Royal Dutch Shell said its U.S. unit had made one of its biggest oil discoveries in the past decade in the Whale deepwater well in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Whale is operated by Shell and co-owned by U.S. oil giant Chevron Corp. "Evaluation of the discovery was ongoing, and appraisal drilling is underway to further delineate the discovery and define development options," Shell Offshore Inc said in a statement without giving figures. Shell has three Gulf of Mexico deepwater projects under construction -- Appomattox, Kaikias and Coulomb Phase 2.

Lebanon Vows to Protect Maritime Borders from Israel

© Loes Kieboom / Adobe Stock

Lebanon vowed to protect its maritime borders from Israeli threats, Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said on Wednesday. "Lebanon will use all available methods to fend off the Israeli aggression that was announced today," he said in televised comments. Israel described as "very provocative" a Lebanese offshore oil and gas exploration tender in disputed territory on the countries' maritime border, and urged international firms not to bid. Lebanese President Michel Aoun described the comments as "a threat".   Reporting by Ellen Francis

Aberdeen Firm Enhancing AR Capabilities for O&G

Photo: Return to Scene

Aberdeen-based Return To Scene Limited, part of James Fisher and Sons plc, continues to push boundaries in visualization and data solutions for oil and gas has announced a working relationship with Dundee-based tech start-up Mozenix. Having completed a successful prototyping phase late last year, Return To Scene and Mozenix are now developing a mobile AR application, R2S AR, to support the digitization and automation of oil and gas. Return To Scene, which is part of James Fisher & Sons plc, works with global giants such as BP and ConocoPhillips, delivering its award-winning visual asset management and data solutions.

Israel, Lebanon Argue over Offshore Block, Beirut Slams 'Threat'

Israel described as "very provocative" on Wednesday a Lebanese offshore oil and gas exploration tender in disputed territory on the countries' maritime border, and urged international firms not to bid. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, whose country considers Israel an enemy state, described the comments as "a threat to Lebanon". "When they issue a tender on a gas field, including Block 9, which by any standard is ours ... this is very, very challenging and provocative conduct here," Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said. "Respectable firms" bidding on the tender "are…

Total Announces Major Deepwater Oil Discovery in US Gulf

French oil and energy group Total said on Wednesday that it had made a significant oil discovery at the Ballymore prospect in the deep offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, its largest discovery in the area. "This major discovery gives us access to large oil resources and follow on potential in the emerging Norphlet play," Arnaud Breuillac, Total's president for exploration and production, said in a statement. "While already deemed commercially viable, we will work together on the appraisal of this discovery and a cost-effective scheme to ensure a rapid, low breakeven development," he added.

Long wait Ends for Big Oil as Mexico Auctions Prized Blocks

Mexico will on Wednesday offer foreign energy firms the right to drill beneath prized deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico that may contain billions of barrels of oil, the climax of an historic energy reform just five months before a presidential election. The auction of 29 blocks is the biggest since the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto enacted a wide-ranging reform that aimed to attract hundreds of billions of dollars of investment to turn around a state-run oil industry in decline. The stakes are high for Pena Nieto and his ruling party, which is keen to showcase the results of the liberalisation ahead of a presidential election in July.

Petrobras Making 'Interesting Discoveries' in Campos Basin -CEO

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA is making 'interesting discoveries' in blocs at the Campos basin, off the Rio de Janeiro coast, where it is drilling deeper to reach the pre-salt layer, Chief Executive Pedro Parente said on Wednesday.   Parente did not give details about the discoveries, which have been made in mature fields being operated for years by the company. Only recently Petrobras, as the oil company is known, decided to drill deeper on those fields.     (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira)

Alaska Requests Limits on US Offshore Drilling

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Alaska Governor Bill Walker said on Tuesday he has asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to pare back a Trump administration plan for oil and gas leasing off the state's coast. While Walker supports offshore oil development, he said the Interior Department should focus on the most prospective areas off Alaska – the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and Cook Inlet in southern Alaska – and drop all others from the leasing plan. In asking for proposed lease sales to be dropped, Walker, an independent, joins governors of several other coastal states after Zinke's unexpected move to exempt Florida from the department's plans soon after the initial announcement.

Samsung Heavy Sells Drilling Rig for $500 Mln

South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd said on Monday it has agreed to sell a semi-submersible drilling rig for $500 million to an unidentified European company.   The world's third-largest shipbuilder by orderbook said Sweden's Stena, which originally ordered the drilling rig, had cancelled the order last year.   Last week, Samsung Heavy agreed to sell the rig to a European third party, resolving the risk of non-payment, the firm said in a regulatory filing. (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Statoil Quits Talks Over a Stake in Mozambique Offshore Block

Statoil decided to quit negotiations over a 25.5 percent stake in Mozambique's offshore A5-A block after more than two years of talks, a company spokesman said Monday. "Statoil has decided to disengage from negotiations on block A5-A in Mozambique... We are not part of this any more, it is up to the other partners to make any moves regarding the stake," spokesman told Reuters. Statoil, Eni, South Africa's Sasol and Mozambique's national oil and gas company ENH were awarded the exploration rights in the block of Mozambique's Northern Zambesi basin in 2015.   Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

Why Canada is the Next Frontier for Shale Oil

File photo: Suncor Energy Inc.

The revolution in U.S. shale oil has battered Canada's energy industry in recent years, ending two decades of rapid expansion and job creation in the nation's vast oil sands. Now Canada is looking to its own shale fields to repair the economic damage. Canadian producers and global oil majors are increasingly exploring the Duvernay and Montney formations, which they say could rival the most prolific U.S. shale fields. Canada is the first country outside the United States to see large-scale development of shale resources, which already account for 8 percent of total Canadian oil output.

Siemens Gamesa Gets DNV GL Type Certificate for Wind Turbine

From left to right : Morten Fogtmann Kristiansen, Project Chief Engineer at Siemens Gamesa, Axel Dombrowski, Director and Head of Mechanical Engineering at DNV GL, Guilherme Luiz Rodrigues Da Cunha, Project Manager 8.0-154 at Siemens Gamesa, Mersudin Bajric, Principal Project Manager at DNV GL and Johnny Lillelund, Head of D8 and G4 Type Certification at Siemens Gamesa. Photo: DNV GL

DNV GL has awarded Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy with the Type Certificate for its eight megawatt (8 MW) offshore wind turbine SWT-8.0-154. Fully compliant to the international wind turbine standard IEC-61400-22, the turbine is now ready for immediate market implementation. New technologies like large offshore wind turbines with an output rate of 8 MW are vital to support the growing wind energy industry in reducing the levelised cost of energy. Siemens Gamesa’s optimised turbine has a rated power increase of 14% compared to the previously certified turbine variant.

Seadrill Postpones Court Hearing for Restructuring Talks

(Photo: Seadrill)

Drilling rig company Seadrill said in a court filing it postponed an initial hearing on its restructuring plan to Feb. 7, which sources told Reuters will give the company more time to consider alternative restructuring plans. Once the largest drilling rig operator by market value, Seadrill filed for bankruptcy protection in Texas on Sept. 12 after being hit hard by cutbacks in oil company investment following a steep drop in crude prices. Wednesday's court filing also said the deadline for objecting to Seadrill's plan had been extended to Feb. 1 for the official committee of unsecured creditors, an ad hoc group of bondholders and Barclays Capital.

Keppel Posts First Quarterly Loss in 14 Years

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Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp swung to its first quarterly net loss in 14 years, after accounting for a huge fine its rig-building unit agreed to pay to resolve investigations into charges it bribed Brazilian officials. Keppel, last month, said its offshore rig-building business had agreed to pay more than $422 million to resolve the bribery probe brought against it by authorities in the United States, Brazil and Singapore. Investigations with respect to the individuals involved are ongoing. The company, whose businesses range from rig-building to property development…

Subsea 7 Bags Contracts Offshore Norway

Photo: Subsea 7

Subsea 7 S.A. said it was awarded a contract from Statoil for the Johan Castberg field development, located 240 km from Hammerfest in Norway. The contract comprises the design, coating, fabrication and installation of a 53 km rigid flowline including 34 km of pipe-in-pipe flowline.   Project Management and engineering will commence immediately at Subsea 7’s offices in Stavanger, Norway. Fabrication will take place at Subsea 7’s spoolbase at Vigra, Norway and offshore operations will be carried out in 2020.  Subsea 7 did not specify the value of the contract, but said it is between $50 million and $150 million.