Mark Lammey

Energy Voice editor
Oil & Gas

Brazil government expects Petrobras to lose key oil rights, report says

03/07/2015

Brazil's government expects a bill ending state-run Petrobras' dominant role in key offshore oil areas to pass Congress, reversing one of President Dilma Rousseff's signature policies, a source told Reuters on Thursday. The bill, which is before Brazil's Senate, is likely to pass and also win approval in the Chamber of Deputies, Brazil's lower house, said the source, who works at the Presidential Palace and has direct knowledge of government thinking. "There's nothing the government can do," said the source, who asked for anonymity because permission to speak with the press had not been given. "It knows it can't stop this defeat."

Oil & Gas

Crescent Point to acquire light oil producer Coral Hill

03/07/2015

Crescent Point Energy, Canada's No. 4 independent oil producer, said on Thursday it will acquire privately owned light oil producer Coral Hill Energy Ltd, operating in west central Alberta. The deal comes just days after Crescent Point's plan to buy another Canadian light oil producer, Legacy Oil + Gas, was approved by Legacy shareholders. "We are very pleased to have recently acquired Legacy Oil + Gas Inc and to acquire Coral Hill, as they both possess a large inventory of highly economic wells with significant waterflood upside," Scott Saxberg, chief executive of Crescent Point, said.

Oil & Gas

Activist investor sees £17bn potential in North Sea explorer

03/07/2015

Activist investor Crystal Amber has been building its stake in a North Sea business it expects could be worth £17billion. The Guernsey-based fund now owns 12% in Hurricane Energy which is closing in on a farm-in deal that could start to unlock 400million barrels of oil and “breath life” into the North Sea. Hurricane was founded in 2005 by Dr Robert Trice, a specialist in an unusual hydrocarbon geology known as “fractured basement reservoirs”.

Oil & Gas

Ukraine says can survive without Russian gas, no threat to EU supplies

02/07/2015

Ukraine expects to store enough natural gas for next winter despite cutting off imports from Russia and Russian flows crossing the country destined for Europe will not be disrupted, Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said on Thursday. State energy firm Naftogaz stopped buying gas from Russia's Gazprom on Wednesday after energy ministers from Kiev and Moscow failed to agree on quarterly prices. "The suspension of deliveries will not affect the safety or transportation of gas (to Europe) ... or preparation for the new heating season," Demchyshyn said.

Oil & Gas

Statoil, Lithuania to develop Baltic Sea LNG supply business

02/07/2015

Norway's Statoil and Lithuania's Lietuvos Energija plan to join forces to develop a small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply operation, competing with Finnish gas utility Gasum. Litgas, an LNG arm of state-owned Lietuvos Energija, and Statoil signed a preliminary agreement on Thursday to establish a joint venture by the end of 2015, Litgas said in a statement. Statoil has a contract with Litgas to deliver 0.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year to Lithuania's LNG terminal at Klaipeda port in 2014.

Oil & Gas

Boats for £20m seismic survey to hit the water within weeks

02/07/2015

A £20million programme of seismic surveys in the UK continental shelf will get under way within weeks, the energy industry’s regulator said today in Aberdeen. The programme − announced in the last Budget − is aimed at stoking North Sea drilling, which is currently at an all-time low. Gunther Newcombe, director of exploration and production at the Oil and Gas Authority, said the surveys would cover an expanse of 15,000 to 20,000 kilometres with data slated for release in the second quarter of 2016.

Oil & Gas

South Korea turns to cheap spot crudes as glut grows

02/07/2015

Refiners in South Korea, the world's fifth-largest crude oil importer, have stepped up spot purchases this year, buying at prices depressed by an oil glut as they run their plants at high rates to catch strong processing margins. With the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers keeping crude taps open in spite of soft global demand growth, tens of millions of unbought barrels have built up in floating storage sites and dragged down international oil markets. Still, the profit earned on turning a barrel of Dubai crude into fuel have held at $7.50-$9 a barrel this year - well above annual averages since at least 1997 - as crude benchmarks dipped to multi-year lows, sparking consumer demand for gasoline and naphtha.

Oil & Gas

UK’s Hunting sees full-year operating profit slump on oil woes

02/07/2015

Oilfield services company Hunting said it expected a 50 percent to 75 percent fall in operating profit for the year as it continued to reel under a drop in global rig counts and a weak oil and gas market. Hunting shares fell more than 7 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning. The stock was the top loser on the FTSE-250 midcap index.

Oil & Gas

Norway cuts Det norske’s stake in Sverdrup field in North Sea

02/07/2015

The Norwegian government has modified an original proposal on how to divide up stakes in the Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea, giving Det norske a smaller stake than originally proposed, it said on Thursday. Sverdrup, Europe's costliest offshore energy project, contains up to 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and could operate for 50 years. It is forecast to start production by the end of 2019. Four out of five shareholders, including operator Statoil, agreed in February on how to divide up the project, but Det norske disputed the agreement, asking for a government review.

Oil & Gas

Video: Harkand adapts service vessel for work on Solan project

02/07/2015

Integrated subsea services firm Harkand said yesterday it has adapted a support vessel to keep busy against the backdrop of the oil and gas industry downturn. The Spearfish craft has been switched from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea and fitted with a hydraulic gangway that provides workers with safe access to platforms. The vessel, which is on long-term charter Norway’s Siem Offshore, normally supports subsea construction projects, but is now supporting Premier Oil’s commissioning work on the £960million Solan project west of Shetland.

Oil & Gas

Turkey sees gas price deal with Gazprom in two weeks

01/07/2015

Turkey and Russia's Gazprom are likely to finalise a deal on natural gas prices by mid-July, Turkish officials told Reuters, after Ankara warned last week it could seek international arbitration if they failed to agree. Russia, which supplies more than half the gas consumed by Turkey annually, has already agreed to cut prices by 10.25 percent, but Gazprom's additional demands regarding the Turkish Stream natural gas project are delaying the final signature, a Turkish energy official said. Last week, Turkey said it had the right to take Gazprom to international arbitration if there we no agreement by June 29. Ankara already has a case at the court against Iran, its second biggest supplier.

Oil & Gas

Shell receives permission to develop giant Gulf of Mexico field

01/07/2015

Royal Dutch Shell has been granted permission to develop the Appomattox deepwater oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico, set to be the energy giant's largest floating platform in the region. The Appomattox project, 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana, is expected to reach peak production of around 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, Shell said in a statement on Wednesday.

Oil & Gas

As Indonesia gas demand falters, floating LNG plant lies idle

01/07/2015

A $400 million floating plant for changing LNG back to gas has sat idle off Indonesia's coast for around six months despite only being commissioned last summer, hit by faltering demand for the cleaner fuel as oil prices drop and the economy slows. The stoppage could stoke government worries over the strength of appetite for gas in Southeast Asia's largest economy, another blow to the administration of President Joko Widodo which has been pushing for greater consumption of the fuel to curb pollution and diversify energy sources. Tepid Indonesian demand also means more liquefied natural gas is likely to spill into regional markets, already struggling near their lowest since before the Fukushima crisis in 2011 boosted usage as Japan shut all its nuclear reactors.

Oil & Gas

US walrus protections hit Shell’s Arctic drilling plan

01/07/2015

The Obama administration dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at close range, as it had planned. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit which emphasized that under 2013 federal wildlife protections, companies must maintain a 15-mile (24-km) buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously. The rule is meant to protect populations of animals sensitive to sounds and activities of drilling. Walruses have been known to plunge off rocks into the sea during drilling, putting some at risk. The animals are already at risk from reduced habitat due to global warming.

Oil & Gas

Ukraine halts Russian gas imports, flows to Europe unaffected

01/07/2015

Ukraine said it halted natural gas imports from Russia on Wednesday after EU-brokered talks collapsed without a deal on how much Kiev should pay for its supplies and an interim accord expired at midnight. Russian gas flows to the European Union via Ukraine were unaffected. The European Commission said both sides had promised gas transit west would remain smooth, but it would not relinquish its mediation efforts until there was agreement. "From today, Ukraine is not getting gas from Russia. Transit supplies are as normal," Maksim Belyavsky, a spokesman for Ukraine's gas transit monopoly Ukrtransgaz, said.

Oil & Gas

Offshore leaks at lowest ever level

01/07/2015

The number of oil and gas leaks occurring offshore is at its lowest ever level, a new report says. Injury rates were also lower than in many other sectors, including construction, transport and manufacturing, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK)’s Health and Safety Report 2015, published today.

Oil & Gas

Lego mentality could hold key to energy sector cost reductions

01/07/2015

Lego building methods could be the answer to the North Sea oil and gas sector’s current plight, energy industry leaders heard at a seminar in Aberdeen yesterday. Organised by trade association Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), the event promoted the virtues of simplification and standardisation and gave an insight into cost efficiency measures taken by other sectors during hard times. Franco-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan said the automotive industry practically fell off a cliff during the global financial crisis of 2008, while also having to cope with customers’ demands for more content in their cars for less money.

Oil & Gas

BP’s chief economist sees US shale weathering oil surplus

30/06/2015

Shale output in the United States will prove resilient to low oil prices likely to be prolonged by the prospect of half a million barrels per day of Iranian crude making its way back to the market, BP's chief economist said on Tuesday. Talks in Vienna between world powers trying to end sanctions on Tehran in return for limits on Iran's most sensitive nuclear activities could bring a significant increase in Iranian oil exports. BP's Spencer Dale, however, told Reuters that it would probably take time for any easing of sanctions to filter through to oil markets if an Iran deal is agreed.

Market info

New oil bull market in sight as Brazil, Iraq cut output targets

30/06/2015

Massive downward revisions to oil output in Brazil and Iraq have increased the risks for oil markets of going from the current feast to famine within just a few years, leading to a price spike that would give a new boost to the U.S. shale industry. Brazil and Iraq had been expected to add over 2 million barrels per day to global supply by 2020 and another 2.5 million by 2025, becoming the two biggest contributors to help meet rising global demand, according to the long-term forecast of the International Energy Agency. With Brazil's Petrobras cutting this week its five-year production outlook by 1.4 million bpd in response to low oil prices and the ongoing corruption probe and Iraq renegotiating deals with oil majors to reflect "more realistic" output targets, the current glut in the oil markets is poised to end sooner than expected.

Oil & Gas

Israel to let US-led consortium keep control of biggest offshore gas field

30/06/2015

Israel plans to leave its biggest offshore natural gas project, Leviathan, in the hands of a U.S.-Israeli consortium while opening the industry to more competition, under a proposal announced on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been adamant in seeking a deal that would allow Leviathan to be developed and sought a parliament vote to let the state circumvent the antitrust authority, which has expressed opposition. When some ministers said they would not support such a position, Netanyahu faced a coalition crisis and ultimately the vote was postponed due to lack of a majority.

Oil & Gas

Arctic oil rig departs Seattle-area port despite protest

30/06/2015

U.S. Coast Guard and police boats cleared a way through protesters in kayaks at a Seattle-area port on Tuesday so a drilling ship could head for the Arctic on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell. The Noble Discover is the second drilling ship Shell has sent to the area in recent days. The activists, who have staged frequent demonstrations during the past two months against Royal Dutch Shell's oil exploration in the Chukchi Sea off mainland Alaska, had taken to the waters just beyond the Port of Everett north of Seattle where the oil rig launched for sea.

Oil & Gas

Aberdeen firm Xodus scoops £380k deal for Middle East work

30/06/2015

Aberdeen energy service firm Xodus Group has struck a deal worth £380,000 for work on the Zirku oil and gas processing facilities in the Persian Gulf. The contract was awarded by Abu Dhabi-based oil major Zakum Development Company (Zadco) and builds on several orders Xodus notched up in the Middle East so far this year. The new agreement will see Xodus lay on services aimed at preventing vibration induced failures on Zirku-Island-based installations over a 24-week period.

Oil & Gas

New Aberdeen engineering firm offering price cuts wins £500k of business

30/06/2015

A fledgling Aberdeen-based engineering firm has reeled in £500,000 worth of orders in the last two months by offering cost savings to operators in the oil and gas industry. Low oil prices and high costs have beset the sector in recent times, forcing companies to fire staff and mothball projects to balance their budgets. But the downturn has created a gap in the market for companies to thrive if they can offer cheaper alternatives than their rivals, the directors of Step Change Engineering (SCE) believe.

Oil & Gas

US Supreme Court rejects BP, Anadarko over Deepwater Horizon spill penalties

29/06/2015

The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected bids by BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp to avoid penalties under federal pollution law in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The high court left in place a June 2014 ruling by the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the companies were liable for civil penalties under the federal Clean Water Act. The April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and Macondo oil well rupture killed 11 workers and caused the largest offshore environmental disaster in US history, polluting large parts of the Gulf, killing marine wildlife and harming businesses.