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Mark Lammey

Energy Voice editor
Oil & Gas

Iran eyes $185 bln oil, gas projects after sanctions

Iran outlined plans on Thursday for the rebuilding of its core industries and trade links in the wake of a nuclear agreement with world powers, saying it was targeting oil and gas projects worth $185 billion by 2020. Iran's Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said the Islamic Republic would focus on its oil and gas, metals and car industries with an eye to exporting to Europe after sanctions have been lifted. "We are looking for a two-way trade as well as cooperation in development, design and engineering," Nematzadeh told a conference in Vienna.

Oil & Gas

Ashtead Technology plays key role in solving WWII mystery ship sinking

When the HMAS Sydney was sunk during WWII by what should have been a weaker German cruiser, all 645 of its crewmen perished, taking the explanation for the disaster to their watery graves. But nearly 70 years on, an Aberdeenshire subsea technology company has played a “key role” in solving the mystery surrounding the sinking of the ship, which lay undiscovered off the western Australian coast until 2008. Ashtead Technology yesterday said it donated equipment to the survey team after being sounded out by international subsea firm DOF Subsea earlier this year.

Oil & Gas

Former senior Chinese energy executive stands trial

A former senior Chinese energy executive has gone on trial this week, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday, part of the government's sweeping crackdown against deep-rooted corruption. Wang Yongchun was a deputy general manager at China's biggest oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), until he became caught up in a graft probe last year. Wang's trial on charges of "holding a huge amount of property with unidentified sources" and "abuse of power by a staff member of a state-owned company" opened on Monday in Xiangyang, central Hubei province, Xinhua said.

Oil & Gas

OPEC sees oil drop as short-term, expects stronger demand, delegates say

A drop in oil prices this month is likely to be short-term and will not deflect OPEC from its policy of keeping output high to defend market share, delegates from Gulf OPEC members and other nations said. Falling Chinese stock markets and the Greek debt crisis have raised concern about demand, while the Iranian nuclear deal could lead to higher oil exports from the Islamic Republic. Benchmark Brent crude, trading below $57 a barrel on Wednesday, has fallen more than 10 percent in July. OPEC, in a major policy shift, decided in November against cutting its production target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd) to prop up prices, seeking instead to defend market share against U.S. shale oil and other competing sources. The group reconfirmed the strategy at a meeting in June.

Oil & Gas

South Korea’s S-Oil sees recovery in H2 refining margins

South Korea's S-Oil Corp, the country's third-largest refiner, said on Wednesday it sees a recovery in industry-wide second-half refining margins after a recent dip. S-Oil whose main shareholder is Saudi Aramco, the Kingdom's state oil giant, reported a 613 billion Korean won ($533 million) profit in the second quarter from a 238.1 billion won profit a quarter earlier and a 54.4 billion won loss a year ago, helped by more stable oil prices and healthy margins. The refiner said it expected margins to recover to a solid level following a recent correction.

Oil & Gas

Brazil’s Petrobras confirms irregularities in 2009 Braskem deal

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petrobras confirmed on Tuesday it had found irregularities in the approval of a 2009 contract to provide naphtha to petrochemical company Braskem SA and had reported the issue to public prosecutors. Petrobras, or Petroleo Brasileiro SA, said in a securities filing that it began investigating the contract based on plea deal testimony from former executive Paulo Roberto Costa and money changer Alberto Youssef in a sweeping graft probe. On Saturday, TV Globo reported that the two revealed a bribe paid by Braskem for a deal allowing it to pay below-market rates for naphtha, causing losses to Petrobras.

Oil & Gas

South Korea’s GS E&C wins $270 mln contract to expand KPIC’s naphtha unit

South Korea's GS Engineering and Construction Corp has signed a contract to expand a Korea Petrochemical Industry Co (KPIC) naphtha cracking plant for 311 billion Korean won ($270 million), the two companies said on Wednesday. The project will help KPIC expand its ethylene production capacity to 800,000 tonnes per year (tpy) from 490,000 tpy, along with its raising benzene, toluene and xylene production capacity to 300,000 tpy from 220,000 tpy, according to the builder GS E&C in a statement.


Six ways to get process efficiency right

So you’ve decided you can’t cost directly any more. You approach is now to improve processes for maximum efficiency. But what excuses are you likely to meet in rolling out these processes? And what can you do to counteract them? Through work with Operators, Service Companies & Contractors of all types both in the UK and further afield here’s STC’s ‘top excuses’ (and our most effective approaches to making them go away!):

Oil & Gas

Oil and gas industry “struggling” despite positive outlook for Scots business overall, KPMG says

The number of companies going bust in Scotland fell in the second quarter compared to the same period last year but was up compared to the first three months of 2015, new figures show. But while professional services firm KPMG said the figures were “positive for the majority of businesses”, it warned that the oil and gas industry is continuing to “struggle” due to the oil price slump. The food and drink, construction and care homes sectors are also faring comparatively poorly, according to the latest Scottish insolvency figures from KPMG.

Oil & Gas

Technip’s Richard Wylie relishing challenge of mammoth Quad 204 project

As Technip’s project director for the £800million Quad 204 project, Richard Wylie is tasked with restoring one of the North Sea’s prized assets at a crucial time for the industry. The project involves the redevelopment of the Schiehallion field, 110miles west of Shetland, and the target is to squeeze another 25 years and 450million barrels of oil out of it. The BP-operated field started producing in 1998, but the old FPSO, which was towed away last year, now needs to be replaced along with subsea infrastructure.

Oil & Gas

North Sea waste treatment division boosts Augean

Waste-management giant Augean said yesterday that contract wins for its North Sea energy service arm contributed to a strong first half performance for the group. Aberdeen-based Augean North Sea Services (ANSS) sealed a number of deals in June and July, including a first contract for the disposal of naturally occurring radioactive material that builds up on offshore drilling equipment. The group’s Radioactive Waste Services (RWS) division will work with ANSS on the contract, which was agreed with an unspecified major operator.

Oil & Gas

Ukraine boosts gas imports from Slovakia

Ukraine increased its purchase of natural gas imports from Slovakia by 41 percent on Tuesday, boosting its storage supplies, transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said. Cash-strapped Ukraine is now buying most of its natural gas from Slovakia after halting imports from Russia three weeks ago due to a pricing dispute. It was unclear whether the increase on Tuesday was due to price factors or other reasons.

Oil & Gas

Builder of leaky Nexen pipeline said it followed designs

The builder of a ruptured Nexen Energy oil sands pipeline in Canada that caused one of North America's largest oil-related land spills said on Monday it had followed the design plans it was given for the infrastructure. Surerus Pipeline Inc, a contractor based in Fort St. John in British Columbia, "had no involvement in this project after the completion, so whatever Nexen's doing, they're doing," said Sean Surerus, vice president of the company, said in an interview. "The project was completed to the standards. We were the installers. ... We had no design capacity in the project."

Oil & Gas

Mexico’s Pemex pays $295M to settle Siemens dispute, report says

Mexican state oil company Pemex reached a $295 million settlement with a group including German industrial conglomerate Siemens in a longstanding dispute over a refinery project, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday. The deal was originally announced in March but did not give details of the final settlement. A Mexican official close to the negotiations said that Pemex had agreed to settle for $295 million. Earlier in the day, Pemex said in a statement that the deal struck definitively ends the 14-year-long dispute, but it did not give a sum.


Aveva to cut exposure to oil and gas markets with reverse takeover

Engineering software specialist Aveva today saw its shares soar 27% after agreeing to a £1.3billion “reverse takeover” by France’s Schneider Electric due to the slump in oil and gas prices. The tie-up reduces Cambridge-based Aveva's exposure to oil and gas markets, the source of about 45% of its revenue, and where lower oil prices have cut demand for rigs designed using its software. Aveva, a subject of takeover speculation for months, will also build up its chemicals, mining and pharmaceuticals businesses and expand its market share in the Americas, a Schneider stronghold.

Oil & Gas

Centrica says UK authority has approved increased gas storage capacity at Rough

Britain's Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has given consent to Centrica to increase storage capacity at Rough, the country's largest gas storage site, the company said on Monday. The OGA decision will enable the site to increase its storage capacity by around 15 billion cubic feet or 4.5 terrawatt hours (TWh), Centrica said in a statement.

Oil & Gas

Statoil to “exit” TAP gas pipeline project

Norway's Statoil is to sell its 20-percent stake in the Trans Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP) project that will carry gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, the president of Azeri state energy firm SOCAR said. "Statoil has decided to leave the TAP project completely, and there is a company which is ready to buy its stake," Rovnag Abdullayev told Azeri ANS TV late on Friday. "Several companies have expressed an interest in buying Statoil's stake, and it would be better if several companies would buy it," he added.

Oil & Gas

Eni discovers up to 15 bln cubic metres of gas in Nile Delta

Italy's Eni has discovered gas reserves of up to 15 billion cubic metres in Egypt's Nile Delta region, with production set to start in two months, the Egyptian oil ministry said on Monday. The discovery was made in Western Abu Madi, 120 km northeast of Alexandria, where Eni holds 75 percent of exploration rights through an Egyptian subsidiary, with Britain's BP holding a 25 percent stake. Eni made the discovery at a depth of 3,600 metres and initial estimates point towards reserves of up to 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas and natural gas condensate, an Egyptian oil ministry statement quoted the company as saying.

Oil & Gas

Diesel reckoning arrives for Europe’s refiners

A diesel excess that has loomed over Europe for years is arriving, threatening to swamp refining margins with a flood from Saudi oil refineries and Asian units that feasted on a glut of light sweet crude oil. Price-driven demand and refinery glitches that forced Latin America to import more postponed the reckoning. But with a string of tankers loading diesel in the Middle East, and more than 1.5 million tonnes set to arrive from the United States, Europe's distillate prices are falling and margins narrowing. "In effect, Europe is caught in the crossroads of these trade flows," said Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at Societe Generale. "We don't have sufficient strength to absorb the increased production and the imports."

Oil & Gas

Angola requests bids for 10 onshore oil blocks

Angola's state oil firm Sonangol on Monday requested prequalified bidders to submit bids for ten onshore oil blocks as Africa's second largest crude exporter aims to open up new exploration opportunities. U.S. oil major Chevron, Italy's ENI, commodities trader Glencore and Portugal's GALP were among the prequalified companies who could operate the blocks, Sonangol said in a press release. Bid proposals must be submitted by September 18.

Oil & Gas

Petrobras must face U.S. lawsuit over bribery, judge says

A U.S. judge has rejected Brazilian state-run oil producer Petrobras' effort to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that years of corruption, including bribery, caused more than $98 billion of its stock and bonds to be overvalued. The decision by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan was made public on Friday, and clears the way for investors to pursue much of their class action lawsuit. A trial could begin as soon as Feb. 1, 2016. Rakoff dismissed some claims related to Petrobras bonds issued in 2012 and some claims based on non-U.S. transactions, and also said some claims should be arbitrated.

Oil & Gas

Roof fitted on giant ethane tank at Grangemouth using fans

Grangemouth plant operator Ineos yesterday moved a step closer to completing the construction of Europe’s largest ethane storage tank. In a staggering feat of engineering, low pressure fans were used to lift the tank’s 300ton roof into place on “nothing more than a cushion of air”. Ineos said the 150ft high tank is being built as part of a £450million rescue plan for Grangemouth, which closed briefly in 2013.


Ukraine raises gas imports from Slovakia

Ukraine will take about 21 percent more gas from Slovakia to boost deliveries to underground storage after the country suspended imports from Russia over a pricing dispute, transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said on Friday. Ukraine plans to import 16.5 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas on Friday from Slovakia, up from daily imports of 13.6 mcm so far this month, a spokesman for the company said. He said Ukraine pumped 27 mcm of gas per day from July 1-9 and collected 12.2 billion cubic metres of gas in reserves as of July 10.

Oil & Gas

Shell buys Morgan Stanley’s Europe gas and power trade book

Royal Dutch Shell has acquired Morgan Stanley's European gas and power trading book as the U.S. bank continues its exit from the sector. Shell is set to significantly increase its footprint in the gas market in the coming years if it completes its proposed $70 billion acquisition of smaller British rival BG Group and as part of a growing strategic alliance with Russia's Gazprom, the world's top gas producer. Shell Energy Europe, its supply and trading arm in the region, has signed a binding sales and purchase agreement for Morgan Stanley's portfolio, the Anglo-Dutch company said on Friday, without providing further details.