International oil service firm Vertech is planning rapid growth at its new Aberdeen office in the next five years, with the aim of achieving £40million annual turnover from the base. The Granite City arm of the Australian company is only a few months old, yet is already experiencing success in its targeted inspection, maintenance and construction markets. Its growth plans were revealed yesterday by UK managing director John Marsden as millions of pounds worth of new equipment for the business arrived in Aberdeen.
Time is fast running out for energy companies to enter the first ever North Sea industry Gold Awards. The deadline is tomorrow, providing a last chance for firms to take part in an event which could deliver significant rewards for their business, staff and customers. The Press and Journal, in association with our sister website Energy Voice and title partner Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM), has launched the awards to mark a significant milestone for the oil and gas industry – the 50th year of the north-east’s involvement in the development of the North Sea.
Marathon Asset Management’s chief executive officer said debt of Puerto Rico’s public power utility is among the distressed-debt firm’s best investments. “We think it’s a very high rate of return for Prepa,” Bruce Richards said in an interview at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas. “It’s one of the best ideas that we have in our fund.” The cash-strapped Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, has been in talks with creditors to negotiate a plan to restructure its $8.6 billion of obligations, many of which trade at distressed levels.
A man has been evacuated by helicopter from a North Sea oil platform.
2015 is proving to be challenging for the North Sea. Despite the oil price reaching its highest level so far this year, touching $68 per barrel this week, there seems to be no end in sight to the continuous stream of concerning news about companies cutting costs, announcing redundancies and cancelling activities.
Statoil has been granted a drilling permit by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD). Wellbore 6407/8-7 will be drilled from the Transocean Spitsbergen drilling facility. The well's licence, which is the first in the venture, concerns the drilling of a wildcat well in production licence 348 C, which was awarded in February.
Oil and gas firms must show they are capable of doing more than just cutting costs if they are to secure the North Sea’s long-term future and save jobs, a top UK energy industry official said. The sector is in the grip of a downturn brought on by low oil prices and spiralling operating costs – a self-made crisis, in the words of many industry leaders. About 4,000 jobs have been lost in the UK, according to media reports, and only five exploration wells have been drilled in British waters so far this year – way below what the basin can support when business is booming.
The US will become one of the world’s largest oil exporters if domestic production continues to surge and policy makers lift a four-decade ban that keeps most crude from leaving the country, a government-sponsored study shows. America would be capable of sending as much as 2.4 million barrels a day overseas in 2025 if federal policy makers were to eliminate restrictions on most crude exports, an analysis by Turner, Mason & Co. for the Energy Information Administration shows. That would make the US the fourth-largest oil exporter, behind Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, based on 2013 EIA data. The report assumes domestic output rises by 7.2 million barrels a day from 2013.
Offshore workers are being put on “zero-hours” contracts that are a threat to safety in the oil and gas industry and should be outlawed, a union boss said last night. Jake Molloy, regional organiser for the RMT, was speaking after it emerged energy service firm Bilfinger Salamis UK was signing people up on terms he said were tantamount to controversial zero-hours deals. But the company denied this was the case, saying its employees were paid even if there was no work available and that “technical variations” to contracts gave it more flexibility in the oil and gas downturn.
Aberdeen marine technology firm Nautronix said yesterday it had won a £25million-plus contract extension to provide survey services to Norwegian subsea company Ocean Installer for a further three years. Nautronix - represented at this week's Offshore Technology Conference in Houston - has been growing its survey services business since 2012, supporting projects on Ocean Installer vessels globally. Growth at the division has come amid significant investment in people and equipment, and it now employs about 50 workers and owns a large quantity of survey equipment.
American Eagle Energy has appointed a new chief financial officer to the company. Martin J Beskow has taken up the role following the resignation of Kirk Stingley.
Transocean's list of offshore rigs scheduled for disposal - ostensibly destined for cutting up - has grown up to 19 with further units likely to join the scrapping queue. The list so far comprises: Deepwater Expedition, GSF Article III, GSF Explorer, DSF Seven Seas, Sedco 710, Sovereign Explorer, Sedco 700, Sedco 601, JW McLean, GSF Arctic I, Falcon 100, Sedneth 701, Sedco 703, Sedco 709, C K Rhein, Jr, SF Aleutian ey and Sedco 70, plus Transocean Legend and Transocean Rather. Expentation is that roughly another 10 will be weeded out this year before Transocean bosses are satisfied that the fleet is back in balance.
Repsol SA, Spain’s largest oil company, will transfer the chief executive officer of its Brazilian operations to the US to help integrate Talisman Energy Inc. into its operations, according to two people familiar with the decision. Tomas Garcia Blanco, who took over the Brazilian operations less than a year ago, will help oversee integration of Calgary-based Talisman’s North American assets after the $13 billion acquisition is completed on May 8, one of the people said, asking not to be identified before a public announcement. Garcia Blanco, who will be based in Houston, was head of exploration and production at Repsol’s YPF SA unit until the Argentine government nationalized it in 2012.
Flexlife has been awarded a contract by Apache Corporation for work on the Aviat gas development and other operations in the Central North Sea. The subsea project management and engineering support contract also includes work on the Ness/Nevis tie in and general subsea operations support.
Range Resources has confirmed the sale of part of its assets has successfully closed. The oil and gas exploration firm has sold Range Resources Drilling Services (RDSL) for $4.37million. Texas-based RDSL will continue to provide full oilfield operations services to Range in Trinidad.
Liquefied Natural Gas Limited has made progress with its Magnolia LNG project in Louisiana as two key steps have been taken in readiness for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning phase. The company has agreed on contract terms and conditions with the Kellogg Brown & Root LLC and SK E&C Group joint venture (KSJV).
Petsec has begun drilling at its Mystic Bayou Field. Work on the 16,700 RA SUA Williams #2 alternate well in Louisiana started earlier this week. The well is being drilled to a vertical depth of of 17,035 ft to test the oil and gas potential in Lower Miocene age Planulina sand reservoirs in a fault closure up-dip from production in the Planulina interval in Mystic Bayou Field.
Saudi Arabia needs to take significant measures to curb public spending and reduce its reliance on oil revenue as it reacts to the last year’s slump in crude prices, according to the International Monetary Fund. “There will be a need for significant fiscal consolidation to be able to bring spending and revenues more in line with each other,” Masood Ahmed, director of the Middle East and Central Asia department at the IMF, said in an interview in Dubai on Tuesday. The world’s leading oil exporter must “ensure that there is an equitable sharing of oil wealth across future generations,” he said.
Ophir Energy has singed an agreement with Golar LNG for a project in Block R in Equatorial Guinea. The binding heads of terms for a midstream chartering and operating services agreement outline the terms for Golar to build operate and maintain the floating liquefication and storage vessel and facilities on the Ophir-operated Fortuna floating liquefied natural gas project in Block R.
Tethys Petroleum said a planned sale of assets in Kazakhstan will no longer proceed. The company had planned a prposed divestment to a Chinese buyer, SinoHan. The move was made after the country's ministry of energy had failed to approve the transaction before a deadline which had been set by the potential buyer.
Oil major Shell could face delays in its bid to return to Arctic drilling after a ruling in Seattle that the city's port must apply for a permit for the company to use it as a hub for its drilling rigs. The region has previously been a hub for equipment used in energy drilling in Alaska and could be used as a space as Shell makes its first stride back into the Arctic in three years. The company has been planning to return to Arctic oil and gas exploration since 2012, however it is still waiting for the US Interior Department to issue a full blessing.
With Siberia’s aging oil fields slowly running dry, Russia is turning to a natural gas by-product to help maintain crude production and meet President Vladimir Putin’s target of 10 million barrels a day. As companies including OAO Gazprom, OAO Novatek and OAO Rosneft get new Siberian gas fields up and running, they’re also boosting output of condensate, a prized, ultra-light form of crude that’s a common component of underground gas reserves. Condensate is especially important now because it’s not covered by sanctions on Russia’s oil industry that have targeted Arctic drilling and shale projects.
Last month’s arrival of the Goliat floating production unit in Norwegian waters on the back of a Dockwise heavy lift ship is a milestone for a project that is running around two years behind schedule and massively over budget ... at least 50%. It had been expected onstream late 2013, then this slipped into 2014 and now it is supposed to be later this year, fully 15 years since the oilfield was discovered in 2000. Goliat is located on production licence 229, which was awarded in the Barents Sea Round in 1997. The licensing round was initiated by the authorities in order to promote interest in the Barents Sea as an oil & gas region.
Having been made redundant as a result of the oil price collapse in 1986, colourfully determined James McCallum is no stranger to the personal and corporate pain caused by volatility in commodity price. However, it was redundancy that encouraged him to eventually set up his own company, so unleashing his own entrepreneurial streak. This was to lead to the creation of the building blocks for Senergy, now LR Senergy – a global diversified energy services business with over 600 people. Here he explores with Energy why the current crisis is a defining moment in time for the oil & gas industry; it is a time when others may be pushed into their own adventures . . . by getting fired by an employer bent on slimming down . . . cost cutting. McCallum: “As the oil price hovers around $50, we are embarking on a crucial period that will define the industry’s future. Spiralling costs of exploration and production in the industry are price differentiating energy plays and it is clear the current cost base cannot be sustained.
Scottish engineer Weir Group has teamed up with Rolls-Royce Power Systems (RRPS) company MTU for a new joint-venture to produce a power system to make hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, more efficient. Weir manufacturers hydraulic fracturing pumps, while MTU describes itself as a market leader in heavy-duty industrial diesel engines. The joint-venture – announced at the OTC oil and gas show in Houston – involves Glasgow-based Weir’s oil and gas division, whose global operations include a sales office in Aberdeen.