Aberdeen well management and performance improvement specialist Exceed has enjoyed a good start to 2015 with “significant” new business being secured in Southeast Asia. The firm’s performance improvement division has won its first Malaysia-based contract worth around $600,000 (£400,000). In this case, performance coaches are working alongside client rig teams, developing front-line solutions to achieve optimal operational efficiency, reduce costs and eliminate waste. The three-year call-off contract will see up to three members of the division working in the region.
An exploration firm said there could be an estimated 100 billion barrels of oil in the South of England. However UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) said only a fraction of the find would be recoverable. The firm, which drilled a well at Horse-Hill 1 last year, near to Gatwick Airport, said further analysis has suggested the region could hold around 158 million barrels of oil per square mile.
Premier Oil has spudded its second well in the Falklands. The rig Eirik Ruade moved a short distance a few days ago to the next target of the current four prospects exploration campaign, Isobel Deep. Earlier this week Premier said it had made an oil discovery in the Zebedee well, with a total of 81 feet of net-oil bearing reservoir and 55 feet of net gas-bearing reservoir being discovered. In February Falklands oil explorers shook off concerns about low crude prices as they revealed plans to press ahead with work in the region.
Two north-east firms have managed to tie up new contracts with oil and gas industry clients, making light of a downturn in the sector that has been brought on by low crude prices. Offshore health and safety training provider Survivex yesterday announced that it had signed a contract worth more than £500,000 a year with US driller Hercules Offshore. Aleron Subsea, meanwhile, said it would rent out remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to two unidentified Indonesian companies in deals totalling £2million.
Transocean, Diamond Offshore and Ensco are the drilling contractors deemed by stock analysts at Seeking Alpha to be most at risk this year. They face the threat of significant contract rollovers but that “actual long-term contracts will not be terminated”. According to Seeking Alpha, as of March 12 there were 11 new-build floaters scheduled to be delivered to US account this year and which do not have work. “Some of these rigs have been already delayed until 2016 or will certainly be delayed if they do not have a firm contract,” it says.
Baker Hughes said its rig count for March was down 94 from the same time last year. The company published its international rig count for the third month of 2015. It said rig count was 1,251 down 24 from the 1,275 counted in February.
Iona Energy said the Huntington oilfield is set to resume full production once access to the Central Area Transmission System (CATS) has become available. The field has been operating under gas export restrictions since October 2014, which has reduced the rate of oil production from the field. However Iona Energy said it has been informed by the field’s operator E.ON that the CATS operator has confirmed full resumption of normal operations.
Shell has sought an injunction against Greenpeace activists after Arctic drilling protesters boarded an oil rig in the Pacific. Half a dozen Greenpeace members had approached the rig, the Polar Pioneer, in inflatable boats and scaled the platform. The Transocean-owned rig is being sent on a vessel called the Blue Marlin to Seattle before heading to the Arctic, according to Greenpeace.
Zenith Energy said it has completed well operations on the Europa Oil & Gas Kiln Lane well in North-east Lincolnshire. The PEDL 181 licence was the first full project management contract for Zenith Energy. It was spudded in February this year and reached a total depth of 2,291 metres last month. The well has since been plugged and abandoned after Europa announced the wireline logging and subsequent petrophysical analysis indicated that the sandstones encountered were water wet.
Noble Energy said it has reduced its headcount by more than 200 positions in the US. The announcement comes just days after EnQuest said up to 146 positions could go following consultation talks regarding a move to a three on, three off shift rotation. The move has seen around 100 jobs go in Houston, with a number of those being from Noble’s headquarters. Staff also affected worked at the company’s offices in Denver, Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Aberdeen-based technology group Cortez Subsea has boosted its chances of making a splash in the Malaysian oil and gas market by teaming up with a local engineering firm. The partnership with Oceancare Corporation (OCBS) essentially gives Cortez a base in the region from which it can sell its products, a move that will cut delivery times for potential clients. The pact could also help Cortez take advantage of a scheme for developing indigenous oil and gas manufacturing businesses in Malaysia. Petronas, an energy firm owned by the Malaysian Government, admitted 79 businesses to its so-called Vendor Development Program (VDP) between 2004 and late 2013, awarding contracts worth a total of more than £1.4billion.
Petro Matad has entered into a farm-out agreement with BG Group for a 78% interest in blocks IV A V in Mongolia. The deal will help to fund the company’s share of mutually agreed $28million work programme. Under the terms of the agreement, BG Group has committed to covering Petro Matad’s portion of the agreed $28million programme.
AWE Limited has completed its subsea tie-back and installation project to connect the Pateke-4H development well to the Tui area oil fields gathering system. The company said the well has now been brought onto production and flow testing is underway to determine optimal well settings. An initial unstabilised flow rate of 34,000 barrels of oil per day was recorded.
Apache has awarded a subsea distribution unit supply contract to SEA. Under the agreement, the company’s subsidiary J+S will provide subsea distribution units and associated equipment and services for Apache’s Ness Nevis project. Apache is currently undertaking a development program to upgrade the subsea controls architecture in preparation for new wells at the Beryl Field area.
Following its success with the Zebedee target, the rig Eirik Raude is today moving a short distance to start the second well of the latest Falkland Islands exploration campaign. The next target of the current four targets exploration campaign is Isobel Deep, later followed by Jayne East and finally Chatham. For the first three of these wells, operator Premier Oil (36%) and Rockhopper, (24%), is joined by Falkland Oil and Gas, which holds 40% as a result of its 2013 takeover of Desire Petroleum. Isobel Deep sits in an untested area around 40km to the south of Sea Lion, and the prospect could unlock the greatest potential of the wells in the rig’s North Falklands Basin ng schedule.
Energy consultancy Douglas Westwood said deepwater expenditure will increase by 69% between now and 2019. The figure comes despite a number of companies suspending high-cost projects in the wake of the low oil prices. The company estimated the total cost could be as high as $210billion in its report, ‘World Deepwater Market Forecast 2015-2019’. The report author Mark Adeosun said development of deepwater reserves has become increasingly vital, particularly to the world’s oil majors.
A string of mass firings in the energy and retail industries is taking a toll on Canadians’ job security, recent polling suggests. The share of Canadians who say their employment isn’t fully secure rose last week to 15 percent, the highest since June 2013, according to a weekly survey by Nanos Research Group. The share who say their jobs are at least somewhat secure has declined to 68.9 percent, the lowest since early January. High-profile companies have recently announced closings and Canada’s unemployment rate is at a five-month high as the country copes with the plunge in oil prices and consolidation in the retail industry.
Conservative MEP Ian Duncan was in Aberdeen yesterday to highlight the support his party had provided to the North Sea oil and gas industry. He said a £1.3billion package unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne last month had given the sector – blighted by a global fall in the oil price – a welcome boost. Petroleum revenue tax has been reduced from 50% to 35% and the supplementary tax has dropped from 30% to 20%. Speaking at the Maritime Museum, Mr Duncan said: “The tax breaks and support which George Osborne delivered are exactly what the oil and gas industry need to safeguard jobs and investment. “That is what you get when you vote Scottish Conservative – jobs and growth as part of a long-term economic plan.
The Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Ukraine has requested one billion cubic metres of gas imports from Russia this month. It would treble the amount received in March and comes after Naftogaz and Russia’s Gazprom signed an interim deal for cheaper supplies of gas from Russia. The deal, which is expected to last three month, could help provide some time as both country’s debate energy costs.
The oil price slump grinds on and the North Sea remains in crisis, but Wood Group’s chief executive Bob Keiller is clear that people, the UK offshore industry’s primary resource, must still be valued. During last month’s UK Oil & Gas roadshow ahead of the budget, Keiller made it clear that talk about “we’re going to have to get rid of a few people” was unacceptable. “Unless you’re in the Mafia you don’t get rid of people,” he warned an Aberdeen audience. “You may take away their jobs, you may take away their self-esteem, their dignity, their reason for getting up in the morning; there will still be a person there; there will still be a family behind them. “The impact of job losses shouldn’t be underestimated.”
A consultation by EnQuest into changes in shift patterns for offshore workers could mean a reduction in headcount of more than 100 contracted employees. The oil firm, had previously announced to staff it was considering a move to a three on, three off shift pattern, in line with a number of companies including Shell and Chevron. A consultation period is currently being carried out and is expected to last around 30 days. The move could see companies including KCA Deutag, Petrofac and Sodexo see a reduction in headcount of up t0 146 staff in total used by the operator . This total includes nine EnQuest jobs previously announced.
A north east firm is licking its lips at the prospect of growing demand from oil and gas firms after receiving a “number of inquiries” for ultrasound technology currently being used by Italian sports car maker Lamborghini. Aberdeen-based RSL is a supplier of equipment designed to check the strength of materials without damaging them, a technique known in the trade as non-destructive testing (NDT). Last year, the company agreed to become a UK reseller of DolphiCam, a type of camera that can assess impact damage on carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics by creating 2D and 3D images through the material. Made by Norway’s DolphiTech, the camera is currently being used by Lamborghini and aerospace giant Boeing, and RSL thinks the technology can be applied in the subsea sector.
Global Energy Group has continued its diversification strategy with the acquisition of a metals specialist in the nuclear industry. The Inverness and Aberdeen-based energy service firm snapped up Langfields, a nickel alloy and titanium fabrication business that also serves the pharmaceutical, chemical, offshore, marine and defence industries. The Salford-based firm, wholly owned by Robert Dean, 60, has a pedigree dating back to 1908 when it was involved in the production of mild steel, copper and brass components. Iain MacGregor, Global’s chief executive, said the deal “brings us into more non-oil and gas work, specifically nuclear”. He added: “I think it's important for companies in the oilfield services sector to diversify their risks in the current climate. This is why both of our last two acquisitions have been non oil and gas.”
Global oilfield service company Forum Energy Technologies yesterday said it has made 12 employees redundant following the closure of its workshop in Lybster, Caithness. The Houston-based firm’s statement adds it to an ever-growing list of oil and gas companies that have been forced to lay off staff due to low crude prices and rising costs. Last week oil giant Shell said it would make 250 of its North Sea workforce redundant, while Taqa revealed plans to reduce its headcount by 100. BP earlier announced it would cut 200 full-time onshore positions and 100 contractor roles from its 4,000-strong North Sea workforce. Forum yesterday said that the company’s operations at Lybster, which focused on the manufacture of oil well drilling equipment, will be shifted to one of its other facilities.
Three workers are missing following the huge blaze on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that killed four workers and burned for hours. Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it became aware of the missing workers when it recounted personnel after Wednesday’s fire on the Abkatun-A Permanente shallow-water platform in the Campeche Sound. One of the missing workers was from Pemex and the other two were employed by contractor Cotemar, the company said.