As the ITF Showcase kicks off in Aberdeen this week Dr Patrick O’Brien, chief executive of ITF, has taken up the role of Energy Voice’s guest editor. Follow along each day as he spells out the challenges and triumphs the industry faces.
The oil and gas sector is both willing and increasingly able to exploit innovation, recognising that it can help to deliver cost efficiencies, support production and most importantly, improve safety.
The increasing use of robotics and autonomous systems by oil and gas companies is part of this innovation picture and a key theme of the Technology Showcase.
German energy company RWE Dea has appointed Lord John Browne to head their supervisory board.
After being acquired by LetterOne Energy, the Hamburg-based RWE Dea has received a new supervisory board at its first general meeting of shareholders.
Egypt aims to pay its $3.1 billion debt to international oil and gas companies a year later than previously indicated, according to the Egyptian oil ministry.
The ministry said: "All current operational payments hae been made on time and are on track to repay any remaining arrears before mid-2016."
It is expected that the debt will be repaid by the middle of 2016, a year ahead of the previously indicated mid-2015.
Marine equipment specialist Motive Offshore has unveiled its plans for its company restructure and worldwide growth, following a multi-million pound investment last year.
Headquartered at its 30-acre site near Banff in Aberdeenshire, Motive Offshore has been restructured as Motive Offshore Group, comprising of two key operating companies Motive Engineering and Motive Rentals, allowing the company to strengthen its offerings for clients in the UK and internationally.
Motive Offshore Group chief executive James Gregg said: "The company restructure marks a pivotal time for the business as it continues to expand with an increasing portfolio of clients and workforce.
London listed, but still North American at its core, drilling contractor Noble Corporation is disposing of three of its older rigs . . . the semi-submersibles Noble Paul Wolff, Noble Driller and Noble Jim Thompson. What has not been stated is whether they will be scrapped.
In the case of the last named, the company will be substituting another semi-, the Noble Paul Romano to execute a previously announced contract covering four wells, or a primary term of up to one year in the US Gulf of Mexico.
The Paul Romano is in the Canary Islands and is expected to start operations on or around September 1.
The deteriorating drilling market is behind the decision with DavidWilliams, chairman, president and CEO of the company, reporting last month: “Rapidly declining crude oil prices during the fourth quarter further aggravated the offshore supply imbalance and contributed to an increasingly difficult environment for securing new contract commitments from our customers.
Harkand has strengthened its inspection division by appointing a new inspection manager in their Aberdeen office.
Andrew Inglis, who was appointed today, brings more than 15 years experience in delivering subsea inspection services in the North Sea region to the role, and has previously held inspection management roles at Subsea 7 and Bibby Offshore Ltd.
DOF Subsea S&P UK has secured a contract extension with Heerma Marine Contractors.
The contract will cover global provision of survey and positioning services on board Heerma Marine Contractor's vessels, including the Hermod, Balder, Thialf, Aegir, support vessels and anchor handlers.
Oil and gas companies have committed to jointly funding two projects worth more than £4million through the Industry Technology Facilitator (ITF).
The full details will be announced at the Technology Showcase conference in Aberdeen this week.
The first project is the Fullwave Game Changer research project, which has been extended for a further phase, with a consortium of 15 oil and gas operator and service companies working in collaboration with Imperial College London.
The phase II investment of more than £2.5million brings the total funding over the last nine years to £7.5million.
Egdon Resources said it has recorded further encouraging flow test results from its Wressle-1 oil and gas discovery in England.
The company said test operations have been carried out on the first set of perforations in the Penistone Flags reservoir, the last of three hydrocarbon zones identified in the well.
The Penistone test produced gas at restricted flow rates of up to 1.7million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) with associated oil of up to 12 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
German utility RWE yesterday closed the sale of oil and gas production arm RWE Dea to Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, ending months of uncertainty over whether the £3.7billion deal would go ahead.
But it causes embarrassment for the UK Government, which tried to block part of the transaction at the 11th hour, citing possible sanctions against the new owner.
It remains to be seen how Westminster will respond to RWE Dea’s UK North Sea assets – now owned by new company L1 Energy – falling into Russian hands.
Exxon Mobil Corp. shook off the chill of sanctions and has continued to snap up oil drilling rights in Russia, giving it larger exploration holdings in Vladimir Putin’s backyard than in the US.
Taking the long view, Exxon boosted its Russian holdings to 63.7 million acres last year from 11.4 million at the end of 2014, according to data from US regulatory filings.
That dwarfs the 14.6 million acres of rights Exxon holds in the US, which until last year was its largest exploration prospect.
While US and European Union sanctions against Russia forced Exxon to shut down an Arctic drilling project in October, the producer is staking claims to areas that could yield tens of billions of barrels in coming decades.
The bet on Russia follows a string of drilling failures elsewhere and spending cuts that will likely be addressed in Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson’s meeting with investors on Wednesday.
Mexico’s hopes of replicating the U.S. offshore oil boom rest on authorities sweetening contract terms after prices collapsed, according to prospective drillers.
Preliminary terms being offered by Mexico “need to be a little more competitive,” BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in an interview Monday from a conference in London.
BP has a record 10 rigs active in the Gulf of Mexico as US offshore investments prove resilient to global cutbacks. The London-based driller joins Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Alfa SAB in calling for less onerous conditions as Mexico opens its vast crude and natural gas reserves to outsiders for the first time in three-quarters of a century.
Production-sharing contracts for 14 shallow water blocks to be auctioned this year include a 60 percent cost recovery limit and call for 25% local content in the first year.
Statoil has signed a contract with Allseas for the installation of three platform topsides in the Johan Sverdrup field.
The topsides will be installed for the drilling, processing and living quarter platforms.
The drilling platform topsides will be installed in 2018, and the processing and living quarter topsides will follow in 2019.
Tullow Oil Plc, an energy explorer in Africa, fell to a one-month low in London trading after saying Ghana could be ordered to suspend drilling in an offshore area where it operates.
Tullow dropped as much as 8.6% to 354.1 pence, the lowest intraday price since January 30, and was at 363.1 pence at 1:14 p.m. local time.
Ivory Coast, which disputes sea boundaries with neighboring Ghana, has asked an arbitration panel to order Ghana to halt drilling in an area where Tullow operates its Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme project, the company said Monday in a statement.
The TEN project is set to produce its first oil in mid-2016.
Oil at $50 a barrel or less is having a huge impact on the North Sea industry. Thousands of jobs have been shed already or are vulnerable.
Cutbacks are to the fore . . . capex and opex and while it is claimed that safety will never be compromised, offshore workers are worried and, as should be clear from this exclusive Q&A with Susan Mackenzie, director of the Hazardous Installations Directorate, the HSE will be uncompromising.
Mackenzie: Our basic approach won’t change. The key objectives in our strategy including asset integrity, competence, workforce engagement and leadership are as important now as they have ever been.
Operators and contractors must still control risks to their workers, especially those risks that could give rise to a major accident. Failure to do so threatens workers, production and profitability.
My inspectors will continue to focus on major accident risk control and take action if they find standards are inadequate. I want to see safe production maintained, and I believe my inspectors have a key role in stimulating the industry to achieve this.
A map of the world has been created to help keep oil and gas companies updated on regions that pose the most risks to their staff.
International SOS has released its Health Risk Map 2015, which helps oil companies, non governmental organisations, educational institutions and governments understand health threats around the world.
For Aberdeen-based oil companies in particular, it helps employers ensure that their staff are safe ahead of overseas assignments.
Wood Group Kenny (WGK) has appointed a North Sea regional director with 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry as their new chief executive.
WGK's new chief executive, Bob MacDonald, succeeds Steve Wayman who has now become the company's new head of strategy and development.
He is replacing Ali Green who will step down from his current role but will continue to provide support to the team as he transitions out of the business in 2015.
Subsea 7 has been awarded a two-year extension by Shell for two Underwater Services Contracts (USCs) worth $240million.
The company said the Life of Field contract extensions for Diving Support Vessel (DSV) and Remotely Operated Vehicle Support Vessel (ROVSV) services will both commence in 2016.
Subsea 7 will also continue to provide subsea construction, inspection, repair and maintenance and decommissioning services to Shell’s UK offshore fields and facilities.
Near-to-market technologies and world-class research capabilities will be highlighted to the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen this week.
The Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS) are to jointly host an innovation pavilion during the 2015 Technology Showcase conference and exhibition on Wednesday.
OGIC chief executive Ian Phillips said: “The innovation centre pavilion will highlight the expertise and capabilities of Scotland’s academic and SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) technology communities which can address the showcase theme of making technology reduce cost and improve efficiency.
Oil fell after the first monthly gain since June as Saudi Arabia stepped up production, lifting OPEC’s output beyond its collective quota for a ninth month.
Futures decreased as much as 1.4% in New York. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 30.6 million barrels a day in February, according to a survey.
Oil sank almost 50% in 2014 as Saudi Arabia led the group’s decision in November to maintain its output target at 30 million a day, exacerbating a global glut.
West Texas Intermediate’s discount to European prices settled at the widest in more than a year on Feb. 27 as US crude stockpiles expanded to the highest level in weekly data that started August 1982.
The oversupply has driven US drillers to cut the number of rigs in service for a 12th week to the fewest since June 2011, Baker Hughes Inc. data showed.
Gordon Brown is calling for the creation of a North Sea reserve fund to help the oil industry in one of his final speeches before stepping down as a politician.
The former prime minister believes the fund would help maintain and upgrade infrastructure and could provide last-resort debt finance for companies who want to keep fields open.
He believes the Government could even take over fields in partnership with some firms in order to keep them open and viable in future.
The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, who is stepping down from Westminster at May’s election, also wants to see young people encouraged to work in hi-tech medical, environmental and engineering jobs as traditional manufacturing work continues to decline.
One of Russia’s richest men is expected to become the owner of a string of UK North Sea assets today, despite a last-minute move by the UK Government to block part of the £3.6billion deal.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said Energy Secretary Ed Davey was worried about the effect “possible future sanctions” could have on the continued and safe operation of the assets.
Billionaire Mickhail Fridman and business partners in the LetterOne investment fund are buying RWE Dea, the international exploration and production arm of German utility RWE, including operated stakes in the Breagh, Cavendish, Clipper South, Topaz and Windermere gas fields.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse are not about to show up in Aberdeen but Europe’s energy capital is facing a serious downturn” in its fortunes, an oil and gas expert said last night.
Alan Kennedy, UK oilfield services lead partner in the Aberdeen office of professional services firm KPMG, was speaking in advance of an energy industry breakfast “summit” in the Granite City.
The event will be hosted by trade body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) and KPMG at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, and will focus on the impact of lower oil prices on the north-east economy.
Ecosse Subsea Systems (ESS) said yesterday it had signed a letter of intent with power and automation technology giant ABB for it to carry out work as part of a £1billion-plus transmission link project.
It is believed the contract – expected to create 20 jobs – could be worth up to £10million for ESS, which will perform boulder clearance and pre-lay trenching prior to the laying of a transmission cable running from Spittal in Caithness to Blackhillock in Moray.
ESS will then protect and conceal the 100-mile cable, which is part of the £1.2billion Caithness-Moray transmission link project, led by SSE subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, to create the infrastructure needed to carry an estimated 1.2 gigawatts of renewable-energy to the national grid.