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Oil & Gas

Stork snaps up Australian firm

Energy services firm Stork has spread its wings with the acquisition of a mechanical services firm in Australia for an undisclosed sum. Stork, which is owned by energy investor Arle Capital Partners, snapped up Sydney-based Giovenco Industries, including its £39million joint venture contract with Bechtel for work on Chevron’s Wheatstone project in Western Australia.

Oil & Gas

Exclusive OGA: The North Sea’s most “significant change” is yet to come

07/09/2015

The chief executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has called on the sector to invest in the next generation or risk perpetuating crippling sector skills gap. In the OGA’s official call to action, the industry leader said despite actions already taken in the wake of a dramatic oil price decline more significant change was needed. However, he added the sector’s “expertise, imagination and tenacity” would see it weather the storm. “Irrespective of the oil price, the UK offshore oil and gas industry needs to change,” he said.

Oil & Gas

Foreign oil drillers sour on regulation-happy Angola, Total says

06/09/2015

Angola risks losing investment from foreign oil companies as costly government regulations and low world prices make the country, vying to be Africa’s largest producer, less attractive to operate in, an industry executive said. A series of measures introduced by Angola’s government in recent years has pushed production costs up as much as $500 million annually, said Jean-Michel Lavergne, general manager for Total E&P Angola, the country’s biggest driller. Oil companies want talks with the Angolan government to press home the threat posed by regulatory costs, Lavergne told reporters on Friday at a monthly business forum in Luanda.

Oil & Gas

Aleron Subsea snaps up partner firm in £1.2million deal

An Aberdeenshire remote operated vehicle (ROV) firm has snapped up its partner firm in a deal valued at £1.2million. Aleron Subsea, which specialises in ROV refurbishment, sales and rental has acquired Rovquip, an Aberdeenshire-based ROV tooling manufacturer. Aleron, which was founded by managing director Mike Bisset in 2010, said the deal ads specialist tooling to its products range including ROV skids, BOP shut down systems, cutters and water jetters.

Oil & Gas

Russia bows to cheap oil as Putin aide sees $50 price for budget

04/09/2015

Russia will assume that crude prices will stay near their present level in calculating next year’s budget as the world’s largest energy exporter adjusts to a downturn on the oil market, according to President Vladimir Putin’s top economic aide. The budget will be based on an average oil price of $50 a barrel, Andrey Belousov told reporters in Vladivostok on Friday. Putin said he’s asking parliament to support a shift to a one- year fiscal plan in 2016 because it’s “impossible” to predict the direction of global markets. Non-OPEC member Russia, whose currency has plunged 45 percent in the past 12 months, is growing resigned to slumping oil, which together with gas accounts for about half of budget revenue. The country is seeking to cooperate with members of the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to stabilize the market after the Finance Ministry said that the turmoil is forcing Russia to shorten its budget-planning horizon to one year.

Oil & Gas

Offshore caterers to vote on strike action over pay deal “U-turn”

04/09/2015

Offshore caterers will vote on strike action after employers went back on a pay deal. Union bosses yesterday accused offshore catering companies of refusing “point blank” to honour a 1.3% pay raise that had been agreed for this year. The Unite union said the position held by the Catering Offshore Trade Association (COTA), which represents six offshore catering firms, had left it with no choice and advised its members to vote in favour of strike action.

Oil & Gas

Hedge fund manager Hall says world market ‘not awash in oil’

04/09/2015

Andy Hall, one of the best-known oil traders who’s bullish on prices, said the decline in the oil market isn’t a repeat of 1998 or 2008. The absence of “extreme contango,” which occurs when commodities prices close to delivery are cheaper than those to be delivered at later dates, suggests that “the world, whilst moderately oversupplied, is not awash in oil,” Hall said in a letter to investors. Oil prices, which plunged 32 percent in 1998 and 54 percent in 2008, are down more than 50 percent in the past year. Hall, who runs hedge fund firm Astenbeck Capital Management, said U.S. crude output through the remainder of 2015 will decline 6 percent from the first half’s average. He said he expects to see a decline in production forecasts by the International Energy Agency.

Oil & Gas

Canada oil sands fork over billions for 500,000 unneeded barrels

04/09/2015

The last place oil producers want to be when prices plummet to profit-demolishing lows is midstream on a billion-dollar project in one of the costliest parts of the planet to extract crude. Yet that’s exactly where half a dozen oil sands operators from Suncor Energy Inc. to Brion Energy Corp. find themselves with prices for Canadian oil now hovering around $30 a barrel. While all around them projects have been postponed or canceled, their investments were judged too far along when the oil game suddenly moved from offense to defense. These projects will add at least another 500,000 barrels a day -- roughly a 25 percent increase from Alberta -- to an oversupplied North American market by 2017. For companies stuck spending billions in a downturn, the time required to earn back their investments will lengthen considerably, said Rafi Tahmazian, senior portfolio manager at Canoe Financial LP.

Oil & Gas

Rosneft to sell 15% stake in Vankorneft oil project to ONGC

04/09/2015

OAO Rosneft will sell a stake in one of its largest oil-producing projects to ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of India’s biggest explorer. The unit of state-owned Oil & Natural Gas Corp. will take a 15 percent share in Vankorneft, Russia’s second-largest oil producing development, the companies said at a signing ceremony Friday in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East. ONGC will have a right to two directors on Vankorneft’s board and Rosneft will keep control of the project operations, including the Vankor- Purpe pipeline, the companies said. The deal is pending regulatory approval.

Oil & Gas

Shell and BG mega-merger faces regulatory delay

The £47billion mega-merger between oil giants Shell and BG Group faces regulatory delay after authorities in Australia deferred a decision to let the deal go ahead. Shell said it was “working closely" with the Australian competition regulator after the watchdog delayed a critical decision on clearance for the deal, signalling it has reservations about the potential impact on gas supply. The deferral of the decision until September 17 leaves the clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as one of three key approvals still outstanding, alongside China and the UK.

Oil & Gas

Nexen to push ahead with decommissioning of two oil and gas fields

Oil firm Nexen has revealed it is pressing ahead with plans to decommission two North Sea oil and gas fields according to schedule. Nexen, which is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc), has confirmed plans to start decommissioning the Ettrick and the nearby Blackbird fields in the Outer Moray Firth, 75 miles northeast of Aberdeen. Work is due to commence in early next year. The firm recently commissioned Aberdeen-based consultancy Xodus to deliver a Front End Engineering and Design (Feed) exercise outlining the decommissioning methodology for the fields.

Oil & Gas

ION Geophysical to reduce global headcount by 25%

03/09/2015

ION Geophysical Corporation said it plans to reduce its global headcount by 25% in a bid to streamline costs. The company said it has implemented an “aggressive” cost reduction initiative as part of an overall plan to align its operating expenses. ION said it expects to incur up to $6million in termination costs as a result of the move.

Oil & Gas

Nigeria wealth fund sees limited state top-ups on low oil prices

03/09/2015

Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund doesn’t expect any major payments from the government as the finances of Africa’s largest oil producer have been hit by a halving in crude prices in the past year. “The weakness in crude oil prices might persist for the foreseeable future, thereby potentially impacting on new contributions from the federation,” Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority Chairman Mahey Rasheed said in its 2014 annual report released on Thursday.

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