This week's most read story on Energy Voice was the news that the Spanish takeover of Talisman Energy and its 50% stake in a struggling UK joint venture is “on track” to complete during the first half of 2015. Talisman insisted earlier this week that the £5.3billion deal struck with Spain’s Repsol in December was unaffected by hefty losses in the North Sea as oil prices nose-dived last year. At Subsea Expo 2015, which took place from February 11 -13 at the AECC (Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre), Forum Energy Technologies launched its latest generation subsea robotic system at Subsea Expo.
Tullow Oil is poised to record losses of $1.9billion when it reveals its full-year results this week. The company, which recorded $313.2million in pre-tax profits in 2013, could see a dividend cut and job losses as it looks to balance its finances. According to reports, Tullow Oil has already warned investors it could face $2.7billion in write-offs.
Judges at the UK Supreme Court have dismissed an appeal against plans to build a large-scale wind farm in the Shetland Islands. Environmental campaigners at Sustainable Shetland challenged a decision to allow more than 100 turbines to be installed across three different areas on the islands. The group argued that when the Scottish Government backed the plans for the Viking wind farm project, which could provide energy for up to 175,000 homes, it failed to take into account “positive obligations” under European Union environmental legislation to protect the rare whimbrel bird and bring its population levels up to “favourable conservation status".
BG Group warned of further job cuts and budget slashing yesterday as it also revealed it had wiped £4billion off the value of oil and gas assets globally to reflect the sharp fall in crude prices. UK North Sea output was up by about 5% in 2014 as BG slumped to pre-tax losses of £1.5billion, from profits of £2.58million a year earlier. Revenue and other income was 2% higher at £12.9billion. Ernst den Hartigh, managing director of European exploration and production, said: “We safely increased production for a second successive year. Our priorities for 2015 are to complete the offshore investment campaign we started last autumn and ensure we reduce operating costs to a more sustainable level.”
Scottish Government plans to manage and protect Scotland’s seas are not yet “fit for purpose”, according to a Holyrood committee. The draft National Marine Plan for Scotland has been developed over five years and was published last month. It aims to balance the development of established industries such as oil, gas and fishing with emerging sectors such as marine renewables and carbon capture and storage.
GE Oil and Gas are set to collaborate on more environmentally and cost efficient energy solutions. The companies said the joint technology focused programme would be aimed at driving an industrial response to some of the challenges facing global oil production including flaring, CO2 and methane emissions. It will focus on creating the right format for oil and shale gas production while reducing emissions.
Norwegian energy service giant Aker Solutions said yesterday the current phase of its work on Premier Oil’s Solan development in the UK North Sea would end on February 27. About 280 contractors who were recruited for the work on temporary terms have been notified about the end date, which was determined by the planned departure of the Safe Scandinavia accommodation vessel. Safe Scandinavia is leaving for another project later than expected, with Aker having previously anticipated it would be available only until sometime this month.
The new energy jobs taskforce, launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month in response to tumbling oil prices, will meet for the first time in Aberdeen today. Chaired by Scottish Enterprise (SE) chief executive Lena Wilson, it will focus on jobs across the entire energy industry but with an initial emphasis on the oil and gas sector. Membership includes industry bodies and commercial interests as well as cross-government representation.
North Sea helicopter manufacturer Airbus Helicopters is betting on military deals to lift orders as the plunge in the price of crude hits demand from oil explorers. The French company, which is part of aerospace and defence giant Airbus Group, said yesterday it expected stabilisation in the industry during 2015. Its new helicopter deliveries fell by 5.2% to 471 last year, while net sales fell by 20 units to 402.
Nearly two-thirds of coalition MPs could face the prospect of fracking in areas that feed water supplies in their constituencies despite public opposition, environmental campaigners have claimed. Analysis by Greenpeace shows the constituencies of 220 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs have an overlap between areas being made available for onshore oil and gas licences and groundwater source protection zones, which feed aquifers. The research was published by the green group ahead of MPs voting on the Infrastructure Bill next week, which contains legislation on fracking.
Prosafe said it was making a $7million provision after lifeboats were damaged on one of its rigs last year. The company said the damage had been caused to the Safe Bristolia during bad weather in the Everest Field in the UK last year. At the time operations were suspended and the vessel was brough to the Hanoytangen shipyard in Norway for repair work.
Sir Ian Wood insists the North Sea industry is not facing a doomsday scenario and can recover with the help of a big tax cut in the March Budget. The north-east oil and gas doyen said there was little point in swifter action from the Treasury as it would have no impact at current oil prices of about $50 a barrel. But a clear commitment by the chancellor to a “measured” reduction of at least 10% to the supplementary tax on profits in the Budget and more cuts to follow would encourage operators to keep project teams together and not give up on the North Sea, he said.