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Oil & Gas

Seadrill pens £170m rig contract extension with Saudi Aramco

A London-headquartered offshore drilling contractor has agreed to rent out two of its rigs to a customer in the Middle East for another three years in a deal worth $225million (£170million). Saudi Aramco has been leasing Seadrill’s AOD I and AOD II jack-up rigs since 2013. In line with the new agreement, Saudi Aramco will keep hold of the platforms until summer 2019.

Oil & Gas

Overtime ban leaves workers marooned on Brent Alpha

An overtime ban by disgruntled offshore workers has left a number of employees marooned on Shell’s Brent Alpha platform in the North Sea. Following the firm’s second quarter results announcement, Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said the company had “seen difficulties with logistics” relating to helicopter transport, but did not elaborate. A spokesman for Shell later said an aircraft scheduled to pick up workers on Alpha was unable to land due to a shortage of available helideck operatives, and had to return to Sumburgh

Oil & Gas

Shell, Total and ConocoPhillips reveal extent of crude price woes in Q2 updates

A number of oil and gas companies with North Sea operations have revealed the impact of low crude prices on their trading in recent months. Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said the firm is “enjoying” the benefits of recent efforts to get its North Sea business in shape, but declined to rule out additional job losses. Speaking after Shell reported a 72% drop in second quarter net income to $1billion (£762million), he said Shell had done more to lower costs and enhance reliability in the North Sea than in any other mature basin.

Oil & Gas

Shell says sale of 17 assets “active” after posting 72% slide in Q2 earnings

The boss at Royal Dutch Shell (LON: RDSB) said today that the firm is “enjoying” the benefits of recent efforts to get its North Sea business in shape, but declined to rule out additional job losses. Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said the company had done more to lower costs and enhance reliability in the North Sea than in any other mature basin. Speaking after Shell reported a 72% drop in second quarter earnings, Mr van Beurden said the companies’ North Sea portfolio was “contributing” in the face of “tough” economic conditions.

Oil & Gas

OGA launches 29th offshore licensing round with “frontier areas” on offer

The UK’s oil and gas industry regulator today launched the 29th offshore licensing round with blocks in a number of “under-explored, frontier areas” up for grabs. In total, 1,261 blocks have been made available during the round, which will be open to applications until 2pm on October 26. The competition will give the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) a clearer picture of the merits of a seismic survey programme carried out last year using £20million of UK Government funds.


Cameroon project pays out for Victoria Oil & Gas

Victoria Oil and Gas has hit a major milestone in its onshore gas project in Cameroon, the UK-listed explorer said yesterday. The subsidiary of Victoria which owns a 60% stake in the Logbaba gas project has recouped the initial exploration costs it provided to get the ball rolling on the development. Subsidiary Gaz du Cameroun (GAC) had been receiving 100% of the revenues from Logbaba to cover the outlay on exploration, whilst contributing 60% to operating and capital costs.

Oil & Gas

Californian energy firms agree to multi-million dollar merger

A Californian energy firm has provisionally agreed to take over a rival in a $41.5million (£31.6million) transaction, according to media reports. Bosses at Royale Energy said they expected the deal for Matrix Oil Corporation to go through before the end of 2016, subject to approval from regulators and shareholders. Royale is an independent exploration and production company with its main operations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin basins in California.

Other News

Saudi firm mulls petrochemicals venture with Exxon affiliate

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic), one of the world's largest petrochemicals groups, said on Monday it is studying launching a jointly-owned petrochemicals complex with an affiliate of US firm Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM). The project will be on the US's Gulf Coast, possibly in Texas or Louisiana, and will include a production facility which will supply ethylene to other units to produce ethylene derivatives, Sabic said in the statement. The two parties will conduct studies and work with state and local officials to help identify a potential site with adequate infrastructure access before making a final investment decision, said Sabic.

Oil & Gas

Shell boss warns more job losses at the firm could “absolutely” happen

The boss at Royal Dutch Shell has reportedly said further job losses could “absolutely” take place at the company. Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph cuts were always a possibility in the absence of large deals being struck. Shell is axing about 12,500 roles this year due to a combination of low oil prices and its takeover of BG Group.

Oil & Gas

Shell boss keen to help UK with climate change, “when it makes business sense”

The boss of Royal Dutch Shell (LON: RDSB) wants the oil and gas giant to play a big part in the UK’s quest to meet climate change targets, “when it makes business sense”. Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden also expects the UK’s energy demand to level off as the country becomes more fuel efficient. “Social, political and geographical conditions differ from country to country," Mr van Beurden will say today at the company’s Powering Progress Together Forum. "In other words, the energy transition is likely to play out in a different way and at a different pace in different places.


North Sea workers eyeing jobs outside ‘grim’ oil and gas sector

Axed employees of North Sea oil and gas firms attending a careers fair at Robert Gordon University said yesterday they were ready to embrace opportunities in other sectors. Others said the lack of opportunities in the north-east had become chronic and they were even contemplating uprooting their families and leaving the region. Michelle Cormack, above, found out she was being laid off in April after two years as a receptionist at offshore survival firm Falck.

Oil & Gas

Servelec shares plunge by a third after profit warning

A UK technology and software group with operations in Aberdeen saw its share price plummet by almost a third yesterday after issuing a profit warning amid oil and gas project delays. Servelec Group said the tendering process for a number of key energy sector contracts had dragged on for longer than anticipated. The Sheffield-headquartered business, which has had a Granite City office since 1985, said its 2016 operating profits would be “significantly lower” than market expectations and would fall below 2015 levels.


OGUK Conference 2016: Halliburton spent £15,000 a year renting pot plants

Halliburton was spending £15,000 a year renting pot plants before the oil price downturn forced the energy service company to rethink its frivolous ways. Bill Hunter, Halliburton’s Aberdeen-based UK cementing manager, said the company has learned its lesson and is now squeezing the pennies. “We are looking at little things. For some reason we were renting plants for £15,000 a year,” Mr Hunter said during a panel discussion on cost efficiency at the Oil and Gas UK annual conference.


OGUK 2016: Industry proves resilience but supply chain under threat

Few other sectors could have matched the British energy industry’s reaction to the challenges it has faced over the past 18 months, the chief executive of Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said yesterday. Deirdre Michie said the oil and gas industry had shown its resilience by reducing costs and increasing production for the first time in 15 years last year. Companies have also shown their willingness to work together on projects such as inventory management and the standardisation of subsea projects, she said.


OGUK 2016: Compromise key for North Sea future, industry expert says

Oil and gas majors must compromise to deliver an upturn in the sector’s fortunes, an industry analyst said yesterday. Stephen Halliday, group president of consultancy group Wood Mackenzie, said the energy industry was competitive by nature and that for serious progress to be made, the sector’s leadership had to get in a room together and collaborate. It comes days after PwC published a report saying the industry needed a “change in guard at the top” to disrupt its “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.

Oil & Gas

PwC warns two years to save the North Sea

Government and industry have a two year window of opportunity to ensure a strong future for the North Sea, a new report said. The study said three in five oil and gas executives are positive about the basin’s future. Titled, A Sea Change, the PwC report also said significant progress had been made to improve cost efficiency across the basin and noted a “real sense of urgency” to create one last “cycle of success”.

Renewables/Energy Transition

European Commission provides £3.1m grant for tidal energy tests in Orkney

An Orkney-based wave and tidal energy technology tester has hailed the award of a £3.1million grant from the European Commission. The funding has been awarded through the so-called Fast Track to Innovation scheme and will be split between two projects at the European Marine Energy Centre (Emec) in Stromness. Dutch renewable energy generator Tocardo will test one of its systems in real sea conditions at Emec, while Spanish turbine company Magallanes will put its tidal energy platform through its paces.

Other News

Diving through the oil and gas downturn

The oil and gas price downturn is putting the squeeze on a commercial diving sector that is “saturated” with workers. But many divers are using the lull in activity to learn new skills through training to improve their chances of finding employment when the upturn comes. Anthony Stelzer, who is earning his closed bell diving qualification at The Underwater Centre (TUC), a Fort William-based trainer, said the market had become extremely competitive after the oil price collapsed in 2014.

Oil & Gas

Cluff lays into Scottish Government over UCG ban

A North Sea oil and gas pioneer has slated the Scottish Government over its banning of an energy production method he planned to trial offshore. Algy Cluff said he has had more trouble with Holyrood than any administration he has dealt with during his long career. The entrepreneur has headed up a mining company with operations in Zimbabwe, which at the time was led by current president Robert Mugabe, viewed by many as a brutal dictator.


Reigning Gold Award winners urge entries for 2016 event

Prize winners from the Press and Journal’s inaugural Gold Awards have called for companies and individuals to enter again this year. Six trophies were presented at last year’s glittering event, which marked the 50th year of Aberdeen’s involvement in the development of the North Sea. Eight prizes will be up for grabs at the 2016 awards scheme, run in association with the paper’s sister website Energy Voice and title sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management.

Oil & Gas

Offshore cabin and container firm OEG targets new markets after rival takeover

An Aberdeen-based offshore cabin and container firm said yesterday it had snapped up a rival, paving the way for its expansion into Norway, Congo and Myanmar. The acquisition of Singapore-headquartered AOR Containers from Buss Global Group raises OEG Offshore’s global headcount to 160 from 140. It also adds 6,000 containers to the existing fleet of 19,000 at OEG, which was created in 2010 following a merger between Continental Offshore and Vertec Engineering.

Oil & Gas

Scottish companies set for oil and gas trade mission to Myanmar

A Scottish economic development agency will lead a trade mission to explore investment opportunities for oil and gas companies in Myanmar, Asia’s “final frontier”. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has vast underdeveloped oil and gas reserves and its government, which is guiding the transition to democracy after decades of military rule, is keen to develop the nation’s indigenous energy sector. Scottish Enterprise plans to use the trip to find out how Scotland’s wider supply chain can fill the gaps in Myanmar’s oil and gas supply chain.