MOL Group will be continuing its focus on the UKCS and Norway after snapping up assets in both regions since last year. Brian Glover, exploration and business development senior vice president for the company, spoke exclusively to Energy Voice as it visited the firm's headquarters in Hungary. Everyday this week Energy Voice will be briefing from Hungary on the latest developments in MOL's operations across the globe.
Callum McCaig has branded the Labour Party “shameful” amid claims the SNP failed to act to protect North Sea oil and gas jobs. The Aberdeen South MP told a packed conference hall he would have “appreciated some help” from other MPs in his efforts to protect the “vital industry”. Mr McCaig was responding to comments from Kezia Dugdale reported in Energy Voice's sister publication the Press and Journal.
The billionaire owner of Grangemouth made his first move into the North Sea buying up gas fields from a Russian oligarch just days before the sale breached a government-imposed deadline. Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and chief executive of Ineos, is thought to have paid up to £500million for 12 fields from Mikhail Fridman, who had been forced to sell the assets by the UK government. Mr Fridman’s firm, LetterOne Group (L1) had initially paid £3.8billion to buy Dea, the upstream oil and gas business of German utility RWE in a deal which closed in March.
Offshore supply vessel owners are facing a "very tough" 2016 with the prospect of much of the supply fleet being laid up due to the oil slump.
The chief executive of Asco said a period of $50 oil could be a “very good” thing for the North Sea as companies will be forced to work more collaboratively and reduce cost. Alan Brown, who took the top job at the international oilfield support services firm last year, said the lifespan of the North Sea would be “much shorter” unless there was greater efficiency amongst operators and the supply chain. He said the industry must be prepared for the year-long dip in price per barrel to be the “new normal”.
Talks are taking place between Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s LetterOne Group about purchasing stakes in a number of Norwegian oil and gas fields, according to reports. According to the Financial Times the company is looking to gain assets owned by Eon in a deal estimated to be worth $1billion. The move signals a break away from the UKCS after the government urged LetterOne to sell North Sea assets.
Statoil said it has acquired First Oil’s 24% equity share in the UK licence for the Alfa Sentral field in a $15million deal. The Alfa Sentral is a gas and condensate field planned to be developed as a tie-back to the existing structure for Sleipner on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) which Statoil operates. Mette Halvorsen Ottøy, senior vice president for the operations south cluster in Development & Production Norway (DPN), said the company had set “ambitious goals” for future activity.
The North Sea has continued to make headlines over the summer; mostly for the wrong reasons. But amid the doom and gloom of media reports lamenting the terminal influence of a low oil price, there have been glimmers of good news.
Exploration drilling in UK waters has collapsed and shows no sign of recovery either now or in the near future. This is dangerous because the dramatic slowdown of recent years will lead to a development famine in around five years time, Offshore Europe delegates have been warned. And, far more oil & gas is being extracted from the North Sea than is being found.
This image shows the Paragon B391 drilling rig leaving Rotterdam as it made its way to Centrica’s decommissioning projects in the southern North Sea gas basin. The photo, which was captured by a drone, shows the rig as it travelled to the site where it will carry out well plugging and abandonment activities on two single-well subsea fields. Paragon will work on the Stamford gas and Rose decommissioning project.
Europa Oil & Gas has been awarded a licence in the southern North Sea as part of the UK 28th licensing round. The company said the conditional award of a promote licence over Block 41/24 was given by the OGA (Oil and Gas Authority) as part of a joint venture with Arenite Petroleum Limited. A total of 41 new licences were awarded in the latest round and the second tranche of successful bids follows the 134 bids confirmed last year, totalling up to 175 licences covering 353 blocks.
This short clip shows the topside being installed on BP's £4.5million North Sea Clair Ridge project. The footage comes after the oil major revealed three huge topside modules had been installed on the "quarters and utilties" (QU) platform following their long journey from a shipyard in South Korea. BP and its project partners - ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell - aim to produce 640million barrels of oil over 40 years from the field.
More than 5,500 jobs in the North Sea oil and gas industry have been lost since the oil price decline, according to new estimates. The figure comes as companies including BP, Shell and Total have reduced their headcount in a bid to save costs. Companies have also been in consultation over a move to three on, three off shift patterns for workers. Industry body Oil & Gas UK said the figure put forward could be conservative, while trade union Unite said the number could actually be around 4,000.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is expected to confirm the remaining licences of the 28th offshore round today. The final tally will bring a close to one of the most active bids in 50 years.
DNV GL has launched a JIP (Joint Industry Project) in a bid to establish a new international standard for offshore oil and gas projects which could cut costs by 15%. The move is in a bid to curb the challenges presented by varying owners, operators and regulators during both engineering and construction phases in South Korean yards. A number of companies are involved with the initiative including Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Company, as well as Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Oil firms trying to sell off ageing North Sea fields are said to be considering shouldering hundreds of millions of dollars in potential dismantling costs in a bid to find buyers. According to reports, the decrease in spending brought on by the oil price decline, has triggered companies to increase efficiencies and sell or shut down assets which are no longer profitable. However despite a number of assets going up for sale in recent months, few deals have been completed.
The UK’s new energy industry regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), yesterday insisted it was ready to become an executive agency on April 1 as planned. Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) chief executive Malcolm Webb had earlier suggested the fledgling watchdog had decided to delay the move, which will let it start fulfilling its role formally, for some months. The establishment of a strong and well-funded regulator was one of the recommendations made in last year’s Wood Review, which made a series of proposals aimed at maximising the recovery of UK fossil fuels.
Industry experts have given their perspective on what is happening in the sector, the price of oil, and the current challenges and opportunities there could be. It follows the announcement by a number of companies, including BP and Schlumberger, that job redundancies would be made across their global and North Sea operations. Graham Stewart, chief executive of Faroe Petroleum, said it would be the companies "with good growth prospect, strong balace sheets and good hedges in place who will ride this storm most effectively."
Wood Group PSN has been awarded a five year contract from BP worth an estimated $750million. The contract will deliver engineering, procurement and construction services to six UKCS offshore upstream assets and the FPS (Forties Pipeline System) onshore midstream facilities in Grangemouth. The contract win will create 150 new jobs and secure more than 700 existing positions.
The oil and gas sector is vital to Scotland and it is important we have the skilled workforce required to strengthen our overall ambition as a major centre for energy activity. The oil and gas UK study highlights the need for the UK Government to continue to put in place measures to sustain long-term investment in the UKCS and for industry to work with our colleges and universities to ensure they are delivering the skilled workforce they need and deliver the best value out of the public investment that we provide for the training of the current and future workforce. But unfortunately the Autumn Statement last week failed to provide the oil and gas industry with the tax measures it both requires and deserves.
We watched yesterday's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor George Osborne, with feelings of hope and trepidation. We understand the economic constraints under which today’s Autumn Statement is delivered and there’s consensus in our offices this afternoon that the immediate reduction of two percentage points in its tax rate is an important first step towards improving the fiscal competitiveness of the UK North Sea – but, without question, more needs to be done.