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South Sudan hires former Blackwater chief to restore war-hit oil

The former head of US security company Blackwater USA, Erik Prince, was hired by South Sudan to help repair damaged oil facilities and boost output cut by a year of civil war. Prince’s Frontier Services Group Ltd. (500), a Hong Kong-listed logistics and transportation company, is being paid 18.7 million euros ($23.3 million) by South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum to transport supplies to and perform maintenance on the production facilities at the oil fields, Chief Executive Officer Gregg Smith said. About 30 employees including pilots, engineers and logistics technicians have been using helicopters and airplanes to reach South Sudan’s oil fields since September, Smith said.


Subsea 7 wins Gulf of Mexico contract

Subsea 7 has been awarded a contract by the Hess Corporation for installation work on the Stampede Project in the Gulf Of Mexico. The deal includes work on flowlines, steel catenary risers, umbilicals, jumpers and associated subsea architecture which will tie-back two drill centres to a tension leg platform. The company said production would be via two 10-inch flowlines from each drill centre.

Oil & Gas

US oil rigs drop most in two years, Baker Hughes says

US oil drillers idled the most rigs in almost two years as they face oil trading below $60 a barrel and escalating competition from suppliers abroad. Rigs targeting oil dropped by 29 this week to 1,546, the lowest level since June and the biggest decline since December 2012, Houston-based field services company Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said. As OPEC resists calls to cut output, US producers including ConocoPhillips (COP) and Oasis Petroleum Inc. (OAS) have curbed spending. Chevron Corp. (CVX) put its annual capital spending plan on hold until next year.


Wood Group expands US construction capabilities

Wood Group has bought over a construction and fabrication services company in the US for $36.3million. The company has acquired Swaggart Brothers which employs 200 staff in locations across America. It covers a number of oil and gas activities in shale basins including the Permian, Eagle Ford, Niobrara and Bakken.


US getting rid of oil addiction as price plummets in glut

The US is producing the most oil in 31 years, economic growth is picking up and crude prices are plunging. So why is Americans’ use of petroleum waning? As the US moves closer and closer to energy independence, greater fuel efficiency, changing demographics and an increase in renewables are altering the dynamic that in the past would have seen demand for gasoline climbing. Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the US, grew at a 2.4 % pace in the third quarter from the year-earlier period. Oil consumption fell 0.3%, government data show.


BP to incur $1billion in restructuring charges

Oil major BP said it expects to incur restructuring charges of $1billion over the next five quarters. The company will present its future strategy to investors in London following an announcement earlier this week that job cuts would be made. Chief executive of BP Upstream, Lamar McKay, and a senior members of the management team are set to outline its changing position on the back of falling oil prices.

Other News

Welders earning $100 an hour hindering US chemical boom

John Floren’s plans to dismantle two petrochemical plants in Chile and rebuild them in Louisiana didn't include paying welders and pipe fitters more than $100 a hour, almost 20% more than expected. That’s one reason the project has run at least $300 million over budget, said Floren, chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Methanex Corp. (MEOH) A growing surplus of cheap natural gas from shale drilling is driving a boom in the U.S. chemical industry, which uses gas as a raw material for plastics, fertilizer and paints.


Oil declines from five-year low on signs US taking fight to OPEC

West Texas Intermediate and Brent extended declines from the lowest close in more than five years amid speculation that US oil producers will fight OPEC for market share. Futures dropped as much as 1.8% in New York and 1.9% in London. Explorers in the U.S. increased the number of operating rigs last week, defying predictions of a drilling slowdown, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. Brent’s 14-day relative strength index has been below 30 since November 27, a reading that signals crude is oversold. Oil is trading in a bear market amid signs that US output is expanding even after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries opted not to reduce its production target.

Oil & Gas

US oil rigs rise as shale drillers face OPEC challenge

The boom in US oil production will live to see another week. The nation’s crude explorers, engaged in a pricing war with the world’s largest suppliers, defied predictions of a drilling slowdown and ran the most rigs since mid-November, boosting the US count by three to 1,575, Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said. Rigs targeting natural gas were unchanged at 344, the Houston-based field services company’s website showed.

Oil & Gas

Oil drop gives US drillers argument to end export ban

Collapsing crude prices have given oil producers a new argument for ending a 39-year-old US ban on exports. With US output at a 31-year high and imports at the lowest level since 1995, producers seeking the best possible price for crude are straining at having to keep sales at home. Removing the ban could erase an imbalance between US and foreign crude prices by expanding the market for shale oil.

Oil & Gas

Dejour Energy expands Woodrush complex

North American oil and gas firm Dejour Energy has contracted Ensign Drilling Partnership to drill wells at its Woodrush complex. The two wells will target the Halfway oil and Gething gas pools known to be productive at Woodrush at depths between 3500-4000. The objectives of the project are to expand current field production and company reserve values.


Sub-$50 oil surfaces in US amid regional discounts

Oil market analysts are debating if oil will fall to $50. In North Dakota, prices are already there. Crude sold at the wellhead in the Bakken shale region in North Dakota fell to $49.69 a barrel on November 28, according to the marketing arm of Plains All American (PAA) Pipeline LP. That’s down 47% from this year’s peak in June, and 29% less than the $70.15 paid for Brent, the global benchmark.

Oil & Gas

UK can benefit from shale experience in the US

Last month at PETEX in London, the hunt for shale gas resources in the UK was a hot topic and among the companies offering their expertise and wares at the show was CGG, currently being stalked by fellow French group Technip, and US energy services giant Baker Hughes, which arch rival Halliburton ha made a $35billion bid for. While companies such as these cannot easily answer the social and political questions, or indeed even wish to engage that way, they can contribute to the debate on technical feasibility and potential. And both Baker and CGG are well equipped to do this. Firstly, and according to CGG, we in Europe and not just the UK have the opportunity to benefit from the latest developments in North America. Integrated workflows, which bring together a broad range of geoscience data, have shown great potential for the comprehensive reservoir characterisation required to optimise drilling and completion activities in heterogeneous unconventional resource plays.

Oil & Gas

Shale provides largest share of US gas production

Shale gas provided the largest share of American natural gas production last year, new figures have shown. The US Energy Information Administration said withdrawals reached a new high of 82billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) last year. Shale gas well withdrawals jumped from five bcf/d in 2007, to 33 bcf/d in 2013, representing a 40% increase in total gas production and surpassing production from non-shale gas wells.

Oil & Gas

Seabird scoops third contract win

SeaBird Exploration has received a Letter of Award (LOA) from TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company to acquire up to 300,000km of 2D seismic data in Mexico and the US Atlantic. The company said the LOA will provide TGS access to up to six seismic vessels from SeaBird over a period of 36 months.


NAP has success in Louisiana

North American Petroleum (NAP) has seen production from its Shoats Creek Project increase by a third. The company holds a 35% interest in the area alongside Northcote Energy with 35% and Springer Oil and Gas with 30%.