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Rig Hired by Spain’s Repsol Arrives off Cuba

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HAVANA – A deepwater oil rig hired by Spain’s Repsol-YPF for use in Cuba’s Gulf waters has arrived off the island’s coast and will be put into operation shortly.

The Scarabeo-9 platform was about 10 miles off northern Cuba Thursday and could already be seen from the coast.

The rig, built in China and Singapore and initially due to arrive in the summer of 2011, is heading west to an area off the coast of the city of Mariel, an industry official told Efe, adding that exploratory drilling is expected to begin soon.

The platform will be used to determine the crude potential of Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which is located in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and estimated to hold up to 9 billion barrels of petroleum in more than a score of commercially significant prospects.

The EEZ covers some 112,000 sq. kilometers (43,240 sq. miles) and is divided into 59 blocks of 2,000 sq. kilometers (772 sq. miles) each, 22 of which have been awarded to foreign companies such as Spain’s Repsol, Venezuela’s PDVSA and PetroVietnam.

Eight onshore blocks also have been awarded to Cuban state oil firm Cupet and five others to foreign companies, according to official figures.

Cuba’s oil and gas output has stabilized over the past five years at a level of 4 million tons of oil equivalent, according to the Basic Industry Ministry.

Last year, several U.S. House Democratic and Republican leaders urged Repsol, which also has leases to drill in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico, to drop plans to explore for oil in Cuban waters and warned the company of possible legal action in the United States.

In a letter sent to Repsol Chairman and CEO Antonio Brufau, 34 House lawmakers said any exploratory drilling the oil company conducts in Cuban waters “will provide direct financial benefit to the Castro dictatorship.”

U.S. officials also have expressed concerns about environmental risks considering the drilling site’s proximity to U.S. soil, just 95 miles from the Florida Keys, although Repsol has pledged to adhere to U.S. regulations and the highest industry standards in its drilling in Cuban territorial waters.

The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard inspected the Scarabeo-9 last week and found it to be in compliance with U.S. and international standards governing deepwater drilling.

BSEE director Michael Bromwich told the House and Senate last year that U.S. authorities had witnessed a spill response exercise carried out at Repsol’s office in Trinidad and that during that simulation Repsol technicians demonstrated their ability to respond successfully to a hypothetical spill.

Concerns about Cuba’s plans to tap its offshore oil reserves have grown in the wake of the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cuba is hoping crude discoveries will provide a boost to the communist-ruled island’s ailing economy and make it less dependent on imported oil from close ally Venezuela. EFE

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Recap: Worldwide Field Development Jan 6 – Jan 12, 2012

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This week the SubseaIQ team added 13 new projects and updated 47 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Australia
Hess’ Drilling Ops Resume Offshore Australia
Jan 9, 2012 – Hess recommenced drilling operations at the Glencoe-2 appraisal well offshore Australia. The well was suspended in September 2011 when the semisub underwent problems. The well was drilled in 3,678 feet (1,121 meters) of water. Hess wholly owns and operates the WA-390-P permit, in which the discovery lies.
Project Details: Glencoe
Eni Acquires Bathurst 3D Seismic Survey over Blackwood Discovery
Jan 6, 2012 – Eni has completed the Bathurst 3D seismic survey covering the Blackwood East structure, acquiring 189,283 acres (766 square kilometers) of 3D data. This survey was acquired pursuant to a farm-in agreement with Eni to earn a 50 percent interest in the Blackwood gas discovery by acquiring a minimum 123,553 acres (500 square kilometers) of 3D seismic data over the Blackwood area and drilling on exploration well. Eni has up to a year to elect whether to drill the Blackwood-2 well. The Blackwood discovery is located in permit NT/P 38 offshore Australia in 200 feet (61 meters) of water.
Project Details: Blackwood
S. America – Other & Carib.
CGX Energy Commences Drilling Offshore Guyana
Jan 9, 2012 – CGX Energy has spud the Eagle-1 exploratory well offshore Guyana. The Ocean Saratoga (mid-water semisub) is drilling the well in the Corentyne license in about 270 feet (82 meters) of water.
Project Details: Eagle
Asia – SouthEast
PNOC, Nido Target Mid-2012 to Drill Commitment Well in SC 63
Jan 12, 2012 – PNOC Exploration Corporation and its partner, Nido Petroleum, have commenced pre-planning for the sub-phase three commitment well of Service Contract 63. The operator estimates that exploratory drilling on the Aboabo prospect will begin in mid-2012, subject to rig availability. The Service Contract 63 spans 2.6 million acres (10,560 square kilometers) in offshore Southwest Palawan, and includes the Aboabo A-1X gas discovery well.
Otto Planning to Drill Cinco in 2Q12
Jan 10, 2012 – The joint venture consortium of Service Contract 55 has elected to enter the fourth sub-phase of the drilling program, which requires a commitment well drilled prior to August 2012. The operator is planning to drill an offshore deepwater well at the Cinco prospect in 2Q 2012. Otto is working with farm-in partner BHP Billiton, who is carrying Otto’s share of expenditure on the drilling of Cinco well, to determine the 2012 work program. BHP Billiton has contracted Deepwater Expedition (UDW drillship) to drill the well. Otto Energy operates SC55, which is located offshore Palawan Island in the Philippines.
Talisman Sanctions HST/HSD Development
Jan 10, 2012 – Talisman has sanctioned the Hai Su Trang and Hai Su Den (HST/HSD) development within Block 15-2/01 offshore Veitnam. Production is expected to commence in 2013. The operator is planning to tie-back the development to the Hoang Long‘s facilities to the south of the block. The project is operated by Thang Long JOC, consisting of Talisman (60 percent) and PetroVietnam (40 percent).
N. America – US GOM
Aker to Provide Umbilicals for Lucius Development
Jan 12, 2012 – Anadarko granted Aker Solutions a contract for eight steel tube umbilicals for the Lucius field in the GOM. The scope of work includes project management, design, engineering, and manufacturing of two electro/hydraulic dynamic production umbilicals, two gas lift dynamic umbilicals, three electro/hydraulic infield umbilicals and one gas lift infield umbilical, including all associated ancillary equipment required for installation and interface with the existing development. Management, engineering and manufacturing of the umbilicals will be performed at Aker Solutions’ facility in Mobile, Ala. Final deliveries are slated for 3Q 2013. The Lucius field is located on Keathley Canyon Block 874, 875 and 919 in a water depth of about 7,000 feet (2,100 meters).
Project Details: Lucius
Hess Allocates $1.6B for Production Drilling on Shenzi, Llano
Jan 12, 2012 – Hess has allocated production expenditures of nearly US $1.6B for drilling production and water injection wells at Shenzi, and drilling production wells at the Llano field in the deepwater GOM. Situated on Green Canyon 609, Shenzi commenced oil/gas production on March 25, 2009, and currently has 11 production wells online. The Llano field, located on Garden Banks 385 and 386, came online April 29, 2004, via the Auger TLP.
Project Details: Shenzi
Alliance Engineering to Construct Topside, Deck for Tubular Bells FPS
Jan 11, 2012 – Wood Group’s Alliance Engineering received a detailed engineering and design contract of the topside facilities and deck, for Williams Partners’ Gulfstar FPS spar production platform. The platform, for installation in Mississippi Canyon Block 768, will produce oil and gas from the Tubular Bells field. The Gulfstar spar platform will be located in 4,300 feet (1,311 meters) of water and designed to process 60,000 bopd and 200 MMcf/d. The single-lift topsides will have three deck levels and include processing equipment, seawater injection equipment, utilities, an accommodation building with helideck, and pumping and compression equipment to export the treated oil and gas through departing pipelines. The completed deck will weigh approximately 7,000 short tons. Initial production is scheduled to commence in 2014.
Project Details: Tubular Bells
FMC to Supply Subsea Equipment for Lucius Development
Jan 10, 2012 – Anadarko awarded FMC Technologies a contract to provide subsea systems and life-of-field services for the Lucius project. FMC’s scope of supply includes five subsea production trees and two manifolds, with delivery slated for 4Q12. First oil is slated for 2014. Lucius is located in 7,100 feet (2,165 meters) of water on Keathley Canyon Block 875. Anadarko operates the field, holding a 50 percent interest; Co-owners in the discovery include Plains Exploration & Production with a 33.33 percent interest and Mariner Energy with 16.67 percent interest.
Project Details: Lucius
Africa – West
Hess to Drill Production Wells on Block G in 2012
Jan 12, 2012 – Hess plans to drill production wells on Block G in Equatorial Guinea in 2012. Block G houses the Okume Complex and the Ceiba field.
Project Details: Ceiba
Rialto to Commence Drilling Program Offshore Cote d’Ivoire
Jan 11, 2012 – Rialto Energy is prepping to commence a drilling program in Block CI-202, containing the Gazelle, Hippo and Bubale discoveries. The company has contracted the Transocean operated GSF Monitor (350′ ILC) jackup to drill a three-well program that will include two appraisal wells and the capability to test five independent structures. It is expected that the drilling program will commence in late February 2012. The Chouette well, which is part of the drilling program, will be the Company’s first exploration test in the CI-202 permit. Chouette has been assessed to have the potential to contain up to 212 million barrels of oil on a P50 base case. The block is located offshore Cote d’Ivoire, where Rialto Energy acts as operator.
Eni Divests Interest in Oyo Field
Jan 11, 2012 – Nigerian OML Agip Exploration, a subsidiary of Eni, has signed a definitive agreement to divest its 40 percent working interest in OML leases 120 and 121 (containing the producing Oyo field) to Allied Energy. The transaction is subject to customary conditions for closing and is expected to conclude during the first quarter of 2012. Once approved, Allied plans to expedite the development of the Oyo field by drilling two additional production wells commencing in 2012. These two wells are expected to significantly increase oil production over current levels. Allied also intends to accelerate exploration activities in the OMLs to fully exploit potential outside of the field, independently estimated at up to two billion barrels of unrisked prospective oil resources. The Oyo field is located on Leases 120 and 121, roughly 43 miles (70 kilometers) off the coast of Nigeria.
Project Details: Oyo
African Petroleum Grabs Block Offshore Cote d’Ivoire
Jan 10, 2012 – African Petroleum has entered into an agreement with the Societe Nationale d’Operations Petrolieres de la Cote d’Ivoire (Petroci) and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire to acquire one offshore exploration permit covering Block CI-513. The block, situated in the Western Offshore area of Cote d’Ivoire, covers an area of 355,832 acres (1,440 square kilometers). The exploration program will target deepwater Upper Cretaceous submarine fans in the area, believed to have similar high impact potential as discoveries in the Jubilee field (in Ghana) and the Mercury discovery (in Sierra Leone). African Petroleum will operate the block with a 90 percent stake; while PETROCI will hold the remaining 10 percent stake.
Total Enters Mauritanian License
Jan 6, 2012 – Total has signed an exploration license with Mauritanian government to acquire a 90 percent interest in Block C 9, situated in ultra-deep waters. The National oil company, SMH, will hold the remaining 10 percent stake. The block is located about 87 miles (140 kilometers) offshore Western Mauritania, spanning more than 2.4 million acres (10,000 square kilometers), in water depths ranging from 8,202 to 9,843 feet (2,500 to 3,000 meters). The operator is planning a seismic acquisition campaign as the first phase of the exploration program.
African Petroleum Spuds Narina-1 Well
Jan 6, 2012 – African Petroleum has spud the Narina-1 well on Block LB-09 offshore Liberia. Narina-1 will primarily target a Turnonian prospect similar to previous discoveries. The company estimates the prospect has potential recoverable oil resources of 500 MMbbls to 1200 MMbbls for the Turonian reservoir, plus additional potential resources in both shallow and deeper reservoirs. The Maersk Deliverer (UDW semisub) is drilling the well.
Project Details: Narina
Europe – North Sea
Athena FPSO to Leave Dubai in Mid-February
Jan 12, 2012 – Ithaca Energy reported that the BW Athena FPSO is undergoing final conversion work at Dubai Dry Dock World. The vessel is scheduled to begin its transfer from Dubai to the UK in mid-February. The Athena field is slated for production in 1Q12 and flow at a rate of 10,000 boepd. The Athena field lies on Block 14/18b in 440 feet (134 meters) of water.
Project Details: Athena
Chevron Spuds P2-10 in Dutch North Sea
Jan 11, 2012 – Chevron has spud the P2-10 well in the Dutch North Sea. The well is targeting an existing gas discovery on the P2 block aiming to evaluate commercial hydrocarbon flow rates within the Rotliegendes sandstone reservoir.
Technip to Supply Subsea Equipment for Golden Eagle Development
Jan 11, 2012 – Nexen awarded Technip a lump sum contract for the Golden Eagle development located in the UK sector of the North Sea. The contract covers the engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of two export, one production, one mechanically lined water injection and one gas lift flowlines; one main umbilical and two subsea isolation valve umbilicals; subsea equipments; trenching and backfilling of all flowlines and umbilicals; tie-ins, protection, pre-commissioning and commissioning support. The project is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2014. The development plan for Golden Eagle includes a combined production, utilities and an accommodation platform linked to a separate wellhead platform. Golden Eagle is located on Block 20/1N in 374 feet (114 meters).
Project Details: Golden Eagle
BP, Odfjell Drilling Secure Contract for Quad 204 Project
Jan 11, 2012 – BP awarded Odfjell Drilling a pre-contract award for the provision of a new build, semisubmersible drilling unit for use in the West of Shetland area. The contract value is about US $1.2 billion, excluding options, and represents the largest contract in Odfjell Drilling’s 40 year history. The unit will be used in the development of the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, which lie within Quadrants 204 and 205 of the UKCS about 81 miles (130 kilometers) west of Shetland and 22 miles (35 kilometers) east of the Faroe-UK median line. The full contract will have a fixed duration of seven years and is slated to start in 4Q 2014. BP operates the project.
Project Details: Schiehallion (Quad 204)
Yme Slated for Production in 2012
Jan 11, 2012 – SBM Offshore says that productivity of work being performed on the MOPUstor platform for the Yme field has been impacted due to poor weather conditions in the North Sea. The operator and SBM Offshore are currently evaluating the related schedule and cost impacts of the development. Yme will be developed by 12 production wells and injection wells, of which five will be subsea completions. The wells will connect to a production platform for processing. Production from the field is expected to commence in 2012 and reach a peak production rate of 40,000 bopd. Yme is situated in Production License 316, which Talisman Energy operates, holding a 70 percent interest; Revus Energy holds 20 percent; and Pertra ASA holds 10 percent.
Project Details: Yme
Lundin to Spud Albert Prospect Soon
Jan 10, 2012 – Lundin plans to spud the Albert prospect, located in PL 519, in the 1Q of 2012. The operator will use the Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub) to perform drilling operations. The well is targeting a major fault bound north of the Tampen Spur hydrocarbon province. Lundin operates the license with a 40 percent interest; while Spring Energy holds 20 percent; Noreco holds 20 percent; and Bayerngas holds 20 percent.
Valiant Obtains Interest in Timon Prospect
Jan 10, 2012 – Valiant has farmed into Blocks 211/11b and 211/16b in the UK sector of the North Sea acquiring a 10 percent stake from Agora Oil & Gas. The blocks contain the Timon prospect, an Upper Jurassic stratigraphic trap. The consortium plans to spud the prospect in 1Q 2012 using the WilHunter (mid-water semisub). Valiant estimates prospective resources to total 30 mmboe.
Wintershall Gets Govt Nod to Drill in North Sea
Jan 10, 2012 – The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has granted Wintershall a drilling permit for well 6407/1-5 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Appraisal well 6407/1-5 will be drilled using the Borgland Dolphin (mid-water semisub). The appraisal well lies in Production License 475 BS/CS, where Wintershall is the operator with an ownership interest of 50 percent. The other licensees are Petoro AS (30 percent) and Centrica (20 percent).
Centrica Plugs, Abandons Butch Southwest
Jan 10, 2012 – Centrica has ended drilling of a sidetrack well on the Butch South West exploration prospect in Production License 405 B. After successfully drilling the Butch discovery and first sidetrack appraisal well, the partnership decided to drill a second sidetrack well from the same surface location. The objective of the well was to target additional oil volumes in an exploration prospect located to the south of Butch within a new segment containing the same reservoir. However, problems were encountered while drilling the section above the main reservoir. The partnership plans to drill a new well located closer to the prospect. The well was plugged and abandoned. The partnership includes Centrica (operator, 40 percent), Faroe (15 percent), Suncor Energy (30 percent) and Spring Energy (15 percent).
Project Details: Butch
Valiant Gets Thumbs Up to Develop Causeway
Jan 10, 2012 – The Department of Energy and Climate Change has approved Valiant’s Causeway Field Development Plan. The Borgsten Dolphin (mid-water semisub) is booked to complete the existing production and water injection wells on the field with first oil targeted for the second half of 2012. Development plans call for the drilling of a new production well and a water injection well in the East and Far East fault panels. A production well will be completed with dual electrical submersible pumps. Hydrocarbons will be sent to and processed at the Cormorant North platform operated by TAQA Bratani Limited before being exported to the Sullom Voe terminal. Causeway is located on Blocks 211/22a and 211/23d in a water depth of 350 feet (107 meters) in the UK sector of the North Sea. Valiant operates the field.
Project Details: Causeway
Sterling Resources to Spud Cladhan South in 1Q12
Jan 10, 2012 – Sterling Resources issued a letter of intent to use the Sedco 704 (mid-water semisub) to drill the Cladhan South prospect in the first half of 2012. Cladhan South is an upper Jurassic channelized sand play immediately to the south of the existing Cladhan discovery. The Cladhan field is located on Blocks 210/29a and 210/30a in a water depth of 1,634 feet (498 meters). Serving as operator of the field is Sterling Resources, holding a 39.9% interest; EnCore holds 16.6%; Wintershall holds 33.5%; and Dyas holds the remaining 10%.
Project Details: Cladhan
Det norske Spuds Kalvklumpen Prospect
Jan 10, 2012 – Det norske has commenced drilling exploratory well, 25/6-4 S in license PL 414 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The target for the well is the Kalvklumpen prospect, and drilling is being conducted by the Songa Delta (mid-water semisub). The partners in the license include Det norske (operator, 40 percent), Noreco (20 percent), Faroe Petroleum (20 percent) and Bayerngas (20 percent).
Project Details: Kalvklumpen
Drilling Ops to Bloom at Orchid Prospect
Jan 10, 2012 – Valiant plans to spud the Orchid prospect in the middle of the first quarter of 2012. The operator will use the Sedco 711 (mid-water semisub) to drill the well. Orchid is a dual target, four-way dip closure at Tertiary and Chalk level located in Block 29/1c in the UK sector of the North Sea. Valiant estimates gross prospective resources for the entire prospect to be 30 MMboe.
Project Details: Orchid
Statoil Makes Significant Discovery in Barents Sea
Jan 9, 2012 – Statoil has made a substantial oil discovery at the Havis prospect in Production License 532 in the Barents Sea. Well 7220/7-1, drilled by the Transocean Barents (UDW semisub), proved a 157-foot (48-meter) gas column and a 420-foot (128-meter) oil column. The operator estimates that the volumes in Havis are between 200 to 300 bbl of recoverable oil equivalents. The well reached a vertical depth of 7,218 feet (2,200 meters) in a water depth of 1,198 feet (365 meters). Statoil serves as the operator of PL 532 with a 50 percent stake; while Eni holds 30 percent and Petoro holds 20 percent.
Project Details: Havis
First Oil Acquires Stake in Kraken Discovery
Jan 9, 2012 – EnQuest has agreed with Canamens Limited to acquire two of its companies, whose assets include a 20 percent stake in the Kraken oil discovery. EnQuest will pay an initial consideration of US $45 million dollars in cash and a further $45 million in cash, contingent upon approval of the Kraken field development plan by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Through this transaction, EnQuest will acquire a 20 percent interest in Blocks 9/2b and 9/2c, including the Kraken discovery. Kraken is estimated to hold gross contingent resources of 160 MMboe for Block 9/2b and 9/2c. EnQuest also acquired further potential exploration upside in Blocks 3/22a and 3/29 and in Blocks 9/6a and 9/7b. Kraken is a large heavy oil accumulation in the UK North Sea, located in the East Shetland basin, to the west of the North Viking Graben. It is being progressed to the development stage. Kraken FDP approval is anticipated in H2 2012. The operator of Kraken, Nautical, has a 50 percent interest, with the remaining 30 percent interest held by First Oil.
Project Details: Kraken
NPD Grants Statoil Drilling Permit for Well 30/6-28 S
Jan 9, 2012 – The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate granted Statoil a drilling permit for well 30/6-28 S in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The drilling permit for well 30/6-28 S relates to the drilling of a wildcat well in Production License 053. The area in this license consists of parts of Block 30/6 on the Oseberg field, between Oseberg A and Oseberg C. The Oseberg Center is located on Blocks 30/6 and 30/9 in the northern part of the North Sea at a water depth of 328 feet (100 meters). Statoil serves as the operator of the Oseberg Center and holds a 49.30 percent interest.
Project Details: Oseberg Center

US Embargo Hampers Cuba’s Quest for Offshore Oil

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Cuba is blaming the 49-year-old U.S. economic embargo for delaying the start of oil exploration efforts in the Communist-ruled island’s territorial waters.  An article published Monday in the official weekly Trabajadores refers to “countless” cases over the past two decades in which the United States obstructed Cuba’s quest for a domestic oil industry.

The embargo makes it harder and more expensive for Cuba to obtain needed equipment, the magazine said, while also accusing Washington of pressuring and “blackmailing” foreign energy companies interested in doing business on the island.

Cuba needs the latest technology for deepwater exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, but, because of the embargo, cannot use any equipment that has more than 10 percent U.S. content.

Finding gear that meets both of those requirements is difficult “in a world where the transnationals of that country (the United States) have wide predominance,” Trabajadores said.

An offshore platform commissioned by Spanish oil major Repsol-YPF from companies in China and Singapore is expected to arrive in Cuba at year’s end to begin drilling in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

The zone, which is estimated to hold up to 9 billion barrels of petroleum, covers some 112,000 sq. kilometers (43,240 sq. miles) and is divided into 59 blocks of 2,000 sq. kilometers (772 sq. miles) each.

Repsol is one of several foreign oil companies, including Venezuelan state-owned giant PDVSA, Norway’s Statoil-Hyrdo and PetroVietnam, that have obtained concessions to drill in the zone.

A group of 34 Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Washington recently sent a letter to Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau warning that the company could face legal action in the United States if it does not abandon its offshore drilling plans.

Repsol-YPF responded by saying that its activities would strictly comply with U.S. laws governing the Cuban embargo.

The article in Trabajadores also criticized Washington for its refusal to engage in “constructive conversations” with Havana on the safety aspects of offshore oil projects.

William Reilly, a former head of the Environmental Protection Agency who co-headed an investigative commission that probed the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, last month led a delegation of U.S. oil and environmental experts to Cuba to advise on how to avoid accidents during deepwater drilling.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune

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Vietnam Approves Full Development Plan for Te Giac Trang Field

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The Company has been informed by the Hoang Long Joint Operating Company, the Operator of Block 16-1 in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam, that PetroVietnam has relayed the Government of Vietnam’s agreement to the extension period for the Te Giac Den Appraisal area.

The extension period is for 15 months (from 1st January 2011 to 30th April 2012) or 21 months (from 1st January 2011 to 31st October 2012) in the event that the Company elects to drill a well.

Several 3D seismic acquisition options are currently being reviewed and it is anticipated that acquisition of the 150 square kilometre 3D programme will commence in late June to early July 2011.

PetroVietnam has also informed the Company that the Government of Vietnam has approved the Full Development Plan for the Te Giac Trang Field, incorporating the second phase development. Installation activities in the field are ongoing and the H4 jacket for second phase drilling and production has been installed. The project remains on target for Phase I production start in August 2011.

Original Article

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