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ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania)

ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited Nassau (Bahamas) is seeking for diving services using a remotely operated vehicle for a drilling programme in the Black Sea.

The objective of the framework agreement is for ExxonMobil to be able to access the resources identified as necessary for the provision of services under the contract.

Minimum and maximum operating 380 – 1,309 days of operation with mobilisation and demobilisation days are included in the tender.

The project has a value between USD8 million and USD30 million with duration of 48 months.

ExxonMobil is expecting the tenders to be submitted until November 06, 2012.

Subsea World News – ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania).

 

Solstad, Ocean Installer Order Subsea Construction Vessel from STX OSV (Norway)

STX OSV Holdings Limited (“STX OSV”), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of offshore and specialized vessels,  has received an order for the design and construction of a large, advanced Offshore Subsea Construction Vessel (OSCV) for Ocean Installer and Solstad Offshore.

The contract value amounts to approximately NOK 1.4 billion. Ocean Installer and Solstad will have joint ownership of the vessel, which is to be operated by Ocean Installer. The vessel is scheduled for delivery from STX OSV in Norway in 2Q  2014. The hull will be delivered from STX OSV in Romania. The contract is subject to board approval by the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credits (GIEK), expected to be received on or around 20 June 2012.

The vessel, of type OSCV 06L, has been designed by STX OSV and Solstad in close cooperation with Ocean Installer, and is highly advanced in terms of station keeping, efficiency and operational performance. The vessel is designed to operate efficiently under demanding conditions and is well fitted for SURF (Subsea,Umbilicals, Risers, Flowlines) operations.

The vessel is 156.7 meters long, 27 meters wide and has an aft cargo deck area of 2,100 m2. She will be equipped with a 150 t Vertical Lay System (VLS) and a 3,000 t below deck carousel, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in hangars launched through moonpools, and two AHC offshore cranes (400 t and 100 t) which both can operate down to depths of 3,000 meters. The accommodation facilities will have a capacity of 140 persons. The vessel is designed according to the latest environmental standards with focus on low fuel consumption.

Steinar Riise, CEO of Ocean Installer said: “We are very satisfied with placing the contract for this new-build, and are looking forward to developing our operations with this vessel, which is built for heavy construction work, and is highly advanced when it comes to station keeping, efficiency and operational performance. This investment is in line with our growth strategy, as the vessel is capable of conducting the full range of subsea construction operations in the global market. Moreover, this joint venture consolidates the strategic cooperation between Solstad and Ocean Installer”

Ocean Installer is a Norwegian subsea entrepreneur headquartered in Stavanger,Norway. Ocean Installer holds strong EPCI expertise within the SURF (Subsea, Umbilicals, Risers, Flowlines) segment and is rapidly expanding its operations andorganization within and beyond the North Sea basin. Solstad Offshore ASA is among the largest shipping companies in Norway, providing advanced vessels and extensive maritime competence for operations related to the offshore petroleum industry. The company has about 1,600 employees, and operates 50 vessels all over the world. Solstad Offshore is headquartered in Skudeneshavn, Norway and has branch offices in Brazil, Singapore, United Kingdom and Australia

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STX OSV to Build Two OSCVs for Siem Offshore (Norway)

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STX OSV Holdings Limited (“STX OSV”), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of offshore and specialized vessels,  has secured new contracts for the design and construction of two Offshore Subsea Construction Vessels (“OSCV”) for Siem Offshore in Norway.

The vessels will be of STX OSV’s OSCV 11 design. The vessels will have an overall length of 121 meters, a beam of 22 meters and will be equipped with a 250t AHC crane.

Deliveries are scheduled from STX OSV Brattvaag in Norway in 3Q and 4Q 2013. The hulls of the vessels will be delivered from STX OSV Tulcea in Romania.  STX OSV also has two Platform Supply Vessels under construction in Brazil for the same customer.

Siem Offshore Inc. is an owner and operator of modern support vessels for the global oil and gas service industry. The Company has currently a fleet of 44 vessels, of which 5 are under construction. The fleet includes large Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessels, Platform Supply Vessels, and other support vessels. Siem Offshore is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

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ExxonMobil, OMV Petrom Strike Gas Offshore Romania

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ExxonMobil’s affiliate EMEPRL Corporation and OMV Petrom SA, the 51% subsidiary of OMV Aktiengesellschaft, today confirmed a potentially significant gas discovery in the Black Sea offshore Romania.

Operated by ExxonMobil, the Domino-1 well is the first deep water exploration well offshore Romania and has a total depth of more than 3,000 meters below sea level. The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kilometers offshore in water approximately 930 meters deep.

The exploration well encountered 70.7 meters of net gas pay, resulting in a preliminary estimate for the accumulation ranging from 1.5 to 3 trillion cubic feet (42 to 84 billion cubic meters). Drilling operations started at year-end 2011 and are in the process to be finalized. ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom plan new 3D seismic acquisition during 2012. The evaluation of the Domino-1 well results and the new seismic will determine next steps.

Petrom’s report says that it is too early in the data evaluation and exploration process to determine whether the Neptun block will ultimately prove to be commercially developable or not. However, should further work confirm the technical and commercial feasibility of deep water gas production from the Neptun block, further investment during both the exploration and development phases could reach several billion USD with the potential for first production towards the end of the decade at the earliest.

The drilling of Romania’s first deepwater well began last month. The well is being drilled by the world-class, sixth generation drillship, Deepwater Champion, which recently transited to Romanian waters after completing its drilling program offshore Turkey.

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Analysis: Bulgaria’s Shale Gas and the Wider Geo-Economic Game

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In mid-2011, the Bulgarian government announced it would provide shale gas exploration licenses to Chevron for the Northern part of the country.  Under the terms of the agreement the company would pay around $30 Million USD in order to begin its project. Initial findings pegged assumed reserves anywhere from 300 BCM up to 1 TCM. These prospects presented for shale gas were quite significant, not just for Bulgaria but for the whole of Europe.  It should be noted that reserves likely extend to the neighboring state of Romania, which is just a few kilometers from the country’s Northern borders.

Nevertheless, soon NGO‘s and various environmental and citizen’s groups started campaigning against shale gas exploration, citing the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking). These campaigns took the form of street protests, Internet broadcasts and intense lobbying of local councilors and politicians, which eventually forced the government to retreat from its original plans that spoke of making Bulgaria the shale gas champion in Europe.

The Center Left party (Socialist) in Bulgaria that is often perceived by outsiders as pro-Russian took a leading role in opposing shale gas research. In the Bulgarian Parliament two judicial initiatives were submitted with regards to this.

The first was drafted by three members of parliament of the Socialist party that proposed a complete ban on research and exploitation of any shale gas reserves in the country. The second initiative was drafted by the incumbent government and called for a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas until a new environmental-friendly method is found.

Media reports from Bulgaria have often mentioned the initiatives both by the Socialists and the environmental NGO’s to be linked to the interests of Russian gas companies, namely Gazprom. In fact the Minister for Economy and Energy, Traicho Traikov, went as far as saying in public that behind all protests, powerful energy import interests are to be found, indirectly pointing the finger at the Russians.

It is important to note that Ivaylo Kalfin, a leading Socialist politician, organized the local movement against shale gas in Northern Bulgaria where Chevron was to explore. Moreover, two out of the three Socialist MP’s that drafted the judicial initiative against shale gas had signed in the past when they were in government important energy deals with Gazprom. The third MP has business collaborations with a consultancy that supports the construction of the Belene thermonuclear power station, which was awarded to the Russian company, but has been “frozen” as a project over the past two years.

Furthermore, it is widely known that the current Bulgarian government is seen as anti-Russian under Premier Boyko Borizov, who has effectively frozen many bilateral agreements with Moscow, ranging from Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline to the South Stream pipeline gas project to the Belene nuclear station. Thus, the question arises: why did the Bulgarian government decide to stop a project that may eventually lead to the diversification of its energy dependence from Russia?

The answer is that Bulgaria has already started a whole range of initiatives in order to decrease its dependence by interlinking its system with that of Greece and Turkey and by bidding for a pipeline route in the Southern Corridor through its territory. Also, Russia exerts considerable influence in Bulgaria and it is likely that Borisov’s government decided that it is the best not to oppose Russia any further, bearing in mind that the opposition against shale gas exploration in the country was not solemnly coordinated by Moscow and really had strong domestic social support against it.

A third answer is that strong domestic energy interests, that are anti-Russian but also pro-natural gas, have played their role in undermining shale gas explorations. These interests are in favor of importing natural gas from markets such as Azerbaijan, thus they viewed shale gas as their opponent as they have traditionally viewed Gazprom as well.

The story though does not end in Bulgaria alone. On the 26th of January, Borislav Sandov, one of the leaders of the opposition against shale gas, made statements in the Bulgarian media and supported protests against shale gas exploration in Romania as well. There was a protest at the Romanian Embassy in Sofia and it seems that Bulgarian and Romanian NGO’s are coordinating their activities. In parallel, the government in Romania is battered by an ongoing wave of protests by state unions and workers against its economic policies, and the ability of Bucharest to resist yet another campaign against its policies is decreasing. Lastly, the especially harsh winter period in both Bulgaria and Romania with temperatures in major cities reaching minus 32 degrees Celsius and with a considerable number of casualties, has increased significantly the natural gas imports from Gazprom, which seems in any case to be the only sure winner from all of these developments and the current failure of shale gas explorations in these particular countries.

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ExxonMobil, Petrom Strike Gas in Black Sea

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ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania and OMV Petrom, said on Friday that natural gas has been encountered in Domino‐1, the first deepwater exploration well in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea.

This is encouraging, but it is too early in the data evaluation and exploration process to speculate on whether it will prove to be commercial or not,” the two companies said in a statement.

The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kilometers offshore in water about 1000 meters deep.

Drilling operations started at year-end 2011 and are ongoing.

The total depth of the well is expected to be more than 3000 metres below sea level.

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