Monthly Archives: May 2011
I checked into the emergency for testing and treating. I have kept up with reading most posts, but is hard to remain awake. Like now I am getting sleepy again and the pain is a 10 out of a 10.
By Trent Jacobs, Helix Energy Solutions
Currently there are more than 5,000 subsea wells scattered across the globe, with more being drilled every day. Many of those wells are already a decade old with many more not far behind. That’s why in the last several years the techniques offered through well intervention have become ever more necessary to keep up with rising global demand for oil and gas.
Well intervention holds the potential to extend the productive life of aging wells and repair damaged or underperforming wells. Well intervention can bring oil and gas companies substantially higher profits off otherwise non-economical wells. Helix ESG’s well intervention unit, Helix Well Ops, is the global leader in this specialized arena of offshore work and boasts some of the most advanced assets the industry has to offer.
But what exactly is well intervention?
Generally speaking, well intervention is any process that enhances the quality of the subsea well, provides data to help manage the production rate of the well or shuts off and safely abandons a flowing well.
One of the biggest challenges in subsea well intervention is keeping costs down. So rigorous and extensive preplanning is used to identify the best potential solutions while mitigating a multitude of known and unknown risks.
After assessing a particular well’s condition and selecting a proper treatment, which could involve a number of different procedures and contingency plans, a specific type of vessel is then selected to carry out the task. Most operations can be carried out using light and medium intervention vessels equipped with dynamic positioning like Helix ESG’s monohull vessels the Seawell and the Well Enhancer, but for heavy intervention work, like redrilling an under-producing well, an offshore drilling unit is needed.
Among all the various types of well intervention operations, through tubing is the most commonly applied. Through-tubing enables recompletion, stimulation or repair work to be done inside a flowing oil or gas production line for the entire length of the well.
This procedure is used to complete many different tasks including the removal of obstructions inside the well that may be blocking the flow of hydrocarbons, simply evaluating the well’s condition, stimulating the well chemically or repairing a damaged well casing. Each job requires a specific type of tool that can be delivered down inside the well itself and in light intervention procedures the systems used include coiled tubing, electric line (e-line), slickline and braided wireline.
Slickline is an unbraided wire used to deliver a wide array of specialized tools down into the well for maintenance and data collection. E-lines provide more flexibility for mechanical and electrical operations and can also send back real time logging data which means engineers don’t have to wait for the tool to be pulled back out of the well to learn of its condition.
E-lines can include the use of a braided line which is more complex than slickline and requires a special grease injection system to ensure there is enough pressure for the blowout preventer to seal around the wire as it goes down into the well.
Braided lines are stronger that slicklines and can be used to perforate wellbores with explosive charges or fish out logging and monitoring tools placed deep inside the well. Both slickline and e-line jobs can be completed without the use of a rigid riser that connects the subsea well head to a vessel floating on the surface.
Coiled tubing is by far the most effective and versatile tool for well intervention. Coiled tubing is a continuous string of tubing that can be rolled onto a spool and is used is often used to pump chemicals or gasses directly into the well to relieve blockage and increase flow. But coiled tubing is used for a wide variety of other tasks such as drilling, logging, cleaning, cementing,” fishing” out tools and well completion and production. In many cases coiled tubing requires a riser or a subsea tool known as an injector head that is placed on top of the well and can cut through the coil to shut off the flow of oil or gas if an unexpected problem arises. To perform these types of operations offshore,
Well Ops has a world class fleet of three purpose built vessels and an arsenal of heavy well intervention equipment that can be mobilized for work in all of the world’s major offshore oil and gas fields.
The mono-hull Seawell pioneered the light well intervention market with its inception over 20 years ago and continues to provide riser-less well intervention solutions in the North Sea. The Seawell is capable of conducting wireline and e-line operations and utilizes its diving capabilities for wells that can only be accessed by divers.
The cutting-edge Well Enhancer, launched in 2009 and also based in the North Sea, provides open water and riser based intervention services supported by diving and ROV capabilities.
Well Ops flagship, the Q4000, is one of the world’s most unique multi-service vessels and entered into service in the Gulf of Mexico in 2002. As a highly cost-effective alternative to using a drilling rig, the Q4000 is capable of virtually every type of well intervention operation, including subsea oil spill containment, and is can work in water depths beyond 10,000 feet.
- Interwell raises the bar in well intervention technology (mb50.wordpress.com)
- STX Finland Inks Contract with Eide Marine Services for Two Well Intervention Vessels (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Sarah: deepwater intervention vessel (mb50.wordpress.com)
Distrigas of Massachusetts LLC, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, announced that it is providing LNG (liquefied natural gas) to the first LNG refueling station east of the Mississippi River.
Enviro Express Natural Gas, LLC owns and operates the combination LNG and CNG (compressed natural gas) refueling station in Bridgeport, Connecticut, adjacent to Interstate 95. This represents the first time LNG has been sold as a vehicle fuel from Distrigas’s Everett Marine Terminal.
“Interest in LNG to power fleet vehicles is increasing significantly as diesel fuel and gasoline prices continue to climb,” said Joe Murphy, vice president, Sales and Transportation for Distrigas. “The difference in fuel and maintenance costs and the environmental benefits make LNG an attractive vehicle fuel alternative.”
The public-access refueling station presently provides LNG to Enviro Express’ new commercial fleet of 18 Kenworth T800 semi tractor-trailers and CNG to fleet customers. Enviro Express is a waste collection and transport company, which uses its fleet to haul ash and other refuse from Bridgeport to Putnam, Connecticut, a 110-mile trip.
Partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the $6.2 million project is part of the larger Connecticut Clean Cities Future Fuels project.
By switching to LNG, Enviro Express’ fleet is able to displace approximately 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually and remove hundreds of tons of particulate emissions from the air. The switch to a cleaner fuel should also lower vehicle maintenance costs and allow the trucks to travel farther between oil changes. Additional savings is realized because the price of LNG is much lower than the price of diesel fuel and gasoline.
Adding to the environmental benefit, the fueling station is a closed system which recaptures boil-off from the LNG that would otherwise vent into the atmosphere and compresses it to be stored as CNG.
“LNG is lighter than diesel, so we can go farther, cleaner, and improve load efficiency by hauling more with the same vehicle,” said Bill Malone, of Enviro Express.
By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, May 10 — DCP Midstream LLC, Denver, and Targa Resources Partners LP, Houston, have reached agreements that will, according to the joint announcement, provide a “long-term anchor commitment” to DCP Midstream’s Sandhills Pipeline and an interconnect of the pipeline to a new delivery point with Targa’s Cedar Bayou fractionators’ plant at Mont Belvieu, Tex.
DCP is negotiating with several customers, it said, to sign long-term commitments to the Sandhills Pipeline.
Additionally, DCP and Targa reached a long-term anchor commitment by DCP for a new 100,000-b/d fractionation expansion at the Mont Belvieu plant, which Targa operates and of which it is majority owner.
In November 2010, DCP Midstream began an open season and is currently securing right-of-way and environmental permits for the Sandhills Pipeline. The new 700-mile system will move Y-grade NGLs from gas plants in the Permian basin and South Texas to various fractionators along the Gulf Coast along with the Mont Belvieu NGL hub.
The Sandhills Pipeline will serve NGL transportation needs at Targa’s gas plants, existing DCP gas plants, and the 200-MMcfd DCP Eagle plant designed to serve Eagle Ford shale gas development. The Sandhills pipeline and CBF target first-half 2013 for completion of construction and start up.
Significantly, the Sandhills Pipeline along with CBF’s new fractionation expansion will allow DCP to handle producers’ increased liquid-rich natural gas production from the new Avalon Shale-Bone Springs areas, said the announcement, as well as the Eagle Ford shale area.
Queensland’s recent heavy rains and floods could delay the expansion of BG Group’s $18 billion Queensland Curtis LNG plant at Gladstone because the British gas giant has been unable to shore up gas reserves as quickly as it had hoped.
Speaking to investors in London on Tuesday night, chief executive Frank Chapman said BG was still targeting a mid-2012 sanction of a third LNG production train at Gladstone.
“The name of the game at the moment is the maturation of that reserves and resources base within that period,” Mr Chapman said.
“That has suffered some impact because of the flooding and the impact that’s had on access to drilling sites, but we’re still focused on moving some of that prospective resource into a more, higher confidence level to underpin a third train.”
Despite the rains, BG was still on track for first LNG exports from Gladstone in 2014, he said.
BG was the first of three big CSG-to-LNG proponents planning exports out of Gladstone from 2014.
Mr Chapman joined the chorus of voices touting stronger LNG demand because of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster.
He said the flow-on effect was likely to be long-term. “After (the) Three Mile Island (1979 nuclear accident) in the US, we saw lead times for nuclear projects going out to something like 12 or 13 years, and associated with that will be increased costs associated with more stringent regulatory safety requirements,” he said.
“All of this, I think will result in medium to long-term higher gas demand for power, and as a consequence, extra demand for LNG, and this is going to cause a further tightening of a market situation which we already regarded as quite tight.”
After a competitive tender process, Technip has been awarded by Statoil Brasil Óleo & Gàs Ltda. a frame agreement for engineering studies. The scope of this 3-year contract covers feasibility, concept and front-end engineering design studies for Statoil’s existing offshore production fields and future developments in Brazil.
All work will be performed by Technip’s operating center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with support from the Group’s European centers, and will achieve a minimum 60% of local content.
This award reinforces Technip’s leading position as engineering services supplier to the Brazilian market where the Group previously carried out similar feasibility, conceptual and front-end engineering design projects for Petrobras, OGX, OSX and Maersk.
Technip is a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry.
From the deepest Subsea oil & gas developments to the largest and most complex Offshore and Onshore infrastructures, our 23,000 people are constantly offering the best solutions and most innovative technologies to meet the world’s energy challenges.
Present in 48 countries, Technip has state-of-the-art industrial assets on all continents and operates a fleet of specialized vessels for pipeline installation and subsea construction.
Hezbollah Considered To Be More Advanced Than Al-Qaida
San Diego News
“They are recognized by many experts as the ‘A’ team of Muslim terrorist organizations,” a former U.S. intelligence agent told 10News.
The former agent, referring to Shi’a Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, added, “They certainly have had successes in big-ticket bombings.”
Some of the group’s bombings include the U.S. embassy in Beirut and Israeli embassy in Argentina.
However, the group is now active much closer to San Diego.
“We are looking at 15 or 20 years that Hezbollah has been setting up shop in Mexico,” the agent told 10News.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. policy has focused on al-Qaida and its offshoots.
“They are more shooters than thinkers … it’s a lot of muscles, courage, desire but not a lot of training,” the agent said, referring to al-Qaida.
Hezbollah, he said, is far more advanced.
“Their operators are far more skilled … they are the equals of Russians, Chinese or Cubans,” he said. “I consider Hezbollah much more dangerous in that sense because of strategic thinking; they think more long-term.”
Hezbolah has operated in South America for decades and then Central America, along with their sometime rival, sometime ally Hamas.
Now, the group is blending into Shi’a Muslim communities in Mexico, including Tijuana. Other pockets along the U.S.-Mexico border region remain largely unidentified as U.S. intelligence agencies are focused on the drug trade.
“They have had clandestine training in how to live in foreign hostile territories,” the agent said.
The agent, who has spent years deep undercover in Mexico, said Hezbollah is partnering with drug organizations, but which ones is not clear at this time.
He told 10News the group receives cartel cash and protection in exchange for Hezbollah expertise.
“From money laundering to firearms training and explosives training,” the agent said.
For example, he tracked, along with Mexican intelligence, two Hezbollah operatives in safe houses in Tijuana and Durango
“I confirmed the participation of cartel members as well as other Hezbollah individuals living and operating out of there,” he said.
Tunnels the cartels have built that cross from Mexico into the U.S. have grown increasingly sophisticated. It is a learned skill, the agent said points to Hezbollah’s involvement.
“Where are the knowledgeable tunnel builders? Certainly in the Middle East,” he said.
Why have Americans not heard more about Hezbollah’s activities happening so close to the border?
“If they really wanted to start blowing stuff up, they could do it,” the agent said.
According to the agent, the organization sees the U.S. as their “cash cow,” with illegal drug and immigration operations. Many senior Hezbollah leaders are wealthy businessmen, the agent said.
“The money they are sending back to Lebanon is too important right now to jeopardize those operations,” he said.
The agent said the real concern is the group’s long-term goal of radicalizing Muslim communities.
“They’re focusing on developing … infiltrating communities within North America,” the agent told 10News.
Published on May 11, 2011 by Nicolas Loris
The bipartisan New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NATGAS) Act provides preferential tax treatment to subsidize the production, use, and purchase of natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Supporters argue that it promotes transportation fuel competition and reduces foreign oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions.
In reality, the NATGAS Act simply transfers a portion of the actual costs of using and producing NGVs to taxpayers. Special tax credits create the perception that NGVs are more competitive than they actually are by artificially reducing their price for consumers. Rather than increase competition, this artificial market distortion gives NGVs an unfair price advantage over other technologies.
Unfortunately, this shortcut to market viability does not work. Indeed, Washington has an abysmal record of picking energy winners and losers. Instead of adding more market distortions to the energy sector, Congress should remove energy subsidies and increase access to America’s resources.
The Market Is Already Working
The legislation creates, expands, or extends tax credits that subsidize NGVs. Supporters argue that the legislation would help NGV vehicle and infrastructure producers overcome investment obstacles and begin introducing new technologies to the marketplace. The truth, however, is that NGVs are already available, and nothing is stopping the market from expanding. The notion that no alternative fuels compete with gasoline is just not true. Consumers can choose vehicles that are powered by electricity, natural gas, or biofuels, as well as hybrid vehicles.
In fact, the trade group Natural Gas Vehicles for America claims that the United States has 110,000 NGVs and that more than 12 million NGVs are on the roads worldwide. Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens, a supporter of the bill, boasted in a recent speech that he owns a Honda Civic GX that he fuels with natural gas for less than $1 per gallon. At a UPS facility, President Obama challenged transportation fleets to switch their vehicles to natural gas because it would be good for their bottom lines. But if natural gas vehicles are economically competitive, vehicle manufacturers will make them and consumers will switch over without market manipulation from Washington.
A full-fledged competitive NGV fleet may eventually emerge. Rising gas prices make alternatives like NGVs more economically inviting, which should move investment to those technologies. That happens most efficiently when it is the result of a market-based response as opposed to government intervention. Indeed, government intervention to promote one technology over another only interferes in the process and creates another set of government-picked, taxpayer-funded winners and losers.
Reducing Foreign Dependence No Excuse for Bad Policy
The focus on decreasing energy dependence through government intervention and market distortion is folly. Policies that maximize access to a broad array of energy sources, domestic and foreign, will best serve Americans. A market-based approach would ensure that every American has access to affordable energy by putting a premium on sound economics through competition and choice.
This is not the approach of the NATGAS Act, which would make America economically weaker. When the government artificially lowers the cost of production, manufacturers must forgo the value of the goods they might have produced had they allocated their time, effort, and other resources in alternative ways. In this case, the NATGAS Act uses tax credits to create the perception of lower costs. This will fool consumers into purchasing more of these vehicles. Further, those hidden costs now have to be paid by someone else—the taxpayer. This leaves fewer resources for more productive activities.
A better approach to decreasing energy dependence is for the federal government to remove unnecessary rules and regulations that restrict access to all types of energy sources.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions No Excuse for Bad Policy
Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is another dubious policy goal. Years of pressure from political leaders has forced significant changes in much of the business community. Energy producers became vested stakeholders and lobbied for handouts to produce what Congress determined to be cleaner energy. If these sources can compete without help from the government, the consumer will benefit through increased competition and lower costs. But creating an artificial market to reduce GHG emissions ignores both consumer preferences and economic fundamentals.
Moreover, Congress continues to ignore the vigorous disagreement within the scientific community concerning the effects of anthropogenic global warming. Policy should never rest on a shaky set of assumptions, particularly when it can have far-reaching implications for American businesses and everyday Americans and could therefore fundamentally alter decisions in ways that harm America’s productive system of free enterprise.
Subsidies Do Not Work
Proponents of NGVs argue that because other alternative transportation technologies receive preferential treatment, so should natural gas. The problem is that government subsidies have a proven track record of not working. Congress should therefore remove subsidies from the transportation fuel market, not increase them.
Subsidies centralize power in Washington and allow lobbyists and politicians to decide which companies will produce. The more concentrated the subsidy or preferential treatment, the worse the policy is because the crowding-out effect is larger.
The NATGAS Act is a perfect example. Soon after its introduction, the National Propane Gas Association understandably voiced its opposition to the bill because the tax credits do not include propane gas. And that is just one problem with such bills: They distort the competitive process that so capably yields affordable and viable products, moving the decision-making process from the marketplace to Washington. Consumers, not Washington, should decide whether NGVs are better than propane.
Furthermore, subsidies funnel money toward projects that have little market support and offset the private-sector costs for investment that would have been made either way. This creates industry complacency and perpetuates economic inefficiency by disconnecting market success from production costs. By artificially lowering the cost of investment, subsidies take resources away from more competitive projects. The fact that other transportation fuels receive government support is not a good reason to continue or expand special treatment for natural gas. It is a good reason to remove those subsidies.
More Handouts, No Solutions
Pieces of legislation like the NATGAS Act will not be a quick fix for high gas prices and are not the way to reduce either America’s dependence on foreign oil or GHG emissions. They provide special benefits to one industry, distorting the market and misallocating resources away from potentially more economically viable alternatives.
If Congress truly wants to promote NGVs, it should eliminate subsidies in the transportation industry and consider other market-oriented policies—such as full expensing, lowering corporate tax rates, and removing barriers to drilling—that would incentivize the production of profitable endeavors and ultimately lower prices through competition.
Nicolas D. Loris is a Policy Analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.