Daily Archives: October 11, 2011

USA: HWCG Chooses Sonardyne Acoustics for New GoM Well Containment Response System


Sonardyne’s wideband acoustic monitoring technology has been selected to play a key role in a new, emergency well containment system built by Trendsetter Engineering Inc. for the Helix Well Containment Group (HWCG).

The Helix Well Containment Group’s capping stack is the most advanced well response system in the world and was built by Trendsetter Engineering. The Sonardyne acoustic monitoring system is clearly visible on the upper left of the structure.

HWCG is a consortium of 24 operators in the Gulf of Mexico who have come together with the common goal of expanding capabilities and pooling technical expertise to quickly and comprehensively respond in the event of a deepwater well control incident.

The new emergency well response system comprises an intervention capping stack that would be placed over a damaged well to stop its flow. Its advanced design makes it capable of capturing and processing up to 55,000 barrels of oil per day and 95 million cubic feet of natural gas per day at surface pressures of up to 10,000 psig.

During an emergency, the supplied Sonardyne data acquisition system would be used to remotely monitor pressure and temperature sensors fitted to the capping stack. The system consists of a Surface Command Unit, intelligent Deep Acoustic Remote Transducers (DARTs) and a Subsea Electronics Module (SEM) that is capable of transmitting data at high speed to the surface for immediate analysis.

Mario Lugo, president of Trendsetter Engineering said, “The performance of Sonardyne’s wideband signal technology during the Macondo incident was a key factor for its selection. The technology was shown to work reliably in areas of extreme subsea noise. This is now the second time we have worked with Sonardyne on a system of this nature.”

The intervention capping stack will be continuously maintained by Trendsetter’s technical experts at its facilities in North Houston, where it will remain on-call for immediate deployment in the unlikely event that a deepwater well’s blowout preventer (BOP) fails to operate as designed.

Original Article

Norway: Goliat Field Goes Online


ABB and SPT Group have been selected to deliver the Flow Assurance System (FAS) and the subsea part of the Operator Training Simulator (OTS) for the Goliat field.

Using OLGA as the core tool for monitoring the subsea production system and critical production parameters will allow Eni Norge AS, as the operator of the field, to ensure optimal production and guide operators throughout the field life.

The online simulator solution adds significant value to planning and operation. Teaming up with the world leading automation vendor ABB, we provide Goliat with a unique and powerful solution”, says Senior Vice President for Global e-Field Solutions in SPT Group, Mr. Knut Erik Spilling.

OLGA is the industry leading dynamic multiphase flow simulator. Models built in OLGA are accessible, proven and trusted by the industry. Open, reusable and modifiable models support project continuity from early design through operations and asset management.

Project Details

Goliat will be the first oil field developed in the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea. Despite a relatively modest field size, Goliat will be of considerable importance to the county of Finnmark and the future development of the petroleum industry in the far north. The production will start in 2013 and will be in operation at least 10-15 years. Goliat is owned by Eni Norge AS (65%) and Statoil Petroleum AS (35%).

Flow Assurance Solutions

The FAS continuously monitor the full production system from wells to the topside receiving facility.

The system incorporates virtual flow metering of all the production wells and tailored deduction testing. The system also covers applications and functions for handling critical operational issues such as well-testing, hydrates, wax deposition and slugging. Running the FAS into the future allows seamless advance warnings and alarms displayed in the ABB control system.

The OLGA models built for the engineering studies are adapted by SPT Group for use in the OTS, and interfaced to INDISS dynamic process simulator delivered by the simulation company RSI and a control & safety system from ABB. This provides operators integrated training on the full scope of the production system and processing facility. In addition to training for normal operation, instructors can set up failure modes for training on abnormal situations. Some of the challenging scenarios modeled in OLGA include hydrate formation, MEG injection and ramp-up.

Original Article

President Obama’s Attack on the Oil Companies


BY MERRILL MATTHEWS – A widely recognized economic principle is that when you subsidize something, you get more of it, and when you tax it, you get less.

Unfortunately President Obama‘s guiding economic principle is to impose more taxes on profitable companies and subsidize those that can’t make a dime. It’s no wonder the economy is struggling.

Nothing better exemplifies the president’s economic principle than his continued effort to end “special tax breaks” for the oil and gas companies.

The industry is doing well right now. Royal Dutch Shell Oil‘s profits were up 77 percent in 2010, and Exxon Mobile‘s were up 41 percent in the second quarter.

But they are far from being the most profitable companies in the country. According to Fortune magazine‘s recent list of the most profitable companies in 2010, Exxon’s profit as a percent of revenues was 8.6 percent, Chevron 9.7 percent, and Conoco 6.1 percent.

By sharp contrast, Corning came in first at 54 percent. Coca-Cola was 34 percent, Visa was 37 percent and Google was 29 percent. It’s no small feat to make such money in tough times.

Ironically, President Obama and his administration’s policies have played a significant role in the oil industry’s profits. When the value of the dollar declines, investors start buying commodities. Gold tends to be the first safe haven, but oil isn’t far down the list.

Of course, other factors-such as demand, supply and refining capacity-affect the price of oil. But the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve Bank have funneled trillions of dollars into the economy, lowering the value of the dollar, and consequently driving up the price of commodities like oil. That leads to increased oil company profits.

While President Obama supports increased drilling in Saudi Arabia and off the coast of Brazil, his opposition to new domestic drilling means the U.S. is dependent on other countries for about half of the nation’s oil needs. That reduced domestic oil supply drives up the price and forces the United States to buy oil from other countries, only adding to the U.S. trade deficit.

Now that President Obama’s policies and federal spending have created a budget crunch, he wants the oil and gas industry to embrace the “shared sacrifice” platitude that has become the watchword of his administration.

The fact is that the alleged “special” tax breaks are widely available to other industries. But, the president also wants to repeal the foreign tax credit for oil companies. When a U.S. company makes a profit in a foreign country, it pays foreign taxes on those profits. It’s perfectly legal for companies to claim a tax credit equal to their foreign taxes. This keeps them from being double taxed.

This tax break is available to all qualifying companies. It’s the president’s proposals that would create the inequities.

It is a mystery why the president is so intent on demonizing an industry with such deep American roots and huge American payrolls. The oil industry directly employs over 2 million Americans, both blue-collar workers and well-trained scientists and engineers. It’s also growing-17,200 new oil field jobs were added in just the second quarter of the year. There are also millions of manufacturing, construction, mining and other indirect jobs the industry supports. To the extent the industry is allowed to drill here, it keeps jobs here.

The industry also invests here. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, some $284 billion was invested right in America, in 2011. If the industry were allowed to explore in more domestic areas currently off limits, there are estimates that another 1 million jobs would be created.

The oil and gas industry’s stability and profitability make it a haven for public and private pension funds. Nearly 100 million Americans are industry stakeholders through their pensions, IRAs, 401k plans and mutual funds. Indeed, oil and gas stocks and mutual funds have been one of the stock market gushers. How would the market react to the news that President Obama was hitting the oil and gas industry with a slew of new taxes?

Economic policy may not be one of the president’s strengths, but he needs to understand that rewarding failure and punishing success is bad policy. The oil and gas industry is an American success story-let’s hope President Obama leaves it that way.

Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Texas.

Original Article

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