Daily Archives: October 19, 2011

Fourchon director says port has rallied despite spill

by Cara Bayles

The executive director of Port Fourchon says the moratorium on drilling has affected individual tenants, but the port continues to expand.

Speaking before the South Central Industrial Association’s monthly membership meeting on Tuesday, Chett Chiasson said Fourchon, which services 90 percent of all deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico, has had a rough ride since it became the emergency operation center in the wake of the BP oil spill.

The six-month federal ban on new offshore-drilling permits that followed the spill posed a challenge to the 250 companies that use the port.

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“For us, deepwater is where the action is,” he said. “We feel that the future of this nation’s energy stability rests in our ability to access the resources in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Prior to the moratorium, Chiasson said the port was buzzing with activity, with 15,000 people per month being flown to offshore sites supported by the port. Now, Chiasson says, that number is down 40 percent.

Yet Fourchon is expanding, adding another 400 acres of land, expanding the runway on the South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr. Airport and supporting the state Transportation Department’s two-lane elevated highway project, which will connect the port to Golden Meadow.

Chiasson credited the port’s success to a property tax, which brings in about $3 million per year, as well as its strategy during the moratorium and the slowdown that followed.

“The Port Commission immediately asked, ‘What can we do to help our tenants?’ ” he said. “We brought in a mind set of, ‘How can we help you?’ ”

The port froze fees and reduced its land rental rates by 30 percent through July 1.

As a result, Chiasson said the port gained tenants instead of losing them.

Still, Chiasson said “we’re hoping the future is bright, but we have not seen that yet.

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Norway: RXT Welcomes Two Members to its Management Team

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Seismic specialist Reservoir Exploration Technology (RXT) announces that it is refocusing its ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic operations to meet expected demand for its services in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and most of West Africa, and has made two senior management appointments to lead the process.

The company has announced the appointment of Kim Gunn Maver as vice president of sales and marketing, and Fredd Causevic as vice president of business development, both based in the company’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway. The new strategy follows RXT’s successful formation of GeoRXT, a joint venture with the major Brazilian oil and gas services company Georadar.

Under the agreement, in which Georadar has a 55% holding, the joint venture will have exclusive marketing rights in the highly prospective Brazilian offshore, as well as the rest of South America, Angola, and some areas of the Middle East.

Stein Hedemark, RXT’s CEO, said: ‘Now that the joint venture is up and running it makes sense for us to target our resources in those areas where there is already an established market for OBC. It is in this context that we have brought Kim Gunn Maver and Fredd Causevic into the management team. In fact we are seeing increased interest in our seafloor multi- component seismic acquisition technology. The high resolution imaging we provide cannot be matched by towed streamers, and oil companies are realizing this. With OBC seismic imaging our clients can significantly improve understanding of their reservoirs and as a result optimize production from their existing assets.’

Kim Gunn Maver joins RXT from Schlumberger where his positions include vice president of reservoir seismic services. He was managing director of Ødegaard, the Danish seismic reservoir characterization company until it was acquired by Schlumberger in 2006. He holds a PhD in geology and an executive MBA.

Fredd Causevic came to RXT last year as senior sales manager. Previous senior management positions include managing director, Northern Europe for Thorn EMI, and president and CEO at both Otrum and the Impact Europe Group.

He holds degrees in business administration and marketing.

About

RXT Reservoir Exploration Technology ASA (RXT) is the only marine geophysical company specializing exclusively in multi-component seismic seafloor acquisition.

The company’s RXT5 crew consisting of the Ocean Europe and Sanco Star vessels recently completed two years’ work for Petrobras and is being committed to GeoRXT. The combined RXT1/4 crew including the Ocean Pearl and Vikland vessels is currently offshore West Africa. Depending on 2012 demand the RXT1/4 may operate in dual or single vessel mode to meet contract commitments expected in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (both US and Mexico sectors). RXT is listed on the Stock Exchange in Norway and has offices in Oslo, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, and Houston.

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Obama’s obligation to free up Gulf oil

More oil-drilling permits would bolster economy and decrease deficit

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By Lori LeBlanc
The Washington Times

One year ago last week, President Obama lifted his moratorium on deepwater drilling that five months earlier had halted operations on 33 rigs producing energy in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the industry has worked tirelessly to comply with new federal regulations and permitting requirements, while independently developing and implementing operating practices designed to further enhance safety and environmental protection on deepwater rigs. Yet a full year after the moratorium was lifted, federal permitting for drilling in the Gulf continues to greatly lag behind America’s demand – and capacity – for domestic energy development.

Every day, thousands of Americans whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf energy industry feel the impact of the Gulf slowdown through lost wages, delayed jobs and a general sense of unpredictability about the future of an industry they count on to put food on the table. Local, state and federal government budgets also feel the impact through decreased sales tax and royalty revenue. The Gulf energy industry stands ready and waiting to provide jobs to a nation desperately in need of them. It’s high time to put American energy back to work.

In the wake of the Gulf spill, industry and government have collaborated in an unprecedented effort to rethink and re-engineer safety and response procedures and capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Workers are ready to get back to work fueling this nation. The rest lies in the hands of the Department of the Interior, whose regulators verify compliance and issue permits for exploration and drilling operations. Unfortunately, this permitting process continues to move at a pace that does not reflect an industry’s capability to invest and create good-paying jobs.

Permits are essential to the industry’s viability. Since the deepwater moratorium was lifted, only 14 permits have been issued for unique new wells allowing operators to drill to full depth for the purpose of production. For such a capital-intensive industry, where each new deepwater drill ship costs about $1 billion and employs hundreds of workers, those 14 permits over an entire year are simply insufficient to meet production demand or even to keep rigs in the Gulf. Of the original 33 rigs affected by the moratorium, 10 have left the Gulf in favor of markets where permitting is more predictable and transparent. Given the time and expense required to move these floating factories, it’s unlikely they’ll return anytime soon.

The most glaring loss, however, is the significant job opportunities forsaken each and every day as the permitting slowdown lingers. A recent study by IHS CERA concluded that a more-efficient and timely permitting process could create more than 200,000 new jobs in the United States, one-third of which would be generated outside the Gulf region in states like California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. In today’s world, that amounts to a stimulus package in itself – and one that doesn’t require American taxpayers to foot the bill.

In fact, a healthy Gulf industry puts money back into the pockets of American taxpayers via revenue flows to the U.S. Treasury. The offshore industry paid $8.3 billion in royalties and $9.4 billion in new lease bids in 2008. In 2010, those numbers shrank to $4 billion in royalties and $979 million in lease bids. While the numbers for 2011 aren’t in yet, they’re likely on track with 2010 figures. Yet, according to the IHS CERA study, an industry operating under an improved permitting process could generate $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues by 2012.

The last ripple effect of the permitting slowdown may not pinch Americans today, but it has the potential to hit our pocketbooks in the months and years to come. By allowing rigs to depart the Gulf and discouraging the large-scale investment necessary to meet our future energy needs, our government’s lack of urgency to restoring Gulf energy puts us all in a precarious position. If and when we decide to harness the true potential of the Gulf, we may find that the investment and equipment simply isn’t there. This translates to greater reliance on foreign suppliers, less control of our own energy supplies, and living in the hope that unforeseen political developments somewhere overseas don’t push prices at the pump even higher.

The Gulf has a lot to offer Americans: jobs, revenue and a valuable domestic energy supply. A multitude of American workers are motivated to get back to work today. Virtually every American stands to gain by encouraging investment in domestic energy production. It’s time for our government to clear the permitting bottlenecks for Gulf drilling activity and get this nation back to work with American energy.

Lori LeBlanc is the executive director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team.

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Brazil: Petrobras Discovers Hydrocarbons in Campos Basin

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Petroleo Brasileiro SA , Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, found traces of oil and gas in an offshore well in the C-M-95 block of the country’s Campos Basin.

The discovery in well 3BRSA960DRJS hasn’t yet been declared commercially viable, according to a posting on the website of Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency.

Petrobras owns 100 percent of the well.

By Karen Eeuwens (Bloomberg)

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Norway: Skarv Start-Up Put Off for 1Q 2012

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Oil major BP said it had delayed the start-up of production from its Skarv oil and gas field off Norway until late in the first quarter of 2012, scrapping a previous timetable for late in the fourth quarter of this year.

Originally the field had been due to enter production in August.

“The slippage is due to delays in receiving the vessel, problems with the riser pull-in (process) and the weather conditions,” BP spokesman Jan Erik Geirmo told Reuters on Wednesday.

BP is the operator of the field and has a stake of 24 percent, while the other licensees include Statoil (36 percent), PGNiG of Poland (12 percent) and Germany’s E.ON Rurhgas (28 percent).

On Tuesday PGNiG cut its forecast for next year’s production from Skarv by 40 percent to 0.24 billion cubic metres and said the field’s launch would be delayed until 2012.

Poland’s gas monopoly also slashed expected oil production from the field to 250,000 tonnes in 2012.

Geirmo declined to say how the delayed start-up would affect production estimates.

Shares in Statoil were down 1.79 percent at 137.2 crowns at 1126 GMT, while the Oslo benchmark index was up 0.54 percent.

Carnegie analyst John Olaisen said the fall was due to the delay at the Skarv field, adding that he thought it would shave 2 percent off Statoil’s planned 2012 output.

Statoil declined to comment on how the delay at Skarv would impact production targets for this year and the next.

“We will present our numbers … with our third-quarter results next Thursday (Oct. 27),” said Statoil spokesman Ola Anders Skauby.

In June Statoil said that a delay in Skarv’s start-up, then pushed back to the fourth quarter of 2011, would reduce 2011 output by some 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd).

The Norwegian firm so far expects its 2011 production to be slightly under 2010′s 1.9 million boepd.

The company has a history of missing its production forecasts.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate the Skarv field contains 104 million barrels of oil and 42.1 billion cubic metres of gas.

By Walter Gibbs and Joachim Dagenborg (Reuters)

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