Daily Archives: November 24, 2011
Western companies are still thinking twice about investing in Burma despite recent political reforms, leaving the way clear to Indian, Thai and Malaysian companies to invest in the South East Asian nation.
Andrew Hobbs 24 November 2011 09:02 GMT
Burma, also known as Myanmar, closed its biggest oil and gas exploration tender in years in August, a few months after it cautiously started political reforms, and the government is now processing the bids, Reuters reported.
Industry sources in Burma told Reuters the tender had attracted about 50 bids, with regional companies said to be the main contenders.
US companies are barred from new investments in Myanmar under government-ordered sanctions and Chinese oil companies were lukewarm to the bidding for 18 onshore oil and gas prospects, due to concerns over the blocks’ prospects, Reuters reported.
Coupled with this, bilateral ties between Burma and China have been strained since September, after Rangoon shelved a China-backed dam in the north of the country.
Facts Global Energy consultant HS Yen said Burma could have received only one expression of interest from Europe.
“They probably have attracted as much as 50 bids, but each field may have been counted as a separate bid, so the number of individual companies bidding are very likely much lower than 50,” Yen said.
“I certainly don’t see a major company that isn’t already present in the country venturing into Myanmar given the risks of doing business there and the small reserves size.”
Total, which leads the $1 billion Yadana gas project in Burmese waters in the Andaman Sea, had not taken part in the tender, a company spokeswoman said.
Total chief executive Christophe de Margerie last month said his company would like to play a bigger role in Burma but first wanted to see concrete signs of increased democratisation.
“We decided that … it was important to be in Myanmar but that we will not invest until things are getting better … I do hope that will happen,” he said.
- Burma Today (mb50.wordpress.com)
- What will happen to China as Burma (Myanmar) gets closer with Vietnam, US? (csmonitor.com)
- ASEAN gambles on Myanmar’s regional leadership (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Obama, Clinton gamble on Myanmar (sfgate.com)
- China, Burma To Strengthen Military Cooperation (voanews.com)
- Obama expanding diplomatic relations with Burma (hotair.com)
- China and Burma reaffirm strained ties (dvb.no)
- China urgers closer Myanmar military ties (upi.com)
SAN RAMON, Calif., November 23, 2011 – Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) today reports that while its subsidiary, Chevron Brasil Upstream Frade Ltda., has not received formal notice from Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) suspending its drilling license, the company has voluntarily suspended its current and future drilling operations, offshore Brazil. The voluntary suspension includes the company’s permitted pre-salt wells in the Frade field with the exception of current plug and abandonment activities. The suspension is indefinite. Chevron acknowledges, however, that ANP has posted a notice of suspension to its website.
Chevron’s decision to suspend its drilling operations has no impact on its current production in the Frade field or on other Frade field operations. Production from the Frade field is approximately 79,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (approximately 36,000 barrels net).
Chevron had previously suspended development drilling in the Frade field on November 9 after it became aware of oil migrating from seep lines in the ocean floor.
Chevron also reports that the volume of oil currently contained in the sheen on the ocean’s surface has been further reduced to about one barrel through cleaning and dispersion methods approved by Brazilian authorities. Chevron was successful in stopping the primary source of the oil sheen ten days ago.
The company reiterated that it adheres to all the rules and regulation of the Government of Brazil and its agencies.
Updated video footage of the seeps on the ocean floor and current photos of the sheen on the ocean’s surface are available on Chevron’s Media Updates page.
Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at http://www.chevron.com.
- Chevron: Brazil Govt Has Not Advised Deep-Water Status Under Review
- Chevron to Face Steep Fines for Brazilian Oil Spill
- Spill Could Lead to a Chevron and Transocean Ban from Brazil’s Deep Waters – REPORT
- Brazil suspends Chevron’s drilling permission (seattlepi.com)
- Chevron Plugs Leaking Well Offshore Brazil (gcaptain.com)
- “Crack in the Seabed” Causing Oil Slick in Campos Basin Off Brazil, Not Chevron’s Frade FPSO (gcaptain.com)
Scheduled for delivery in March 2012, the most recent addition to Stena Drilling’s fleet will be the industry’s first ice class +1A1 dual-mast ultra deepwater drillship for arctic conditions. But is the industry ready for offshore arctic drilling?
Based in part on Stena’s proven DrillMAX design, the new drillship, now under construction at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, represents the company’s most ambitious project to date. According to Tom Welo, Managing Director of Stena Drilling, the project was conceived to meet the evolving demands of the industry. “Increased global demand for oil has encouraged energy companies to focus more on exploration,” he says. “And since many of the most promising fields are increasingly found in deepwater and harsh environments, including the arctic, we saw an opportunity to build a drillship to reflect the market.”
Tom Welo, Managing Director, Stena Drilling. Photo: Alexander Wardwell
Welo acknowledges that DrillMAX ICE represents a significant investment for the company and so far, the drillship has not secured a contract. “Any newbuilding project built on spec is a risk, but in our view, the greater risk would be to sit still,” he says. “We anticipate continued growth in this segment, and want to strengthen our position as a leading provider of drilling units equipped to operate in harsh environments.”
Flexible operational profile
At present, Stena Drilling operates four semisubmersible drilling platforms and three drillships. While these units have been active all over the world, including the North Sea, US Gulf of Mexico, South East Asia, Mediterranean, Caribbean, South America, North America & Greenland: Atlantic Front, Australia, North Africa and West Africa, the company has earned a strong position as a leading provider of drilling services in harsh environments. While similar to the company’s existing fleet of drillships, the design of DrillMAX ICE has been optimised for ultra deepwater arctic operations.
However, Welo is quick to note that once completed, the unit will be suitable for any job. “While we expect the vessel will be active in the polar region, the design doesn’t limit the drillship to waters above the Arctic Circle,” he says. “Rather, it expands the vessel’s operating parameters to almost any depth or environment.” Welo adds that the new drillship is capable of operating in water depths up to 10,000 feet.
Managing risks in the Arctic
The unit has been optimised for Arctic conditions. Six ice-classed 5.5MW azimuth thrusters, providing maximum manoeuvrability, propel the ice-strengthened hull. Below deck escapeways port and starboard side connect the aft engine rooms with FWD accommodation. Designated moon pools port and starboard allow for installation of two separate ROV systems. Anti-icing equipment protects the unit’s anchors, deck piping, lifeboat escape exits, scuppers and drains while enhanced de-icing machines keeps decks, gangways, and handrails clear. Steam heating coils warm the ballast tanks and drill water tanks and windwalls and cladding offer enhanced protection to the drill floor and dual mast derrick. “Most accidents and near-misses are related to human error, so we have worked hard to ensure the safety and comfort of our crew.”
In total, costs related to adapting the DrillMAX unit for Arctic conditions are calculated somewhere between USD 220 to 240 million. “We did consider adding icebreaking capabilities, but were concerned that the moon pool would collect ice and the cost would be prohibitive,” says Welo. “Instead, when operating in the Arctic, the drillship will have an escort of OSVs to help manage the ice.”
A relative threat
Operating in icy seas and low temperatures, which can drop to –20°C degrees in the Arctic in summer, is challenging, but Welo notes that different environments have different threats. “Operating in the North Sea is complicated by frequent storms and heavy seas and as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf of Mexico is hardly a benign environment,” he says. “Icebergs and extreme cold certainly represent a risk in the Arctic, but there is less of a threat from heavy seas and large waves.” Still, Welo adds, DrillMAX ICE can survive waves as high as 30 metres.
While the drillships hull form is based on Stena’s proven DrillMAX design, some topside modifications were included. The drillship is likely to operate in the environmentally sensitive Arctic region, so space was created on deck for an extra six-RAM BOP, providing critical redundancy. “The additional BOP will also help us avoid delays between drilling projects related to the BOP workovers and maintenance.”
While there have been drilling operators active above the Arctic Circle for decades, most notably in the North Sea and the Barents Sea, energy companies have approached exploration in the region with some caution. To help generate more confidence in the Stena DrillMAX ICE concept, the company has worked with a broad range of key suppliers, with extensive experience in harsh environments.
For example, the drillship is equipped with DP3 station-keeping and related automation systems provided by Kongsberg for operating in ice conditions, knuckleboom deck cranes rated for -30°C conditions, and six-RAM BOPs provided by Cameron. The company conducted extensive Ice Model Testing, and worked closely with DNV to achieve ICE 10 Certification, among other notations. “Stena and DNV have worked together for decades,” says Welo. “Like Stena, DNV has extensive experience in the North Sea managing risk in harsh environments. DNV were thus natural choice to class the unit.”
With the build going well at Samsung Heavy Industries, Welo is looking forward to welcoming DrillMAX ICE into the Stena fleet. In the meantime, he says the company is in dialogue with a number of energy companies that have expressed interest in the concept. “I am confident we will secure a charter soon,” he says. “After all, DrillMAX ICE is coming out of the yard during a time when energy companies are expanding their deep and ultra deepwater exploration programmes. With this unit, we can offer the flexibility to go anywhere.”
Republished with permission, (c) 2011 Det Norske Veritas
- USA: Busy December Ahead of Pacific Drilling’s Drillships (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Dolphin Drilling to Provide Two Drillships for Anadarko’s Mozambique Operations (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Guggenheim Partners announces Arctic investment fund (mb50.wordpress.com)
- “arctic oil” Norway mobilises for oil push into Arctic (mb50.wordpress.com)