Daily Archives: January 3, 2012

Pioneer drilling buys Go-Coil for $110 mln (San Antonio, TX)

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By Mia Lamar

Pioneer Drilling Co. PDC +6.41% has acquired a privately held provider of coiled tubing services for roughly $110 million in cash, a purchase the company said it expects to add to earnings this year.

The purchase of Go-Coil LLC, whose services are aimed at oil and gas exploration and production companies, helps boost Pioneer’s offerings in its production services division, noted Chief Executive Wm. Stacy Locke.

“After studying coiled tubing for the past couple of years, we believe this new service offering has expansion opportunities as well as cross-selling opportunities with our existing business,” Locke said.

Go-Coil operates a fleet of 10 coiled tubing units, seven of which are onshore units. Current operations are located in Louisiana, South Texas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

Pioneer, which provides contract land drilling services to oil and gas operators, in November reported it swung to a third-quarter profit with help from a 38% jump in revenue.

Shares closed Friday at $9.68 and were inactive in premarket trade. The stock is up 51% in the past three months.

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Alaska export plan collapses

US energy body vacates order for Yukon Pacific to export LNG to Asia.

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Yukon Pacific is no longer planning to export LNG from the North Slope of Alaska.

Rachael Meredith in London  
03 January 2012 11:44 GMT

CSX Corporation subsidiary Yukon Pacific is officially pulling out of plans to export LNG from the North Slope of Alaska to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The US Department of Energy has vacated an earlier order to allow the outfit to export up to 350 million tonnes of LNG for a 25 year term.

Yukon said it is no longer pursuing efforts to export LNG and “is in the process of concluding its business affairs”.

The company first received consent to ship LNG from Alaska in 1989. It had planned to build a gas pipeline parallel to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, with the option of constructing an LNG facility at Valdez.

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USA: FMC Technologies Buys Remaining Schilling Shares

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FMC Technologies, Inc.  has  exercised its purchase option for the remaining 55% of outstanding shares of Schilling Robotics LLC (“Schilling”).

FMC purchased its existing 45% interest in Schilling and obtained the purchase option in 2008.

Schilling is a leading producer of remotely operated vehicles (“ROVs”), ROV manipulator systems, control systems and other high-technology equipment and services for oil and gas subsea exploration and production. FMC and Schilling have collaborated on a variety of projects and technology advances over the past three years, including an innovative control system for Petrobras’ Congro/Corvina project that will use subsea robotics technology to operate the manifold and separation station valves.

“We are pleased that Schilling will become part of FMC,” said John Gremp, Chairman, President and CEO of FMC Technologies.Their technologies will help us develop additional solutions to further strengthen our subsea leadership position.”

Tyler Schilling, Chairman and President of Schilling, added, “Since partnering with FMC in 2008, we have expanded our global presence and participated in some of the industry’s most innovative projects. Our employees are excited about joining FMC and the future opportunities that exist to develop subsea technologies for our customers.”

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U.N. report says Houston exec organized illicit gold deal

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CHRONICLE FILE PORT COMMISSIONER: The report said Kase Lawal was to receive 40 percent of the profits of the gold’s sale. Photo: Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle

By MIKE TOLSON, HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Published 09:40 p.m., Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kase Lawal, the politically connected head of a local energy company who also serves as a commissioner on the Port of Houston Authority, was the main organizer of an illicit gold smuggling operation that went awry last February in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a United Nations report on the nation’s natural resources and their misuse by various militia groups.

Lawal, chairman of CAMAC International and a prominent Houston philanthropist, used company money to finance a scheme to take approximately 475 kilograms of gold out of Congo for resale despite a national ban on gold exports, which often have been used to finance paramilitary activities and ethnic strife, stated the report, which was publicly released last week. The scheme originally called for the transaction to be conducted in Kenya, where the export of gold is legal, but was belatedly moved to Goma, Congo, at the insistence of the sellers.

Lawal is reputed to be one of the nation’s richest African-Americans, parlaying a chemistry degree from Texas Southern University and an entrepreneurial bent into a billion-dollar company and a place on numerous boards and commissions, including trade advisory groups for Democratic and Republican presidents.

Team sent on jet

The proposal for buying the gold originally came from Dikembe Mutombo, a retired NBA star who played for the Houston Rockets for several seasons at the end of his 18-year career, the report says. Mutombo was born in Congo and is involved in a number of humanitarian projects there, including a hospital. His motivation, those involved said, was to help fund some of his projects.

Lawal involved a family friend, Carlos St. Mary, as a facilitator and go-between among various parties involved in the scheme. St. Mary hired a Kenyan attorney to prepare paperwork and arrange inspection of the gold in Nairobi. When time came to complete the transaction, Lawal sent his brother, CAMAC executive Mickey Lawal, to Congo on a CAMAC corporate jet along with St. Mary and security personnel. Also on board were bags containing about $6 million in cash.

By this time, Kase Lawal had learned that the actual owner of the gold was Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, the leader of a military faction in the Kivu province that is home to much of Congo’s mining industry. Ntaganda was indicted for alleged war crimes by the International Criminal Court. At the time, Ntaganda denied any involvement in the gold deal.

“According to St. Mary, Ntaganda introduced himself as the true owner of the gold and promised to obtain all the necessary paperwork,” the U.N. report states. “St. Mary told (investigators) that both he and Mukaila (Mickey) Lawal had informed Kase Lawal about the General’s ownership, providing his name. Nevertheless, Lawal was concerned only to the extent that this presented another twist in the already convoluted deal.”

The jet was prevented from leaving Congo and St. Mary, Mickey Lawal and several others, including the plane’s crew, were detained in the eastern city of Goma for more than a month while authorities investigated the transaction. The bags of cash that had been given to Ntaganda were turned over to government officials, but the money had been replaced by obviously counterfeit bills, according to the report. St. Mary and others were charged with money laundering, among other crimes.

The crew and airplane were released in mid-March after various “fines” were paid. U.N. investigators claim that Lawal, who did not cooperate in the investigation, ended up paying more than $30 million to extricate himself and his intermediaries from the mess.

Efforts to reach Lawal for comment were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the company offered a brief statement: “CAMAC is a law-abiding company and we disagree with the representations made in the report. We have already answered questions on this and see no reason to address it further.” In a statement released last year, after the detainees and corporate jet were allowed to leave by Congo authorities, the company also stated it had done nothing wrong and that it had no financial interest in the gold transaction.

Thought deal was legal

The U.N. report, however, claims that Lawal supplied the money for the venture and was to receive 40 percent of the profit when the gold was sold.

St. Mary said in a brief interview Tuesday that all involved in the purchase of the gold believed the deal was legal.

“We all acted to put together a legitimate deal,” St. Mary said. “We all went there with that intention, which is why I went to see a lawyer and the ministry of mines. I’ve known (Kase) Lawal for 31 years. Anything that seems like it’s going to be a public detriment to him, he’s going to walk away from. He wants no part of public scandal.”

Mutombo could not be reached for comment.

mike.tolson@chron.com

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UK: Aquaterra Installs Unique Drilling Riser on Rowan Gorilla VII

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Aquaterra has successfully installed a ‘world first’ 10,000psi rated, 20” I.D. full bore drilling riser for Apache North Sea.

The unique High Pressure Riser System was designed specifically for Apache North Sea to drill three subsea wells on the Bacchus field from the Rowan Gorilla VII. The installation marks the first Riser System of this kind to be run worldwide.

Aquaterra Energy built on the success of their 5,000psi Riser System, using Merlin Connectors developed by Oil States Industries (UK) Ltd to produce a higher capacity, 10,000psi system in conjunction with Oil States. The 10k System is a ‘world first’ as never before have Merlin connectors been used at this size or pressure, for this application. To cope with the increased pressure and anticipated loads, the joints were fully forged with a wall thickness of 2 ½” and the overall dimensions of the Merlin Connector were increased greatly. The Merlin Connector significantly increases running speed and improves the efficiency of operations when compared to standard flanged alternatives. With a unique service agreement in place with Oil States Industries, Aquaterra Energy is the only service company providing this exclusive rental system to the market.

High Pressure Drilling Riser specialists, Aquaterra Energy, offered a full scope of supply to Apache North Sea ranging from Riser Analysis to offshore installation. Aquaterra’s dedicated in-house team of Drilling Riser Engineers provided design engineering, project management, operational expertise and managed the delivery of the riser system as well as offshore installation

Aquaterra Senior Project Engineer, Stuart Dockree managed the project and commented, “The overall project was extremely interesting with many engineering and operational planning challenges throughout, which required continued focus from the project team. Speaking on behalf of that team, we have all been delighted to be involved with this significant ‘world first, full bore 10k Merlin riser system’ project which has further strengthened our riser team and product lines as clear market leaders for High Pressure Riser Systems.”

Aquaterra Project Engineer, James Head, who supervised the Riser installation on the Rowan Gorilla VII said, “A positive working relationship and excellent communications between Aquaterra Energy and Apache North Sea throughout the offshore operation ensured that the Riser System was installed to plan. The operation went smoothly as all parties pulled together to ensure a successful outcome.”

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