Daily Archives: March 28, 2012

Norway: Naming Ceremony for Olympic Energy PSV

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Last Saturday, on March 24th, a naming ceremony for Olympic Shipping’s new Platform Supply Vessel took place in Ålesund. The naming of the vessel, now called Olympic Energy was performed by Godmother Marianne Synnes.

After the ceremony, the ship was open to the public and about 1500 people used the chance to study the ship up close.

Olympic Shipping AS, STX OSV and the Training Office of Maritime Studies were represented at the deck, where those who were interested could get further information about the ship and job opportunities in the business.  Olympic Energy is a PSV 06 LNG design, to be delivered from STX OSV, later this month. The vessel is designed as a platform supply vessel for worldwide operations and transport of general cargo for offshore industry.

The vessel is of environmental friendly design, with low resistance hull shape designed for high speed and low fuel consumptions. Its main engines are driven by liquefied natural gas.

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Cheniere sees summer application for Corpus plant

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NEW ORLEANS, March 27 | Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:56pm EDT

(Reuters) – Cheniere Energy Inc plans to file a formal application in July or August to build a second liquefied natural gas export plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast, the company’s chief executive officer told investors on Tuesday.

The Houston-based LNG developer said in December it plans to build the export plant at Corpus Christi in Texas, originally the site for a planned import terminal, but it will need to file for approval first.

“We expect it to be some time in July or August,” Charif Souki, Cheniere’s CEO, said at the Howard Weil energy conference.

The plant, which would have the capacity to export 1.8 billion cubic feet of gas per day, could be online by 2017, assuming permits are granted by mid-2013, the filing said.

Cheniere has signed long-term supply agreements with international buyers for its first proposed plant at Sabine Pass in Louisiana, which is expected to start up in 2015, pending regulatory approval.

Once expected to be a major importer, the United States now has up to a century’s worth of natural gas supply, prompting plans to ship the cheap fuel to thirsty markets in Europe and Asia where prices are up to five times higher.

Corpus Christi would comprise three production trains, or units, all with the capacity to export 4.5 million tonnes per year of LNG.

Japan: Osaka Gas Eyes U.S. LNG

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Japan’s Osaka Gas is in negotiations to buy liquefied natural gas from Dominion Resources, Sempra Energy and Freeport LNG in the United States, Bloomberg reported, citing Tetsushi Ikuta, general manager of Osaka Gas energy resources and international business development.

He said that Osaka Gas may invest in planned LNG terminals in Maryland, Louisiana and Texas.

Osaka Gas said recently that it plans to purchase 7.19 million mt of LNG during fiscal 2012.

The company also plans to invest 290 billion yen (3.49 billion U.S. dollars) in LNG storage facilities and laying pipelines in five years from fiscal 2012-2016.

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USA: ECO Shipyard Christens New Icebreaker Built for Shell

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Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) Shipyard in Larose, Louisiana on March 24th 2012 held christening ceremony for Shell’s new 360 foot long icebreaker “Aiviq”. This new Arctic ice class anchor handler under construction for Shell is the largest and most advanced ship ever designed and constructed by ECO.

M/V Aiviq, the newest vessel being built by Edison Chouest Offshore, will be one of the most advanced and powerful U.S. non-military, ice breakers on the water. The vessel is being built to Polar Code 3 and measures 360′ long, 80′ wide, with a 29′ draft. Its primary mission will be to support offshore development in the Arctic. This vessel is the very first of its class to be built in the United States.

The vessel was ordered in July 2009 and is scheduled for delivery in April 2012. It is being built to American Bureau of Shipping A3 class—capable of breaking ice 1m thick at a speed of 5 knots. Her propellers are reported to have been specially designed to be quieter than normal, in order to be less disruptive to local marine life.

The price tag for the Aiviq will be around USD 200 mln. Its main task will be laying anchors for drilling rigs. Also, Aiviq will be equipped for the oil spill clean-up operations.

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Fitch: Total Gas Leak ‘Not Another Deepwater Horizon’

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by  Jon Mainwaring
Rigzone Staff
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The gas leak at Total’s wellhead platform on the Elgin gas field in the North Sea is not as serious as BP’s Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, said Fitch Ratings Wednesday.

The ratings agency added that even in the event of a shutdown of the whole Elgin field, it believes that Total is likely to retain its ‘AA’ credit rating as it has the cash resources to more than cover any associated costs.

“The Elgin leak is a surface gas leak rather than an underwater oil leak, making its potential for environmental damage far lower than in the Deepwater Horizon case,” said Fitch in a press statement Wednesday. “These sorts of accidents are often difficult to resolve and unpredictable; nonetheless, in our view the potential is low for this leak to escalate to a crisis on the scale of Deepwater Horizon. Total’s preliminary assessment suggests there has been no significant impact on the environment and the use of dispersants has not been considered.”

However, Fitch added that it had considered a “worse-than-base-case” scenario where Total may have to shut down the Elgin field to stop the gas leak. “This would imply the loss of a producing field that is worth, in net present value terms, EUR 5.7 billion [$7.6 billion] according to third-party valuations. Were the field to become permanently unusable it would cost Total EUR 2.6 billion [$3.5 billion] and the company might have to compensate its partners for the remaining EUR 3.1 billion [$4.1 billion],” Fitch said.

On Tuesday Dow Jones reported a source saying that the proximity of vessels owned by Transocean and Rowan to the Elgin platform may sway Total’s decision in hiring a firm to drill relief wells to cap the leak.

Currently, Transocean’s Sedco 714 (mid-water semisub) is drilling for Total in the North Sea, while a Rowan jack-up rig was used for drilling work at Elgin.

Total said Tuesday it is studying all options and could take time to make a decision, while dismissing reports that claimed the company had indicated it could take up to six months to drill a relief well.

“They are not details that have come from us at all,” a Total spokesperson told Rigzone Tuesday morning, explaining that the company did not yet have a timescale in place regarding the drilling of a relief well.

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell reported Tuesday that it removed oil workers from two of its North Sea rigs due to the proximity to Total’s Elgin/Franklin platform.

In a statement, Shell said it had reduced personnel on its Shearwater platform and the nearby Nobel Hans Deul drilling rig. Drilling operations on the Noble Hans Deul (400′ ILC) rig, which is located offshore Scotland 138 miles east of Aberdeen, have been suspended and the wells “left in a safe state,” said Shell.

“While the move is purely precautionary and primarily driven by the prevailing weather conditions, and both facilities remain operational, it has been decided to reduce numbers to a more manageable level until the full situation surrounding the Elgin leak has been established,” said a Shell spokesperson.

Shell also reported Tuesday that it is using the downtime as an opportunity to conduct maintenance on one of its rigs.

“Further to the precautionary safety measures we took yesterday following Total’s gas leak at Elgin, we have no brought forward plans to carry out maintenance at Shearwater. This will take place from today, starting four days ahead of schedule. We are therefore shutting down production in a controlled manner,” said a Shell spokesperson.

Total reported Monday that it had evacuated the Elgin platform’s crew and reported that all 238 personnel had been accounted for.

A former engineer, Jon Mainwaring is an experienced journalist who has written about the technology, engineering and energy industries. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com.

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USA: McMoran Reports Flare from Davy Jones

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McMoRan Exploration Co. announced yesterday continuing progress to flow test the Davy Jones No. 1 well on South Marsh Island Block 230. As previously reported, McMoRan saw positive pressure response from the Wilcox “D” sand which was perforated on March 24, 2012.

On March 26, 2012, McMoRan attempted to perforate the Wilcox “C” sand. As the perforating gun was being removed from the hole, the well began to flow. When the gun was brought to the surface, it was determined that the gun did not fire in the Wilcox “C” sand from what appears to be a simple disconnection of the detonator cord. McMoRan plans to use a new perforating gun to complete the testing of the Wilcox “C” sand.

Currently, the test is ongoing from only the Wilcox “D” sand, which resulted in the flare. The flow from the “D” sand is being affected by considerable debris in the 5 inch liner, from what McMoRan believes to be residual drilling fluid from drilling of the well. Results of a clean flow test, as opposed to the current test hampered by debris, will be announced as further progress is achieved and flow rates are measurable. McMoRan will provide updates as completion operations progress.

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Davy Jones involves a large ultra-deep structure encompassing four OCS lease blocks (20,000 acres). McMoRan is the operator and holds a 63.4 percent working interest and a 50.2 percent net revenue interest in Davy Jones. Other working interest owners in Davy Jones include: Energy XXI (15.8%), JX Nippon Oil Exploration (Gulf) Limited (12%) and Moncrief Offshore LLC (8.8%).

McMoRan Exploration Co. is an independent public company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil in the shallow waters of the GOM Shelf and onshore in the Gulf Coast area.

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Obama administration advances plan for seismic research along Atlantic coast

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Posted on March 28, 2012 at 12:01 am by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

The Obama administration will announce Wednesday that it is advancing a plan to allow new seismic research designed to help identify hidden pockets of oil and gas in Atlantic waters along the East Coast.

The move by the Interior Department is the beginning of a long path that eventually could lead to new offshore drilling off the coast from Delaware to Florida.

Senior administration officials who spoke exclusively to the Houston Chronicle confirmed the plan on condition they not be identified ahead of the official announcement.

The plan could mean new work for Houston-based seismic firms, which likely would conduct some of the first such surveys of the region in decades.

The announcement comes as President Barack Obama tries to assuage concerns about rising oil and gasoline prices ahead of the November election, amid Republican criticism that his energy policies have sent costs higher.

The administration had signaled plans to allow Atlantic seismic research before the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill stalled approval of offshore activities.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce the plan in Norfolk, Va. at Fugro Atlantic, a company that conducts geotechnical and marine research.

Future seismic research in the Atlantic waters could help guide decisions about where to allow drilling leases and equipment that generates renewable energy, such as wind turbines.

But it would be at least five years before the government sold any leases in Atlantic waters. Interior Department plans governing those decisions through 2017 do not include lease sales  in the region.

Geological research uses seismic waves to map what lies underground or beneath the ocean floor. The shock waves — which some environmental advocates say may harm marine life — map the density of subterranean material and can gives clues about possible oil and gas.

Seismic studies also help identify geologic hazards and archaeological resources in the seabed —  information useful in determining the placement of renewable energy infrastructure as well as oil and gas equipment.

Energy companies use the data to plan where to buy leases and how to prioritize projects. But they know little about what lies below federal waters along the East Coast. Existing seismic surveys of the area are more than 25 years old and were conducted with now-outdated technology.

Oil industry officials have downplayed the significance of allowing seismic surveys along the Atlantic Coast, noting the government makes no guarantee that it will let them drill. That skepticism also could limit the market for seismic research firms.

But the administration has said that collecting the data for different regions — even if they aren’t targeted immediately for development — is key to understanding their potential. Obama asked the Interior Department to speed up its search for Atlantic resources in May 2011.

Wednesday’s action takes the form of a federally required draft statement on the environmental effects of seismic surveys in the outer continental shelf along the East Coast.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on that draft environmental impact statement during hearings along the East Coast.

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