Daily Archives: April 12, 2012

Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Apr 6 – Apr 12, 2012)


This week the SubseaIQ team added 4 new projects and updated 22 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field development news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Africa – Other
Apache Secures Rig to Drill Mbawa Prospect
Apr 10, 2012 – Apache has secured the use of the deepwater drillship Deepsea Metro 1 (UDW drillship) to drill the Mbawa prospect. The operator is anticipating a spud date within the third quarter of 2012, pending on when the rig finishes with its current operations. The well is expected to take about 45 to 60 days to complete to a planned total depth of 10,662 feet (3,250 meters) in a water depth of 2,821 feet (860 meters). It is estimated that Mbawa has a maximum potential to contain 4.9 billion barrels of oil-in-place at the main Tertiary/Cretaceous level with significant additional potential also to be tested by the well at the deeper Upper Jurassic level and shallower Tertiary levels.
Project Details: Mbawa
S. America – Brazil
Oceaneering to Supply Umbilicals for Whales Park Development
Apr 12, 2012 – Oceaneering International has secured a contract from Petrobras to supply nearly 85 miles (135 kilometers) of thermoplastic production control umbilicals for the Whales Park (formerly Baleia Azul) field development project offshore Brazil in the Espirito Santos Basin. Product manufacturing is slated to commence in 4Q 2012 and be completed in 4Q 2014.
Project Details: Espadarte
Petrobras Completes Iara Extension
Apr 10, 2012 – Petrobras has completed drilling an extension to exploratory well 3-BRSA-1032-RJS (3-RJS-697) in the Iara Evaluation Area in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin. The well, informally known as Iara Oeste, is the third well drilled in the Discovery Evaluation Plan 1-BRSA-618 (Iara). Drilling results have confirmed good quality oil samples ranging from 21 and 26 degrees API in carbonate reservoirs of the pre-salt. Iara Oeste is located 139 miles (223 kilometers) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, about six miles (nine kilometers) from the discovery well in a water depth of 7,054 feet (2,150 meters).
Project Details: Iara
Europe – North Sea
Valiant Fails to Hit Pay in Cladhan
Apr 12, 2012 – Valiant Petroleum will plug and abandon the Cladhan South exploratory prospect in Block 210/29c in the UK sector of the North Sea. The well encountered multiple Upper Jurassic sand channels on prognosis, none of which were thought to be hydrocarbon-bearing.
Project Details: Cladhan
Marathon to Submit Boyla POD
Apr 11, 2012 – Marathon expects to submit a plan of development for the Boyla field subsea tie-back to the Alvheim FPSO in the first half of 2012. First oil is expected in 2014.
Project Details: Alvheim
Marathon Mulls Completing Caterpillar as Satellite to Boyla
Apr 11, 2012 – During the first quarter of 2011, the Caterpillar exploration well in PL 340BS was completed as an oil discovery. Caterpillar, located close to the Boyla field, will now most likely be developed through the Boyla subsea development facilities.
Project Details: Caterpillar
Duart Resumes Production
Apr 11, 2012 – Bridge Energy has restarted production at the Duart field, which has been shut-in since Oct. 5, 2011 as a result of planned maintenance activity on the host Tartan platform. The extended shutdown on the Tartan platform has enabled completion of a more comprehensive maintenance work scope which should increase the near term uptime of the facility.
Project Details: The Greater Tartan Area
Total’s Elgin Relief Well May Take More Than 6 Months
Apr 6, 2012 – Total estimates that it may take more than six months to drill relief wells near the Elgin oil rig in the Norwegian North Sea to stop a natural gas leak. The company is currently drilling a relief well to cut off the gas at the level of the reservoir at about one kilometer from the problematic well. Total plans to drill two relief wells, the second one acting as a backup. Another solution is also in the works: pumping heavy mud into the well to balance the pressure and end the leak. The Elgin/Franklin project has been shut-in since Monday, March 26.
Project Details: Elgin/Franklin
Asia – SouthEast
Lundin Says Bertam a Likely Commercial Success
Apr 11, 2012 – In January 2012, the Bertam-2 appraisal well was successfully completed proving the continuity and quality of the K10 oil reservoir sandstone. Lundin stated Bertam is likely a commercial oil field and studies are now progressing to review potential development concepts.
Project Details: Bertam
Lundin to Appraise Janglau Field
Apr 11, 2012 – Lundin Petroleum reported that the Janglau-1 well, completed in November 2011 as an oil discovery, proved a new play concept in Oligocene intra-rift sands. The discovery will require further appraisal drilling to determine commerciality.
Project Details: Janglau
N. America – US GOM
BHP Billiton Bites into $708M Funding for Mad Dog Proj.
Apr 11, 2012 – BHP Billiton has approved the $708 million (BHP Billiton share) in pre-commitment funding for the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The funding will facilitate detailed engineering and the procurement of long lead time items related to the hull, topsides and subsea equipment. The proposed project, focusing on the southern portion of the field, includes the development of a second spar facility with all subsea production and injection wells. The new facility is estimated to have a design capacity of approximately 130,000 bopd that will be exported via the Mardi Gras Pipeline under existing agreements. A final investment decision is anticipated in 2013 with first production scheduled for 2018.
Project Details: Mad Dog
McMoRan Trying to Establish Commercial Production at Davy Jones
Apr 10, 2012 – McMoRan has completed technical work on the Davy Jones No. 1 well on South Marsh Island Block 230 in the GOM. Work is ongoing to establish commercial production from the well, stated the operator. To maximize production from the well and enable effective formation penetrations, McMoRan plans to use electric wireline casing guns that are larger than the tubing guns used to perforate the Wilcox “C” and “D” sands. The company expects its current operations to enable a measurable flow rate during the second quarter of 2012 followed by commercial production shortly thereafter.
Project Details: Davy Jones
Technip Scores Subsea Gig for Wheatstone Project
Apr 12, 2012 – Chevron awarded Technip a subsea contract for the Wheatstone project offshore Australia. The contract, covering the development of the Wheatstone and Iago fields, includes project management, design, fabrication and installation of subsea isolation valve, production tee protection structures, spools and jumpers; transportation and installation of manifolds, foundation structures and pipeline termination structures; and the supply and installation of 25 miles (41 kilometers) of umbilicals.
Project Details: Wheatstone
Technip Grabs EPCI Contract for Ichthys Field
Apr 11, 2012 – Inpex awarded Technip a flexible pipe supply lump sum contract for the Ichthys gas field in Australia. This contract is part of the overall subsea umbilical, riser, flowline EPCI contract. The Supply A ??? production & gas export lines’ contract includes: 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) of technologically advanced smooth bore 10-inch-diameter flexible gas export risers, 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) of 12-inch-diameter production risers. The contract is scheduled to be completed in the first semester of 2015. Gas from the Ichthys field will undergo preliminary processing offshore to remove water and extract condensate. The 552 mile (889 kilometer) Ichthys gas export pipeline will transport production from the offshore central processing facility through a subsea pipeline to the onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to be located at Darwin.
Project Details: Ichthys
Clough AMEC Receives ORM Contract for Wheatstone Facility
Apr 11, 2012 – Chevron awarded Clough AMEC a contract for the operability, reliability and maintainability component of Wheatstone’s offshore facility. The scope of work involves building the maintenance database, assuring operational readiness for the offshore facility, including writing of all operations procedures, all training and development programs, and operations engineering and support services. The work will be performed by Clough AMEC, with support from AMECs specialist Performance Improvement team. Work will commence immediately and will last for about three years.
Project Details: Wheatstone
Clough AMEC Secures Work for Eni’s Blacktip
Apr 10, 2012 – Clough Limited has received a contract for the provision of maintenance support to the 1.3 Bcm per year onshore gas treatment plant and the offshore unmanned wellhead platform for Eni’s Blacktip project. The scope of work involves the provision of trades labor to support routine and campaign maintenance. Supporting services include specialist consultancy services, multidiscipline engineering, procurement, and management of subcontractors and fabrication. The initial contract is for three years with further extension options. Blacktip has been producing since September 2009.
Project Details: Blacktip
Browse Amendments Receive Govt Approval
Apr 10, 2012 – Woodside was advised that the Commonwealth Minister for Resources and Energy and the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum have approved amendments to the Browse Basin retention leases. The amendments include extending the condition relating to readiness for a final investment decision on the proposed Browse LNG Development in Australia from mid-2012 to the first half of 2013. This will allow time to better evaluate the outcomes of front-end engineering and design work and the results of the tender processes for the developments major contracts. The Browse LNG development consists of three fields: Torosa, Brecknock and Calliance. It is estimated they hold roughly 13.3 Tcf of dry gas and 360 million barrels of condensate in reserves.
Project Details: Browse LNG

Russia Planning Troops Deployment On Iran’s Northern Border And Waiting For A Western Attack


By F. Michael Maloof 
April 12, 2012 “Information Clearing House

WASHINGTON – The Russian military anticipates that an attack will occur on Iran by the summer and has developed an action plan to move Russian troops through neighboring Georgia to stage in Armenia, which borders on the Islamic republic, according to informed Russian sources.

Russian Security Council head Viktor Ozerov said that Russian General Military Headquarters has prepared an action plan in the event of an attack on Iran.

Dmitry Rogozin, who recently was the Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, warned against an attack on Iran.

“Iran is our neighbor,” Rogozin said. “If Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.” Rogozin now is the deputy Russian prime minister and is regarded as anti-Western. He oversees Russia’s defense sector.

Russian Defense Ministry sources say that the Russian military doesn’t believe that Israel has sufficient military assets to defeat Iranian defenses and further believes that U.S. military action will be necessary.

The implication of preparing to move Russian troops not only is to protect its own vital regional interests but possibly to assist Iran in the event of such an attack. Sources add that a Russian military buildup in the region could result in the Russian military potentially engaging Israeli forces, U.S. forces, or both.

Informed sources say that the Russians have warned of “unpredictable consequences” in the event Iran is attacked, with some Russians saying that the Russian military will take part in the possible war because it would threaten its vital interests in the region.

The influential Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper has quoted a Russian military source as saying that the situation forming around Syria and Iran “causes Russia to expedite the course of improvement of its military groups in the South Caucasus, the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions.”

This latest information comes from a series of reports and leaks from official Russian spokesmen and government news agencies who say that an Israeli attack is all but certain by the summer.

Because of the impact on Russian vital interests in the region, sources say that Russian preparations for such an attack began two years ago when Russian Military Base 102 in Gyumri, Armenia, was modernized. It is said to occupy a major geopolitical position in the region.

Families of Russian servicemen from the Russian base at Gyumri in Armenia close to the borders of Georgia and Turkey already have been evacuated, Russian sources say.

“Military Base 102 is a key point, Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus,” a Russian military source told the newspaper. “It occupies a very important geopolitical position, but the Kremlin fears lest it should lose this situation.”

With Vladimir Putin returning to the Russian presidency, the prospect that he again would order an attack on Georgia as he did in August 2008 also has become a possibility, these informed sources say.

The Russians believe that Georgia would cooperate with the United States in blocking any supplies from reaching Military Base 102, which now is supplied primarily by air. Right now, Georgia blocks the only land transportation route through which Russian military supplies could travel.

Fuel for the Russian base in Armenia comes from Iran. Russian officials believe this border crossing may be closed in the event of a war.

“Possibly, it will be necessary to use military means to breach the Georgian transport blockade and establish transport corridors leading into Armenia,” according to Yury Netkachev, former deputy commander of Russian forces in Transcaucasia. Geography of the region suggests that any such supply corridor would have to go through the middle of Georgia approaching Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi given the roads and topography of the country.

In September, the Russian military plans to hold its annual military exercises called Kavkaz 2012. However, informed Russian sources say that preparations and deployments of military equipment and personnel already have begun in anticipation of a possible war with Iran.

These sources report that new command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using the Russian GPS system, GLONASS for targeting information.

“The air force in the South Military District is reported to have been rearmed almost 100 percent with new jets and helicopters,” according to regional expert Pavel Felgenhauer of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation.

In 2008, Felgenhauer pointed out, Kavkaz 2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia in August of that year.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov already has announced that new Spetznaz, or Special Forces units, will be deployed in Stavropol and Kislovodsk, which are located in the North Caucasian regions.

Russian sources say that the Russian military believes that if the U.S. goes to war with Iran, it may deploy forces into Georgia and warships in the Caspian Sea with the possible help of Azerbaijan, which since has stated that it will not allow its territory to be used by Israel to launch an attack on neighboring Iran.

There had been speculation that given the improved relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, the Jewish state may use bases from which to launch air attacks on neighboring Iran’s nuclear sites. Israel recently agreed to sell Azerbaijan $1.6 billion in military equipment.

A further irritant to Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili is the prospect that Russian assault airborne troops, or VDV units, with helicopters could be moved into Georgia’s two breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These two provinces were taken by the Russian military during the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war. Initially they were declared by Moscow to be independent countries, but now the Kremlin is indicating they may be annexed to Russia.

Similarly, Lt. General Vladimir Shamanov, commander of the VDV, has announced that Russian troops in Armenia will be reinforced by paratroopers, along with attack and transport helicopters.

“The Russian spearhead (from the Transcaucasia region) may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of U.S. bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets,” Felgenhauer said.

“By one swift military strike, Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse,” he said.

“At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement ‘for fair elections,’ and as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.”

Putin has made no secret that he despises Saakashvili and with his return to the presidency, he may consider taking out the Georgian president as unfinished business. Just as in 2008, Putin will not have much to worry about if he sends Russian troops into Georgia, since there was muted reaction from the U.S. and the European countries to the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation.


F. Michael Maloof, staff writer for WND’s G2Bulletin, is a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He can be contacted at  mmaloof@wnd.com.


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