Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chevron Spends USD 1 Billion on Pacific Sharav Drillship Contract (USA)

Pacific Drilling S.A. announced today that its ultra-deepwater drillship the Pacific Sharav has been awarded a five-year contract by Chevron U.S.A. Inc. for operations in the United States Gulf of Mexico.

Estimated maximum contract revenue, including mobilization and client requested modifications, is expected to be approximately $1,076 million, bringing Pacific Drilling’s total contract backlog as of June 22, 2012, to approximately $3.2 billion.

“We are proud to announce the expansion of our relationship with Chevron to include a third drillship. This contract exemplifies our strategic commitment to building strong customer relationships and allows us to leverage the operations support infrastructure which we have already developed in the region.”

Pacific Drilling CEO Chris Beckett stated, “We are proud to announce the expansion of our relationship with Chevron to include a third drillship. This contract exemplifies our strategic commitment to building strong customer relationships and allows us to leverage the operations support infrastructure which we have already developed in the region.”

Pacific Sharav is scheduled for delivery by Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea in the fourth quarter of 2013, upon completion of construction and client requested modifications. The drillship will be capable of operating in water depths of up to 12,000 feet and drilling wells up to 40,000 feet deep.

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USA: Imperial Presidency

Matthew Spalding, Ph.D.
June 22, 2012 at 9:06 am

The United States was born when rebellious colonists declared their independence from an imperial ruler who had vastly overstepped his bounds. “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” they wrote in their Declaration of Independence.

Today’s presidency lacks the regal air of George III. But imperialism is back, in a big way.

Last week, the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum instructing U.S. immigration officials to use their “prosecutorial discretion” to create a policy scheme contrary to existing law, designed to implement legislation that Congress hasn’t passed.

The President himself has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to do this. “The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting, I promise you, not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works,” he told Hispanic activists last year. “That’s not how our democracy functions.”

Indeed.

We can now see before us a persistent pattern of disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision-making without—and often in spite of—congressional action.  This violates the spirit—and potentially the letter—of the Constitution’s separation of the legislative and executive powers of Congress and the President.

Examples abound:

  • Even though the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the President’s cap-and-trade plan, his Environmental Protection Agency classified carbon dioxide, the compound that sustains vegetative life, as a pollutant so that it could regulate it under the Clean Air Act.
  • After the Employee Free Choice Act—designed to bolster labor unions’ dwindling membership rolls—was defeated by Congress, the National Labor Relations Board announced a rule that would implement “snap elections” for union representation, limiting employers’ abilities to make their case to workers and virtually guaranteeing a higher rate of unionization at the expense of workplace democracy.
  • After an Internet regulation proposal failed to make it through Congress, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would regulate the Web anyway, even despite a federal court’s ruling that it had no authority to do so.
  • Although Congress consistently has barred the Department of Education from getting involved in curriculum matters, the Administration has offered waivers for the No Child Left Behind law in exchange for states adopting national education standards, all without congressional authorization.

Likewise, the Administration has often simply refused to enforce laws duly enacted by Congress:

  • Since it objects to existing federal immigration laws, the Administration has decided to apply those laws selectively and actively prevent the state (like Arizona) from enforcing those laws themselves.
  • Rather than push Congress to repeal federal laws against marijuana use, the Department of Justice (DOJ) simply decided it would no longer enforce those laws.
  • DOJ also has announced that it would stop enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act or defending it from legal challenge rather than seeking legislative recourse.

On Tuesday, the President invoked executive privilege to avoid handing over some 1,300 documents in an ongoing Congressional investigation.  The Supreme Court has held that executive privilege cannot be invoked to shield wrongdoing.  Is that what’s happening in this case? “Congress needs to get to the bottom of that question to prevent an illegal invocation of executive privilege and further abuses of power. That will require an index of the withheld documents and an explanation of why each of them is covered by executive privilege—and more,” Heritage legal scholar Todd Gaziano writes.

Earlier this year the President crossed the threshold of constitutionality when he gave “recess appointments” to four officials who were subject to Senate confirmation, even though the Senate wasn’t in recess. Gaziano wrote at the time that such appointments “would render the Senate’s advice and consent role to normal appointments almost meaningless. It is a grave constitutional wrong.”

There is no telling where such disregard may go next, but the trend is clear, and it leads further and further away from the constitutional rule of law.

The President has unique and powerful responsibilities in our constitutional system as chief executive officer, head of state, and commander in chief. Those powers do not include the authority to make laws or to decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore. The President – like judges or Members of Congress – takes an oath to uphold the Constitution in carrying out the responsibilities of his office.

Indeed, the President takes a unique oath, pledging he “shall faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” We don’t need a new Declaration of Independence, but we do need a President who will defend and vigorously exert his or her legitimate powers, recognizing that those powers are not arbitrary or unlimited.

Dr. Matthew Spalding is the Vice President for American Studies and Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation. He is also the author of We Still Hold These Truths.

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Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Jun 15 – Jun 21, 2012)

This week the SubseaIQ team added 3 new projects and updated 30 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Africa – West

Rialto Recovers Oil, Gas in Gazelle-P3 Well

Jun 21, 2012 – Rialto Energy reported that it has encountered high gas readings and recovered oil and gas samples from the sidetrack of its Gazelle-P3 well. Wireline logs have been taken while further logging with vertical seismic profile and sidewall coring are continuing with completion expected in the next three days. Rialto said the oil and gas samples were recovered from the Upper Cenomanian sands as expected while the gas readings were noted in the Lower Cenomanian. The samples will also be used to assist in the design of the Gazelle field development processing facilities.

Project Details: Gazelle

S. America – Other & Carib.

Chevron Enters Suriname Acreage

Jun 20, 2012 – Kosmos Energy has entered into an agreement with Chevron under which Kosmos will assign half of its interest in Blocks 42 and 45, offshore Suriname, to Chevron. Under the agreement, Kosmos will have a 50 percent working interest and remain operator of both blocks until the end of the exploration phase. Chevron will assume the remaining 50 percent working interest and will become development operator of any commercial discoveries. Blocks 42 and 45 cover an area of about 2.8 million gross acres in water depths ranging between 650 to 8,500 feet (200 and 2,600 meters). First drilling is targeted for 2014.

Asia – SouthEast

Salamander Spuds Bualuang Far East-1 Well

Jun 18, 2012 – Salamander Energy has spud the Bualuang Far East-1 exploration well in Block B8/38, Gulf of Thailand. The Bualuang Far East prospect is located approximately four miles (six kilometers) to the northeast of the Bualuang oil field. The Far East-1 well will be drilled to a total vertical depth of 4,765 feet (1,452 meters) subsea. The primary target is the T5 Miocene sandstones with secondary targets comprising an underlying Permian-age Ratburi carbonate and a T4 Miocene sandstone stratigraphic trap. The main T5 objective has potential mean recoverable resources of 20 million barrels of oil. The well will be drilled by the ENSCO 53 (300??? ILC) jackup and is expected to take about 20 days to complete.

Project Details: Bualuang

Australia

Chevron Sells Interest in Wheatstone to Pan Pacific Energy

Jun 19, 2012 – Chevron has agreed to sell 10-percent participating interest of its Wheatstone field licenses and 8-percent participating interest of its Wheatstone natural gas processing facilities to Japan’s Pan Pacific Energy. Chevron added that Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), one of the stakeholders in Japan’s Pan Pacific Energy K.K, has agreed to purchase an additional 0.4 million tons per annum (MTPA) of liquefied natural gas from the Wheatstone Project for up to 20 years. This new agreement brings Tepco’s total LNG offtake to 4.2 MTPA.

Project Details: Wheatstone

Mediterranean

Noble Suspends Pinnacles Gas Flow

Jun 18, 2012 – Noble Energy has suspended gas flow from the Pinnacles No. 1 well offshore Israel. According to partner Delek Group, this is due to an indication of a gas composition that does not match the specification for flow. The operator plans to examine alternative options including gas treatment to allow the resumption of gas flow.

N. America – US GOM

Cobalt Comes Up Dry iat Ligurian

Jun 15, 2012 – The Ligurian No. 2 well has failed to encounter commercial hydrocarbons and will now be plugged and abandoned after reaching a final depth of more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). The ENSCO 8503 (UDW semisub) drilled the well to a total depth of 31,800 feet (9,693 meters).

Project Details: Ligurian

Anadarko Gets Nod to Drill in GOM

Jun 15, 2012 – The BOEM recently approved Anadarko’s permit to drill at its Shenandoah prospect in Walker Ridge Block 51. The permit lists the ENSCO 8505 (UDW semisub) as the rig that will perform drilling operations. The Shenandoah well has a proposed depth of 32,000 feet (9,754 meters) and is located in approximately 5,800 feet (1,768 meters) of water.

Project Details: Shenandoah

Europe – North Sea

Ocean Installer Completes Survey, Intervention Work at Balder

Jun 21, 2012 – Ocean Installer has completed a survey and intervention work at the Balder field. The conducted work encompassed inspection and maintenance of the subsea control system at the field. Balder is located on Blocks 25/10 and 25/11 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea about 118 miles (190 kilometers) west of Stavanger, Norway at a water depth of 410 feet (125 meters).

Project Details: Balder

Providence Pleased with Barryroe’s Core Analysis

Jun 21, 2012 – Providence Resources has completed the core analysis of the reservoir at its Barryroe discovery. The firm said that permeabilities in the basal oil-bearing reservoir interval have exceeded expectations, while good permeabilities have also been confirmed in secondary logged hydrocarbon-bearing sand. The permeabilities in the basal oil-bearing interval confirm the high-productivity nature of this reservoir as observed during well-testing operations, said Providence. The company will provide a revised resource update for Barryroe later this summer.

Project Details: Barryroe

Technip to Construct Subsea System for Boyla Development

Jun 20, 2012 – Technip won a contract for the development of the Boyla field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The $381 million deal with Marathon covers all activities necessary to complete the construction of the subsea system for the field development and connect it to the existing Alvheim subsea facilities. Offshore construction will take place in 2014. The field is to be developed as a subsea tie-back to the Alvheim FPSO, with two production wells and a water injection well. The Boyla field is estimated to hold reserves of 23 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Project Details: Alvheim

Valemon Jacket Delivered and Installed

Jun 19, 2012 – Statoil reported that the Valemon jacket was successfully delivered and installed on the field, which lies in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The 9,000-ton steel jacket was carried out as planned and the project remains on schedule. The jacket, which was built by Heerema Fabrication Group in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, was transported from the shipyard and out to the field by the crane barge Thialf. Development of Valemon involves a fixed platform with a steel jacket for the separation of gas, condensate and water. The rich gas will be transported via a new pipeline to the existing pipeline from Huldra to Heimdal for further processing. The condensate will be piped to the Kvitebj??rn platform for stabilization and further transport via the Troll oil pipeline to the Mongstad refinery. At peak production, Valemon is expected to deliver roughly 86,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The field is expected to come on stream in the fourth quarter of 2014 and has a life expectancy of 11 years.

Project Details: Valemon

North Sea Buzzard Oil Field to Shut Down for 4 Weeks

Jun 15, 2012 – Nexen reported that the Buzzard oil field will have an extended four-week shutdown in the third quarter for the field’s five-year regulatory inspection. The company did not specify when the shut-down will likely occur. Buzzard produces about 200,000 bopd and is the largest oil field that contributes to Forties crude.

Project Details: Buzzard

Statoil Submits PDO for Svalin

Jun 15, 2012 – Statoil has submitted a plan for development and operation for the Svalin field to the Norwegian government and reported it expects to bring the field online in 2013. Recoverable reserves at the field are estimated at around 75 million barrels of oil equivalent, with two structures Svalin C and Svalin M containing similar quantities. The Svalin C and Svalin M discoveries will be developed through a ‘fast-track’ method that uses a standard solution involving processing by existing infrastructure. The Svalin development will be tied-back to the Grane platform. Svalin M will be produced by a well drilled from the Grane platform, while Svalin C will be a subsea development connected via a four-mile long flowline to the Grane platform. The hydrocarbons will utilize shared processing and export facilities. The gas compression facility at the Grane platform will be modified to handle gas from Svalin. Oil from the Svalin development will be transported, along with production from the Grane field, through the existing pipelines for storage and shipment from the oil terminal at Sture.

Project Details: Svalin

Shell Contracts FPSO for Fram Field

Jun 15, 2012 – Shell sent SBM Offshore a letter of interim award (LOIA) for the supply, lease and operation of a FPSO for the Fram field in the UK sector of the North Sea. The LOIA allows SBM Offshore to commence engineering and procurement of long lead items to ensure timely completion of the planned Fram FPSO project, which is subject to a Final Investment Decision. In March 2012, Shell and SBM Offshore signed an Enterprise Framework Agreement (EFA) covering a term of five years, with an option to extend for another five years. The Fram FPSO, subject to a Final Investment Decision, will be the first project to be developed under the terms of the EFA. The hull of the FPSO will be based on a converted Aframax tanker and will incorporate an internal turret permanent mooring system. The crude will be offloaded to shuttle tankers and the gas exported via the existing Fulmar pipeline.

Project Details: Troll Area

N. America – Canadian Atlantic

Statoil Confirms Mizzen Discovery Holds Large Amounts of Oil

Jun 21, 2012 – Statoil has confirmed that it has found between 100 and 200 million barrels of recoverable oil at its Mizzen deepwater prospect offshore Newfoundland. The company stated it is now assessing the discovery to determine how and when it can be economically developed. Statoil discovered oil in 2009 while drilling Mizzen O-16 and appraised the find in late 2011. Statoil plans to drill two new wildcat wells in the area by the end of next year, and potentially additional wells in 2014 and beyond. Mizzen is situated roughly 311 miles (500 kilometers) east of St. John’s in 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) of water.

Project Details: Mizzen

GoM Lease Sale: Apache Expands Presence in Gulf of Mexico

Apache Corporation announced it was the high bidder on 90 shelf and deep water blocks in the Central Gulf of Mexico offshore lease sale held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in New Orleans.

Of the 56 companies submitting bids for Gulf of Mexico acreage, Apache Corp. was ranked No. 1 overall for its 61 high bids on the shelf, while Apache Deepwater LLC, the company’s deep water arm, was ranked No. 4 overall with 29 high bids.

The sum of the combined high bids was nearly $96 million gross.

“We’re excited about these blocks and our expanding presence in the Gulf of Mexico,” said G. Steven Farris, Apache chairman and chief executive officer. “The Gulf of Mexico is integral to Apache’s long-term growth. The shelf provides some of the best margins, highest returns and most free cash flow, and the deep water has some of the best exploration potential of any region in our global portfolio.”

Bidding on acreage in the shelf was focused on areas where Apache is acquiring proprietary seismic data, along with moderate to deep exploration prospects based on recently acquired and reprocessed seismic data. Successful deep water bids were focused on Pliocene and Miocene trends where Apache has acquired a significant seismic data base. Deep water bid partners included Stone Energy, Samson, Noble, Repsol, Nexen and Ecopetrol.

“This was a very robust lease sale with premium acreage,” said Jon Jeppesen, executive vice president of Apache’s Gulf of Mexico regions. “These blocks strengthen our position on the shelf and in the deep water. In both areas, Apache has the fiscal wherewithal, technical prowess and experience to capture the value of these opportunities.”

The shelf and deep water Gulf of Mexico currently represents 15.5 percent of Apache’s overall daily production.

Source

Six New Leases for EPL in Central GoM Lease Sale (USA)

Energy Partners, Ltd., a U.S. based oil and gas exploration and production company announced was the high bidder on six leases at the Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 216/222 held yesterday in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The six high bid lease blocks cover a total of 27,148 acres on a net and gross basis and are all located in the shallow Gulf of Mexico Shelf within the Company’s core area of operations. EPL’s share of the high bids totals $7.0 million.

Gary C. Hanna, EPL’s President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “This lease sale was a long awaited one, and we are pleased that we were successful with high bids within our core areas and targeted region. Consistent with our acquisition and organic growth strategy, the leases contain oily prospects that enhance our existing portfolio and were identified with the aid of our regional study that kicked off earlier this year. The six leases include three leases within the Main Pass area, two within the West Delta area, and one adjacent to our South Timbalier 41 field.”

The Central Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale attracted $1,704,500,995 in high bids for tracts on the U.S. outer continental shelf offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Yesterday’s highest bid on a tract was $157,111,000 submitted by Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC for Mississippi Canyon, Block 718.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said that the sale, was good news for American jobs, good news for the Gulf economy, and would bring additional domestic resources to market.

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