Category Archives: Well Intervention

Well intervention, workover or ‘well work’, is any operation carried out on an oil or gas well during, or at the end of its productive life, that alters the state of the well and or well geometry, provides well diagnostics or manages the production of the well.

Subsea well interventions offer up many challenges and requires much advanced planning. The cost of subsea intervention has in the past inhibited the intervention but in the current climate is much more viable. These interventions are commonly executed from Light/medium intervention vessels or Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) for the heavier interventions such as Snubbing and Workover drilling rigs.

BP Extends LWI Contract with Island Offshore

Island Offshore, a leading name in global Light Well Intervention (“LWI”) activities, has been awarded a major contract extension with BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd.

The two-year contract extension, covering 2014 and 2015, has been awarded to Island Offshore and the North Sea RLWI Alliance, which operates three monohull vessels specially designed for well intervention tasks. Island Offshore’s Island Constructor – a 120m long, 8,200 ton, state-of-the-art Ulstein built X-Bow vessel – will perform the scope of work for the client.

Commenting on the award, Robert Friedberg, Managing Director of Island Offshore Subsea, says: “We are delighted to continue our successful operations for BP. This is an important extension of a contract that has now been in place for 5 years.”

“It demonstrates the strength of the relationship we have built with BP and the excellent standard of service that Island Offshore, and its partners in the North Sea RLWI Alliance, have delivered.”

He continues: “We have acquired some unique experience working with the BP team in the harsh environments West of the Shetland, and we look forward to building on that in the future.”

The value of the new contract is approximately NOK 0.5 billion (USD 86.5 million) and includes options for NOK 0.75 billion (USD 129.8 million).

The North Sea Alliance was formed in 2004 to provide integrated wireline services to the growing subsea intervention market. The Alliance performs between 60-70 well interventions each year, providing services such as scale milling, gauging and logging operations, plug setting and re-perforating requirements. Island Offshore and the North Sea RLWI Alliance are currently the world leading riser-less wireline intervention,(“RLWI”), provider. To date the partners have performed close to 250 well interventions.

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Reef Subsea Secures Offshore Operations Contracts in West Africa

Reef Subsea has secured two contracts for offshore operations in the West Africa region with a combined value of more than US$15M (£9.8 Million).

The firm’s IMR and Construction division, based in Bergen, Norway, is working with two major oil and gas companies on the projects in The Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.

For both projects, Reef Subsea, which also has a presence in Aberdeen, Houston, Mandal in Norway and Surrey and Stockton-on-Tees in England, is providing operational support using one of its subsea construction support vessel’s, Reef Larissa, which will perform structure installations, ROV & survey operations and commissioning support in water depths down to 1400 metres. In addition, onshore engineering will be delivered from Reef Subsea’s Bergen office. Reef Subsea will add to the operational competence and experience involved in the projects while ensuring the scope of work is carried out in a safe and efficient manner.

Tim Sheehan, Executive VP Commercial of Reef Subsea, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded these two contracts, which confirm our teams and assets are well adapted to subsea construction operations in deepwater worldwide. We have already worked in West Africa over the past few years, and are pleased to be operating in this region again to strengthen our reputation further.”

Ørjan Lunde, Managing Director of Reef Subsea IRM & Construction, said: “We are pleased to have secured these two projects in West Africa with blue chip operating companies. West Africa will be a key region for us in the future to meet our strategy to become a leader in field of life IRM & Construction services.”

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Houston,TX: BP Hires Helix’s Q5000 Semi

Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a five-year contract with BP to provide well intervention services to BP in the US Gulf of Mexico with Helix’s deepwater well intervention semisubmersible vessel, the Q5000, currently being constructed in Singapore.

The contract is for a minimum 270 days each year and is expected to commence between April and August 2015 following the delivery of the vessel from the shipyard. The contract also includes a first right of refusal for additional days each year and an option to extend for two successive one-year terms.

“We appreciate the confidence BP has shown in our Company’s well intervention services, and look forward to this integral step in further executing our business strategy,” said Helix President and Chief Executive Officer Owen Kratz.

Representing a $585 million investment, the dynamically positioned Q5000 will be a bigger version of Helix ESG’s proven Q4000 semisubmersible MODU.

Helix Energy Solutions Group, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is an international offshore energy company that provides key life of field services to the energy market.

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Helix disposals create deep-water operator takeover bait

Wade Youngblood, a production team leader, walks up a set of steps on the Helix Producer 1 in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011(Photo: Rusty Costanza/ The Times-Picayune)

Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. (HLX) is turning into a takeover target after streamlining the company to focus on its expanding operations for offshore oil-well support.

The Houston-based company agreed last month to sell its oil-and-gas unit and earlier exited a pipe-laying business, helping Helix reduce debt and center its operations on deepwater vessels and robotics for well maintenance. The divestments make the $2.2 billion company more appealing to a potential suitor such as Aker Solutions ASA (AKSO) or Technip SA (TEC) that may want to expand in marine contracting, said Capital One Financial Corp.

Helix also may attract other oilfield-services providers, according to Stephens Inc., while Iberia Capital Partners LLC says a rig owner such as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO) could be interested. Even after Helix’s moves led to a 31 percent gain in 2012 that beat U.S. energy equipment and services stocks, the company trades at a 23 percent discount to its closest competitor Oceaneering International Inc. based on this year’s estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s a cleaned-up company,” Trey Stolz, an analyst at Iberia Capital in New Orleans, said in a telephone interview. “Helix would be attractive as an add-on for existing offshore service providers to immediately get a head start on the well intervention side. It’s the next step forward in further specialization of the offshore equipment.”

Terrence Jamerson, director of investor relations at Helix, didn’t return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.

Oilfield Divers

Helix, which traces its roots to a group of oilfield divers in the 1960s, evolved into an offshore energy company with operations spanning deepwater construction, oil-and-gas production and well maintenance and repair.

The company in October said it sold off its pipe-laying vessels and in December announced that it had agreed to sell its oil-and-gas unit as part of a plan to shift its focus toward so- called well-intervention services. This business, which encompasses undersea well maintenance, salvage and repair using floating vessels and robotics, is more profitable than pipe- laying while requiring less capital outlays than are needed for exploration and production, Chief Financial Officer Anthony Tripodo told investors during a presentation in November.

The asset sales spurred gains in Helix shares that contributed to the biggest advance last year among the 11 members in the Standard & Poor’s Midcap Energy Equipment & Services Index. The stock closed yesterday at $20.86.

‘Simpler Package’

By helping to center Helix’s operations on a single, growing business, the disposals also have bolstered the company’s allure as a potential takeover target, said David Streit, an Appleton, Wisconsin-based equity analyst at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The firm oversees about $76 billion in assets, including Helix shares.

“This focuses the company and provides potential acquirers with a much more focused and simpler package of assets,” Streit said in a phone interview. The sale of the oil-and-gas unit “removed the last major impediment to an acquisition. The balance sheet will be net cash positive after the divestiture of the business is complete. And beyond that it’s a very straightforward and clean business.”

Including its current net debt of $589 million, Helix’s enterprise value as of yesterday was 6.64 times its 2013 estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The multiple for its Houston-based rival Oceaneering International (OII) was higher at 8.64 times this year’s estimated Ebitda, the data show.

Deepwater Appeal

“It’s trading at a multiple out of whack with other offshore asset-based service companies,” Iberia Capital’s Stolz said.

In its streamlined form, Helix may appeal to some contractors already operating in deepwater oil fields, Stolz said. The addition would give them a leg up as demand grows for well-intervention services, which use equipment sent down from vessels on the water’s surface to tap into aging wells on the sea floor and boost production.

Well-intervention vessels are in demand because they’re a cheaper alternative to drilling rigs, which have long been the standard and are now able to charge near-record leasing rates due to higher oil prices, Stolz said. The market for well intervention could experience growth similar to the past five years, when the number of aging wells nearly doubled to 3,500, he said.

Aker, Technip

Aker Solutions, a Lysaker, Norway-based oil-services company with well-intervention operations, could be a potential suitor for Helix, said Joseph Gibney, a Houston-based analyst with Capital One. The $5.8 billion company has a fleet of three deepwater well-intervention vessels, according to its website.

Paris-based Technip, with a market value of $13 billion, also could be a logical buyer because of its experience working in deep waters offering construction and engineering services for oil fields, Gibney said.

Ivar Simensen, a spokesman at Aker Solutions, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix. Christophe Belorgeot, a spokesman for Technip, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Other oilfield-services companies may want to buy Helix to augment their businesses and gain technical expertise, said Michael Marino, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in Houston. Rig contractors such as Diamond Offshore may be interested in Helix as a way to recapture some of the work lost to lower-priced well-intervention vessels, Gibney and Stolz said.

Going Alone

Darren Daugherty, a spokesman for Diamond Offshore, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix.

With Helix now focused on well intervention, the company could look to stay independent or even seek out acquisitions itself, said Todd Smurl, president and chief investment officer of Houston-based Ascendant Advisors.

“It might put them in play down the road but now they might actually be strong enough to be an acquirer as opposed to being acquired,” Smurl said in a phone interview. What’s more, after the stock rose 19 percent in the past month alone, “it’s not the screaming bargain it was,” he said.

Still, Stephens’s Marino estimates the company could fetch $25 in a takeover, a 20 percent premium to yesterday’s close.

“A takeout at those levels doesn’t seem crazy,” said Marino, who recommended that investors buy the stock after Helix announced plans to sell its oil-and-gas unit. “It makes a lot of sense for someone who wants to increase their presence internationally and offshore.”

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Canyon Offshore’s Olympic Triton Returns to the Gulf of Mexico

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Helix Currents

Canyon Offshore is pleased to announce the return of its M/V Olympic Triton to the Gulf of Mexico. She is scheduled to arrive December 2012 and will be available to assist offshore energy producers with ROV vessel needs ranging from high end construction missions to planned or call out ROV inspections.

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