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Rosneft Buys Exxon’s GoM Blocks (USA)

Neftegaz America Shelf LP (Neftegaz), an indirect independent subsidiary of Russia’s state-run oil company Rosneft, has acquired 30 percent interest in 20 deepwater exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico held by ExxonMobil, under an agreement signed by the two companies.

The 20 blocks have a total area of approximately 111,600 acres (450 square kilometers) in water depths ranging between 2,100 and 6,800 feet (640 and 2,070 meters). Seventeen are located in the Western Gulf of Mexico and three are in the Central Gulf of Mexico.

ExxonMobil retains 70 percent interest in the blocks and remains operator. Analysis of seismic data is under way. There is currently no production on the blocks.

Rosneft and ExxonMobil continue to implement the Strategic Cooperation Agreement signed in 2011, under which the companies and their subsidiaries plan to undertake joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in Russia and other countries and to share technology and expertise. Under subsequent agreements between Neftegaz and ExxonMobil, Rosneft’s subsidiary gained the option to acquire interest in 20 blocks of its choosing from among ExxonMobil’s Gulf of Mexico exploration portfolio. The latest agreement represents the exercise of that option.

The agreement was signed by Igor I. Sechin, president of Rosneft, and Stephen M. Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

“ExxonMobil has a long history of safe oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico using state-of-the-art safety and environmental protection systems,” said Greenlee. “We look forward to working with Rosneft and its affiliates to explore these blocks using our leading-edge exploration and development technology and deepwater execution expertise.”

Sechin said, “This agreement provides Rosneft and its affiliates with access to one of the world’s most prolific basins. We believe joint efforts of our companies will ensure the most efficient development of these blocks, with application of the latest technologies and adhering to high environmental standards. Moreover, experience and knowledge acquired in the process may potentially be used when developing deepwater blocks in Russia, including in the Tuapse Trough in the Black Sea as envisaged under the Strategic Cooperation Agreement.”

ExxonMobil and Rosneft continue to implement a program of staff exchanges for technical and management employees to help strengthen the working relationships between the companies and provide valuable career development opportunities for employees of both companies.

The 20 blocks are:

Western Gulf of Mexico – Alaminos Canyon 569, 612, 613, 655, 656, 657, 698, 699, 700 and 701; East Breaks 429, 471, 472, 473 and 515; Keathley Canyon 529 and 573.

Central Gulf of Mexico – Walker Ridge 629, 673 and 717.

Rosneft Buys Exxon’s GoM Blocks (USA)| Offshore Energy Today.

ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania)

ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited Nassau (Bahamas) is seeking for diving services using a remotely operated vehicle for a drilling programme in the Black Sea.

The objective of the framework agreement is for ExxonMobil to be able to access the resources identified as necessary for the provision of services under the contract.

Minimum and maximum operating 380 – 1,309 days of operation with mobilisation and demobilisation days are included in the tender.

The project has a value between USD8 million and USD30 million with duration of 48 months.

ExxonMobil is expecting the tenders to be submitted until November 06, 2012.

Subsea World News – ExxonMobil Seeks ROV for Operations in Black Sea (Romania).

 

Rosneft Estimates 90 Bboe in Exxon-Rosneft Projects

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by  Dow Jones Newswires
Angel Gonzalez
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NEW YORK – Russian energy Czar Igor Sechin said Wednesday that U.S.-Russia economic relations still don’t reflect their full potential, but that opportunities to tap Russia’s massive oil reserves will provide opportunities for that to change.

At an event in New York describing details of Exxon Mobil Corp.‘s deal with OAO Rosneft, Sechin, who is Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, said that “the time has come in Russia-U.S. relations for a step-up in the level of practical and real projects.”

The partnership between Exxon and Rosneft could give the companies access to about 90 billion barrels of oil equivalent in estimated resources from the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea, Rosneft said Wednesday.

In a video presented to analysts in New York, Rosneft said that the partnership would drill its first wells at the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean as early as 2014-2015, with a final investment decision on full-scale development expected by 2016-2017. Sechin said that Kara Sea production is estimated to begin around 2027.

The Exxon-Rosneft deal comes in the wake of the Russian government’s efforts to step up the development of new oil production regions, especially in the Arctic. Sechin said that about 5% of oil output to come from new regions by 2020, and up to 40% by 2030.

“We recognize that the implementation of such projects will require strong and consistent support of the state,” which aims to ensure transparent terms of access to the new fields, Sechin said.

Sechin said that under new rules, tax rates were defined for different types of operational conditions. Exxon-Rosneft projects in the Kara Sea will have a royalty of 5%. Royalty levels for deepwater projects in the Black Sea will be 10%, Sechin said.

Long-term investment in offshore development is estimated to exceed $500 billion, Sechin added, creating more than 300,000 jobs.

Overall, the large scale investments needed to tap Russia’s massive oil and gas wealth provides an “enormous potential for U.S.-Russia cooperation, which ought to help us to overcome our over-politicized relationship,” he said.

Such large projects “will be welcomed and will find strong support of the Russian government,” Sechin said.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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ExxonMobil, OMV Petrom Strike Gas Offshore Romania

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ExxonMobil’s affiliate EMEPRL Corporation and OMV Petrom SA, the 51% subsidiary of OMV Aktiengesellschaft, today confirmed a potentially significant gas discovery in the Black Sea offshore Romania.

Operated by ExxonMobil, the Domino-1 well is the first deep water exploration well offshore Romania and has a total depth of more than 3,000 meters below sea level. The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kilometers offshore in water approximately 930 meters deep.

The exploration well encountered 70.7 meters of net gas pay, resulting in a preliminary estimate for the accumulation ranging from 1.5 to 3 trillion cubic feet (42 to 84 billion cubic meters). Drilling operations started at year-end 2011 and are in the process to be finalized. ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom plan new 3D seismic acquisition during 2012. The evaluation of the Domino-1 well results and the new seismic will determine next steps.

Petrom’s report says that it is too early in the data evaluation and exploration process to determine whether the Neptun block will ultimately prove to be commercially developable or not. However, should further work confirm the technical and commercial feasibility of deep water gas production from the Neptun block, further investment during both the exploration and development phases could reach several billion USD with the potential for first production towards the end of the decade at the earliest.

The drilling of Romania’s first deepwater well began last month. The well is being drilled by the world-class, sixth generation drillship, Deepwater Champion, which recently transited to Romanian waters after completing its drilling program offshore Turkey.

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ExxonMobil, Petrom Strike Gas in Black Sea

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ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania and OMV Petrom, said on Friday that natural gas has been encountered in Domino‐1, the first deepwater exploration well in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea.

This is encouraging, but it is too early in the data evaluation and exploration process to speculate on whether it will prove to be commercial or not,” the two companies said in a statement.

The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kilometers offshore in water about 1000 meters deep.

Drilling operations started at year-end 2011 and are ongoing.

The total depth of the well is expected to be more than 3000 metres below sea level.

Source

Domino-1: Romania’s First Deepwater Exploration Well

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ExxonMobil’s Romanian subsidiary together with Petrom has started exploration drilling on Domino-1, the first deepwater exploration well in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea​.

The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kilometers offshore in water about 1,000 meters deep and will be drilled using state-of-the-art industry technology. The well is being drilled by the world-class, sixth generation drillship, Deepwater Champion, which recently transited to Romanian waters after completing its drilling program offshore Turkey. Drilling operations are expected to take about 90 days.

The drillship is owned by the world’s largest drilling contractor, Transocean.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Petrom in this project – a collaboration built upon ExxonMobil’s experience as a leader in deepwater exploration and Petrom’s vast experience in Romania. We highly value the efforts of the Romanian authorities for supporting the progress of the deepwater Black Sea exploration program,” said Ian A. Fischer, Managing Director of EEPRL.

Exploration drilling, especially in such frontier, unexplored areas as the deepwater Black Sea, may or may not result in a discovery. If commercial discoveries are made, the development of the Neptun Block would yield significant positive industrial, social and economic benefits for Romania.

“Together with our partner ExxonMobil, we are developing a unique project for Romania. Deepwater exploration carries high investment risks and requires investments of several hundred million U.S. dollars, yet a potential success would fundamentally change the perspective of the Romanian energy sector,” said Johann Pleininger, Petrom’s Executive Board Member responsible for Exploration & Production.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, January 10, 2012; Image: Transocean

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Russia: Putin Becomes Guardian of Seismic Vessel Vyacheslav Tikhonov

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Polarcus Limited announced that the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has assumed the role of Guardian to the seismic vessel Vyacheslav Tikhonov, formerly POLARCUS SELMA, during a naming ceremony held last week in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi.

The ultra-modern seismic vessel Vyacheslav Tikhonov is on a five year Bareboat Charter to OAO Sovcomflot (SCF) of Russia, announced by Polarcus on 11 August 2011.

Vyacheslav Tikhonov is the same class of vessel as POLARCUS SAMUR, an ultra-modern and Arctic-ready 3D seismic vessel of the ULSTEIN SX133 X-BOW design capable of towing both conventional and wide tow spreads. The vessel has an overall length of 84.2m and a beam of 17m. Vyacheslav Tikhonov has a maximum speed of 17 knots and will be capable of deploying up to 8 streamers each of 6,000m length, or 6 streamers each of 8,000m length, with lateral streamer separations of between 25 and 200 meters.

Original Article

Sterling Declares Force Majeure in its Blocks Offshore Romania

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Sterling Resources Ltd. has declared Force Majeure on its Midia and Pelican Blocks in the Black Sea after the Company has been unable to undertake Petroleum operations for reasons outside of its control.

In early 2011, after extensive and lengthy efforts, the Company finally obtained from the relevant Governmental authorities the environmental and drilling permits necessary for operations on the Midia and Pelican Blocks. The National Agency of Mineral Resources (“NAMR”) has given approval to a 2011 work program based on which Sterling is obligated to undertake certain offshore activities which include the drilling of 2 offshore wells, acquiring 1,050 linear kilometers of 2D seismic and undertaking investigations and studies to bring the Ana and Doina discoveries forward for development.

However, in July 2009 the Romanian Parliament passed a law requiring construction permits for certain offshore activities. Sterling has sought clarification of this requirement from relevant authorities, as the activities contemplated under the 2011 work program clearly appear to have aspects that will require a construction permit. It is Sterling’s view that, after having received responses from certain relevant governmental authorities, that the authorities are currently unable or unwilling to provide construction permits for offshore oil and gas activities.

The effect of this situation, which the Company views as political in nature, is to render it impossible for the Company to undertake Petroleum Operations at the present time. Sterling has thus issued a notice to NAMR, stating that the total lack of clarity on the applicable procedure and authority for issuance of construction permits constitutes an event of Force Majeure under the Concession Agreement.

Under the terms of the Concession Agreement NAMR must, within 15 days of this notification, either agree with the invocation of Force Majeure, the effect of which would be to extend the duration of the Concession Agreement, or reject the Company’s invocation putting the two parties into a dispute resolution procedure which could ultimately be decided in international arbitration.

Mike Azancot, Sterling’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Despite this unfortunate situation we look forward to working with the NAMR and other Romanian authorities to find a resolution that will allow the Company to fulfill its obligations, preserve its rights and ultimately achieve success for the Company and the people of Romania. With a satisfactory resolution achieved, we are hopeful that we can advance our plans to undertake further exploration on these very prospective blocks and bring Ana and Doina to production within 3 years. This will bring significant benefits to Romania in terms of greater energy self-sufficiency, the likely award of construction and oil service contracts to local companies, and encouraging a wide range of companies to explore offshore Romania.”

Sterling Resources Ltd. is a Canadian-listed international oil and gas company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta with assets in the United Kingdom, Romania, France and the Netherlands. The shares are listed and posted for trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “SLG”.

Original Article

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