|Worldwide Field Development News
Oct 18 – Oct 24, 2014
|This week the SubseaIQ team added 9 new projects and updated 38 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.|
Corpus Christi, TX – Analysis: From Big Foot to Bluto, Gulf of Mexico set for record oil supply surge
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:10pm EDT By Kristen Hays and Terry Wade
(Reuters) – The Gulf of Mexico, stung by the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history in 2010 and then overshadowed by the onshore fracking boom, is on the verge of its biggest supply surge ever, adding to the American oil renaissance.
Over the next three years, the Gulf is poised to deliver a slug of more than 700,000 barrels per day of new crude, reversing a decline in production and potentially rivaling shale hot spots like Texas’s Eagle Ford formation in terms of growth.
The revival began this summer, when Royal Dutch Shell‘s (RDSa.L) 100,000 barrels per day Olympus platform was towed out to sea 130 miles south of New Orleans – the first of seven new ultra-modern systems starting up through 2016. It weighs 120,000 tons, more than 200 Boeing 777 jumbo jets.
The Gulf Of Mexico’s growth will bolster the United States’ emerging role as the world’s top oil and gas producer, a trend led by advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that unlock hydrocarbons from tight rock reservoirs in places like North Dakota’s Bakken and the Permian of West Texas.
Rising domestic production and the start of natural gas exports may transform the economy and realign geopolitics as U.S. reliance on foreign oil declines.
The resurgence in the Gulf is occurring even though the U.S. government imposed stringent safety and environmental rules after BP Plc‘s (BP.L) Macondo spill. Foreign countries from Brazil to Angola have also aggressively courted Big Oil to invest in developing their offshore fields. And the shale boom has diverted billions of dollars in capital onshore.
The deepwater Gulf, considered the most technically challenging offshore oil patch, remains alluring even as other areas struggle. Brazil attracted only a single bid this month for its once-touted Libra field, yet global companies still compete fiercely for the right to drill in the Gulf.
“A barrel of discovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico is difficult to beat for value anywhere else, even with the increased costs of doing business,” said Jez Averty, senior vice president of North American exploration at Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL).
Huge finds over the last decade – in what engineers call “elephant fields” that can produce for 25 years or more – are lifting growth in a basin some companies once abandoned, fearing it was drying up or its resources were beyond reach.
“This is still one of the premier oil and gas regions in the world and that’s why we’ve never left,” said Steve Thurston, vice president of Chevron Corp‘s (CVX.N) North American exploration and production division.
Even after decades of production in the Gulf, government estimates have shown that 48 billion barrels could still be recovered.
The area of the Gulf of Mexico where most of the new infrastructure will start up is in an ancient geological trend in its deepest waters 200 miles or more from shore known as the Lower Tertiary, estimated to hold 15 billion barrels of crude.
Appraisals in the Gulf’s Lower Tertiary have shown fields that could have half a billion barrels or more of oil, like Exxon Mobil Corp’s (XOM.N) Hadrian, estimated to hold up to 700 million barrels, or Anadarko Petroleum Corp‘s (APC.N) Shenandoah, which tests this year showed could hold up to three times more than initial estimates of 300 million barrels.
The potential bounty of massive deposits that can produce for a quarter century or more is what keeps players coming even though a single well that bores tens of thousands of feet through thick salt and rock to strike oil – or a dry hole – can cost $130 million or more.
By contrast, an onshore well costs about $8 million to drill – but may only produce a trickle of oil for a few years.
Chevron’s Jack/St. Malo project, which will tie a platform to the ocean floor 7,000 feet below the surface and tap a reservoir 26,000 feet deep, costs $7.5 billion.
It may become the biggest such platform in the world after shipping out later this year, with the ability to double its initial 170,000 bpd capacity. It will be followed next year by Chevron’s second new platform, Big Foot, to be secured to the sea floor by 16 miles of interlocking metal strands, or tendons.
In addition to projects by Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) and Williams Cos (WMB.N), private equity firm Blackstone Energy Partners will join the game. In 2015, Blackstone’s partner LLOG Exploration aims to start up Delta House – named for the boisterous fraternity in the film “Animal House” – less than 10 miles from BP’s plugged Macondo well.
Delta House will pump oil from the Marmalard and Bluto fields, namesakes of characters in the movie.
CLEAR AND STABLE RULES
Three years ago, some analysts thought the post-Macondo Gulf would have fewer players as stricter regulations and higher operating chilled activity, particularly for smaller companies.
Producers must now provide more detailed plans for offshore operations, submit to more frequent inspections and prove they have access to a rapid-response system to cap a gushing well. More than 4 million barrels of oil poured into the sea for 87 days after the Macondo well blowout killed 11 men.
High costs have given some companies pause. Even as BP began appraisal drilling at its self-described “giant” Tiber field this August, a month later it canceled contracts to build a second platform at its Mad Dog field. BP says it wants to move forward on Mad Dog 2 “with the right plan.”
Many others are pressing ahead full steam.
“It hasn’t scared us away,” John Hollowell, Shell’s top deepwater executive for Shell Upstream Americas said, noting deepwater is one-third of Shell’s growth platform, alongside natural gas and unconventional areas like onshore shales.
Hess Corp (HES.N) Chief Executive John Hess has told analysts the company, which operates one oil and gas platform in the Gulf with another on the way next year, also aims to increase its exploration in the deep waters.
“It’s a core area for us and now that Macondo is behind the industry, it is an area where we intend to start investing more, assuming we get the returns that we expect,” he said.
Companies say the Gulf is still the best deepwater basin to set up shop – with high profit margins, reasonable per-barrel costs and a predictable legal and regulatory system.
Operators can bring in their own workers rather than employ a certain number from the host country, as they do in Brazil – where just finding enough qualified workers is a hurdle.
Gulf operators also do not have to brace themselves for sudden changes in royalty requirements or possibly be blocked from bidding on drilling rights, as has happened in Angola.
To get in the Gulf of Mexico’s door, they put in the highest bid when the government leases drilling rights.
“All you have to do is show up at the lease sale,” Statoil’s Averty said.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
LLOG Exploration today provided an update on the status of Deepwater drilling contracts, production at the Who Dat field, development activities at the Marmalard discovery, and its recent Powerball discovery.
On April 2, a three-year contract, with an option for an additional year at mutually-agreeable rates, between LLOG Bluewater Holdings, LLC (the joint venture partnership between LLOG and Blackstone) and Sevan Drilling was announced for the Sevan Louisiana ultra-deepwater drilling rig that is currently under construction in China. The rig will be capable of drilling in water depths up to 10,000 feet, and is scheduled for delivery in Q4 2013.
On April 16, LLOG Bluewater Holdings and Seadrill announced a three-year contract, with an option for a fourth year at mutually-agreeable rates, for the new-build, ultra-deepwater drillship West Neptune. The West Neptune is being built in South Korea and is scheduled for delivery in Q2 2014. The rig will have two BOPs, will be outfitted to work in up to 10,000 feet of water, and is capable of water depths up to 12,000 feet and drilling depths up to 37,000 feet.
First production from the fifth well in the Who Dat field at Mississippi Canyon 503/504/546/547 was initiated on April 12, bringing total production to 28 thousand barrels of oil and 58 million cubic feet of gas per day. The development plan for the field calls for the company to drill eight additional wells, which would fully utilize the 60 MBOPD and 150 MMCFD capacity of the floating production system.
Drilling activities are underway on Mississippi Canyon 255 #1, a development well resulting from the Marmalard discovery announced in August of 2012. The Marmalard discovery well at Mississippi Canyon 300 was drilled to a total depth of 18,100 feet and encountered two oil-bearing zones. Marmalard is one of the discoveries that will be tied back to the Delta House Floating Production System, which is under construction and scheduled to begin operations in 2015. LLOG Bluewater owns a 26% working interest in Marmalard.
On the Shelf, the South Timbalier 231 #1 well (Powerball South) was drilled to a depth of 18,915 feet and encountered over 90 feet of net gas/condensate pay in high quality reservoir sands. Facilities are being constructed to bring the well on line in Q3 2014, and another well is planned for later in the year. LLOG Bluewater owns a 74% working interest in South Timbalier 231/232.
Scott Gutterman, President and CEO of LLOG, commented: “These activities are further evidence of the tremendous growth being experienced at LLOG. The two rig contracts will allow us to develop the acreage around our Delta House project and explore our extensive portfolio of exploration prospects in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Who Dat continues to perform extremely well, and we are quite enthusiastic about the opportunities at Marmalard and Powerball.”
Seadrill has signed a contract with LLOG Bluewater Holdings, LLC, for employment of the newbuild drillship, West Neptune, offshore Gulf of Mexico.
The contract duration is a minimum of three years plus an option for a one-year extension at mutually agreed rates. The potential revenue for the primary contract term is approximately US$662 million. The West Neptune is expected to be delivered to Seadrill from the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, in early June 2014. The rig will be outfitted to work in up to 10,000′ of water and is capable of water depths up to 12,000′ and drilling depths up to 37,000′.
Fredrik Halvorsen, CEO and President of Seadrill Management Ltd. says in a comment, “We are delighted to have signed our first contract with LLOG, a leading independent operator in the Gulf of Mexico. This award complements our expanding deepwater operations in the area with Seadrill’s fleet growing to six ultra-deepwater units within the US and Mexican Gulf of Mexico over the next 18 months. In addition, this contract brings Seadrill’s order backlog to US$20.9 billion. We continue to experience strong demand for premium ultra-deepwater rigs and expect to further increase our backlog and earnings visibility in the next months as our additional ultra-deepwater units under construction secure term contracts.”
Scott Gutterman, President and CEO of LLOG, added: “The West Neptune will be the first dual BOP rig in the Gulf of Mexico for LLOG. LLOG will initially utilize the rig to perform completions of our Delta House wells. Having two BOP’s will allow LLOG to complete our wells efficiently saving up to 12 days per completion. Execution of this contract is another key step in accelerating the drilling and development of our extensive portfolio of exploration prospects in the Gulf of Mexico. Seadrill is an outstanding company and we are looking forward to the business relationship.”
This week the SubseaIQ team added 3 new projects and updated 9 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.
Asia – Far East
CNOOC Bolsters South China Sea Production
Jan 3, 2013 – Production has started at CNOOC’s 100% owned Liuhua 4-1 field in the South China Sea. Liuhua 4-1 is a subsea development consisting of one production manifold and eight production wells. They are produced through the Nanhai Tiao Zhan FPS and then pumped to the Nanhai Sheng Li FPSO. Peak production is expected to be reached later this year. In addition, the company completed an adjustment project on the Panyu 4-2 and 5-1 oilfields. The objective of the project was to achieve more efficient production from the two fields through shared facilities.
Europe – North Sea
North Sea Energy Provides Badger Update
Jan 3, 2013 – North Sea Energy’s operating committee recently held a meeting to discuss the path forward regarding the Premier Oil-operated Badger prospect in the UK North Sea. Badger is a structural/stratigraphic trap with an objective in lower Cretaceous Coracle and Punt sandstones. Further delineation is required and critical risk elements need to be mitigated before a drilling decision can be made. The company hopes to be in a position to make that decision by the end of 3Q 2013.
Jan 3, 2013 – Det norske, on behalf of the partners in Production License 001B, submitted to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy the Plan for Development and Operation of the Ivar Aasen field. If approved, first oil could be seen in 4Q 2016. Information gained during appraisal drilling indicates that the field contains 150 mmboe and will produce at a steady rate of 23,000 boepd. The development will also include the Hanz and West Cable discoveries. Hanz will be utilized by a subsea installation tied back to a production platform servicing Ivar Aasen and West Cable.
Project Details: Ivar Aasen
Jan 3, 2013 – BP announced the start of production systems at the Skarv field on December 31, 2012. Over its life, Skarv is expected to produce over 100 million barrels of oil and condensate and over 1.5 trillion cubic feet of rich gas. Water depth at the location is almost 1,500 feet. Development facilities include a new harsh environment FPSO, five subsea templates and a 50 mile export pipeline. Production rates will gradually increase over the year to an expected maximum daily rate of 165,000 boed.
Project Details: Skarv/Idun
S. America – Other & Carib.
Priodontes Well Spuds Off French Guiana
Jan 3, 2013 – Shell, as operator of the Guyane Maritime Permit (French Guiana), spudded an exploration well at the Priodontes prospect on December 29, 2012. The well is being drilled by the Stena Drillmax ICE (UDW drillship). Well GM-ES-3 is the second well in the current drilling program and is testing a different area of the Cingulata fan system that contains the recent Zaedyus oil discovery. Results of the Priodontes exploration will allow the license partners to gain a better understanding of the area’s geology and overall potential.
S. America – Brazil
PanAtlantic to P&A Jandaia
Jan 4, 2013 – Jandaia reached its targeted depth without encountering any indication of hydrocarbons. PanAtlantic and its partner Panoro Energy have plugged and abandoned the well. Jandaia, which is located in concession BM-S-71, was the third well in Vanco’s three-well program offshore Brazil. Sabia, the first well in the program, encountered volume at the low end of the pre-drill estimate and the second well, Canario, was dry.
Jan 3, 2013 – With the Inauguration of the Tamar production platform Noble Energy and the other Tamar interest holders are one step closer to the realization of first gas which is expected in April of this year. Discovery of the deepwater reservoir took place four years ago and development has progressed on schedule and within budget. The platform was installed in 800 feet of water and has the capacity to process 1.2 bcfd from its subsea wells. Once processed, the gas will flow through 93 miles of subsea pipeline to the Ashdod Terminal on Israel’s coast. Tamar is estimated to hold 8.4 tcf of gas reserves and its development will help bring the country to the verge of energy independence.
Project Details: Tamar
N. America – US GOM
Jan 3, 2013 – LLOG Exploration awarded a subsea equipment contract to FMC Technologies relating to the recently approved Delta House development project in the deep waters of Mississippi Canyon in the US Gulf of Mexico. Under the contract FMC will supply nine subsea trees, four subsea manifolds, five multiphase meters with all associated topside control systems and subsea distribution systems. Delivery of the $114 million order will take place this year.
Project Details: Delta House
- Gulf of Mexico: FMC Technologies’ Subsea Equipment for LLOG’s Delta House Project (mb50.wordpress.com)
- With Subsea Compression Technology, Offshore Platforms Could Become Obsolete (gcaptain.com)
- UH to open first subsea engineering masters program in 2013 (appliedagrotech.net)