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Gulf of Mexico: Exxon, Statoil to Splash $4 Bln on Julia Development

Exxon Mobil Corporation is commencing development of the Julia oil field in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil giant announced yesterday in a press release.

Capital cost for the project, which is expected to begin oil production in 2016, is estimated to be more than $4 billion. The field was discovered in 2007 and is estimated to have nearly six billion barrels of resource in place.

“The development of Julia will provide a new source of domestic energy and well-paying jobs over the next several years,” said Neil W. Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company. “Access to resources such as Julia will contribute to U.S. energy security for many years to come.”

The initial development phase is being designed for daily production of 34,000 barrels of oil and includes six wells with subsea tie-backs to the Jack & St. Malo production facility operated by Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Julia project front end engineering design has been completed and the engineering, procurement and construction contracts have been placed.

“Julia is one of the first large oil discoveries in the ultra-deepwater frontier of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Duffin. “This resource is located more than 30,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Enhanced technologies will be deployed to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible development of this important energy resource.”

The Julia field comprises five leases in the ultra-deepwater Walker Ridge area of the Gulf of Mexico, 265 miles southwest of New Orleans. The blocks are WR-584, WR-627, WR-628, WR-540 and WR-583.

ExxonMobil, the operator, and Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC each hold a 50 percent interest in the Julia unit.

Over the past decade, ExxonMobil has drilled 36 deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico in water ranging from 4,000 feet to 8,700 feet.

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Apache Inks Suriname PSC

Apache Corporation today signed a production sharing contract (PSC) with Suriname’s oil company Staatsolie for offshore block 53. located in the territorial waters of the South American country.

The contract, divided into exploration, development and production phases, is valid for approximately 30 years. The parties have agreed to a minimum working program for the exploration phase, which includes geological surveys and exploration drilling. Apache will take full responsibility for all costs during the exploration phase.

If a commercial find has been made and brought into production, Apache will receive reimbursement for such costs. The contract offers Staatsolie the opportunity for a stake in the development phase of up to 20 percent.

Block 53 is located at approximately 130 kilometers off the northwest coast of Paramaribo. The exploration period under the contract is divided into two phases with a combined investment of approximately US$230 million. The duration of the first phase is scheduled for three years with an optional second phase of two and a half years. In addition to a large 3D seismic survey, two wells will be drilled in the first phase with a third well to be drilled in the optional second phase. The production sharing contract explicitly deals with inspection, safety and the environment. There are also special provisions for employment of local cadre, training, social programs and the dismantling of facilities at the end of operations.

Apache Inks Suriname PSC| Offshore Energy Today.

Republican Freshmen Protect Big Government

The Community Development Block Grant program is a perfect example of the blurring of responsibility between the federal government and the states. The program’s roots go back to the Great Society and the wishful belief that the problems of urban Americans could be solved with handouts from Washington. Instead, the program “has degenerated into a federal slush fund for pet projects of local politicians and politically connected businesses.”

That quote comes from Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) who introduced an amendment this week to terminate CDBGs. As McClintock explained to his House colleagues, it is not the federal government’s responsibility to fund purely parochial activities:

Even in the best of circumstances, these are all projects that exclusively benefit local communities or private interests and ought to be paid for exclusively by those local communities or private interests. They are of such questionable merit that no city council is willing to face its constituents and say, this is how we’ve spent your local taxes.  But they are more than happy to spend somebody else’s federal taxes.

Unfortunately, McClintock’s words fell upon deaf ears as his amendment was voted down 80 to 342.  Not a single Democrat supported the amendment. But it was the 156 Republicans who voted against the amendment that doomed it. Among those Republicans voting “no” was House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Worse, only 33 percent of the GOP “Tea Party Freshmen” voted to terminate a program that is completely at odds with the principles of limited government.

As I noted back in May, many of the GOP freshmen have switched from tea to Beltway Kool-Aid. Take, for example, tea party favorite Allen West of Florida. On West’s congressional website, he states that “As your Congressman, I will curb out of control Government spending.” He also says that “we need to challenge the status quo in Washington and stop the floodgates of government spending” and that he will “carry the torch of conservative, small government principles with me to Washington.” West, however, voted to save the CDBG program and he also voted back in May to save the Economic Development Administration, which is another parochial slush fund. In April, he accused Democrats of being communists. That’s pretty rich given that he proceeded to vote to protect programs that engage in central planning.

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BP Starts Galapagos Development in U.S. GoM

Yesterday BP announced that on June 3, 2012 it began the initial start-up of the Galapagos development in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico, one of a series of new major upstream projects that the company expects to bring into production this year.

“The start-up of this project in the Gulf of Mexico is one of BP’s key operational milestones for 2012, one of six high-margin projects we expect to come on stream this year,” said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive. “I expect that the operational progress we are now making will deliver increasing financial momentum for BP as we move into 2013 and 2014.”

The Galapagos development includes three deepwater fields and increases the capability of a key offshore production hub for BP. The fields – Isabela, Santiago and Santa Cruz – are being produced using subsea equipment on the floor of the Gulf. A new production flowline loop has been added to carry output to the nearby Na Kika host facility, a BP-operated platform located roughly 140 miles southeast of New Orleans in 6,500 feet of water.

The Na Kika facility, with a production capacity of 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, has been modified to handle output from the three fields. Full ramp-up of the project is expected around the end of June.

“The Galapagos development marks another significant step forward for BP in the Gulf of Mexico, and reflects the potential we continue to see in this world-class basin, now and in the future,” said James Dupree, Regional President of BP’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico business.

BP’s overall interest in the three-block area that includes the fields comprising the Galapagos project is about 56 per cent. Noble Energy, Inc., Red Willow Offshore, LLC, and Houston Energy, L.P., are co-owners. BP is the operator of the Isabela field, while Noble Energy operates the Santiago and Santa Cruz fields.

The Galapagos development required the installation of new subsea infrastructure, production risers, topsides as well as other modifications.

BP expects to invest at least $4 billion a year on oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 10 years, following its strategy of focusing investment and future growth around the company’s strengths, including deepwater exploration and development.

“BP’s continuing investment in the Gulf of Mexico is yet another example of our commitment to the U.S. economy and energy security,” Dudley added. “This investment, along with our ongoing commitment to the Gulf Coast region, demonstrates the importance of the U.S. to BP’s long term strategy.”

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Canada: ExxonMobil Gets Approval for Hebron Field Development

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) has approved ExxonMobil’s Hebron Development Application.

The approval of the Development Plan now enables ExxonMobil Canada Properties Limited to proceed with development of the Hebron Field, which is estimated to contain 707 million barrels of of recoverable resources..

Hebron is a heavy oil field estimated to have 400 – 700 million barrels  The field was first discovered in 1981, and is located offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin 350 kilometres southeast of St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is approximately 9 kilometres north of the Terra Nova project, 32 kilometres southeast of the Hibernia project, and 46 kilometres from the White Rose project. The water depth at Hebron is approximately 92 metres.

The Hebron field will be developed using a stand-alone concrete gravity based structure (GBS). The GBS will consist of a reinforced concrete structure designed to withstand sea ice, icebergs, and meteorological and oceanographic conditions at the offshore Hebron Project Area. The preliminary GBS concept has a single main shaft supporting the topsides, encompassing all wells.

The Hebron co-venturers are: ExxonMobil Canada Properties (36%), Chevron Canada Resources (26.7%), Suncor Energy Inc. (22.7%), Statoil Canada (9.7%) and Nalcor Energy (4.9%).

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Atwood Osprey Rig Stays with Chevron in Australia Until 2017

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Chevron Australia Pty Ltd has decided to extend the contract for the semisubmersible rig Atwood Osprey for three more years

The Atwood Osprey, owned by the international drilling contractor Atwood Oceanics, started its first three year drilling services contract with Chevron on May 27, 2011 for operations offshore Australia inclusive of the Greater Gorgon field development project. With this contract extension, the Atwood Osprey is now committed through May 2017.

The operating day rate for the initial three year period remains unchanged. The operating day rate at the start of the extension period is estimated to be approximately $470,000, exclusive of the total cost escalation adjustments which occur during the initial term and will be additive to the operating day rate during the extension period. The contract provisions during the extension period provide for continued annual cost escalation adjustments, enhanced rig equipment maintenance and repair time allowances, and other adjustments to the initial contract’s terms and conditions.

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USA: Mitsubishi Inks Development Deal with Cameron LNG

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Mitsubishi Corporation said it has signed a Commercial Development Agreement with Cameron LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, to liquefy approximately 4 million metric tones of natural gas at Cameron LNG terminal.

The agreement binds the parties to negotiate a 20-year tolling agreement, based on agreed-upon terms outlined in the Commercial Development Agreement. The intending tolling agreement will enable Mitsubishi Corporation to become a foundation customer of LNG produced at Cameron LNG terminal, and Mitsubishi Corporation will market them to overseas utility customers.

In recent years, due to the rapid increase of natural gas production in the United States, some LNG receiving terminals are planned to be converted to LNG export terminals by additionally building liquefaction facilities.

Cameron LNG receiving terminal in Hackberry is expected to start conversion in late 2013 with operations to commence in late 2016. The completed liquefaction facility will utilize Cameron LNG’s existing facilities, and is expected to be comprised of three liquefaction trains with a total export capability of approximately 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In January 2012, Cameron LNG received approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export up to 12 Mtpa of domestically produced LNG from the Cameron LNG terminal to all current and future Free Trade Agreement countries. The authorization to export LNG to countries with which the U.S. does not have a Free Trade Agreement is pending review by the DOE. Cameron LNG expects to receive the required permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and enter into a turnkey contract in 2013 for engineering and construction services for the project.

Natural gas which Mitsubishi Corporation will procure from the North American natural gas market will be processed through the Cameron LNG facility pursuant to a tolling agreement for 4 Mtpa, which LNG will then be marketed to utility customers. To secure natural gas from the market in safely and cost competitive manner, Mitsubishi Corporation will utilize expertise of independent gas marketer CIMA Energy Ltd. (headquartered in Houston, Texas) which Mitsubishi Corporation holds 34% share.

Under a situation where Japan is currently importing LNG mainly from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, LNG import from the United States will contribute to diversification of energy resources and increase flexibility of supply plan by utilizing fluid North America’s natural gas market in parallel.

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Range Resources Reports Further Success at North Chapman Ranch

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by  Range Resources – Press Release – Friday, March 09, 2012

Range Resources reported Friday further success in the appraisal and development of the North Chapman Ranch Field onshore Texas (Range 20-25 percent interest), with the successful drilling of the Smith #2 and Albrecht #1 wells.

Initial gross flow rates from the uppermost pay zone, which is one of four principal pay zones, in the Smith #2 well reached more than 3 million cubic feet per day and 125 barrels of oil per day, with more than 7,500 pounds per square inch flowing casing pressure on a 10/64-inch choke. Work is being conducted now to remove all of the plugs below the upper pay zone and combine the remaining lower pay zones to achieve maximum rate and recovery, Range said.

The Smith #2 well was drilled approximately 1,350 feet southeast of the Smith #1 discovery well, further extending the Company’s Proved Reserves in that direction.

The Smith #2 was followed immediately by the Albrecht #1, drilled more than 1,500 feet southeast of the Smith #2. The Albrecht #1 confirmed the presence of the Howell Hight reservoir in that area and is also expected to add significant Proved Reserves to the Company’s portfolio.

With four wells now drilled in the field, Range estimates that over 80 percent of the structural closure at the Howell Hight reservoir falls into the proved and probable (2P) category. Work is currently underway to revise the reserve estimates at North Chapman Ranch, and is expected to be finalized once The Albrecht #1 well comes online. The Albrecht well is scheduled for completion and fracture stimulation within the next four to six weeks.

Once the Smith #2 and Albrecht #1 wells are both online, Range estimates that its net production and cash flow from the project will increase by more than 200 percent over current levels.

Company: Range Resources
more info

Range Resources Reports Further Success at North Chapman Ranch (Mar 9)
Range Resources Reports Continued Drilling Success in Trinidad (Jan 27)
Range Charges Ahead at Trinidad (Dec 9)

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