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Gulf of Mexico: Stone Energy Hires Ensco Semi

Stone Energy  has contracted an ENSCO 8500 series dynamically positioned deep water drilling rig for Stone’s Cardona oil development program at Mississippi Canyon 29.

Drilling on the first Cardona well is expected to commence during the second half of 2013 followed by the drilling of the Cardona South well. Stone plans to tie back both wells to the 100% owned Pompano platform with production projected for late 2014. Stone holds a 65% working interest in the Cardona wells and will be the operator.

Chairman, President and CEO David Welch stated, “The signing of the Ensco contract allows us to move forward to more fully develop the reserves around the Pompano platform. These Stone-operated deep water wells allow us to be in control of the planning and timing of the Cardona project. After years of preparation, we look forward to progressing our deep water development and exploration efforts.”

Separately, the ENSCO 81 jack-up rig is expected to begin drilling on a three to four well conventional shelf/deep gas drilling program in May 2013. Stone expects to drill the Hammerlock oil prospect located on South Timbalier 100, followed by the Taildancer oil prospect located on Ship Shoal 113. The remaining one or two wells will follow Taildancer. Also in May 2013, the Parker 50B inland barge rig is expected to spud an infield oil well prospect in the Stone-operated Clovelly field. Stone holds a 94% working interest in Hammerlock and a 100% working interest in Taildancer and Clovelly.

At the La Cantera liquids-rich deep gas field, the third well was successfully drilled to 18,000 ft and is currently in completion operations with first production expected in June 2013. Combined with the first two wells, gross production from this field is projected at over 100 MMcfe per day (over 25 MMcfe per day net) when the third well commences production. Stone holds a 34.6% non-operated working interest in the field.

Drilling operations at the deep water Malachite prospect located on Mississippi Canyon 258 are complete. The well has been logged and marginal hydrocarbons were found in several sands. The partners have decided not to proceed with the project and the well is currently being plugged and abandoned. Stone holds a 40% non-operated working interest in the prospect and the net well cost is estimated at approximately $22 million.

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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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Apache Hires Drillship for Ops Offshore Kenya

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Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL reports that the Kenya L8 licence operator Apache Kenya Limited (Apache) has secured the use of the deepwater drilling ship Deepsea Metro 1 to drill the giant Mbawa Prospect.

Apache is anticipating a spud date within Q3 2012, with the actual date depending on when the drilling rig is finished with its current operations.

The well is expected to take some 45 to 60 days to complete to a planned total depth of 3,250m subsea in water depth of 860m, easily within the range of modern equipment.

Pancontinental has a 15% interest “free-carried” through Mbawa drilling by Tullow Oil plc up to a “cap” of US$ 9 million (as may be reduced by other exploration expenditure). Pancontinental now expects to have contribute more to the well cost due to increased well cost estimates.

Pancontinental estimates that Mbawa has maximum potential to contain 4.9 Billion Barrels of oil in place at the main Tertiary / Cretaceous level with significant additional potential also to be tested by the well at the deeper Upper Jurassic level and shallower Tertiary levels. Only drilling is capable of verifying the oil and gas volumetric potential (if any) of the Mbawa Prospect.

Pancontinental has four projects offshore Kenya covering more than 18,000 square kilometres in licence areas L6, L8, L10A and L10B, with the L8 / Mbawa project being the most advanced and Mbawa being the first prospect to be drilled.

Pancontinental’s CEO Barry Rushworth commented;

“Pancontinental is in the unique position of having sizeable interests in a number of Kenyan and Namibian offshore licences and having substantial leverage to any Mbawa drilling success.  We are very pleased that a drilling rig contract has now been signed by our operator Apache for the L8 Mbawa Prospect. We are pursuing what we see as a major oil play rather than a gas play offshore Kenya and we are doing the same offshore Namibia.  The economics of oil developments are often far better than those for gas, with potential for much earlier cash flow and much lower development costs compared to LNG, for example. Apache is now leading the L8 venture in an aggressive exploration programme and in our other Kenyan blocks L10A and L10B we also have fast-moving activity led by BG Group”.

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Swiber Lands Offshore Construction Job in Gulf of Mexico

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Swiber Holdings Limited, a world class integrated construction and support services provider to the offshore industry, announced that it has secured another sizeable contract through a local collaboration with Dragados Offshore (“Dragados”), totaling approximately US$273 million for offshore construction work in the Gulf of Mexico.

This latest contract win awarded by an oil major from the Gulf of Mexico, entails offshore construction works for the procurement, transportation, and installation of pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. Work for this project will commence  immediately this year and will carry on into 2013.

Commented Mr. Francis Wong, Group Chief Executive Officer and President of Swiber, “Our strategic collaboration with Dragados enables both companies to provide a consolidated source of expertise and offer turnkey solutions to the offshore oil and gas industry. This puts us in a strong position to bank on the vast opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico region.”

With this third consecutive contract announcement in less than three months of 2012, Swiber’s order backlog continues to strengthen with steady growth.

This has come in quick succession to the recent US$36 million worth of vessel charter contract wins in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia. Prior to that, the Group has secured a US$216 million contract early last month, for offshore construction projects and vessel chartering services in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Mr. Wong said, “This is indeed a winning season for us as we continue to secure contracts of larger values, which is a strong reflection of the confidence and trust that major oil companies have on Swiber’s ability in handling complex projects.

“Geographical diversification will remain the cornerstone of our growth path as we further strengthen our foothold in the offshore oil and gas industry in the region. This, coupled with our vessel fleet enhancements carried out in the past few years will enable us to concurrently manage our offshore projects while securing more contract wins.

“We have continued to break into new frontiers – new markets, new customers, new records in terms of size of contracts, revenue and order book. We have a strong order book visibility with offshore projects spread out over the next couple of years. This will clearly give us a solid footing to navigate forward in the exciting offshore oil and gas construction industry.”

Infield Systems has forecasted upstream capex in the Gulf of Mexico to increase by as much as 38% year-on-year in 2012 as operators push forward with development plans and execute offshore projects. Offshore capex is forecasted to increase from $9 billion in 2011 to over $12.5 billion per annum by 2015.

Concluded Mr. Wong, “Tendering activities in the offshore oil and gas industry is gaining traction, with vast opportunities appearing in the Gulf of Mexico. As an internationally recognised, world class company, with proven track record of delivering consistent and superior quality of products and services, Swiber is ready to support the region’s growing offshore exploration and field development market.”

With a slew of new contract wins, key strategies in place, strong order book visibility, and robust opportunities in the Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Gulf of Mexico regions, Swiber has firmly entrenched its position in the big league and is set to take on bigger ventures and capture fresh and exciting opportunities in the offshore oil and gas arena.

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BP Hires PSV ‘Sea Brasil’

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Deep Sea Supply Plc announces that the PSV ‘Sea Brasil’ has been awarded a long term charter contract with BP Brasil for operations in Brazil.

Firm period of the contract is 3 years, with 3 x 1 year options after expiry of the firm period. The vessel will  commence the contract upon delivery from the yard in Brazil. The naming ceremony for the vessel was held  at STX OSV Niteroi in Brazil on November 14, 2011.

The ‘Sea  Leopard’ PSV will act as forerunner to ‘Sea Brasil’ on this contract.

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Foster Wheeler Enters U.S. Gulf of Mexico Junction Platform Project

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Foster Wheeler AG, has been awarded a contract by Discovery Gas Transmission, LLC to provide design, engineering and technical services for a junction platform, facilities and associated pipelines within the Discovery System at South Timbalier 283, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Foster Wheeler contract value, which was not disclosed, will be included in the company’s fourth-quarter 2011 bookings.

The platform, located in approximately 350 feet of water, will be a four-pile structure with a two-level deck. It will be designed as an unmanned structure with a control system designed to shut down the facility in the event of an upset condition. The new infrastructure will enable the existing Discovery pipeline to operate at a higher pressure, both before and after the connection of the new Keathley Canyon pipeline.

“This project gives us an opportunity to fully showcase our wide range of capabilities and will build on our track record for delivering complex offshore projects in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Clive Vaughan, Chief Executive Officer, Foster Wheeler Upstream.

Williams Partners L.P. owns 60 percent of the Discovery system and operates it. DCP Midstream Partners, LP owns 40 percent of the system.

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