Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. announced that it has been awarded its initial customer contractual commitments for the Helix 534. The Helix 534 was acquired in August from Transocean and is undergoing modifications and upgrades necessary for conversion into a well intervention vessel at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore.
The Helix 534 is scheduled to sail from Singapore during the first quarter of 2013 and after transit to the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to be placed into service in late second quarter 2013. Backlog for the Helix 534 involves work in the Gulf of Mexico and extends into 2016.
Meanwhile, the Q4000 has extended its strong contractual backlog through 2014, with strong customer interest into 2016.
Helix also announced that the Skandi Constructor has also received its initial contractual awards. The Skandi Constructor is a chartered vessel and is expected to enter the Helix well intervention fleet in the spring of 2013. Its initial contract involves work in the North Sea and follows with a project off the eastern Canadian coast.
Helix’s two existing North Sea based well intervention vessels, the Seawell and the Well Enhancer, have been awarded customer contracts into the fourth quarter of 2013.
Owen Kratz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helix, stated, “The recent contract awards for our two new additions to the well intervention fleet, the Helix 534 and the Skandi Constructor, as well as the growing backlog for our existing fleet, reflects the strong market demand for deepwater well intervention services as well as Helix’s market leadership for these services. Furthermore, customer interest for our newbuild semisubmersible well intervention vessel, the Q5000, remains high. The Q5000 is currently under construction at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore and is scheduled to enter the fleet in early 2015.”
- Helix Updates Well Intervention Fleet Backlog (dailyfinance.com)
- A Day in the Life of Keith Schultz, Captain of Helix ESG’s Q4000 Well Intervention Rig (gcaptain.com)
- Molly Ryan
- Reporter- Houston Business Journal
The University of Houston has plans to offer the fist subsea engineering graduate program in the U.S.
The local university recently said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the school’s proposal to offer a graduate subsea engineering program. The program, which is expected to begin in the fall of 2013, will complement the school’s existing subsea engineering certification program.
UH said it partnered with leading energy engineering companies to create a master’s subsea engineering program with lectures and hands-on software education for subsea systems design.
“UH received tremendous input for both of the subsea programs from industry experts, including Cameron, FMC Technologies and GE Oil & Gas,” Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea program and a mechanical engineering professor, said in a statement.
Subsea engineers are expected to design, install and maintain oil and gas drilling and production equipment tools and…
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The Gulf of Mexico, more than any other major deepwater region in the world, has experienced massive changes in the last five years with long-term implications for the future of the region and the GoM’s supply & demand effects on the global deepwater oil and gas market, Quest Offshore says in its report.
The worldwide financial crisis and subsequent recession, shale gas’ implications on U.S. natural gas prices and the aftermath of the Macondo incident have led to significant changes in the outlook for the region. Despite those overwhelming obstacles, the U.S. GoM’s future is bright with a pronounced recovery expected in all major market segments from drilling to subsea, floating production and marine construction.
Overall spending in the region is expected to increase significantly starting in 2013 up nearly 30 percent to $40 billion. Total expenditures are expected to reach a significant $167 billion in the 2013 to 2016 period. For the first time, 2012 is expected to represent an investment shift with deepwater CAPEX and OPEX spending surpassing that in shallow water. In the under developed ultra-deepwater frontier areas of the region, challenging technical and reservoir conditions will result in increased spending across the board, a trend expected to continue through the foreseeable future.
Five years ago the region was a mix of major and independent oil companies executing both oil and gas standalone and subsea tieback projects. In 2013 and beyond, Quest sees more oil dominance with offshore gas waning. Large international oil companies will play a larger role with the execution of standalone (hub) projects with niche-focused independents looking to infrastructure-led drilling around existing hubs and mega-independents continuing to grow their strategic portfolios in select basins.
In Quest Offshore’s latest market report, Quest Deepwater Review: Gulf of Mexico 2013 and Beyond, the reader will gain a comprehensive understanding of current trends and expectations from one of the leading deepwater basins, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Leasing Activity Positive for Deep and Ultra-deepwater
Leasing activity is rightly seen as the furthest leading indicator for prospective oil and gas activity not only in the Gulf but throughout the world. Due to the relatively long lead times between leasing, drilling and production, leasing trends can be expected to provide insight on future activity for years to come. With one-third of active deepwater leases, oil majors and national oil companies are expected to continue to be the driving force for pushing the boundaries of the Gulf of Mexico’s development. Excluding Anadarko and Conoco, all recent frontier projects have been undertaken through operatorship’s of one of the majors or national oil companies (BP, Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Total, Statoil, Petrobras), and we expect this theme to persist moving forward.
Drilling Permitting on an Upward Trend
Drilling permit approvals are showing noticeable increases over the past six months with total counts back to pre-Macondo levels. As of the end of September there have been 78 new exploration drilling permits and 36 new development drilling permits approved over the year.
While raw permit counts are showing positive movement this year, the comparison in permits issued per project highlights the underlying cause for such steep increases in the first half of 2012. Multi-well projects (defined as five or more wells) have seen a record permitting pace since late 2011; examples of this trend include Chevron’s Jack/St. Malo Project, Shell’s Mars B Project, Hess’s Tubular Bells project, Chevron’s Big Foot and most recently the BP’s Atlantis North development, while true wildcat exploration permit numbers are still well below levels seen prior to the drilling moratorium.
Drilling Market Accelerating
Notable discoveries of ultra-deepwater fields in the Lower Tertiary continue to increase the reserve and production expectations for the region. The shift in the Gulf is most apparent in the floating rig market with four operators now possessing 50 percent of the contracted rig fleet. Ninety percent of rigs operating are high-spec and rated for ultra-deepwater.
Robust Outlook for Deepwater Development
Since 2008, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has undergone a shift in project development mix from heavy in small, independent-operated subsea tiebacks to one that is grounded in fewer, larger subsea tiebacks and high-investment standalone developments developed by international oil companies and mega-independents.
This shift towards fewer, larger subsea tiebacks as well as increased FPS units will have profound effects on the future of the subsea sector as the hardware installed evolves as a direct result of fewer gas developments and deeper, more challenging fields. Subsea equipment manufacturers will experience fewer, but larger scope, award opportunities through the forecast period. As these developments move into more challenging areas, the value of these subsea production packages are expected to increase significantly as HP/HT trees and subsea processing become an enabler for these complex, capital-intensive projects.
This next wave of FPS developments is, for the most part, in ultra-deepwater and in more remote areas not currently connected to shallow water or onshore infrastructure. These developments will materially impact the pipeline and marine construction markets (SURF) as these production hubs are connected to existing export infrastructure through 2016 and beyond. The subsea tieback potential for these hubs is most likely to be seen in the latter half of this decade and into the following, with these latest hubs laying the foundation for the next generation of deepwater developments in the region.
- Gulf of Mexico poised for resurgence in 2013 (fuelfix.com)
This week the SubseaIQ team added 4 new projects and updated 25 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.
N. America – US Alaska
Sep 17, 2012 – After battling through federal regulatory issues and environmental lawsuits, Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploration drilling program has gotten off to a rocky start. Soon after spudding the first well, the Noble Discoverer (mid-water drillship) was forced to move off location for a short time due to an encroaching ice floe. The latest setback occurred when the containment dome – used to contain uncontrolled oil flowing from a subsea wellhead – was damaged during testing. Without an operational containment dome, the company will not be able drill into oil-bearing zones. However, Shell will still be able to drill the shallow top-hole sections of several exploration wells before the short drilling season comes to an end.
Project Details: Burger, SW Shoebill, Cracker Jack
Europe – North Sea
Sep 20, 2012 – Xcite Energy has successfully concluded the pre-production well test in the Bentley Phase 1A work program. The test was built around two horizontal well sections (9/3b-7 and 9/3b-7Z) that represented an excess of 4,200 feet of net reservoir. Approximately 147,000 barrels of Bentley crude were produced. Results confirmed the existence of a large aquifer that should provide long term pressure support during production. Even with the aquifer in place, the oil-water ratio was far better than expected and provides important information for modeling long term oil recovery from the field. Both well bores will be suspended and kept available for use in the next phase of development. Drilling and testing were carried out by the Rowan Norway (400′ ILC). Once the test equipment on the rig has been decommissioned the rig be demobilized from the field and released back to Rowan.
Project Details: Bentley
Sep 19, 2012 – The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy introduced a policy of naming fields and discoveries after prominent individuals or events of national significance. The re-naming policy is an effort to parallel the importance of Norway’s offshore energy reserves with the contributions of people and events that shaped the nation. In this instance, the Draupne field is now the Ivar Aasen field. Aasen was a poet and linguist in the 1800s. He is credited with developing the Nynorsk (New Norwegian) language which aided in the modernization of the country.
Project Details: Edvard Grieg (Luno, Ivar Aasen) Project
Sep 19, 2012 – Premier Oil awarded a contract worth $24.3 million to Aberdeen-based energy consulting firm ADIL to provide people and systems for the execution phase of the Solan field in the UK North Sea. ADIL spent the previous two years providing similar services to the field’s former operator, Chrysaor, during the development phase. The contract will conclude once the field is brought into production, currently scheduled for 4Q 2014. ADIL personnel will oversee construction of the jacket and topsides as well as a 300,000 barrel subsea storage tank. Once brought online, Solan is expected to produce 40 million barrels of oil at an initial rate of 24,000 barrels per day.
Project Details: Solan
Sep 18, 2012 – Serica Energy announced a farm-out agreement has been reached with JX Nippon for UK North Sea Block 22/19c. At present, Serica holds a 100% interest in the block. Once the UK government signs off on the transaction, JX Nippon will be the operating partner with an 85% stake. As part of the agreement, JX Nippon will pay $250,000 to Serica and bear all future costs associated with the license.
Project Details: Oates
Sep 17, 2012 – Ithaca Energy announced that a hydraulic intervention to correct a production tubing blockage in well P1 has been performed with minor success. Gross production from the well is now between 700 and 800 bopd. P1, drilled in 2006, is the original appraisal well and was completed as a development well in 2011. A workover was contemplated by the Athena partners but it was determined that more value would be gained from producing the well in its current condition. The company did indicate that future attempts to further clear the blockage using facilities on the FPSO may be undertaken.
Project Details: Athena
Sep 14, 2012 – EnQuest will formally become operator of Blocks 9/2b and 9/2c with the completion of its acquisition of an additional 15 percent from First Oil. EnQuest’s total stake in Kraken is now 60 percent.
Project Details: Kraken
Sep 14, 2012 – The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has approved Wintershall’s permit to drill exploration well 16/1-16 using the Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub). The well is located in 370 feet of water in PL457.
Project Details: Noor
Sep 19, 2012 – Chevron continues a successful run in the Greater Gorgon area offshore Western Australia with the announcement of positive results from the Satyr-2 exploration well. The company has confirmed that the well intercepted a net gas column of 128 feet. Satyr-2 was drilled to a depth of 12,454 feet by the Atwood Eagle (DW semisub) in permit WA-374-P. This marks Chevron’s fifteenth discovery in Australia since mid-2009. Chevron’s Gorgon natural gas project is the largest of almost a dozen terminals planned or under construction along the country’s coast.
Project Details: Greater Gorgon
Sep 18, 2012 – INPEX awarded a contract worth $273 million to Technip for work related to the Ichthys LNG Project in the Browse Basin, Western Australia. Starting immediately, Technip will provide services concerning the preparation and execution of offshore commissioning of the FPSO and central processing facility. Completion of the contract is expected in 4Q 2016 when first gas is scheduled to be delivered. This is the third Ichthys contract awarded to Technip this year. The other two include agreements for engineering and procurement services and for the supply of flexible piping.
Project Details: Ichthys
S. America – Other & Carib.
Sep 17, 2012 – Falkland Oil and Gas confirmed that their Loligo exploration well is a gas discovery. Drilling operations were carried out by the Leiv Eiriksson (UDW semisub). The well was drilled to a measured depth of 13,264 feet and intersected six-gas bearing Tertiary aged targets. Information obtained from the well will be used with existing seismic data to gain a better understanding of reservoir potential and distribution. The well will be plugged and abandoned but it is important to note that Loligo has proven a working hydrocarbon system in the northern part of the East Falkland Basin.
Project Details: Loligo
Africa – West
Sep 20, 2012 – Eni reports promising test results from the Sankofa East-1X well drilled off Ghana in the Offshore Cape Three Points block. The well was drilled to a total depth of 11,975 feet in 2,706 feet of water by the Transocean Marianas (DW semisub). Testing revealed 91 feet of gas and condensate pay as well as a gross oil column of 249 feet in Cretaceous sandstones. A production test of the oil-bearing zone delivered roughly 5,000 bopd; however, flow rates were constrained by surface infrastructure limitations. It is possible that the well will be suspended for future use in development operations. Eni plans to immediately drill other wells in the area to determine the size of the discovery and further evaluate the potential for commercial development.
Project Details: Sankofa
Sep 19, 2012 – Bowleven’s latest Etinde appraisal and development well offshore Cameroon is now underway. The IM-5 well is being drilled by the Atwood Aurora (350′ ILC) in block MLHP-7. The primary objective of the operation is to establish reservoir and fluid properties in the Middle Isongo sands. An extensive logging, testing and coring suite will be performed as well. The well has been designed in a manner that will allow for use as a future producer. A second well will be drilled on the permit, the location of which will be determined by results of the IM-5.
Project Details: Etinde
Ophir Continues EG Success
Sep 17, 2012 – Ophir Energy wrapped up a successful 2012 drilling campaign with a gas discovery in the Fortuna West-1 exploration well on Block R offshore Equatorial Guinea. The well was drilled to a measured depth of 10,426 feet by the Eirik Raude (UDW semisub). Gas was encountered in the primary and secondary targets. The Felix Prospect was also intercepted and testing indicated promising results for future appraisal. Fortuna West-1 is the last of three wells in the company’s 2012 Block R drilling program. Combined results of these wells have increased estimates of in-place contingent resources from 116 MMboe to 500 MMboe.
Asia – SouthEast
Sep 14, 2012 – The Pearl Energy-led joint venture has awarded Clough and TL Offshore the platform procurement construction installation and commissioning contract. Clough will be responsible for the procurement, construction and commissioning portion of the work while TL Offshore will be responsible for offshore transporation and installation. Work is expected to commence in September 2012. Completion is anticipated in early 2014.
Project Details: Manora
Sep 14, 2012 – The Pearl Energy-led joint venture has awarded Tanker Pacific Offshore Terminals the contract to carry out the conversion of the FSO to be used on the Manora field with work taking place in Singapore. Installation of the FSO is scheduled or early 2014.
Project Details: Manora
- Remote-controlled world record at Åsgard (mb50.wordpress.com)
There are great things happening aboard the vessel “Havila Phoenix” nowadays. During the last two years there have been installations and tests of a whole new system likely to revolutionise the offshore light well intervention market.
The vessel, a Havyard 858 design, is designed and constructed by the ship technology group, Havyard Group AS, and owned by Havila Shipping, both located in Fosnavåg at the west coast of Norway. The offshore construction vessel was delivered from Havyard Ship Technology in Leirvik, Norway in 2009.
The vessel has over the last year-and-a-half been working on a contract for Fugro-Salt Subsea, part of the massive Fugro group, which is a Dutch-based corporation with more than 14.000 employees spread across 60 countries. Fugro-Salt Subsea cooperates with Expro in terms of developing the new “AX-S”-system aboard Havila`s advanced construction vessel.
So far the development of this new system has been running for seven years and cost NOK 1.2 billion in research and investments in ground-breaking new technology. The breakthrough appeared around a month ago when tests in the Norwegian Onarheim fjord proved very successful.
“AX-S” is a brand new system for well intervention involving remote-controlled subsea tools. The new system is, according to both the Havila management and the management of Fugro-Salt Subsea, a revolutionary system using solutions so far never utilised in subsea operations from a construction vessel. This involves employing extremely advanced remote-controlled subsea tools during well intervention that can handle up to eight different tools within the same operation, as well as using a light fibre rope instead of heavy steel wires. These are the main elements of the recent innovation. Should the system also win approval in a business sense, it could have a major impact on the offshore light well intervention market.
STABLE HAVYARD VESSEL
In the last year-and-a-half the 110 metre long vessel, a ship now docked in the port of Montrose between Dundee and Aberdeen, Scotland, has looked more like a research station than an offshore vessel. Havila Phoenix has been outfitted with a 35 metre tall tower and several modules on deck with a combined weight of over 500 tonnes. And there is no coincidence that the Scottish group has chosen a Havyard 858 design for this unique project.
– We needed a big, solid and modern vessel, and Havila Phoenix has lived up to all our expectations. If we fully succeed with this project we will likely be looking to acquire vessels of a similar design, but we will then need to be part of the planning straight from the start and get more of the system directly integrated below deck, says Operation Manager Darren Bown of AX-S.
The captain of Havila Phoenix, Leif Magne Lynge from Gursken, Norway, confirms that the vessel still remains impressively stable despite the enormous added weight.
– Yes, things have been working really well and the vessel also performs really well for its purpose. Facilities are also excellent, says Lynge who`s been captain aboard the vessel since the initial delivery. Captain and crew are definitely looking forward to heading out to the North Sea in order to start using this exciting new system.
UNIQUE REMOTE-CONTROLLED TOOLS
Michael Earlam of Fugro-Salt Subsea informs that there are several factors making the AX-S system a world sensation. In addition to the utilization of fibre ropes instead of wires for AX-S deployment, Earlam emphasizes the remote-controlled handling and deployment of the subsea packages with the ability to deploy 8 subsea tools is each time is unique.
– By using traditional well intervention equipment you can only perform one task at a time before the equipment needs to be raised to the surface in order to swap tools and then perform a subsequent operation. The equipment used in the AX-S system manages to handle eight various tools while on the seabed, without having to be raised to the surface to swap over any tools. This makes the operation much more effective and cost-efficient, Michael Earlam informs.
And after seven years of preparation the system is nearing its baptism of fire. In September, Havila Phoenix with 500 tonnes of “subsea factory” on deck will be heading out to work in the British sector of the North Sea.
– Yes, following the successful commissioning of the AX-S system on NUTEC’s “cold well” in Onharheimsfjord, south of Bergen, during April and May be performing operations in the North Sea, the Operations Manager for AX-S, Darren Bown of Expro, confirms.
- Successful final commissioning of Expro’s AX-S subsea well intervention innovation (mb50.wordpress.com)