Saipem Awarded New Drilling Contracts Worth $850 Million

SaipemlogoSaipem has been awarded new drilling contracts in Indonesia, Nigeria, the Arabian Gulf and Latin America worth approximately $850 million of which $540 million are related to offshore activity and refer to four different units of Saipem's fleet.

Saipem has signed with Eni Muara Bakau B.V. a contract for the utilization of the Scarabeo 7 which will be operating offshore Indonesia drilling a minimum of 12 wells; the project is estimated to be completed in first quarter 2017. The vessel will remain under contract with Eni until February 2018. Scarabeo 7 is a fifth generation semi-submersible drilling rig, capable of operating in water depths of up to 5,000 feet.

Furthermore, in West Africa the contract for the Scarabeo 3 has been extended to March 2015. Scarabeo 3 is a second generation semi-submersible drilling rig, with capacity to operate in water depths of up to 1,500 feet.

In addition, NDC has extended the contract for the jack-up rig Perro Negro 2 for 24 months, starting from January 2015, for activities in the Arabian Gulf. In Ecuador, EP Petroamazonas has extended by 10 months the charter of the jack-up rig Ocean Spur, operated (not owned) by Saipem until the end of the first quarter of 2015. Both these jack-up are rigs capable to operate in water depths of up to 300 feet.

In relation to onshore drilling, Saipem has been awarded by different clients new contracts worth approximately $310 million, relating to 31 drilling rigs in South America: 21 in Venezuela, 7 in Peru, 2 in Colombia and one in Ecuador. The contracts have been signed under different terms, varying from three months to two years, and starting at different times during 2014.

Saipem operates in the Engineering & Construction and Drilling businesses, with a strong bias towards oil & gas-related activities in remote areas and deep-waters. Saipem is a leader in the provision of engineering, procurement, project management and construction services with distinctive capabilities in the design and execution of large-scale offshore and onshore projects, and technological competences such as gas monetization and heavy oil exploitation

Statoil: Valemon Installed

On Monday 28 July the topsides were lifted into place on the steel jacket on the Valemon field in the North Sea.

Valemon 468b

The Valemon topsides landed on the jacket just before 13.00. (Photo: André Osmundsen/Statoil)

Produced by Samsung Heavy Industries this is the first Statoil topsides built in South Korea.

The structure sailed from the yard on 15 June this year, and after a quick stop in Åmøyfjorden, Stavanger, last Saturday, it headed out to the field. The transportation to Norway took 40 days.

"This is a major milestone for the project, the most important milestone of course being start-up towards the end of the year," says Bjørn Laastad, vice president for Valemon field development.

The lift of the 9 750-tonne topsides took two hours, and was performed slightly earlier than initially assumed.

Thanks to good weather in the North Sea this summer, the Saipem 7000 crane vessel was available for lifting once the topsides arrived in Norway. The weather was favorable also when the crane vessel and the topsides arrived on the field.

"We had almost perfect lifting conditions," Viktor Nilsen-Nygaard, head of Valemon transportation and installation, reports from the crane vessel.
After the topsides were lifted into place, the flare boom was installed.

VIDEO: Valemon in Åmøyfjorden. Prior to the heavy lift the Valemon topsides visited Åmøyfjorden in Stavanger.

Precision work
The more than two-year planning period has included very thorough safety evaluations for all phases of the lifting operation. From mid-June the West Elara rig pre-drilled production wells through the jacket on the field.

The rig's derrick has been pulled in during the lifting operations. During the lift the distance between the topsides and rig was just five meters.
The well operations will resume in mid-October. According to plan three wells will be producing when the field comes on stream at the end of the year. The rig's job, however, will be far from finished. Drilling on the field is planned to continue until 2017.

In the months ahead commissioning work will take place on the field. Wells will be hooked up with production facilities on board, sea water pumps will be installed, and electricity, water and pipelines will be connected.

Valemon2Two hours after the Valemon topsides were lifted off the transport vessel, the structure landed on its feet. (Photo: André Osmundsen/Statoil)

Valemon will be powered from Kvitebjørn, and the cable has already been laid on the seabed. So have the pipelines that will be transporting gas and condensate to Heimdal and Kvitebjørn, respectively.

"Some work remains before we are ready for start-up, but we are on track," says Laastad.
In order to accommodate everyone involved in the commissioning and hook-up work Statoil has chartered a flotel.
The project thus has bed capacity for some 400 people, which is the number expected to be offshore, at least in the most hectic period. But there is one thing that cannot be planned – and that's the weather.

"If we get much poor weather the flotel must be disconnected in periods. Poor weather also creates problems for the helicopter traffic, and may delay the commissioning work. So far, however, we have been lucky with the weather, and I hope this continues", says Laastad.

Valemon will utilize existing installations and pipelines for gas and condensate export. The gas from Valemon will be transported through the existing pipeline from Huldra to Heimdal, which is a hub for transportation further to the gas markets in Europe.

The condensate will be piped to Kvitebjørn for stabilization, and transported from there to the Mongstad refinery near Bergen.
This is a win-win situation which reduces the costs for the Valemon development, and gives Heimdal and Kvitebjørn new tasks. At Heimdal major upgrading has taken place which significantly extends the platform's life.

Facts about the Valemon Field

- Gas and condensate field in the North Sea, between Kvitebjørn and Gullfaks South. The field is located some 160 kilometers west of Bergen.

– The recoverable reserves on the Valemon field are estimated at 192 million barrels of oil equivalent.

– When all wells have been drilled in 2017 Valemon will become a normally unmanned platform, remotely controlled from Sandsli in Bergen. This is the first Statoil-operated platform to be remotely controlled from land.

– The plan for development and operation (PUD) of the Valemon field was approved by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in June

New ADCPs Compliment Okeanus’ Hydro-Acoustic Offerings

The self-contained units can collect data at depths of up to 3000 meters.

Okeanus-Final-logo1SeaWatch ADCP1Okeanus Science & Technology LLC has added two new SeaWatch Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) from Rowe Technologies to its growing rental pool of scientific instrumentation. Used to measure water velocities or currents over a specific range or water depth, these ADCPs will provide Okeanus' clientele with accurate, reliable, and durable tools for acquiring data at water depths of up to 3000 meters over long-term deployments. These self-contained ADCPs utilize a low power design that couples an extensive service life with an extended range capability.

The expanded battery and range capabilities of these ADCPs allows them to take on long duration missions and provide users with improved profiling, and higher-resolution data. Okeanus' ADCPs incorporate a multi-use configuration that allows for three-axis current profiles and bottom-tracking as well as water track velocity measurements. In addition, programmable acoustic transmission features permit users to set broad band, narrow band, and pulse-to-pulse coherent technology applications. User selected signal processing options also mean these ADCPs can optimize acquisition parameters that enable precise, high-accuracy measurements and data collection. Additional options for these ADCPs also allow for wave data acquisition for computation of first order wave statistics.

Employing a Doppler Piston transducer, the Okeanus ADCPs emit four beams inclined 20° in 90° azimuth increments while maintaining a resolution of 0.01 cm per second. The units can withstand harsh environmental conditions of -5° Celsius while operating and up to -30° Celsius when in storage. Configurations to support direct-reading and self-contained applications can be developed within the same ADCP package as well.

These SeaWatch ADCPs were designed and developed to help clients operate efficiently and reliably in a variety of coastal and offshore environments. Jacob Marcell, president of Okeanus, said, "Effective data collection is crucial to these operations. We know that we can depend on the SeaWatch ADCPs to deliver for our customers when it comes to wave data acquisition, coastal engineering site assessment, and oil and gas exploration efforts." Okeanus has made these ADCPs available for client use and currently anticipates putting the units into service immediately.

API Publishes New Industry Standard for Subsea Capping Stacks

API logoThe American Petroleum Institute has published new guidelines for the design, manufacture and use of subsea capping stacks, equipment designed as part of industry's emergency preparedness in the event of a spill at a wellhead on the ocean floor.

"Enhanced industry standards are an essential piece of our collaboration with regulators to make offshore oil and gas development safer than ever before," said API Director of Standards David Miller. "These guidelines will further strengthen subsea spill response capabilities as part of industry's commitment to continuous improvement in safety."

API's Recommended Practice for Subsea Capping Stacks, known as RP 17W, applies to the installation of new subsea capping stacks and can serve as a guide to improving existing equipment. It can aid during the design and manufacturing process and in developing instructions for preservation, transportation, maintenance, testing and operations.

The document also provides guidelines for the deployment, well shut-in and recovery of a subsea capping stack.

RP 17W is an industry response to the post-Macondo joint industry task force (JITF) recommendations to enhance subsea well control and containment. This JITF and others focused on equipment, operating practices and spill response were essential elements of industry's comprehensive effort to examine every aspect of its offshore safety systems.

Other new or revised API standards responding to the recommendations of the JITFs include:
• Standard 65-2, Isolating Potential Flow Zones During Well Construction
• Standard 53, Blowout Prevention Equipment Systems for Drilling Wells
• Recommended Practice 96, Deepwater Well Design and Construction
• Recommended Practice 98, Selection of Personal Protective Equipment
• Recommended Practice 17H, Remotely Operated Tools and Interfaces on Subsea Production Systems
• Bulletin 97, Well Construction Interface Document Guidelines
API first began publishing standards in 1924 and currently has over 650 standards and technical publications. Over 100 of them have been incorporated into U.S. regulations, and they are the most widely-cited industry standards by international regulators. The program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the same body that accredits programs at several national laboratories. 

API represents all segments of America's oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 600 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation's energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

Piracy Activity Drifts Towards Southeast Asian Waters

HGHInfraredlogo-1Since 2010, there has been a steadily increasing trend of piracy attacks in Southeast Asia, according to a report released by UNITAR (UN Institute for Training and Research), with 150 separate incidents just from last year alone (ChannelNewsAsia, After significant strides in reducing the number of hijackings near war-torn Somalia over the past few years, the United Nations declared last month that the epicenter of piracy activity is now in waters off Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Considering that only two weeks ago the MT Oriental Glory, a Malaysian tanker carrying oil gas cargo, was hijacked in the South China Sea, it is an apparent and alarming verification that this report is already coming to fruition. The valuable cargo on board the MT Oriental Glory was stolen and the communication equipment and engine damaged before the pirates set the tanker adrift, luckily the crew remained unharmed. This incident follows another similar from last month, where a Singapore-managed tanker was also targeted and left damaged in the same waters. As Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's Kuala Lumpur Piracy Reporting Center told the AFP, "This is the ninth attack in these waters recently... It's a big concern," adding ships should be vigilant in the area so that pirates could not surprise them.

To combat against the threat of these vital shipping lanes in Southeast Asia once again becoming a piracy hub - an intelligent and proactive surveillance approach should be explored. One option is an integrated, panoramic, infrared thermal imaging surveillance system that is able to withstand the unpredictable nature of maritime environments. HGH Infrared Systems offers surveillance systems such as this, Spynel. Spynel would assist large cargo vessels and other ships in these dangerous waters with its early detection and long range surveillance capabilities. Spynel are unique in that they are the only thermal cameras that can provide a 360 degree wide field of view with a very high resolution and detection range (15 km for a RHIB) with no image distortion or stitching. They act like optical radars but can pick up targets that radar cannot detect. Objects like small wooden boats, RHIBs, swimmers, and skiffs up to the horizon. Ideal for ship-based maritime in the fight against piracy; Spynel cameras can successfully operate at sea state level 5/6 (rough to very rough seas) thanks to a gyro-stabilized platform. In addition to mechanical stabilization, Spynel come with a sea-specific image processing stabilization algorithm, allowing for minimal false alarms and effective differentiation between distant small boats and waves.

Spynel systems have been deployed and proven in the maritime surveillance world since 2007. They are serving on multiple French Navy war frigates for ship-based anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. They are also used for panoramic surveillance at a high-risk port, as well as 24/7 surveillance for an offshore natural gas platform. The recent piracy threats in Southeast Asia have been a strong reminder that assets and goods can be most vulnerable when in transit on water, often miles from land or help. The need for and subsequent performance of Spynel have proven to be invaluable loss prevention agents in an ever increasing fight for security in these areas, and would effectively translate to the Southeast Asian waters.

Founded in 1982, HGH designs, develops, assembles and sells complete high end optronics systems for security, industrial and civil applications. HGH's team of highly qualified engineers is comprised of experts in optics, software, mechanics and electronics and operates in the US, out of Boston, MA. HGH strives to provide advanced and innovative infrared equipment to protect their clients all around the world, while keeping the agility and dedication of a small and passionate team. Speed, flexibility, technical excellence and innovation constitute their core values. HGH has established itself as an international reference for infrared technology innovation through the development of multiple advanced thermal sensors, among which its award-winning real-time 360 degree thermal camera, the Spynel-C - 2008 Product of the Year from Photonics Tech Briefs, 2010 Innovation Prize from the EuroNaval Committee, 2011 Kummerman Award from the French Academy of Marine, 2012 GovSec Platinum Award, 2012 Govies Homeland Security Award, and 2014 Best Video Tracking/Wide Area/Long Range Surveillance from Government Security News' Airport, Seaport, and Border Security Awards Program.

BSEE Completes Deployment Exercise in Gulf of Mexico

BSEEThe Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) initiated a day long unannounced drill involving Murphy Exploration and Production Company last week. The exercise tested Murphy's ability to respond to a simulated spill event in accordance with its Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP).

The scenario simulated was a loss of well control 75 miles off the coast of Louisiana. As part of the exercise an incident command center was established in Slidell, La. and oil skimming recovery equipment was deployed aboard the Mississippi Responder from Pascagoula, Miss. Once at the designated location, testing of the skimmer was conducted along with the placement of oil containment boom arranged in a J formation. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management participated in the BSEE led exercise.

These exercises are conducted in accordance with 30 CFR Section 254.42(g) as authorized by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. Following an exercise, BSEE and other participating agencies review the day's events, identify lessons learned and provide appropriate regulatory feedback to help improve operators' approved OSRPs. The first exercise was conducted by the Department of the Interior on July 25, 1989, with an offshore oil and gas operator in the Gulf of Mexico.

OPITO Makes Traveling to Work Offshore in the Gulf of Mexico Safer with New Survival Training Standard

opitoWith 2.3 million passengers traveling to work on offshore installations by helicopter in the Gulf of Mexico every year, OPITO is making sure every worker has the necessary training to get to work and return home safely every trip.

The oil and gas industry's training standards body has set new and higher standards for Tropical Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (THUET). The training has increased from four hours to a one-day course which must be repeated every four years. It covers how to get out of a helicopter in the event of a ditching or controlled landing on sea as well as rig abandonment and sea survival. The training takes an individual through many scenarios to get them comfortable with a safe evacuation of the helicopter whether it is upright or submerged and upside down.

Albert Skiba1Albert Skiba, OPITO Vice President Gulf of Mexico (photo), explained: "To date survival training in the Gulf of Mexico has been sporadic with no common standard and no common quality control. The new THUET standard goes well beyond what is outlined by the BSEE Bureau of Safety Environment and Enforcement by the US government and is designed to give offshore workers the knowledge, competence and confidence they need to remain safe and in the event of an incident while travelling to work. The initial feedback has been positive with trainees saying they felt more engaged in the training and would be able to apply what they learned in an emergency situation."

OPITO has developed this common training standard in partnership with industry and training centres in the region are currently seeking accreditation to run these courses.

Mr Skiba added: "The new training standard meets the criteria of all the various operating companies in the region and it is anticipated that more training centres will be seeking accreditation from OPITO to run these courses as demand increases, In the last three years OPITO has been raising awareness in the Gulf of Mexico of our offshore safety training standards, recognised to be the best in the world, and as a result the number of training centres in the region certified to run OPITO courses has doubled."

Funded by industry for industry, OPITO is the recognised, global authority on safety training in the oil and gas sector. The organisation's vision is to have common safety training standards accepted and adopted by the industry to significantly improve the safety of the global oil and gas workforce.

OPITO works with governments, regulators and industry all over the world to deliver improved safety training standards and workforce development frameworks. The standards designed by OPITO, have been adopted across the globe. More than 250,000 people per year train to the OPITO standards in 54 countries.

OPITO's Tropical Basic Offshore Safety Induction Emergency Training standard (TBOSIET), of which THUET is one element, is not mandatory in the Gulf of Mexico but the organisation is hopeful that it will eventually become a statutory requirement in this region as operators accept the value of this three day course over what is currently being delivered.

Group chief executive of OPITO International, David Doig concluded: "One of the most pioneering and hi-tech industries in the world, oil and gas operates in hostile environments and hazardous conditions. OPITO aims to make the industry one of the safest. Every worker, on every helicopter trip has the fundamental right to know that the people around him, or her, are trained to the highest standards. OPITO is that standard. There is no other like it and employers should adopt these standards."

Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc. Announces Cooperative Agreement

gulf island fabricationbechtel logoGulf Island Fabrication, Inc. (NASDAQ: GIFI), announces that, they have signed a cooperative agreement with Bechtel Oil, Gas, and Chemicals, Inc. to work together to pursue opportunities for offshore projects for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and abroad. Gulf Island's fabrication experience, infrastructure, and skilled labor along with Bechtel's unmatched engineering, project management, and direct-hire construction capabilities, provides customers a strong EPC provider.

The cooperation agreement is predicated on one governing principle – to deliver to our customers, high quality EPC solutions on time and on budget. Gulf Island and Bechtel will use this model to deliver fixed, floating, and subsea facilities to the market.

"Gulf Island is excited about the cooperation agreement signed with Bechtel which couples our fabrication expertise and specialized capabilities with one of the most respected EPC companies in the world. Together we offer a new approach to deliver offshore projects which incorporates innovative solutions and flexibility to meet and exceed client expectations and requirements," said Kirk Meche, President and CEO of Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc.

"With the expansion of the demand for energy around the world, oil companies continue to expand and develop larger and more complex offshore projects, and will need reliable contractors to deliver them. The agreement between Bechtel and Gulf Island Fabrication creates a team that can deliver them successfully," said Joe Gebara, general manager of Bechtel's Offshore business. "Gulf Island's record of fabricating some of the most challenging offshore structures makes the company a strong partner for Bechtel. I am looking forward to our success working closely together.

Crowley Christens New Ocean Class, Dynamic Positioning 2 (DP2) Tugboat in Houston – Ocean Sky

As part of the company's industry-leading new vessel build program, Crowley Maritime Corp. christened the third of four tugboats in the ocean class series 

CrowelyOceanSky– Ocean Sky –on July 24th, in Houston.

The ceremony served to formally welcome the third dynamic positioning (DP) tugboat to the company's expanded ocean towing fleet, which has been involved in most of the major offshore oil production installations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico over the past 16 months.

Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley's solutions group, opened the ceremony Crowleyto approximately 140 guests. He was followed by a series of speakers including Joe Huley, vice president, NC Power Systems, and Bruce Greshman, vice president, Heerema Marine Contractors, a Crowley customer who spoke about the 20-year relationship the two companies have enjoyed – a relationship, he remarked was based on "mutual trust, cooperation and responsibility to achieve the same goals."

Following an introduction of the tug's crew members and a blessing of the vessel by Father Sinclair Oubre, Jennifer Legg, Crowley's assistant treasurer and vessel sponsor, broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne across the hull of the boat.

Shell, Anadarko and Chevron, all of whom have contracted the ocean class vessels for service also had representatives in attendance as did Congressman Gene Green's office and the area's port commission.

The Ocean Sky, which features DP2 technology, is part of a feature-rich, four-vessel family of tugs ideally suited to work with Crowley's new 455 series high-deck strength barges, which measure 400 feet long by 105 feet wide (121.92 meters by 32 meters). Crowley's ocean class tugs are outfitted for long-range, high-capacity ocean towing; rig moves; platform and floating production; storage and offloading (FPSO) unit tows; emergency response and firefighting.

All four of the ocean class tugboats are designed to have a minimum bollard pull of 150 metric tons and a range of approximately 12,600 nautical miles at 15 knots free running. They are outfitted with twin-screw, controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles and high lift rudders for a combination of performance and fuel economy. 

"While today served as a formal ceremony to welcome this vessel to service, truth is, it has been busy tending to the needs of our offshore energy partners since its hull touched the water ready for service last year," said John Ara, vice president, Crowley. "All four of these dynamic positioning vessels along with their safe, well-trained crews have been in high demand and have performed reliably across the board for our diverse energy customers doing business in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico."

During the first ever pairing of all four ocean class tugs – Ocean Wave, Ocean Wind, Ocean Sky and Ocean Sun worked together to tow the largest offshore oil production and drilling platform of its kind ever to be built for use in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the 120,000 ton TLP Olympus for 425-miles from Ingleside, Texas to her final location in more than 3,000 feet of water. Later the quad towed, moored and made storm safe the Jack/St. Malo topside at a depth of 7,000 feet and are scheduled to team again for movement of Delta House floating production platform and Chevron's TLP Bigfoot in the coming months.
The fourth and last planned vessel in the series, Ocean Sun, is slated for formal christening in Lake Charles, La., during mid-August by Coreen Busch, wife of Todd Busch.

Higher North American Oil Output Levels to Reduce OPEC Members’ Production in 2014, says GlobalData

*Increase in Non-OPEC production to exceed growth in Global Oil Demand in 2014, reducing call on OPEC productionGlobaldatabluelogoGlobal oil demand in 2014 is forecast to increase by about 1.2 million barrels per day (mmbd) compared to 2013 levels, while non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members' production will grow by approximately 1.6 mmbd, reducing the call for OPEC production, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company's report* states that a significant increase in non-OPEC production is forecast to occur, particularly in North America, where crude oil and condensate production will increase by about 1.3 mmbd.

Carmine Rositano, GlobalData's Managing Analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, says: "Crude oil production increases are also expected in South America, the Former Soviet Union and from the greater use of biofuels. This will more than offset slightly lower production anticipated in the North Sea and Mexico.

"The growth in US oil production of just over 1 mmbd, combined with the expansion of Canadian production, will continue to reduce imports into North America. These could then flow into Asia, where the rise in oil demand will greatly exceed the slight increase forecast in local production."

Venezuelan crudes are now more likely to end up in Asia than North America, as Asia imported just under 1 mmbd of Venezuelan crudes in 2013. This has increased tonne-mile demand in the tanker industry for Very Large Crude Carriers, while decreasing the need for shorter-haul tanker movements into North America, according to the analyst.

Rositano continues: "Crude oil supply patterns and pricing differentials, along with marine freight rates and refining margins, will continue to be impacted by North America's higher forecast production levels, especially if the current ban on exporting US crude oil remains in place.

"It will be interesting to see which OPEC member will reduce its production should Iraq's output continue to increase and when Libyan production comes back online. It also remains to be seen whether Iran's export level will increase, should it reach an agreement over the nuclear issue with the West.

 *Increase in Non-OPEC production to exceed growth in Global Oil Demand in 2014, reducing call on OPEC production

This report provides a comparison of global oil demand and supply for 2014 versus 2013, detailing the increases in non-OPEC oil production and its effect on the supply of OPEC crude oil. It includes an evaluation of geopolitical risks and details of demand levels by product (gasoline, diesel/gasoil and aviation jet fuel) in both regional and global terms.

This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData's team of industry experts.

Total E&P Nigeria First to Use Reflex Marine’s Frog-XT4

Total E&P is the first to use Reflex Marine's newly developed FROG-XT4 on the Odudu field in Nigeria.

The French operator purchased the crew transfer device primarily for carrying out inter-field transfers. They have already found the device to be an invaluable back-up method for when adverse weather conditions result in helicopters being unable to fly.

FrogFeedback from Total highlights the devices advancements on Reflex Marine's original FROG-3, previously supplied by the crew transfer company. The FROG-XT4 was developed in line with the industry's continued drive to improve the safety of its operations – a vision which Reflex Marine shares.

The device provides greater comfort and safety to passengers, wider operating parameters, and higher capacity transfers. Its compact frame allows for easy storage and cost effective shipping.

Lifting points are now at eye level, making them easier to access and inspect, and a new stretcher mounting system enables rapid deployment in a medical evacuation situation (MedEvac).

The deck foreman at Total E&P Nigeria said: "The FROG-XT4 is very portable and easy to transfer from Starboard to Port, and vice versa. In case of impact, it has better personnel protection with improved shielding compared to that of the FROG-3, previously used by Total. Another improvement would be the FROG-XT4's shock absorbers."

Total's crane operator added: "The FROG-XT4 has a very small footprint and can fit on tight deck space compared to the previous model."

The response from the wider industry on the new range has also been positive, with a second unit recently purchased by an international operator in Mozambique.

Reflex Marine has established a number of accredited service centres for FROGs and TOROs around the world, offering stock, spares, rental services, inspection and maintenance and training to exacting standards set by Reflex Marine; there is now stock on the ground at some of these partners facilities; Norway, Houston and Abu Dhabi.

An estimated one million safe crew transfers are carried out every year using the Reflex Marine's FROG and TORO devices.

Reflex Marine is now looking to launch a higher capacity version of the product, the FROG-XT10, to the market in the coming months.

DW Monday July 28, 2014: Ukraine - Would Sanctions on Russian Energy Work?

douglas-westwoodThe downing of flight MA17 has prompted calls for further sanctions on Russia targeted at its energy sector. Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas and second largest exporter of oil which together account for near 60% of its export earnings. Gazprom supplies 30% of Europe's gas - some 15% via Ukraine - and has warned exports will be affected if sanctions are expanded. But in its payments row with Ukraine Gazprom has already stated that it will "only be supplying the exact amount of gas requested by our European partners to the Russia-Ukraine border". Considering that Ukraine itself needs to draw gas supplies from the same pipelines, Europe is already threatened with gas shortages.

But Russia itself also faces challenges, namely in maintaining – let alone growing – production as existing fields deplete. In 2000, it drilled 3,770 wells and production was some 17 million boe/day. By 2013 it was drilling some 7,500 wells and achieved a production of 23 million boe/day – well numbers up 99% for a production gain of 35%. On this basis at DW we forecast it will need to be drilling over 8,800 wells in 2020 and in increasingly more difficult areas, hence the Exxon rig sailing to location in the Russian arctic (much to the embarrassment of some on Capitol Hill).

The Russian economy is already in a mess and to maintain its oil & gas production it increasingly needs to access western capital markets and advanced oilfield technologies. Sanctions that severely hit its energy production will indeed work and cripple the Russian economy, but could cause oil prices to soar and thereby impact the still fragile global economy.

But the real lesson of this whole affair is for Europe – it is far too reliant on imported energy. No single type of energy source or supplier is immune from problems and Douglas-Westwood have long warned that Europe is sleep walking into an energy crisis due to lack of investment in both 'home grown' base-load energy sources such as nuclear power and shale gas, in energy storage and Europe-wide integrated transmission networks.

Wenaas Safety Experts of Choice for Revolutionary Workwear Project

WeenasNorway-based Wenaas - the global oil and gas industry's leading workwear & PPE supplier has been called upon as a key partner in a ground-breaking project known as Arctic Protection, which is part of an overarching research venture called Petromaks. Arctic Protection aims to develop a completely new concept of cold weather protection workwear for the petroleum industry.

The project originates from a collaboration between Wenaas parent company Kwintet Norge, research-based innovations company SINTEF, Statoil and Eni Norge.

Lee-Taylor-UK-Business-Development-Manager-Wenaas-International1With a world-renowned head-to-toe safety approach to protective workwear, Wenaas was the obvious choice to provide project consultation in holistic protection.

The results are expected to contribute to increased safety and work efficiency in outdoor work situations in extreme cold climates. The ultimate aim is a safer, more productive - and therefore more cost-effective - workforce.

The project builds upon existing knowledge from a research project called ColdWear, which concluded that existing workwear does not meet the requirements to maintain acceptable dexterity in cold temperatures.

Having commenced in January 2014, the research and development project is expected to announce its findings in 2017.

Early prototypes have been developed by Wenaas and will be tested in autumn/winter 2014 on a platform operated by Eni Norge, followed by more extensive tests on a platform further north the following year. After prototype evaluation, the final step will be to create a quality assured strategy for industry-wide up-scaling of workwear production.

Lee Taylor, Wenaas UK Business Development Manager, (photo) says: "Wenaas is delighted to be collaborating with industry leaders in such a ground-breaking project. The level of innovation in the project will mean there will be far-reaching benefits for workers in other industries too, such as mining and the marine sector."

The Petromaks project will ultimately provide solutions for future winter workwear and PPE ranges including the Wenaas winter workwear range. The 2014 range will be launched this autumn for North Sea offshore operators.

New Gassonic Observer-i Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector is the Industry’s First Artificial Neural Network Intelligent Device

Ideal for FPSO Vessels, Petrochemical Refining Plants, Gas/Hydrogen Storage Facilities, Gas Compressor Stations, LNG/GTL Trains, LNG Re-Gasification Plants

Gassonic-Observer-i-UGLD-lowDesigned with Artificial Neural Network (ANN) intelligence and real-time broadband acoustic sound processing technology, the state-of-the-art art Gassonic Observer-i Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector sets a new global industry standard in highly reliable ultrasonic gas leak detection with unprecedented suppression of false alarms.

With the incorporation of ANN technology, the breakthrough Gassonic Observer-i Detector makes it possible to fully analyze the sound spectrum down to 12 kHz. The ANN algorithm has been “trained” to automatically distinguish between unwanted acoustic background noise and dangerous gas leaks. This advanced design provides a broader leak detection range, which also increases sensitivity to smaller gas leaks without interference from unwanted background noise.

ANN technology also enables the leading-edge Gassonic Observer-i Detector to be installed without time consuming "training" sequences, and provides industry-leading detection distance (up to 28 meters). In addition, ANN technology ensures that the Gassonic Observer-i Detector has the same gas leak detection coverage in high and low noise areas. Furthermore, because it is self-adaptive, the detector requires no alarm set points to be configured, nor do alarm set points need to be adjusted if background ultrasound changes over time.

Ultrasonic gas leak detectors (UGLDs) are used in pressurized gas applications to complement conventional gas detection methods. In outdoor or ventilated locations, conventional detectors can miss gas leaks due to wind conditions, gas dilution or leak directionality. To compensate for such situations, ultrasonic gas leak detectors recognize gas leaks by responding to the airborne ultrasound instead of relying on physical contact between the gas and the sensor element. This capability significantly improves total speed of response to dangerous gas leaks.

The Gassonic Observer-i Detector features the patented Senssonic™ self-test function.  This well-proven self-test checks the device’s electrical integrity and microphone every 15 minutes and ensures the Gassonic Observer-i Detector is operational at all times. Both the microphone and the microphone windscreen are constantly monitored to ensure that the detector always has optimal sensitivity and detection coverage.

Designed to support large plant distributed control systems, the Gassonic Observer-i Detector features HART and Modbus communication compatibility, along with 4-20 mA output, providing complete status and control capability in the control room. It features ATEX, IECEx, FM, and CSA approvals and is SIL 3 suitable. 

PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending July 27th, 2014

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that the global economy will expand at above trend pace in the second half of 2014. In the U.S., products increased and crude stock declined.  In Japan, crude stocks built as imports rebounded from storm impacts. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

World Oil Market Forecast

After a sub-par first half, the global economy will expand at above trend pace in the second half of 2014, led by manufacturing. First half weakness in the economy undermined global oil balances with inventories building back to year ago levels. The U.S. crude inventory situation is quite tight while Europe is very long, although the worst of the European prompt crude price weakness has likely passed. The sharp decline in financial net length is supportive for nominal oil prices.

Again, a Product Increase and Crude Stock Decline

Overall U.S. commercial oil inventories increased compared to last year’s decline for the same week, expanding the year on year inventory excess. The product stock increase was roughly the same compared to the week earlier, as crude runs, product imports and reported demand did not change much. The crude inventory gap narrowed by 3.5 million barrels - to a still large 4 million barrels.

Japanese Crude Stocks Build as Imports Rebound from Storm Impacts

Runs continued to rise as turnarounds wind down. Crude imports jumped higher following typhoon disruptions and crude stocks built. Gasoline demand was only slightly higher, despite the upcoming holiday and stocks built from record lows. Gasoil demand was higher with a big surge in exports such that stocks drew 1 MMBbls. Kerosene demand remained low and stocks continued building.

Profitability of U.S. Shale Oil Plays: The Paradox of Company vs. Well Results

It is possible that individual shale wells may have breakevens well below current oil prices while the companies that are drilling those wells are struggling against cash flow limitations. The inability of companies to turn cash flows positive has raised the question of whether the shale industry is really viable financially in the long-term, or just supported by cheap money. An in-depth analysis of the play economics shows that negative cash flows are mostly a result of aggressive drilling behavior that should eventually reward investors.

LPG Scorecard

U.S LPG prices remained stable despite large increases in domestic inventories. The promise of increased exports has the bears on the sidelines, for now. Mt Belvieu propane settled at 104¢/gal, up marginally on the week. August/February contango in the propane forward curve increased by 0.6¢ in the week, to 5.2¢. Butane prices were flat. Ethane at Mt Belvieu fell with Henry Hub natural gas. Ethane’s fractionation margin remains negative, albeit by only 1¢/gal, reflecting the lack of outlets and high inventories currently facing the cracker feedstock. High and rising inventories will contain prices while the prospect of higher exports and the nearing end of summer will be supportive for U.S. LPG prices next week.

U.S. Ethanol Manufacturing Margins Lower

Chicago and Gulf Coast ethanol prices were stable the week ending July 18, but values in Southern California rose while prices in New York fell. Ethanol manufacturing cash margins were down slightly, as falling DDG values outweighed lower corn costs.

U.S. Ethanol Output Rises

U.S. ethanol production increased to 959 MB/D the week ending July 18, the second highest output of the year. Inventories were relatively flat, declining by only 5 thousand barrels to a five-week low 17.9 million.


The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.


ABS & MPA Ink MOU to Collaborate on Maritime Research & Development

ABSlogoABS a leading provider of global marine and offshore classification services, and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to promote maritime research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Over the next five years, ABS and MPA will collaborate on maritime R&D in the areas of alternative/clean fuel and developing resilient, next-generation port systems. Both parties will also commit to promote and share maritime thought leadership on technology.

"For more than 50 years, ABS has been committed to working alongside the MPA, industry and academia to foster the safe and environmentally responsible growth of the Singapore marine and offshore industries," said ABS Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. "This MOU is a further sign of our commitment to work with all stakeholders in this growing hub of global trade to further R&D efforts that provide practical solutions to today's most pressing challenges."

MPA Chief Executive Mr. Andrew Tan said, "MPA works closely with classification societies to undertake research activities in Singapore. This MOU with ABS will strengthen Maritime Singapore's R&D capabilities in the areas of green shipping, future port and maritime technologies. It also aims to promote Singapore's position as a global maritime knowledge hub."

The ABS-MPA MOU covers the following areas:

• Alternative/clean fuel research and technology, such as in liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering, covering both operational configuration studies and risk assessment and safety.

• R&D on resilient, next-generation port systems relating to the safety and security of new port facilities, and where processes, such as traffic management, safe navigation, security measures, situational awareness, decision making and consequence management measures, have to be continuously and effectively assessed and updated.

• Promote maritime technology to the Singapore maritime community through thought leadership fora, such as workshops and dialogues.
This latest agreement builds upon ABS-MPA Maritime Technology Professorship program at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The aim of the program is to build up SUTD's capabilities in maritime education and R&D to further boost the growth of marine and offshore technology development in Singapore.

Keeping Offshore Malaysia Safe

When it comes to keeping pipelines in top operating condition, the operator of two gas field developments offshore Malaysia has its work cut out. To make certain that the networks continue to deliver natural gas to the millions of residents and businesses in Peninsular Malaysia, dedicated maintenance teams work around-the-clock to monitor the lines for potential integrity threats, executing rigorous maintenance programs.

When several leaking valves were detected across multiple major gas trunk lines, as well as a defective section of feed line piping, the operator moved to replace them safely and quickly. To ensure that gas would flow with minimal disruption while essential repairs were made, the operator retained global pipeline service provider T.D. Williamson (TDW).

TDW7-31-14The repair program required replacement of two shutdown valves on two gas export pipelines attached to the drilling/riser platform, located approximately 135km northeast of Kertih. In addition, replacement of launcher valves and a piping section of the 52-slot drilling/riser platform located offshore Terrangganu, Malaysia was also necessary. TDW used its remote-controlled SmartPlug® pipeline pressure isolation system to create a double-block isolation against gas pressure on the four individually designated repair zones for a period of two to three weeks each, so that each section could be depressurized. Previously, TDW had successfully isolated sections of the Terrangganu platform to facilitate a tie-in to a neighboring field, so they were experienced in working on the platform.

External pigging pumps were used to pig the SmartPlug tool into position. The SmartPlug tool is operated and monitored entirely by remote control using the SmartTrack™ system, which transmits commands and receives pipeline and operational data through the pipe wall. The system tracks the SmartPlug tool’s location and monitors pipeline pressure.

Each of the isolations was maintained for an average of seven days at a safe operating pressure of approximately 70 – 80 bar (1015 – 1160 psi). As a result, TDW helped the operator achieve a safe environment in which repair work was carried out as planned, with minimal downtime.

Reduced costs, time and downtime

The four isolations were carried out on schedule, allowing the piping and valves to be replaced, safely and efficiently. “The operator appreciates that leaking valves and defective pipeline pose a serious threat to safety and pipeline integrity,” said Rolf Gunnar Lie, Regional Business Development Manager - Far East Asia Pacific for TDW. “In view of this, it is extremely satisfying that this customer was able to benefit from TDW’s isolation technology, which made it possible for them to make repairs with minimal impact on production and the environment, while saving time and money.”

Danos Adds Environmental Services

DanoslogoDanos recently added an Environmental Services Division to the company's collection of oilfield related services, which includes production workforce, construction, fabrication, coatings, instrumentation and electrical, and shorebase and logistics.

Located on the Intracoastal Waterway in Larose, La., the Environmental Services Division provides full-service environmental cleaning – from spill kits to tank cleaning and small releases to large magnitude spills.

Executive Vice President Paul Danos said, "Adding environmental services to our family of capabilities, positions Danos to better serve our customers' oilfield needs. The prime, waterfront location increases our response capabilities while decreasing our response time – critical during an environmental situation."

Danos' environmental services team, led by Operations Manager Farrell Lafont, has over 74 years of combined experience in environmental response and is also skilled in plan writing, ground audits, disposal services, product sales and consulting services.

Lafont, a Golden Meadow, La. native, joined Danos in 2013 as an incident manager for BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, bringing with him 27 years of experience in environmental response. Prior to joining Danos, Lafont held environmental response management positions at ES&H Consulting, Oil Mop and Halliburton.

Danos is a classified as an OSRO (Oil Spill Removal Organization) by the U.S. Coast Guard capable to respond to facility or vessel releases on land, rivers and canals.

JDR to Open Cambridge Technology Center

JDRCablelogoJDR, a leading provider of technology connecting the global offshore energy industry, is opening a new offshore engineering technology center in Cambridge. Building out from JDR's global HQ in North Cambridgeshire, the new center will put JDR at the heart of Cambridge's growing oil and gas innovation community as energy research seeks to exploit reserves in deeper and harsher offshore environments. The new center will be officially opened by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert on
28 July.

JDR's products are used by major energy companies and offshore service providers around the world as part of infrastructures that manage subsea energy production. The new Cambridge R&D team – from experienced engineers to graduates – will evolve JDR's specialist knowledge of subsea production umbilicals and subsea power cables to take on exploration challenges faced by oil, gas and offshore wind operators. They will focus on new technology development, from innovative product concepts to subsea materials development, developing collaborative relationships with other Cambridge-based technology companies and academia.

Andrew Norman, JDR's chief executive officer commented: "Subsea energy production is one of the fastest growing sectors of the international oil and gas industry; JDR has a strong track record in this field. Our new Cambridge Technology Center will strengthen our focus on advanced technology, for example products that enable production equipment to operate on the seabed, close to hydrocarbon sources.

"Our Cambridge Technology Center is an important development for JDR's international site and customer network. At the same time we want to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships in the Cambridge technology network, becoming part of the 'Cambridge effect' working with business and academia on new solutions for our industry."

Julian Huppert MP added: "I am delighted that JDR have chosen Cambridge as the base for its new

technology center and I am honored to be asked to officially open the center.

JDR is a leader in research in this highly specialized area and its work in Cambridge could result in exciting future developments in sustainable energy. This is encouraging for all of us as we work to find ways to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels and find greener alternatives.

"It is encouraging to hear that the company has plans to grow the center over the next year, opening up job opportunities in the city. I wish it every success for the future."

James Young, JDR's engineering director added: "We plan to grow our Cambridge team over the next

12 months, expanding the group with experienced and graduate engineers. This is a great time to join the JDR; our international client base is pushing exploration into increasingly challenging subsea environments. With our industry track record, we are ideally positioned to take on these challenges and help secure long-term energy supply.

"Our Cambridge Technology Centre has been custom-designed to support the work of our research and development team. It is also equipped with technology to enable cross site and functional team working across national boundaries and time zones. Our Cambridge team will be innovating the vital connection technologies to make our future customers subsea energy projects both technically and commercially successf