Dashboard November 13, 2015




Week Ending

Cushing OK -WTI Spot Prices

Nat.Gas Price 
 Henry Hub

Days of Supply

Total Offshore Rigs 

Nat. Gas Underground Storage Bcfs

Rig Count N. Americ


$42.70 $2.36 30.8 33 4,000 767


$45.98 $2.37 31.2 32 3,978 771


$44.99 $2.32 31.2 33 3,929 775


$45.16 $2.28 31.1 35 3,877 787


$46.82 $2.43 30.7 33 3,814 787


$48.36 $2.50 29.8 32 3,7333 795


 $45.00  $2.45  28.7  30  3,633  809






































































































































































































































































































































Statoil Successful Bid for New Licenses Offshore East Coast Canada

1Statoil-Newfoundland 468Statoil and its partners were the successful bidders for six exploration licenses in the Flemish Pass Basin, offshore Newfoundland, and two licenses offshore Nova Scotia.

The licenses offshore Newfoundland total 1,466,918 hectares (14,670 km2), and are located in an area in proximity to the Statoil-operated Bay du Nord discovery. Statoil will operate five licenses, and participate in one license as a partner. The offshore Newfoundland licenses awarded are as follows:

• NL15-01-02: Chevron 35% (operator); Statoil 35%; BG 30% (274,732 hectares)

• NL15-01-05: Statoil: 40%; Exxon Mobil 35%; BG 25% (267,403 hectares)

• NL15-01-06 Statoil 34%; Exxon Mobil 33%; BP 33% (262,230 hectares)

• NL15-01-07: Statoil 34%; Exxon Mobil 33%; BP 33% (254,321 hectares)

• NL15-01-08: Statoil 50%; BP 50% (268,755 hectares)

• NL15-01-09: Statoil 100% (139,477 hectares)

The licenses offshore Nova Scotia (NS15-1 Parcels 1 and 2) cover an area totaling 650,000 hectares (6,500 square kilometers), and are located approximately 250 kilometers from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The growth of Statoil’s portfolio offshore Newfoundland and new entry offshore Nova Scotia strengthens the company’s long-term position in the Canadian offshore.

“The successful bids in these frontier areas offshore Canada are in line with Statoil’s strategy of deepening our position in prolific basins and securing access at scale, while also adding important optionality to our exploration portfolio,” says Tim Dodson, executive vice president for Exploration in Statoil.

“The significant exploration investment offshore Newfoundland will provide Statoil an opportunity to further advance our established exploration position in this region through a step-wise approach, while in Nova Scotia, we are able to apply the exploration knowledge and experience we have gained globally and in the North Atlantic specifically,” he said.

Statoil holds an extensive position in the Flemish Pass Basin, and the licenses awarded support developing the company’s exploration portfolio in an environment where Statoil is experienced. The licenses awarded are located in an area nearby to Statoil’s previous discoveries in the Flemish Pass Basin – the Mizzen discovery was made in 2009, and Harpoon and Bay du Nord were both discovered in 2013.

Starting in November 2014, Statoil has undertaken an 18-month exploration drilling program in the Flemish Pass. The program will appraise the Bay du Nord discovery and also test new prospects in the greater Basin area. Statoil is the operator of the Bay du Nord discovery with a 65% interest, and Husky Energy has a 35% interest.

Renishaw Launches New Marine Lidar System

2RenishawMerlinGlobal engineering technologies company Renishaw  announces the launch of Merlin, the latest innovative laser scanner in its range of mobile 3D mapping products.

Merlin supports safer, faster and more complete marine survey data acquisition for efficient coastal, offshore and inland waterway project management and enhanced decision-making capabilities for vessel operators.

The first mapping product launched under the Renishaw brand, Merlin has been engineered specifically for use in the challenging marine environment and to help significantly cut the cost of vessel-based laser scanning.

Renishaw's low-cost, low-maintenance solution to the hydrographic surveying industry's increasing demand for a cost-effective marine laser scanner, Merlin speeds up operations, improves crew and vessel safety, and produces more complete point clouds for better data analysis.

The Merlin laser scanner is unique in that it offers seamless integration with existing vessel hardware and software. This means that vessel operators do not duplicate costly equipment, infrastructure and technologies that they already own. This cost-effective access to the advanced lidar technology required for exceptional surveying enables smart vessel operators to expand their product offering at low cost.

Renishaw has worked closely with the world's leading hydrographic software companies to develop Merlin's new dedicated Renishaw SLM driver, which is fully operational with the following major industry-standard software packages:

• HYSWEEP® multi-beam collection and editing software from HYPACK®. Fully operational in the HYSWEEP_15.0.18 version of HYPACK® 15.
• NaviScan and Kuda sonar and laser data acquisition software from EIVA.
• QINSy (Quality Integrated Navigation System) hydrographic data acquisition software from QPS.
• Teledyne PDS software for hydrographic survey and dredging operations (version and newer).

Using time-of-flight laser technology, Merlin quickly measures and records time-tagged geo-referenced data points above the waterline. This time-tagged information can now be synchronized with the vessel's bathymetric data captured below the waterline, which means that a detailed 3D map of the full marine environment can be captured simultaneously. Acquiring the full point cloud in a single pass significantly reduces project timescales and the amount of time that survey teams have to spend in challenging conditions.

“We're excited to be able to present the hydrographic surveying community with the first laser scanner dedicated to cost-effective marine surveying,” says Karl Bradshaw, Business Manager for Renishaw's mapping product range. “Merlin is not only versatile, it is also extremely robust – designed and manufactured to Renishaw's exacting standards. This unique laser scanning system provides survey companies and their end clients with a value-added solution to plan and undertake safer, faster and more comprehensiveprojects and we look forward to working closely with them.”

“There's currently nothing else like Merlin on the market,” said Cam Thomas, Technical Manager of Renishaw's Spatial Measurement Division. “Renishaw is proud to be the first to offer marine surveyors a safe, quick and accurate way to gather above-water detail while completing their regular underwater surveys, and we are certain that Merlin will gain rapid market adoption.”

Renishaw's Merlin marine lidar system will launch at the Hydro 2015 conference and exhibition in Cape Town this month to an international audience of hydrographic marine surveyors, civil engineers, oceanographers, geophysicists and other marine professionals. Renishaw will also be showcasing Merlin in December at the International Workboat Show in New Orleans, USA.

For further information on Renishaw's new Merlin dedicated marine time-tagged laser scanner please click here.

Crowley Breaks Ground on $48.5 Million Pier and Terminal Construction Project at Isla Grande in San Juan

3CrowleyPuertoRicoCrowley Puerto Rico Services, Inc. announces that it has broken ground on a $48.5-million construction project for a new pier at its Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The project includes the development of a new 900-foot-long, 114-foot-wide concrete pier and all associated dredging needed to accommodate Crowley’s two new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, Commitment Class ships, which are scheduled for delivery in 2017. Crowley’s terminal expansion also includes the installation of three new ship-to-shore container gantry cranes, which will be supplied under a separate contract.

“This important project represents close collaboration between private business and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) to make a major investment in the infrastructure of Puerto Rico,” explained Jose “Pache” Ayala, Crowley vice president, Puerto Rico. “We are very pleased to be working with a Puerto Rico-based construction company that is utilizing workers on the island and keeping the money in the local economy.”

The construction contract is being executed by L.P.C. & D. Inc., of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, which began driving the first piles for the pier last week. About 75 jobs have been created during the construction phase and about 100 new jobs will be created when the construction is completed in mid-2017 and Crowley begins service with its new ships.

“With the first pile driven, we look forward to watching the coming transformation of our terminal into the most modern and efficient port facility on the island,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “Our new terminal infrastructure will help us reposition Puerto Rico as a shipping and logistics hub for the Caribbean Basin and beyond, and open up many new opportunities for our customers.”

In all, Crowley is investing about $500 million in its Puerto Rico service with the construction of two new state-of-the-art ships, the new pier, three new container cranes, new truck access gates, reefer plugs, new containers and container handling equipment, and more.

“This investment, which is resulting in jobs, economic impact, a cleaner environment and significant service enhancements for Puerto Rico shippers, would not be possible without the Jones Act,” said Crowley.

The Jones Act is a federal statute that provides for the promotion and maintenance of a strong American merchant marine. It requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flag ships constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

“While the act ensures that we have a robust shipbuilding capability and skilled merchant mariners in the U.S. essential to our national defense, it has also created a commercial shipping market between the mainland and Puerto Rico that is highly competitive, customized and dedicated,” said Crowley. “It is because of this competition and the longstanding rules of engagement spelled out in the Jones Act that we have the confidence to make this major investment for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico.”

The pier design, using the latest displacement-based performance criteria, has been carefully developed over the past year with the PRPA and Harbor Consulting Engineers, Inc., of Seattle, Wash. As the lead design firm for the project, Harbor is the engineer of record for the project and the duration of the construction. Crowley and Harbor have worked together on infrastructure projects for nearly 40 years. Crowley recently completed the acquisition of the necessary permits, including those from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other local agencies.

Crowley has served the Puerto Rico market since 1954, longer than any other carrier in the trade, and occupied the now 75-acre Isla Grande Terminal the entire time, making it the longest continual occupant of any Jones Act carrier in the trade. The company, with over 250 Puerto Rico employees, is also the No. 1 ocean carrier between the island commonwealth and the U.S. mainland with more weekly sailings and more cargo carried annually than any other shipping line.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc., a holding company of the 123-year-old Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a privately held family and employee-owned company. The company provides marine solutions, energy and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico Liner Services, Caribbean and Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and tanker escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response through its 50 percent ownership in Ardent Global; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture through its Jensen Maritime subsidiary; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on here.

The Importance of Marine Growth

4BMTClose-up-anemones-SNS2Decommissioning within the offshore environment is rapidly becoming a focused activity for the oil and gas industry. Latest figures from Decom North Sea suggest that there are, approximately, 470 offshore installations in the UK sector due to come out of service by 2030 with an associated cost of US$46.8 billion (£30 billion). With such a formidable undertaking ahead, oil and gas operators are developing their decommissioning plans.

The effective management and mitigation of potential environmental impacts and risks is key to the success of this process. Integral to this are marine growth assessments which are increasingly being used to provide valuable information for decommissioning plans. Faron McLellan, Environmental Consultant, Dr. Dorota Bastrikin, Senior Consultant, and Dr Joe Ferris, Associate Director at BMT Cordah, a subsidiary of BMT Group, discuss the importance of these assessments drawing on a number of projects carried out both within the North Sea and overseas, and how they can assist the planning process, minimise the environmental impact and financial risks. An important environmental issue is the occurrence and spread of marine species on decommissioned structures outside their naturally occurring range with the risk of introducing an invasive species.

There are over 1,500 registered offshore oil and gas installations in the North Sea, 470 of which are in United Kingdom (UK) waters with more than 10,000 km of pipelines and circa 5,000 wells. Many of these structures are over 40 years old and are now coming to the end of their design life. Over the next couple of decades a growing number of redundant oil and gas installations will be taken out of service and decommissioned. As well as the physical removal of the component parts, decommissioning of offshore subsea structures must include the management and mitigation of any potential environmental impacts and risks. This includes the consideration of organisms that colonise submerged oil and gas structures referred to as ‘marine growth’. These colonies may form habitats from a range of species assemblages, the composition of which will differ depending on the structure’s depth, geographical location and age. Marine growth introduces a wide range of issues in the context of decommissioning, including the added weight to a structure, colonisation by protected species, the potential for transfer of invasive (non-native) species and management of marine growth waste. Existing literature indicates that the colonisation of offshore structures can commence within weeks of submergence, continuing until the time of decommissioning. Throughout that period, marine growth can colonise and re-colonise, sometimes with species different to those originally found on the structure. In some cases, facilities may have been in place since the late 1970’s, providing opportunities for colonisation by a succession of marine species.

There are two protected species in the North Sea that must be recognised during the decommissioning process: Lophelia pertusa, a cold-water coral and Sabellaria spinulosa, a reef building polychaete worm. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Guidance Notes on the Decommissioning of Offshore Oil and Gas Installations and Pipelines under the Petroleum Act 1998 provide guidance on these. If either of these species is likely to be present, it is prudent to confirm or disprove their presence prior to undertaking decommissioning operations. Both of these species are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). This listing means that a CITES certificate is required if transporting Lophelia or Sabellaria between states.

Factors influencing the distribution and occurrence of marine growth colonisation include water temperature, salinity, depth, distance from shore or from other fouled structures, exposure to wave action and predation. Geographical differences in these parameters exist as demonstrated in the variation in marine growth between the northern, central and southern North Sea. For example, Lophelia has not been recorded on southern North Sea structures and is typically only observed in the northern and central North Sea in deep waters (>50 m) and colder conditions. Marine growth will develop at different rates, but it is not unusual for significant cover of marine growth to be established in as little as five years after installation. Lophelia has not historically been recorded within the first decade after installation. However, with an increasing number of platforms with Lophelia, these colonized platforms may provide a “stepping stone” effect and facilitating colonisation within the first decade. In the SNS Sabellaria has been reported growing on the exposed surface of pipelines in areas designated as conservation sites. The decommissioning options for these pipelines may be affected by the occurrence of this species.

The differences in species composition and distribution between areas of the North Sea can be demonstrated through two marine growth assessments carried out by BMT Cordah.

(a) CNRI – Northern North Sea Murchison Platform
The Murchison platform is a northern North Sea (NNS) structure in a water depth of circa 156 m where the additional weight of marine growth was approximately 2,394 tons. Of note here is that the deep-water zone was dominated by Lophelia and anemones which can add a significant mass to an offshore jacket. Marine growth accounted for an additional 12% of the total weight of the steel jacket and secondary steel jacket (caissons, risers, etc.). Of the total weight of marine growth 202 tons was from Lophelia (8.4%), which only made up 3% of the marine growth coverage on the structure.
(b) ConocoPhillips – Southern North Sea Satellite Platforms
In contrast to Murchison, these platforms are situated in the shallower waters of the southern North Sea (SNS) in less than 34 m water depth. The added marine growth weight on the nine platforms averaged 39 tons, with a maximum of 72 tons and a minimum of 21 tons. Similar zonation patterns were observed in the shallow and mid-water zones across the platforms. No Lophelia were recorded on the SNS platforms since it is believed that they are situated in water too shallow for the coral to colonise and survive. The shallow-water zone of the SNS satellites showed more areas of bare member in contrast to Murchison which is most likely due to storm regime combined with the shallower water experienced in the SNS.

Considering the aforementioned factors, the importance of a marine growth assessment in the management of the decommissioning process to minimise potential environmental impacts and risks becomes more apparent. Whilst not a statutory requirement within UKCS decommissioning environmental impact assessments (EIA), marine growth assessments offer a practical and cost-saving option for its effective management. Furthermore, a marine growth assessment contributes to both the environmental and socioeconomic aspects of the EIA. At a minimum, these assessments can be used to provide a quantification of the weight of fouling organisms and identification of species, including those subject to protection. The weight of the structures to be decommissioned is a fundamental consideration when planning lifting, transportation and disposal operations. Marine growth, by increasing the structural weight, can increase costs and the complexity of lifting operations.

Current approaches to the management of marine growth include (i) offshore removal of marine growth by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and/or divers in situ; (ii) onshore removal from cut jacket sections and subsequent landfilling; and (iii) land-spreading or composting of removed marine growth. All of these options bring with them potential environmental impacts which need to be considered Potential seabed impact from marine growth removed in situ will also be influenced by the species composition. The suitability of landfill or composting sites will depend on species composition. The EU Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) includes an obligation for member states to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste, which includes marine growth destined for landfill. The UK targets, based on the 1995 waste quantities, are a reduction of 75% by 2010, 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020. Therefore disposal in landfill may become a last resort for this waste.

Offshore structures brought to shore with marine growth have often resulted in complaints from local communities regarding the odour. The major sources of smell following removal of structures laden with marine growth are the biologically-emitted odors from dying organisms, disturbed anoxic layers and removal of putrefying organisms, particularly originating from highly productive areas. The intensity of smell can become a considerable nuisance to local communities. The platform location and time of year for planned removal should be taken into consideration when developing the decommissioning programme. Due to the seasonality of the productivity of fouling organisms, jackets and other subsea structures removed during the summer and autumn would be expected to emit a stronger odour for longer than those removed in spring from the same location.

A marine growth assessment also provides information on the presence of potentially invasive alien (non-native) species (species from outside of their natural range) which can threaten the diversity or abundance of native species, the ecological stability of infested waters and/or commercial, agricultural or recreational activities. Invasive species can often out-compete indigenous species, detrimentally affecting local ecosystems. Mobile structures, such as Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, could act as sources for the introduction of invasive species when taken to different geographical regions for decommissioning or reuse. The European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) that came into force on 15th July 2008 aims to protect the marine environment across Europe by achieving and maintaining Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020. It lists prevention of the adverse alterations to the environment by non-native species, as one of the vital elements of maintaining GES. In 2014, UK published Part Two of the Marine Strategy which focuses on a coordinated monitoring programme for the ongoing assessment of GES and includes invasive species. A new EU Regulation No. 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species came into force on 1st January 2015 and foresees three types of interventions: (i) prevention; (ii) early detection and eradication; and (iii) management. A marine growth assessment can satisfy requirements for detection and management.

With the transportation of offshore structures comes an increased potential risk to the marine environment of the introduction of invasive species. This is particularly important if the structure is to be transported out of the North Sea. This risk is determined by the:

Presence and abundance of invasive alien (non-native) species and/or species that have the potential to become invasive;

Period of air exposure of the marine growth during transport and resultant mortality of the species; and

Capacity of alien organisms to colonize, survive and out-compete native species along the transport route and at the final destination.

Case Study – FPSO, Southwest Atlantic
In 2014, BMT Cordah was commissioned to conduct a marine growth assessment for the decommissioning of an FPSO located in the southwest Atlantic. During the assessment, the presence on the hull of an invasive, non-native sun coral species, Tubastraea coccinea was reported. With a high tolerance range to environmental conditions and a prolific reproductive capacity, the sun coral readily out-competes native corals and other species. Tubastraea can also reproduce by fragmentation, making it a potentially dangerous species to carry through waters where it is not present should any part of the coral fall off in transit to the selected decommissioning site.

The major considerations when deciding the movement of the FPSO and geographical location of the decommissioning yard were:

Identification of the suspected invasive coral;

Consideration of remedial options for in situ removal; and

Assessment of existing international regulations and compliance with the transportation and deposition of non-indigenous species in international waters.

An assessment of the marine growth on offshore structures is an important component of decommissioning programmes. The implications of additional weight and the occurrence of protected or invasive species are key drivers in lifting operations and final disposal. These must be considered to ensure the decommissioning process is completed safely, cost-effectively and within the frameworks of both best practice and relevant legislation.

BMT Cordah
BMT Cordah is a leading multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy with extensive experience in providing support to decommissioning programmes. Having been involved in many offshore programmes since 1994, we have successfully delivered a range of services, including; preparation of environmental scoping reports; full EIAs; detailed estimates of energy usages and gaseous emissions; Comparative Assessments of pipelines and BPEOs; in-depth environmental support to decommissioning engineering teams; Comparative Assessments of options for decommissioning structures that are candidates for derogation under OSPAR 98/3; prepared PONs, PWAs, and Consents to Locate; and compiled full Decommissioning Programmes for Consultation before facilitating the submission of formal Decommissioning Programmes to the Secretary of State. The company is based in Aberdeen

CIS Drives Subsea Piles in 160 Minutes on Alvheim Development

Conductor Installation Services Ltd (CIS), an Acteon company that provides hammer services to install conductors and drive piles, announced that it successfully completed its second subsea piling campaign for Technip in Norway.

CIS used its remotely operated Subsea Piling System, which makes it possible to drive piles as large as 36-inches in diameter, in water depths to 300 meters. In August, the piles were driven remotely to secure the subsea Boa Extension Manifold, which makes up an integral part of the Alvheim development, approximately 225 km west of Stavanger. The development, which transports oil to the UK Scottish Area Gas Evacuation System, is designed to increase oil recovery by enhancing current production rates via three new subsea well step-outs at East Kameleon, Kneler A and Boa.

5CIS-TechnipCIS - Technip Alvheim - back deck with manifold

Subsea piling installation completed in 7 hours
Once rigorous testing of all equipment was completed, the CIS team mobilized with piling and pile-lifting equipment to the Alvheim field. Working from the Skandi Arctic dive support vessel in maximum water depths of 130 meters, CIS successfully drove the four 30-inch manifold piles.

Although the seemingly impenetrable soil formation encountered at the Alvheim manifold site made the final five meters of each individual driving operation more difficult than a previous operation carried out on nearby Boyla field, the Subsea Piling System performed flawlessly. Each pile was successfully driven into the seabed to its respective target depth of 11.25 meters. The subsea operation was successfully completed in seven hours in half of the time originally planned. All four piles were driven with a 90kJ hydraulic hammer in just 160 minutes.

Reliable technology + proactive personnel = winning combination
For Technip, the Alvheim Boa campaign illustrated the effectiveness of the piling system, as well as the professionalism of CIS. “CIS delivered a well-maintained spread, and personnel who were very proactive during the run-up to the campaign and offshore,” said Mark Underhill, Project Manager for Technip Norge AS. “Based on the performance on Boa, I would have no reservation in recommending their services for future projects for Technip.”

“Our Subsea Piling System performed reliably, allowing us to drive the piles subsea very efficiently,” said Andy Penman, Group Managing Director of CIS. “We have now completed two successful subsea piling campaigns for Technip in just 14 months: one on Alvheim and another on Bøyla field last year. Looking ahead, we hope to be in a position to drive more subsea piles for Technip as our relationship continues to develop.”

Subsea Piling System
The subsea piling process is carried out by an experienced CIS engineer from a control unit and monitoring system located onboard a nearby vessel. A hydraulic hammer, connected via an electronic umbilical cable to the control system, is lowered into the water and placed directly over the subsea pile. Once it is accurately positioned, the pile will be driven into the seabed by the hammer until it reaches its target depth.

CIS, a member of Acteon’s Conductors, Risers and Flowlines group, provides conductor and pile installation services associated with construction projects carried out in the global oil and gas industry. These services are carried out both onshore and offshore to, for example, create foundations for new wells, platforms, bridges and jetties.

The range of services provided by CIS supports the Acteon Group’s commitment to defining subsea services across a range of interconnected disciplines.

Airborne Oil & Gas Awarded Contract from Wild Well Control in Gulf of Mexico

6AirborneOGlogoWild Well Control awarded Airborne Oil & Gas (AOG) a contract for the supply of two flexible TCP Jumpers. The two jumpers, 2 inch and 10 ksi rated, are collapse resistant to 3000 meters water depth. They are delivered in lengths of 300 ft each and will provide the flexible fluid connection between a drill string or downline and Wild Well Control's 7-series subsea intervention package.

AOG’s TCP Jumper combines flexibility with a smooth bore and high collapse resistance. This combination, unique in the industry, provides a superior solution for riser less Plug & Abandonment ( P&A ). Thomas Wilke, General Manager Subsea, explains: “ Our primary client, Marubeni Oil and Gas, will be plugging and abandoning 9 subsea wells, of which the deepest are at a water depth of some 7300 ft. We expect that some wells will be sub-hydrostatic, which may lead to significant differential pressures. Using AOG's non-collapsible jumpers removes the risk of hose collapse and the related project delays. We have worked with Airborne Oil & Gas for some time on this project and concluded that their product provided a significant operational advantage."

With this order, AOG has added yet another high pressure product to its portfolio, and secured their first order in the Gulf of Mexico. Frits Kronenburg, Area Sales Manager, comments: “We have developed our flexible jumpers as the superior product for deepwater well intervention, acid stimulation and P&A. To date we have already won orders for our 2.5 inch 10 ksi jumpers, and now for our 2 inch 10 ksi jumpers as well. The potential is so significant that we are manufacturing this jumper for stock, enabling us to supply quickly".

The two jumpers are shipped early November and are expected to be mobilized early December 2015.

Barclays Predict Oil Demand to Triple in 2016

7BarclaysDespite a recent oil price around the $45 per barrel range, Barclays Corporate Banking has predicted a rise to $50 by the end of 2015 and a further increase to $60 in 2016.

The topic was discussed at a recent event hosted by the bank’s corporate FX team which invited influential industry professionals to discuss the current challenging market. The bank predicts that the expected increase in oil price will be spurred on by a sustained doubling of growth in global demand of up to four million barrels per day.

The group gathered by Barclays Corporate Banking considered the future of the North Sea which found that while the general short-term picture for the region may appear stormy, there are growing signs of hope on the horizon, which may trigger an eagerly anticipated recovery.

The group started by discussing the significant differences between the oil crash of the mid-1980’s to that of 2014/15. During the earlier period, OPEC’s spare capacity was between 14% and 16% of global oil demand, which meant it was in a much stronger position to influence supply. Today, OPEC’s spare capacity stands at less than 4%. While Saudi Arabia is producing close to record levels, it is not expected that the Saudis would break the 11 million barrels per day barrier, which creates a limitation on the amount of oil OPEC can produce, and therefore the influence it ultimately has.

Since OPEC decided against reducing production in November 2014, global oil demand has recovered strongly, unlike in the 1980s. Since then, global demand growth rate has tripled to 2.1 million barrels per day, due mainly to the elasticity in price and consumer reaction to price. It was explained that the industrial sector has played little part in this demand growth; the drive has come from the end consumer.

However, the positive story of a tripling in demand growth has been overshadowed by the extent of the increase in the oil supply with OPEC production up at 32 million barrels per day. Barclays forecasts that the excess supply situation will continue throughout 2015 with Saudi Arabia producing close to record levels at 10.3 – 10.4 million barrels per day, while Iraq continues to be a strong supplier.

The recently lifted Iran sanctions could also affect supply, as the country is now open to the international oil and gas industry. However the event heard that increased production activity in Iran is unlikely to stat until Spring 2016 or later as the region still has 45 million barrels of oil in tankers which will be releases first. Only after that time will the country boost global supply through new production.

The US shale industry, with its lower cost base and rapid set up characteristics, has taken over from Saudi Arabia as the new swing producer. The sector is very reactive to the price of oil and can adjust its production reasonably quickly. Despite initial resilience, Barclays anticipates a significant reduction in the supply of US shale in the fourth quarter of 2015 as well as the first half of 2016. This is where we can expect the industry to see the real battle between global supply and demand take place.

The event heard that a combination of these factors means that even with a low commodity price, a surplus of oil has continued to build despite the rapidly growing demand. Barclays’ data supports the view that demand has been under quoted despite in excess of a two million barrel per day growth in 2015. The bank forecasts per day increase in demand in 2016, making an estimated overall increase of four million barrels per day since the beginning of 2015.

The group also heard how the bedrock of a stable oil and gas industry is the need for a strong US dollar, and the currency remains the global outperformer. Barclays expects the greenback to overtake in the coming financial quarters owing to the US economy’s better return to capital, safety characteristics and superior growth outlook.

In the next year, the industry will see a draw down in oil supplies, which Barclays predicts will result in an average oil price of $60 per barrel. This price level is expected to incentivise the appropriate amount of US shale supply to grow: if the sector experiences negative growth it will leave the market very tight, but production levels will most likely reduce from one million barrels per day to 200,000 – 300,000 barrels a day growth rate.

A higher commodity price, for example of $70 a barrel, would trigger a further increase in the amount of shale supply into the market and would once again tip the balance towards over production.

Walter Cumming, head of oil and gas at Barclays Corporate Banking commented: “There is no doubt that the UK North Sea oil and gas industry is under pressure right now but we do feel that signs of relief are there, and the forecast for $60 oil in 2016 with oil demand growth above trend again is encouraging.

“In the difficult market we are operating in today, it was a very valuable experience to get such a wide variety of industry experts together to discuss the issues that matter most to our customers and ourselves.

“The detailed research that we have undertaken and shared at our Aberdeen meeting emphasises our message as a bank to our customers. We believe the North Sea still has a viable future and the expected increase in demand would support this. Barclays Corporate Banking is committed to investing in the region and it was clear from our event that those who attended shared our commitment to the North Sea and the belief that while business may be difficult in the current environment, there are grounds for optimism.”

Cambla Secures First Decommissioning Contract Wins

International project services consultancy, Cambla, heralds its move into the decommissioning sector, having been awarded contracts with two major operators in the oil and gas industry.

The contracts will see Cambla provide expert project services support and utilize its specialist Schedule Animation Tool (S.A.T) software to ensure efficient and effective planning for decommissioning projects in the North Sea.

8Cambla-Alexander-MacLeod1Alexander MacLeod, founder of Cambla

Alexander MacLeod, founder of Cambla, said: “We are delighted to have secured our first decommissioning contracts, which have been awarded as a result of the excellent reputation we have built with the operators on previous projects. Decommissioning is now high on the agenda for many companies in the energy industry and we are delighted to have established ourselves as project services experts in this sector.”

Cambla has also expanded its services by providing its first interim in-house consultancy service for another major operator. The work scope will involve the provision of a project services in-house consultant for asset planning.

Alexander continues: “The wide scope of work required for these contracts allows us to deploy various elements from our pre-built toolbox of processes and reports to save clients time and costs, in the implementation of a robust planning system.

“We continually strive to broaden our service offering and the provision of an interim in-house consultant highlights our ability to support large companies in the management of their project planning as well as our capability to provide bespoke solutions tailored to each client’s needs.”

Established in 2013, Cambla offers expert project planning, cost control and probabilistic services to support oil and gas projects using a pre-built toolkit of processes and reports. Cambla’s team of expert project planners support client projects across the globe, from early appraisal through to the final close-out period, ensuring a high quality result is achieved at all stages of the project.

Bordelon Marine Takes Delivery of the M/V Brandon Bordelon

9BrandonIn November, 2015 Bordelon Marine takes delivery of the MV Brandon Bordelon. This highly specialized vessel features a helideck, a 60 ton AHC crane with 3000m of wire, POB (60), a mezzanine deck with internal office and control rooms capable of supporting two (2) full work class ROV systems. The vessel also offers 6,200 sq. ft. of clear useable deck space. The Brandon comes equipped with (2) two Ranger2 Pro thru-hull USBL full systems. The vessel delivers a fully integrated ROV control room, ROV support offices, below deck work and storage spaces, extensive communications and ROV data network, plug and play, with patch panel racks installed. … all tied into the vessel systems, bridge, office, and accommodation spaces.

The vessel is designed with removable bulwarks around the entire aft of vessel along with power, water, air, and hydraulic oil connections on the deck. The vessel is also equipped with four additional below deck Tier 3 generators, providing fully redundant power to the crane and ROV systems.

Quote (Wes Bordelon, President/CEO):

We are very excited to introduce the M/V Brandon Bordelon. This vessel is the next generation design of the Stingray series and continues our commitment of the ULIV concept to the subsea market. With the addition of a helideck and other integrated systems the Brandon provides an additional highly capable and low cost vessel option to our clients.

Collaboration is Key to Tackling Middle East’s Ageing Structures Challenge, says DNV GL

10DNVGL-anupam-ghosalThe Middle East faces a substantial challenge to ensure hundreds of ageing offshore oil and gas structures operate safely beyond original design life.

Constraining operational expenditure (opex) is vital to economically viable operations, according to Anupam Ghosal, newly appointed regional manager for Middle East and India, DNV GL - Oil & Gas. “Of the 700 to 800 fixed platforms and bridges in the region, we believe more than 70% are older than 25 years and some even exceed 40 years. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone has about 450.”

The structural integrity management challenge is complex and critical for many operators seeking to extend the economic life of assets. Life extension of ageing structures needs to ensure continued operation within regulatory requirements, and to limit future opex.

“Life extension of ageing structures and assets is moving firmly up the agenda for oil and gas operators in the Middle East,” says Ghosal. “Collaboration, joint innovation, best practice sharing and research, such as for CO2 injection for enhanced oil recovery, are prerequisites for smarter lifetime extension projects.”

Anupam Ghosal joined DNV GL’s Abu Dhabi office in April 2010. He brings more than 23 years of industry experience and led the Verification and Asset Integrity Management unit with Noble Denton marine assurance and advisory services up until the DNV GL merger in September 2013.

DNV GL is engaged with several customers in the region to implement controlled approaches to asset integrity management and structural integrity management systems. The company’s software, database, quantitative and qualitative approaches, and other expertise in capturing, analyzing and managing information for structural integrity management assists customers to scope, design and implement effective life extension strategies. The company’s ‘missing data methodology’ addresses the absence of historic documentation, a common challenge for operators in the region.

“We persistently endeavor to understand the challenges of our industry in this region and we are already playing a central role with a number of major operators,” adds Ghosal. “Our aim is to develop cohesive and cost-effective strategies to attain life extension of ageing assets and secure the economic benefits it brings.”

“In our 38 year presence in the region, we have built a strong position in the market founded on trust and competent delivery, while setting the benchmark in industry best practice and offering access to more than 300 standards and recommended practices.”

In the oil and gas sector, DNV GL has advanced from having the majority of the offshore pipelines in the UAE being designed and certified to DNV GL standards to currently being engaged in ALL the major offshore projects in Abu Dhabi. The company is currently working with a number of major operators to provide Technical Integrity Verification services and in-service inspection.

StagSeis – An Innovation and Collaboration Success Story

Outstanding subsalt images in the Gulf of Mexico reduce drilling risk

by CGG

Final results from IBALT and DEUX, the first and second surveys of CGG’s StagSeis™ multi-client program of 871 offshore blocks in select locations of Garden Banks, Keathley Canyon, Walker Ridge and Green Canyon, are now available and widely recognized as the clearest subsalt images in this complex area of the Gulf of Mexico. Final results from the third survey, TROIS, are due next year. The original IBALT survey commenced acquisition in 2012 but planning began three years earlier. At the time, wide-azimuth (WAZ) surveys with advanced processing techniques provided the best subsurface images in the Gulf of Mexico, but some features below more complex salt structures remained difficult to illuminate and image fully.

11CGG-StagSeis-WAZ-comparisonStagSeis Final RTM image (right) shows superior illumination and imaging beneath the complex salt geometry as compared to the WAZ final RTM image (left).

Building on their experience in WAZ capabilities, CGG’s subsurface imaging and marine technology experts worked closely with clients to define key parameters to deliver better subsalt imaging than was previously possible, within the clients’ timeframe. These included better sampling of offset and azimuth along with increased bandwidth.

The resulting patented StagSeis solution uses multiple vessels with a staggered geometry and orthogonal shooting, delivering consistent regular fold and azimuth distribution and providing full azimuthal coverage to 9 km with ultra-long inline offsets to 18 km (on 4 azimuths). BroadSeis™ is also employed to provide bandwidth down to 2.5 Hz along with CGG’s proprietary deghosting and imaging technology. Once modeling by both CGG and clients confirmed that StagSeis would deliver the desired results, acquisition began.

StagSeis deploys the largest areal spread of any available acquisition configuration (equivalent to the area of Manhattan Island). Operating such a large spread safely and efficiently requires strict adherence to robust HSE procedures, and CGG maintained an exceptional safety and environmental record during more than seven vessel-years of operation.

Fast-Trax results from a priority area were delivered in the first three months. Initial Full Azimuth Fast-Trax RTM images from DEUX were of such high quality that a client included a data image in an investor presentation, stating that StagSeis provided step-change improvements in subsalt imaging, boosting confidence in appraisal well locations and accelerating maturation of off-setting prospects.

Final results from IBALT and DEUX show staggering improvements of subsalt images over previous best images obtained from WAZ data, particularly in terms of continuity, illumination and fault definition, as shown in the image comparison.

StagSeis also delivered new and valuable data to imaging. Full azimuths provided better sampling of anisotropy, and the ultra-low frequencies and long offsets of StagSeis allowed Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) to build high-resolution velocity models. The enormous full-azimuth, ultra-long offset, broadband datasets acquired with StagSeis also brought processing challenges. A series of innovations from CGG Subsurface Imaging included development of true 3D deghosting and source designature to accommodate much larger inline and cross-line offsets. CGG also optimized demultiple, velocity model building, and imaging modules to handle larger datasets.

CGG achieved a very high level of pre-commitment for the StagSeis surveys, with nine underwriters signing up for the program. The StagSeis solution provided better geological definition of the subsurface, illuminating complex salt bodies and previously obscured subsalt reservoirs. Superior images reduce financial and HSE risk from both reservoir and drilling perspectives. CGG believes that this tailor-made, collaborative approach, from project design through end results, is the way of the future.

Gibdock Secures Breakthrough Exhaust Scrubber Project

12GibdockjpgGibdock has secured a breakthrough exhaust gas scrubber retrofit project covering five vessels operated by ship management major Norbulk Shipping and owned by global shipping group Vroon.

The contract represents a sizeable debut in specialized EGS work. With all five ships also undergoing special survey drydocking, the job is the Gibraltar yard’s largest single assignment in 2015. The landmark project is also the first ship-series SOx abatement technology retrofit win for any Southern European yard.

Using EGS, shipowners can continue operating on heavy fuel oil instead of more expensive marine gas oil to meet IMO rules on SOx emissions that came into force in Sulphur Emissions Control Areas on Jan 1, 2015.

“We are the first yard in the region to win a major exhaust scrubber project,” said Richard Beards, Gibdock Managing Director. “Our ideal location means that we are always attractive for owners considering this area. Gibdock’s competitiveness, high quality workmanship and on-schedule redelivery has led to this breakthrough deal, which opens a new chapter in the industry’s EGS installation work options.”

Gibdock’s workload included the 37,500 dwt product tanker Great Eastern, the third of the five Norbulk vessels being fitted with ‘PureSOx’ main engine, auxiliary engine and boiler EGS units from Alfa Laval. The hybrid PureSOx system removes over 98% of SOx emissions from exhaust gases and up to 80% of particulates. EGS installation work onboard Great Eastern included 90 tons of newly fabricated steel, the laying of 12,386m of electrical cabling and 1,134m of GRE pipes involving 800v flanges and elbows.

Special survey work required a hull washing, spot grit-blasting and coating job, overhauling of sea valves , propeller withdrawal, bonding of stern seals, rudder clearances, bow thruster overhauling, windlass winch bearing renewal, overhauling of boiler safety valves, pipeworks, insulation works and various other routine dry-dock works. These tasks took place at the same time as EGS installation, with the ship redelivered on schedule and on budget in 20 days. Mr. Beards said the time taken for redelivery to Norbulk has been shortened as projects have progressed.

To optimize EGS retrofit processes, Gibdock undertakes prefabrication for smaller blocks in its workshops, with transfer to the ‘Pad1’ area, completed in 2014, allowing further structural and assembly work to be completed alongside Drydock 1 in a timely fashion for drydocking. “Pad 1 was pivotal in optimizing workflow,” said John Taylor, Gibdock Operations Director. “No other regional yard has a comparable purpose-built zone for EGS foundation and structural work before vessels arrive.

“This has been an intense collaboration, involving different Gibdock departments, naval architects, the Norbulk project team, Alfa Laval, and our electrical and piping systems subcontractors. Optimized planning, materials purchasing, equipment deployment and job sequencing for EGS work are now part of Gibdock’s competitive advantage.”

Beards added: “This is a significant project for Gibdock in 2015. We have added dedicated EGS facilities and expertise to our natural competitive advantages of location and weather, and our hard-earned reputation for quality work delivered on time and on budget.”

Macondo Disaster – The Facts and Truths About the Final Hours

13-1SPElogo.pegOn 20 April 2010, the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men, burned and sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, devastated the Gulf of Mexico and caused unprecedented socio-economic and environmental damage to Louisiana and Texas. To unravel the cause of the blowout, the assessment of petroleum engineering data during the well's final hours has been critical.

This data will be discussed at an evening event hosted by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Aberdeen Section on 25 November. Prior to retiring, John Turley (photo) spent much of his career at Marathon Oil as Gulf Coast drilling manager, UK operations manager, manager worldwide drilling and vice president of engineering and technology. He studied well data and investigative reports, ignored finger-pointing and hearsay evidence, and assessed the cause of the blowout from engineering and operating perspectives.

13-2SPE-Macondo-John-Turley1Commenting ahead of his SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation, ‘Assessing and Applying Petroleum Engineering Data from the 2010 Macondo Blowout’, Mr Turley said: “Investigating the circumstances surrounding the cause of the blowout is essential, so we can then apply lessons learned from the incident to future well work in deep water, shallow water and onshore.

“This presentation will use working examples to help delegates understand the importance of applying petroleum engineering and process management fundamentals to day-to-day drilling work, in real time, both in the office and on the rig.”

Shankar Bhukya, SPE Aberdeen chairman, said: “Although tragic incidents like Macondo are rare, it is important that, as an industry we learn from them to avoid repetition in the future. Safety is at the forefront of the oil and gas industry and, as it has been highlighted at the first SPE Aberdeen conference of its kind in March last year – Another Perspective on Risk: The Next Tipping Point - it is essential that we collaborate and share best practices to ensure our employees are safe at all times, onshore and offshore.

Mr Turley, educated at Colorado School of Mines, University of Miami and Harvard, taught petroleum engineering at Marietta College before joining Marathon Oil. Post-retirement, he independently researched the Macondo blowout and published: ‘The Simple Truth: BP’s Macondo Blowout’ - a facts-based tome in which he examines the engineering causes of the disaster. Mr Turley, a member of SPE's Legion of Honour, chaired SPE's education and accreditation committee and published a number of SPE papers.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday 25 November at Pittodrie Stadium from 6 – 9pm. High attendance is expected for this event, therefore advance booking is recommended. For more information and to book, please click here.

PIRA Energy Market Recap for the Week Ending November 16, 2015

14PIRALogoNYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that oil sands and other high cost developments will be required to balance the market. In the U.S., the total commercial stock surplus widened to the largest of the year. In Japan, crude runs began rising and the stock bulge corrected back downward. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Longer-Term Oil Price Outlook Marked Down vs. August

We have brought the post-2020 price outlook down and are now limiting the upside. We still believe that oil sands and other high cost developments will be required to balance the market. However, price responsive US and global shale should limit the upside central tendency.

Growing Concern over Medium Term Downside Price Risk

We have not changed our longer-term Reference case for US natural gas prices vs. August. However, we have boosted the probability of the low case to reflect both demand side concerns and the potential for lower supply cost. If cost reductions in Haynesville are widely confirmed, we will reconsider the Reference case outlook.

As Gas Is Being Repriced along the Curve, European Power Is at a Turning Point

With spot and forward gas prices continuing to look for a bottom, European power appears to be moving toward a new dispatching equilibrium. While the recent years have seen plummeting spark spreads and large losses in gas-fired generation, the current fuel pricing dynamics suggest that gas will be moving back into the stack, displacing more efficient coal units. In other words, we expect a structural recovery in the spark spreads both in the U.K and the Continent.

European Carbon: Stronger Fundamentals Needed to Maintain Price Gains

Eastern European countries have started their 2015 power sector free allocations. Looking ahead, EUA auction volumes/supply will increase from 2016-2018 with the easing of backloading. Longer term emissions growth is expected to be weak, especially with the announced German lignite plan. Implied carbon prices from fuel switching have been moving strongly lower as well. Substantial Phase IV ETS reform discussions are not expected until next year.

Coal Pricing falls again Amid Wider Energy Market Weakness

Seaborne coal pricing faded yet again last week, with weaker oil and gas prices driving the market lower. API#2 (Northwest Europe) prices lost the most amount of ground as heavy European imports of LNG drove NBP gas prices down considerably from the prior week. With a lack of support from the oil market, and persistently weak coal fundamentals, it is difficult to envision a scenario where coal prices rise appreciably over the balance of the year, and into 2016. However, PIRA’s expectation of a rebound in 2H16 oil prices should give coal prices some uplift, if only from higher production cuts and technical trading factors.

Weaker Asian LPG Markets Search For Direction

Asian LPG prices were pulled lower with Crude oil last week. Cash and futures propane prices continue to look disconnected with physical cargoes arriving in December called near $465 while futures for the same month traded $30 lower. The front futures spread is now steeply backwardated at +$40/MT – the most since the end of last winter, indicating weaker demand lies behind the prompt needs. Butane prices were crushed more than 10% lower to be called near $475, just $10 above cash propane.

Ethanol Prices Tumble

U.S. ethanol prices plummeted the week ending November 6, as demand for ethanol-blended gasoline decreased the prior week, while plant output and inventories increased. Margins only dropped slightly as corn prices also fell.

New Data on Chinese Growth, Emerging Market Industrial Output, and European GDP

October Chinese data showed different sectors continuing to expand at different paces. Data on manufacturing remained disappointing, but vehicle sales experienced a major upturn as the government’s latest stimulus program kicked in. Emerging market industrial production data improved broadly in recent months, though there were some exceptions (most notably, Brazil). A modest pace of GDP growth continued in Europe during the third quarter.

Lows Not Safe

The November WASDE has made it even more difficult to be constructive across the board. While new lows were made this week in major contracts with the exception of SRW, those lows are very vulnerable in our opinion.

U.S. Stock Surplus Widens

The total commercial stock build for the week of November 6, compared to a draw last year, widened the total commercial stock surplus to the largest of the year. Crude stocks built in spite of crude runs increasing sharply, and we expect crude runs to continue to increase as refinery turnarounds rapidly decline in the next few weeks. Overall export-adjusted and HDD-normalized product demand growth has been struggling of late, down 1.1% over the most recent four weeks. Year-to-date adjusted product demand is up 0.46 MMB/D, or 2.5%. The most recent employment news is positive, even as the industrial sector lags.

Tighter Balances, But Still Anxious for More Seasonal Heating Loads

With November at nearly the halfway point, the market is being driven not only by weather that is on track to average ~15% milder than the 10-year normal, but also by a supply trajectory that for now appears aware of the market’s limitations with 4.0 TCF in stocks and its heavy reliance on price-induced gains from coal-to-gas substitution.

Eastern Grid/ERCOT Market Forecast: November 2015

On-peak prices fell month-on-month in most markets as cooling loads and gas prices both faded. Price increases were observed only in New England (the only market to see stronger gas prices) and at MISO's TX hub. Despite a strong October employment report suggesting a healthy economy, weather-adjusted loads declined across the East. Unadjusted loads fell by 2.8 aGW from the prior year. Gas prices have been revised down with larger adjustments at the front end of the forward curve, particularly in the Northeast markets. As a result, power price forecasts have also been reduced with the exception of the Ontario market (up about $2/MWh). Implied heat rate projections are mostly higher than in last month's report.

Ethanol Values Decrease Again

U.S. ethanol prices followed corn futures lower. In its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate the USDA projected higher corn production and lower consumption, a bearish signal.

Nervous Markets

While the world rightfully focused on the horrific Paris attacks over the weekend, traders wondered what it would mean to U.S. equity markets, oil prices, and the dollar. Grain traders spent the weekend lamenting what Friday’s new low closes for corn and soybeans would mean come Sunday night.

Japanese Runs Begin Rising, Crude Stock Bulge Corrects Back Downward

Crude runs increased as turnarounds wind down. Crude imports moved sharply lower allowing crude stocks to correct back downward after the large build seen the previous week. Finished product stocks drew again due to declines in naphtha and kerosene stocks. Gasoline and gasoil stocks changed only slightly. Margins remain good and strengthened on the week due to higher cracks for middle distillates and naphtha.

It Will Take Time For U.S. Shale Oil Activity To Pick Up Once Crude Prices Recover

Massive industry layoffs and the reduction in inventory of working drilling rigs will contribute to a slow recovery in activity once oil prices start to rebound in 2016. Several sources estimate that the industry has so far lost around 200,000 jobs worldwide and many drilling rigs have been scrapped. In addition, banks and operators will want to see improved prices for a sustained period of time (i.e. several months) before increasing lending and drilling activity respectively. The high activity levels experienced in 2014, when WTI was close to $100/Bbl, will probably not be seen for many years.

Record Norwegian Exports for November Hint at Aggressive Defense against LNG

But this is not just a story of the traditional pas de deux between spot and oil-indexed gas prices, as plenty of fundamental evidence for weakness is also in plain sight. Let’s start on the supply side with Norwegian gas exports, which are not just well above normal for November; they are approaching an all-time high for any month on record. Why Norway would be exporting record amounts of gas when we are experiencing a year-on-year decrease in weather-based demand is a root issue here.

European Oil Demand Growth Finally Turns Positive in 2015

After a decade of negative oil demand growth, demand turned higher this year. Demand growth was centered in Mediterranean Europe and got a significant boost from oil demand in Turkey. While lower oil prices were clearly helpful in boosting demand, economic growth is still too anemic to account for all the positive growth. Our demand model includes only the key drivers of oil demand like price and GDP; other unspecified factors are implicitly included in our forecast error. Evidence points to the positive role these unspecified, non-traditional factors played in oil demand growth this year.

Asian Stock Levels Lend Support to Winter Spot Price Run-Up

Storage availability for Asia’s key utility buyers has played a role in the recent uptick in imports, though it is nowhere near as big as current estimates of available capacity might suggest. PIRA estimates for end Sept. storage levels across Asia show storage levels between 55% to 70% of capacity for the top buyers.

Key Indicators, Commodities Fall

The S&P 500 moved lower for the week, having its worst week in three months. Most of the related indicators deteriorated (Russell 2000, volatility, and U.S. high yield credit, emerging market bond credit). Overall, commodities declined rather sharply, both energy and ex-energy. With regard to currencies, the U.S. dollar was again mostly stronger. U.S. government bond yields have continued to inch higher on short and longer term maturities as markets continue to contemplate the Fed raising short-term rates at their next meeting which will conclude December 16th.

U.S. Shale Oil Operators Point Towards Continued Declining Activity & Production

Capex spending has fallen dramatically through the course of 2015, resulting in a lower rig count, and for the first time quarter-on-quarter (Q/Q) production decline of shale oil in the U.S. In 3Q15, PIRA estimates that U.S. shale crude and condensate production declined by about 3.2% Q/Q to 4,200 MB/D. Shale operators that have reported guidance (about a third of total shale oil production) point to a further 3.8% Q/Q decline in 4Q15.

Iran and Iraq Come to Deal on Natural Gas

Iran has signed a new contract with Iraq to export natural gas to the country’s southern port city of Basra. Based on the contract, Iran will pipe 20-25-mmcm/d of gas to Basra for a period of six years. The supply – that will increase to 45-60-mmcm/d in a later stage – will be used to feed the main power plant of the city. Exports will start with an initial supply of 7-mmcm/d for three years and will then increase to the target volume.

Global Equities Decline Broadly

On the week most of the tracking indices lost ground, with some falling back sharply. In the U.S, only “utilities” managed a small gain. The worst performers were retail, consumer discretionary, and energy. Most of the international indices also posted losses with only the Japanese tracking index able to post a largely neutral performance.

November Weather: U.S., Europe and Japan Warm

At midmonth, November looks to be 14% warmer than normal on the 10-year-normal basis for the three major OECD markets. On a 30-year-normal basis the markets are 21% warmer. The November forecast takes into account first half actual weather and the current forecast for the rest of the month.

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.

DW Monday November 16, 2015: Tired of Turnarounds?

15DWMondayAs the end of October saw upstream operators release disappointing Q3 results, with Shell in particular announcing record losses, a completely different picture is being painted in the downstream sector. A host of North American refiners, including Tesoro, Valero Energy, Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum have seen profits soar as the low oil price has improved margins; WTI cracking margins for Q3 2015 averaged $22.02 compared to $14.01 in 2014.

With refiners benefiting from high margins amidst the oil price decline, the impact on those companies providing maintenance services to the sector is rather more complex. On one side, higher margins are increasing utilisation – Tesero reports that during Q3 their plants were running at 101% of their officially stated capacity – intensifying the level of maintenance required to prevent downtime. Conversely, refiners will seek opportunities to delay large turnaround programs in order to take advantage of the high margins.

This has been apparent as a number of refineries announced delays in their maintenance schedule, with some refiners, such as Cepsa, postponing to January 2016. However, the extent to which refiners are able to delay plans is limited due to both the project lead times, which can be up to 16 months in advance, and the vital nature of maintenance work, particularly when plants are run at an elevated capacity. North America has already seen a series of refinery shutdowns resulting from over utilisation, including the large BP Whiting plant and an explosion at Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery, highlighting the importance of routine maintenance work.

Whilst the effects on the downstream maintenance industry are somewhat complex, it is clear that the sector is currently an attractive industry for investment. Despite the prospect of some delays in maintenance work, Douglas-Westwood’s “World Downstream Asset Maintenance Market Forecast 2015-2019” expects the market to remain strong, growing at a 4.8% CAGR between 2015 and 2020. As maintenance remains particularly vital to the smooth running of plants during this period of above average utilisation, the sector is likely to remain relatively sheltered from the industry downturn and struggle that upstream has borne.

Kathryn Symes, Douglas-Westwood

Dynamic Construction Services Awarded Contract for Fabrication

16DynamiccontsructionCapabilities-B-fullDynamic Industries, Inc., a leading fabrication and service provider to the global Oil, Gas and Energy industries, announced that its specialty craft division, Dynamic Construction Services (DCS), has been awarded a key contract to provide fabrication, offshore construction and scaffolding services as part of a program to upgrade existing drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Matt Oubre, DCS President, said; “Dynamic greatly appreciates this award, the opportunity to be a part of this important program, and the opportunity to extend its service’s with this key international client.

About Dynamic Construction Services

Dynamic Construction Services (DCS) is a full service Construction Division of Dynamic Industries, Inc. - providing light fabrication, site construction and maintenance, and specialty craft services for offshore and onshore projects. DCS provides a broad variety of complementary services either stand alone or bundled into a turnkey offering, such as structural, piping, electrical & instrumentation, automation, fire & safety, blasting & coating, insulation, scaffolding, and project staffing services.

About Dynamic Industries, Inc.

Dynamic Industries, Inc. was founded in 1985 as an offshore services company, specializing in interconnecting pipe fabrication, associated pipe installation, and commissioning & offshore maintenance services. Through a change of ownership in 1998 Dynamic quickly grew to become one of the premier hook up & commissioning contractors in the Gulf of Mexico. Today Dynamic has expanded its services and footprint globally and now operates in West Africa, Mexico, Caribbean, South America and the Middle East.

About Dynamic Energy Services International, LLC

Dynamic Energy Services International Company (DYNESI) Headquartered in New Orleans, LA, DYNESI; through its four major business units, provides fully integrated EPCIM services globally to the upstream and downstream markets.

Piper Jaffray Agrees to Acquire Energy Investment Bank, Simmons & Company International

17piper-jaffray-logoPiper Jaffray Companies (NYSE: PJC), a leading investment bank and asset management firm, today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Simmons & Company International (“Simmons”).

Founded in 1974, Simmons is one of the largest and most experienced independent investment banks specializing in the energy industry, offering M&A advisory, capital markets execution and investment research. With over 170 investment banking, sales & trading, equity research and private equity professionals, the firm’s broad range of coverage spans the entire energy spectrum, including energy services & equipment, exploration & production, midstream and downstream. The average tenure for a managing director at Simmons is in excess of 15 years, and during its 41-year history, Simmons has executed more than 830 strategic advisory transactions, over 330 private and public financings, representing total transaction value of approximately $260 billion. Simmons also manages two private equity funds in the U.K. that specialize in energy. Headquartered in Houston, the firm also has a major presence Aberdeen, as well as offices in London and Dubai.

“Simmons is the preeminent firm in energy investment banking and we are proud to have the opportunity to partner with such an accomplished team. This addition represents a major step in our drive towards $500 million in annual investment banking revenue,” said Andrew Duff, chairman and CEO of Piper Jaffray.

“This is a milestone transaction as we meaningfully increase the firm’s investment banking footprint. Expanding into the energy sector has been a long-term goal for us and we are pleased to have found the ideal partner to fulfill this strategy,” added Scott LaRue, global co-head of Piper Jaffray investment banking. “We look forward to combining our broader product suite with Simmons’ sector expertise, unmatched reputation and extensive relationships to build on the firm’s long history of success.” “Simmons has been a name synonymous with excellence in energy investment banking and providing quality service to clients for over 40 years. This transaction is a logical step in taking our firm to the next level as we expect our entire investment banking and equities groups to transition to Piper Jaffray in a seamless manner. Our clients will greatly benefit from the enhanced breadth of products and capabilities that Piper brings to the table,” said Michael Frazier, Simmons’ chairman, president and CEO. “On behalf of my partners, we are additionally pleased to be combining with a firm that shares similar values and our client-focused culture.”

Transaction Overview
Piper Jaffray will acquire 100% of Simmons for a total consideration of approximately $139 million, consisting of $91 million in cash and $48 million in restricted stock. Also, Piper Jaffray has committed an additional $21 million in cash and stock for retention purposes. The restricted stock included in the total consideration includes non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Additional compensation may be available to certain individuals subject to exceeding certain revenue thresholds during the first three years that Simmons is a part of Piper Jaffray. Key Simmons professionals have entered into employment agreements with Piper Jaffray that become effective concurrent with the transaction’s close.

Piper Jaffray intends to operate the business under the Simmons brand as a Piper Jaffray company and it will continue to run its energy practice from Simmons’ Houston and Aberdeen locations. The business will be integrated into Piper Jaffray’s equities and investment banking group, with senior leaders at the firm assuming senior leadership roles with Piper Jaffray. Fred Charlton will be appointed chairman of energy investment banking and will serve as co-head of energy investment banking together with James Baker. Bill Herbert will become head of global energy research, and Will Britt will continue to lead specialized energy equity sales. Ira Green will become head of energy capital markets and Coling Welsh will become head of international energy investment banking and executive chairman of Piper Jaffray’s U.K. subsidiary, and continue to lead Simmons’ international activities. Michael Frazier, Simmons’ chairman, president and CEO, has entered into a consulting agreement with Piper Jaffray and will continue to serve in a senior role that leverages his relationship and experience.

Simmons generated revenue of $96 million, including $65 million in advisory revenue, in its most recent fiscal year ended June 30, 2015. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Piper Jaffray’s non-GAAP earnings during the first full year of operation. Piper Jaffray intends to offset dilution from shares issued in the transaction with future share repurchases under its existing share repurchase program.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions and expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

Paul Danos Named to NOIA Board

18Paul DanosPaul Danos, executive vice president of Danos, has been chosen to serve on the board of directors for the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA). The appointment was announced at NOIA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Paul Danos is experienced in a variety of industry segments, having previously worked in operations, disaster response and recovery, and offshore construction and fabrication for the company. He also served as a senior consultant for Plains All American and Arthur Andersen (Protiviti Consulting). As executive vice president, Paul leads the company’s strategic planning, business development, and sales and marketing efforts.

“NOIA plays an important role in ensuring that America has access to the safe development of offshore energy, said Danos. “It is an honor for me to join NOIA as a board member and to help further this mission.”

NOIA is a national trade association representing all segments of the offshore industry with an interest in the exploration and production of both traditional and renewable energy resources on the nation’s outer continental shelf.

Songa Offshore SE : Cat D Update

19SongaOffshoreAs previously announced on July 15, 2015, Songa Offshore received notices of arbitration from DSME in respect of the construction contracts for the Cat D rigs.

On November 16, 2015, Songa Offshore received claim submissions from DSME related to Songa Equinox, the first Cat D rig, in which DSME asserts a claim of USD 179 million, along with a request for repayment of liquidated damages in a total amount of USD 22 million. The claim that is asserted relates to alleged cost overruns and additional work in relation to Songa Equinox rig due to what DSME alleges were inherent errors and omissions in the design documents (as often referred to as the FEED package).

Songa Offshore has performed an initial review of the claim and does not consider that there is any substance to the claims asserted by DSME. The Company is confident of its position, since it is of the view that DSME is responsible for the delays and any attempt to recover cost overruns is of no merit due to the "turn-key" nature of the construction contract. Songa Offshore has obtained legal opinions from highly reputable law firms in the UK and Norway and from a Queen's Counsel all of which confirm the Company's position.

Further details will be provided as and when appropriate.