Shell Announces Second Major 2014 Start Up in Deep-Water Gulf of Mexico with Cardamom Development First Oil

Shell-Auger-platform W640 H360ShellProduction is now underway from the Cardamom development, the second major deep-water facility Shell has brought online in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico this year, following the start-up of Mars B in February.

Oil from the Cardamom subsea development (100% Shell) is piped through Shell's Auger platform (photo). When at full production of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day (boe/d), Auger's total production capacity will increase to 130,000 boe/d.

"Cardamom is a high-value addition to Shell's production at the Auger platform and is another example of our excellence in deep-water project delivery," said Marvin Odum, Shell Upstream Americas Director. "The work to extend the production life of our first deep-water tension-leg platform is impressive and involved advanced exploration and development technology. Our future opportunities in deep water mean that this will remain an important, high-return growth area for Shell."

Since its first production in 1994, the facility has received several upgrades to process additional production from new discoveries. Cardamom is Auger's seventh subsea development.

The Cardamom reservoir sits beneath thick layers of salt in rock more than four miles (6.4 kilometers) below the sea floor and went undetected by conventional seismic surveys. Shell used the latest advancements in seismic technology to discover Cardamom in 2010.

The Cardamom field is 225 miles (362 kilometres) south-west of New Orleans, Louisiana, in water more than 2,700 feet (820 metres) deep.

Other deep-water Gulf of Mexico growth for Shell includes the Mars B (Shell 71.5%) development, which continues to ramp up production; the ultra-deep-water Stones (Shell 100%, 50,000 boe/d) project, which is under construction; front-end engineering and design is progressing for the Appomattox (Shell 80%) project; and, in a recent exploration success, Shell announced a major discovery at its Rydberg (Shell 57.2%) well in the Norphlet play. Shell also discovered oil at its Kaikias (Shell 100%) well in the Mars basin, which will require further appraisal in 2015.

Last month, Shell also started oil production from its Bonga North West (Shell 55%, 40,000 boe/d) deep water development off the coast of Nigeria and recently announced a natural gas discovery at its Marjoram-1 (Shell 85%) deep-water well in Malaysia, where the Gumusut-Kakap (Shell 33%) deep-water platform is also on track for production this year.

Seanic Flex Joint Cleaning Tool Meets Increased Demand

The firm has more than doubled its annual number of flex joint inspections since 2013.

Seanic-Logo- blackOil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico have been keeping Seanic's Flex Joint Cleaning Tool (FJCT) extremely busy over the last year. Originally designed and developed by Seanic for a major oil company to clean the flexible elastomeric element of excessive marine growth. Removal of the marine growth is necessary to allow for optimal inspection of the molded elastomeric bearing giving Oil & Gas operators the ability to establish realistic life-cycle expectations for their in service SCR flexible joints. The versatile design of the FJCT allows for options to work with various inspection cameras, 3D modeling, lasers, temperature probes, & cleaning tools.

Flex-Joint-Cleaning-Tool1The first FJCT was originally produced in 2007 and as word spread of its capabilities, Seanic negotiated a licensing agreement with the patent holder which allowed for the development of a second unit for Seanic's rental fleet. Since the development of the original concept, the FJCT has been used to inspect over 100 individual flex joints in the Gulf of Mexico. The FJCT is able to safely clean flex joints with diameters ranging from 4" to 24". It serves as a stable platform to collect various types of data and imagery that can later be used to analyze the current condition of the flexible elastomeric element. Once the ROV delivers the tool to location the FJCT is operated by a Seanic technician, the tool is manipulated through the use of a joystick and a tooling computer with graphical user interface. The FJCT has been designed where it can easily be integrated with any number of industry recognized work-class ROVs.

Mike McGuyer, Offshore Project Mgr. for Seanic commented, "With the increase of FJCT rentals, we've been given a glimpse of how important this tool is to the inspection, maintenance, and repair programs (IMR). Interest in the beginning was high, but constrained because the first tool was proprietary to one major oil company. Now that we have a unit in our rental fleet, interest has jumped dramatically with operators throughout the GOM and West Africa."

Seanic Ocean Systems is based in Houston, Texas and was formed to address the growing demand for simple, rugged and reliable subsea tooling for remote intervention.  Our ability to provide innovative solutions for remote problems comes from our employees’ years of experience in the subsea industry.  Along with engineered solutions, Seanic also offers experience in the design, manufacturing, storage, repair and maintenance of subsea products.  Seanic provides a worldwide standard product line of ROV tooling that includes: torque tools, FLOT’s, standard and zero leak hot stabs, manifolds, buckets, and ROV interface panels.  Seanic’s facility is ideally suited to provide an effective team-based environment for meeting customer’s needs. We welcome you to learn more about Seanic Ocean Systems’ services and products and ask you to visit our website at:  www.seanicusa.com.

API Survey Reveals Extent of Economic Growth Behind American Oil and Natural Gas

6api logoAPI has unveiled a new vendor survey y that demonstrates the diverse array of suppliers, service providers, and other small and midsized businesses supporting the U.S. energy renaissance.

"Oil and natural gas companies are only one part of a much larger economic success story that is creating job growth up and down the supply chain," said API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito. "From the folks who make work gloves to environmental consultants, these businesses represent just a small cross-section of the opportunities created by America's energy revolution."

API's 2014 vendor survey lists nearly 30,000 operators, contractors, service companies, suppliers, and other vendors that support oil and natural gas operations in every state and the District of Columbia. It includes individual state profiles, which detail job gains and salary information for industry-related work, as well as information on survey participants organized by congressional district.

"Thanks to innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, America's potential as an energy superpower is growing, and businesses of all types are growing with it," said Milito. "Even outside of major oil and natural gas producing areas, the industry is creating jobs that pay about double the average salary for all industries. Overall, as of 2011, the oil and natural gas industry directly or indirectly supported 9.8 million U.S. jobs, and many more are expected over the next decade."

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API's more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation's energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.

DNV GL Proposes Three New Joint Industry Projects to Move the Offshore Pipeline Industry Forward

DNVPipeWith the oil & gas industry's push into new energy frontiers, the offshore pipeline industry is faced with greater technical challenges relating to pipelines and the expectation that it will optimize solutions to be cost effective. DNV GL is launching three new Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) to help the industry address these challenges.

The first JIP will make pipeline free span intervention less costly, the second will result in faster and more consistent pipeline repair and the last will optimize the design of pipeline components faster.

"Offshore pipelines are the veins on an offshore field development and represent a large part of the total investment and the value of the transported product can be enormous. DNV GL is committed to supporting the industry to work smarter, safer and greener. All three cooperation projects present an opportunity for the industry to work more efficiently, either through optimized and more reliable design, faster execution of projects, or safer and more robust operation", says Asle Venås, Global Director for Pipelines in DNV GL.

Free Spans in Trenches JIP
Gaps between the seabed and pipeline, known as free spans, can lead to vibrations which may damage the pipeline. "Lack of knowledge about the extent of vibrations in small gaps that typically occur on sandy seabeds means the industry is conservative and is potentially over-dimensioning designs and conducting unnecessary interventions. The DNV GL JIP aims to address this problem by developing improved free span assessments which will lead to fewer interventions and reduced cost," says Olav Fyrileiv, Project Manager, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.
The project comprises computational fluid dynamic analysis combined with a significant test program and the outcome will be an extension of DNV GL's Recommended Practice for Free Spanning Pipelines (DNV-RP-F105). DNV GL has already partnered with Dutch pipeline operator BBL Company V.O.F. and is now inviting other pipeline operators to also join the project.

Pipeline Repair JIP
Maintenance and modification technology on offshore pipelines is developing to accommodate deeper and harsher environments and reduce downtime. Technology and operational experience have been developed through several projects, such as remote pipeline operations using hyperbaric welding and Statoil's successful Hot Tap operations in the North Sea.

"DNV GL is inviting the main players in the pipeline repair equipment sector to collaborate with us in reviewing recent developments in pipeline repair and maintenance. We plan to develop formalized criteria and procedures in an updated version of DNV GL's Recommended Practice on Pipeline Subsea Repair (DNV-RP-F113). The aim is to reduce the time and cost spent on the design and execution of pipeline repairs," says Dag Øyvind Askheim, Project Manager, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.

Design of Pipeline Components JIP
Today, internationally recognized standards and recommended practices cover the limit state design of subsea pipelines. However, such design codes only provide high level guidance on how to consider pipeline components within a pipeline system.

Currently, there is not a consistent and unified approach to the design of pipeline components. With modern pipeline standards, the pipeline design is optimized and this gap becomes even more pronounced. The objective of this JIP will be to develop an approach, based on industry experience and best practice, to pipeline component design that is compatible with a modern pipeline limit state design code such as DNV-OS-F101. "The aim is to help prevent project delays, increased costs and, in some cases, compromised safety, which can happen when the interpretation of codes is stretched. We are inviting major players working with pipeline systems and components," says Jonathan Wiggen, Project Manager, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.

Oceaneering Announces BP Angola Contract Extension

oceaneeringlogoOceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII) announced that BP p.l.c. (NYSE: BP) has exercised both one-year options to extend the Field Support Vessel Services contract with Oceaneering for work offshore Angola on Blocks 18 and 31. Under this contract term extension, Oceaneering will continue to provide project management, engineering, and vessel services through January 2017.

Two chartered vessels, the Ocean Intervention III and the Bourbon Oceanteam 101, will continue to be supplied during the contract term extension. Each vessel is outfitted with two Oceaneering work class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of working in 3,000 meters of water. The contract scope of work includes light subsea construction and inspection, maintenance, and repair services on existing and future subsea infrastructure. The contract has a provision for Oceaneering to continue to provide during the extension period, at BP's option, a third vessel on a mutually agreed, as-needed basis. The third vessel currently being provided is the Bourbon Evolution 803, which is contracted through January 2015.

M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are very pleased to have secured this contract extension from BP, one of our largest customers. In support of this contract, we are also providing ROV tooling, asset integrity, and installation and workover control system services. This extension strengthens our long-term commitment to Angola, which is a growing market for our services and products."

Unique System LLC (USA) Completes Successful Mobilization of Hyperbaric Reception Facility

Unique-Unit-with-SPHL-mounted-on-HRF-undergoing-sealpressure-testUnique System LLC (USA), a division of Unique Maritime Group (UMG) which is one of the world's leading integrated turnkey subsea and offshore solutions provider, has successfully completed the first mobilization of its Unique Hydra purpose-built Hyperbaric Reception Facility (HRF) within the Gulf of Mexico region of the United States.

Photo: Unique-Unit-with-SPHL-mounted-on-HRF-undergoing-sealpressure-test

Unique System LLC (USA) is based in New Iberia, Louisiana and Houston, Texas. It specializes in the supply of equipment for sale and rental to the diving and offshore industries in the Gulf of Mexico region. From New Iberia, Louisiana, the company offers commercial diving equipment rentals and sales, saturation diving systems, decompression chambers, new builds, refurbishments, project management and mining & construction tunnel boring machine airlocks. From Houston, Texas, its specialization embraces hydrographic survey equipment rental and sales.

The HRF was transported to Pensacola in the state of Florida, set up and completed various procedures including IMCA testing and subsequent customer approval. The system was leased by Cal Dive International for the duration of its project in order to insure the safety of its saturation divers in the event of an emergency while on the project. The testing of the unit and fit up and test of the SPHL to the unit were successfully completed in the last week of August.

HRF units are used in the diving industry to insure that, in the event of an emergency evacuation of a DSV having divers in saturation, the divers will have availability of more controlled and comfortable decompression and medical treatment. Their HRC or SPHL after launch can be transported to the HRF which is set up at a shore facility where monitoring and decompression of the divers can be safely completed.

On achieving this significant milestone, Arjun Ramchandani, CEO @ Unique System LLC (USA) commented, "We are extremely delighted to have successfully completed our first HRF mobilization project. Reiterating the quality and safety factors which are of utmost importance to UMG, complete measures were taken by our highly-skilled technicians to include various levels of testing before the system was leased to our client. We look forward to carry out similar mobilizations for our clients in the near future as well."

SPE to Provide a Platform of Debate for Oil and Gas Industry Discrimination with World First Event

SPEAberdeenThe Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will host a world-first event next month which will highlight workplace discriminatory issues within the oil and gas industry.

'Breaking the Cycle of Discrimination - Workplace Challenges in the Oil and Gas Industry' will feature a keynote address from the Scottish Minister for Energy, Fergus Ewing MSP, from the Director of Skills Development Scotland, Mike Duncan, followed by speakers from a number of major operating companies, service companies and industry bodies including Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Decom North Sea and Oil & Gas UK.

The workshop will raise critical diversity and discrimination issues in the oil and gas industry worldwide, highlighting the realities of workplace interaction, team dynamics and recruitment, with special emphasis on real case studies. Groundbreaking research data made available by BP, Petronas, Total, Statoil and Schlumberger, solely to be presented during this International Workshop, is going to form the basis of the presentation from Dr. Eve Sprunt, the First Vice President of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (US). Dr. Sprunt was the third and last female to hold the position of President of the SPE International.

Mr. Ross Lowdon, the Chairman of the SPE Aberdeen, said: "Much progress is being made to battle discrimination within the workplace, specifically within the oil and gas industry. People are generally afraid to express themselves and their actual views on such issues - more often than not, we spend more time at work than we do at home; hence we should be all comfortable with the environment we work in and the culture we are a part of. This international workshop will take the workplace discrimination issues a step further and address those areas where we must work together to introduce best practice. This unique workshop will offer our industry another perspective on what matters most – our people."

'Breaking the Cycle of Discrimination – Workplace Challenges in the Oil and Gas Industry' is the brainchild of the SPE Aberdeen Section's Another Perspective (AP) Committee, which was set up five years ago to focus on gender equality in the industry.

In 2013, the AP Committee extended its mandate to include cultural diversity, age prejudice, human risk and team interaction, in order to become truly reflective of the ever changing realities of the global oil and gas industry.

March 2014 saw SPE Aberdeen's AP Committee run a ground-breaking new event, 'Another Perspective on Risk – The Next Tipping Point'. This international conference saw an impressive list of speakers raise some stark points on whether or not the industry has learned and shared lessons from the Macondo disaster and other similar incidents.

It is expected that October's upcoming discrimination event will evoke similar industry-changing outcomes thanks to the influence of SPE International and the SPE Aberdeen AP Committee.

Mr. Lowdon added: "The oil and gas industry has a global workforce of many different nationalities, cultures, religions, ages and genders. These are the people who drive the success of the industry. SPE Aberdeen is a firm believer in the inclusion of the people who contribute to this industry which is why the Board agreed with the current AP Chair proposal to expand the mandate of the previous Another Perspective Committee.

"Following the major success of the 'Another Perspective on Risk' conference in March, I am confident that this is another event which will act as a platform of debate for critical industry change."

The event will take place at Norwood Hall Hotel in Aberdeen on 1-2 October. Please visit http://www.spe.org/events/14aas2/pages/about/index.php to register before 19 September 2014.

TÜV Rheinland Introduces SLOFEC Tank Inspection Services

TUVRheinlandDefect & Corrosion Inspection Method Helps Tank Operators Detect Discontinuities Before Failure Occurs on Tanks, Boiler Tubes & Pipes

TÜV Rheinland Industrial Solutions (TRIS), a full-service inspection, testing and certification company, introduces Saturated Low Frequency Eddy Current (SLOFEC) non-destructive testing service to help the oil and gas industry and tank operators detect defects and corrosion in thick-walled storage tanks, including tank floor, roof, wall, boiler tubes and pipelines.

Corrosion can cause severe damage to tanks, which can lead to costly consequences for plant owners, render risks of environmental pollution, and present safety hazards for operators. The goal of SLOFEC inspections is to help the oil and gas industry ensure longevity of tanks, better plan for tank maintenance, and reduce health, safety and environmental risks.

The SLOFEC tank and pipe inspection technique is a reliable way to detect small cracks and pitting and general corrosion on flat or curved surfaces, while identifying the exact location of the anomaly. It combines the eddy-current principle and a magnetic field, allowing inspectors to test walls up to 22 mm thick as well as coated surfaces. The technique can be used to inspect internal and external tank surfaces and is applicable to ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic materials. The method allows for fast inspection times and prompt results.

The inspections are conducted with pipe or flat scanners, whose modular design allows SLOFEC scanning equipment to adapt quickly to any inspected surface. TÜV Rheinland's testing operator manually moves the scanning device over the tested surface, and the signal data are directly recorded in the reporting and analysis computed system, permitting defects and corrosion spaces to be displayed and analyzed online.

Upon the completion of the tank assessment, eddy-current signals are color coded to provide a clear and user-friendly defects and corrosion mapping report. The color system also provides detailed information on the condition and severity status of every fault within the examined vessel. The report enables TÜV Rheinland experts to advise clients on corrective actions and targeted maintenance for the inspected material.

TRIS is a comprehensive resource for a variety of advanced NDT services. It provides both field and laboratory inspection services, including all NDT methods, QC/QA functions, proof loading, calibrations, tensile testing (including ultimate strength, yield, elongation and reduction of area), compression, shear testing and slow bend testing.

Cygnus Instruments Introduces Corrosion Solutions

In the marine and shipping industry, where steel corrosion is a constant challenge, Cygnus ultrasonic thickness gauges play a major role in providing a solution to this challenge.

Cygnus-DIVE-copyThe Cygnus Multiple-Echo technique has been recommended and endorsed by the world's leading classification societies for measuring the remaining metal thickness through protective coatings. The Multiple-Echo technique provides accurate and reliable measurements, this measuring technique can sometimes be difficult to achieve when measuring on, extreme front face and back wall corrosion and round bars such as anchor chain links. This is why Cygnus has introduced Single-Echo, using twin-crystal probes, into their product range - providing users with the flexibility to alternate between the two, starting with Cygnus DIVE...

Underwater Thickness Measurements
Cygnus DIVE is a wrist-mountable underwater thickness gauge providing an invaluable free-hand while performing remaining metal thickness measurements. Originally launched two years ago, the DIVE now has a number of key new features:

• Twin-crystal probe option to assist in taking measurements on uncoated material e.g. anchor chain links, extremely corroded steel and plastic outfall and dredge pipes
• Measurement Stability Indicator (MSI) EXCLUSIVE TO CYGNUS THICKNESS GAUGES, this shows when a reading in single-echo mode is stable by turning the thickness reading from red to yellow
• A super bright AMOLED display, easily viewable by both the diver and his camera, in the poorest visibility
• Updated topside and reporting software allowing measurements and A-Scans to be displayed on the surface and data logged topside.

Cygnus-Hatch-SureThe ability of the diver to wear Cygnus DIVE on his arm or wrist is a big advantage says Graham Haines, Sales Director for Cygnus. Having a free-hand when diving offers obvious advantages and together with the AMOLED display, makes viewing so much easier by both the diver and support engineers on the surface via the diver's camera. The AMOLED display not only gives much better viewing, especially in poor visibility, it also offers an A-Scan display which helps verify true back wall readings in difficult measuring applications. In data-logging mode Cygnus DIVE can store up to 5,000 measurements together with each measurement A-Scan for future analysis, should the need arise.

Ultrasound can also be used for checking the weather tightness of hatch cover seals on bulk carriers...

Cygnus Hatch Sure ultrasonic hatch cover leak detection system comprises a powerful ultrasonic transmitter with 19 x 40 KHz elements which is placed within the ships hold. This fills the hold with ultrasound and any that escapes (through gaps in damaged areas of the seals) can be detected by the operator on deck using a sensitive receiver/listening device, locating areas that might leak in heavy seas or rain.

This offers many advantages over the conventional technique of hose testing which uses large volumes of water sprayed at the rubber seals. Ultrasound can be used in sub zero temperatures, identifies the precise damaged area of seals, is repeatable and avoids pollution of harbours due to contaminated water.

ABS Selected to Class the World's First Very Large Ethane Carrier

abs logoABS, a leading provider of classification services to the maritime and offshore industries, has been chosen to class the world's first contracted series of very large ethane carriers (VLECs).

The class contract for the ships, which will be built in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) for an Asian shipowner, represents another gas ship milestone for ABS.

"We are delighted to have received the class contract for the world's first large ethane carriers," says ABS Vice President of Global Gas Solutions Patrick Janssens. "As a result of the shale gas boom in the US, ethane is developing as an exciting new market with great potential, requiring the development of new ship types. This award is an industry testament to the diversity of ABS' technical knowledge and our commitment to remain at the forefront of classification for gas carriers."

The contract is for six 87,000 m3 VLECs and available options. The ships will be built at SHI's main shipyard in Geoje, Korea. ABS, which currently has the largest share of the global orderbook for LNG vessels being built to its class, has built a large team of qualified gas surveyors at shipyards across Korea.

ABS is a pioneer in the safe transport and handling of gas, classing the world's first LNG carrier and responding to the evolving technology demands of the largest and most modern units currently in service. ABS has extensive technical experience with the full scope of gas-related assets, ranging from LNG bunker barges to FLNG units and was recently awarded the classification of the first compressed natural gas (CNG) carriers. In May, ABS announced its first classification contract for a floating LNG facility from PETRONAS, Malaysia's national oil company.

The VLEC award marks one year since ABS unveiled its Global Gas Solutions team, a multidisciplinary group of gas specialists formed to respond to the rapidly escalating number of gas-related projects, including LNG and LPG transportation, and the growing use of LNG and LPG as fuel for the commercial fleet.

Seatronics Adds Teledyne RD Instruments Products to Its Sales Portfolio

Buoy-containing-Teledyne-RD-Instruments-Workhorses-Long-Ranger-ADCP1Seatronics, an Acteon company and leader in marine electronic equipment sales and rentals, has partnered with Teledyne RD Instruments Inc. to sell its marine measurement and navigation products. Customers in the Middle East and South America will benefit from a sales representation and distribution agreement signed in August.

Buoy containing Teledyne RD Instruments Workhorses Long Ranger ADCP: to deliver deep water, current profiling data for offshore oil and gas applications. Photo credit: BMT Group.

Harry Maxfield, vice president sales and marketing, Teledyne RD Instruments, said, "We have a strong, long-standing relationship with Seatronics, who have a great deal of experience with our products and applications. We have always been impressed by Seatronics' knowledge and professionalism, and we hope this enhanced working relationship will enable us to build upon Seatronics' presence and reputation in regions that can be challenging for us to address due to time zone differences."

Seatronics will sell Teledyne RD Instruments' Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) exclusively in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain; and represent the company for Doppler Velocity Logs (DVLs) non-exclusively in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. Seatronics do Brasil Ltda will sell DVLs in Brazil on the same, non-exclusive basis.

Adil Ali, international product sales manager at Seatronics, said, "Seatronics is a long-established user of Teledyne RD Instruments' equipment and has multiple Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers and Doppler Velocity Logs in its equipment rental pool. This means that we can easily transfer our in-house technical expertise to our clients.

"This partnership will enable our existing and potential clients to gain a higher level of pre-purchase technical advice and post-sale support in the regions this agreement covers."

The latest agreement reinforces Seatronics' position as a global force in the sale and support of Teledyne products. The company already represents Teledyne BlueView globally, offering its 2D and 3D multibeam imaging sonar equipment.

Apache Launches 2014 Sustainability Website

apache logoApache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) has launched its 2014 Sustainability Report website.

The online report features expanded disclosure of Apache's performance in governance, economics, environmental stewardship, health and safety in the workplace and community outreach. The report is available at http://www.apachecorp.com/Sustainability/index.aspx.

"The relentless pursuit of operational excellence has been a hallmark of Apache since its founding in 1954," said Apache Chairman, CEO and President G. Steven Farris. "Our commitment to the environment, good governance, health and safety and the communities where we live and work is no less emphatic."

Among the highlights, the report:
• Discusses in the Governance Section how governance hit a high-water mark in 2013 when members of Apache's Board of Directors had individual meetings with nearly 60 percent of its shareholder base, addressing compensation and other issues and resulting in many state-of-the-art additions to the company's governance profile.
• Describes how Apache has developed a unique system using brackish and recycled produced water to maintain an aggressive drilling program without competing for freshwater supplies in drought-stricken West Texas in the Environment Section.
• Outlines the new Operational Excellence program, which introduces a common framework across regions for improving performance in seven key areas of operation, including asset integrity, safety and environmental responsibility in the Workplace Section.
• Describes in the Society Section how employees and their families donate their time, effort and money to hundreds of charitable causes each year, with matching gift funds totaling $2.4 million worldwide.

The 2014 report was prepared using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. GRI is a non-profit organization that promotes economic, environmental and social sustainability. Its comprehensive sustainability reporting framework is widely used around the world.

Also used as a reference was the Oil and Gas Industry Guidance on Voluntary Sustainability Reporting by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP).

Another reference was Extracting the Facts: An Investor Guide to Disclosing Risks from Hydraulic Fracturing Operations published by the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

A summary version of the 2014 Sustainability Report, published in print format, is available at http://www.apachecorp.com/Sustainability/Sustainability_Report/index.aspx. The summary report was printed on paper made from recycled material and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an independent, nonprofit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests.

Shippingcluster: The Next Big Social Network

Shippingcluster Logo1ShippingclusterThe shipping industry is largely based on networking. Surprisingly, it has not had its own social media platform - until now.

Brokers, owners, crews, agents, educational institutions and others confined to Google to locate businesses, services and people within their industry, have something to get excited about, says Eirik Fosse, CEO and founder behind the Norwegian developed social network Shippingcluster.

"Shippingcluster is a social network exclusively for the global shipping industry, eliminating all unrelated noise, making people and business easy to find and be found," he says.

The service is free and members will collaborate to keep it highly relevant for shipping business.

The shipping industry is the world's most international business. In Norway alone, the industry creates an annual value worth 150 billion NOK, and employs over 100,000 people.

The potential shipping-specific network is huge

Likened to Facebook and LinkedIn, Shippingcluster as an online social networking website, has a huge future potential, believes Fosse.

The social media is here to stay. Why? Because its is efficient. But it has its disadvantages as , according to Fosse, "general networks are too broad."

"Focusing on specific business sectors, such as shipping, eliminates noise and increasesuser relevance, " says Fosse, referring to Shippingcluster as a maritime combination of Finn.no (an equivalent of Norwegian Ebay) and LinkedIn.

To make it happen, Fosse is teaming up with shipping and IT experts, bringing vast xperience and know-how to the table.

"We are a specialist industry with its own terminology and specific networking criteria. Industry know-how is therefore crucial in order to succeed within industry-specific social media," he predicts.

The ability to continously develop intuitive and technologically advanced web design is another prime asset. Industry-specific social networks must be as intuitive and user-friendly as the best internet services.

"IT-systems that require introduction courses in order to be used, are no longer acceptable. The site must be very simple and efficient, yet flexible," he says.

As the membership base grows, Shippingcluster will add new and effective maritime services to its members, such as CO2 reporting, vessel performance, benchmarking and port calls .

"The realization of network-dependent services will provide enormous opportunities and synergy for the industry," says Fosse, adding that the Shippingcluster will be the leading social network for maritime students and academia.

"This will be a perfect medium to highlight innovation projects and connect students and businesses related to these projects," says Fosse.

Launched last June, Shippingcluster today boasts a membership base of over 1,000 maritime people and 250 companies from over 40 countries.

"This is far above our expectations and obviously driven through word of mouth. We have given the shipping industry a communiative missing link which has very positive global ramificiations," says Fosse.

OptaSense and Shell Install World’s First Permanent DAS Production Flow Monitoring System

OptasenseShellOptaSense, part of the QinetiQ Group, is pleased to announce that its on-going relationship with Shell International Exploration & Production B.V. has resulted in delivery of the world's first permanent fibre-optic Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) in-well production flow monitoring system, in North America.

The production flow monitoring system continuously monitors a well through on-demand measurements of flow along the entire well bore. The DAS-Flow™ project marks the latest milestone in a product development agreement signed between the companies in 2009.

The DAS-Flow™ system has now been in service for three months after being developed by the OptaSense and Shell teams. Flow reports are sent through a secure network system allowing the asset team to gain a better understanding of well flow performance with no requirement for potentially costly well intervention activity.

Magnus McEwen-King, managing director of OptaSense, commented: "We have enjoyed a successful working relationship with Shell over several years; the creation and now installation of the world's first permanent fibre-optic DAS production flow monitoring system is a significant step forward for the industry. The DAS-Flow™ system provides our customers with on demand well bore flow measurements which provide operators a real time view that can be used to optimise oil & gas production. There is a high potential optimization value to be realized within the industry with the advent of more detailed flow information across individual well production and injection zones.

"OptaSense is the global leader in DAS technology including hardware performance, software and data interpretation. With commercial services available in hydraulic fracture profiling, production flow monitoring and vertical seismic profiling (VSP), OptaSense is transforming the ability to understand in real-time what is happening along the well bore.

iSURVEY Completes Major Contract with Bibby Offshore

iSurveyiSURVEY Offshore Ltd, a leading provider of survey and positioning services to the global oil and gas, offshore renewables and telecommunications markets, has completed a contract with Bibby Offshore's ROV division worth more than £500,000.

iSURVEY supported Bibby Offshore's ROV and dredging operations onboard the Olympic Triton, a multi-service construction, support, and intervention vessel, which has been commissioned by Elf Exploration UK Ltd to dredge three areas alongside the Franklin platform in preparation for the installation of the Prospector I jack-up drilling rig.

iSURVEY provided positioning and seabed mapping for the dredging operation, which included the supply of multi-beam echo sounder sensors and other supporting sensors installed on one of the two ROVs mobilised onboard.

Andrew McMurtrie, managing director at iSURVEY Offshore (photo), said: "Establishing a base in Aberdeen earlier this year was a major step in our UK growth plans and has allowed us to expand operations in the North Sea.

"This contract, our first with Bibby Offshore, recognizes our UK commitment and also the significant investment that we have made into our positioning capabilities. Being awarded this project is a great success for iSURVEY and we are confident that our work in the North Sea will continue to grow following on from this."

The project mobilized at the end of July in Rosyth and continued until early September.

PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending September 7th, 2014

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that Cushing stocks to rise in 4Q, while pipeline projects relieve congestion in other midcontinent markets. In the U.S., slight stock build matches last year's. In Japan, crude stocks draw and finished product stocks continue rising. Specifically, PIRA's analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Cushing Stocks to Rise in 4Q, While Pipeline Projects Relieve Congestion in Other Midcontinent Markets
Fourth quarter crude stock increases, both in Cushing and on the Gulf Coast, will very likely lead to contango for LLS and Mars and quite possibly for WTI as well. However, stronger fundamentals in other regions should lead to improved differentials for Canadian, Bakken, Rockies and Permian Basin crudes.

Slight U.S. Stock Build Matches Last Year's
Overall inventories built this past week, keeping stocks just 3.2 million barrels above year-ago levels. The product stock build was 2.4 million barrels, as strong product demand offset a one-week surge in product imports. Crude stocks drew about one million barrels less than the week before, largely because of the decline in run rates. Refinery margins are great and refiners have been running more crude than last year over the last four weeks.

Japanese Crude Stocks Draw; Finished Product Stocks Continue Rising
Runs continued to rise with a still lower crude import rate that allowed crude stocks to draw. Finished product stocks continued rising. Gasoline and gasoil demand fell, and for both products there were stock builds of about 0.4-0.5 MMBbls. Kerosene stocks continued to build along seasonal norms. Refining margins remain poor, but there was a slight improvement in gasoline and gasoil cracks.

China Quarterly Oil Demand Monitor
Growth in China's apparent oil demand exhibited extreme volatility in recent periods. On a smoothed (four-quarter moving average) basis, however, demand growth has been relatively stable and has tracked the path of GDP expansion. Physical indicators that can be tied directly to oil demand (such as car sales and ethylene production) have also expanded solidly of late. Looking forward, the short-term volatility in reported figures may very well persist, but the underlying pace of oil demand growth will remain constructive.

3Q14 Iraq Oil Monitor
Territorial gains by ISIS reignited Iraq's sectarian crisis. U.S. airstrikes have stalled ISIS's momentum for now, but the military stalemate is likely to persist. Current PM Maliki agreed to step down, but deep-rooted sectarian mistrust presents a challenge in forming a unified government. Flows through the Kurdish pipeline are nearing 200 MB/D and Kurdish cargoes continue to load from Ceyhan, but buyers are hesitant without U.S. approval. A new 1 MMB/D pipeline from the Halfaya and Missan fields to the Fao storage facilities removes one constraint from southern capacity expansion. However, bureaucratic holdups during government formation will likely constrain capacity growth. Furthermore, southern infrastructure could be at risk if ISIS switches to guerilla tactics.

What GDP Growth Rates Are Required for Positive Oil Demand Growth?
One commonly heard refrain in the oil industry is that GDP growth must exceed 2.5% in order to see positive oil demand growth. A recent PIRA report addresses this issue and determines that the GDP growth threshold is 2.1% for the U.S. and 2.3% for Europe. These results accord with PIRA's own rigorous bottoms-up approach, which includes fuel efficiencies, fuel substitution, lifestyle changes, etc. PIRA's long-term outlook, which calls for U.S. GDP to grow 2.7% per annum through 2020, forecasts oil demand growth of 0.4% per annum. Because European GDP growth lags at only 1.8% p.a., oil demand declines 0.5% per year.

Aramco Announces October Price Reductions for Differentials
Saudi Arabia's formula prices for October were just released. A reduction in differentials was enacted for all the key markets with the most aggressive reductions being to Asia. Prices into the U.S. were cut $0.40/Bbl, across the board, against the ASCI benchmark, after a $0.80/Bbl reduction for September barrels. Even with the reduction, Saudi barrels remain less competitive than like U.S. domestic grades by about $2-3/Bbl. In Asia, not surprisingly, terms were made more generous. The biggest reduction was for Arab Extra Light -$2.00/Bbl. Arab Heavy was reduced the least at -$1.20/Bbl. The reductions are seen as necessary to maintain refiner demand amid rising fall turnarounds and a very poor margin environment. Also, competiveness versus competing grades has waned, so a reduction in differentials was warranted.

U.S. LPG Prices Strengthen Despite Record High Stocks
U.S. LPG prices ripped higher this week despite sharply lower crude oil prices. Mt Belvieu propane futures increased 3.3% to the highest level since July 1 as open interest and trade volume soar to all-time highs on the contract. But with spot arbitrage movements to Europe and Asia turning flat to negative, U.S. prices make take a breather from recent strength and look to destination market prices for future direction.

Ethanol Prices Soar
U.S. ethanol prices jumped the week ending August 22 after a bullish DOE report indicated a huge inventory draw the prior week. Production was less than many expected, while the output of ethanol-blended gasoline was higher.

Ethanol Manufacture Increases
U.S. ethanol output rose to 921 MB/D the week ending August 29 as production outside of PADD II reached a record high 81 MB/D. Inventories increased to 17.7 million barrels, up 356 thousand from the prior week.

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.

Statoil Assessing Opportunities in Nicaragua

statoillogoOn September 3rd,  Statoil signed a Petronic-Statoil cooperation agreement (a letter of intent) with the intention to find ways to cooperate in oil and gas activities offshore Nicaragua's Pacific coast.

The consortium (Statoil and Petronic) has also sent a request to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Energy of Mines (MEM) to request start of exclusive negotiations for concession contracts offshore Nicaragua's Pacific coast. This request is pending MEM approval. This is an early phase, but a first step towards possible exploration activities offshore Nicaragua.

Separately, Geoex International has signed a cooperation agreement with Petronic with the intent to conduct a 2D seismic survey covering an area of 32,000 square kilometres off Nicaragua's Pacific coast. Contrary to what some recent media reports indicate, Statoil is not party to this agreement. For questions about the Geoex- Petronic agreement, please contact Geoex International.

BP: Statement on Gulf of Mexico

BPBP strongly disagrees with the decision issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and will immediately appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

BP believes that the finding that it was grossly negligent with respect to the accident and that its activities at the Macondo well amounted to willful misconduct is not supported by the evidence at trial. The law is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case. BP believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court.

The Court has not yet ruled on the number of barrels spilled and no penalty has yet been determined. The District Court will hold additional proceedings, which are currently scheduled to begin in January 2015, to consider the application of statutory penalty factors in assessing a per-barrel Clean Water Act penalty. The Clean Water Act requires the District Court to consider a number of factors in determining an appropriate penalty. The statutory maximum penalty is $1,100 per barrel where the court finds simple negligence and $4,300 per barrel where the court finds gross negligence or willful misconduct. During the penalty proceedings, BP will seek to show that its conduct merits a penalty that is less than the applicable maximum after application of the statutory factors.


BP is reviewing the decision and will issue a further statement as soon as possible.

CGG Nets Quartet of BroadSeis-BroadSource Marine Contracts

CGGlogoCGG announces that it has been awarded contracts for the 3D seismic acquisition of four major surveys using its BroadSeisTM with BroadSourceTM, marine broadband technology. The four surveys represent a total contract value of over 80 million USD.

Three of the surveys have been awarded in the Asia-Pacific region, with two offshore Malaysia and one offshore NW Australia, while the fourth is to be acquired offshore West Africa.

Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO, CGG, said: "Only CGG's BroadSeis-BroadSource technology delivers full-bandwidth broadband data. These recent awards clearly underline how critical true broadband data is becoming for reducing risk in frontier exploration and optimizing field development."