Apache Announces First Canning Basin Oil Discovery Offshore Western Australia

Apache logoHOUSTON, Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) today announced an oil discovery at the Phoenix South-1 well - the company's first discovery in Australia's offshore Canning Basin.

Wireline and formation pressure tools have confirmed at least four discrete oil columns ranging in thickness between 85 and 151 feet (26 to 46 meters) in the Triassic Lower Keraudren formation, within an overall, sand-rich section between 13,648 and 14,763 feet below sea level (4,160 to 4,500 meters).

Six light oil samples have been recovered from three intervals to date; permeability measurements from the sampled zones indicate a productive oil reservoir with preliminary estimates that there might be as much as 300 million barrels of oil in place.* Evaluation of the formation penetrated in the Phoenix South-1 is under way, and final calculation of hydrocarbon pay will depend on additional analysis.

The Phoenix South-1 well is located in permit WA-435-P, offshore western Australia, 110 miles (180 km) north of Port Hedland in 435 feet (133 meters) of water. Apache has a 40-percent interest and operatorship of WA-435-P and the adjacent permit WA-437- P; co-venturers are Carnarvon Petroleum (20 percent), Finder Exploration (20 percent) and JX Nippon (20 percent). Apache also has exercised its option to acquire 40-percent interest and operatorship of two additional adjacent permits (WA-436-P and WA- 438-P) for a total position of more than 5 million acres (20,000 square kilometers).

The area includes a number of large, undrilled structures, including the Roc prospect on WA-437-P, with potential to be significant additional oil accumulations. Further drilling and evaluation is planned for 2015.

"Although evaluation is at an early stage, Phoenix South-1 is an exciting result," said Thomas E. Voytovich, Apache's executive vice president and chief operating officer - International. "The oil and reservoir quality we have seen point to a commercial discovery. If these results are borne out by further appraisal drilling, Phoenix South may represent a new oil province for Australia. We look forward to working with our partners to continue evaluation of the area."

* Oil in place estimate based on 10th percentile probability.

Forward-looking statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "seeks," "believes," "estimates," "expects," and similar references to future periods. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future plans, expectations, and objectives for Apache's operations, including statements about drilling plans in Australia. While forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and analyses made by us that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, whether actual results and developments will meet our expectations and predictions depend on a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results, performance, and financial condition to differ materially from our expectations. See "Risk Factors" in our 2013 Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risk factors that affect our business. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this news release speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future development, or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

Oilennium™ Awarded Contract by International Well Control Forum

Online well control course to be offered free-of-charge by IWCF

Picture4LODDON, Suffolk, England – 18 August 2014 – Oilennium™ Ltd., a Petrofac Training Services (PTS) company that provides eLearning training services to the oil and gas industry, has been retained by the International Well Control Forum (IWCF) to produce a new eLearning course to explain the life cycle of a well, with primary emphasis on well control.

The IWCF, which sets international training standards for well control, commissioned Oilennium to create the user-friendly course which will offer an engaging and informative overview of this topic.

The course is being designed to raise awareness of well control amongst those working in the global oil and gas industry, and those considering a career in the sector. IWCF plans to make it available free-of-charge on its website as part of this drive.

The online offering is the latest initiative in IWCF’s ongoing campaign to increase understanding of what triggers a well control incident, the impact and how such incidents can be prevented. It is based on specific recommendations made by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) in the wake of the Macondo tragedy.

Kevin Keable, Managing Director of Oilennium, stated, “Given that the course will be made available worldwide by IWCF at no cost and will play a key role in helping IWCF to improve safety globally, it must provide a highly compelling and effective learning experience. In view of this, we are extremely pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with IWCF on this project. It demonstrates the confidence that they have in us to produce a course that will not only educate participants about the life cycle, but drive home the importance of proper well control and how critical it is, not only to the well-being of oil and gas workers, but to all life in the surrounding environment.”

Utilising colourful 3D animation technology, voice-overs and striking visual images, the fully interactive course will open with an explanation as to how reservoirs are formed, which leads to an overview of the well life cycle, from drilling to interventions. It also sheds light on potential hazards, methods of prevention and how kicks and blowouts are addressed by drawing upon actual incidents, such as Macondo and others. Upon completion of the course, the user will have a solid knowledge of the well life cycle, and basic well control.

The new Well Control eLearning course is scheduled for completion in Q4 2014.

ASCO Opens $110m Australian Marine Supply Base

Photo - DMSB completed 1International oilfield support services company ASCO (19th August) opened its new Marine Supply Base in Darwin, Australia. The official opening was attended by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Hon. Adam Giles at a ceremony on site today.

The $110m purpose-built supply base will support Northern Australia’s growth as an international hub for the oil and gas industry. Funded by the Northern Territory government, ASCO has managed both the design and construction of the base, and has a 20 year contract with the Territory Government to manage its operations.

ASCO made its first entry into the Australian market in 2010 with the purchase of Darwin company Shorebase, which had an established logistics centre at East Arm close to the new supply base. In 2012, ASCO acquired Brisbane-based inventory and asset management specialists Oniqua, and in May this year took a majority stake in Bonnie Rock Transport - one of Australia’s leading providers of remote area transport and logistics to the oil and gas industry.

ASCO Group CEO Derek Smith said, “Australia is an important building block for us as we build our global operations through our four key regions – Europe, Americas, Middle East and Africa and Australasia.

“In Australia, ASCO can now support its customers through the entire supply chain cycle, and we are well placed to service the future expansion of this industry over the coming years”.

According to the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE), investment in LNG gas and oil projects continues to be the main driver of resources and energy investment in Australia. BREE states that 14 LNG, gas and oil projects at the committed stage have a combined value of $197bn, or 86% of committed investment in the Australian resources sector. Publicly announced petroleum projects have a combined CAPEX of $28bn-$30bn.

ASCO CEO in Australia Matt Thomas said, “This is a tremendously exciting time for us. Already a number of international oil and gas companies including ConocoPhillips, Eni, INPEX and Shell will be supporting their operations from Darwin and the supply base will be a critical link in their supply chain operations”.

Gudrun officially opened

GundrunNorwegian prime minister Erna Solberg officially opened the Gudrun platform in the North Sea 19 August. This is the first new Statoil-operated platform on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) since Kristin in 2005.

Gudrun is the first in a long line of new field developments operated by Statoil, and therefore it represents a new era on the NCS.

The next in line is Valemon, which is scheduled for start-up later this year. Gina Krog and Johan Sverdrup on the Utsira High are next in the North Sea.

We also have Aasta Hansteen and Johan Castberg to come in northern Norway. Johan Sverdrup alone will ensure value creation for another 40-50 years from the NCS.

Global strategy

Gudrun is the result of a global development strategy. The jacket has been delivered by Kværner Værdal in mid-Norway, and the living quarters by Apply Leirvik at Stord in western Norway.

The topside was provided by Aibel with sub-supplies from Thailand, Poland and from Haugesund in Western Norway. The helideck was constructed in China.

Gudrun has been put on stream on time and below the cost estimate of the plan for development and operation (PDO). The global puzzle has helped keep the costs down.

The development has demonstrated the strong competitiveness of the Norwegian supplier industry.

“Gudrun has proven that we are able to take our industry into a new era with global competition and local value creation,” said Statoil’s chief executive Helge Lund in his speech at the opening.

Using the infrastructure

On Gudrun, Statoil has combined a new field development with existing pipelines and facilities. The oil and gas from Gudrun is processed on the Sleipner A platform which is located 50 kilometres further south. The gas is then piped to Europe, while the oil is piped along with the Sleipner condensate to the Kårstø processing complex north of Stavanger for shipment.

“Gudrun is a good example of how we manage to realise projects by combining new field developments with existing infrastructure. This is good value creation that helps maintain activity and extends the life of a wide range of offshore fields and facilities,” said Lund.

The recoverable reserves on Gudrun are about 184 million barrels of oil equivalent. The platform already produces 30,000 barrels per day.

MacArtney Singapore opens slip ring service facility

Picture3MacArtney is pleased to announce the opening of a dedicated slip ring service facility in Singapore.

Operating out of a new and purpose designed in-house workshop equipped with the latest tools and equipment, the new service facility is capable of performing complete refurbishment, repair and maintenance of all standard Moog Focal slip ring models.

Trained technicians and state of the art equipment
All jobs at the MacArtney Singapore slip ring service facility are executed by fully trained and experienced technicians supported by the latest technology - including inductive soldering machinery and advanced test equipment. Whether performing basic slip ring maintenance or a complete system overhaul, MacArtney technicians work to ensure that official manufacturer procedures and instructions are meticulously followed.

One stop slip ring service for the Asia Pacific region
During its mere few weeks in operation, the MacArtney Singapore slip ring service facility has experienced a terrific amount of interest in the services offered, and numerous orders for complete slip ring refurbishment are already being processed.

While these initial orders originate from Singapore based Moog Focal slip ring users within subsea, survey, ROV and seismic sectors, the new facility is expected to serve as a one stop slip ring service hub for the entire Asia Pacific region. "This way, the new facility will provide local and regional slip ring users with short lead time system service without the constraints of time zone differences and complex logistics - and at the end of the day, this will mean less system downtime" says MacArtney Singapore managing Director, Steen Frejo and continues: "We have high expectations for the new facility which we will continuously expand alongside our Asia Pacific operations in general."

Global slip ring expertise
While the new MacArtney slip ring service facility is certainly among the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, MacArtney holds extensive experience, expertise and a profound track record as a Moog Focal slip ring service provider with dedicated workshops already in place at MacArtney Group operations in Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, USA, France and the Netherlands.

Noble Energy Announces Bright Exploration Results in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

logoHOUSTON, Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced that the Bright exploration well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico reached the targeted Upper and Middle Miocene objectives and did not encounter hydrocarbons. Drilled to a total depth of 13,500 feet on Atwater Valley 362, the well has been plugged and abandoned. Full well assessment and the integration of drilling results into the Company's geologic models is ongoing to determine forward exploration plans on the recently acquired Atwater Valley acreage.

Susan Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, and Frontier, said, "While we are disappointed with the results of the Bright well, we remain extremely encouraged by the recent success of our exploration program in the Gulf. We look forward to results at our Katmai and Dantzler exploration wells later this month."

BP Exploration & Production Inc. operated the well with 50 percent working interest and Noble Energy had the remaining 50 percent. The Company expects third quarter 2014 exploration expense to remain within guidance of $150 to $250 million.

Noble Energy is a leading independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. The Company has core operations onshore in the U.S., primarily in the DJ Basin and Marcellus Shale, in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, offshore Eastern Mediterranean, and offshore West Africa. Noble Energy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is traded under the ticker symbol NBL. Further information is available at www.nobleenergyinc.com 

Solan Field Storage Tank Off-Loaded at Lerwick Harbour

Giant transport and lift vessels in port simultaneously

1 - Xiang Yun Kou with Solan Tank moving off berth at Holmsgarth prior to floating offLerwick Harbour has again demonstrated its deep-water capacity and capabilities, this time by simultaneously accommodating two giant support vessels and the successful offloading of a 10,000 tonne subsea oil storage tank, destined for west of the Shetland Islands.

The sheltered port’s facilities and proximity to the Solan Field, being developed by Premier Oil 90 kilometres into the Atlantic, meant is was perfectly placed for final preparation of the tank ahead of installation.

The tank was delivered to the port on 26 July from the construction yard in Dubai by Cosco (Chinese Ocean Shipping) Heavy Lift’s transport vessel, Xiang Yun Kou.

One of the largest float-on/float-off vessels in the world, her displacement of 47,285 tonnes made the Xiang Yun Kou the biggest displacement tonnage ship to berth alongside at Lerwick, although not an alongside record-breaker for length and gross tonnage.

The port was also used by Heerema’s semi-submersible crane vessel (SSCV), Thialf, which spent 1.5 days mobilising before heading for Solan on 31 July, arriving next day to await the tank for installation. It was a return visit for the world’s largest SSCV at 136,709 gross tonnes and 202 metres in length by 88 metres wide. Thialf has visited Lerwick previously, most recently last year.

Key stages during the tank’s time in Lerwick included:

  • With more than nine metres’ water depth, the quay at Holmsgarth met requirements for berthing the 216.7 x 43.1 metre Xiang Yun Kou, initially starboard side-on before being turned to port-side alongside to give access to shore-based cranes and allow work, including removal of sea fastenings. Local contractors, including Ocean Kinetics and Peterson, assisted Aker, Premier’s main contractor.
  • On 31 July, Xiang Yun Kou moved to the Brei Wick area of the harbour to ballast down overnight in a successful operation requiring 30 metres of water to partially submerge the vessel. The float-off early the next day involved a number of tugs, including Lerwick Port Authority’s vessels, Knab and Kebister. • Once afloat, the tank was returned to Holmsgarth quay for transfer to the ocean-going tugs to take it offshore in the first weather window.
  • Xiang Yun Kou deballasted and departed port later on 1 August for Suez.
  • The ocean-going tugs left port on 3 August with the 300,000 barrel storage capacity tank for a two-day tow to Solan where it has been successfully installed in 130 metres of water.

2 - Xiang Yun Kou submersion at Brei Wick LerwickLerwick Port Authority Harbour Master, Captain Calum Grains, said: “The successful handling of the Solan tank is another example of Lerwick’s ability to provide sites and support for major offshore projects. To accommodate two vessels the size of Xiang Yun Kou and Thialf simultaneously while servicing other oil and gas projects, cruise ships and daily operations is a clear demonstration of Lerwick’s scope.

“Our investment in facilities, including a major dredging project a few years ago, is paying off for the oil industry, the port and Shetland. We continue to develop resources, with plans including further deep-water facilities.”

The £12 million dredging project, completed in 2008, deepened and widened access, deepened berths and reclaimed land now well under development. The port’s near 4,000 metres of quays, including over 1,300 metres of deep-water berthing, are backed by around 130,000 square metres of laydown. Locations suitable for off-loading operations extend to more than 50 metres water depth.

Lerwick’s continuing support for the Solan project includes Bibby Offshore’s use of the port during the installation of subsea equipment.

Reflex Marine Partners with Fano Kran to Open Up Danish Market

Picture2Reflex Marine continues to expand its extensive global network of Accredited Service Centres with its latest addition, Fano Kran-Service A/S (Fano Kran) located in Denmark.

Reflex Marine is the global leader in safe marine transfer solutions to the offshore, marine and renewable industries and has largely specialised in crane transfer and offshore access with its two key products, FROG and TORO, driving forward improved safety standards. The company has set new standards and expectations for these industries, changing the perspective of crew transfer from being seen as inherently high-risk, to being accepted as a manageable activity that can be performed safely and cost effectively. This ensures continuity in offshore operations, either in day-to-day transfers or as a contingency arrangement.

Reflex Marine’s global operations continue to grow with the company experiencing increasing demand for its crane transfer devices. The company now has a network of six Accredited Service Centres operating globally in Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and Australia, enabling Reflex Marine to provide high-quality expertise and first-class operational support to its clients worldwide.

Fano Kran’s core business is the service and maintenance of offshore cranes which positions the company perfectly to offer operators comprehensive support for Reflex Marine’s crane transfer devices.

Reflex Marine’s sales manager for Europe, Charlie House, said: “Having an Accredited Service Centre in Denmark allows for a strategically placed Reflex Marine representative to service customers based in that region as well as the rest of continental Europe. High levels of knowledge coupled with quality of service have led Fano Kran to become well established within the industry and frequently used by major operators.

“Reflex Marine is excited to build on this relationship and to work closely with Fano Kran in order to introduce our brand new product range, the FROG-XT to the region.”

Henrik Andersen, service coordinator at Fano Kran, said: “Our impression is that Reflex Marine products are state of the art with regards to personnel transfer using cranes in an offshore environment. The high level of quality and dedication to safety embedded in the product, matches our company approach and the clients we serve in Denmark and Europe in general.”

Fano Kran not only hold a stock of Reflex Marine crane transfer devices, accessories and spare parts but also has fully trained services technicians in place to both inspect and maintain Reflex Marine products.

If you are interested in finding out more about Reflex Marine’s crane transfer devices please visit http://www.reflexmarine.com/

To find out more about Fano Kran please visit http://www.fkservice.dk/ 

Deep Down Reports Second Quarter 2014 Results

DeepDownlogoHOUSTON, Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Deep Down, Inc. (OTCQX: DPDW) ("Deep Down" or the "Company"), an oilfield services company specializing in complex deepwater and ultra-deepwater oil production distribution system support services, reported financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2014.


For the second quarter of 2014, Deep Down reported a net loss of $1.2 million, or $0.08 loss per diluted share, compared to net income of $1.0 million, or $0.10 income per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2013.

Revenues for the second quarter of 2014 and 2013 were $5.8 million and $9.2 million, respectively. The $3.4 million decrease (37 percent) is the result of the 2013 period being unusually high. Additionally, projects valued in excess of $17.0 million were delayed during the second quarter of 2014, resulting in lower revenues of approximately $7.0 million.

Gross profit as a percentage of revenues for the second quarter of 2014 and 2013 was 29 percent and 38 percent, respectively. The nine percentage point decrease in gross profit was due primarily to the delay of several lump sum projects just discussed. The delay of these projects negatively impacted the gross margin by approximately $2.6 million.

Selling, general and administrative expenses ("SG&A") for the second quarter of 2014 was $2.8 million, or 48 percent of revenues. SG&A for the second quarter of 2013 was $2.4 million, or 26 percent of revenues.

The $0.4 million increase in SG&A is due primarily to quality, project management, engineering, shop improvements related to safety systems, increased security costs and an increase in bad debt expense.

A significant portion of the increase was due to the impact of the decision to delay a Latin America regional operation in Panama, which included a $0.2 million accrual of all related costs, and an increase in security costs at the new facility of $0.1 million.

The Company's management evaluates its financial performance based on a non-GAAP measure, Modified EBITDA, which consists of earnings (net income or loss) available to common shareholders before net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, and other non-cash and non-recurring charges. Modified EBITDA was $(0.3) million for the second quarter of 2014 vs. $1.7 million for the second quarter of 2013. The $2.0 million decrease in Modified EBITDA was due to a $1.8 million decrease in gross profit before depreciation due to reasons previously discussed, and a $0.2 million increase in SG&A before Panama exit costs and share-based compensation expense, also due to reasons previously discussed.

For more information, please visit: Deep Down, Inc.

Honghua Group Awarded US$320 Million Rig Contract from Orion

Honghualogo17 Aug 2014, Hong Kong) A leading global land drilling rig manufacturer – Honghua Group Ltd. (Stock Code: 196.HK) (“Honghua” or the “Group”), is pleased to announce that Honghua Offshore Oil & Gas Equipment(Jiangsu) CO.,Ltd. (“Honghua Offshore”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Honghua, entered into a legally binding Letter of Award (the “LOA”) on 16 August with Orion Engineering and Management Limited (“Orion”), for the construction of one European-designed semi-submersible drilling rig (the “Rig”). It is subsequent to the shipbuilding agreement worth over US$200 million on 14 August, with UDIN Engineering Co., Ltd., a korean offshore engineering company. According to the terms and provisions of the LOA, Orion plans to purchase the Rig for a total consideration of approximately US$320 million (excluding owner-furnished equipment), representing 24.5% of the Company’s total revenue as of 31 December 2013.

According to the LOA, the Sales and Purchase Agreement (the “Agreement”) is expected to be executed within 60 days. At the same time, Orion has the option to purchase an additional 3 rig units with the same specification of the Rig (“Option Units”) from Honghua Offshore under the same conditions each respectively at an interval of six-months. The Rig and Option Units under the LOA will be equipped with the Company’s in-house design and manufacture drilling package. Meanwhile, Orion will contract a subsidiary of Opus Offshore Ltd. (“Opus Offshore”) to supervise the construction of the Rig according to the latest regulations and highest quality standards in place within the international offshore exploration and production sector. This will enable the Company to become a world class supplier in the global offshore drilling market.

Mr. Zhang Mi, Chairman of Honghua commented, “We have always been emphasizing that Honghua must be innovative and develop its self-developed core equipment in offshore engineering sector. Signing the LOA symbolised that the Company has started a new chapter of its manufacturing business, and successfully entered into the offshore drilling equipment market. We believe that it demonstrates client and the market’s recognition on the Company’s equipment design and construction capability. Meanwhile, the construction of a series of semi-submersible drilling rigs will capitalize on the strengths of the extraordinary capability of Honghai Crane to fully achieve the innovative concept of ‘onshore manufacturing of offshore equipment’, thus reducing contruction cost and production cycle time. The Company will continue to develop the offshore engineering business, continuously deepen the global business distribution, to provide inexhaustible momentum for the sustaining and stable development of the Group’s business.” http://www.hh-gltd.com/en/

BOEM to Modernize Financial Assurance and Risk Management to Better Address Potential Costs, Liability of Offshore Energy Development

BOEM logoThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Risk Management, Financial Assurance, and Loss Prevention to seek public input as it considers modernizing its risk management program and bonding regulations for offshore oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. This first step initiates a dialogue about BOEM’s existing regulations, which are approximately 20 years old and have not kept pace with offshore infrastructure developments, including deepwater operations, current industry practices, and the growing costs of decommissioning.

“We would like to work with industry and others to determine how to improve our regulatory regime to better align with the realities of aging offshore infrastructure, hazard risks, and increasing costs of decommissioning,” said BOEM acting Director Walter D. Cruickshank. “Today’s action is an important first step in initiating a dialogue on how to best enhance our risk management program to better match current practices, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that industry meets its decommissioning responsibilities and the burden of decommissioning a facility on the Outer Continental Shelf does not fall to taxpayers.”

Existing regulations require lessees on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide bonds or other alternative forms of financial assurance to cover current and future operations, such as decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure. Since the current bonding requirements were set nearly a quarter of a century ago, offshore operations have changed significantly, such as increased advancements in the scale and complexity of deepwater and subsea operations, and the costs of decommissioning have dramatically increased. In light of the infrastructure and operational changes, BOEM has recognized the need to update its requirements and develop a comprehensive program to assist in identifying, prioritizing, and managing the risks associated with industry activities on the Outer Continental Shelf.

BOEM is seeking stakeholder comments regarding various risk management and monitoring activities related to offshore energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf. The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comment on the bonding and financial assurance program for BOEM's offshore oil and gas program. The bureau is also accepting comments on the analogous bonding and financial assurance program for BOEM's offshore renewable energy and hard minerals programs. The notice also solicits comments on best practices to mitigate risks, as well as whether, or to what extent, the current forms of financial assurance are adequate and appropriate.

The Advanced Notice Proposed Rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on Aug.19, 2014 and available for public viewing the day before. The ANPR includes a 60-day comment period which will close at midnight on Oct. 20, 2014. After the comment period closes, BOEM plans on continuing its outreach and hosting a workshop with stakeholders to have additional opportunities for discussion as it considers options for proposed regulations.

Surge in U.S. Oil Output Changing Global Market: International Energy Agency (IEA) Official on Platts Energy Week

platts logoWASHINGTON, D.C., August 18, 2014 – Platts – Surging U.S. oil production is sending ripples through the crude oil market -- in prices, trade flows and the downstream, the International Energy Agency's (IEA) top oil official said Sunday on Platts Energy Week.

U.S. production is expected to reach 8.5 million barrels per day (b/d) this year and 9.3 million b/d in 2015, almost double 2008's output of 5 million b/d, said Antoine Halff, the head of the IEA's oil industry & markets division.

"On prices, the surge in production has really offset the production [loss] we've experienced in places like Libya, Iran, and so on," he said. "So that's why prices have not risen more than they have. They've been fairly stable, remarkably stable, given all the turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere."

Crude oil that had been imported into the U.S. can now be imported by other countries, Halff said.

"There's been a tremendous remapping of the oil trade flows, if you like," he said. "And now Asia is supposed to really become the magnet for global crude traded internationally. That's a big change. China is now importing more crude than the U.S., for instance."

Downstream, new refineries under development in the U.S., increased refinery runs and the installation of more and more modern processing units, have resulted in a surge in output of U.S. product exports, Halff said.

"In U.S. refining, it's really been a revolution in a way," he said. "But these changes have taken place against a background of changes elsewhere as well for other reasons. Rapid growth in refining capacity in the Middle East, in India, in China, and so on."

Upstream, about 60% of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) incremental capacity growth over the next five years is supposed to come from Iraq, the cartel's second-largest producer, according to the IEA. But that growth is "seriously at risk" because of the uncertainty and political strife in Iraq, Halff said.

"We have to wait and see," he said. "We took down our forecast of Iraqi production even before the surge in violence started earlier last month. So we've reduced our forecast of Iraqi production for the next five years by about half a million barrels."

The forecast does not take into account jihadist group Islamic State's campaign in Iraq, but "reflects other problems that Iraq has -- red tape, corruption, bottlenecks, lack of infrastructure, and so on," Halff said.

Should the expected Iraqi output not materialize, Saudi Arabia could step in, Halff said, but noted the country's current plans for capacity development likely won't result in higher net capacity for OPEC's largest producer, Halff said.

"What we've seen, our assessment of Saudi plans at this point, is that all the new capacity that will come online will essentially replace capacity that's being mothballed or that's being allowed to rest," he said. "But if Saudi chose to increase capacity, it would be able to do so."

While the IEA sees "some growth" in the United Arab Emirates, "elsewhere in OPEC we see problems," Halff said. "We see flat production growth. Or we see even declines in places like Algeria and Kuwait."

The "real game changer" has been oil production from shale reserves, starting with the U.S., Halff said.

"I think the shale revolution could not have happened anywhere else than in the U.S.," he said. "It's no accident that this happened in the U.S. Because the U.S. has a unique combination of assets, not only geological resources, but also business culture, enterprising spirit, infrastructure in place, a lot of technological know-how, skilled labor, the right environmental structure, the right investment climate. All these factors could not be found in the same combination in any other country.

"But there's nothing that prevents other countries now that the technology has been developed to adopt it and to try to replicate the success of the U.S.," he continued.

"Chief among them is Canada, of course," Halff said. "Mexico is a candidate. But [that would] probably be more in the next decade than in the next five years. We see a little bit of growth in the next five years. But not so much. We see more growth probably in Argentina, more growth in Russia and probably a little bit of growth in Australia towards the end of the decade."

The IEA sees U.S. crude oil production hitting a plateau over the next five to seven years, Halff said, adding that the surge in U.S. production is not going to be the answer to the world's energy needs.

"There's a need for investment in OPEC," he said. "There's a need for investment in the Middle East. So there's no room for complacency. This surge in production is phenomenal. It's a game-changer in many ways. But that doesn't mean that we don't need the traditional suppliers anymore. We need them very much."

Other Program Highlights

Also on the program, Katherine Hammack, the U.S. Army’s assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, joined the program for an extended discussion on the dramatic transformation of the U.S. Army's energy consumption. View part 1 here and part 2 here.

During Sunday’s “Market Spotlight” segment, Platts Senior Managing Editor Richard Capuchino Jr. discussed the growing popularity of Vasconia, one of Colombia’s top-exported crude oil grades.

Platts Energy Week airs at 8 a.m. U.S. Eastern time Sunday mornings on WUSA9 in greater Washington, D.C., and in Houston on KUHT, a PBS affiliate, as well as on other PBS stations in cities throughout the U.S., including Anchorage, Billings, Houston, Juneau, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Raleigh and Wichita. For online viewing, the program is accessible at www.plattstv.com.

The program features interviews with leading figures from government, industry, markets, think tanks and the financial community. Host Bill Loveless is an editorial director at Platts who brings 30 years of energy journalism experience to the anchor chair. The program also features veteran energy news editor and Platts Energy Week Senior Correspondent Chris Newkumet.

Platts Energy Week is produced by Platts, the world’s leading source of information and intelligence on energy and related commodities and a division of McGraw Hill Financial [NYSE: MHFI] and WUSA TV, the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate and flagship television station of Gannett Company. [NYSE: GCI]. While the program is U.S. focused and produced in Washington, it reflects the global vantage point of Platts, whose correspondents are stationed in such major capitals as London, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo and Moscow.

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Hoover Container SEA SDN BHS opens Port Klang distribution center and relocates Southeast Asia office

Hoover Container SolutionsHoover Container SEA SDN BHS, a subsidiary of Hoover Group, Inc., has opened a new regional distribution center in Port Klang, Selangor, Malaysia, and relocated its Southeast Asia (SEA) office to Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

The new regional distribution center was opened to support customers in key markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. This facility provides chemical tanks and cargo carrying units (CCU’s). Hoover has reduced its delivery time by an average of four weeks due to its close proximity to Port Klang, the largest port in Malaysia with trade connections to more than 210 countries and 500 international ports.

Previously located in Kuala Lumpur, Hoover’s new office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, provides more room for operational growth. The floorplan is comprised of individual offices and an open-concept work space. Its new location still allows for easy access to the capital city as well as access to the Port, where Hoover’s yard is located.

“We are pleased to open a new regional distribution center in Port Klang as we seek to continually provide efficient and convenient support our Southeast Asia customers,” said Arash Hassanian, VP international sales. “This new facility, coupled with the new location of our Southeast Asia office, will allow our team to continue offering industry-leading containers and support to global clients while meeting international regulatory standards and providing cost-effective and customized solutions.”

PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending August 17, 2014

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that there was the largest 2Q stock build in the last 10 years. In the U.S., there was a modest U.S. stock build. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Largest 2Q Stock Build in Last 10 Years

Last week’s release of IEA stock data, combined with weekly data in the United States and Japan, show that commercial oil inventories in the three major OECD markets increased in the second quarter. Weak economic activity has undermined oil demand, forcing supplies into inventory. Higher inventories are undercutting PIRA’s confidence in its most recent oil price forecast. In contrast to Brent, front-month WTI remains well supported relative to further-out contracts by extraordinarily low inventories and strong September refinery demand.

Modest U.S. Stock Build

Overall commercial inventories increased this past week, keeping stocks relatively flat to last year’s level. The inventories of the four major products are 22 million barrels below last year, while crude is 6 million barrels higher.

PIRA Lowers Price Outlook

While we have not formally updated our detailed supply/demand balances, which will be done later this month, it is becoming clear that, because of weaker demand, inventories will be much higher than last month’s forecast. We should note that some of today’s downward price pressure could be coming from producer hedging.

2Q14 Tight Oil Operator Review

Second quarter results were positive across the board. There were no lingering effects from the harsh winter with considerable production gains in the Bakken, the Eagle Ford, the Niobrara and the Permian. Many operators cited renewed gains in completion efficiencies in mature plays, as well as growing success in smaller plays like the Powder River. Bakken and Eagle Ford operators increased frac sizes and laterals, leading to higher IPs and EURs. Yet the focus of the industry was centered on the delineation and development of the Permian basin, where the production potential continues to grow with the identification of further productive layers.

U.S. Ethanol Output Tumbles

For the week ending August 8, most U.S. ethanol prices rebounded from the lowest level in several months after the DOE reported production had plummeted and inventories decreased during the week ending August 1. Manufacturing margins declined slightly as the lower average price for ethanol and co-product DDG outweighed the fall in corn costs. U.S. Ethanol Inventories Fell to a 11-Week Low 17.8 Million Barrels Ethanol-blended gasoline production soared to a seven-week high 8,902 MB/D the week ending August 8, fairly close to the record 8,980 MB/D set earlier this year. As ethanol demand rose, inventories fell to an 11-week low of 17.8 million barrels, down 500 thousand barrels from the previous 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.

Artificial Lift Company Changes Name to AccessESP

AccessESPHOUSTON (Aug. 6, 2014) – Artificial Lift Company (ALC) has changed its name to AccessESP to better communicate the value proposition of the company’s unique and practical electric submersible pump (ESP) conveyance technologies. The company unveiled its name, logo and website.

AccessESP’s new name reflects the industry’s need to radically simplify the process of deploying ESPs while providing easy full bore access to the reservoir in ESP lifted wells.

For remote well sites with challenging logistics as well as offshore locations, maximizing the value of ESP wells while simplifying the conveyance of ESPs without a costly workover rig is crucial. Since 2008, AccessESP’s streamlined technological focus has provided simplified rigless conveyance solutions that greatly reduce intervention cost, non-productive time and lost production. The company has conveyed ESPs using its technology for international and national oil companies around the world.

“I am pleased to announce our company’s name change to AccessESP, a name that accurately reflects our unique technology. This also serves as an opportunity to reintroduce our approach where we partner with ESP providers to deliver a rigless, slickline deployable, through tubing, full bore access ESP solution that provides all the functionality of a conventional ESP,” said David Malone, president and chief executive officer (CEO), AccessESP.

AccessESP’s management team is based at its headquarters in Houston and includes seven executives including Malone; Ahmed Allouache, vice president and chief financial officer; Todd C. Wray, vice president of marketing and sales; Greg Nutter, vice president of operations and QHSE; Dwayne Leismer, vice president of engineering; Graham Anderson, region manager; and Dan Theriault, manufacturing manager.

OceanSaver cements market position with surge of BWT system orders

OceanSaver logo19 August, Drammen, Norway: OceanSaver has consolidated its leading position in the ballast water treatment (BWT) market with a rush of new system orders for large vessels. The Norwegian firm, a BWT specialist developing reliable, advanced and flexible solutions since 2003, has won orders for over 40 systems in the space of the last six months, with some 21 units delivered so far this year.

The latest contracts, worth approximately USD 30 million, cover a diverse range of large tonnage, from a number of key international markets, with VLCCs, Aframax tankers, product tankers, and Cape Size bulk carriers featuring strongly. A pair of Taiwanese-controlled VLCC’s, currently under construction in Japan, are the latest assets in the orderbook.

“The market is picking up, and our operational track record and proven BWT expertise is helping us take advantage of that positive sentiment,” comments OceanSaver CCO Tor Atle Eiken.

“Ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention is now closer than ever and astute shipowners are choosing to place orders in advance to avoid potential supply and installation bottlenecks. There’s a clear demand for tried and tested solutions and OceanSaver, with 140 units now sold, has the technology and experience to ensure that shipowners get exactly what they need – complete compliance, low OPEX and absolute system reliability.”

OceanSaver’s type-approved, proprietary system - combining filtering with disinfection by electrodialysis to eliminate waterborne organisms – is optimised for both retrofit and newbuilding projects, with its modular nature ensuring easy installation, low maintenance and a small footprint.

The firm, headquartered in Drammen, Norway, employs 45 BWT specialists and has additional offices in Busan, South Korea, and Shanghai, China.

NSWC Scientists Patent Innovative Electromagnetic Technology to Impact Future Navy

DAHLGREN, Va. ­ A new development in electromagnetic technology patented in May of this year will impact future military capabilities, Navy officials announced Aug. 13. The superconducting stator patent describes a discovery that enables a magnetic flux compression generator to produce an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

"Most conventional magnetic flux compression generators are explosively driven, dangerous to handle, and limited to one-time use," said Albert Corda, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) physicist. "The novel architecture of the generator described in this patent, however, is not explosive in nature. It¹s inherently safer to handle and potentially reusable."

An EMP is characterized as a broad band signal with a frequency-power distribution ranging from a few hundred kilohertz to a few gigahertz. The magnetic flux compression generator is designed to generate a high voltage pulse output that can be incorporated into an EMP generator.

The patent ­ jointly filed by scientists from NSWCDD in Virginia and NSWC Carderock Division in Maryland ­ began as they collaborated at the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group in 2008.

"The idea originated from a side-bar discussion that centered on the utility of high temperature superconducting materials," said Dr. Jack Price, NSWC Carderock scientist. "These materials ­ composed of particular copper oxides called cuprates and typically layered on top of a nickel substrate ­ have very low resistance at liquid nitrogen temperatures. Someone posed a Œwhat if¹ question. We earnestly discussed all the possibilities and technical difficulties and the concept was born."

The concept resulted in a device designed to produce a short duration, highly localized electromagnetic pulse controlled by a superconducting stator that also enables multiple activations of the flux compression generator.

"The architecture provides elements of scalability and control not possible with conventional magnetic flux compression generator designs," said Corda. Conventional magnetic flux compression generators have been in existence since the 1950s with initial work for the United States being carried out at Los Alamos, N.M. Now, much smaller generators featuring high power pulses with very fast rise times can be made.

"The proposed superconducting stator is potentially practical and affordable given the commercial availability of high temperature superconductor materials that operate at liquid-nitrogen temperature," said Price.

Military and industrial applications depend on the output configuration but can range from the production of broadband radio frequency transmissions to the rapid acceleration of physical mechanisms to high velocities.

"Each of the warfare center divisions has particular mission areas of expertise," said Blaise Corbett, of the NSWCDD EMP Assessment Group. "Dahlgren has a long history and expertise in pulsed power systems and applications. Carderock has expertise in high temperature superconducting (HTS) materials and applications evidenced by their development of a HTS degaussing system and motor."

The patent¹s inventors included Price and Dr. Y. Dan Agassi from NSWC Carderock Division in addition to Corda, Corbett, and Dr. Walter Sessions from NSWC Dahlgren Division.

"Our leadership encourages collaboration between the warfare center divisions when synergies exist that can be effectively leveraged to benefit the Navy," said Corbett. "This is only one of a number of collaborations between scientists at Dahlgren and Carderock. Ongoing collaborative efforts can be expected to yield other novel and innovative concepts focused on the Navy¹s needs in the months and years ahead."

DOF Subsea has been awarded multiple contracts

DOFSubseaMultiple contracts awarded with a total value of approx. NOK 830 million.

DOF Subsea, a subsidiary of DOF ASA, has been awarded multiple contracts, with a total value of approx. NOK 830 million.

In the Asia Pacific region, DOF Subsea has been awarded several contracts including project management and engineering, IMR services and subsea installation work. The contract awards will secure utilization of the vessels Skandi Singapore, Skandi Hercules and Skandi Hawk.

In the Atlantic region, DOF Subsea has been awarded several contracts, including a contract for completing two construction projects offshore West Africa, utilizing the Skandi Singapore. The contract awards will improve utilization of the regional vessels.

In the North America region, DOF Subsea has been awarded several contracts including IMR services and subsea installation work, increasing the utilization of the regional vessels.

CEO, Mons S. Aase stated "I am very pleased with the contract awards, improving utilization of our onshore engineering and project management teams as well our vessels for second half 2014 and Q1 2015."

Marathon Oil Signs Exploration and Production Sharing Contract for Gabon Offshore Block G13

marathonlogoMarathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO), through its wholly owned subsidiary Marathon Oil Exploration Limited, announced today it has signed an exploration and production sharing contract (EPSC) for Gabon offshore Block G13, which was named Tchicuate upon signing, located in the deepwater, pre-salt play. The Company was the high-bidder on the block in Gabon's licensing round in October 2013.

"We're pleased to finalize the EPSC on the newly named Tchicuate Block, which is located in the high-potential, pre-salt play offshore Gabon," said Mitch Little, Marathon Oil vice president, International and Offshore Exploration and Production. "The addition of the Tchicuate Block aligns well with our strategic focus of capturing quality and material resource in proven and emerging oil provinces, and adds depth to the Company's exploration portfolio, following our 2013 Diaman-1B discovery on the Diaba Block offshore Gabon."

The Tchicuate Block encompasses 275,000 acres with water depths ranging from approximately 3,250 to 8,250 feet. It is located approximately 50 miles offshore the coast of Gabon and near proven shallow-water, pre-salt oil discoveries. Marathon Oil holds a 100 percent participating interest and operatorship in the block. In the event of development, the Republic of Gabon will assume a 20 percent financed interest in the contract upon commencement of production. The State holds additional rights to participate in the block in the future as a co-investor.

Marathon Oil also holds a 21.25 percent working interest in the non-operated Diaba License G4-223, encompassing 2.2 million gross acres, where the Diaman-1B discovery was made in 2013.