Aasta Hansteen and Polarled are moving the boundaries for technology, deep waters and ripple effects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).
llustration: The Aasta Hansteen platform will be the largest SPAR platform in the world. (Illustration: GeoGraphic / Statoil)
"Aasta Hansteen is one of the biggest and most complex industrial projects in Europe. With the Polarled pipeline we are taking the Norwegian gas infrastructure northward across the Arctic Circle for the first time.
"We are building the largest SPAR platform in the world, and we are setting a new depth record of 1,300 meters for a field development and pipeline on the NCS," says Torolf Christensen, Statoil's head of Aasta Hansteen, at a press conference during ONS 2014.
The investments in Aasta Hansteen and the Polarled pipeline total NOK 57 billion.
The plan for development and operation was approved in 2013, and today the project is under development in several parts of the world.
The hull and the topside are being constructed in South Korea, while the equipment packages and subsea facility and pipeline equipment are delivered globally.
The first offshore work started in the summer of 2014 and involves laying of a fibre-optic cable on the seabed and installation of rocks on the seabed for the pipeline. The project is on schedule for production start-up in the third quarter of 2017.
"Aasta Hansteen is a pioneering project with regard to local ripple effects. The development has so far realized more than NOK 400 million in spinoff effects in northern Norway, and more than 200 people are involved in the construction of Aasta Hansteen and Polarled on the Helgeland coast."
"We expect considerable spinoffs in the installation work to be carried out offshore and during production drilling on the field. The main Aasta Hansteen spinoffs will occur in the field's operating phase," says Christensen.
"The Norwegian supplier industry is well positioned in the project execution. Suppliers with a Norwegian billing address are delivering more than half of the equipment packages for the Aasta Hansteen topside. In subsea equipment, 93% is being provided by suppliers with a Norwegian billing address," says Christensen.
"The combination of deep waters, harsh weather conditions and a long distance from existing infrastructure on Aasta Hansteen is unique globally. In order to meet these challenges we have cooperated closely with the supplier industry, and jointly we are developing a new deepwater standard. The expertise we acquire will be applied in new developments both on the NCS and internationally," says Helge Hagen, project manager for the Aasta Hansteen subsea development.
Shell announced on Tuesday further exploration success in Malaysia with another gas discovery at the Shell-operated deep-water Marjoram-1 well.
"Our strategy to expand our heartland areas through technologically advanced exploration is delivering tangible success in deep-water in Malaysia," said Andrew Brown, Shell Upstream International Director.
"We have a long history in the region, and the addition of new natural gas resources this year ensures we are able to continue to provide cost-effective, reliable, cleaner energy options for the future."
The Marjoram-1 well is located 180 kilometres off the Malaysia coast in Block SK318, in 800 meters of water. Earlier this year, Shell announced the Rosmari-1 gas discovery, also in this block.
Block SK318 is operated by Shell with an 85% interest, with the remaining 15% held by PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd.
UTEC Survey Australia Pty Ltd has announced the successful completion of a major infield inspection of approximately 550 km of pipelines and 20 infield structures off the North West coast of Australia using two of its Gavia autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).
The work was completed on behalf of Apache Energy Limited.
Offshore activity commenced in mid-June and saw UTEC provide two of its latest model Gavia AUV systems equipped with a full suite of survey sensors. Survey works were carried out from the vessel Yardie Creek, with the scope of work completed in less than four weeks.
For the first time UTEC operated two AUVs on a 'back-to-back' basis – when one system returned from a mission, the next one was ready to go immediately. In some cases the operational up-time in a given day was improved by as much as 40% through the 'back-to-back' use of the AUVs.
UTEC Australia General Manager Simon Hird commented: "AUVs are a developing technology where UTEC is at the leading edge in terms of technical advances. Our AUV Centre of Excellence in Houston is constantly striving to deliver new and improved capabilities, some of which were applied on the Apache project. The quality of data gathered and presented from an AUV survey is astonishing in terms of visible detail."
UTEC Asia Pacific Regional Sales Manager Noel Cowley added: "This project was a key target win for UTEC, and positioning Gavia AUVs in the region provides our clients with the confidence and operational flexibility to know the systems are available and ready to go when needed."
UTEC CEO Martin O'Carroll said: "The safe and on time completion of this key project by the UTEC team demonstrates we have again lived up to our core value of performance."
The completion of this project underlines UTEC's position as a market leader in the Australian survey sector, underlined by a backlog of work which includes current involvement in the Saipem Ichthys pipelay project; a long term contract to provide survey and positioning services on Woodside's Nor Australis operations support vessel; recent completion of a major subsea inspection programme in Bass Strait, and a geotechnical investigation project relating to the Ichthys development.
The subsea industry is challenged by the high cost levels, complexity and low predictability of quality control requirements throughout the supply chain. DNV GL aims to help address these issues through the launch of a new 'Standard for certification of subsea equipment and components'. The goal of the certification scheme is to help increase quality control and efficiency, in addition to facilitating projects being delivered as scheduled by shortening lead times.
Major efficiency issues in the subsea sector are the highly variable requirements by operators from field to field and that quality assurance processes are customised on a project-specific basis, which greatly affects cost levels. The DNV GL standard aims to help the interpretation of existing API and ISO standards and the certificate will provide operators with confidence that fabrication quality is being controlled and assured throughout the industry's complex and distributed value chain.
"Standardisation is widely agreed to be the solution to address many inefficiencies in most industries. Subsea operators are addressing standardisation mainly in terms of interfaces and interchangeability. With this new certification scheme for subsea equipment and components, DNV GL, as the industry's leading standard-setter, aims to streamline quality and manufacturing processes – an area where great efficiencies can be made," says Bjørn Søgård, Segment Director for Subsea at DNV GL – Oil & Gas.
"For operators, it will reduce costs without sacrificing quality, innovation or safety and subsequently shorten lead times. For suppliers, it will increase predictability and enable the strategic stocking of long-lead items," he continues.
"DNV GL believes that the subsea industry can gain a great deal from the experience built up in the Offshore Classification Scheme," says Søgård. "Here, they have a long tradition of distributed and globalised supply chains, as well as standardised quality assurance processes. At the same time, the industry has continuously to develop innovative solutions in a competitive market," he continues.
DNV GL also has a number of Joint Industry Projects under way to standardise and streamline efficiency issues in the subsea industry. A recent cooperation project related to subsea documentation seeks to present a minimum unified set of documentation requirements for all major subsea components. Another project addresses common specifications for steel forgings.
Benefits of the new standard and certification scheme
With this new standard and certification scheme, DNV GL seeks to drive improved quality, reduce costs and help in the delivery of projects on schedule. More specifically, the standard will:
• Provide a predictable set of documents for integrators, equipment owners or operators to review; there will be a consistent set of quality activities required to be carried out by all suppliers in a project.
• Reduce risk for the integrators and owners, since much of the verification and review work can be completed on site at sub-suppliers prior to being shipped to integrators' sites for assembly. Risks will also be identified at earlier stages in the project.
• Improve quality and therefore safety by increasing the suppliers' familiarity with the requirements and specifications via the unified and efficient deployment of quality control plans for the individual projects.
• Reduce pressure on the global supply chains by facilitating the use of subcontractors forinspection and surveillance services.
• Enable suppliers to stock long-lead items. Short lead time is important in the development of marginal fields and tie-backs.
The Standard is available to download from www.dnvgl.com.
Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has recently taken delivery of a LISST-Deep laser particle sizer to be applied for oil, gas and mining industry related monitoring. This unique in-situ capable instrument was procured through MacArtney Underwater Technology and marks the first LISST sale by the company in its newly minted role as exclusive representative of Sequoia Scientific's LISST products in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The LISST-Deep for DNV was delivered as a complete turn-key solution with external battery package and on-site training.
Monitoring the ecological effects of mine tailing distribution and flocculation
In the hands of DNV, the LISST-Deep will initially be deployed to monitor the ecological effects related to the deposition of tailings into the marine environment (deep sea tailing in fjords in Norway).
One topic with special interest is related to natural flocculation and the fate of particles when entering a fjord. While large particle will settle first, finer particles will drift with the current and spend longer time settling and can therefore be spread across multiple kilometres. It is a well know fact that these finer particles hold a substantial potential as a carrier of mining industry related pollution as e.g. heavy metals can settle on the particle surface and be carried afar from the emission outlet.
A limestone quarry at the shore of a Norwegian fjord. With the LISST-Deep, DNV is better enabled to monitor the ecological effects of such mining activities on the marine environment
In additional to gravity and current distribution, fine particles will form flocs that will affect and change the particle distribution. DNV knows that this flocculation behavior is important for the distribution of the tailings, but requires more information on what will happened with the distribution of tailings in relation to particle size from the source point and out in the fjord environment, hereunder measuring the difference in particle size and concentration throughout the fjord. The LISST-Deep is highly suitable for this purpose and holds a proven track record of deployment for similar applications, hereunder the measurement of mining refuse particles in the Columbia River in the US.
Able to obtain in-situ measurements of particle size, distribution, optical transmission and the optical volume scattering function at depths down to 3,000 meters, the LISST-Deep is an industry unique and highly versatile instrument with several scientific and environmental monitoring applications.
Using a red 670 nm diode laser and a custom silicon detector, small-angle scattering from suspended particles is sensed at 32 specific log-spaced angle and ranges. This primary measurement is post-processed to obtain sediment size distribution, volume concentration, optical transmission and VSF.
The LISST-Deep is best known for its role after the Deepwater Horizon accident in April 2010, where it was deployed to detect oil droplets and their size in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
A Chinese company with both the capital and ambition to strategically expand its influence is the most likely suitor for Citgo Petroleum Corporation (CITGO), which state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S. A. (PDVSA) is looking to sell for at least $10 billion, with a Canadian bid also possible, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.
Carmine Rositano, GlobalData's Managing Analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, states that Chinese companies, such as Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, have already invested billions of dollars in Canadian oil sands projects and could use their equity production to supply heavy sour crude oil to the CITGO refineries.
GlobalData asserts that while the assets on offer are strategic to the US energy complex, a Chinese bid would be more flexible in terms of structuring a deal that meets PDVSA and Venezuela's requirements.
Rositano says: "Venezuela currently exports 500 thousand barrels per day (mbd) of crude to China to pay off its $17 billion debts, but additional loans now require a further 100 mbd. Despite extensive reserves, PDVSA has struggled to meet production targets as the government has allocated increasingly less funding to upstream development.
"As such, freeing up crude that would otherwise be sold to CITGO would enable Venezuela to meet its obligations with China."
Another possibility is that a Canadian oil company will bid for CITGO's assets. Suncor and Husky Oil own refineries in the US, with Suncor processing Canadian crudes at its facilities and Husky Oil upgrading its refinery to increase the running of Canadian oil sand crudes.
Rositano explains: "Canadian oil sands crude production is forecast to increase steadily, and the status of proposed pipelines to transport crudes to Canada's west coast for exports is now uncertain, with lawsuits against the proposals pending.
"Purchasing the three CITGO refineries, which are already geared to run heavy sour oil sand crudes, would appear to be a good option for a Canadian oil company."
Although PDVSA has long considered selling CITGO, Rositano believes the timing is now better than ever, and says that reasonable offers are not only likely to be considered, but previous deals suggest that they will be lower than the reported $10 billion asking price.
(Houston) ABS, the leading provider of classification services to the global offshore industry, continues to improve construction and integration timeliness with the completion of the Rowan Resolute ultra deepwater drillship. This newbuild, the second in a series for global offshore drilling contractor Rowan Companies, was built in the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) yard in Ulsan, South Korea It joins sister ship Rowan Renaissance as the next high-specification drillship to earn ABS' Integrated Software Quality Management (ISQM) notation.
"Reliance on computer-controlled systems has increased. And verifying software programs - including their integration - is vital to safe and efficient operations," says ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. "ABS identified software verification and integration as construction issues several years ago and developed ISQM to address these problems so the time to first production could be reduced."
ISQM represents a change in focus for classification societies that previously focused on the physical assets. ABS' ISQM notation is the first proven approach to providing a clear process for minimizing software-related risk throughout the life of an asset.
"No other class society has classed the drilling equipment and other essential marine equipment with a software notation that addresses software quality during construction, at delivery and into operations," says Paul Walters, ABS Manager.
Rowan Companies, a first mover among drilling contractors in applying a structured software quality management approach, is pleased with the process and has seen the results in the commissioning of the first ISQM drillship, Rowan Renaissance, which left the HHI yard early this year and began operating in late April.
"Following ISQM with the construction of the Rowan Renaissance paved the way so that the second drillship, Rowan Resolute,went even more smoothly," says Greg Lanier, Rowan Software Quality Manager. "Rowan was ahead of the pack in testing this approach and has seen very favorable results, which we expect to be passed on to our customers."
The experience gained by HHI places the yard in a unique position. "By working with ABS and Rowan Companies on this project, we have built up a knowledge base that allows us to offer experience with a new process that will benefit our other clients," says Sang-Sik Yoon, ISQM Team Leader, HHI.
HHI will follow the ISQM process in the construction of the remaining two drillships in the four-unit series.
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.
Divex, a subsidiary of James Fisher and Sons plc and a world leader in commercial and defense diving products, has been contracted by Singapore shipyard Keppel Singmarine (KSM) for the engineering design, supply and installation of a 300 meter depth 18 man twin bell / twin hyperbaric lifeboat saturation diving system to be classed by DNV.
The diving systems, which will include an air/nitrox surface diving capability, are to be installed upon a new build vessel for BP Exploration Shah Deniz II Project in the Caspian Sea. The vessel which is to be 155m long with a beam of 32m, is being purpose built for the construction phase of the project.
The vessel will be constructed in KSM's Singapore yard in two longitudinal halves of 16m beam each. These will then be transported into the Caspian Sea through the canal linking to the Black Sea. The vessel will be completed in the Baku Shipyard for delivery in 2017.
The dive system is to comprise two side mate diving bells mated to individual Transfer Under Pressure chambers. The divers are housed in five saturation chambers. The diving bells will be deployed using the Divex pioneered triple winch guide wireless system which eliminates the traditional clump weight. Divex standard products include; Gasmizer, Gaspure and Helipure gas recovery systems and the Kinergetic range of environmental conditioning and life support systems. Manufacture will be distributed around various Divex global facilities including Aberdeen and Glasgow, Scotland, South Africa and Australia.
Joint Managing Director, Derek Clarke commented: "This is a very important win for us particularly given the standing of both Keppel Singmarine and the ultimate owner, BP. It is the culmination of many months of work and a fitting reward for all the effort put in by Divex staff to provide the very best diving technology. Current diving support vessels in the Caspian are from the era going back to the 80s so when she is operational she will herald a significant leap forward in diving technology terms".
Divex has a long pedigree in the successful design and manufacture of saturation diving systems and the company's track record shows more than one hundred systems built spanning the last 35 years.
Once again displaying their diversity for use in the domestic petroleum industry, one of Crowley's four ocean class tugs, Ocean Sky, recently provided back-up station-keeping and holdback services during a routine blackout test of ultra-deepwater, semisubmersible oil rig Noble Jim Day. This Shell-leased, Noble-owned rig is currently operating in about 9,600 feet of water in the 508 section of Walker Ridge as part of the Stones Prospect.
As part of routine blackout testing, Crowley was contracted to have the Ocean Sky connect its tow line to the rig, which itself has DP3 technology. The tug's connection was to serve as a contingency in the event the rig required additional assistance, which it did not during the 12-hour drill.
"These tugs have performed above and beyond each time they've been contracted," said Tommy Crosby, manager, sales and marketing, for Crowley's solutions group. "During this drill, we were able to demonstrate yet another feature of these ocean class tugs – tug holding position during stand by operations. These four tugs have repeatedly performed to the expectations of their build including salvage, heavy-lift barge towing, ocean towing and positioning of offshore structures, and standby and response in the Gulf of Mexico during Loop Current features and hurricane contingency planning."
Crowley's ocean class tugs are modern ocean towing twin-screw vessels with controllable pitch propellers (CPP) in nozzles, high-lift rudders and more than 147 MT bollard pull. The first two ocean class vessels, the Ocean Wave and Ocean Wind, are classed as Dynamic Positioning 1 (DP1) tugboats and are twin-screw tugs with an overall length of 146 ft., beam of 46 ft., hull depth of 25 ft. and design draft of 21 ft. The second two tugs of the class, Ocean Sky and Ocean Sun, are classed as DP2 and are 10 feet longer. All four vessels are capable of rig moves, platform and Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit tows, emergency response, salvage support and firefighting.
Ocean Specialists, Inc (OSI) announces the addition of Anne LeBoutillier as Director of Global Marketing and Business Development for the firm. Anne is a business expansion professional with extensive strategic marketing and lead generation expertise and broad experience in subsea cable solutions across both telecommunications and oil & gas industries.
Anne joins OSI following her most recent assignment directing marketing and lead generation initiatives for Global Marine Systems, where she helped the company to establish and improve global recognition for their subsea cable installation capabilities in the oil and gas sector. In the commercial telecom sector, she was previously Asia Pacific Director of Business Development for Tyco Submarine Systems (now TE Subcom) and held management positions in business development, strategic marketing and product management with AT&T Submarine Systems. Anne also directed the Asia Pacific regional office for T Soja & Associates, a company that merged with OSI in 2008.
"Anne's extensive success in marketing and business development, coupled with over 20 years' experience in subsea cables for the telecommunications and oil and gas industries make her an excellent addition to the OSI team," stated Jim Byous, President of OSI.
OSI provides subsea network project development, project management and full project delivery to customers in telecommunications, oil & gas and energy industries, and to governments around the world. OSI's project development delivery includes a broad range of services, including network demand analyses, feasibility studies, business opportunity modelling, network design, procurement and construction management and full-service subsea network development and implementation.
VIKING is introducing a new fixed-price offering to follow its popular Shipowner Agreements, enabling customers to leverage the manufacturer's unsurpassed global reach, broad range and worldwide stock points to streamline day-to-day safety equipment purchases in ports around the world.
Market-leading marine and fire safety equipment manufacturer VIKING Life-Saving Equipment has come up with a new answer to shipowner requests for predictable costs, reduced risk and easier administration. And it's combining the company's extensive network, worldwide stock points, and the integration of marine equipment supplier Hygrapha to do it.
VIKING's new "Global Safety Product Agreement" is a unique, centralized safety equipment purchasing agreement designed to help shipowners who need to acquire or replace safety equipment in a variety of ports around the world – and who want to avoid wasting valuable resources and time to find the right product at the right price.
Centralized procurement removes risk
Anyone whose vessels sail among multiple ports is familiar with the problem: A routine purchase decision is made to replace pyrotechnics, an EEBD or other item needed to ensure safety – and safety rules compliance – on board a vessel. While the item itself requires only a modest expense, its true cost needs to reflect the time and resources it takes to procure it. Over a period of time, these hidden costs can inflate the shipowner's total safety equipment investment. And to make matters worse, varying local conditions mean that vessels often buy products whose pricing, quality and compliance can swing widely from port to port.
VIKING CEO Henrik Uhd Christensen explains: "Shipowners don't want to spend too much time dealing with minor, one-off purchases, they don't want to risk buying sub-standard equipment, and they certainly don't want to overpay for anything in the name of convenience. Highly efficient shipping operations, for example, have carefully specified the types of equipment that make business sense for their fleet. But working with local marine suppliers takes time, and they may not have a similar product in terms of quality, compliance or price in stock."
VIKING's Global Safety Product Agreement solves these problems by enabling shipowners to ensure their vessels have global availability of over 50 products to start with in pre-determined ports at annually fixed prices, consistent quality and full compliance. The agreements include single-point-of-contact management as well as easily accessible reports that provide an overview of key procurement data. As a result, shipowners get all the advantages of centralized procurement with dependable, local availability.
To make these new capabilities possible, the company is flexing its significant distribution muscles, using capabilities that none of its competitors currently have the size or supply chain access to match.
"We started preparing for this type of agreement a few years ago, adding a long list of multi-brand marine and occupational safety equipment to VIKING's supply capabilities," says Henrik Uhd Christensen. "Obviously, you don't set something of this size up overnight, so we've been working hard to build the new capabilities into our organization with the same cost-effectiveness and reliability that's already in place for VIKING's existing safety equipment supply systems."
Henrik Uhd Christensen also sees his company's marine safety equipment know-how as a vital part of each Global Safety Product Agreement.
"VIKING now carries tens of thousands of products – more than anyone else in the market. So we're in a unique position to help shipowners and operators make the best choices for their specific needs."
For now, VIKING is the only company with this type of offering, and its instant popularity has Henrik Uhd Christensen expecting competitors to scramble to bring similar services to their customers. But given the resources, global presence and literally hundreds of supplier relationships required to implement such contracts on a worldwide basis, he's not expecting an equally dependable alternative to his company's new procurement agreements in the foreseeable future.
Asset Guardian Solutions Ltd (AGSL), which specializes in protecting companies' process critical software assets, announced that BP has selected its proprietary software management platform Asset Guardian for the company's iconic Clair Ridge project.
BP will use the Asset Guardian toolset to improve the performance and security of the process control software that it will use throughout the Clair Ridge project, and to operate assets associated with the Clair Ridge field development when it is fully operational. Located west of the Shetland Islands in Scotland, the project will feature two bridge-linked platforms and new pipeline infrastructure to connect to processing facilities on Shetland. The development is the first sanctioned large-scale offshore enhanced oil recovery (EOR) scheme to use reduced salinity water injection (LoSal® EOR) to extract a higher proportion of oil over the life of the field.
AGSL provides the Asset Guardian toolset to BP as part of a global frame agreement. As a result, BP currently uses the Asset Guardian toolset to protect and manage the process control software it uses to operate facilities in Angola, Azerbaijan, Oman, Oklahoma and Alaska. BP's decision to use Asset Guardian for the Clair Ridge project confirms AGSL's reputation as a global partner with BP in providing the necessary tools for software configuration management.
Assuring system integrity
As the Clair Ridge project progresses - from construction of platform topsides in Korea and platform jackets in Norway through to final commissioning in the field - each phase of development requires a slightly different type of system configuration to manage and protect the project's software files and data. Asset Guardian is capable of supporting multiple system topologies, ensuring that the integrity of software files and data is maintained throughout the project. The integrity of the system supplied is further enhanced through the use of AG Sync, a solution specifically designed for the oil and gas industry that allows data and files to be seamlessly synchronized between multiple locations.
The location of the project, along with the logistical issues associated with providing training to a large number of BP personnel, has been resolved by using the latest version of AGSL's online Computer Based Training (CBT).
"We are delighted that BP has turned to us once again for this critical tool,' said Peter Beales, Business Development Manager for AGSL. "It confirms the trust that they have in us and their continued satisfaction with the services we provide. When a customer calls upon us again and again, that is surely recognition of the energy and professionalism we devote to each and every BP facility.'
Leading Hazardous Area Provider Expands Service Portfolio to Include Drilling/ Tapping and
EUTEX International, Houston's leading provider of IEC cables and electrical products, has officially announced its expansion of services with the introduction of EUTEX Connect, in connection with Abtech / A.B. Controls, manufacturer of full line enclosures. The agreement has been formulated for the North American and Gulf of Mexico markets.
"We are proud to expand our turn-key offerings to include this new service to cut lead times by up to 80%,
which has been customer driven"
The complete EUTEX Connect program offers full service, turn-key assembly solutions which include cable and gland termination, custom cable assemblies and the drilling, tapping and component population of ATEX and IEC Ex approved boxes and enclosures.
"We are proud to expand our turn-key offerings to include this new service to cut lead times by up to 80%, which has been customer driven," says EUTEX Vice-President, Nick Mair. "This new service expands our offerings from our head-quarter facility in Houston, which includes full line electrical products, the Hazardous Area Training Institute, Inspection Center and Certification Services. For more than 16 years we have been committed to meeting and exceeding client demand and EUTEX Connect continues to address what our clients expect from us."
EUTEX leads the industry as an internationally certified cable and hazardous area product provider, and this agreement for North America will ensure faster on-time delivery and larger stock holdings to meet demand.
"EUTEX has a strong market presence and successful track record, and with this 'Connect' relationship, we are structurally expanding our manufacturing presence in the USA. This 'connection' gives us a chance to broaden our reputable distribution network while continuing to focus on manufacturing," says Ian Wilson of A.B. Controls.
NYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that there is potential for Iceland volcano eruption to disrupt North Atlantic air traffic and jet fuel demand. In the U.S., crude stocks draw larger than the product stock build. In Japan, low demand builds product stocks. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:
Potential for Iceland Volcano Eruption to Disrupt North Atlantic Air Traffic and Jet Fuel Demand
Iceland’s Met Office warned that the country’s largest volcano might erupt, potentially posing a threat to air traffic in the North Atlantic. This is reminiscent of 2010’s eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which disrupted air traffic in the North Atlantic and Europe for about a week cutting oil demand.
U.S. Crude Stocks Draw Larger than Product Stock Build
The August 15 commercial stock draw was less than last year’s draw, widening the year-over-year stock excess. The crude draw exceeded last year’s, narrowing the crude excess versus last year. The four major refined product stocks built a collective 1.4 million barrels, and with a draw last year, their collective deficit narrowed. All other product stocks built less than last year so their excess narrowed. We remain in the pattern of the major refined products being in deficit, all other products being excess, and the crude stock position osculating from looser to tighter, especially when considering stocks required for crude infrastructure expansion.
Low Demand in Japan Builds Product Stocks
Two weeks of data were reported this past week due to the annual mid-August hiatus. Crude stocks rose over the last two weeks, but more troubling was a large build in finished stocks, much of it gasoil, but to a lesser extent kerosene (seasonal), and fuel oil. Demand in the latest week was extraordinarily low.
Asian LPG Prices Stronger
Recent strength in local South China prices helped lift LPG more than 2% in Asia this week. Propane cargoes for October delivery were called $18.50 higher at $836.50 while butane rose by the same amount to $876.50/MT. The October Propane FEI settled $6 higher than the cash market. Lower imports into China, in part due to a change in tax invoicing, has led to inventory draws – prompting a $32/MT rally in local prices last week. Strong discounts to naphtha and improved seasonal demand should support prices next week while recent price strength leaves room for a correction.
U.S. Ethanol Output and Stocks Rise
U.S. ethanol production reached 937 MB/D the week ending August 15, up from 931 MB/D during the previous week as more plants are operating near capacity. Stocks built 491 thousand barrels to 18.3 million barrels.
U.S. Ethanol Prices and Margins Increased
Ethanol prices soared the week ending August 15 as the market tightened. Demand in the domestic and export markets were strong, while production remained significantly below the June peak.
Global Political Risk - Political Risk Scorecard
Growing Libyan exports, continued U.S. intervention in Iraq, and reduced tensions in Ukraine will weigh on prices next 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.
In a news release dated 18 August 2014, Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) announced an oil discovery at the Phoenix South-1 exploration well in Australia.
Finder Exploration Pty Ltd is a 20% equity interest holder in the WA-435-P exploration permit Fugro, through an alliance with Finder, has an indirect interest in the discovery announced by Apache via a 50% profit sharing agreement with Finder.
As part of this alliance Fugro provide Perth based Finder with support for selected Finder exploration activities as part of building up Fugro's Australian multi-client library activities. In return, Fugro receives a profit share in the projects in which it participates with Finder.
Evaluation of the Phoenix South-1 discovery will require further drilling and therefore take some time. As more information comes to light, Fugro will assess its position. It should be noted that Fugro, through its profit sharing agreement with Finder, has exposure to the same exploration area as announced by Apache (refer to www.apachecorp.com).
Danos, a family owned oil and gas service company, announced plans to expand its fabrication capabilities, by opening a 120,000 square-foot fabrication facility in Amelia, La. The new facility, set to begin operations in October 2014, sits on about 45 acres of waterfront property and will create employment opportunities for about 150 workers.
"The demand for our services is growing rapidly, and the size, location and condition of the Amelia facility allows us to better meet the needs of our customers," Eric Danos, executive vice president, said. "The fabrication facility is about four times the size of our current facility, and its strategic location on Bayou Boeuf provides direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, allowing Danos to go from producing truckable projects of 40 tons or less, to projects of 500 tons or greater."
The company's current fabrication shop, a 14,000 square-foot, 50 employee operation located in Larose, La., will remain open in order to continue offering rapid response to clients in the Fourchon area, as well as handling piping and smaller structural projects – a service Danos has successfully provided for more than 40 years.
In addition to taking on overflow work from the Larose shop, the Amelia facility will allow Danos to take on larger, multi-phase projects, including: fabrication, non-destructive testing, coatings, instrumentation and electrical and integrated project support services.
"We will need to hire a team of qualified, results-driven employees to work at the Amelia facility," Danos said. "Initially, we have 50 positions to fill, and we plan to hire an additional 100 employees over the first 12-18 months of operation. It's exciting to be able to provide great job opportunities for the region."
McDermott International, Inc. (NYSE:MDR) ("McDermott") has announced that Stuart Spence has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer following the departure of Perry L. Elders, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective August 23, 2014. Mr. Elders will be pursuing other opportunities.
Mr. Spence, age 45, has approximately 19 years of combined financial and operational management experience with companies in oilfield products and services and engineering and construction businesses. Immediately prior to joining McDermott, Mr. Spence served as Vice President, Artificial Lift for Halliburton Company, where he had overall strategic and operational responsibility for Halliburton's artificial lift product and service line. Previously, he served as Senior Director, Strategy and Marketing for Halliburton's Completion and Production Division. Mr. Spence joined Halliburton following Halliburton's acquisition of Global Oilfield Services Inc. in November 2011. He served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Global Oilfield Services from 2008 to 2011 and as Executive Vice President, Strategy, in 2011 in connection with the sale to Halliburton. His prior experience also includes positions of increasing financial and management responsibility at: Green Rock Energy, LLC; and Vetco International Ltd. (holding company for Aibel Ltd., an oilfield facilities maintenance and construction company, and Vetco Gray, Inc., a subsea production and drilling equipment company). In his role as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Spence will be McDermott's principal financial and accounting officer.
Mr. Spence stated: "I am joining McDermott at both a challenging and exciting time, and I am looking forward to working closely with a management team dedicated to returning McDermott to sustainable, profitable growth and focused on shareholder returns."
Mr. Elders stated: "With the successful completion of the refinancing and new financing transactions in the second quarter of this year and the other positive steps we have taken to direct the turnaround of McDermott's operations, I feel the time is right for me to transition to other opportunities and challenges. I wish the McDermott management team the best in their continuing efforts."
David Dickson, President and Chief Executive Officer of McDermott, stated, "The Company is grateful for Perry's contributions to McDermott over the past four years and his leadership role in the Company's transition following the spin-off of The Babcock & Wilcox Company to our shareholders in 2010 and our recently completed refinancing and new financing arrangements. We wish him well in his future endeavors. Stuart brings a new perspective to McDermott, with not only a demonstrable track record of operational-results focus and financial discipline, but also in the area of strategic planning. As McDermott continues its focus on returning to profitability, Stuart's skill set and leadership will be instrumental in shaping our near-term results and future strategy. I am looking forward to working closely with him."
Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS), the leading provider of helicopter services to the offshore energy industry, announced today that it has appointed Chet Akiri to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Corporate Development, New Ventures and Strategy Officer. As of September 2, 2014, Mr. Akiri will lead the company's corporate development efforts, including new business incubation, venture investing activities, identification of merger and acquisition opportunities, potential government and joint venture development streams and long-term corporate level strategy, financial planning and analysis.
Bristow Group's President and CEO Jonathan Baliff stated, "Chet has extensive experience in senior management roles in successful global businesses. He has helped them enhance their customer focus, expand their operations, and achieve significant financial growth. He led strategic planning and M&A activities, introduced new products and services, and built high performance teams. He has a track record of strong leadership, innovative thinking and proven experience transforming businesses in highly complex environments in close coordination with government authorities. We are delighted to have him join our senior management team to focus on our strategic business plan for external growth in alignment with our core values."
Mr. Akiri comes to Bristow Group from General Electric (GE), which he joined in 2001 and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Global Nuclear Fuels America in Wilmington, North Carolina. Before becoming COO in 2013, he served as Vice President and General Manager of GE Hitachi Parts Services, where he was accountable for sales and margin growth, portfolio management and investment, product and service solutions, operations, manufacturing and supply chain, and regulatory compliance. Before joining the nuclear business in 2010, Chet served in senior management roles in GE Aviation, Consumer and Industrial, Industrial Solutions and in Global Business Development at GE's corporate headquarters.
Prior to this time, he held vice president and senior vice president roles in several entrepreneurial ventures, served as an associate in Corporate Finance with Goldman Sachs & Co., and was a management consultant with Corporate Decisions, which was acquired by Mercer Management Consulting. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Brown University and his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
2H Offshore, an Acteon company, has appointed Paul Hopkins as principal engineer, to develop 2H Offshore's growing client base in Norway.
Hopkins worked for 2H Offshore from 2001 - 2006 on a diverse range of riser projects, including Exxon's Kizomba A and B developments and BP's Shah Deniz project. Hopkins then worked for two subsea engineering contractors, developing experience in concept selection and detailed design, with a strong focus on risers, subsea pipelines and structures.
Alex Rimmer, director of 2H Offshore's London office, said, "Paul is a strong addition to the 2H team, with a wealth of offshore experience and problem solving skills. He will take primary responsibility for 2H's clients in Norway to further strengthen our presence and our client support capabilities in the region. Additionally, Paul will use his extensive technical expertise to support the UK engineering team in executing exciting and technically challenging riser and conductor engineering projects, which were recently awarded to 2H in Norway and beyond."
Hopkins commented, "I am delighted to return to 2H, and I look forward to the many opportunities ahead to further grow 2H Offshore's business in Norway."