Interior Department Releases Proposed Well Control Regulations to Ensure Safe and Responsible Offshore Oil and Gas Development


In response to the findings of investigations into the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, and following a thorough evaluation of recommendations from industry groups, equipment manufacturers, federal agencies, academia and environmental organizations, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced on Monday, proposed regulations to better protect human lives and the environment from oil spills. The measures include more stringent design requirements and operational procedures for critical well control equipment used in offshore oil and gas operations.

“Both industry and government have taken important strides to better protect human lives and the environment from oil spills, and these proposed measures are designed to further build on critical lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy and to ensure that offshore operations are safe,” said Secretary Jewell, who recently discussed the Administration’s energy reform agenda in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This rule builds on enhanced industry standards for blowout preventers to comprehensively address well design, well control and overall drilling safety.”

The proposed rule, which will be open for public comments, addresses the range of systems and equipment related to well control operations. The measures are designed to improve equipment reliability, building upon enhanced industry standards for blowout preventers and blowout prevention technologies. The rule also includes reforms in well design, well control, casing, cementing, real-time well monitoring and subsea containment.

The well control measures would implement multiple recommendations from various investigations and reports of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement/U.S. Coast Guard Joint Investigation-Forensic Equipment Analysis (September 2011); National Academy of Engineering (May 2012); National Oil Spill Commission (January 2011); Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee; Government Accountability Office and others. Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) thoroughly analyzed the results of the investigations, including nearly 370 specific recommendations, and conducted extensive outreach to derive further enhancements from stakeholder input, academia, and industry best practices, standards and specifications.

The blowout preventer, an essential piece of safety equipment used in offshore drilling operations, was a point of failure in the Deepwater Horizon event, but several other barriers failed as well. The cascade of multiple failures resulted in the loss of well control, an explosion, fire and subsequent months-long spill. In connection with this rulemaking, BSEE worked with a wide array of stakeholders to comprehensively address well control measures and equipment.

“We worked to collect the best ideas on the prevention of well control incidents and blowouts to develop this proposed rule – including knowledge and skillsets from industry and equipment managers,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider. “This rule proposes both prescriptive and performance-based standards that are based on this extensive engagement and analysis.”

In May 2012, BSEE’s offshore energy safety forum brought together federal policy makers, industry, academia, and others to discuss additional steps the Bureau and the industry could take to continue to improve the reliability and safety of blowout preventers. Following the forum, BSEE received significant input and specific recommendations from industry groups, operators, equipment manufacturers, and environmental organizations.

“In addition to more stringent design requirements, the proposed rule requires improved controls of all repair and maintenance activities through the lifecycle of the blowout preventer and other well control equipment,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno. “It would provide verification of the performance of equipment designs through third party verification, enhanced oversight of operations through real-time monitoring viewed onshore, and require operators to, during operations, utilize recognized engineering best standards that reduce risk.”

Today’s announcement is another step in the most ambitious reform agenda in the Department’s history to strengthen, update and modernize offshore energy regulations. Interior has made sweeping reforms for safe and responsible development, overhauling federal oversight by restructuring to provide independent regulatory agencies that have clear missions and are better-resourced to carry out their work, while keeping pace with a rapidly evolving industry. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, and oil spill, BSEE strengthened preparedness and planning regulations applicable to oil and gas companies operating offshore, and raised the bar through new requirements for well design, production systems, blowout prevention, and well control equipment.

The Outer Continental Shelf is a critical component of our nation’s energy portfolio, accounting for more than 16 percent of the Nation’s oil production and about five percent of domestic natural gas production – bringing in revenues of over $7.4 billion dollars to the U.S. Treasury in 2014. There are more floating deepwater drilling rigs working in the Gulf of Mexico today than prior to the Deepwater Horizon spill, and drilling activity is expected to steadily increase over the coming year.

The public may submit comments on the proposed regulations during the 60-day comment period that begins April 15, 2015, when the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted via, the federal government's official rulemaking portal. The proposed regulations are available here.

Another Gas Discovery in the Aasta Hansteen Area

2aastaHansteen711Operator Statoil has together with PL602 partners made a gas discovery in the Roald Rygg prospect in the Norwegian Sea. This is the second Statoil discovery in the Aasta Hansteen area in spring 2015.

“Statoil has completed a targeted two-well exploration program around Aasta Hansteen which aimed to test additional potential in the area and make the Aasta Hansteen project more robust. Both wells, Snefrid Nord and Roald Rygg, have resulted in interesting discoveries, which will now be further evaluated for future tie-in to the Aasta Hansteen infrastructure,” says Irene Rummelhoff, senior vice president exploration Norway in Statoil.

The well 6706/12-3, drilled by the Transocean Spitsbergen rig in the Roald Rygg prospect, proved a 38-metre gas column in the Nise Formation with very good reservoir quality. Statoil estimates the volumes in Roald Rygg to be in the range of 12-44 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent (o.e.).

Roald Rygg is located less than 7 kilometers west of the Snefrid Nord discovery. The estimated total volumes in the two discoveries correspond to about 25% of the Aasta Hansteen recoverable volumes.

Aasta Hansteen will be the largest SPAR platform in the world and is the biggest ongoing field development project in the Norwegian Sea. It is one of the main projects in Statoil’s portfolio. The plan for development and operations (PDO) was approved by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in 2013. Production start-up is expected in 2017.

Exploration well 6706/12-3 is situated in PL602 in the Norwegian Sea. Earlier this year, Statoil increased its equity share in PL602 through transactions with Rocksource ASA and Atlantic Petroleum Norge AS.

Subject to government approval, the PL602 partnership will consist of Statoil Petroleum AS (operator, 42.5%), Petoro AS (20%), Centrica Resources (Norge) AS (20%), Wintershall Norge AS (10%) and Atlantic Petroleum Norge AS (7.5%).


Total E & P Angola Awards Kaombo Marine Warranty Services Contract to DNV GL

3Total kaomboTotal E & P Angola has awarded the marine warranty services (MWS) contract for their flagship Kaombo project. Angola is a country of strategic importance for Total and Kaombo will secure the sustainable growth of Total E & P Angola’s offshore resources.

Delivered by DNV GL’s Noble Denton Marine Assurance service area, the MWS activities will focus upon the review of the design documentation and the execution of critical marine operations. The MWS team will support Kaombo project teams in assuring the project transportation and installations are conducted to recognized guidelines, standards and client internal requirements. The project sees the installation of the largest single award Subsea, Umbilical, Risers and Flowlines (SURF) contract ever to be placed. The extensive ultra deepwater development plan comprises the installation of 300 km of flowlines and 20 manifolds to connect 59 wells to the 2 VLCCs converted into turret moored Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels.

The DNV GL MWS team is regularly engaged in providing marine consultancy and assurance services to all major operators in West Africa. Stephen Norman, Senior Business Development Manager for the UK and Sub Saharan Africa says “we have a proven track record with Total in Angola having previously worked on the CLOV, GirRI and Dalia projects and we are grateful to be recognized once again to support the delivery of a truly mega project.”

He adds “the work will be coordinated and managed by DNV GL’s London office who have recently completed the successful installation of the CLOV development. They will be supported with local attendances from regional DNV GL offices in Luanda, Singapore, Houston, Jakarta and Dubai.”

Sergio Garcia, Sub Saharan Africa Regional Manager says “Our Angolan team will be headed by a local MWS consultant who will drive engagement and training to support the Kaombo project using competent Angolan nationals who will be trained to support the development of MWS in the region. This will deliver long term benefits to the country and build upon DNV GL’s competence within Angola supporting clients with a more proactive delivery of local MWS”.

The Kaombo project is a development at Block 32, located about 150 km offshore Angola. It includes six fields, Gindungo, Gengibre, Caril, Canela, Louro and Mostarda which will be tied back to two converted FPSOs. The water depth in the development area extends from 1400m (Gindungo) to 1950m (Louro).

LATC Marine Brings Next Generation Damen Vessels to Nigerian Offshore Oil Sector

Africa-focused proprietary investment firm L.A.T Cleveson (LATC) has signed an order with Damen Shipyards Group for the supply of two PSV 3300 Platform Supply Vessels and two FCS 5009 Fast Supplier Vessels.4Damen-FCS-5009-Dijama This landmark transaction will bring next generation Damen PSVs to the offshore industry of Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea for the first time.

The purchase is being made by LATC Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of L.A.T Cleveson, which has quickly established a positive reputation by providing state of the art marine vessel supply and offshore operation support services to leading Oil & Gas operators in Nigeria. The company’s aim is to set new standards in the West African offshore oil sector through acquiring modern and technologically advanced assets to serve international & local clients operating in the region. Vessels servicing the offshore industry in the Gulf of Guinea, and specifically Nigeria, typically are substantially older than those operating elsewhere in the world – until now.

The purchase has been financed by Fidelity Bank Plc, a progressive and reputable Nigerian bank, with a dynamic Transport & Shipping division which is poised to support value-adding projects and new/efficiently run companies in the industry, in particular those with a strongly local content status.

Mr. Gbolahan Shaba, COO of LATC Marine comments: “Our aim is to redefine the concept of quality tonnage in the Gulf of Guinea and particularly in Nigeria. We plan to locally develop the necessary skill sets that will sustain our quality service to the most demanding clientele who run very complex operations in the most challenging environments. Ultimately, our strategy is to attain the capacity to build and maintain quality tonnage in Nigeria. We anticipate strong demand for repair and docking services in our region and we plan to create the facilities to meet that demand, professionally and safely”.

Fidelity Bank’s Head of Transport & Shipping Division – Mr Mike Nnaji agrees heartily: “This agreement and acquisition further marks our support toward professional development of Offshore Oil & Gas marine support in Nigeria within the local content framework. The quality of the assets speaks for itself and the professional management is evident from the positive reaction of the Oil & Gas companies whose operation they already support and will be supporting. These vessels will show the value and effectiveness of assets that are built to UK North Sea standards which are efficient, environmentally-friendly and economic to operate. Fidelity Bank will continue to stimulate and support this development in line with the Nigerian Government’s local content initiative”.

4Damen-PSV-3300-Lahama-LR1Advising on the agreement was RS Platou Africa (RSP), a global organisation with an in-depth knowledge of the industry and the region particularly. Dedicated to creating productive relationships between shipbuilders, operators & end-users, RSP has been a trusted advisory party to LATC and Damen. Advising on the agreement was RS Platou Africa (RSP), a subsidiary of Clarksons the world’s largest shipbrokers, a global organisation with an in-depth knowledge of the industry and the region particularly. Dedicated to creating productive relationships between Shipbuilders, operators & end-users, RSP has been a trusted advisory party to LATC and Damen. Mr Simon Pethick, Head of RSP’s Offshore Support Vessel & Drilling Units division, comments: “For some years now, we have seen the need for Innovation in Vessel Designs of Higher Quality & Efficiency and especially sustainable services throughout Africa’s west coast operations. Hence, new - and newly built – tonnage is needed. At the same time, both businesses and governments need long-term stability to grow.

This can only happen if the region develops the right skills and focuses on long-term relationships between owners, operators, suppliers, governments and financial institutions for the development of long term sustainability. We are proud to be the ‘enabling advisor’ in this project, which does exactly that – taking steps to enable long-term commitment and growth.” The Platform Supply Vessels and Fast Suppliers Vessels acquired by LATC Marine will have the full support of the Damen Service Hub in Port Harcourt, as well as the Damen Regional Office in Lagos. An additional Service Hub in Ghana is being planned.

Noble Energy Announces Acreage Addition in the Falkland Islands and 2015 Drilling Update

5NobleEnergylogoNoble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) has announced that it has acquired a 75 percent interest and operatorship of the PL001 License in the North Falkland Basin from Argos Resources Limited. The PL001 License covers an area of nearly 285,000 gross acres and is located to the northwest of the PL032 License, which includes the Sea Lion oil discovery. Edison International SpA has obtained the remaining 25 percent interest in the PL001 License.

Noble Energy and Edison will provide to Argos a 5 percent royalty override from all hydrocarbon development on the license. Noble Energy has identified the Rhea prospect as its initial target on the PL001 License. Rhea is a Cretaceous-aged stratigraphic trap prospect with multiple reservoir targets and total estimated gross mean unrisked resources in excess of 250 million barrels of oil. Water depth at the anticipated drilling location is approximately 1,550 feet, and the target total well depth is 8,760 feet. Rhea is anticipated to commence drilling in the third quarter of 2015 with Noble Energy's second slot on the 2015 Falkland Islands drilling campaign.

The Company's initial operated Falkland Islands prospect, Humpback, is now expected to commence drilling by early May 2015. Humpback, located in the South Falkland Basin, is the first of multiple stacked fan prospects clustered together in the Fitzroy sub-basin. Humpback has estimated gross mean unrisked resources of more than 250 million barrels of oil, with the cluster of prospects in the sub-basin totaling over one billion barrels of oil. The Humpback well, located in a water depth of approximately 4,170 feet, is targeted to be drilled to a total depth of 17,550 feet. Noble Energy's interest in the South Falkland Basin is 35 percent.

Susan M. Cunningham, Noble Energy's Executive VP of Exploration and New Ventures, stated, "The Rhea prospect diversifies our prospect inventory and upgrades our chance of overall success, without changing our total capital program for the year. This opportunity is in a proven petroleum system and is a strong complement to the vast number of remaining prospects on our acreage. Our Falkland Islands program, combined with our exploration well in Cameroon, give us the potential to discover substantial new resources through exploration this year."

FoundOcean Awarded the Gemini Offshore Wind Farm Grouting Project

6FoundOceanFoundOcean has been awarded the contract to grout the 150 monopile foundations for the 600MW Gemini Offshore Wind Farm, on behalf of main contractor Van Oord. The project will be the first to use MasterFlow 9800, a revolutionary new material jointly developed by FoundOcean and BASF.

MasterFlow 9800 possesses a unique combination of features that makes it ideally placed to meet the specific requirements of the project; it combines high strength, low shrinkage properties with the ability to be stored and transported in bulk silos.

FoundOcean proposed the material based on its cutting-edge properties. Sales Director Andy Venn states, “Whilst all projects are different and each often presents demands that are specific to its location, design or installation schedule, the offshore wind industry in general faces a number of broader and more fundamental challenges, not least the need to drive down costs. MasterFlow 9800 offers a significant step forward in meeting these needs.”

The launch of MasterFlow 9800 in February of this year was the result of three years joint development between FoundOcean and BASF. According to FoundOcean Managing Director Jim Bell, FoundOcean and BASF recognized the demand within the offshore wind industry for a material that could provide high early strength development and low temperature performance, yet also offer increased efficiency, safety and cleanliness”.

MasterFlow 9800’s ability to be stored in silos rather than bags facilitates quayside storage in all weathers and eliminates the requirement for bag or container lifting during grouting operations and resupply. Moreover, using FoundOcean’s modified Recirculating Jet Mixer, the new MasterFlow 9800 grout system can achieve consistent grout quality whilst maintaining mixing and pumping rates exceeding 20m3/hr, saving valuable offshore operating days.

Grouting for the Gemini Offshore Wind Farm will take place in June 2015.

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Oceaneering to be Recognized at OTC with Two Spotlight on New Technology Awards

7Oceaneering-OTC-Winner-2Oceaneering International, Inc. will be recognized at the 2015 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) with the presentation of two Spotlight on New Technology Awards for its Deepwater Pile Dredge and Magna Subsea Inspection System™ products. The awards honor innovative technologies based on broad appeal to the industry, proven capabilities through full-scale application or successful prototype testing, and significant impact with benefits beyond existing technologies.

The Oceaneering Deepwater Pile Dredge is an electrically-driven system with pumps that provide water jetting and suction to excavate piles at any depth. The jetting provides a 360° pattern to fluidize the soil inside the pile, and then suction pumps remove the soil from the pile. The Oceaneering Magna Subsea Inspection System is a versatile screening inspection tool that assesses the mechanical integrity of assets at a high rate of speed without disrupting production. The advanced system is ROV-deployable, inspects 360° around the pipe, and provides real-time data of the wall condition with a single deployment.

Oceaneering is one of three companies to receive multiple 2015 Spotlight awards. The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will take place May 4-7 in Houston, and the 2015 awards will be presented on May 4 in the NRG Center Rotunda Lobby. The Spotlight on New Technology Awards—a program for OTC exhibitors—showcase the latest and most advanced hardware and software technologies that are leading the industry into the future.

For more information click here.

Ceona and Seaweld Form Ghana Partnership

8Ceona-Amazon11Ceona, SURF contractor with heavy subsea construction capabilities, has entered into a significant Joint Venture (JV) with Seaweld Engineering which will act as a strategic partner for offshore deepwater construction projects in Ghana.

The JV allows Ceona to extend its operations in West Africa and build upon the success it has already achieved in the region. The agreement will see Seaweld Engineering supporting Ceona in delivering its full line of products and expertise in Ghana. The companies have been working together since late 2014 and the JV was officially registered by the Petroleum Commission in Ghana in March 2015.

As part of Ceona’s growth plans, the company has opened an office in Accra as well as taking on a further office and yard space in Takoradi.

Mark Preece, Executive VP Commercial and Business Development at Ceona, said: “It was important for us to find an experienced and respected partner to support our move into Ghana as we increase our growing geographical footprint across West Africa.

“Seaweld Engineering is well known in the country and has a well-earned reputation for the high quality of its work in oil & gas. The JV will complement both companies as we offer our combined strengths to clients requiring specialist support in deepwater construction operations.”

Seaweld Engineering is headquartered in Takoradi and is a specialist in steel fabrication for the oil & gas industry. Established in 1979, Seaweld provides a flexible and well-resourced inspection, repair and maintenance service. The company has over 20 years of experience in the fast developing oil & gas production fields of West Africa and other areas of the world. Last year, the company received the prestigous Indigenous Oil & Gas Company of the Year 2014 at the Ghana Oil & Gas Awards.

The news comes as Ceona’s flagship vessel, the Amazon, nears completion at Huisman’s yard in Schiedam, Netherlands. The Amazon, specifically designed for deepwater markets including West Africa, is a unique field development vessel built with the capability to operate in multiple pipelay and operational modes, changing from rigid to flexible pipelay within a week. Designed to operate independent of spoolbases, the Amazon is ideal for projects in Ghana where spooling operations create long transit requirements and increased costs.

The Amazon is due to finish construction in Schiedam in the coming weeks, and will have her firing line fitted before heading to Gulf of Mexico for her first rigid pipelay project for Walter Oil & Gas this year.

Among the company’s state-of-the-art fleet of vessels are The Polar Onyx and the Normand Pacific. The Polar Onyx is a high-capacity new-built flexible pipelay and construction vessel designed to the highest standard for dynamic positioning, DP3 (Operations+), and equipped with a 250te AHC offshore crane and a 275te vertical lay system. Like the Ceona Amazon, it is capable of installing pipeline and umbilicals to water depths of 3,000m (10,000 ft). She is chartered for 5 years from GC Rieber Shipping, with option for 5 additional years.

The Normand Pacific, built in 2010, is a DP3 offshore construction vessel equipped with a 200te knuckle boom crane. She has been chartered by Ceona for one year and fitted with a 75tem vertical lay tower, a reel drive system and two new high-specification work class ROVs for deepwater flexible pipelay and subsea construction in deep and ultradeep waters.

Hydro Group and EnerMech Join Forces to Develop New Product Innovation

9Hydro-Group-1Subsea cable and connector specialist Hydro Group has teamed up with mechanical engineering group EnerMech to launch an innovative new product offering to the market.

In response to significant customer demand, Hydro Group and EnerMech have combined expertise to deliver a new hydraulics hose product, offering lay-up and over-sheathing of hydraulic hoses for use in umbilical, topside and well intervention projects in the oil and gas industry. The partnership could generate in the region of £500,000 in the next 12 months.

Graham Wilkie, Sales Director at Hydro Group said: “Building on three decades of proven capability and industry experience at Hydro Group, we know collaboration, diversification and innovation are key to surviving in challenging markets. Knowledge sharing with EnerMech has resulted in an important market offering which brings together expertise from both companies.”

The bundled hose, which are available in ¼” to 2” size from Hydro Cable Systems, a Hydro Group company, integrate hydraulic components with electrical and fibre optic cables, resulting in a more compact and easier to handle assembly.

Mr Wilkie continued: “The new hose bundles offer significant benefits to installers and users for flying lead, workover umbilicals, well intervention, Topside and BOP control and injection systems. The bundles also allow greater versatility when faced with awkward routing or high dynamic usage, and may incorporate strength members such as aramid braiding, steel wire central ropes and aramid central ropes to the customer’s specification.”

EnerMech supplies a broad range of mechanical services to the international energy industry and has a 40 year heritage in hydraulic services including engineering and design, hydraulic component supply and hose integrity management.

Gary McRobb, EnerMech Business Development Manager, said: “Innovation and offering integrated solutions for our global clients is a central tenet of everything we do at EnerMech. Together with Hydro Cables Systems we are able to provide full engineering support, sourcing and supplying hoses, including high specification hoses such as High Collapse Resistance (HCR), and can also supply fully fitted, flushed and pressure-tested umbilicals which can also be deployed onto a reeler at the customer’s request.”

Further expanding the product offering and several recent increases to capabilities has meant the creation of new jobs for Hydro Group. Staff numbers at the firm’s Aberdeen base rose to over 100 for the first time this year and projected turnover for 2015 is predicted to rise by 12% from £9million thanks to increased development of new and existing markets.

Hydro Group has seen a period of significant investment in new machinery, with this new capability allowing the company to extrude up to 120mm diameter over composite bundles or single hoses. Final produced lengths can be supplied from 50 to 2000 metres depending on the size of hose, number of components and the finished diameter of the umbilical.

Mr Wilkie added: “Training and information transfer will be mutual between EnerMech and Hydro Cable Systems, for the benefit of customers and the market as a whole. Evolving our product offering in line with client demand is paramount and the new hose bundles, as an extension of our current products, represents significant growth potential.”

Hydro Group is at the forefront in the development and innovation of subsea product technologies, with involvement from prototype concept through to design, manufacture and project management. Hydro Group manufacture the complete package including FAT at its state-of-the-art facilities in Aberdeen, Scotland; umbilical cables, electrical and optical connection systems / assemblies for data, power and signal transmission.

BMT Nigel Gee Designed Njord Odin Completes Sea Trials

10BMT-Nigel-Gee Njord-OdinBMT Nigel Gee (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group, is pleased to announce the successful completion of sea trials for Njord Odin, the first of a series of advanced 26m windfarm support vessels (WSV) for Njord Offshore. Developed from BMT’s well-established range of WSVs, these are the largest BMT designed vessels built to date.

Built by Strategic Marine, Njord Odin is also the first to be fitted with a quadruple installation of the Volvo Penta IPS system, with the forward-facing, twin counter-rotating propellers and individually steerable pods under the hull. The IPS system offers high propulsive efficiency combined with excellent manoeuvrability, dynamic positioning, as well as excellent bollard pull which is of paramount importance on a windfarm.

Tom Mehew, Director at Njord Offshore comments: “Our clients demand efficiency and redundancy in our service and comfort for their technicians whilst operating in tougher, more inclement conditions. We believe Njord Odin will deliver on all fronts. BMT and Strategic Marine have done an excellent job and we’re delighted with the performance and sea trials results.”

The vessel is 26.3m in length with a beam of 9.3m with each of the four Volvo IPS900 units delivering 515 kW. The vessel is specifically designed for working further offshore with a fuel capacity of 29,000 litres and fresh water capacity of 2,900 litres. Njord Odin achieved a speed of in excess of 27 knots with 20 tonnes of deadweight and with the same deadweight will cruise at 25 knots with the engines running at 85% of their maximum continuous rating.

The vessel has extremely low noise levels thanks to the resiliently mounted superstructure and selection of propulsion machinery. Noise levels in the main accommodation are 60 dBA and 54 dBA in the wheelhouse whilst operating at 25 knots.

The accommodation is extremely spacious with excellent visibility from all seating areas. Utilising the patented Active Fender System, the vessel also benefits from significantly reduced impact forces when docking with boat landings.

Ed Dudson, Technical Director at BMT Nigel Gee comments: “Our designs are well proven with an excellent reputation for seakeeping and fuel economy. It is great to be providing these vessels together with Strategic Marine to Njord Offshore. Njord Odin is the first of our quad IPS designs and we are looking forward to seeing this new fleet of Njord Vessels joining the current fleet which includes 8, 21m BMT designed vessels.”

Teledyne TSS Launches the Saturn 50 Surface Gyrocompass at Ocean Business

11TSS-Saturn--Surface-gyro-housing1Teledyne TSS is launching the latest addition to its Saturn product range at the Ocean Business exhibition this week with the introduction of its fibre-optic marine gyrocompass. This is an entirely new product from one of the world’s leading gyro-compass manufacturers and the system is expected to find a receptive market wherever a dependable heading reference is needed. It is specifically aimed at the commercial shipping, fast ferry and superyacht markets. The new Saturn gyro also includes attitude reference capabilities which make it an ideal choice for dynamically positioned platforms and for the provision of full attitude data for hydrographic survey vessels.

The Saturn 30 and 50 surface versions are designed as a solid state attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) and primary navigation sensor. The unit has no moving parts and is maintenance free being also lightweight, compact and highly reliable, making it ideal for installations where space is at a premium. It is a flexible system for all sizes of vessel and excels on smaller craft such as fast ferries, yachts and patrol craft.

Teledyne TSS also offers higher accuracy versions of the Saturn in surface and subsea housings designed to support the offshore construction and multibeam sonar survey industries where reliability, price and performance are essential. These systems provide highly accurate pitch, roll, heading and heave and are suitable for a variety of applications including major seabed installations.

The Saturn product family is based on fibre-optic technology that has been developed and manufactured by Teledyne TSS. The family also incorporates advanced digital signal processing and algorithm design to deliver a highly accurate and reliable product to meet the demanding needs of the marine market. All units are compact, lightweight in both air and water and provide a unique alternative to existing products on the market.

Teledyne TSS has combined its in-house expertise with feedback from industry in the development of its steadily expanding Saturn product range. Its products are now available at highly competitive prices and, being FOG-based and without any mechanical components, they have no requirement for servicing or routine maintenance. This is known to represent a considerable saving in cost and inconvenience to customers.

Teledyne TSS has over a century of experience in the maritime industry. Besides being a well-known supplier of marine gyros and marine instrumentation products, it is a trusted and respected company, known to work with its customers so it can supply reliable and accurate products at competitive prices. The company’s headquarters are located in a purpose-built modern facility in Watford, UK, where it also produces a wide range of motion sensors and subsea pipe and cable detection systems and from where it manages a global network of representatives, distributors and service facilities.

Olympic Bibby Officially Christened at Ceremony in Norway

On Thursday 9 April, the official naming ceremony took place for IRM (Inspection Repair and Maintenance) light construction vessel the Olympic Bibby, at the Kleven Shipyard, Norway.

The ceremony saw the vessel’s official Godmother Mrs. Connie Brown, wife of recently appointed Chairman of Bibby Offshore Mike Brown, christening the NORSOK compliant, 4,500 ton vessel in front of a crowd of 250.

Commenting on her experience, Mrs Brown said: It’s been a great honour and privilege to christen the Olympic Bibby. During my tour of the ship, it was wonderful to see the developments in technology and how beautifully turned out the vessel is, she’s magnificent.”

IRM (Inspection Repair and Maintenance) light construction vessel the Olympic Bibby12OlympicBibby

Bibby Offshore, leading provider of subsea installation services to the offshore oil and gas industry, signed a charter agreement with Olympic Shipping in March 2014 for the newly built Olympic Bibby. The agreement for the subsea support vessel is for a three year period, with options to extend for an additional two years.

Howard Woodcock, Chief Executive of Bibby Offshore, commented: “Norway is a very important marketplace for us, and we are dedicated to expanding our presence and existing services in line with regional industry demand. The Olympic Bibby is a cost efficient vessel with capabilities that will help us achieve these objectives by further aligning the business going forward during the current environment.”

Arne Lier, Managing Director of Bibby Offshore AS, said: “We aim to further grow our capacity and presence in Norway by providing a superior service for our clients.

“By making our NORSOK compliant vessels available to the Norwegian market, we are working to ensure we have a range of assets capable of operating in this important new area, and becoming a partner of choice in the region.”

Bjorn Kvalsund, Executive Vice President for Olympic Shipping said: “We have developed a strong relationship with Bibby Offshore over several years. The name of our latest vessel is a true reflection of this relationship and we look forward to further strengthening our ties now and in the future.”

Hansen Protection Presents High-Tech Survival Suit

13SeaWind-action---lowresWith its unique triple certification and high-tech details the «SeaWind» immersion suit breaks new barriers with its many fields of application. Never before has a survival suit achieved such a wide range of certification, with approvals from SOLAS, ISO and EASA. The suit is tailored for both demanding and many varied work situations.

Many years of intensive development by Hansen Protection in Norway has yielded results. SeaWind is the world’s first survival suit to be approved for helicopter transport, shipping and work use.

Triple Certification

SeaWind has been certified by SOLAS, ISO and EASA. As such it has been approved for most any demanding work situation. No other survival suit can claim to be suitable for such a wide range of applications as SeaWind.

Hansen Protection has worked relentlessly for a long time to be able to be the first to offer a survival suit that is approved for work, shipping and helicopter transport. To achieve the helicopter transport approval the company has had to fit the suit with a lining, and it has to be worn with a SeaLion Europe lifejacket.

Emergency Breathing System

The SeaAir EBS Emergency Breathing System is integrated in the SeaLion Europe lifejacket. This system makes it possible to start breathing under water, something that was not possible with previous systems. In addition, the suit is equipped with a floating buddy line hook, which is a feature unique to Hansen Protection.

Its many details, great flexibility and wide range of applications makes this Norwegian made suit from Hansen Protection the first choice for many occupational groups and professionals, not least for use in the demanding conditions that is part of the service and maintenance of wind turbines.

Good ventilation

SeaWind is designed for optimal ergonomics and meets the needs of discerning workers so they can move freely without restrictions around their knees or seat. The suit weighs less than 2 kg. SeaWind is a dry suit. Waterproof zips under the arms provide good ventilation for active workers. In addition, both the hood and gloves can be placed in convenient pockets when working.

“Users will find that it is possible to have the suit on for long periods without discomfort. We find that workers want to have maximum flexibility and take responsibility for closing the suit”, says Product Manager Knut Åsle. Features:

· Easy to don dry suit with feet

· Flexible waterproof zips

· «Pit-zips» (zips under the arms) for increased ventilation

· Highly breathable GoreTex

· Reinforced exposed areas

· Stow-away-hood on the back for maximum ease of use

· Specially designed and manufactured for maximum freedom of movement

· Super soft neoprene cuffs at the neck and wrists

· «Clean» front and back for easy integration with harness and lifejacket

PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week April 12th, 2015

14piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that Cushing stocks hit a record high in March. In the U.S., the crude stock surplus hits a new high. In Japan, crude runs ease with higher maintenance and crude and finished product stocks post slight builds. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Cushing Stocks Hit Record High in March

Cushing crude stocks rose to record levels in March, causing the NYMEX WTI contango to widen and strengthening most onshore crude differentials, as Cushing WTI prices weakened relative to regional grades. Outright prices weakened through the first half of March, but began to recover by month end, helped by improved refining margins and geopolitical risks. Stocks at Cushing are expected to peak just above 60 million barrels in April or May. But WTI will remain in contango until stocks fall toward the 30-35 million barrel level — not likely until at least mid-2016.

U.S. Stock Surplus Hits New High

With the largest weekly inventory increase of the year, the year-on-year inventory surplus swelled to 177 million barrels, or 17%. Crude stocks are almost 100 million barrels higher than last year. Gasoline and distillate inventories are a combined 33 million barrels higher.

Japanese Crude Runs Ease with Higher Maintenance; Crude and Finished Product Stocks Post Slight Builds

Crude runs eased and remain in good alignment with our turnaround schedules. Crude imports also declined, but crude stocks still posted a modest build. Gasoline and gasoil stocks drew slightly despite falling demands. Kerosene stocks built as demand seasonally ebbed. The indicative refining margin remained strong, though major product cracks softened on the week.

Aramco Differentials Announced, Asia Raised

Saudi Arabia's formula prices for May were just released. U.S. and European differential adjustments were mixed and seen as minor. European differentials were tweaked, higher on the lightest and heaviest grades, and cut marginally on Arab Light. U.S. differentials were lowered on Arab Extra Light and Light and lowered on Arab Medium and Heavy. Differentials to Asia, however, were raised more significantly and across the board. The adjustments for all regions are seen as keeping in step with refiner demand for crude and downstream profitability.

Saudi Arabia Producing 10.3 MMB/D: Bullish or Bearish?

On balance, Saudi Arabia producing 10.3 MMB/D in March 2015 is bullish. Incremental Saudi crude burn demand could push its volume this summer to levels that would substantially reduce global spare capacity, at a time when oil markets will be tighter and geopolitical risks to supply are growing. Look for Saudi Arabia to continue to increase prices to restrain demand as it has done the last two months. All of this will be supportive to higher oil prices in second-half 2015.

Asian Steam Cracker Margins at 2015 Highs

Asian steam cracker margins have been in a broad upswing since January of this year. Margins improved yet again last week and continue to make new 2015 highs. Naphtha cracks added 2¢ to 53¢/lb, but they look increasingly challenged by LPG in the coming weeks as heating demand deteriorates and prices weaken. Butane margins jumped 14% to 51¢/lb while propane cracks added 5¢ to 49¢/lb.

U.S. Ethanol Prices and Margins Increase

The week ending April 3, U.S. prices advanced to the highest levels of the year. Rising petroleum prices and robust demand for ethanol-blended gasoline were the main drivers. Margins also reached a 2015 high last week, as corn prices fell after bearish USDA reports.

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


DW Monday April 13, 2015: Big Oil in a Low Price World

15DWMondayDespite major cost reduction measures, Q1 2015 earnings for supermajors are expected to be the weakest in recent memory. Operational and financial indicators for FY 2014, however, reveal that recent performance amongst the big 5 has been far from homogeneous.

In short, the Americans outperformed the Europeans. Exxon and Chevron posted high net margins of 8.3% and 9.1%, respectively. Shell’s was a more modest 3.5%, whilst BP (1.1%) and Total (2.0%) struggled badly. Chevron and Total were the most aggressive risk takers, as their CAPEX-to-Sales ratios for the year stood at 19% and 14%, respectively, while the other majors conservatively avoided spending more than 10% of sales.

Among other factors, refining interests are a key driver of this disparate performance. While Exxon, Chevron and Shell refined broadly as many barrels as they extracted in 2014 (113%, 105% and 94%, respectively), BP and Total were much more exposed to upstream (55%, 83%) and have not benefitted from the traditional buffer effect of downstream activities in a low price environment.

Looking at the long-term indicators, not much change can be seen in the 2014 Proved Reserves-to-Production ratio – XOM 17.4, CVX 11.8, RDS 11.6, BP 15.2, TTA 14.7 (expressed in years). In an oversupplied market, the challenge is not to bring volumes, but value. In this respect, the Europeans looked to offset poor performance by building strong net cash positions – between $20-30 billion at year-end 2014 – to maintain dividends and shareholder confidence. However, while Exxon, Chevron and Shell managed to keep their Gross Debt-to-Equity ratio at around 20%, BP and Total ended the year with a degraded financial structure, at 47% and 62%, respectively.

Considering the above, Shell seems to be the healthiest among the European majors, but crucially lacking in long-term organic growth opportunities. In this light, the £47bn takeover of BG Group makes sense: it will boost Shell’s production by 20% and reserves by 25%, and also provides exposure to high-potential Brazilian assets. With similarly modest leverage and potential for quick cash generation, Exxon and Chevron are well positioned for their own M&A moves now the starting gun has sounded.

Antoine Paillat, Douglas-Westwood London

Subsea 7 S.A. Awarded Contract Offshore Brazil

16Subsea7logoSubsea 7 S.A. (Oslo Børs: SUBC) has been awarded a contract worth approximately USD$200 million with a duration of approximately two years. The contract is for the installation of flexible lines for Petrobras' projects using Subsea 7's construction and flex-lay vessel Seven Seas, on a day-rate basis. The vessel has been operating for Petrobras under a similar day-rate contract since 2013 and will commence the new contract in direct continuation to the current one.

The Seven Seas is a vessel capable of operating in water depths up to 3,000 meters and is equipped with an advanced flexible pipe-lay system with top tension capacity of 430 tons. The contract work scope will be similar to that of other Subsea 7 Pipelay Support Vessels (PLSVs) operating under day- rate contracts in Brazil, providing engineering and installation services for client-supplied flowlines, umbilicals and subsea equipment.

Subsea 7's Senior Vice President for Brazil, Victor Bomfim, said: "This new contract for Seven Seas maintains our solid presence in the market for PLSVs in Brazil. We are proud to provide continuous service to Petrobras as it develops its complex oil and gas fields offshore Brazil."

Jee Secures Six-Figure Subsea Integrity Management Contract with E.ON E&P

17Vivek-Chhabra-Senior-Engineer-at-Jee-LtdJee Ltd, a leading independent multi-discipline subsea engineering and training firm, has secured a six figure contract with E.ON Exploration and Production (E.ON E&P), to deliver subsea integrity management and engineering services for its North Sea assets.

The three year contract, which was awarded in March 2015, involves Jee supporting E.ON E&P’s Subsea Technical Authority, by providing annual integrity management services for its subsea assets. The scope of work includes flowlines, risers, umbilicals and structures on EON E&P’s Huntington, Babbage, Hunter/Rita and Johnston assets.

Vivek Chhabra, Senior Engineer at Jee Ltd, said: “This is a significant contract win for Jee, with the scope of work involved reinforcing our integrity management and engineering reputation and capabilities.

“Effective integrity management can lead to significant cost saving potential for companies by minimising operational interruptions and reducing downtime. At a time when cost saving is so imperative to the industry, and as subsea assets are maturing and reaching the end of their design lives, good integrity management has never been more important.

“We are delighted to be working with the E.ON E&P team, and believe our experience positions us perfectly to support this project. We look forward to strengthening our relations with E.ON E&P now and into the future, by successfully delivering optimum engineering services for the company,” concluded Mr Chhabra.

Jee is an independent subsea engineering and training company with offices in Aberdeen, London and Tonbridge. Jee’s multi-disciplined capabilities and integrated services cover the spectrum of subsea engineering for the whole life-of-field for the global oil, gas and renewables industries.

Statoil Makes Oil Discovery in Gulf of Mexico

18Statoil-GoMStatoil and its partners are evaluating further appraisal activity.

The Maersk Developer drilling rig. (Photo: Jonathan Bachman - AP - Statoil) Statoil announced today that it has made an oil discovery in its Miocene Yeti prospect located in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM).

“The Yeti discovery expands the proven sub-salt Miocene play further south and west of the Big Foot field,” says Jez Averty, Statoil’s senior vice president, exploration for North America. “We are analyzing data to determine the size of the discovery in order to consider future appraisal options.”

The Yeti discovery was made in Walker Ridge (WR) block 160, which is located approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of the Big Foot field, and 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the Cascade field. All of the blocks making up Yeti were accessed by the current owners in recent years.

Yeti was drilled with the Maersk Developer drilling rig, a sixth generation semi-submersible. Statoil reports that its drilling efficiency with Yeti was among the best of any well drilled in Walker Ridge, achieving a rate of approximately 123 meters (400 feet) per day. The rig has moved on and is currently drilling Statoil’s Thorvald prospect in the Mississippi Canyon block 814.

Statoil is the operator (50%) of Yeti, and its partners are Anadarko (37.5%) and Samson (12.5%).

Ecosse Subsea Systems Treble Profits on Back of 90% Revenue Hike

19Ecosses-Subsea-Systemss-SCAR-Plough-being-prepared-for-an-offshore-campaignDiversification in to renewables and interconnector market rewarded Ecosse Subsea Systems Ltd (ESS) more than trebled profits to £3.4 million and increased revenue by 88% to £15.6 million according to its latest published accounts.

The Aberdeenshire-based subsea engineering specialist attributed the phenomenal growth to a diversification from its traditional oil and gas market in to renewables and interconnectors.

ESS has developed technologies which are in high demand for seabed clearance work, trenching and cable laying projects. In the past two years the company has made huge inroads in to the emerging renewables sector which now accounts for 55% of projects and builds upon an earlier focus on oil and gas contracts.

The accounts to March 2014 show turnover increased from £8.3 million to £15.6 million, while operating profit (EBITDA)* rose from £1.02 million to £3.4 million in the same period.

The drivers for ESS’s most successful trading year to date was a £5.4 million contract on the Baltic 2 windfarm offshore Germany and a multi-million pound cable-lay contract on behalf of an European utilities provider in the Humber Estuary.

Last month ESS also announced it had signed a Letter of Intent with ABB to provide seabed clearing and trenching services on the 100-mile £1.2 billion Caithness-Moray electricity transmission link project, which could end up as the company’s largest ever contract award.

The company employs 70 offshore and at its headquarters in Banchory near Aberdeen, which rose to 110 during the execution of offshore projects, and in the last year it has invested more than £1 million in research and development.

ESS managing director, Mike Wilson, said: “The results are extremely encouraging and confirm that our technologies are equally suited to and easily transferable between the oil and gas sector, which is where we cut our teeth, and the green energy market. Added to that, we have just won our first contract in the interconnector sector and we hope success on the Caithness-Moray project will lead the way to further awards in this field.”

Mr. Wilson said other parts of the business, including its engineering consultancy and personnel recruitment arms, had enjoyed a successful year and added significantly to the bottom line, while continued investment in new technologies was now bearing fruit.

He added: “We benefited greatly from research and development in our technologies starting to come through, and recognition from clients that we have developed a suite of tools which deliver measurable time and cost savings.

“Diversification is paying off for us as can be seen in these latest financial results and we will continue to look for new opportunities in other markets, including oil and gas and interconnector projects in Arctic waters where we have already received some interest.”

Mr. Wilson noted that ESS had already suffered from the effects of a low oil price with the cancellation of a number of oil and gas projects and said that while 2015 turnover would increase on the previous year, that margins would be tighter.

He added: “With a healthy balance sheet and debt-free status, we are in a strong position to counter the challenges facing the oil and gas industry while capitalizing on new opportunities in other markets.”