Ampelmann Introduces S-type Walk-to-Work System for the Crew Change Market

9Ampelmann S typeAmpelmann has designed its latest access system, the S-type, as a cost effective and safe option in the transportation of workers and luggage to and from offshore platforms.

The company, a leader in the provision of safe offshore access to the energy industry, is launching the new Walk-to-Work system as an alternative to using helicopters or baskets.

In total, the cost of using the system will be around 30% cheaper than helicopters. The S-type builds on Ampelmann’s track-record of innovative design by incorporating a lightweight system that uses a low amount of energy to operate.

Aimed at the global oil and gas market where volume of crew is high and the sea state can be severe, the S-type can continuously transfer 50 people and luggage in five minutes in significant wave heights of up to three to four metres. The S-type design includes a separate luggage belt, can be tailored for installation to individual vessels and is expected to be a particularly attractive option on current or new build fast or light-weight medium-sized vessels; such as mono-hulls, catamarans and trimarans.

Gerbrand Marbus, Crew Change Market Manager, said: “The S-type can easily transfer more people at a time than helicopters and is a safe alternative. As the industry continues to look for ways to work more effectively, we have listened to operators requests and developed a system that should be an attractive option for companies as well as providing more comfortable transportation for their workforce.

“In developing the S-type we worked closely with vessel designers to provide an integrated package that has a reduced footprint and is lighter than comparable systems. With this integrated package, different clients can share logistics and see walk to work as an offshore bus service reducing their crew transportation costs by 30 to 40%. The technology used in the transportation system will place the S-type as a leader in the Walk to Work crew change market.”

The S-type provides a wide operational range thanks to its 360 degrees access and is a lightweight system with low energy consumption. In comparison, it is approximately half the weight and uses 50% less energy than typical similar systems.

In addition, the S-type occupies a small deck space and can be fully integrated with its host vessel. It requires no alterations to the receiving platform.

ExxonMobil and Employees Contribute More Than $13 Million to Texas Colleges and Universities

10ExxonMobil 1ExxonMobil and its employees contributed more than $13.4 million to institutions of higher education across Texas as part of the ExxonMobil Foundation’s 2016 Educational Matching Gift Program.

ExxonMobil employees, retirees, directors and surviving spouses contributed $6 million to 78 Texas colleges and universities, which was matched by more than $7.4 million in unrestricted grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation. Although grants are unrestricted, colleges and universities are encouraged to designate a portion to math and science programs supporting student engagement.

ExxonMobil’s program matches donor pledges on a 3:1 basis up to $7,500 to qualified colleges and universities in the United States, as well as the American Indian College Fund, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund. More than $630 million has been contributed to such American institutions over the more than 50 years the company has offered the Educational Matching Gift Program.

“ExxonMobil’s employees are committed to investing in quality education,” said Ben Soraci, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “The ExxonMobil Foundation has a long history of supporting a range of efforts to improve education in the United States. We hope our contributions and the generous support of ExxonMobil’s employees will help create a stronger future for today’s students.”

Nationwide, more than 850 institutions received more than $50 million through the 2016 Educational Matching Gift Program.

In addition to the Educational Matching Gift Program, ExxonMobil and the ExxonMobil Foundation support and develop programs that encourage students, particularly women and minorities, toward careers in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as teacher training initiatives.

About the ExxonMobil Foundation

The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) in the United States. The foundation and the corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities advancing education, with a focus on math and science in the United States, promoting women as catalysts for economic development and combating malaria. In 2016, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $242 million in contributions worldwide, of which $72 million was dedicated to education.

BMT Launches New Hybrid Approach to Management of Big Data

11logoBMT Scientific Marine Services (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group, the leading international design, engineering and risk management consultancy, has launched its Data Exploration and Analytics Platform for Actionable Insights (DEAP-AI), an initiative driven by over 20 years’ experience of measuring and modelling data for the global oil and gas industry.

DEAP-AI is an intelligent studio capable of processing large and small datasets using a rich set of processing libraries. The solution has been developed with support from a leading IT company, Capgemini and hosted by an industry leading cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS).

BMT’s Soma Maroju, product development leader of DEAP-AI explains: “Our goal with this platform is to unify data acquisition, transmission, quality control, processing, system documentation and exploration of measured and modelled data and in turn, provide near real time access to information. Ultimately, we want to bring all the expert knowledge and data together on this platform. By doing so, we can create actionable insights, such as mooring fatigue damage accumulated over the years, met-ocean analysis, long term trends and even the system status of the monitoring systems to our clients, data analysts, service engineers and user groups with similar requirements.”

A virtual environment, DEAP-AI benefits from a powerful scalable and reliable global computing infrastructure. DEAP-AI is powered by a distributed computing engine, which can process large batches of data, as well as stream real time data. The user interface includes custom charts and screens that are fit for purpose.

Soma continues: “The platform provides customers with a full suite of exploration and analysis tools and a holistic approach to the management and analysis of data. Having taken a modular approach to the software development, it can be applied to multiple operational requirements including jacket integrity, operational met-ocean forecasts and preventative maintenance of safety critical instrumentation.”

The DEAP-AI platform is already being used by operators to monitor near real-time data from the independent remote monitoring systems, which provide critical information, particularly from offshore platforms during hurricanes.

MTS Houston Section - Presentation – May 25, 2017- Comparison of Deepwater Hub Facilities

12 1MTSHoustonlogoOn May 25, 2017, Mark Cizek, Project Manager for Williams, will make a presentation to the MTS Houston Section on deepwater hubs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mark Cizek with Williams will discuss both new and mature hub facilities. He will illustrate his talk by comparing and contrasting the Kodiak tieback to the Devil's Tower truss spar with the Gunflint tieback to the Gulfstar One classic spar. With different commercial arrangements, work scopes and facility ages these two tieback projects offer interesting insights into how a producer might most effectively accomplish a subsea tieback to an existing hub facility. Mark will also discussion commercial aspects, operational arrangements and lessons learned from both projects.

The Gunflint oil field was developed as a long-distance subsea tieback to the Gulfstar One FPS in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Gulfstar One, also known as Tubular Bells, is located 135 miles southeast of New Orleans in 4000 feet of water. It was completed in 2014 and offers a flexible, reliable solution for deepwater producers. At over 21,000 tons, it is the first spar-based floating production systems with major components built entirely in the US. Gulfstar's standard design approach allows customers to reduce their cycle time from discovery to first oil. From sanctioning a project to completion, Gulfstar’s “plug and play” options allow delivery within 30 months.

12 2MTS gulfstar fps gs1 lrGulfstar One. Photo credit: Williams

The Devil’s Tower facility is a truss spar located in Mississippi Canyon Block 773, approximately 150 miles southwest of Mobile, completed in 2003. The facility, also owned by Williams, is capable of producing 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 60 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. In 5,610 ft. of water, this spar is the world’s deepest dry-tree platform. The hull is 586 feet in length, 94 feet in diameter and weighed over 11,000 tons at the time of installation whilst the topside weighs over 9,300 tons. The spar currently hosts production from several satellite fields including Devil’s Tower, Triton/Goldfinger and Kodiak, and has the flexibility to accommodate future subsea tiebacks.

About the Speaker

Mark Cizek joined Williams in 2006 and has held a variety of roles, including Project Manager of the Perdido export pipeline project, as well as Project Director for the construction and installation of the Gulfstar One (Tubular Bells) spar. Mark is currently Vice President and General Manager of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico for Williams, overseeing both onshore and offshore operations, as well as the commercial aspects of both operations. Prior to joining Williams Mark worked for Shell Exploration and Production and Technip.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Systems Engineering from Texas A&M University - Galveston, and a Master of Business Administration from Rice University.

iSURVEY Sees Success in First Quarter of 2017

iSURVEY has reported a strong end to 2016 and a positive first quarter of 2017, including ongoing recruitment due to a string of significant contract wins.

New business this year includes:

  • A three-year, non-exclusive call-off contract with Shell UK Ltd, Shell NAM, Norske Shell and Shell E&P Ireland for the provision of rig positioning and surveying services
  • A four-year contract with Maersk Oil Danish Business Unit, with iSURVEY named the nominated first caller contractor for survey and positioning services
  • A marine construction survey support contract with Solstad Offshore Asia Pacific to support its 2017 pipeline and platform installation programme in Thailand

Part of this growth has also been attributed to iSURVEY’s diversification into the offshore wind sector last year. Having already worked on a number of cable preparation, laying and burial projects in 2016, a significant percentage of iSURVEY’s turnover last year came from renewables projects.

The company is targeting further growth in this sector this year, with Scottish Enterprise’s Strategy Development Project Support helping iSURVEY engage with specialist consultants. This initiative is designed to assist companies identify key operational strategies, projects and high level implementation plans to build competitiveness and achieve growth aspiration.

13iSurvey Andrew McMurtrieAs a result, iSURVEY will be taking on more offshore personnel and a new business development manager, which is set to bolster the UK team by 20%.

Andrew McMurtrie, managing director of iSURVEY

Managing director of iSURVEY Offshore, Andrew McMurtrie, said: “Our outlook for 2017 is positive based on the success we have already experienced in Q1, and in the last few months of 2016. As well as a steady level of international work, projects and long-term contracts in the North Sea are also increasing.

“We believe that this recent success is down to the fact we remain an independent business with a team which always delivers, and a reputation for providing a cost-conscious service which is centred on quality.

“We have a very strong track record in the oil and gas subsea sector, particularly within our cable installation and burial business line in Norway, and this experience has transitioned well into the offshore wind cable installation sector, where we see great potential.

“As well as retaining a significant number of our clients, we have also seen many return after weathering the storm of the last couple of years. Our team is feeling optimistic about what 2017 will offer and we look forward to continued work with clients old and new.”

AMETEK Solidstate Controls Launches SlimLine Product Enhancements for Offshore Oil Rigs

14AMTEK 20kVA DPP Slim AMETEK Solidstate Controls, Inc. (SCI), a leading manufacturer of highly customized uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, announced the first release of its SlimLine product line enhancement, designed to meet the highly specialized need for smaller UPS units for offshore oil and gas rigs.

AMETEK SCI’s SlimLine cabinet design has the smallest footprint in the industrial UPS industry. That design can be applied across many of AMETEK SCI’s product lines, including its Digital ProcessPower (DPP) UPS, industrial digital battery chargers/rectifiers (DCR), bypass solutions and stand-alone Digital ProcessPower inverters (DPI).

“To meet our customer’s demands, SCI engineers have implemented the SlimLine cabinet design on many of our major product lines without sacrificing the existing quality and integrity of AMETEK SCI products and their features,” says Dan Huey, SCI Product Manager. “In the offshore drilling market, as well as in many other applications where saving space is saving money, the SlimLine products are a perfect fit.”

AMETEK SCI’s new SlimLine product enhancement allows for more efficient operations within the oil and gas market, while maximizing the limited square footage on drilling platforms where space is at a premium. SlimLine products provide the same continuous, clean, regulated power as the existing larger AMETEK units.

TWMA Accelerates Growth with New Strategic Ownership

15TWMAThe international drilling waste management and solutions provider TWMA has secured an important strategic partnership and substantial investment from Buckthorn Partners.

The undisclosed funding package from Buckthorn, a specialist oil field services investment firm, will allow TWMA to accelerate its plans for global growth and product and service expansion, and invest further into research and development.

Ronnie Garrick will continue as Chief Executive Officer of TWMA. Tony Branch will join the management team to support the planned development, growth and expansion of the business. Prior to joining TWMA, Tony was President of Regional Operations at Weatherford where he was also an Officer of the company. Nicholas Gee from Buckthorn Partners joins the company as Chairman.

Ronnie Garrick said: “We are very pleased to welcome Buckthorn as investors – it will allow us to embark on the next stage of our global growth plans. Our commitment to research and product and service development is key to our success and this investment ensures TWMA will continue to provide revolutionary technologies and industry leading solutions. We are delighted to have Tony joining our team and are really looking forward to working with him on further building TWMA.”

Established in 2000 and with over 500 staff, TWMA has become recognised internationally for providing specialist drilling waste and environmental solutions that reduce drilling costs and maximise operational effectiveness. The company has offices and service bases in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, West Africa and the Americas.

Ronnie continued: “Securing this investment demonstrates confidence in our business and TWMA’s ability to develop our offering on a global scale. Despite the downturn, we’ve grown significantly over the past few years, particularly in the Middle East, which is testament to our commitment to continually innovate, invest and grow.”

Tony Branch commented: “This initial investment, together with access to further capital, will allow the company to expand its expertise and its geographical footprint, ensuring we continue to offer the safest and most effective drilling waste solutions to the industry. Our international expansion plans in new and existing regions are crucial for long-term sustainable growth and the TWMA team look forward to driving these further.”

Commenting on the investment, Nicholas Gee, Partner at Buckthorn said: “As a leader in the provision of drilling waste management solutions, TWMA has built a strong international profile, centred on a clear commitment to high quality and tailored client solutions that drive effective and efficient operations for customers. Our objective is to further develop the business both organically and through M&A to expand further geographically and bring new products and services that will add further value to our customers.”

The institutions supporting this Buckthorn transaction include BMO Global Asset Management (EMEA), Souter Investments Limited and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Presserv Group Announces £1.5m Contract and New Hires at OTC

16Presserv Allan Duham 6Leading corrosion specialist Presserv Group announced at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston that is has secured a £1.5 million contract for corrosion control on platform risers from a Norwegian operator. The year-long contract, along with other recent contract successes, has also led to the creation of seven new positions across the company’s UK, Norway and Singapore operations – including three in Scotland.

Brian Reid, recognized as a leading authority on coatings, will join the company in May in the newly-created role of operations manager in Presserv’s Aberdeen office. A 30-year veteran of the fabric maintenance industry, Brian has previously worked for Wood Group and Shell, and will work with the company to support business growth.

A field supervisor based out of Aberdeen and a business development executive in the central belt will also join the UK team, alongside operations managers and sales staff in the firm’s Norway and Singapore arms.

These newly created positions will strengthen Presserv’s operations and allow the company to increase its operations in the preservation sector, while expanding further into above-ground storage tank (AST) preservation, FPSO preservation management and corrosion control.

Managing Director Allan Durham said, “Despite a difficult economic climate for many, the last year has been strong for Presserv in the UK. Following the launch of the Presserv Tank Brigade in late 2016, which enabled us to offer AST corrosion solutions to a range of industries from energy to pharmaceuticals, this new contract has allowed us to expand even further.

“No matter how volatile the market, there is always a need for corrosion prevention. By properly corrosion proofing mobile drilling units, ASTs and other assets, businesses are able to protect their investments, keeping production high and downtime to a minimum.”

Presserv has designed worldwide preservation programs based on vapor phase technology and dehumidification that will protect drill ships, semis, jack-ups and vessels for extended periods in wherever location and lay-up status they are moored, and keep them in a state of readiness with the minimum of mechanical maintenance needed. In addition, the Presserv Tank Brigade uses Cortec Corporation’s Corrologic® and Seal for Life Stopaq® solutions to address issues with above-ground storage tank corrosion.

PIRA Energy Market Recap for the Week Ending May 8, 2017

17PIRALogoEuropean Refinery Margins & Runs Will Remain Healthy Through the Mid-Year

Oil prices are still consolidating but will go over $60 late this year as surplus stocks are drawn down. Refinery margins and runs will stay strong for now, but high gasoline stocks will cap further improvement. Gasoline cracks will ease and diesel cracks will increase in 2H17. HFO cracks will trend a bit lower but still remain relatively firm. European runs will decline in 2H17 with higher expected maintenance and seasonally softening margins.

Key Data Continue to Suggest Broad-based Global Expansion

There were three main takeaways from the latest U.S. labor market data release: first, there are no signs of slowing in the pace of job creation; second, people who are not in the labor force are still not rushing to be a part of it; and third, wages are growing only at a moderate pace. This was a positive release for the U.S. economic outlook, but it may also reignite debate at the Fed about possible overheating in the labor market. This week’s other economic releases (European GDP, and confidence readings from various sources) were also mostly positive.

U.S. Propane Stocks see Second Consecutive Build

Propane stocks increased a meager 16 MB to 39.7 MMB. For the past two weeks, stocks are basically unchanged. The y-o-y deficit continued to widen to 32.2 MMB. This is the seventh consecutive week that y-o-y deficits have increased, largely due to robust exports. The EIA reported that exports declined to 764 thousand barrels, which is the lowest level since early December 2016. Cargos are expected to temporarily remain relatively low in May due to weak arbitrage economics, as well as declining heating demand overseas.

U.S. Ethanol Prices Fall

U.S. ethanol prices were lower the week ending April 28. Manufacturing margins worsened. 2017 D6 RIN values plunged to April 28. Brazil began its 2017/2018 sugarcane harvest in April, but heavy rain limited output. The Latin American country is considering tariff of 17% on U.S. ethanol imports. Hydrous ethanol prices are now competitive with gasoline at the retail level in parts of the Southeast region. European ethanol prices have bottomed and are increasing.

Wheat Tour’s Results Questioned

The 2017 Kansas Wheat Tour barely finished before many started to discount the findings, some entirely. While a somewhat typical response to Tours in general if the results don’t fit a specific narrative, this year’s Tour was hampered by the much-publicized spring snowstorm which resulted in an inordinate amount of subjectivity in the reports. Some have claimed that scouts drove for 90 miles without taking a sample on Wednesday due to poor weather conditions, invalidating the results. From the number of samples taken in the hardest hit areas out west, which were well below normal, that concern seems legitimate.

Fundamentals Warrant Price Support Despite Production Uptick

NYMEX futures prices have held up relatively well this week with the June 2017 contract barely down. Nevertheless, the slow descent from early April highs is largely a factor of the market’s uncertainty surrounding structural tightness — with the latest U.S. production data likely failed to assuage any such concerns. The EIA Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report, reflecting the first pass at February 2017, showed a sizeable ~1.4 BCF/D increase in dry production compared to the prior month, marking the largest sequential gain since 2014. Yet, this month’s “surprise” was not limited to just one side of the ledger; the EIA observed concurrent strengthening on the demand side, in effect expanding the size of the market rather than merely balancing on storage.

U.S. Cargos Steer Clear of Europe Even as Sabine 4 Ramps Up

Atlantic Basin trading maneuvers are set to become more intricate, as more LNG is pushed out of Sabine Pass into the region in a lower priced 2Q/3Q environment. At the same time, keeping gas out of N.W. Europe to support NBP netbacks will remain a priority. Or looked at another way, N.W. European netbacks have not been large enough to secure U.S. cargos, and spot marketers are seeking more attractive markets.

Indian Producer Keeps Gas In House

Reliance Industries (RIL) will sell the natural gas it produces from coal seams in Madhya Pradesh to its own units in Gujarat and Maharashtra. After last month's government decision to give coal bed methane (CBM) producers freedom to discover market price, RIL invited bids from users of gas. Five companies including RIL participated in the bidding process, according to the bid evaluation report the company posted on its website. The bidders besides RIL were Deepak Fertilizer & Petrochemicals Corp Ltd., state-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd and GMR's Rajahmundry and Vemagiri power plants. While RIL bid for using the gas at its petrochemical plants at Patalganga and Nagothane in Maharashtra and Jamnagar in Gujarat, Deepak Fertilizer was a close second.

Warmer Weather Undermined Demand in April, but U.K. Losses Larger than Expected

Demand in April declined by 5% across the largest markets (France, Germany, Italy, Iberian Peninsula and the U.K.), with April this year not as cold as last year, while seasonal factors are also in part to blame. However, the declines reported for the U.K. and, to some extent, France, have been relatively wider than the rest of Europe. The more contained demand losses in Spain and Italy suggest that macroeconomic conditions outside of the U.K. appear relatively stable. While intra-month volatility in temperatures could explain the large fall in French demand, the trend still warrants closer attention in the upcoming months.

Long-Term Gas Demand Rests on Winning a War of Attrition vs. Other Thermals

Even though gas plants will gradually dominate the non-renewable (shrinking) slice of the power generation pie, PIRA does not predict that Western Europe will ever have the gas-to-power demand it achieved in 2008. To reach such heights, gas would have to become over 42% of non-renewable power generation in 2017 – 8% higher than forecasted. For the moment, though, gas is on a trend towards greater dominance in power generation over other thermal technologies, which not only means that fuel switching potential becomes gradually limited, but that gas demand becomes more a function of renewable supplies.

Coal Prices Shift Lower on Weaker Oil Prices

The coal market moved considerably lower this week, with weaker oil prices adding further bearish momentum to the downward correction in coal supply/demand fundamentals. The decline in pricing was particularly acute for prompt FOB Newcastle and FOB Richards Bay prices, flattening their respective forward curves. India’s electricity generation increased by 3.9% year-over-year, although resurgent hydro generation suppressed coal-fired generation growth to just 2.4%, which is not sufficient to stimulate thermal coal imports. U.S. thermal coal exports hit a three year high in March, but should shift lower.

WCI Carbon Market Challenged by Legislative Proposals

WCI carbon prices reset to a higher level after the auction verdict, averaging $14.20 in April. Early May has seen a retreat from end-April levels, as proposed legislation threatens the market framework and the Scoping Plan/Cap and Trade amendments are yet to be finalized. Significant buying needs for CP2 should give the May auction a boost vs. the severe undersubscription in February. However, given that one set of uncertainties has been replaced by another, continued undersubscription is a real possibility.

2Q17 Latin American Gasoline & Diesel Imports Higher

2Q17 Latin American gasoline demand is 35 MB/D lower year-on-year. Mexican demand is slowing, Brazil is flat and Venezuela is down. The diesel market is also softer, we expect 2Q17 consumption to be 40 MB/D lower year-on-year. We see demand picking up again later in the year. Overall Latin American refinery crude runs are forecast to decline year-on-year in 1H17 but improve in 2H17. PIRA estimates Latin American gasoline and diesel imports to be up on the year in 2Q17. Attractive import incentives continue to support high imports of diesel into Brazil, keeping domestic refinery runs unusually low.

Stresses Low, Energy Credit Holding Up

Financial stresses remain extremely low, as evidenced by the St Louis Fed stress indicator continuing to trend down, the DOW breaking above 21,000, and the S&P 500 nudging up against the 2,400 level. Commodities remain soft, particularly energy. However, energy credit indicators are not as soft as cash oil prices might suggest. Price trends in non-energy high yield debt still look positive.

Ethanol Stocks Remained Near Record Levels

U.S. ethanol production fell 1 MB/D the week ending April 28 to 986 MB/D, matching the six-month low achieved three weeks earlier. Output outside of the Midwest was just 68 MB/D, the lowest since June 2014. Total inventories fell by 56 thousand barrels to 23.3 million barrels as East Coast stocks retreated from a five-year high. Ethanol-blended gasoline manufacture dipped to 9,203 MB/D from a 2017-high 9,220 MB/D in the preceding week.

Crude Stocks Fall on High Refinery Runs, Syncrude Fire

U.S. crude stocks declined in April, for the first time this year, falling 8 million barrels as refinery crude runs topped 17 MMB/D – a full 1 MMB/D higher than last year. Cushing stocks also fell, 2 million barrels, on higher shipments out to the Gulf Coast and to the Midwest, where refiners had to replace sweet crude supplies following the fire at Syncrude’s oil sands facility in March. Western Canadian stocks also fell in April, as the Syncrude shutdown affected both light and heavy supplies – the latter due to the need for synthetic light crude in bitumen synbit blends.

Global Equities at or Near Record Highs....

Again, most equity tracking indices posted a positive week. The broad U.S. market set another record high. Banking, technology, and retailing indices did the best, while energy was the only sector giving ground. International indices were also mostly higher, with Europe doing the best, though China eased.

Fracking Policy Monitor

The opening months of the Trump administration have been positive for industry as federal regulations have been rolled back. The EPA has withdrawn its request for data on methane emissions and has temporarily stayed implementation while the rules are reevaluated. The BLM intends to let its well integrity rules die in the court system. In response, states and localities are tightening their own regulations. PIRA expects further loosening at the federal level and further tightening at state and local levels. However, the primary oil producing states such as Texas and North Dakota are expected to remain friendly to industry and not tighten regulations further.

U.S. Commercial Stocks Flat with Last Year

Overall commercial stocks built 1.3 million barrels with another disappointing crude stock draw, at just 0.9 million barrels, which was more than offset by a product build. Adjusted product demand continues to grow at about 2.4% (or 470 MB/D) year-on-year in the latest four weeks. Cushing crude inventories drew 0.7 million barrels. Crude stocks should show a larger decline next week, but the major light products are forecast to build.

Heavy North Sea Maintenance Forecast for Q2 and Q3

PIRA forecasts another year of heavy maintenance in the North Sea in 2017. Oil production loss due to maintenance is expected to rise to 230 MB/D in Q2 and 360 MB/D in Q3, up from 40 MB/D in Q1. Maintenance will taper at the end of the year to 100 MB/D in Q4.

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.

Zinke Signs Orders Implementing America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

1DOI ZinkeOn the stage of the Offshore Technology Conference, flanked by men and women who work on offshore oil and gas platforms, Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed two secretarial orders aimed at unleashing America’s offshore energy potential and growing the U.S. economy. The first order implements President Trump’s Executive Order signed Friday and directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop a new five-year plan for oil and gas exploration in offshore waters and reconsider a number of regulations governing those activities. The second order establishes a new position – Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy – to coordinate the Interior Department’s energy portfolio that spans nine of the Department’s ten bureaus.

"Following through on the leadership established by President Trump, today's orders will help cement our Nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy independence and security for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that this development is safe and environmentally responsible," Secretary Zinke told industry representatives at the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. "We will conduct a thorough review of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for oil and gas exploration and listen to state and local stakeholders. We also will conduct a thorough review of regulations that were created with good intentions but have had harmful impacts on America's energy security."

Secretarial Order 3550 directs BOEM to immediately develop a new "Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program" with full consideration given to leasing the OCS offshore Alaska, mid- and south-Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico. It also directs BOEM to work with the Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service to expedite authorization requests for seismic surveys, particularly for new or resubmitted permitting applications in the Atlantic to understand the extent of America's energy potential. The Secretary's order also directs prompt completion of the Notice to Lessees No. 2016-N01 dated September 12, 2016, and ceases all activities to promulgate the proposed "Offshore Air Quality Control, Reporting, and Compliance Rule." The order also directs BOEM and BSEE to review a host of other rules and report progress within 21 days.

"We're going to look at everything and make sure the policies are appropriate for each local community, rather than force a Washington-driven one-size-fits-all plan," said Zinke "There's no predetermined map of development, but if there are areas that are acceptable, that have resources, and states and local communities support offshore development, we could include those area in the next 5-Year Program."

As a featured speaker at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, TX, on Offshore Energy Policies: Harnessing the Full Potential of America’s Offshore, Zinke highlighted that OCS production currently accounts for about 18 percent of domestic crude oil and 4 percent of domestic natural gas supply. In Fiscal Year 2016, federal leasing revenues for the OCS were about $2.8 billion. By contrast, in 2008 federal leasing revenues for the OCS were nearly $18 billion dollars. "That's a drop of more than $15 billion that would otherwise go to the Treasury or toward funding important conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund," Zinke noted.

"Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will play vital roles in this expansive energy policy," Zinke noted while discussing the importance of strengthening frontline staffs to help them work closer with industry and communities. "We are committed to fuller cooperation with the offshore industry and coastal communities to expand responsible energy development while holding industry accountable to strict safety and environmental protections."

BSEE engineers work with offshore operators to carefully review and introduce new technology and ensure that operations remain safe and are conducted responsibly. BSEE inspectors conduct more than 19,000 inspections a year to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible operation of nearly 2,400 offshore oil and gas drilling and production facilities and 27,000 miles of pipeline.

Of the 1.7 billion acres on the OCS, only 16.9 million acres are leased for oil and gas development with 4.4 million of those acres (885 blocks) producing oil and gas. About 97 percent of all OCS leases are currently in the Gulf of Mexico. BOEM estimates the U.S. OCS has about 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas. The Gulf of Mexico, covering 160 million acres of the OCS, has an estimated 48.46 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 141.76 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas.

BP Finds Significant Additional Resources in the Gulf of Mexico

2BP AtlantisFieldBP has announced a major breakthrough in seismic imaging that has identified more than 200 million barrels of additional resources at BP’s Atlantis field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. As a result of this early success, BP now is deploying this technique to fields elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico as well as in Azerbaijan, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The innovation has enabled BP to enhance the clarity of images that it collects during seismic surveys, particularly areas below the earth’s surface that complex salt structures previously obscured or distorted. The sharper seismic images mean that BP can drill new development wells in deepwater reservoirs with higher confidence and accuracy.

“This technological breakthrough has essentially allowed our team to find a new oil field within our existing Atlantis field,” said Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP’s global upstream business. “Given the overwhelming success of this project, we are now deploying this technology across BP’s global operations.”

Proprietary algorithms developed by BP’s Subsurface Technical Center were applied on seismic data run at BP’s Center for High Performance Computing, one of the largest supercomputers in the world dedicated to commercial research. The algorithms allowed data that would normally take a year to be analyzed to be processed in only a few weeks, accelerating BP’s development decisions for the field.

The algorithms enhance a technique known as Full Waveform Inversion (FWI), which matches seismic simulations with existing seismic data to produce high quality subsurface images.

“This innovation again shows that BP remains at the forefront of advanced seismic imaging and digital technologies,” said Ahmed Hashmi, BP’s head of upstream technology. “The new technique has produced the best images of this reservoir that we have ever seen.”

About BP

Over the past 10 years, BP has invested $90 billion in the U.S. – more than any other energy company. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 14,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 130,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Kongsberg Maritime and Stress Engineering Services Form Strategic Alliance to Serve Offshore Drilling and Production Market

3stress engineering 700x352Kongsberg Maritime Inc., the North American division of Norway headquartered marine and offshore technology company Kongsberg Maritime, and Houston headquartered Stress Engineering Services (SES) have formed a strategic alliance to better serve existing and new clients with cost effective engineering services and fully integrated technical solutions within offshore drilling and floating production systems.

By combining Stress Engineering Services' wide-ranging engineering expertise within all aspects of offshore drilling with the extensive footprint of KONGSBERG Dynamic Positioning (DP) and automation systems within the existing Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) fleet, the alliance can offer integrated services, systems and support to drilling contractors, oil & gas companies, original equipment manufacturers and other manufacturers in the upstream sector, covering all stages of a drilling and workover operation from planning, execution, post operations and condition-based maintenance.

Kongsberg Maritime and Stress Engineering Services will together improve and develop new functionality for the KONGSBERG real time Riser Management System (RMS) with focus on riser and wellhead fatigue in addition to enabling improved efficiency of drilling and workover operations. The RMS is fully integrated with other KONGSBERG systems installed on MODUs including K-Pos DP, K-Chief marine automation, acoustic systems and the KONGSBERG Information Management System (K-IMS), for data aggregation, data analytics and remote access and monitoring. Stress Engineering Services will provide enabling technology such as their Subsea Vibration Data Loggers (SVDL) and Realtime Fatigue Monitoring System (RFMS) to assess riser and wellhead fatigue.

Kongsberg Maritime and Stress Engineering Services will also cooperate in the area of floating production systems. KONGSBERG's experience within the design and analysis of flexible riser and umbilical systems will be combined with SES' riser expertise within floating production systems for both green field and brown field applications.

"We are pleased to have joined forces with Stress Engineering Services, a well-established expert engineering company in the oil & gas sector," said Jon Holvik, president, Kongsberg Maritime Inc. "We believe that together we can better leverage the unique competencies, technologies and products offered by KONGSBERG and Stress Engineering Services to serve our clients with smarter and more cost-effective services and solutions."

"Offshore operators and drilling contractors are looking for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs," said Chuck Miller, vice-president of Stress Engineering Services. "By working with KONGSBERG, we can together provide drilling system services that empower engineers to more efficiently make informed decisions in the ever-more challenging offshore drilling environments."

Rolls-Royce to Provide Mooring System for Statoil’s Oil Platform Njord A

Rolls-Royce has been chosen by Norway-based engineering and construction services firm Kvaerner to provide a mooring system for Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil’s oil platform, Njord A.

4RollsRoyce Nord AStatoil’s Njord A Platform

Njord A is being upgraded by Kvaerner and Rolls-Royce has been chosen to provide an upgrade to its mooring system. The contract has a value of about £15 million.

Njord A is a semisubmersible floating steel platform, with an integrated deck with drilling and processing facilities, as well as living quarters. It is normally located in the Njord oilfield, around 130 km northwest of the city Kristiansund and 30 km west of the Draugen field.

Today Njord A has a 12-point mooring system which will be upgraded to a modern 17-point system. Rolls-Royce will supply low pressure hydraulic driven winches, fairleads and a control system. The semisubmersible four-column production platform will be moored at about 330m water depth. The delivery from Rolls-Royce is scheduled for 2018. The platform is planned to be back in operation offshore in 2020 and to operate for another 20 years.

The platform upgrade is part of a project Statoil has named “Njord Future,” intended to prolong the lifespan of the Njord field.

Knut Hovland, Rolls-Royce, Director of Customer & Services – Marine, said: “We are proud to be part of this extensive upgrade program. It is the first time in the Norway’s history as an oil producing country that a platform is being towed to shore for an extensive upgrade. Previous upgrades have been done offshore.”

Njord A was originally delivered in 1997 by the organization which is today Kvaerner. The topside was produced at Stord, while the hull was fabricated at Verdal, both on the west coast of Norway. The platform was towed offshore only 28 months after cutting of the first steel plates.

Houston Technology Company Helps Major Operator Hear New Depths During Completion

5 1XACT LogoXACT Downhole Telemetry, in conjunction with a major operator in the Gulf of Mexico, recently completed a multi-run completion deployment with real-time data coverage from a record-breaking depth of over 30,000 feet onsite in the Gulf of Mexico.

Working with the operator’s completion operations, XACT’s acoustic network successfully provided real-time data throughout multiple runs giving the operator insight into critical downhole conditions allowing for an optimal completion installation.

5 2XACTUsing XACT’s proprietary acoustic telemetry network, the operator was able to make informed decisions based upon actual downhole measurements throughout the completion. The real-time downhole data confirmed critical tool settings, gun firing and actual valve positions. Additionally downhole pressure and temperature data allowed for real time decisions that directly impacted the frac pack execution. These and other downhole and along string insights helped the operator to achieve their goal of a more reliable, efficient and productive completion in extremely challenging conditions.

“We are thrilled by the results we have received from this project,” said Jason Roe, President and CEO of XACT. “This milestone is another example of the insight XACT’s technology can give operators during complex situations downhole. We are grateful to the operator and their team for this opportunity.”

Speedcast Becomes First Tampnet Partner for 4G/LTE Service in the Gulf of Mexico

6tampnet reseller 2 e1493236712502Sydney, Australia, April 26, 2017 – Speedcast International Limited (ASX: SDA), the world’s most trusted provider of highly reliable, fully managed, remote communication and IT solutions, announced it has signed a reseller agreement with Tampnet for 4G/LTE services in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement marks Speedcast as the first service provider to partner with Tampnet for its high capacity offshore network in the region.

Tampnet announced in March that it has reached 25 percent of its planned coverage for the Gulf of Mexico. Upon completion at the end of 2018, Tampnet will have a low latency, high capacity fiber and microwave network made up of more than 60 base stations that they estimate will cover 98 percent of all manned offshore assets. Tampnet currently owns a similarly designed offshore low-latency network in the North Sea which has been in operation since 2001. Offshore LTE has been available in the North Sea since 2013.

“Speedcast has been a partner of Tampnet in the North Sea for 15 years and we’ve seen firsthand the value that they bring to offshore communications,” said Keith Johnson, SVP Energy, Speedcast. “Their robust, redundant network complements the core communications technologies that we provide to our customers operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Speedcast remains committed to providing innovative services to keep our customers reliably connected and this agreement represents one more step we are taking to ensure we’re delivering the solution that best fits their needs.”

Tampnet’s new Gulf of Mexico network comes at a time when the oil and gas industry is looking to advancements in communications to help better support the operations of offshore platforms, increase safety measures and improve crew morale. Additionally, the network is being designed to provide ample fiber-based LTE coverage for deep-water exploration activities which represents a first for the Gulf of Mexico. The LTE network will be supported by the largest high-capacity, low-latency backhaul network in the Gulf of Mexico – based on state-of-the-art, carrier-grade microwave equipment and the only offshore fiber network in the Gulf of Mexico, making the LTE network and services offering truly unique.

Speedcast has more than three decades of experience in managing communications for businesses with offshore operations. Beyond core voice, data and internet, Speedcast provides services such as cybersecurity, remote video streaming, IPTV and more. Speedcast will leverage Tampnet’s Gulf of Mexico high-capacity network as part of its connectivity portfolio to support current and future services.

“We truly value the long-term relationship we have with Speedcast, the leading player in offshore telecommunications,” said Per Helge Svensson, CEO, Tampnet. “The dedicated people at Speedcast have really shown they are pragmatic in terms of choice of telecommunications infrastructure – always in the best interest of their customers. Extending our relationship with them to include our Gulf of Mexico infrastructure services is a great milestone that we are confident will accelerate our mutual growth in the region.”

Bourbon Awarded Contract for Mooring Installation of First Floating Wind Turbine in France

BOURBON has been awarded a contract for the mooring installation of the first floating wind turbine in France at the experimental test site of SEM-REV managed by Ecole Centrale de Nantes (ECN), in the context of European project FLOATGEN*. This project reinforces the group’s know-how on the market of renewable energy.

7Bourbon FloatgenPhoto credit: FLOATGEN

The mooring installation will take place during summer 2017 based on a method jointly established by BOURBON and Ideol’s engineering teams in collaboration with the Ecole Centrale de Nantes. The wind turbine will be installed at the SEM-REV site near Le Croisic, France, by the end of the year. BOURBON’s Subsea Services team will be responsible for the project management, mooring installation and engineering, bringing a wealth of experience in mooring operations. An AHTS (Anchor Handling Tug Supply) vessel and ROVs will be used for the pre-tensioning of the mooring system.

“This project demonstrates BOURBON teams’ commitment to offer integrated solutions in all offshore and subsea marine services areas and work towards the development of tomorrow’s energy resources. We are proud to be part of this project and to support the Centrale Nantes’ team at SEM-REV”, said Patrick Belenfant, BOURBON’s Senior VP Subsea Services.

* FLOATGEN is a wind turbine with concrete float designed by Ideol and currently under construction at Saint-Nazaire port by Bouygues Travaux Publics

OEG Offshore and Paragon Industries Inc. Announce Merger

OEG Offshore, a leading global provider of cargo carrying units (CCUs) and A60 modules to the oil and gas industry, announces the merger of its US business with long established Louisiana based cargo unit and logistics specialist Paragon Industries, Inc.

The multi-million dollar merger confirms the combined OEG business as one of the leading offshore container suppliers serving the Gulf of Mexico. The deal expands OEG’s US fleet by over 1,400 units and includes a number of new container designs as well as extending OEG’s current Gulf Coast presence to a number of new full service locations. All of Paragon’s 14 experienced staff will join with OEG’s US based employees.

8OEG Image for Media Release Leonard J Guarisco Paragon President CEO 2May2017Leonard J Guarisco - Paragon President & CEO

“Paragon Industries is confident that its merger with OEG Offshore will result in a new, united ability to offer an increased breadth and depth of complimentary product offerings and service capabilities to meet our customers’ requirements. This merger will not only support ongoing working relationships with our existing customer bases, but will provide a more efficient and effective enterprise to continue to provide and improve its quality level of service across a broader scope of needs.,” said Paragon President & CEO, Leonard J. Guarisco, Jr.

Founded in 1987 by Leonard J. Guarisco, Snr., father of the current Paragon President & CEO, Leonard J. Guarisco, Jr., Paragon has serviced the Gulf coast’s day-to-day cargo movements between land and sea from its principal facility in Morgan City as well as multiple stocking yards covering the whole US Gulf Coast from Texas to Alabama.

Paragon provides a range of cargo carrying units including baskets, containers, pallet and gang boxes, gas cylinder racks and cargo transporters certified to the internationally recognized standards of DNV 2.7-1/EN 12079/IMO 860/SEPco OPS0055 and API RP 2A for sale and rental.

“We are delighted to align with Leonard and the Paragon team to develop our product range in the US Gulf of Mexico market and believe that with the similar culture and service ethos of OEG and Paragon that we shall achieve a rapid integration of the two companies and provide rapid benefits to our expanded customer base.” said OEG Offshore Chief Executive John Heiton.

OEG Offshore’s range of over 27,000 DNV 2.7-1 containers, baskets, cuttings and waste skips, workshops and offshore tanks as well as A60 engineering cabins are available worldwide across the 35 countries where OEG Offshore operates. OEG Offshore offers its full range of equipment, as well as bespoke design service for customized requirements, with a variety of flexible purchase or funding options including a fully managed rental, long term lease, lease purchase or outright sale basis.

OEG Offshore has continued its growth strategy through the industry downturn with ongoing expansion into new geographic and product offerings as it expands operations across Europe, Africa, Middle East, Caspian, Asia as well as the Americas. Recent acquisitions include the AOR Container Group in 2016, opening up Norway and other African regions as well as Cameron Rental & Tank in 2015, developing the US cargo unit market.

Harvey Gulf Delivers 4th LNG Powered Vessel

9HarveyFreedomHarvey Gulf International Marine announced that it has accepted delivery of its fourth LNG-powered Offshore Supply Vessel. The M/V HARVEY FREEDOM, built at Gulf Coast Shipyard Group in Gulfport, MS is 310’ x 64’ x 24.5’, U.S. Flagged Subchapter I and L, SOLAS compliant and capable of carrying 253,000 USG of Fuel Oil, 18,000 Bbls of Liquid Mud, 1,600 Bbls of Methanol, 10,250ft3 of Dry Cement and 78,000 USG of LNG fuel.

In addition to being powered by cleaner burning natural gas, the vessel is “ENVIRO+, Green Passport” certified by ABS, making her, and her sister ships, the most environmental friendly OSV’s in the Gulf of Mexico.

The HARVEY FREEDOM will be based out of Port Fourchon, LA and will immediately begin a five-year charter with a major oil and gas company.

Mr. Shane Guidry, Chairman and CEO of Harvey Gulf, commented “The delivery of the Harvey Freedom and commencement of her five-year charter shows Harvey Gulf’s continued commitment to the environment and the success of LNG power in our industry.”

Collaborative Approach Delivers Major Step Forward in Vessel Monitoring Services

10Marine Monitoring Image 2Leading supply base operator ASCO has joined forces with Ultra Electronics to deliver an important step forward in vessel monitoring services.

Working in collaboration with Ultra Electronics Surveillance & Security Systems (ULTRA), ASCO has been awarded a major, long-term contract by an international operator for the provision of integrated collision avoidance monitoring which improves marine safety.

Thanks to the alliance, Ultra Electronics will use multiple platform-based radar early warning systems (REWS) to detect and gather vessel data to address the risks posed to offshore installations by marine traffic. This data will then be sent onshore to be centrally monitored and co-ordinated by ASCO’s control room team which includes master mariners providing a 24/7, 365 day a year service. The data will also be tracked by offshore platforms and Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs).

ASCO UK CEO Craig Lennox commented: “This announcement is particularly timely in view of the ongoing efforts by the Marine Safety Forum’s 500m safety zone industry work group. Ultimately, our goal is to combine existing radar capability and supplement it with the innovative technology and skill of both organisations to create an interconnected network for the North Sea vessel market – and that is a very exciting prospect.

”Craig Revie of Ultra Electronics added: “By partnering with ASCO, we are offering an innovative partnership which will deliver significant benefits across the life of the project. Providing monitoring and safety systems that reduce manpower and increase opportunities for the efficient deployment of assets, ULTRA hope to expand this approach to other offshore operators in the North Sea and other regions to support cost saving during these challenging times.”

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Offshore Technical Compliance Acquires Northwest Technical Solutions

11OTC logoOffshore Technical Compliance (OTC), the industry leader in compliance related services, has acquired Northwest Technical Solutions (NWTS) as a wholly-owned subsidiary, extending the efficiency and reach of its offshore services.

The acquisition of NWTS, which will be renamed as OTC Solutions, adds third party verification of compliance for well control equipment by a registered professional engineering firm to OTC’s portfolio, enabling its customers to access the full spectrum of compliance related services under the OTC brand.

OTC now operates out of offices in Houston and Covington, LA.

“With OTC Solutions, OTC can now provide more offshore services with a smaller footprint and cost,” said Mike Bethea, CEO, OTC. “Compliance inspection, predictive digital pressure testing through our GREENLIGHT software and third party verification of compliance can be provided by our integrated team of inspectors and surveyors. On a deepwater project, these services typically require four or five people; now we will be able to provide these services with two or three,” he explained.

Doug Foster, vice president operations, NWTS, said, “We are looking forward to joining forces with OTC. We believe that together, our valuable new approach to compliance service delivery will reduce costs and improve service quality for all operators in the GoM and beyond.”