Noble Energy Announces Appraisal Drilling and Flow Test Results Offshore Republic of Cyprus

NobleEnergylogoNoble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announces that the A-2 appraisal well drilled on the Block 12 discovery offshore the Republic of Cyprus has successfully encountered approximately 120 feet of net natural gas pay within the targeted Miocene-aged sand intervals.  The Cyprus A-2 well, which is more than four miles northeast of the A-1 discovery location, was drilled to a total depth of 18,865 feet in 5,575 feet of water.

Production testing procedures were performed over a 39-foot section of the upper Miocene reservoir.  The test, limited by surface equipment, yielded a maximum flow rate of 56 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of natural gas.  Performance modeling indicates development wells in the reservoir should have capacity to deliver up to 250 Mmcf/d.  Evaluation of drilling data, wireline logs and reservoir performance information has resulted in an updated estimate of gross resources of the field ranging(1) from 3.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas to 6 Tcf, with a mean of approximately 5 Tcf.  The Cyprus A structure represents the third largest field discovered to date within the Deepwater Levant Basin.

Keith Elliott, Noble Energy's Senior Vice President, Eastern Mediterranean, commented, "Results from the Cyprus A-2 well have confirmed substantial recoverable natural gas resources and high reservoir deliverability.  While the A-2 location has successfully defined the northern area of the discovery, we anticipate additional appraisal activities are necessary to further refine the ultimate recoverable resources and optimize field development planning.  In the meantime, we continue to identify and advance multiple development options.  In addition to the Cyprus A discovery, we are also encouraged about the further exploration potential in Block 12.  We have recently completed a 1,100 square mile 3D seismic acquisition, which will be interpreted over the next several months." 

Noble Energy operates Block 12 offshore the Republic of Cyprus with a 70 percent working interest.  Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration each have 15 percent working interest. 

Noble Energy plans to move the Ensco 5006 drilling rig to Tamar SW, offshore Israel, at the completion of operations offshore Cyprus.  The Tamar SW well, testing an exploration prospect offsetting the main Tamar field, is expected to reach total depth by the end of 2013.  Noble Energy operates Tamar SW with a 36 percent working interest.   

(1)  Range of resource estimate based on 75th and 25th percentile probabilities


Tax Incentives to Boost Malaysian Oil Production, but Further Fiscal Changes Unlikely in the Short Term, says GlobalData

GlobaldatabluelogoA decline in production among Malaysia’s shallow-water reserves has prompted the country to shift its focus towards new development opportunities in deepwater areas and marginal fields. However, incentives designed to attract investors have only recently been introduced, indicating that further fiscal changes are unlikely to come soon, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. 

The company’s latest report* states that as most of Malaysia’s oil production has historically come from shallow-water areas, the government has been pushed to introduce a number of tax incentives this year to help improve the attractiveness of the country’s fiscal terms and promote further development activity.

Under Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), marginal fields – defined by reserves of up to 30 million barrels of oil, or 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas – are subject only to petroleum income tax at a rate of 25% instead of the usual rate of 35%.

Meanwhile, under Risk Service Contracts (RSCs), which are also offered for marginal fields, contractors only pay a corporate income tax of 25%, rather than the petroleum income tax.

GlobalData believes that the additional investment allowance introduced by recent legislation should prove to be a significant improvement to Malaysia’s fiscal regime.

Jonathan Lacouture, GlobalData’s Lead Analyst for the Asia-Pacific region, says: “Numerous measures have been involved in the government’s drive to increase production from its marginal fields. Since the introduction of RSCs in 2011, there have been two forms of contract into which investors may enter, and this, combined with reductions in the tax liability afforded to marginal fields under 2013 legislation for PSCs, should increase the attractiveness of investment opportunities.”

However, due to these recent changes to Malaysia’s fiscal terms, it is expected that any further alterations will be unlikely over the next few years.

If the terms do not achieve their desired investment amounts in the medium to long term, the government may decide to make additional changes, but this will depend on short to medium-term results. It is most probable that terms will remain stable until the effects of these recent policies can be assessed,concludes Lacouture.

*Malaysia Upstream Fiscal and Regulatory Report


Fairmount Fuji Assisted Saipem in Congolese Waters

Saipem11Fairmount Marine’s multipurpose vessel Fairmount Fuji has assisted Italian contractor Saipem with her operations offshore Congo. Fairmount Fuji has performed several cargo runs between Siapem’s Boscongo yard in Pointe Noire and the offshore Congo moored drilling ship Siapem 1000.

Fairmount Fuji also took care of the transport of Saipem crew.

Drilling ship Saipem 1000, a 5th generation drilling ship for ultra deepwater operations, was moored offshore Congo pending her next assignment. Fairmount Marine was contracted to assist in the crew change and in the transfer of cargo. Fairmount Fuji transported around 150 personnel to and from the ship.

Fairmount Fuji is equipped with a spacious 280 square meters deck.This makes her ideal for the transport of goods.

Fairmount Marine is a marine contractor for ocean towage and heavy lift transportation, headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Fairmount’s fleet of tugs consists of five modern super tugsof 205 tons bollard pull each, especially designed for long distance towing, a multipurpose support vessel and a large submersible transport barge. Fairmount Marine is part of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group.


Nigeria's Hydrocarbon Sector Continues to Struggle Amid a Worsening Political and Business Environment


Business Monitor has just released its latest findings on Nigeria’s volatile oil and gas sector in its newly-published Nigeria Oil and Gas Report.

The report notes that Nigeria's hydrocarbon sector continues to struggle amid a worsening political and business environment. Most recently, Chevron’s decision to move out of the OKLNG project signals that even the large upside potential of the Nigerian gas market is not sufficient to offset the degradation in investor sentiment. The weak output flows in 2012 were the consequence of flooding, repeated oil thefts and regulatory uncertainty. Business Monitor expects continued feeble production from 2013 and for the following two years. They note that output should ramp up more significantly as many large fields come online after 2014, more than offsetting current depletion. Adoption of the Petroleum Industry Bill, which they expect around Q413-Q114, would, Business Monitor believe, be a strong signal for investors that Nigeria's hydrocarbons sector is ready to move forward.

The main trends and developments Business Monitor highlight for Nigeria's oil & gas sector are as follows:

■ China agreed on a US$1.1bn loan deal with Nigeria bearing a very advantageous interest rate. In

exchange, the West African country will allow the lender to get a privileged access to natural resources

including oil. Business Monitor expect that, as such, further deals could be an occasion for Nigeria to revive its oil and gas sector by boosting export potential for producers.

■ Chevron decided to withdraw from the OKLNG project following the path Shell adopted last year. This brings another blow to Nigeria's gas market limiting further upside potential for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The report notes, however, that the soon-to-open Escravos GTL plant could help monetise part of the gas currently flared.

■ Disturbances and outages due to oil thieves are continuing throughout 2013, with Shell having declared force majeure on Bonny Light exports several times since the beginning of the year. Business Monitor therefore forecast that 2013 production will be slightly lower than 2012 estimates, reaching 2.50mn barrels per day (b/d).

■ Business Monitor expects oil production to increase from an estimated 2.5mn b/d in 2012 to 2.70mn b/d by 2020, as ambitious projects such as Usan (180,000b/d) peak and Egina (150,000-200,000b/d) come on stream in the coming years.

■ Consumption of crude is forecast to rise at a compound annual rate of 7% year-on-year between 2012 and

2022, boosted by anticipated strong GDP growth. Business Monitor forecast consumption rising from an estimated

252,000b/d in 2012 to 495,000b/d by 2022.

■ Business Monitor forecasts gas production increasing from an estimated 36.4bn cubic metres (bcm) in 2012 to

56.2bcm by 2022, as the authorities and companies reduce the practice of flaring and start monetising associated gas resources.

■ Booming demand from the government's ambitious power sector plans and large export engagements will thus bolster production growth. The report sees Nigerian gas consumption rising from an estimated 5.8bcm in 2012 to 15.0bcm by 2022.

■ Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) is aiming to more than double its annual production of LNG, from 22mn tonnes per annum (tpa), or 30.36bcm, to over 52mn tpa (71.76bcm). This was announced on September 19 2012, at a forum of LNG producers and consumers held in Japan. Group Nigeria managing director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, gave no deadline as to when this target would be met, but he did clarify that new LNG projects in Nigeria will help the company meet this goal.

■ In October 2012 Nigeria's Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, announced that the government is planning to direct more than US$1.6bn towards the repair of three of its refineries. The maintenance work started in late 2012 and is due for completion in October 2014. The three refineries are located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna. The Port Harcourt refinery is currently halted indefinitely, as oil thieves damaged the feeding pipeline in early 2013.

Business Monitor is a leading, independent provider of proprietary data, analysis, ratings, rankings and forecasts covering 195 countries and 24 industry sectors. It offers a comprehensive range of products and services designed to help senior executives, analysts and researchers assess and better manage operating risks, and exploit business opportunities.

Keep up-to-date with Business Monitor's latest Oil & Gas insights here



Transmontaigne Partners L.P. Announces Commercial Startup of New BOSTCO Oil Terminal on Houston Ship Channel

TransMontaignelogoTransMontaigne Partners L.P. (NYSE:TLP) has announced commercial operations are underway for phase one at the 185-acre Battleground Oil Specialty Terminal Company, LLC (BOSTCO) on the Houston Ship Channel. Approximately 20 of the 51 storage tanks being built during phase one construction are being placed into service this month, and the remaining tanks will come online during the next six months. A two-berth ship dock and 12 barge berths are also scheduled to be in service this month.

A joint venture of TLP (which owns a 42.5 percent interest in the facility) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP), the approximately $485 million BOSTCO oil terminal at mile marker 43 on the Houston Ship Channel is fully subscribed for a total capacity of 7.1 million barrels and is able to handle ultra low sulfur diesel, residual fuels and other black oil terminal services.

Phase two of construction at BOSTCO is underway and involves the construction of an additional six, 150,000-barrel, ultra low sulfur diesel tanks, additional pipeline connectivity and high-speed loading at a rate of 25,000 barrels per hour. BOSTCO expects phase two to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2014.

"We are pleased to announce the commencement of operations of the BOSTCO facility, which provides the market with a unique, deepwater terminaling solution that provides high speed loading and improved barge and ship access to the Texas Gulf Coast for the export and import of various refined products," said Charles Dunlap, Chief Executive Officer of TLP’s general partner.

The BOSTCO project is employing approximately 750 local contractors during construction and has hired about 75 full-time employees to operate the facility.


Alaskan Oil - Sunset or New Dawn?

douglas-westwoodBy Steven Kopits, Douglas-Westwood, New York

Alaskan oil production peaked in 1988 at around 2 million bpd and has been falling since, possibly down to 510kbpd this year. Virtually all of this production flows through the 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAPS), to Valdez, in southern Alaska. But TAPS is struggling, operating below a quarter of its capacity, with fears that it will lose its viability below 300kbpd.

In the wake of the run-up in oil prices before the recession, then governor Sarah Palin brought in a 75% tax rate from 2007. This stalled investment and production decline rates increased to nearly 7% from 4% a decade earlier. Alarmed by this, the current governor, Sean Parnell reduced the top tax rate to 35%. This brought promises of investment by BP and ConocoPhillips. However, expectations remain modest, at best to reduce declines to 20kbpd / year from the current 40kbpd pace. If expectations are met, TAPS will reach the 300kbpd threshold in 2024, rather than 2020. Many Alaskans are unimpressed and are forcing a referendum to re-instate the higher tax rates – they see the end of the state’s golden age of oil and want to get all they can, while they can.

On the other hand, Shell has big plans, as much as 1.8 mbpd from Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf, 40% more than Gulf of Mexico production today. But cost to first oil is in the $40-60 bn range, and one has to wonder whether Shell has the fortitude to hold out until initial production in 2025. Indeed, Goldman Sachs spent much of a recent report berating Shell for “overspending in low return assets and unproductive capital”. Shell’s incoming CEO, Ben van Beurden, comes from the chemicals division, where he managed to increase profitability and lower Capex. Will a downstream manager feel the exotic lure of Alaska as much as the upstream team has? Or will he decide that 2025 is just too long for investors who are looking for cash quarter by quarter? Alaskans have good cause to feel nervous.


IHC Engineering Business’ Largest Pipe-Lay Tower Built at Port of Tynes Enters Assembly Phase

ihceb-towerIHC Engineering Business (IHC EB), the designer and manufacturer, installer and commissioner of bespoke equipment for the offshore industries has reached a pivotal point in the construction of a 300t capacity flexible pipe-lay system.

This system is destined for the Santos basin deep waters off the Brazilian coast. The completed lay system is scheduled to be installed on the Brazilian-built, Sapura Kencana - Seadrill operated vessel in late 2014.

The IHC EB system consists of three distinct packages of work; an under deck product handling system, tower system and vessel deck systems.

A key stage of the project has been achieved with the delivery of the 150t tower fabrication, one of the key structures of the system, to IHC EB’s Port of Tyne facility ahead of a six month outfitting and testing period.

The tower structure fabrication has been produced by North Yorkshire-based Allerton Steel. The Fabricator has produced the major tower sections in its Northallerton facility over the past four months, expending some 1200 hours per week at the peak of the fabrication phase.

Work for Allerton culminated in a month on site at Port of Tyne where the major sections were joined and subjected to final machining operations.

Alongside the tower system, IHC EB is also progressing the vessel deck system equipment. Both will be complete by the early 2014 delivery requirement.

This current phase follows the completion of the under deck equipment that was delivered earlier this year to the vessel builder to coincide with the vessel build sequence. This package consisted of two cable storage carousel baskets, which have 500t and 2000t capacity, and associated load manipulator devices have been produced by both the load UK supply base and in IHC group companies in Holland.

Ben Johnson, project manager for IHC Engineering Business, commented: “It is an exciting and challenging project for IHC EB.  At the time of delivery to the vessel build team next year, it will be the largest pipe-lay tower to come out of our Port of Tyne Facility”.

“While the design has similarities to other IHC EB pipe-lay systems, the Stocksfield Hall-based team of talented engineers led by Project Chief Engineer Will Raynerd, have done extremely well to deliver to the right timescales and solve many new design challenges”.

Ben added: “The fully-assembled and tested tower system will be an impressive sight on the Tyne, weighing in at some 800t and standing approximately 40 metres tall when it is lifted to the vertical orientation later this year”.

“By the time we complete the project, we will have expended over half of the total project costs in the UK IHC EB supply chain. I look forward to the coming six months when we see the physical system take shape”.


Boatracs to Debut New AIS Maritime Applications at International Workboat Show

Boatracs Inc., a leader in providing integrated satellite communications and software solutions to the maritime industry,announced today that it will conduct live booth demonstrations of two innovative maritime applications at the International Workboat Show in New Orleans on October 9-11, 2013. 

BTConnect-AIS-screenshotBoatracs BTConnect® AIS (Automatic Identification System) extends the functionality of BTConnect, the most widely used vessel tracking and fleet management software in the U.S. commercial maritime market, by integrating real time messaging and vessel tracking with AIS data on a single display.  The AIS Man Overboard (MOB) Alarm Notification System, a joint solution development effort between Boatracs and Orolia sister company McMurdo, is an innovative safety solution that enables distress signals from McMurdo’s Smartfind MOB AIS beacons to be displayed on BTConnect software for accelerated emergency response.

BTConnect AIS adds in a new layer of critical fleet management intelligence to the Boatracs BTConnect® software platform including the display of critical information (identification, current location, heading, speed and historic position) for all AIS vessels operating within a monitored area.  This additional data enables owners and operators of offshore service, inland waters, coastal workboat and commercial fishing fleets to run their companies more efficiently, safely and profitably. 

“More than 2,000 vessels are now being managed with Boatracs BTConnect, and our customers have been asking for the option to display AIS data in the system,” said Jonas N. Olsen, Business Unit Manager at Boatracs.  “The ability to see other boats in the area of your working fleet vastly improves the efficiency and productivity of each vessel.  Dispatch users can manage their fleet more effectively, incident reporting is improved for health and safety users and management can make better business decisions with an integrated view of the messaging and activity of their boats combined with all activity in the area.”

The AIS Man Overboard Alarm Notification System provides BTConnect-equipped shore-based operators with critical MOB alarms and positioning information that may not be available with traditional on-vessel AIS receivers.  During a man overboard emergency, an activated McMurdo AIS beacon transmits a distress signal that can be picked up by MOB-enabled AIS receivers on vessels within a typical 4-mile (6.5 km) radius.  The new McMurdo-Boatracs integrated solution increases the alert notification zone by enabling shore operators using BTConnect to receive and transmit additional emergency alerts, alarms and messages.

“This new AIS man overboard solution allows the International Maritime Organization-approved MOB icon, Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) information and critical position coordinates, to be displayed directly on the BTConnect graphical interface,” said Jeremy Harrison, McMurdo CEO.  “The end result is an innovative search and rescue solution that can lead to faster emergency response times and quicker survivor recovery.”


Deep Casing Tools Delivers 100th Tool

Deep Casing Tools, which develops an innovative range of tools designed to land casing and completions at target depth within oil or gas wells, has delivered the 100th tool off the production line.

              Photo: Deep Casing Tools TeamDEEPCASING-GROUP-001

The 100th tool was included in a batch of Turbocaser™ Express tools that were dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico for application in field development drilling in approximately 3,650 feet of water.  Deep Casing Tools’ unique drill through technology provides significant time and cost savings when compared to conventional methods. Landing casing and completions at target depth first time, avoiding wiper trips and wellbore damage, is a game changer for improved well construction.

Lance Davis, CEO of Deep Casing Tools, said: “The delivery of our 100th tool coincided with the first planned deployment in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico for the Turbocaser™ Express. These two achievements are significant and have occurred since the company established the US subsidiary Deep Casing Tools Inc.”  Deep Casing Tools Inc. is headquartered in Houston, and is responsible for deployment of the technology both in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore locations.

In line with the growth in North America, the company has inventory in Houston, Calgary and other key locations to service market opportunities. In addition, key personnel have been appointed to manage the USA and Canada.

Brad Whitfield has been appointed Vice President USA, based in Houston.  Brad’s experience includes sales and business development in the completions domain, focusing on products and systems for permanent monitoring and intelligent well completions.

Mike Chomack has been appointed Vice President Canada, based in Calgary.  Mike has been active in the Canadian oil industry for 30 years, working directly for both service companies and operators in well construction, and as a consultant in drilling and completions. 



Aquatic Introduces Powerful New Modular Carousel System

Aquatic-carouselsystemAquatic Engineering & Construction Ltd, an Acteon company, has unveiled its 1500 te carousel (AQCS011500) a powerful, modular drive system representing a significant capability extension for customers requiring installation or replacement of flexibles, umbilicals, power and telecommunication cables and wire rope products.

Installation in deeper water(s) has become a recent trend in the subsea market, often being performed in depths ranging from 2000-3000m. However installation, replacement or recovery work at this depth requires specialist equipment to accommodate the increasing length and weight of the items being installed. Aquatic’s carousel system provides the strength and stability that can withstand the installation of the heaviest equipment in deep water.

In addition, Aquatic is assisting its customers on projects that demand increasingly long subsea tie-backs to processing platforms thereby demonstrating the carousel’s undoubted capability and flexibility in all waters.

The carousel can handle a product load up to 1500 te, has a maximum reeling speed of approximately one km/h and uses a built-in tensioner with a maximum line pull of five tonnes to maintain product tension on the horizontal reel at all times. The tensioner is mounted on a level-wind tower, which ensures proper spooling on and off the carousel. It has a reel diameter of 12 meters and a variable hub diameter, which means that it can handle multiple products and can be mobilised onto most vessels of opportunity.

“This new system draws on all of our previous engineering and operational experience,” said Aquatic Group President Chris Brooks. “Unlike other designs on the market, our carousel is genuinely modular and can be broken down to components that fit in standard shipping containers. It is straightforward to assemble and, crucially for our customers, a much less expensive option than buying a new vessel and building a carousel around the ship. The development of this new carousel underlines our commitment to providing services that meet our customers’ needs.”

Click here to see the time-lapse movie that charts the transition from the laying of the steel foundation to the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT).

Aquatic is part of the Acteon’s wider risers, conductors and flowlines offering and joins the other Acteon companies in linking subsea services across a range of interconnected disciplines. Combining the strengths of a major global organisation with those of independent market specialists, all Acteon companies have complementary skills, experience and technologies that link seabed to surface across a range of interconnected disciplines. Learn more at


PIRA Energy Group's Weekly Oil Market Recap for the Week Ending October 6th, 2013

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that Brent crude prices came off their early September highs. On the week, the U.S. had strong product demand trend but a large crude stock build. In Japan, crude stocks built. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Brent Crude Prices Came Off Their Early September Highs

Brent crude prices came off their early September highs, but the further crude price declines will be limited by tighter near-term supply/demand balances. Supply losses remain huge. Refinery runs bottom in October as maintenance peaks but then runs recover. The WTI-Dated Brent spread is stabilizing near negative $5-6/Bbl. Atlantic Basin gasoline cracks should stay generally weak as inventory coverage remains ample. Middle distillate cracks should move higher over the next few months. Margins will recover in the weeks ahead, led by growing middle distillate strength.

Strong U.S. Product Demand Trend but Large Crude Stock Build

Product inventories declined for the week ending September 27, but this was overwhelmed by a crude inventory build. The resulting 5 million barrel inventory increase is in sharp contrast to last year's inventory decline for the same week last year. This widened the year-on-year inventory excess to 2.2%. Most of the excess is in gasoline.  

Japanese Crude Stocks Build; Turnarounds Continue

Crude stocks built due to imports rising following the impacts of the most recent typhoon, while gasoline and gasoil stocks drew. For gasoline, the draw was due to good demand, while for distillate it was driven by low refinery yield and higher incremental exports. The kerosene stock build rate increased, but the 4-week build rate remained about the same. Refining margins continue to slowly improve from poor levels.  

Saudi Formula Crude Prices for November Reflect Weak Asian Margins

Saudi’s formula prices for November were recently released. In Asia, differentials were lowered most aggressively on lighter grades, but the differentials for Arab Medium and Heavy were raised, with Heavy being raised the most. Asian margins have been poor, so the more generous terms on the lighter grades were in line with market economics.   

Latest Oil Inventory Update: Continued Low Stocks

The final June data and preliminary July data for OECD Europe were released this past Thursday and when combined with U.S. and Japanese estimates continue to point to low inventories in the three major OECD markets. The June stock data were revised lower and the second quarter is now showing an inventory decline compared to last month's increase. Relative to the year earlier, stocks began the year with an excess and ended August with a deficit. 

Ethanol Prices and Cash Margins Soar

Ethanol values in Chicago rose during the week ending September 6 because of the scarcity of corn in the Midwest, causing production to fall to a 22-week low and inventories to drop to the lowest level in two months. Cash margins for ethanol production rocketed to the highest level since November 2011.

Ethanol Production Rebounds

U.S. ethanol production rose to a 4-week high of 848 MB/D the week ending September 6 from 819 MB/D in the preceding week. Some plants restarted after routine summer turnarounds. In addition, facilities in the Midwest have been able to secure corn via barge and rail from as far south as Mississippi, where the 2013/2014 harvest has already begun.

Relatively Low Propane Stocks to Start Fourth Quarter

U.S. propane stocks entered the fourth quarter relatively low and are likely to remain so given crop drying activity, petchem feed use and growing exports. Ethane stocks continue relatively high, while butane inventory is dropping as gasoline blending picks up the pace. The contango in Asia has widened helping support winter stock building. Propane continues as a preferred olefin cracker feedstock in Europe, helping sustain demand until winter requirements pick up.

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. 

Click here for additional information on PIRA’s global energy commodity market research services. 


Juniper Systems’ New Rugged Handheld Features 4.3-Inch Touchscreen and Advanced Battery Technology

JJuniperRuggedhandhelduniper Systems has announced the availability of its much anticipated new rugged handheld, the Archer 2. With radical improvements over the first generation Archer, the Archer 2 promises better overall performance with an astonishingly bright display, an extra-long battery life, enhanced GPS capabilities, and rugged IP68 construction.

Juniper Systems has announced the availability of its much anticipated new rugged handheld, the Archer 2. With radical improvements over the first generation Archer, the Archer 2 promises better overall performance with an astonishingly bright display, an extra-long battery life, enhanced GPS capabilities, and rugged IP68 construction.                                    

The latest generation handheld incorporates several new technological advancements. Sporting a custom 4.3 inch Illumiview high-visibility display, the Archer 2’s screen brightness has been well received by reviewers. Its battery features a unique technology inspired by the technology used in hybrid car batteries to prevent excessive battery drainage in low temperatures. Referred to as Overtime Technology, this Archer 2 super battery will last 20 hours and up on one charge.

The new device is the first Juniper Systems handheld to feature a capacitive touchscreen for improved response and ruggedness. The Archer 2 also includes a glove-friendly numeric keypad for rapid data entry, a feature which many Juniper Systems customers highly value. Like other Juniper Systems handhelds, the Archer 2 is built to very strict standards at its ISO 9001:2008-certified facility, having been tested to MIL-STD-810G and given a top IP68 rating for dust and water.

“We have been looking forward to the release of the Archer 2 for some time,” said Rob Campbell, CEO at Juniper Systems. “We have taken special care in addressing the needs of customers in the design of the Archer 2. It is a product of utmost quality, and the excellent reviews we have received on our Archer 2 beta units have made us very optimistic that the Archer 2 is going to meet our customers’ needs exceptionally well.”

Juniper Systems will be showcasing the Archer 2 at the INTERGEO 2013 conference from October 8-10 in Essen, Germany. Those interested in learning more about the Archer 2 may visit Juniper Systems’ website at   


Chevron Announces Key Senior Leadership Appointments

ChevronlogoChevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has announced that it is making three key appointments to its executive team and realigning its existing technology and services organizations.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Jay Johnson becomes senior vice president, Upstream, and Joe Geagea becomes senior vice president, Technology, Projects and Services. The new roles will report to George Kirkland, vice chairman and executive vice president, Upstream. Also effective Jan. 1, 2014, Pierre Breber becomes corporate vice president and president, Chevron Gas and Midstream, reporting to John Watson, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Following Kirkland's planned retirement in 2015, consistent with the company's mandatory retirement policy, Johnson and Geagea will report to Watson.

"These appointments ensure a smooth transition in our upstream business and simplify the delivery of technology and services to all of our businesses," Watson said. "Jay, Joe and Pierre are experienced leaders who will enhance a very effective leadership team."

Johnson, 54, currently is president of Chevron's Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration and Production Company, based in London. He joined Chevron in 1981 and previously has been managing director of the Australia and Eurasia upstream business units.

    Johnson will lead an upstream organization that continues to have four regional operating companies:

    Todd Levy will replace Johnson in London as president of Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration and Production Company. Levy currently leads a key Chevron upstream support organization and has wide-ranging upstream experience with past assignments for the company in Kazakhstan, Angola, Australia and the United States.

    Melody Meyer continues as president of Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company, based in Singapore.

    Ali Moshiri continues as president of Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company, based in Houston.

    Jeff Shellebarger continues as president of North America Exploration and Production Company, based in Houston.

Geagea, 54, will lead a new organization composed of energy and information technology, capital projects management, procurement, upstream production services and workforce development organizations. These groups will support the company's upstream, downstream and midstream businesses. Geagea, who joined Chevron in 1982, has held positions in each of these three areas. He is the current president of Chevron Gas and Midstream and previously was the managing director of the Asia South upstream business unit and president of the company's downstream operations in East Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan.

Breber, 49, currently is managing director of the Asia South upstream business unit, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He joined Chevron in 1989 and previously has held senior roles in Chevron's finance organization, including corporate vice president and treasurer. He will lead a Gas and Midstream business that was reorganized earlier this year to consolidate trading operations and strengthen its support to the upstream and downstream businesses.


Northern Offshore Orders Two Jackups for Delivery in 2016

northernoffshoreNorthern Offshore, Ltd. (Oslo Bors: NOF.OL) has announced that two of its subsidiaries have executed contracts for the construction of two LeTourneau Super 116E Class jackup drilling rigs, with a priced option for the construction of two additional rigs of the same design. The yard contract price is less than US$180 million, with favorable tail-end-heavy payment terms. Delivery of the rigs is expected during the first and third quarters of 2016, respectively. Construction will be carried out by an experienced and well qualified Chinese shipyard.

Gary W. Casswell, president and chief executive officer of Northern Offshore said, "This is a turning point for our company, as we continue to execute our stated corporate strategy of transitioning into the ownership and operation of new, state-of-the-art jackup rigs. We believe, after evaluating several investment alternatives, that investing in this class of jackup will give the best return on capital. We are confident there will continue to be strong demand for jackup rigs with the technical specifications and capabilities of these new assets, which are ideally suited for marketplaces in South East Asia, the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America. Further, this order represents the strong commitment of the board of directors to the future development of the company and strengthening of earnings growth for our shareholders."


VIKING Expands Their Global Safety Solution with Onboard Training

VIKING Saatsea logoVIKING strengthens its global safety package to the marine and offshore industry by acquiring
a major stake in IT startup SAATSEA who offer unique, cloud-based onboard training and competence management systems.

A group of IT entrepreneurs with a background in marine and crew training and a unique product caught the attention of leading marine and fire safety equipment manufacturer VIKING Life-saving Equipment A/S. This is the latest addition to VIKING’s growth strategy.

SAATSEA, now renamed as VIKING Saatsea, addresses the need of shipowners and operators to continuously train their crew by offering a combined solution that manages planning and implementation of onboard training as well as the documentation. Through the online training system, the crew can complete and register module-based theoretical and practical assignments, with immediate, up-to-date competency assessments for marine and offshore inspections – without administrative hassles.

One example, is the mandatory requirement for annual onboard training of all Emergency Rescue and Recovery Vessel (ERRV) crew on vessels operating out of Denmark, Norway and the UK. VIKING Saatsea is the first in the world to offer a system that manages both onboard training and documentation. The cloud-based mobile solution ensures that the system always works, even when the vessel is not on the internet. The information is synchronized automatically whenever the vessel has the opportunity to come online.

The system is also designed to manage the coming regulatory requirements for documentation of STCW refresher courses for all IMO vessels.

VIKING CEO Henrik Uhd Christensen is enthusiastic about the new addition to VIKING’s customer capabilities and believes it lines up well with his company’s strategic priorities. “We’re always on the lookout for anything that can make doing business easier for our customers while improving safety onboard the vessels,” he said. “This addition to the VIKING portfolio has the potential to positively influence customer financials as well as safety. Increased involvement in other aspects of the safety process is fully in line with the company vision: when it comes to safety, think VIKING.”


T.D. Williamson Names New Vice President of 
Western Hemisphere Operations

TDW Chad-FletcherT.D. Williamson (TDW), a worldwide provider of equipment and services for operators of pressurized piping systems, announced that Chad C. Fletcher has joined the executive management team as Vice President of Western Hemisphere Operations. As of August 12, Fletcher is responsible for overseeing the fulfillment of strategic initiatives, as well as driving day-to-day execution of all business in the Western hemisphere.

Chad brings TDW a valuable entrepreneurial skill set and an impressive career history,” says Bruce Thames, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “He possesses all of the characteristics you would expect in an executive at this level, but it’s  Chad’s commitment to performing as a servant leader  selflessly investing in the growth and development of the company – that makes him the right person for TDW.”

Fletcher has more than 25 years of experience in the energy business, beginning his career in the pipeline industry as an engineer and technical services manager for Tenneco Gas Corporation. Fletcher later founded a technology solutions firm, Enginuity International, Inc., that became the dominant market share leader for combustion and emission solutions for the pipeline industry. Enginuity was purchased by Dresser-Rand in 2008, where Fletcher was retained and made responsible for creating a new global business unit serving the midstream market. Fletcher then moved to Paris, France, where he led the service and engineered solutions business, covering Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East and Africa, into a $400 million Profit and Loss (P&L) success. Fletcher’s  most recent position was Vice President of Marketing & Global Business Solutions for Dresser-Rand, which posted $2.7 billion in sales for 2012.


New Industries Delivers Largest and Heaviest Pressure Vessels Built to Date

NewIndustrieslogoNew Industries, Inc., of Morgan City, LA completed the fabrication of two 18' diameter x 223'-9" long pressure vessels for Conrad Shipyard, LLC, also of NewIndustries2Morgan City, LA.   “These were the largest and heaviest tanks we have built to date,” stated James Stewart, New Industries’ Vice President, “Each tank weighed 430 tons.”

Yard Superintendent Raymond Leonard stated, “We successfully and safely installed these tanks into a customer furnished hopper barge.  The keys to the successful installation were great teamwork and thorough planning.”

Andrew Mancuso, Project Manager, also commented on the crew’s performance stating, “The crew did an exceptional job fabricating and loading out this set of LPG tanks. The size and weight were not a problem for our experienced personnel, who were able to complete this set of tanks on time and without incident.”

New Industries, Inc. has fabricated 56 LPG tanks ranging in size from 14’ -10” diameter x 180’ long x 240 tons to 18’ diameter x 223’ long x 430 tons. Currently, New Industries’ backlog on LPG tanks stretches into the 2nd quarter of 2014.

Founded in 1986, New Industries, Inc. is a Morgan City, Louisiana based specialty steel fabricator serving the offshore oil and gas and marine industries.  The company specializes in large diameter pressure vessels for transport and processing of petroleum products and chemicals. Other products include portable offshore structures and specialized subsea structures such as jumpers, PLETs, PLEMs, and manifolds. 


New EU Project Aims to Improve Efficiency of Maritime Regulations

e-compliance low rezA new three year European Research Project, partly funded by the EU has been launched to help increase efficiencies in regulation compliance and enforcement for the maritime sector.  e-Compliance will facilitate tighter integration and co-operation in the fragmented field of regulatory compliance. It will closely align with the EU e-Maritime initiative of which a key priority is supporting authorities and shipping operators to collaborate electronically in regulatory information management. 

The maritime sector is, by necessity, heavily regulated. International, EU and national authorities create large numbers of rules and regulations; the long lifetime of ships and the different phases of their operation add to the complexity. As a result, practitioners who need to enforce or comply with regulations are often unsure as to which rules apply for a given vessel in a given situation.

Building on the success of other EU projects such as FLAGSHIP, e-Compliance will look at creating a model for managing maritime regulations digitally and thus help to harmonise these regulations. The project’s consortium comprises representatives of the three main stakeholder groups involved: classification societies (who create class rules), port state control (who enforce regulations) and ships (who need to comply with regulations). This seamless co-operation between the different stakeholder groups will improve the effectiveness of regulations and reduce the burden on practitioners who work with maritime regulations on a daily basis. 

Image: Current Regulation ComplexityCurrent Regulation Complexity

Philipp Lohrmann, Project Manager for e-Compliance comments: “Presently, there are numerous disparate initiatives and projects that address specific aspects of the regulatory domain. The e-Compliance project will bring these different approaches together, using their most promising aspects in order to increase coherence and efficiency in the world of maritime regulations.”

Specific activities within this three year R&D project will include:

Establishment of a cooperation model between regulation setting and enforcement authorities, both for port state control and IMO regulations, for modelling and interpreting regulations and ensuring harmonisation across national and organisational boundaries.

Demonstration of automated compliance management by:

Modelling and delivery of regulations in electronic format

Harmonised e-Services for more effective and co-ordinated enforcement controls and inspections

e-Services in support of class requirements, particularly on surveys and for ship risk management in upgraded e-Maritime applications

Evaluation of the practical implementation of the above in representative networks and the provision of recommendations for e-Maritime policies.

e-Compliance consists of 10 partners, all of which bring their own areas of knowledge and experience of working in the maritime space.  They include: BMT Group Ltd, Det Norske Veritas (DNV), Danaos Shipping Co Ltd, INLECOM Systems, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), TEMIS, Acciona Infraestructuras, PORTIC Barcelona, Norsk Marinteknisk Forskningsinstitutt AS (MARINTEK) and the Maritime Administration of Latvia.


Improvements in Full Waveform Inversion

CGGlogoCGG case study demonstrates the benefits of full azimuths and long offsets for determining the velocities of a complex overburden in a deep-water region of the Gulf of Mexico.

Full Waveform Inversion (FWI) aims to estimate high-resolution velocity models by minimizing the difference between observed and modeled seismic waveforms. It goes beyond refraction and reflection tomography techniques, which use only the traveltime kinematics of the seismic data, and uses the additional information provided by the amplitude and phase of the seismic waveform.

Image: Seismic data with the corresponding PSDM: Depth slice at 2820 m of V0 a) before FWI and b) after FWI; and inline view c) before FWI and d) after FWI.CGGfullwaveform

 Most FWI methods use transmitted energy for determining velocities. The major drawback of this approach is that the extent of the velocity update is limited by the offset range in the acquired data. If the water depth is greater than 1 km, near to middle offsets (less than 6 km) have reflections as the early arrivals, but these are more difficult to use for FWI because they contain density information. For most deep-water, wide-azimuth, towed-streamer surveys with a maximum offset of around 8.5 km, only the offsets greater than 6 km contain the refractions and diving wave energy that are useful for FWI. The penetration depth of the transmitted energy is restricted by this limited range of recorded offsets, producing velocity updates that are prone to acquisition-related artifacts.

CGG exploited transmitted energies to update the velocities in Keathley Canyon, Gulf of Mexico using long-offset and full-azimuth broadband data, acquired using its proprietary StagSeisTM acquisition geometry. The study area is in a deep-water area characterized by sedimentary basins with faults, carapaces, and complex salt structures. The StagSeis staggered configuration of two streamer boats and three additional source vessels allows the recording of ultra-long offsets of over 18 km in the inline direction. The study was configured with east-west and north-south sail lines to yield full-azimuth coverage up to 9 km (assuming source-receiver reciprocity). In this case study, data were acquired with BroadSeisTM variable-depth streamers with a maximum tow depth of 50 m. The proprietary curved shape of BroadSeis streamers creates ghost notch diversity, so that streamers can be towed deep for improved low-frequency content, without compromising the high frequencies. This is especially useful at far offsets where it can aid initial FWI iterations.

To examine the improvement in FWI velocity models gained from the long offsets, CGG compared inversion using only those offsets that would be recorded by conventional wide-azimuth acquisition with inversion using the full range of offsets recorded using StagSeis. Using only offsets up to 7.5 km inline and 4 km crossline produced FWI velocity updates with considerable oscillations in the deeper section and an incorrect, slow velocity, inversion of the carbonate section. Using the ultra-long offsets recorded by StagSeis resulted in velocity updates that were characteristic of the geology, produced flatter gathers and did not suffer from artificial oscillations.

To understand the benefits of the full-azimuth configuration, we compared the performance of FWI using only the north-south sail lines (wide-azimuth) with using all the sail lines (full-azimuth). The first inversion suffered from a north-south striping pattern, i.e. an acquisition footprint. The second inversion, using all the data, did not exhibit this pattern because of the improved illumination and transmission energy penetration from the transverse direction.

When the inversion was performed using all the StagSeis full-azimuth, long-offset data for frequencies up to 7 Hz, the velocity model clearly showed a good match with the geology (see figure).  The faults and high-velocity condensed sections directly above the top of salt can easily be tracked by the FWI model, which also detects the carbonates and shale bodies.  The results clearly demonstrate the imaging improvement that longer offsets and additional azimuths bring to Full Waveform Inversion. By illuminating more subsurface angles and deeper sections, StagSeis enables FWI to produce velocity models that faithfully characterize the different geological features in this complex region.


Wireline Engineering First Venture into the Nigerian Rental Market Proves Successful

Aberdeen-based wireline and well intervention technology specialist Wireline Engineering has recorded a successful first rental operation in Nigeria.

The job involved the company’s patented Roller Bogie® tools to convey open hole wireline logging equipment to target depth in an offshore well operated by a major Nigerian oil and gas company Afren. Due to the positive outcome of the operation, further work is now planned for the next phase of operations.

A-Wireline-Engineering-employee-working-on-a-Roller-Bogie-tool-11Wireline Engineering combines operational experience and creative design with state of the art manufacturing and product testing facilities to generate smart products, worldwide.

 Director of Wireline Engineering Bill Petrie said: “We develop these technologies with the aim of bringing substantial benefits to our customers, and the more effectively we do that, the more our business grows as a result.”

A total of three wireline runs were completed without incident, each to a depth of around 12,000ft at a sustained well deviation of 64°. Significant time and economic savings were achieved for the customer by eliminating the need for pipe conveyed logging methods.

Mr Petrie continued: “As our first venture into the Nigerian rental market, this successful operation is a very welcome development. It can be difficult for smaller companies to access global markets at arm’s length, and it is essential that you are able to rely on your technology when you get there. Wireline Engineering’s technology performed positively during the operation, and we now have ambitious plans to further develop our activity in the region.”

“For technical reasons, the Roller Bogie technology was chosen to deploy wireline tools in preference to pipe-conveyed logging techniques previously employed. As a consequence, significant times savings were enjoyed and we are looking forward to extending these benefits in future applications.”