Anadarko East Africa Update: Discovers New Natural Gas Field Offshore Mozambique; Encounters Oil Shows Offshore Kenya

APC-Orca-Discovery-4-18-13Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) announces the discovery of a new natural gas accumulation fully contained within the Offshore Area 1 of the Rovuma Basin of Mozambique. The Orca-1 discovery well encountered approximately 190 net feet (58 meters) of natural gas pay in a Paleocene fan system.

"Discovering another large, distinct and separate natural gas accumulation in the Offshore Area 1 continues our outstanding exploration success offshore Mozambique," said Sr. Vice President, Worldwide Exploration Bob Daniels. "We are designing an initial two-well appraisal program to define the areal extent of the Orca field, which will commence immediately after drilling our Linguado and Espadarte exploration wells. Orca is a single large Paleocene column, and its proximity to shore provides additional options and flexibility for potential future development."

The Orca-1 exploration well was drilled to a total depth of approximately 16,391 feet (4,996 meters), in water depths of approximately 3,481 feet (1,061 meters).

Anadarko is the operator in the Offshore Area 1 with a 36.5-percent working interest. Co-owners include Mitsui E&P Mozambique Area 1, Limited (20 percent), BPRL Ventures Mozambique B.V. (10 percent), Videocon Mozambique Rovuma 1 Limited (10 percent) and PTT Exploration & Production Plc (8.5 percent). Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos, ep's 15-percent interest is carried through the exploration phase.

Anadarko also completed drilling its Kubwa well in the L-07 Block offshore Kenya, which encountered non-commercial oil shows in reservoir-quality sands.

"We are very encouraged with our first test of Kenya's previously unexplored deepwater basin, in which mudlog and well-site evaluation of core data indicates the presence of a working petroleum system with reservoir-quality sands," Daniels said. "The Kubwa well tested multiple play concepts and provided useful data regarding the prospectivity of our six-million-acre position offshore Kenya. The rig will now mobilize south to drill the Kiboko well."

Anadarko operates the L-07 Block with a 50-percent working interest. Co-venturers in the L-07 Block include Total E&P Kenya B.V. (40 percent) and PTT Exploration & Production Plc (10 percent).


SeaRobotics Delivers 5.7-m USV to NATO

SeaRobotics_LogoSeaRobotics Corporation
has delivered an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) in their 5.7-m hull series to the NATO's Center for Marine Research and Experimentation (CMRE).  This general purpose USV will be utilized to improve payload capacity and efficiency of the impressive, fully autonomous mine neutralization system developed at CMRE.  


Workhorse USV ships in 20-ft container

With over 350 kg of payload, the ability to be configured as an all-electric or as a diesel-electric hybrid system, and the ability to reach speeds in excess of 5 m/sec, the 5.7-m system will excel in numerous applications.  Enhancing its role in mine neutralization operations or many other tasks, the system can ship worldwide in a standard 20-ft container.  The engineered boat trailer doubles as a shipping cart and allows transport of the exceptionally stable USV at a reduced beam on the road or in a container.

“We are pleased to support NATO's mine countermeasures project at CMRE.  This complex, fully autonomous system integrating a USV, AUV, and acoustic imaging with advanced autonomous behaviors is truly extending the state of the art and we are happy to be involved,” stated Don Darling, President of SeaRobotics.

The Searobotics product line of USVs includes both 5.7-m and 11-m vessels, both of which can be used in arctic operations.

SeaRobotics specializes in smart vessels that are remotely or autonomously operated as well as autonomous ship hull grooming systems.  Its clients include major military and commercial organizations, both U.S. and foreign.  SeaRobotics' marine survey software interfaces with most data acquisition hardware, software, and sensing systems to produce multi-spectral, DGPS-stamped data for survey, research, or surveillance efforts.  Applications for SeaRobotics vessels range from bathymetric and hydrographic surveys to coastal, harbor, and riverine surveillance.  SeaRobotics surface vehicles range from small, modular, man-portable systems to large, long-endurance workhorse vehicles survey and surveillance systems.


BMT ARGOSS Wins Caspian Sea Forecasting Contract

BMT ARGOSS (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has secured a long-term contract to provide an oil major with weather forecasting services for all its North Caspian Sea operations, both offshore and onshore. The scope of BMT’s work includes provision of all forecasting services including Metocean and aviation as well as all operational support, including maintenance of meteorological equipment on all of the installations.


BMT’s working relationship with this oil major extends back to 2009, providing elements of the forecasting services package. However the new contract sees BMT as the sole provider of weather forecasting services.

BMT’s 13 strong team will provide a 24/7 service in extremely harsh weather conditions with temperatures as low as -30oc. Where necessary, BMT’s forecasters and Metocean service specialists will travel to offshore installations to provide bespoke ice and aviation forecasts to support operational requirements.

Jean-Paul Lindeboom, BMT ARGOSS Forecast Manager, comments: “BMT’s local forecasting team based in Atyrau, Kazakhstan has already demonstrated the quality of its work against a third party benchmark. We’re delighted that our client has recognised this in awarding BMT all its North Caspian Sea forecasting work against some stiff competition.”

He continues: “Because the continental climate prevalent in the North Caspian Sea causes extremes of temperature in both summer and winter, accurate, real-time forecasting is a prerequisite to planning and carrying out day to day operations. BMT helps utilise the full potential of available weather windows, allowing the client to reduce operational risk and save time.”


Honeywell’s UOP Technology Selected to Treat Liquefied Natural Gas on World’s First Floating Facility

PETRONAS will use Honeywell’s UOP Amine Guard™ FS process to remove contaminants on its Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Malaysia


UOP LLC, a Honeywell (NYSE: HON) company, announces that it has been selected by Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) to provide technology for acid gas removal on the world’s first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project known as PETRONAS Floating LNG 1or PFLNG 1.

The PFLNG 1 facility, which is designed to extract natural gas from offshore wells and liquefy and store it for later transport, will use Honeywell’s UOP Amine Guard FS process to remove carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) feed streams.

“We are pleased to continue to grow UOP's long-standing relationship with PETRONAS and for the opportunity to work with the company on its historic first floating LNG project,” said Rebecca Liebert, vice president and general manager for Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business unit. “UOP offers a full suite of leading-edge, agile gas processing technologies, enabling us to design solutions for customers monetizing their gas resources. Together with PETRONAS, we are excited to bring continued improvements to meet the world’s growing demand for cleaner-burning and versatile natural gas energy in this new frontier of gas conditioning and treating.”

Scheduled for start-up by the end of 2015, the FLNG unit will be moored approximately 112 miles off the coast of Sarawak, Malaysia, and is designed to produce 1.2 million tons per year of LNG.

FLNG facilities such as PFLNG1 represent a step change in LNG production. Historically, the treatment of natural gas, liquefaction for transport by sea, and loading and offloading have only been possible at onshore plants. FLNG facilities allow these operations to be carried out far from land and closer to offshore gas sources. They will play a significant role in efforts to unlock gas reserves, particularly in remote and stranded fields previously deemed uneconomical to develop.

Honeywell’s UOP Amine Guard FS process was developed to reduce acid gas contaminants to very low levels prior to liquefaction. The technology is used to precondition the gas that results in 40 percent of the world’s LNG production from onshore base-load LNG plants.

UOP’s technology has been modified for use in a floating service environment to minimize plot size, weight and cost, while improving reliability, resistance to rocking motion and expanding the operating envelope. The acid gas removal system was designed in cooperation between PETRONAS and Honeywell’s UOP to obtain an optimized process capable of expansion and handling various feed stream contaminant concentrations.


Petroleum Safety Authority Investigation: Important Information On Mobile Facilities

PetroleumSafteyAuthorityThe investigation conducted by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) into the Floatel Superior stability incident on 7 November 2012 has yielded new knowledge about securing anchors and transport at transit draft. It has also exposed challenges related to regulations, classification and design assumptions.

An unsecured anchor caused the hull of the Floatel Superior accommodation rig to be punctured in eight places on the night of 6-7 November 2012, leading to water intrusion in two tanks and a list of about 5.8 degrees.

The PSA has investigated this incident. See notification of orders after investigation of stability incident on Floatel Superior, 7 November 2012

Information has emerged in connection with the investigation which could be important for other players on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Securing anchors

One of the anchor bolsters on Floatel Superior lost three braces on the incident night as a result of damage which had arisen and developed over time.

Following these fractures, the remaining parts of the bolster were unable to prevent the anchor hitting the hull directly. The anchor hung free, and wave action caused to strike the hull repeatedly and cause seven holes.

A number of incidents have been reported which relate to anchors stowed in bolsters, both while the facility was in transit and during long-term stowage because of dynamic positioning (DP) operations and the like.

Keeping anchors in the bolsters over a long period, at or near the waterline, increases the risk of damage.

It is difficult to achieve a sufficiently stiff system for securing the anchors, particularly when using wire rope rather than chain. Wire rope is not an optimum choice for holding an anchor in place.

If anchors are to be stowed in bolsters during a storm, the investigation shows that careful calculations must be made of the loads which anchors and bolsters could experience during transport or operation.


If the hull is to withstand direct blows from anchors, its dimensions might need to be considerable. Simply using a more robust bolster structure is not enough, but could be a way of protecting against anchor damage.

A number of bolsters on other facilities have an extra horizontal brace between the wear surface and the hull. This could delay the anchor striking the hull, but an unsecured anchor might also “sail” over it. The effect of the additional brace is then lost.

Another key element is the tension to be used in keeping the anchors in place. Industry practice has been to use 40-50 tonnes of winch tension on the anchor stowed in the bolsters. Even then, movement with consequent damage has been reported.

Additional measures are accordingly necessary. It has not been normal practice to secure or lash anchors on semi-submersibles, since the area between fairlead, anchor and bolster is hard to access.

To prevent similar incidents when the decision has been taken to stow anchors in the bolsters during transport and operation, great attention must be paid to winch tension.

This must be viewed in conjunction with the position of the anchor in relation to:

  • relevant drafts of the facility
  • the attachment of the anchor to the bolster
  • relevant sea states
  • design of the bolster

It is important that owners ensure that their facilities do not suffer damage if anchors have been stowed in the bolsters over a long period. Ensuring that new damage does not occur is also important.

Transport at transit draft

The PSA takes the view that Floatel Superior had suffered damage before it was taken into use on the NCS because it had been transported in higher waves than permitted by its operations manual and analyses. This damage had probably worsened in bad weather up to the incident night.

Semi-submersibles are normally transported at transit draft because they then experience minimum resistance and can be moved swiftly.

The hull designer applies assumptions concerning the weather and specifies limits for the conditions in which the facility can operate.

It is important that owners ensure that their facilities are and have been used in accordance with the weather assumptions at transit draft.

Should there be nonconformities, furthermore, possible effects on the hull of operating beyond the design assumptions should be analysed or inspected in order to establish the consequences of such operation for continued use of the facility.

Regulations, classification and design assumptions

The PSA’s investigation has shown that the combination of DP and classic mooring calls for adjustments to standards and classification rules to take account of a number of systems in a coherent manner. The PSA will follow this up with the classification societies.

Damage development on Floatel Superior can be traced throughout its operational history. The design and operating assumptions have been inadequately communicated and documented to take account of the reciprocal effects.

The investigation has demonstrated that earlier and more detailed follow-up of questions and observations from people involved could have halted or reduced development of the damage.

It is a general observation that clearer communication and better mutual understanding between those involved are important for reducing risk in complex systems.


Bosch Rexroth Highlights Innovative Solutions for Offshore Applications at OTC

Comprehensive range of products and applications on display demonstrate expertise in offshore and marine technology

  • special vessel lifts offshore platforms in one piece
  • continuous jacking systems aid offshore wind installation
  • standard components adapted for deep sea applications
  • new surface technology for large hydraulics cylinders

Thanks to its worldwide application expertise and comprehensive research and development activities, Bosch Rexroth offers components and system solutions for offshore support vessels, exploration and drilling, offshore wind installation and deep sea applications.  Several of those technologies will be on display at the Offshore Technology Conference, May 6-9, in Houston, TX, booth #5447.

Topside Lifting System reduces cost, increases safety in decommissioning platforms

As the major engineering partner to the Allseas Group, Bosch Rexroth has developed and engineered the drive and control system solution for the world’s largest mobile lifting mechanism for offshore installations. The special vessel equipped with this topside lifting system (TLS), “Pieter Schelte,” can lift and transport topsides of offshore platforms with a weight of up to 48,000 tons in one piece.


To disassemble topsides of offshore platforms, workers used to have to manually disassemble the structure into transportable individual parts on the high seas – work that is both time consuming and hazardous. In the future, the new special vessel from the Allseas Group will completely lift the platforms from their steel “jacket” and transport them onto land, making disassembly considerably safer and more cost-effective.

Continuous jacking systems for increased productivity and safety

The market for wind energy puts challenging additional demands on traditional jacking systems for installation and maintenance vessels and platforms. Bosch Rexroth meets the latest demands with a new standard in jacking: the high performance continuous jacking system. Besides the increasing the load capacity, working at higher jacking speeds, and an advanced control system, specifically integrated features lead to more reliability, safer operations and a considerable reduction of required power.

The jacking cylinders are equipped with CIMS (Cylinder Integrated Measuring System), which provides a most accurate signal required by the control system to evaluate the status of the system in relation to the precision, motion pattern and leveling of the vessel or platform. The cylinder rods are protected by a surface technology that is suitable for harsh environment conditions.

And a modern operator will benefit from a tight integration of the jacking system with the crane, mooring, handling and sea fastening systems. This integration adds to the redundancy and reliability of the vessel and to interesting cost savings. Secondary controlled drive systems for the vessel crane combine high performance with reduced power consumption, occupied space and weight.

Standard components adapted for deep-sea applications

Rexroth is the first to adapt numerous standard components to fit the special requirements for deep-sea applications such as pressure compensation and corrosion protection to provide equipment with a longer maintenance-free life span and optimal performance.

In order to test its designs, Rexroth developed a Subsea test power unit equipped with a water-proof motor/pump assembly that can drive an axial piston motor and hydraulic cylinders via an encapsulated valve control. The hydraulic system comes in a pressure-compensated design. Rexroth tested the equipment in a unique pressure chamber facility, was able to demonstrate suitability of its hydraulic components to a depth of 6,000 meters below sea level.


Enduroq 3200: Surface Technologies for Large Hydraulic Cylinders

Large hydraulic cylinders are used in many offshore applications, like riser tensioning, heave compensation, skidding, deck mating and jacking. The piston rod surface of these engineer-to-order products is one of the most essential parts of the hydraulic installation.

With more than 50 years of experience and service data feedback from the largest installed cylinder base in the world, Rexroth now offers Enduroq 3200 as an extension of its existing in-house technologies for piston rods of large hydraulic cylinders. These solutions include the existing Enduroq 3000, a single layer Ultimet based surface technology, and Enduroq 2000 and Enduroq 2200, both based on the proven HVOF technologies.


Liquid Robotics Announces Breakthroughs in Unmanned Ocean Observation with Introduction of Wave Glider SV3

Liquid Robotics has announced the introduction of the Wave Glider® SV3, the world’s first hybridwave and solar propelled unmanned ocean robot. The Wave Glider SV3 incorporates the latest advancements in energy harvesting technology providing the ability to utilize both wave and solar energy for forward propulsion. These innovative propulsion and energy systems will help customers explore portions of the world’s oceans in conditions that previously were too challenging or costly to operate.


Customers will now have the ability to conduct missions, 24x7, through all weather conditions, across most of the planet to help solve some of the world’s critical problems such as global climate change, ocean acidification, fisheries management, hurricane prediction, tsunami warning and exploration for valuable natural resources. The end-to-end ocean data solution provided by Liquid Robotics’ new integrated platform provides ocean data collection and processing at the point of collection with real time delivery of critical information to shore. The Wave Glider SV3 can tap into the inexhaustible supply of the planet’s wave and solar energy, travel tens of thousands of miles, collect data in the most demanding sea states/conditions (doldrums, high currents, hurricanes/cyclones) and deliver this data in real-time to users around the globe. This capability provides access to new levels of ocean data, more pervasively and more cost effectively than from existing alternatives.

“The SV3 is a tremendous step forward in terms of what we can accomplish in the ocean and gives customers a competitive advantage to capture data in the most challenging ocean conditions,” said Bill Vass, CEO, Liquid Robotics. “By providing the ability to deploy Wave Gliders across most of the planet and deliver ocean data in a new and cost-effective way, we’re enabling broad access to affordable ocean exploration.”

The Wave Glider SV3 leverages the basic design principle of the highly successful Wave Glider SV2 platform, which was introduced in 2009, and has since traveled more than 300,000 nautical miles globally, set a world record for longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle (land or sea), and has been deployed on hundreds of customer missions ranging from the Arctic to Australia, and from the Canary Islands to Loch Ness.

Additional technological advancements introduced in the Wave Glider SV3 are datacenter@sea, adaptable power and storage providing support for power hungry sensors and the introduction of a new, adaptable operating system designed for intelligent autonomy for fleet operations.

“The SV3 enables unparalleled, pervasive collection of data and processing of data,” said Roger Hine, CTO and inventor of the Wave Glider. “Riding the advancements in consumer electronics, smart phone, tablet computing and a new generation of extremely capable processors, we are now able to provide processing onboard - actually as powerful as a supercomputer from not long ago. With that computational power and the ability to tirelessly swim across vast oceans, the Wave Glider SV3 represents a big step forward in the state-of-the-art of unmanned monitoring and exploration.”


Terry Loftis, the Chairmain of DNV’s Rig Owners’ Committee

DNV-TerryLoftisTerry Loftis, a veteran of the industry and the Director of Engineering of Transocean, has been appointed as the new Chairman of DNV’s prestigious Rig Owners’ Committee. The members of the Rig Owners’ Committee represent owners and managers of Mobile Offshore Units (MOUs) and Floating Production Units. The objective of the committee is to provide an active forum for the industry to share and discuss current and future developments in technology, practices and support initiatives that will benefit the industry. The functions of the committee also include providing industry’s input to DNV’s current and future activities including DNV’s innovation programs, industry initiatives and rulemaking process.

While DNV updates the industry in the committees meetings held annually at Houston, Aberdeen and UAE on its activities, the committee typically offers feedback on the quality and scope of DNV’s services related to floating drilling and production units. 

Mr. Loftis, as Director of Engineering for Transocean, oversees the company’s engineering services and supports upgrade and major repair projects and new construction of ultra-modern high specification drilling units. Mr. Loftis has been actively engaged with Transocean’s engineering development efforts and newbuild design program for the past decade.

Mr. Loftis‘technical involvement with MODUs began as an independent consultant for Transocean in the design and construction of semi-submersible drilling rigs in the mid-80s and he joined Transocean in 1997. After being actively involved in the design and construction of several ultra deepwater drillships in Korea, he returned to Houston to lead the DP & Controls group within Transocean Engineering until he was appointed to the current position as Director of Engineering.

Mr. Loftis received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Houston and has continually enjoyed living and working within the Houston community. He remains active within the Marine Technology Society, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and currently serves as vice-chairman for IADC’s Advanced Rig Technology Committee.


The Arctic Oblique Oil Spill Recovery Icebreaker

Aker Arctic Technology Inc

Press Conference at OTC 2013

Date: Wednesday, 8th May

Time: 1500-1550hrs

Venue: Press Room 108D, First Floor, Reliant Centre

Title: The Arctic Oblique Oil Spill Recovery Icebreaker

With the awarding of drilling permits in the Arctic subject to increasing scrutiny, Aker Arctic Technology is introducing the ‘Heavy Duty’ Oblique Icebreaker Project for Arctic Application (Aker ARC 100 HD).

Aker-Arctic-The ARC 100 HD is a new advance on what is already recognised as a true design innovation to allow ice-going vessel operations in the harshest of environments. It is distinguished by its inclusion of new technical solutions covering oil spill response.

Formal launch coincides with the start of hull assembly work on the first vessel to be built to the ARC 100 concept for delivery to the Russian Ministry of Transport by early 2014. Those attending this event will gain an overview of the project’s objectives and the research behind it, an update on construction work at Kaliningrad’s OJSC Yantar and Helsinki’s Archtech yards, and insight into the concept’s unique manoeuvring, ice management and oil recovery capabilities.

Presented by Mikko Niini, President, Aker Arctic Technology Inc


Naming Ceremony for First PX105 PSV SINOPACIFIC Built for Deep Sea Supply Held in Aberdeen UK

Delivering 1 high-tech PSV only 22-month after shipbuilding contract signed

On April 16 in Aberdeen UK, a seaport city on the North Sea, SINOPACIFIC & Deep Sea Supply together held a grand naming ceremony and gala dinner for the first PX105 platform supply vessel (PSV) among 12 ones contracted between the above shipbuilder & ship owner.


Sea Falcon features steel structure, single deck, engine room arranged below the main deck on the stem, bullet-like dimension and wide deck provided at midship stern.

Madame Dana House named this vessel as “SEA FALCON”. With Champagne drawing elegant arc lines onto the broadside accompanied with fireworks blooming and whistle blowing, atmosphere at ceremony site reached its climax. About 80 delegates from offshore oil and gas manufacturers, OSV ship-owners, operators and designers, marine equipment suppliers, classification society, news media, legal and financial services institutions witnessed this wonderful moment.

The high-tech PSV PX105 built by SINOPACIFIC, is one of the most complicated PSVs in the world. Designed by Ulstein Design & Solutions, PX105 is 88.8m in length overall, 82.0m in length between perpendiculars, 19.0m in breadth, 8.0m in depth moulded, 4543T in maximum deadweight and 15.7 knots in service speed (at 5.0m draft). PX105’s hull line adopts X-BOW design which Ulstein takes pride in to minimize violent impact from rough sea and ensure safety and stability for the vessel in adverse marine environment. Meanwhile, it is quite outstanding from environmental protection consideration: Generator exhaust emission meets European Automobile Emission Standard and the entire vessel meets Class 3 standard in noise, vibration, temperature, humidity and comfort; fully prepared upon hardware and software for the functional upgrading demands on floating oil recovery and fire control.

It is amazing that only 22-month after signing the contract, SINOPACIFIC delivered such a high-tech PSV to Deep Sea Supply. This marked another important milestone in SINOPACIFIC’s history of building high value-added OSV. “We cannot make this successful delivery without the close coordination from the ship-owner.” SINOPACIFIC Co-CEO Qiang Jiang indicated that he highly appreciated the practical attitude of Deep Sea Supply. He added: “In order to achieve flawless implementation of the system design, sufficient communication between us has started from the engineering stage; in addition, all key modification items were confirmed before the building started. And by doing so, it not only facilitated the manufacturing process, but also benefited an effective control on cost, quality and progress.”

As a prestigious investor in the international shipping industry, Deep Sea Supply has kept leveraging its strategic thinking from the perspective of an investor and managed to achieve dynamic balance between market supply and demand. The “SEA FALCON” PSV is the first vessel among 12 vessels that Deep Sea Supply has purchased from SINOPACIFIC.

SINOPACIFIC Chairman and CEO Simon Liang said frankly: “Without extensive experience accumulated in the past years, it would be impossible for us to complete this high-tech vessel. At the very beginning of building OSV, we have been encountering with challenges when cooperating with the leading suppliers from North Europe. It’s lucky that both parties make every effort to push forward the cooperation out of open minds and everything gets well later. Nowadays, our project management team can make skillful use of scientific management method and precise production process control in each process from OSV design to purchase and manufacture.” He also pointed out that the current success should thanks to what they had learnt from building PX105 series vessels for Bourbon and thanks to the close cooperation with Ulstein and DNV during past years.

Actually, before establishing its branch company in Norway, SINOPACIFIC had already determined to develop into a shipbuilder who can make good use of advanced design and high-end equipment from North Europe. “We feel pleased we have accomplished this target!” emphasized Simon Liang. With the SINOPACIFIC Norway serving as a bridge, SINOPACIFIC can smoothly communicate with their counterparts in North Europe and now have won vigorous support from those prestigious global suppliers. Meanwhile, professional technicians based in SINOPACIFIC Norway have been supporting the shipyard to further optimize its project management process.

As a technical-driven enterprise, SINOPACIFIC has participated in the design and building of 21 types of OSVs and mastered the full cycle of ship design and onsite technical support capabilities ranging from conceptual design, basic design, detailed design and production design for ships. Currently, SINOPACIFIC has about 10 OSV products of proprietary design, which covers both standard design and customized design. More than 130 OSVs that have been delivered to ship-owners are now in stable and reliable operation. It’s proved that they outperform similar products in charterparty and utilization rate as well as customer satisfaction.


China and the Importance of the South China Sea

An Excerpt from ‘Musings from the Oil Patch’, April 16, 2013

PPHB-logoBy Allen Brooks, Managing Director, PPHB

The world has been riveted with the drama unfolding in the northern Pacific region as North Korea rattles its rockets and threatens war. One of the key players in this drama is China, a long-time supporter of North Korea. China has many conflicting geopolitical objectives, some of which are driven by the nation’s need for increased energy supplies and raw minerals to power its economy in order to support its 1.2 billion in population. China realizes it has emerged as a super power, and with that status it must demonstrate its power meaning it must establish dominance in the Pacific region. Economically, militarily and politically, China has power throughout Asia from Vietnam to North Korea. What it hasn’t had until recently is a significant naval presence. That situation is changing as China has built it first aircraft carrier and other sophisticated naval vessels including submarines. At the same time, China has reiterated its long-standing claim over the South China Sea, and with it the country’s claim over whatever mineral and energy resources might be present.

Exhibit  2.  The South China Sea Defined


Source:   EIA

The South China Sea is a large and strategic body of water. China’s claim over most of the South China Sea is based on its 1946 undefined claim – the nine dashes on a map. Exhibit 3 shows the numerous agreed boundaries negotiated between South China Sea neighboring countries since the late 1950s. It also shows the declared limits claimed by countries beginning with the 1946 Chinese claim. While there are many geopolitical implications due to these conflicting declarations, our purpose is to examine the significance of the South China Sea to China from an energy perspective.

Exhibit  3.  Ownership Claims To South China Sea Area


Source:   State Department

The initial consideration is the location of possible oil and gas deposits. The Energy Information Administration (EIA), coupled with the resources of other research firms, has put together a map of the possible oil and gas deposits in the South China Sea. A number of these areas have been explored and continue to be explored and developed. Those include deposits offshore Vietnam, China, Brunei and Malaysia. If one re-examines the nine dashes encompassing the area of the South China Sea claimed by China (Exhibit 3, page 5), some resources claimed by Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia could be claimed by China setting up tension amongst the countries. (See Exhibit 4.)

Exhibit  4.  Petroleum  Resource Locations In South China Sea


Source:   EIA

However, as the EIA shows, these resources are not truly significant in the global scheme of resource deposits. According to the EIA, the undiscovered oil resources of the South China Sea, excluding the Gulf of Thailand, Indonesia’s Java, Borneo and Sumatra basins, and the Solu Sea, are slightly greater than those of Europe at roughly 10 billion barrels of oil. The South China Sea ranks seventh in all geographic regions and along with Europe represents a minor increment of the world’s undiscovered oil resources.

Exhibit  5.  Little Undiscovered Oil In South China Sea


Source:   EIA

The South China Sea ranks in the same position relative to Europe and the other regions of the world with respect to undiscovered natural gas resources. The South China Sea has about a quarter of the estimated undiscovered natural gas of North America, a mature conventional gas resource region, but with a rapidly growing unconventional shale gas potential. At the end of the day, all the proved oil and gas reserves plus all the possible undiscovered ones still leaves the region as a bit player in the world’s energy business.

Exhibit  6.  South China Sea Is Minor Nat Gas Player


Source:   EIA

If the oil and gas resource potential of the South China Sea is so limited, why does China find it must demonstrate power in the region? The need to show that as an emerging super-power and with the second largest economy on the planet, China must show strength. At the same time, China is also a significant importer of energy and raw materials, all of which are extremely important for the health of the country, its people and its government. China is targeted to surpass six million barrels per day (mmb/d) of crude oil imports during the second half of 2013. At the same time, the United States, the globe’s largest oil importer, will be bringing in less than 6 mmb/d of crude sometime early in 2014, dropping the country into second place behind China on the list of the world’s largest oil importers.

For China that is rapidly becoming the world’s largest oil importer, protecting that flow of oil becomes a prime consideration of the government. Note in Exhibit 7 (page 8) that nearly 13 mmb/d of oil, almost 15% of total world oil consumption, flows into the Strait of Malacca near Singapore, one of the world’s well-established shipping chokepoints. About 11 mmb/d of that oil flow goes beyond Singapore and Thailand and toward Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Japan, making protecting these shipping lanes imperative for the health of those economies.

Exhibit  7.  China Wants To Insure Security  Of Oil Imports


Source:   EIA

An equally important energy trade is the flow of liquefied natural gas (LNG), much of which comes from Australia and Southeast Asia, but with a growing volume coming from the Middle East. LNG is likely to become an important fuel for China who has relied upon coal-fired electricity to power its economy with the attendant problem of serious pollution problems in its major cities. In 2011, China imported 12 million metric tons (mts) of LNG, equivalent to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). China was projected to import 16 million mts in 2012, or roughly 2.0 Bcf/d, and to reach Japan’s 56.6 million mts of LNG consumed in 2012 by 2020. To handle that increased volume, China is planning to construct 15 new LNG receiving terminals to go along with the five already in operation.

Given the North American shale revolution, the potential for LNG exports from Canada and the United States has become a real possibility. The opening of a widened Panama Canal by 2015 means LNG carriers coming out of the Gulf of Mexico will have a shorter shipping route to Asia then if they were forced to circle South America in order to reach the Pacific market. Two other developing natural gas industry trends will also impact the global flow of LNG. One is the development of the recent huge gas discoveries in East Africa. The Asian region is the target market for the natural gas recently found offshore Mozambique and Tanzania, but the energy industry is also excited about exploration opportunities in Madagascar, Kenya and Uganda, any and all of which would likely flow to Asia.

Longer term there is also the wildcard of China’s gas shale potential. Estimates are that China has the world’s largest shale gas resources. If it successfully develops these resources, China could rapidly shift from being an LNG importer to becoming an LNG exporter. Both situations put a premium on China being able to insure the safe passage of LNG tankers, either to terminals in China to offload cargos or to load cargos destined for world markets.

Exhibit  8.  Substantial LNG Volumes Move Through  Area


Source:   EIA

As President Barack Obama has indicated his foreign policy initiatives have pivoted toward Asia, the geopolitical tensions in the region will be elevated, not just because of what North Korea is doing.  The United States has entered into upgraded trading relationships with our Asian friends, so we must demonstrate our willingness to stand by them when and if they have to confront China over its South China Sea territorial claims. At the same time, the U.S. Navy must demonstrate our strength in the region to prevent the appearance of the U.S. being perceived as a “paper tiger” by other nations in the world. Defense Department budget cuts coupled with a shrinking and aging fleet of naval vessels is hurting our ability to fulfill the many and varied missions assigned to the Navy. Any change in that course will take considerable time.

While oil and gas developments in the South China Sea will be of interest to the petroleum industry and investment community, the real story of this region is its strategic placement within the flow of energy globally and its importance in the geopolitical struggle between the two leading super-powers – the U.S. and China. With a better understanding of the true importance of the South China Sea to China’s economic and political stature, one should be better able to understand the significance of actions and events likely to unfold over the next few years.

Note: Musings from the Oil Patch reflects an eclectic collection of stories and analyses dealing with issues and developments within the energy industry that I feel have potentially significant implications for executives operating and planning for the future. The newsletter is published every two weeks, but periodically events and travel may alter that schedule. As always, I welcome your comments and observations. Allen Brooks


OIS Successfully Completes Sixteenth Rigless Suspended Well Abandonment Campaign

Offshore Installation Services (OIS), an Acteon company, has successfully completed its sixteenth rigless suspended well abandonment campaign involving multiple operators in the Southern North Sea. The multi-operator model for programs of this kind can deliver significant customer benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness. A total of nine mudline wells in categories 1, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 were abandoned during the operation including four on behalf of GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd. and two for RWE Dea.


The scope of work for OIS, part of Acteon’s activity and resource management business, included the initial approval processes; formulating the contracting strategy; developing detailed procedures; procurement; appointing specialist service providers; overall logistics; and recycling and disposing of the recovered wellheads.

OIS conducted the two-phase abandonment operation from a chartered DP2-class anchor-handling tug supply vessel (AHTS). During phase one, a proprietary twin low-pressure packer tool from Acteon sister company Claxton Engineering Services Ltd. was deployed through the vessel’s moon pool to set cement plugs across all the casing annuli. The second phase involved abrasive severance of the wells using Claxton Engineering’s SABRE cutting tool.

“We have a strong track record in providing commercially efficient decommissioning solutions which are particularly important for non-revenue-generating assets,” said OIS vice president of commercial and business development Tom Selwood. “Multi-operator campaigns such as this, enable operators to share the associated costs which, when combined with the rigless nature of our offering, makes this the most cost-effective way to comply with UK oil and gas decommissioning legislation.”

Max Proctor, GDF SUEZ E&P UK drilling manager, added, “We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility to the environment as an operator and are leading the way in the North Sea with the decommissioning of redundant wells. We started this campaign immediately after the request came from DECC for operators to fully abandon suspended wells by reviewing the history of the wells and confirming the status of each with an independent well examiner. OIS is a valued partner of GDF SUEZ and the success of this project is testament to the team’s strong technical skills and experience.”

Since 1996, the OIS team has successfully completed more than 100 well decommissioning projects without a single lost-time incident.


Expro Wins $10M Award for Full Service Offering in Brazil

ExproLeading international oilfield services company Expro has been awarded a contract to provide equipment and services in support of a client’s offshore project in Latin America.

Located in the Santos Basin, in Brazil, the BS-4 block encompasses two post-salt wells and one pre salt well. Expro has been contracted to provide heavy oil well testing to post-salt wells and data management services through partner company Baker Hughes, in a contract valued at more than $10mn.

Expro will provide Queiroz Galvão Exploração e Produção SA (QGEP) with subsea equipment, Drill Stem Testing (DST), data acquisition, surface well testing, fluids services and wireline intervention services.

Expro has been providing extended well testing services internationally since 1983 and is recognised as a global leader in the delivery of fast track production facilities.

Jean Moritz, Expro’s Latin America region director, said: “We were invited to tender for this project because we offer high-quality integrated service packages. We have a good relationship with both Baker Hughes and QG and this is a great opportunity for Expro to introduce a full package well testing job in to Brazil.”


AMEC Awarded Two-Year Contract Renewal by BP for Forties Pipeline System

AMEC_logo_3AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has been awarded a two-year integrated services contract renewal by BP to provide operations, maintenance and project support to the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) in the North Sea.

The contract is valued at between £10 million and £15 million per year, depending on activity levels and is scheduled to run through to December 2014.

Under the contract, AMEC will take on increased responsibility to run, maintain and improve the year-round, 24-hour operation of the Unity offshore platform and four onshore pumping stations which form a major part of the FPS. AMEC and BP personnel will work closely together on the project. The current workforce will be retained, with additional recruitment occurring as and when the work scope demands.

Mike Horgan, managing director of AMEC’s Asset Management business said: “We have been supporting the Forties Pipeline System for the past 16 years and this latest contract is testament to our continued delivery of excellence for BP. We are pleased to be continuing our long term relationship with BP and supporting them to meet the needs of the Central North Sea’s oil and gas development.”

AMEC has an exemplary safety record on the project, with no lost time incidents (LTIs) over the last 15 years.

The FPS has a carrying capacity in excess of 750,000 barrels per day and carries around 40 per cent of the UK’s oil production.


CGG and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Create Ship Management Joint Venture

CGGlogoCGG and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group (LDA) announces the creation of a ship management joint venture, GeofieLD Ship Management Services. Co-owned 50 % by CGG and 50 % by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group, the new joint venture will provide maritime ship management services for five of CGG’s high-capacity 3D seismic vessels.

This equal ownership reflects the common vision of CGG and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs to combine their seismic and maritime expertise and experience in order to align QHSE systems, streamline communication and define the JV’s strategy. This move also underlines the commitment shared by both parties to establishing a reliable maritime platform and maximizing the overall seismic performance of the five vessels managed by the joint venture. 

The joint venture will be based in Suresnes, France. Alain Coatanhay from Louis Dreyfus Armateurs will be the Chairman of this new joint venture and David Rapidel from CGG has been appointed as Managing Director.

Jean-Georges Malcor, CEO of CGG, said: "This second joint venture marks another milestone in our performance action plan. It reinforces our strategy to streamline the number of our maritime partners, following our first ship management joint venture with Norwegian shipowner, Eidesvik Offshore, in May 2011. We are confident that by pooling our expertise, culture and history with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group, a leader in marine activities and our long-term partner since 1990, within this new joint venture, we will provide first-class ship management services to meet the expectations of our clients.”

Philippe Louis-Dreyfus, President of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs Group, declared: "This joint venture further strengthens our ties with CGG, which started in 1990. This move comes as recognition of the skills and commitment of our teams. The sea offers great opportunities and I am proud of this new step forward in our strategy of partnerships with large industrial groups, such as CGG, a worldwide leader in geoscience.”


Dolphin Geophysical Positioning Contract for Veripos

veripos_logoLeading Norwegian exploration seismic contractor Dolphin Geophysical of Bergen has awarded Veripos a new three-year contract for provision of satellite positioning services aboard its fleet of specialist high-capacity vessels, Artemis Arctic, Artemis Atlantic, Polar Duke and Polar Duchess;  the services will also be extended to include Sanco Swift, a new 96-meter vessel due to be commissioned later this year.

All five vessels will use Veripos’s latest Apex2 and Ultra2 dual beam Precise Point Positioning (PPP) services employing both GPS and Glonass constellations supported by an NTrip internet-based correction service.   Associated onboard hardware for each vessel comprises triple Veripos LD6/LD2 modular receivers together with Verify QC processing software for real-time monitoring and control.

Commenting on the contract award, Angus Scott, Veripos Vice-President for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said that it marked a further important stage in the company’s continuing support of Dolphin Geophysical’s worldwide operations following earlier supply of GNSS positioning services which began in 2011.