BP’s Thunder Horse Platform Shut Temporarily On Power Issue

20 Sep 2017   Offshore

BP Plc halted production at its Thunder Horse platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Monday following a power outage, a company spokesman confirmed on Tuesday. The benchmark for sour crude rallied to its strongest in more than two years on the disruption. BP evacuated its workforce of about 300 people from the facility after the power outage as a precaution, according to the statement. Technical and essential personnel were scheduled to return to the platform on Tuesday. The platform has the ability to produce up to 265,000 barrels of oil a day, and was producing about 180,000 barrels a day as of May. BP’s four operated platforms in the Gulf can produce up to a total of 695,000 barrels of crude a day. Thunder Horse was the company’s largest producing Gulf platform in 2016. Mars Sour Crude traded at up to […]

Seadrill Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in Texas

13 Sep 2017   Offshore

Seadrill Ltd ., one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the Southern District Texas court as part of a plan to restructure roughly $10 billion in debt, it said Wednesday. The Bermuda-based company is controlled by Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen and operates a fleet of 68 rigs and drillships for customers including Total SA, TOT Petrobras Brasileiro SA and Exxon Mobil Corp. The company said 97% of its bank lenders, 40% of bondholders and a group of investors led by Hemen Holding Ltd., its biggest holder—also controlled by Mr. Fredriksen—had approved the restructuring plan. The creditors have agreed to postpone the repayment of $5.7 billion in secured loans for five years, with $2.3 million in unsecured bonds to be converted into a 15% […]

Hurricane Season Weighs On Gulf Of Mexico Production

11 Sep 2017   Offshore

Production for June by BOEM was 1631 kbpd and by EIA 1636, compared with 1673 and 1659 kbpd, respectively, in May. The decline was mostly from Thunder Horse going offline and Constitution staying offline. Hurricane Cindy didn’t seem to have much of an impact, things will be different for the impact of Harvey on August figures. Even with the two offline facilities coming back July numbers will struggle to beat those for March, and after that the depletion declines and hurricane disruptions take over. Note that the “others” area includes any assumptions BOEM has made to allow for missing data, which is quite a lot this month. (Click to enlarge) The combined new fields added from late 2014 are holding a plateau with South Santa Cruz and Barataria fields added and a new lease for Marmalard starting (adding about 20 kbpd combined). Stones also had a better month and […]

GoM June Production Update

7 Sep 2017   Offshore

Production Production for June by BOEM was 1631 kbpd and by EIA 1636, compared with 1673 and 1659 kbpd, respectively, in May. The decline was mostly from Thunder Horse going offline and Constitution staying offline. Hurricane Cindy didn’t seem to have much of an impact, things will be different for the impact of Harvey on August figures. Even with the two offline facilities coming back July numbers will struggle to beat those for March, and after that the depletion declines and hurricane disruptions take over. Note that the “others” area includes any assumptions BOEM has made to allow for missing data, which is quite a lot this month. The combined new fields added from late 2014 are holding a plateau with South Santa Cruz and Barataria fields added and a new lease for Marmalard starting (adding about 20 kbpd combined). Stones also had […]

About 5.5 percent U.S. Gulf oil output still shut after Harvey: government agency

4 Sep 2017   Offshore

About 5.5 percent of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s oil production, or 96,000 barrels of daily output, remained shut on Sunday after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas more than a week ago, the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said. The total lost oil production in the Gulf since offshore platforms started shutting on Aug. 23 is about 2.97 million barrels. The affected output is down significantly from the peak of 24.5 percent, or 428,568 bpd, on Aug. 26 as evacuated workers returned and activity resumed. Energy companies operating in the offshore Gulf of Mexico produce about 1.75 million bpd of oil. “Since the storm has passed, operators have begun inspecting facilities and resuming production. To date, no damage reports have been received,” BSEE said in a press release. Personnel remain evacuated from 30 offshore platforms, it said. The federal agency also estimated that 8.4 […]

Where oil rigs go to die

1 Sep 2017   Offshore

It was night, stormy, and the oil rig Transocean Winner was somewhere in the North Atlantic on 7 August 2016 when her tow-line broke. No crew members were on board. The rig was being dragged by a tugboat called Forward, the tethered vessels charting a course out of Norway that was meant to take them on a month-long journey to Malta. Within the offices of Transocean Ltd, the oil-exploration company that owned the rig, such a journey might have been described with corporate seemliness as an “end-of-life voyage”; but in the saltier language heard offshore, the rig was “going for fucking razorblades” – for scrap, to be dismantled in a shipbreaking yard east of Malta. In that Atlantic storm, several thousand miles from her intended destination, Winner floated free. The 33-year-old rig had never moved with so little constraint. Winner was huge – 17,000 tonnes, like an elevated Trafalgar […]

Trump’s Atlantic Drilling Plan May Be A Lost Cause

21 Aug 2017   Offshore

A key public comment period just ended for revising the offshore exploration program along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and the path forward might not be as smooth as the Trump administration had hoped. The Department of Interior, which regulates offshore drilling and also conducts lease sales to the industry, had closed off the possibility of drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans during the Obama era. But President Trump has tried to move quickly to reverse that decision, kicking off the process to open up the Atlantic for exploration. But the President can’t just open up the Atlantic at the stroke of a pen – there is a protracted legal and regulatory process that the Department of Interior must go through. One step of that process just came to a close. The Interior publishes five-year plans, which detail what offshore areas under federal control they will auction off. The […]

Efforts mount to expand U.S. offshore drilling

19 Aug 2017   Offshore

 After a rebound in the value of high bids for oil and gas acreage in the Gulf of Mexico, industry supporters said it was time to push for greater access. “We have an opportunity in the next offshore leasing plan to truly embrace our nation’s energy potential and ensure American consumers and businesses continue to benefit from the U.S. energy renaissance,” Erik Milito, the director of exploration and production for the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement . The comments from Milito, whose organization represents the business interests of hundreds of oil and gas companies, followed the first lease in the Gulf of Mexico under President Donald Trump . Trump has put oil, gas and coal at the […]

Governor opposition complicates Trump administration’s Atlantic drilling plans

19 Aug 2017   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration is facing increasing pressure from governors of East Coast states to keep federal Atlantic waters out of the five-year oil and natural gas leasing plan it hopes to finalize late next year. Several East Coast governors, including Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump, have ramped up pressure on the administration to keep the Atlantic out of the 2019-2024 federal offshore lease plan. This is significant since the administration is required by federal law to consider local and state opposition to offshore drilling before it approves a lease sale. “The coast has spoken,” said Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “It’s time for Washington to listen.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “has been clear that the administration will listen to local and state interests,” said Dustin Cranor, a spokesman for Oceana, an environmental group. “If that’s the case, the Atlantic Ocean should […]

Oil producers signal offshore return in latest Gulf of Mexico auction

17 Aug 2017   Offshore

Major oil producers pushed up high bids at a Gulf of Mexico offshore auction to $121 million on Wednesday, a nearly seven-fold increase from a year ago, as their return to deep water exploration gained momentum. This compared with $18 million in high bids at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) Outer Continental Shelf auction last summer. Winners will be announced after a 90-day review. Some producers have signaled that they expect Gulf of Mexico projects to become more profitable now that they have trimmed operations to adapt to low oil prices. Offshore drilling typically requires higher prices for producers to break even. Royal Dutch Shell claimed the largest number of blocks, with 19 high bids valued at a combined $25.1 million. Chevron Corp followed with 15 high bids totaling $27.9 million. Anadarko Petroleum Corp won 10 blocks for $10.6 million. Exxon Mobil Corp took […]

Known Gulf of Mexico deepwater areas most attractive in modest lease sale

17 Aug 2017   Offshore

US Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 249 on Wednesday was not a barn-burner, but it did show a measure of competitive bidding in the deepwater and even boasted two eight-figure bids and dozens more that topped $1 million each. The sale appeared to highlight majors’ preferences for known deepwater areas, since shallow-water bidding accounted for a scant 10 blocks and offers received for these were mostly under $200,000 each. But sale sponsor Bureau of Energy Management officials expect interest in shallow water bidding to improve in subsequent sales, owing to the agency’s recent lower royalty relief reduction aimed at drumming up more development in that arena. “We only provided a month’s time for [operator] interest in the lower royalty,” said Mike Celata, BOEM Gulf regional director, in a post-sale telephone press conference. “My expectation is that in March we’ll have greater interest.” In July, the agency reduced the royalty […]

Has Gulf Of Mexico Production Peaked?

17 Aug 2017   Offshore

Amid strong indicators that U.S. shale production will reach new heights by the end of 2017, efforts to promote further exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico, long a center of U.S. energy output, have run into some headwinds. Some even doubt that Gulf production, much of it from expensive off-shore rigs, can compete in the “lower for longer” price climate that will likely endure through the end of 2017. With a much longer lag-time for off-shore projects, production in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is less sensitive to short-term changes in price. But with the consensus around lower prices growing, it’s possible likely that investment in offshore may taper off, as investment seeks out more reliable returns from shale fields. On Wednesday the first bids on new oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico were offered. The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, revealed plans […]

Offshore drilling mergers raise hopes for sector recovery

16 Aug 2017   Offshore

Transocean’s GSF Development Driller II crosses Istanbul’s Bosphorus on its way to the Black Sea September 6, 2014.Murad Sezer HOUSTON (Reuters) – Mergers among offshore oil drillers are raising hopes that consolidation could bring relief to a sector struggling to emerge from an industry downturn triggered by low crude prices. Transocean Ltd, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors, on Tuesday agreed to buy Norwegian rival Songa Offshore SE for $1.1 billion. The deal follows Ensco Plc’s pending purchase of Atwood Oceanics Inc in a transaction valued at $839 million. The deals would bolster both companies’ positions in major oil and gas-producing regions: Transocean in the North Sea and Ensco in offshore Australia. They come as oil prices remain below where they began the year, adding to worries about excess rig capacity continuing into the next year. “I think everyone realizes that consolidation is important […]

Has Gulf Of Mexico Production Peaked?

3 Aug 2017   Offshore

Production for May by BOEM was 1673 kbpd and by EIA 1661, compared with 1661 and 1658 kbpd, respectively in April. March looks like the peak, at least near term, for the basin, especially with Hurricane Cindy impacting the coming June figures. (Click to enlarge) The combined new fields added from late 2014 look to be peaking as well. Great White came back on line but xxx and yyy declined. In previous data I had omitted one big producing lease in Mars, which included the new Deimos field. With this added the production growth through 2017 is higher (and as shown later the decline in mature fields faster) than previously shown. There may be more increase to come: The Mars leases had three rigs operating through June, one dedicated for Deimos, which has now gone. The two platforms on the field each have a dedicated platform rig, so they […]

NC governor on Trump drilling plan: ‘Not off our coast’

21 Jul 2017   Offshore

Under pressure from President Donald Trump, North Carolina’s governor announced his opposition on Thursday to drilling for natural gas and oil off the Atlantic coast, saying it poses too much of a threat to the state’s beaches and tourism economy. Up against a Friday deadline for comment from elected officials on the Trump administration’s request for companies to perform seismic testing under Atlantic waters, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference at a coastal state park to announce he’ll be registering the state’s opposition. “There is a threat looming over this coastline that we love and the prosperity it brings, and that’s the threat of offshore drilling,” Cooper said at the Fort Macon State Park in Carteret County, where he said he visited as a child and as a parent. “As governor, I’m here to speak out and take action against it. I […]

Oil output slow, steady for U.S. in Gulf of Mexico

14 Jul 2017   Offshore

The slow, but steady, gain in oil production expected from the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico shows the region is more stable than shale, a rig analyst said.  The bulk of total U.S. oil production comes from inland shale basins. Total U.S. output is expected to reach 9.9 million barrels per day next year, the highest level ever if forecasts are accurate. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates about 20 percent of total U.S. oil production comes from the Gulf of Mexico.  Oilfield service company Baker Hughes reported 21 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico for the week ending July 7, unchanged from the previous week and up 16 percent from the same week in 2016. Energy price agency S&P Global Platts offered a more fluid picture for the week, but added the region as a whole was stable.


10 Jul 2017   Offshore, USA

Part I Discoveries and Reserves The following are a few charts and observations concerning the US Gulf of Mexico production, with data mostly taken from BOEM for the OCS and a bit from EIA. The BOEM data site has been updated and makes it easy to get the raw data, but not in a very easily discerned way. This post is intended to make it a bit easier to follow and come to your own conclusions concerning the likely future of GoM production. I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes in getting and downloading the data, but the relative trends are probably more informative than absolute values so there will need to be follow up revisions as new data is available and hopefully any issues will get smoothed out. Reserve data is available for 2015. New data for 2016 is likely not available […]

Greenpeace: U.S. bowed to pressure over Atlantic energy work

7 Jul 2017   Offshore, USA

A U.S. decision to extend the comment period for work tied to oil and gas development in the Atlantic was a response to public outrage, Greenpeace said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a notice in the Federal Register stating that the public comment period for “five proposed incidental harassment authorizations” for seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean were extended by 15 days to July 21. The notice said the extension was granted because of multiple requests. Mary Sweeters, a U.S. campaigner for Greenpeace, said seismic surveys used to get a better understanding of the oil and gas reserve potential threaten the marine ecosystem and the economies of Atlantic coastal states, many of which rely on tourism […]

In disaster’s wake, BP doubles down on deepwater despite surging shale

27 Jun 2017   Offshore

About 300 BP workers commute 150 miles here by helicopter, from the Louisiana coast to a deep-sea drilling platform that can produce more oil in a day than a West Texas rig can pump in a year. On the deck of Thunder Horse, they work two-week shifts, drink seawater from a desalination plant, and eat ribs and chicken ferried in by boat. On the ocean floor, robots provide remote eyes and arms as drills extract up to 265,000 barrels per day. “There’s a whole city below us,” said Jim Pearl, Marine Team Leader on the platform. This is just one of the four Gulf of Mexico platforms on which BP […]

Rig Trends: Offshore Rig Market Recovery Reports Premature

23 Jun 2017   Offshore

For quite some time now, many oilfield analysts have reported the beginning of a recovery in offshore rig demand. For quite some time now, many oilfield analysts have reported the beginning of a recovery in offshore rig demand. Recent report headlines, however, have now started to use phrases like “elusive recovery” or something similar. The fact of the matter is that a recovery never really started. Yes, there have been isolated positive developments in some markets for some rig types, but reports of a recovery have most definitely been overstated. As seen in the figure below (courtesy of the June 2017 RigOutlook forecast), the competitive jackup, semisubmersible (semi) and drillship rig fleet totaled 700 rigs comprising 431 jackups, 150 semis, and 119 drillships. While this was down by 6.2 percent from 747 in September 2014 (generally recognized as when the current downturn began), the drop in rig demand during […]

Woodmac: Only the ‘Very Best’ Projects Sanctioned

20 Jun 2017   Offshore

Only the very best deepwater projects have been sanctioned during the oil price downturn, which speaks volumes of the Liza field’s potential. Only the very best deepwater projects have been sanctioned during the oil price downturn, which speaks volumes of the Liza field’s potential, Pablo Medina, Wood Mackenzie’s senior analyst for Latin America upstream, said in a statement sent to Rigzone. “The short time it took ExxonMobil to go from Liza’s discovery to declaring Final Investment Decision (FID) signals the competitiveness of the project, both within the company’s portfolio and globally,” Medina stated. ExxonMobil Corp revealed June 16 that it, and its partners, would spend $4.4 billion to develop part of the Liza oilfield off the coast of Guyana. Woodmac forecasts that the full development of Liza-Payara will produce over 330,000 barrels per day of oil at peak, with reserves of over 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent. However, […]

Democrats aim to block Atlantic energy surveys

13 Jun 2017   Offshore

Senate Democrats concerned Atlantic energy work could harm some maritime species that depend on seismic activity to communicate. File photo by Ken James/UPI. June 12 (UPI) — The process to open parts of the Atlantic Ocean up for energy exploration is ill-advised and lacks transparency, a group of Senate Democrats said. President Donald Trump ‘s administration issued a draft for public comment in the federal registry last week for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, a practice used to get a better understanding of the reserve potential in a particular basin. Sen. Bill Nelson , D-Fla., led a group of Senate Democrats in calling on the administration to provide more transparency in the proposal. In a letter sent to UPI during the weekend, Nelson’s office said the call from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came with little notice and afforded no opportunity for public hearings. Nelson added […]

More offshore oil openings from Trump draw criticism

7 Jun 2017   Offshore, USA

The White House took another step to opening up offshore oil and gas reserves using a method that an industry critic said poses a real ecological threat. The office of President Donald Trump issued a draft for public comment in the federal registry for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The practice is used to get a better understanding of the reserve potential in a particular basin, though advocacy group Oceana said the method endangers marine mammals that use sound to function as species. Nancy Pyne, a campaign director for Oceana, said the risk is elevated because of the steady stream of Trump initiatives aimed at unraveling the environmental legacy of […]

Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico shows resilience

With crude oil prices in May holding above the $50 mark, analysis finds the U.S. Gulf of Mexico saw gains in exploration and production activity. Platts RigData, a forecasting unit within pricing group S&P Global Platts, revealed a total U.S. rig count for May at 1,026, up 6 percent from the previous month and more than double the level from one year ago. The U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico were the only production centers in the United States to show a decline in rig activity from last year, with the May level of 36 down 16 percent from last year, but a slow recovery is apparent. Eight new fields in the U.S. waters of […]

Trump Moves To Allow Drilling On Atlantic Coast

6 Jun 2017   Offshore

A new proposal by the Trump administration will allow oil companies to use seismic air guns to search for fossil fuel deposits in the Atlantic Ocean, according to reports emerging from Washington. Former President Barack Obama had blocked this form of testing due to dangers posed to marine wildlife in the area. The current White House needs Marine Mammal Protection Act permits from a specialized branch of the Commerce Department to allow five companies to use the technique. ” An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if [the National Marine Fisheries Service] finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species,” a Federal Register notice, scheduled for publication on Tuesday, read. The agency will accept public comments through July 7th before deciding whether to grant the required permits. An approval would allow the seismic gun shots to fire in the Fall. Trump’s April executive order, […]

Carlyle OFS Exec: It’s Dangerous to Declare Industry in Recovery

1 Jun 2017   Offshore, USA

Carlyle Group principal cautions crowd at Louisiana Energy Conference that not all of the oil and gas industry is rebounding as conventional and offshore service companies continue to struggle. An uneven recovery is taking hold of the oil and gas industry, and if folks don’t realize that some sectors continue to struggle, industry exuberance can quickly retreat to the downturn’s despair. Stuart Page, principal in oilfield services and equipment at The Carlyle Group, said taking the same approach to the post-downturn economy as the one that led to plummeting commodity prices will imperil the industry. “I think it’s dangerous that we’re all looking at this as the new recovery. If everybody thinks the same thing, we’re all going to apply the same [excessive] valuations, we’re going to end up with the same problem all over again,” Page said during a panel at the Louisiana Energy Conference in New Orleans […]

Once Costly Deep-Sea Oil Turns Cheap, to OPEC’s Dismay

31 May 2017   Offshore

Deep-water drilling costs are coming down, Wood Mackenzie says Oil at $50 seen sustaining some deep-water projects by 2018 Reports of deep-sea drilling’s demise in a world of sub-$100 oil may have been greatly exaggerated, much to OPEC’s dismay. Pumping crude from seabeds thousands of feet below water is turning cheaper as producers streamline operations and prioritize drilling in core wells, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. That means oil at $50 a barrel could sustain some of these projects by next year, down from an average break-even price of about $62 in the first quarter and $75 in 2014, the energy consultancy estimates. The tumbling costs present another challenge for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is currently curbing output to shrink a glut. In 2014, when the U.S. shale boom sparked oil’s crash from above $100 a barrel, the group embarked on a different strategy of pumping […]

Democratic senators snubbed with Atlantic energy move

12 May 2017   Offshore

A move to open up parts of the Atlantic to oil and gas activity by the Trump administration went against regional interests, a letter shows. The U.S. Interior Department said it would reassess permits denied to six companies looking to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean. Usually seen as a precursor to oil and gas drilling, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it could advance other technologies as well. “Seismic surveying helps a variety of federal and state partners better understand our nation’s offshore areas, including locating offshore hazards, siting of wind turbines, as well as offshore energy development,” he said in a statement . The Interior Department said seismic data for parts of the Atlantic […]

All Washed Up? Shale Oil and Gas Drowns Out US Gulf of Mexico Shallows

11 May 2017   Offshore, USA

More than 10,000 jobs in the US Gulf of Mexico may be lost, never to return, as shallow water drilling lands in the doldrums where experts say it will remain. Short-term contracts, dismantled infrastructure and lagging dayrates have long challenged shallow water drilling on the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico – but it’s the natural gas-belching shale plays that may finally turn the tide away from the shelf. In January 2007, there were 82 jackup rigs drilling in the shallow water of the U.S. Gulf (GOM). By January this year, that figure had dwindled down to 12. At the end of March, 11 jackups remained on the shelf, according to Rigzone Data Services. McDermott International Inc. began its exit from the U.S. shallows six years ago, said Scott Munro, McDermott’s vice president for the Americas, Europe and Africa. “There’s not much of the (U.S. GOM) shallow water […]

Little fanfare, but Gulf of Mexico oil still growing steadily

5 May 2017   Offshore, USA

As rapid growth in U.S. shale production grabs headlines and threatens to upend attempts by OPEC to balance oil markets, a more unsung sector of the U.S. industry is also hitting new output highs – the offshore Gulf of Mexico. While attention and investment is focused on shale, the Gulf is the among the most prolific oil source in the United States, producing more than Alaska, the West Coast and Rocky Mountains combined. The region churned out a record 1.76 million barrels per day of crude in January, trailing only Texas onshore production, which includes the growing Permian Basin. “The business can compete with tight onshore oil any day,” said Richard Morrison, regional president for the Gulf of Mexico for BP Plc ( BP.L ) speaking at the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, […]

Pentagon concerned about lifting offshore drilling moratorium

4 May 2017   Offshore, USA

A letter viewed by Florida lawmakers from the Pentagon said maintaining a moratorium on drilling in parts of the Gulf of Mexico was in the nation’s interest. A letter from the Department of Defense to U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, D-Fla., expressed concern about recent executive action from President Donald Trump that could open up more offshore areas for drilling. Anthony Kurta, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said in the letter that keeping parts of the Gulf of Mexico off limits beyond 2022 was essential for developing future combat readiness. “The Department of Defense cannot overstate the vital importance of maintaining this moratorium,” the letter read. The April letter to Gaetz was obtained by the […]

BP: Deepwater Investments in GOM Make Sense

2 May 2017   Offshore

BP’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico shares how his company was able to overcome the challenges of operating in deepwater. This year’s Offshore Technology Conference kicked off with a breakfast keynote from Richard Morrison, BP plc’s regional president for the Gulf of Mexico. He outlined how BP was able to adapt in order to continue to operate efficiently in deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Despite the low oil price environment during the oil and gas industry downturn, operational safety didn’t suffer, said Morrison, adding that there hadn’t been an increase in accidents in the Gulf of Mexico or elsewhere within the company. “The economics for deepwater investments make as much sense today as they did in 2001,” Morrison said. BP implemented measures to manage costs, which included cutting its Gulf of Mexico workforce by half since 2014. Its production in the Gulf of Mexico increased 15 percent, while […]

BP Says 1B Additional Barrels ‘Possible’ In Gulf Of Mexico Hubs

2 May 2017   Offshore

 The head of BP’s Gulf of Mexico region said on Monday the oil company’s use of a new seismic imaging technology has identified 1 billion additional barrels of “possible resources” at four of its U.S. offshore fields. Richard Morrison, the BP region president, said at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston that its “full waveform inversion” imaging techology was applied to data from its Atlantis, Mad Dog, Thunder Horse and Na Kika fields. The technology enhances the clarity of images collected from existing seismic surveys, particularly those involving complex salt structures that were obscured or distorted, the company said. BP last week said its use of the imaging technology had identified 200 million barrels of possible […]

BP finds hidden trove of oil in Gulf of Mexico

29 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

British oil major BP has discovered 200 million barrels of oil in a hidden cache in the Gulf of Mexico, thanks to a technological breakthrough allowing the company to see beneath geological formations that had befuddled oil exploration for decades. The find, worth a potential $2 billion in recoverable oil, is in an undrilled section of BP’s Atlantis field in 7,000 feet of water 150 miles from New Orleans. Long obscured by a salt dome, which distorts seismic waves that oil companies use to map features below the earth, the oil reserves were revealed by using a supercomputer and mathematical algorithm to interpret the seismic data in a new way. The Gulf find is another example of oil companies advancing technology to make unexpected discoveries. The advent of seismic imaging allowed oil and gas companies to model mineral layers below the earth’s surface and drill more precisely. The combination […]

Donald Trump Signs Executive Order Easing Offshore-Drilling Regulations

29 Apr 2017   Offshore

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday to ease regulations on offshore drilling and eventually allow more to occur, particularly in the Arctic Ocean. The order, which takes aim at last-minute Obama administration actions restricting drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, will likely have limited immediate impact owing to low oil prices, which make drilling in the affected areas economically unattractive. It…

Trump’s offshore oil move already facing legal challenge

29 Apr 2017   Offshore

With the ink barely dry on an order to review U.S. offshore drilling rights, environmental groups said preparations are already underway for a legal challenge.  U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last Thursday that President Donald Trump has an executive order in place to review the five-year program for offshore oil and gas development. In one of his final moves in office, former President Barack Obama used parts of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to ban oil and gas work in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the coast of Alaska, as well as Atlantic coast areas.  Environmental groups said they were alarmed that the Trump administration aimed to put more acreage on the auction block, including possibly some of the first offers for offshore California in decades.

Tim Donaghy, a senior research specialist with Greenpeace, told UPI before Zinke’s announcement that the OCSLA gives the president the authority to withdraw some areas from oil and gas leasing consideration, but not the authority to put those lease considerations back on the table. After the announcement, environmental groups Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council said they were drafting a lawsuit to challenge the Trump administration.  “Trump’s short-sighted order reverses climate progress and imperils coastal communities, irreplaceable wildlife, and our shared future,” Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen said in a statement. “It is also against the law.”

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Will Trump Spark An Offshore Drilling Boom?

27 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

In a bid to fend off criticism over a dearth of achievements in his first 100 days in office, President Trump plans to sign a flurry of executive orders this week. Among them is an executive order intended to open up new areas of offshore oil and gas drilling. “This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines, innovations in energy production, and reduced unnecessary burden on energy producers,” a White House official told the Reuters earlier this week. The order calls for a “review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration.” Specifically, the Trump administration is hoping to open up new areas to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, plus areas in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The Obama administration had previously designated the Atlantic and the Arctic off limits […]

Unsung Gulf of Mexico Tracks New Crude Oil Production Record

26 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

Permian Basin hoards the spotlight, but meanwhile, offshore producers are a fraction of a percentage point away from hitting another all-time high during the first half of the year, according to RBN Energy. Far from the $40,000 per acre land rush for shale in the Permian Basin, operators in the Gulf of Mexico are toiling offshore to outpace their own production records. In January, Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production totaled 1.75 million barrels per day, less than a percentage point away from the previous record set in 2009, according to Housley Carr, an analyst at RBN Energy LLC. Within the next month or so, the 2009 record is expected to fall. By 2018, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects a total of 1.9 million barrels per day in 2018, Carr noted in an April 24 report. “Admittedly, that’s an increase of only [300,000 barrels per day] from 2016, […]

Trump to sign offshore orders as 100th day in office, shutdown near

25 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

Ahead of his 100th day in the White House on Saturday, President Trump is expected this week to unveil details of major policy initiatives, including executive orders aimed at expanding oil and natural gas drilling in federal waters and an outline of his tax reform goals. The week will also be complicated by ongoing negotiations with Congress to keep the federal government from shutting down on Friday, as occurred in 2013. These negotiations appear to be centered on funding for Trump’s border wall. While the border wall is a thorny issue for many Republicans and a nonstarter for Democrats, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the administration expects Trump’s “priorities” to be included in the spending bill Congress needs to pass by midnight Friday to avoid shutdown. “So we expect a massive increase in military spending,” Priebus said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We expect money […]

BP Gulf Oil Spill Damage Valued at $17.2 Billion in New Study

21 Apr 2017   Offshore

BP Plc’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused damage to beaches, animals, fish, and coral that the public values at $17.2 billion, according to a financial accounting released on the seventh anniversary of the disaster. The tally, published Thursday in the journal Science, is based on a survey of thousands of Americans that asked what they’d be willing to pay to prevent the kind of impacts unleashed by the spill, which began with an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010. The worst oil spill in U.S. history killed 11 rig workers, spewed 134 million gallons of crude, soiling birds and marine life across the Gulf. BP, which contracted the rig, was forced to sell off billions of dollars in assets to pay for damages. The latest study, ordered by the U.S. government, is the most comprehensive attempt yet to put on value on […]

Bankruptcy leads to closure of platform offshore California

19 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

The pending closure of an oil installation offshore California because of a corporate bankruptcy marks a shift in state trajectory, environmentalists said. Venoco, which has its headquarters in Colorado, said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and would dispose of its assets as a result. The company will quit-claim its lease for the offshore South Ellwood field back to the state and now starts the decommissioning of its offshore Holly platform and associated infrastructure onshore. Venoco Chief Operating Officer Mike Wracher said there was a steady string of circumstances that led to the financial constraints that necessitated bankruptcy, including the ongoing closure of Line 901 in California. “We have pursued a number of market-based and regulatory solutions to address these challenges during the last […]

U.S. offshore oil production on the rise

14 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

With two oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico starting production this year, and five on tap for 2018, offshore production is set to increase, a U.S. report found. Eight new fields in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico started producing oil last year, leading to a high-water mark of 1.6 million barrels per day, beating the previous record set in 2009 by 44,000 bpd. By January, regional offshore production was up another half million barrels on a daily basis. A March report from analytical group Wood Mackenzie found the cost to break even on oil and gas projects in deep waters, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in particular, has dropped from around $70 […]

Gulf of Mexico crude oil production, already at annual high, expected to keep increasing

13 Apr 2017   Offshore, Oil Supply, USA

U.S. crude oil production in the Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) set an annual high of 1.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016, surpassing the previous high set in 2009 by 44,000 b/d. In January 2017, GOM crude oil production increased for the fourth consecutive month, reaching 1.7 million b/d. On an annual basis, oil production in the GOM is expected to continue increasing through 2018, based on forecasts in EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). In 2016, eight projects came online in the GOM, contributing to the high production levels. Another seven projects are anticipated to come online by the end of 2018. Based on anticipated production levels at these new fields and existing fields, annual crude oil production in the GOM is expected to increase to an average of 1.7 million b/d in 2017 and 1.9 […]

Florida lawmaker fending off calls for oil and gas drilling

13 Apr 2017   Offshore, USA

Amid calls for more oil and gas drilling, a Democratic senator in Florida said he was “beating back” pressure for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute have praised executive orders from President Donald Trump that favor the oil and gas industry. With changes in Washington, Kevin Doyle, the Florida director of the Consumer Energy Alliance, said in a message sent to UPI that he called on state leaders to evaluate the potential for oil and gas exploration in the waters off the western coast of Florida. By Doyle’s estimates, state coffers could be bolstered for the benefit of Florida residents struggling with medical bills and dwindling pensions. “A strong and growing constituency in Florida supports […]

Gulf Of Mexico Breakeven Falls Below $50 Per Barrel

5 Apr 2017   Offshore

Twice as many deepwater projects expected this year as the last two years combined While U.S. shale has been by far the most important topic when discussing U.S. oil and gas production, Gulf of Mexico production is still a major factor. Oil production from the Gulf increased significantly in 2016, while nearly every state saw decreases in production. According to Wood Mackenzie, the offshore industry made major changes to drilling strategies and technology in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These allowed operators to cut the average cost of projects by about 20 percent, making many projects profitable at $50 per barrel or even lower. Technological advancements are not the only factor increasing profitability, though. Producers are reducing costs with smaller projects, targeting only the best locations. Drilling “the core of the core” has become increasingly prevalent in onshore operations as well as operators look to make the […]

Seadrill in a Free Fall Seen Left to Day Traders as Hope Fades

5 Apr 2017   Offshore

Seadrill Ltd. , once the crown jewel of billionaire John Fredriksen’s business empire, is at the mercy of short-term speculators as the biggest funds shun the offshore driller amid a struggle to avoid bankruptcy. “It’s trading at option value and day traders are the ones pushing the price up and down,” Anders Bergland, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities AS , said Tuesday, right after the company again warned shareholders and bond investors they were facing steep losses in any restructuring deal. “There are no funds buying this right now, it’s trading.” Seadrill fell as much as 29 percent on Wednesday after closing 38 percent down the day before, already at a record low. The stock traded 25 percent lower at 6.51 kroner as of 12:47 p.m. in Oslo. The company has been working on a restructuring of the offshore-drilling industry’s biggest debt load for more than a year. […]

Oil and gas projects in deep waters grow competitive

31 Mar 2017   Offshore

On the heels of new developments in the Gulf of Mexico, a report finds the next breakout area for the recovering oil and gas sector may be deep water basins. A new report emailed from analytical group Wood Mackenzie finds the cost to break even on oil and gas projects in deep waters, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in particular, has dropped from around $70 per barrel to below $50 per barrel in some cases. The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was around $52 per barrel early Thursday. Since 2014, Wood Mackenzie estimates the average cost to develop deep water projects, and not just in North America, have dropped more than 20 percent. Angus […]

Ocean Rig UDW Files for U.S. Bankruptcy Protection

29 Mar 2017   Offshore

Offshore drilling contractor Ocean Rig UDW Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. to block distressed debt investors from interfering with a debt restructuring that will slash $3.7 billion in debt from its books. The Cayman Islands holding company filed Monday night for protection under chapter 15, the section of the U.S. code dealing with cross-border insolvencies. Ocean Rig is one of a number of offshore rig owners and…

Gulf Of Mexico Lease Sale Nets $315M in Bids, Feds Suggest Trump Bounce

24 Mar 2017   Offshore, USA

Top bidders included Shell Offshore, Statoil, Chevron and Hess Corp, each offering more than $44 million for access to offshore exploration and production, according to federal records. Offshore energy companies ponied up more than $315 million in bids to lease 913,542 acres in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Wednesday. The lease sale is the final one in the GOM under the Obama Administration’s Five-Year Plan, which made available all offshore areas with the greatest resource potential from 2012 through 2017. The first 11 sales in the program netted more than $3 billion in bid revenue on almost 73 million acres for development, according to information from the Interior Department. The top five bidders included major oil and gas companies: Shell Offshore – $61 million Statoil – $51 million Chevron Corp. – $50 million Hess Corp. – $44 million ExxonMobil – $22 […]

Statoil ‘resets’ exploration in U.S. Gulf of Mexico

23 Mar 2017   Norway, Offshore, USA

Norway’s Statoil has “reset” its exploration campaign in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico by placing top bids for 13 offshore deepwater oil and gas leases there in the latest auction, the company said Thursday. The majority state-owned company said in January it was considering whether to end its costly search for oil and gas in the region following a series of exploration failures. Statoil made total bids of $44.5 million in the auction, second only to Shell and ahead of Hess Corp, Chevron and Exxon. The outcome will now be subject to a 90-days formal review and final approval. “We continue to believe in the potential of the Gulf of Mexico,” Statoil’s Tore Loeseth, head of exploration in the U.S. and Mexico, said in a statement. Statoil said it expected its offshore […]