Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan

20 Jan 2018   Offshore

A senior official from the Interior Department (DOI) said Florida was still under official consideration for offshore drilling, despite an announcement by Secretary Ryan Zinke last week stating that the state would be granted an exemption from the draft drilling plan due to concerns about its potential to effect coastal tourism. Walter Cruickshank, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, made the statement at a congressional hearing on Friday, during which he was questioned by California Rep. Jared Huffman and Orlando Rep. Darren Soto. “[Zinke’s] statement stands for itself, and we have no formal decision yet on what is in or out of the five-year program,” Cruickshank said in response to a question from Huffman. Florida Governor Rick Scott had met with Zinke the week before, after which the secretary clearly declared the southern state’s shores would not be open for drilling. “Cruikshank simply said BOEM will finish the legally required analysis of the planning areas, as is always done for all planning areas,” DOI spokesperson Heather Swift told The Orlando Sentinel in an email. States will have to fight aggressively to keep their shores safe from drilling, the backtracking shows, Florida lawmakers say. “Clearly we’re in the plan and we need to work in a bipartisan fashion to get Florida exempt,” Soto said in an interview Friday. “We can’t let our guard down.

Florida waters remain in Trump’s five-year oil, gas leasing plan, for now: BOEM

20 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Federal waters off Florida’s coast remain in the Trump administration’s draft proposed offshore oil and gas leasing plan, the acting head of the agency that developed the plan said Friday. Florida waters “are still part of the analysis until [Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke] gives us an official decision otherwise,” Walter Cruickshank, the acting director of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told a House Natural Resources subcommittee. Following a meeting with Florida Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, on January 9, Zinke announced that he was “removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms,” in regards to the draft proposed program his agency released the week before. That proposed plan called for 47 sales in federal waters, including 12 sales in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, three in the South Atlantic and one in the Straits of Florida, over a five-year period. Zinke, who announced his […]

Florida Democrat plays hardball on Trump’s offshore drilling plan

19 Jan 2018   Offshore

A Florida senator at the heart of the pushback on President Trump’s offshore drilling plans said he was blocking federal appointments in a move for clarity. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he placed a hold on three nominees for positions in the Interior Department until Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke submits a new draft of a five-year lease plan for offshore drilling that preserves a moratorium on drilling in the eastern waters of the Gulf of Mexico. “In placing a hold on the nominees, Nelson has blocked the Senate from approving their nominations by a procedure known as ‘unanimous consent’ — or passage without a […]

BP’s $60 Billion Gulf Spill Tab Rises as Lawsuits Wind Down

16 Jan 2018   Offshore

Company expects $1.7 billion charge in fourth-quarter results Payments from deadly accident now seen at $3 billion for 2018 BP Plc raised the amount it will pay this year for the Deepwater Horizon accident as thousands of lawsuits related to the biggest oil spill in U.S. history start to wind down. The 2010 explosion at a well in the Gulf of Mexico threatened BP’s existence after 11 people were killed and millions of barrels of oil spilled into the sea. While the latest liabilities will add to the more than $60 billion of penalties the company has already racked up, Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley will see an end in sight to the largest court battles. The London-based company will record a new $1.7 billion charge in the fourth quarter of 2017 and pay $1 billion of that bill in 2018, it said in a statement Tuesday. The remainder […]

So what exactly are the offshore drilling plans, Florida senator asks

12 Jan 2018   Offshore

A Florida senator at the center of the debate over offshore drilling under the Trump administration said the Interior Department’s latest plans lack clarity. “The public has a right to know exactly what Interior’s plan is and it is unreasonable to expect Floridians to provide input on a plan that may or may not be the plan that your agency is actually considering,” Sen. Bill Nelson , D. Fla., said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke . Nelson’s letter followed the mid-week announcement from Zinke that Florida was removed from the plan from President Donald Trump to open nearly all of the U.S. territorial waters to drilling in a five-year plan set to begin in2019. […]

Senators from 12 states seek offshore drilling exemptions like Florida’s

12 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Twenty-two Democratic U.S. senators from 12 states on Thursday joined the chorus of local representatives seeking exemptions from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s newly proposed offshore drilling plan, after his surprise move on Tuesday to shield Florida. Zinke surprised lawmakers, governors, and industry groups on Tuesday night by announcing that Florida would be removed from the Interior Department’s proposal to open up over 90 percent of federal waters to oil and gas leasing. Zinke had met in Tallahasee with Republican Governor Rick Scott who told the Interior chief that drilling puts his state’s coastal tourism economy at risk. Scott is widely expected to challenge Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. The White House dismissed suggestions that Florida’s exemption was a political favor to Scott. “I am not aware of any political favor that that would have been part of,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “Just like Florida, our […]

Coastal States Protest Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

12 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Less than a week after the Trump Administration proposed to open almost the entire U.S. coast to oil and gas drilling, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke backtracked and took Florida off the table for offshore oil and gas exploration. Now many are wondering why just Florida was given a pass. Opposition by coastal states, both East and West, had already been strong , even before Secretary Zinke said on Tuesday that he supports Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott’s position that “Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.” “As a result of discussion with Governor Scott’s and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms,” Secretary Zinke said in a statement posted on Twitter. But taking Florida off the table sparked even more backlash from nearly all other coastal states along the Pacific and […]

Decision to exempt Florida from offshore drilling prompts bipartisan uproar

11 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration’s decision to exempt Florida from expanded offshore drilling kicked off a frenzy Wednesday in other coastal states, with governors from both political parties asking: Why not us? “We cannot afford to take a chance with the beauty, the majesty and the economic value and vitality of our wonderful coastline,” South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who backed President Trump in his state’s competitive 2016 primary, said in a statement. “Not Off Our Coast,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) wrote in a tweet. “We’ve been clear: this would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities.” The Florida carve-out, announced Tuesday by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, created […]

Trump’s Plan Makes 65 Billion BOE Available For Drilling

11 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Rystad Energy expects the Trump administration’s new oil and gas leasing plan to make 65 billion barrels of oil equivalent newly available to fossil fuel exploration and production companies, according to a new report by Reuters . “Looking purely at areas that are potentially going to come out of restriction, we are talking about something closer to 65 billion boe,” Rystad senior analyst Sonia Passos said in a note. The proposal, officially announced last week, has met with severe resistance in Florida, where the coastal tourism sector stands to lose from any accidental oil spills caused by the new drilling. Trump’s White House announced yesterday that waters around Florida would not be authorized for deep sea drilling after the state’s Republican governor took a strong stand against the draft plan. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said , “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are […]

After Florida, more states press U.S. for offshore drilling exemptions

11 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Governors and other officials from several U.S. coastal states ramped up pressure on the Trump administration on Wednesday to exempt their waters from an offshore drilling plan, hours after the Interior Department granted Florida’s request to opt out. The backlash could complicate President Donald Trump’s efforts to expand oil and gas production offshore. A proposed leasing plan unveiled last week aims to open up all U.S. coasts to drillers over the next five years. Alaska and Maine are the only two U.S. states whose governors have expressed support for the plan. The governors of Delaware, North Carolina, and South Carolina on Tuesday were seeking meetings with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to press their case that drilling would pose significant risks to coastal tourism, while other state representatives issued sharply-worded Tweets. “Tourism and recreation along the Delaware coastline account for billions in economic activity each year, and […]

Pulling Florida from offshore oil and gas plans called a political stunt

11 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said getting Florida off of President Donald Trump ‘s oil and gas plan was a hard fought battle, though some critics said it smacked of political favor. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke emerged from a meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott in Tallahassee with an announcement that an offshore lease plan that’s barely a week old has been modified to remove the Florida coastline from consideration. In a statement after the meeting, Zinke said the decision was made in response to the governor’s leadership. “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coast is heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” he […]

Trump administration bars oil drilling off Florida after governor’s plea

10 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

President Donald Trump’s administration will not allow drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Florida after urging from the state’s governor, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Tuesday. “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a result of discussion with Governor (Rick) Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.” The Trump administration last week proposed opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, a move aimed at boosting domestic energy production and which sparked protests from coastal states, environmentalists and the tourism industry. The administration’s decision on Tuesday removes from consideration a portion of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, an area that oil drillers have said they are interested in exploring […]

How a Coal Baron’s Wish List Became President Trump’s To-Do List

10 Jan 2018   Offshore

President Trump’s first year in office has been a boon for the coal industry, with the Trump administration rolling back regulations on coal-fired power plants and withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. Environmentalists have expressed alarm at the new direction, and have complained that Mr. Trump was following a blueprint from the coal industry. A confidential memo written by the head of the country’s largest coal mining company suggests they might not be wrong. The memo was written by Robert E. Murray, a longtime Trump supporter who donated $300,000 to the president’s inauguration . In […]

Trump’s Offshore Plan Unlikely To Spark Drilling Rush

10 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Last week, the Trump Administration proposed the most aggressive U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling plan since the Reagan Administration, offering to open more than 90 percent of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for consideration of future exploration and development. The draft proposal—which will now undergo a public comment period and proposed program drafts that will take months—has drawn harsh criticism from the governors of the Pacific states and from Florida. Analysts, however, think that the opposition to offshore drilling in the West and East coast states is just one of the reasons why the oil and gas industry will not be jumping into a kind of oil drilling rush along the U.S. coasts. Oil firms will have to calculate if potential huge investments into exploration and into production infrastructure will yield any returns on investment in the prevailing oil prices years from now. In addition, companies will […]

Oil Companies Respond Slow To New U.S. Lease Plan

9 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

Analysts are saying that the oil and gas industry’s response to the Trump administration’s announcement last week—that almost all of the U.S. continental shelf may soon be open for drilling leases—is due to be slow. The draft program, which would replace President Barack Obama’s leasing plan through 2022, which restricted drilling in the Arctic and other federal waters, fulfills the White House’s promise to encourage the American fossil fuel sector, even as the international community opts for renewable and alternative energies in the fight against climate change. If the proposal is adopted, 47 potential lease sales could open up 25 of 26 planning areas, with the exception being Alaska’s North Aleutian Basin, which was deemed off limits by President George W. Bush, according to a report by Oil and Gas Investor . Nineteen sales would still proceed in offshore Alaska, seven in the Pacific, twelve in the Gulf of […]

U.S. offers drillers nearly all offshore waters, but focus is on eastern Gulf

9 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed opening up nearly all of America’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, but the industry says it is mainly interested in one part of it, now cordoned off by the Pentagon: the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The industry’s focus on an area located near a sprawling network of existing platforms, pipes and ports could ease the path to new reserves, and assuage the drilling opponents near other places offered under the Interior Department’s proposed drilling plan issued last week, like California’s Pacific, the Atlantic and Arctic. But accessing it would likely require the consent of the U.S. military. The eastern Gulf has been formally off-limits to drilling since 2006 due mainly to the Defense Department’s concerns oil development would interfere with extensive military testing and training exercises in the area. “The eastern Gulf of Mexico could be very attractive […]

Trump Proposes Most Aggressive Offshore Drilling Plan Ever

8 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration just proposed the most sweeping offshore drilling plan in history, a proposal that calls for opening up the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for drilling, while also opening up parts of the Gulf of Mexico that have been off limits. Experts say the proposal is unprecedented in regards to the geographical extent and in the number of lease sales. The five-year drilling plan from the Department of Interior for 2019-2022, which would replace the 2017-2022 plan from the Obama administration, calls for 47 lease sales. The acreage on offer would consist of more than 90 percent of the entire U.S. outer continental shelf, including areas that have either never seen drilling or haven’t experience drilling in decades. The only area that would remain off limits would be the North Aleutian Planning Area in Alaska. In other words, Trump is trying to open up essentially the entire […]

Pacific Coast, Florida Oppose Offshore Oil Drilling Plan

6 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Florida’s Republican governor, are opposing the U.S. Department of the Interior’s plan to open more than 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage available to consider for future exploration and development. Under the current program, 94 percent of the OCS is off limits for oil and gas exploration and development. The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas – 19 sales off the coast of Alaska, 7 in the Pacific Region—including 2 each for Northern California, Central California, and Southern California, and 1 for Washington/Oregon, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and 9 […]

Will Oil Majors Really Sink Money Into America’s Waters?: Gadfly

6 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

There are two big complications when it comes to capitalizing on America’s federal waters. (Bloomberg Gadfly) — Energy dominance begins at home, and that includes any beachfront property you might have. The Interior Department unveiled on Thursday a draft proposal for leasing areas of the U.S. outer continental shelf for oil and gas drilling between 2019 and 2024. As five-year plans go, it’s an ambitious one, envisaging leasing on fully 25 out of 26 planning areas — from sea to shining sea, as it were: ClearView Energy Partners (which provided the data for that chart) points out in a report published on Friday morning that the proposal is probably padded for a purpose. Interior knows the list will get whittled down over time, so it’s starting bigly. For an oil and gas industry seeking new prospects, that makes the proposal at least partly a mirage. It’s not that there […]

Trump administration aims to open nearly all U.S. offshore to oil drilling

5 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration on Thursday proposed opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, a move aimed at boosting domestic energy production that sparked protests from coastal states, environmentalists and the tourism industry. The effort to open previously off-limits acreage in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans comes less than eight years after BP Plc’s ( BP.L ) Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – the largest in American history. The disaster caused billions of dollars in economic damage and led former President Barack Obama’s to increase regulation of the industry. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Thursday the department’s draft National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019 to 2024 would make over 90 percent of the outer continental shelf’s total acreage available for leasing to drillers, a national record. That would reverse the Obama administration […]

Expect Trump to ‘open the floodgates’ for offshore drillers, conservation group says

5 Jan 2018   Offshore, USA

A new offshore license schedule from the Trump administration could “open the floodgates” for drillers in the outer continental shelf, an advocacy group said. A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said that very soon the administration would put out a draft on new leases for U.S. territorial waters. President Donald Trump in April signed an executive order that directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to evaluate the five-year moratorium issued by former President Barack Obama prohibiting oil and gas drilling in some U.S. federal waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic. Among Trump’s targets was the five-year drilling plan covering 2017-22, issued by Obama’s administration, which barred offshore […]

Energy sector analysis sees deepwater attraction

5 Jan 2018   Offshore

It will be the deep waters like offshore Guyana that look commercial in the current market and make big and national oil companies turn a head, analysis found. Consultant group Wood Mackenzie expects a competitive field this year in exploration and production, with likely only the majors like BP and Exxon Mobil, along with national oil companies, investing heavily. Global investment in conventional exploration will be around $37 billion, about 7 percent less than last year and 60 percent below the top of the curve from 2014. Andrew Latham, a vice president for research in global exploration, said the big companies will be the most active. Rather than shale, it’s conventional exploration that’s appetizing to them. “Too […]

Proposed Changes to Offshore Drilling Rules Raise Safety Questions

2 Jan 2018   Offshore

Two offshore oil platform rigs are under construction in Port Fourchon, La. The Trump administration’s proposed changes to offshore oil drilling rules are raising fundamental questions over whether safety regulators at the Interior Department should also be concerned with promoting oil and gas production. Mr. Trump’s appointees have begun to take long-anticipated steps to ease rules put in place in the years after 2010’s Deepwater Horizon disaster , when a blowout on an offshore drilling rig, coupled with the failure of critical safety equipment, killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest oil spill in the nation’s history. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Friday published proposed revisions to a production safety rule that was passed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Wall Street Journal has reviewed another proposal from BSEE, not yet made public by the agency, to roll back another Deepwater Horizon-related rule, […]

No certification needed for offshore drilling safety, U.S. proposes

30 Dec 2017   Offshore, USA

Third parties will no longer need to verify whether some safety features for offshore oil and gas drilling work as designed, the U.S. government proposed. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement published a proposed change in the rules for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Federal Registry on Friday. Ahead of the filing, BSEE Director Scott Angelle said the deregulation was a result of an executive order calling for a reduction on any undue burdens for the industry. In order to make the United States and energy superpower, Angelle said a “paradigm shift” was necessary for regulations regarding the outer continental shelf. The proposal would amend parts of the oil and gas safety regulations […]

US Interior Department proposes reducing offshore-drilling safety regs

30 Dec 2017   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration’s Interior Department proposed Friday regulations that would scale back some of the safety regulations for offshore drilling put into place by the previous administration in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.  The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which regulates offshore drilling, published in the Federal Register a revision of the rule addressing production safety systems, subsurface safety devices and safety device testing.
Among other things, the proposed new rule would rescind the provision that would require operators to submit safety devices such as blowout protectors for certification to third parties before installation.

The proposed change is part of the Interior Department’s efforts to roll back Obama-era safety and environmental regulations on the oil and gas industry as part of the Trump administration goal of achieving “energy dominance without sacrificing safety,” BSEE Director Scott Angelle said in a statement.
Earlier in the week Interior’s Bureau of Land Management had rescinded a rule promulgated under President Barack Obama to regulate hydraulic fracturing on onshore federal and Indian lands.
In another federal action favorable to oil and gas development unveiled between Christmas and New Year’s, BLM released new guidelines affecting management of sage grouse habitat Friday.

U.S. regulator proposes scaling back offshore drilling safety rules: WSJ

26 Dec 2017   Offshore, USA

A U.S. regulator has proposed rolling back safety measures put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which would reduce the role of government in offshore oil production, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which regulates offshore oil and gas drilling, proposes relaxing requirements to stream real-time data on oil production operators to facilities onshore, where they are available for review by regulators, the Journal reported. The BSEE has also proposed cutting a provision requiring that third-party inspectors of critical equipment – such as the blowout preventer that failed in the Deepwater Horizon case – be certified by the BSEE, the Journal reported. The agency had sent its proposal to the White House budget office, the newspaper reported. Reuters could not independently verify the proposals, which the Journal said have not yet been made public. The […]

UK, Scotland: The North Sea Ain’t Done Yet

UK and Scottish government representatives see a bright future. The North Sea oil and gas industry isn’t done yet, that’s the message UK and Scottish government representatives want to get across after recent figures revealed a 25 percent drop in employment in the region since 2014. “We see a long future for the North Sea industry,” a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson told Rigzone. “The oil and gas sector continues to play a significant role in the UK even after decades of success,” the spokesperson added. Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government’s minister for business, innovation and energy, echoed this sentiment, stating that there are still “significant opportunities” in the North Sea, with up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent up for grabs. “We recognize the challenges that are faced by the oil and gas industry and we are using our devolved powers to support the […]

Exclusive: Offshore driller Ocean Rig prepares to explore sale-sources

21 Dec 2017   Offshore

Offshore driller Ocean Rig UDW Inc is preparing to explore a sale amid pressure from some of its largest shareholders to review its strategic alternatives, according to three people familiar with the matter. The move will be a key test of Ocean Rig’s value after it emerged from Chapter 15 bankruptcy in September. Its business has suffered as low oil prices have made offshore drilling less economically attractive and pushed more oil exploration onshore. Ocean Rig has interviewed investment banks in recent weeks to appoint a financial adviser that will help it explore a sale, the sources said this week. There is no certainty that the company will end up agreeing to any deal, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Ocean Rig did not respond to a request for comment. Shares jumped as much as 7 percent on the […]

Sanction-Proof Oil Rig Beats US Policy From Cuba to Russia

20 Dec 2017   China, Offshore, Russia

The oil rig was built mostly in China and drilled its first well in Cuba. Now it’s delivering a victory for Russia in its fight against U.S. sanctions. Italian oil giant Eni SpA and Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft PJSC are using the Scarabeo 9 ultra-deepwater rig to drill in water more than 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) deep in the Black Sea. It’s the first well drilled by a western company at a Russian oil project that falls squarely under U.S. sanctions imposed on the sector in 2014. For Vladimir Putin, it’s a second energy-sector victory in a little over a week after the $27 billion Yamal liquefied natural gas project started shipping cargoes despite U.S. sanctions against its controlling shareholder. “It is important not because of the size, but from a geopolitical perspective […]

The World’s Biggest Offshore Boom Is Accelerating

20 Dec 2017   Offshore

In a sign that Brazil’s offshore sector is competitive in a world of $50–$60 oil prices, two large oil companies just announced significant investments in oil fields in the South American nation. Total SA announced on Monday a final investment decision in a massive offshore oil field in Brazil’s Santos Basin, and the French oil giant boasted of low production costs. “The decision to launch the large-scale development of the Libra field is a major step for Total in Brazil,” Arnaud Breuillac, Total’s President of Exploration & Production, said in a statement . “We have worked with Petrobras, the operator, and our partners to secure technical costs below 20 dollars per barrel. This proves that we are capable of developing competitive deep offshore projects.” The Libra field is located about 180 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in ultra-deep water, a pre-salt field that is considered to […]

Offshore oil searches are coming back to fashion – just not in Asia

20 Dec 2017   Offshore

Surveying the ocean floor for oil and natural gas reserves is gradually emerging from a multi-year slump, everywhere apart from Asia. That’s despite Asia being the world’s biggest consumer of oil, having by far the strongest demand growth while seeing its production fall faster than anywhere else. The reasons for Asia’s dearth in offshore exploration and production (E&P) include high costs in Australia’s promising waters, declining reserves in production hotspots Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as territorial disputes in the oil- and gas-rich waters of the South China Sea. “We only have two 3D vessels in Asia-Pacific, since there are fewer opportunities and less activity in that region,” said Bard Stenberg, vice president at Norwegian offshore survey company PGS ( PGS.OL ), adding that most of his company’s vessels were in the Atlantic. MISSING OUT A 2017 and 2018 activity map by geophysical surveillance firm TGS […]

Syria Aims To Begin Offshore Gas Exploration In 2019

15 Dec 2017   Offshore, Syria

Syria plans to start gas exploration in its offshore areas in early 2019, and has signed contracts for five offshore blocks with “friendly countries”, local media quoted Syrian Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Ghanem as saying this week. It was not clear which countries and companies were involved in the contracts. Syrian waters are part of the Levant Basin and Cyprus, Lebanon, and Israel also share territorial waters in the Levant Basin. Back in 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin Province using a geology-based assessment methodology. Oil Minister Ghanem told the Syrian Parliament that Syria targeted to produce 19 million cubic meters of gas per day by the end of next year, and 24.5 million cubic meters of gas a day by the end […]

Subsea Sector Still Supports Around 45,000 Jobs in UK

The subsea sector still supports around 45,000 jobs in the UK, despite the recent downturn in oil and gas, according to Subsea UK’s latest business activity review. The subsea sector still supports around 45,000 jobs in the UK, despite the recent downturn in oil and gas, according to Subsea UK’s latest business activity review. The oil price crash, and subsequent downturn, led to the deferral or cancellation of major subsea projects, particularly in deepwater, and cost around 8,000 jobs, Subsea UK Chief Executive Neil Gordon said in an organization statement. “However, the subsea sector appears to have weathered the storm by increasing exports and diversifying, particularly into offshore wind, where the skills and technology are eminently transferable,” Gordon said. Subsea UK’s latest review revealed that the industry is generating annual revenues of $10 billion (GBP 7.5 billion), compared to $11.9 billion (GBP 8.9billion) in 2014. Exports account for over […]

North Sea pipeline operator invokes force majeure

The operator of a damaged North Sea crude pipeline has invoked a clause that exempts it from fulfilling contracts, underlining the scale of the damage that has sent oil and gas prices surging. Ineos, the operator of the Forties network of pipelines that shifts almost 40 percent of the North Sea oil and gas production, on Thursday declared force majeure which exempts an entity from obligations if there are causes beyond its control. “Although North Sea cargoes are often delayed from one month to the next, it is very rare for force majeure to be declared, highlighting the severity of the issue,” said analysts at consultancy FGE. The Forties network has been closed since Monday, as Ineos assesses how to fix the hairline crack in a section onshore, close to Aberdeen in Scotland. The company, which bought the pipelines from energy company BP in October, expects it to be “a matter of weeks” before the crack is repaired. The pipeline system carries about 450,000 barrels a day of Forties crude from more than 80 fields to the Kinneil processing terminal in Scotland. From there the oil is loaded on to tankers, stored or piped to the 200,000 b/d Grangemouth refinery, which is also owned by Ineos. The company said that although the plant remains in operation it has reduced crude processing rates.

Florida senator moves ahead of White House on offshore drilling plans

14 Dec 2017   Offshore

Moving ahead of the word of a U.S. offshore drilling program for the Atlantic, a Florida Democrat called on his colleagues to pass legislation to block access. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., called on his Senate colleagues to move on a bill he tabled earlier this year that would prohibit oil and gas drilling in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic until at least 2022. His office said his call came amid reports that the White House under U.S. President Donald Trump was putting the Atlantic Ocean in a new five-year lease plan. The U.S. Interior Department under Trump would open drilling in 2019 by replacing the current five-year plan, which would expire in 2022. “The […]

Gas exports from Total’s North Sea field halted until early Jan

13 Dec 2017   Offshore

Exports of natural gas from one of the North Sea’s key fields have been halted for at least three weeks until early January, after the closure of Britain’s largest oil and gas pipeline, field operator Total said on Wednesday. Swiss-based chemicals company INEOS, which owns the Forties Pipeline System, said on Wednesday that it has not yet taken a decision on repairing a pipeline crack that materialized during a routine inspection of onshore infrastructure last week. The pipeline carries 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Forties crude oil, roughly equivalent to a quarter of the daily output of the entire North Sea basin, and handles a third of Britain’s total offshore gas production. “A number of repair options are being considered and progressed,” INEOS said. “At this stage, it is still too early to say how quickly the repair will take, but it is expected to […]

Forties Pipeline Could Remain Shuttered For Weeks

The Forties oil and gas pipeline shutdown on Monday, caused energy prices in the United Kingdom to spike in the afternoon, according to a new report by Reuters . Brent Crude, which Forties carries, also spiked to a two-and-a-half-year high on news of the stoppage. Wholesale gas prices for immediate delivery dates rose by 28 percent to the highest rate since the beginning of 2013. The jump brought domestic gas prices almost to parity with Asian LNG rates. Brent crude was trading up 1.96% on the day at $64.64. A spokesman for Ineos, the pipeline’s holding company, said the pipeline would not be operational for “weeks rather than days.” “It happens to come at the highest demand point of the year, with the system already notably tight,” he added. Ineos just finished buying the pipeline and the Kinneil terminal from British Petroleum just over a month ago. The British […]

GoM Production: August and September Update

6 Dec 2017   Offshore, USA

This briefly covers the production side as the hurricane outages are dominating the trends at the moment, but there’s a section at the end on discoveries and reserves that may give some pointers to future expectations. The tables below show the production numbers for September, and their relation with previous months from BOEM and EIA, which are pretty close, but for some reason never the same and have actually diverged quite significantly at the moment. Both sets of data get revised, possibly up to a year later, usually those from EIA more than those from BOEM, and they end up with much closer, with EIA usually slightly lower BOEM C&C Production (kbpd) m-o-m (%) y-o-y (%) Average Annual (kbpd) July 1756 August 1722 -2.0% September 1706 -1.0% 12.2% 1707 EIA C&C Production (kbpd) m-o-m (%) y-o-y (%) Average Annual (kbpd) July 1732 August […]

Majors move out, minors move in to British North Sea

The sale of gas fields in the British North Sea could be a sign that bigger companies are losing interest in an area with a bit of a future, analysis finds. Serica Energy said Tuesday it was taking on the role of operator at the Bruce, Keith and Rhum fields in the North Sea in a deal with British supermajor BP that could have an initial value of as much as $17 million. Serica gets about 110 staff from BP in a deal that leaves the British supermajor with the costs associated with any decommissioning. Serica, meanwhile, didn’t have to raise any additional equity to finance the deal. The deal for the North Sea means Serica’s production grows from a […]

New oil expected from North Sea by December

New oil production is on pace to start in December from a floating production facility off the east coast of Scotland, Premiere Oil said Thursday. “In the United Kingdom, the Premier-operated Catcher project remains on schedule for first oil during December,” the company announced . “The floating production storage and offloading vessel arrived on location on Oct. 18 and the production buoy was successfully pulled into the hull.” Catcher was discovered in 2010 by Premiere and the company put the gross reserve estimate at the time between 25 million and 50 million barrels of oil. A North Sea review from consultant group Wood Mackenzie, published early this year , found more than a dozen new oil and […]

Shell to repair damaged portions at Enchilada platform, re-deploy personnel

14 Nov 2017   Offshore

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it was in the process of developing a plan for repairing the damaged parts at its Enchilada platform and re-deploying personnel following its shutdown after a fire last week. Staff members work at the booth of Royal Dutch Shell at Gastech, the world’s biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai “On Saturday November 11, an assessment team confirmed isolation of the platform from the 30-inch gas export pipeline and no presence of uncontained hydrocarbons,” a Shell spokesperson said. The company has no timeline to resume normal operations at the platform, Shell added. On Nov. 8 the oil major had shut down its Enchilada platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after a fire that caused injuries to two people. Shell said it did not observe any signs of oil on the water associated with this […]

Four Gulf of Mexico oil platforms shut after Enchilada fire: Shell

14 Nov 2017   Offshore

Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that production at four oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in the wake of a Nov. 8 fire at its Enchilada platform. “Production is shut in at the Shell-operated Enchilada and Salsa platforms, as well as the associated Hess-operated Conger field,” in which Shell has a 37.5 percent share, it said in a statement. “In addition, Shell safely shut in all production operations at its Auger platform due to downstream constraints caused by this incident.” Production from Auger flows back to Enchilada for transport to shore. There was still no timeline for the resumption of normal operations, Shell said. “Shell is in the process of developing a plan to repair damage caused by an operational incident on its Enchilada platform and safely re-deploying personnel.”

Russian oil company eying Gulf of Mexico opportunities

14 Nov 2017   Offshore, Russia, USA

Russian oil producer Lukoil said it may be setting up a partnership to work in the Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico. File photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI Nov. 13 (UPI) — Russian oil producer Lukoil said Monday it was vetting the possibility of teaming up with a Mexican company for work in the Gulf of Mexico. Vagit Alekperov , the chief executive officer at Lukoil, said he was meeting with authorities at Petróleos Mexicanos, known also as Pemex, to discuss a potential partnership for offshore oil in North America. His announcement came after Washington enacted more sanctions on Russia, though the CEO said that was irrelevant. “No, [sanctions] do not affect [this],” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Tass. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in early November amended Russian sanctions with respect to the energy sector, blocking U.S. entities from helping with companies […]

The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea

13 Nov 2017   Offshore

Final sea trials for the Blue Whale II underwater drilling rig are now underway , according to the technology’s producer, CIMC Raffles, marking a new milestone drilling rig developments. The Blue Whale I model, completed back in February, and its newer sibling, Blue Whale II, represent the most advanced offshore drilling rigs in the world – ready to tackle water depths of 12,000 feet and drill to a depth of 50,000 feet while extracting fossil fuels. The Blue Whale I was used to drill methane hydrate from the South China Sea in recent weeks on behalf of the China National Petroleum Corporation. The nearly $1 billion platform is as tall as a 37-story building, the largest oil platform in the world . Gas hydrate , methane hydrate in particular, is a cage-like structure of crystallized ice, inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural […]

The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea

11 Nov 2017   Offshore

Final sea trials for the Blue Whale II underwater drilling rig are now underway , according to the technology’s producer, CIMC Raffles, marking a new milestone drilling rig developments. The Blue Whale I model, completed back in February, and its newer sibling, Blue Whale II, represent the most advanced offshore drilling rigs in the world – ready to tackle water depths of 12,000 feet and drill to a depth of 50,000 feet while extracting fossil fuels. The Blue Whale I was used to drill methane hydrate from the South China Sea in recent weeks on behalf of the China National Petroleum Corporation. The nearly $1 billion platform is as tall as a 37-story building, the largest oil platform in the world . Gas hydrate , methane hydrate in particular, is a cage-like structure of crystallized ice, inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural […]

Shell Enchilada oil platform in Gulf of Mexico shut after fire

9 Nov 2017   Offshore

Royal Dutch Shell Plc shut its Enchilada platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday after an operational incident that caused injuries to two people. The U.S. Coast Guard said that the platform, along with associated production, was stopped after a fire. It added that the fire had been reduced to a small flame from a pipeline on the platform, located about 112 nautical miles south of Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. Two people were injured and the crew of 46 were evacuated to a nearby platform, the Coast Guard said, adding that there was a report of a light sheen north of the Shell platform. Along with its Enchilada platform, Shell said in a statement that it shut its Salsa and Auger platforms and nearby fields. A 30-inch gas export pipeline was also shut. Shell said it had identified the source of the fire at Enchilada and […]

House takes up offshore drilling overhaul

8 Nov 2017   Congress, Offshore

As leaders in the U.S. House take up an offshore drilling bill, pressure has mounted on the U.S. government’s lack of oversight for protection of public lands. The Accessing Strategic Resources Offshore Act, or ASTRO, would limit the presidential authority to put parts of the Outer Continental Shelf off limits to oil and gas drillers and give the Interior Department the authority to move ahead with new lease sales “as soon as practicable,” but no later than a year after the announcement of intent. House leaders scheduled a markup hearing on the measure for Wednesday. Miyoko Sakshita, the oceans project director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said the ASTRO Act was a giveaway to the oil and gas […]

U.S. offshore has unique oil export potential

3 Nov 2017   Offshore

Big energy companies with deep pockets could carve out a durable U.S. position on the global energy market with offshore production, analysis found. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported total crude oil exports topped 2 million barrels per day for the first time since a 40-year-old ban on exports was lifted under President Barack Obama in 2015. Geoffrey Craig, the oil futures editor for commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts, said in an emailed report that exports were supported by the lower price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, relative to Brent, the global benchmark. “This trend [for exports] is not surprising with Brent’s premium to WTI […]

Trump to Auction Off Swaths of Gulf of Mexico to Oil Companies

1 Nov 2017   Offshore, USA

The Trump administration made history Tuesday in proposing that nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico be made available for companies wanting to purchase federal oil and gas leases — the largest offering ever in the United States. In announcing the sale, the Interior Department compared the targeted waters to “about the size of New Mexico” and said the first lease sales off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are scheduled for March next year. The event will include “all available un-leased areas on the Gulf’s Outer Continental Shelf,” a statement said. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke first broached such a sale shortly after he took office in March, proposing to offer 73 million acres for leases. This part of the Gulf was the scene of arguably the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent spill of 215 million gallons of crude […]

U.S. Resources Set For Record Breaking Resurgence

1 Nov 2017   Offshore, USA

The highest-profile happening was a new offshore petroleum lease sale — announced last Tuesday by the Department of Interior. It will make available the largest swath of drilling acreage ever seen in such a bid round. The Department of Interior said that Lease Sale 250 — scheduled for March 2018 — will offer 76,967,935 acres in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Making it the largest area ever included for bidding in the history of the U.S. industry. All told, a full 14,375 blocks will be made available — including shallow- and deep-water projects. This makes this sale a key gauge of ongoing interest in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which has been one of the world’s most active offshore plays the last few decades. And the opportunities in U.S. resources don’t stop there. Big openings are also coming in the […]