Industry News

26 March 2018

Saipem to acquire Lewek Constellation deepwater vessel for $275m

Italian oil and gas industry contractor Saipem has signed a $275m deal to buy Lewek Constellation, an ultra-deepwater rigid and flexible pipelay, heavy-lift and construction vessel. The 3,000t vessel is ready for commercial opportunities. Completed in 2013, Constellation is set to be marketed in all geographic areas, including the Gulf of Mexico and the North and Norwegian Seas where the company believes it is suitable to pursue subsea tie-back initiatives.

Saipem CEO Stefano Cao said: “The Constellation is the latest addition to Saipem world-class fleet that will integrate our offering with reeling capabilities in order to safely and competitively respond to the needs of the subsea tie-back market.

“Indeed, in the current economic scenario, the subsea tie-backs developments are becoming increasingly important as they maximise the utilisation of the existing infrastructures at reasonable expenditures. Saipem was only partially participating in this market. The acquisition of the Constellation bridges this gap, expanding the set of future opportunities.”

The company expects the acquisition to bolster its subsea growth, alongside strengthening the relationship with its partners in the integrated subsea, umbilicals, risers and flowlines and SPS segment. The funding for the transaction will be arranged from the company’s available liquidity.

23 march 2018

CNPC to acquire stakes in Abu Dhabi’s offshore concessions for $1.17bn

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has signed agreements with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to acquire stakes in two concession areas located off the coast of Abu Dhabi for a total consideration of AED4.3bn ($1.17bn). Pursuant to the deals, CNPC has secured a 10% interest in the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession for AED2.1bn ($575m) and a 10% interest in the Lower Zakum concession for AED2.2bn ($600m). The transactions were completed via CNPC subsidiary PetroChina.

The stakes in the concessions, which are operated by ADNOC Offshore, will be valid for a period of 40 years. The current agreements come after oil and gas firms Eni and Total clinched deals to acquire stakes in both the concessions.

ADNOC Group CEO Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “These agreements are new milestones in ADNOC’s thriving partnership with CNPC and also represent an important platform upon which we can explore opportunities further downstream. CNPC’s involvement in our offshore concession areas will help to maximise the returns from what are very attractive, stable and long-term opportunities.

“At the same time, these agreements further underline the international energy markets’ confidence in ADNOC’s 2030 growth strategy as we accelerate delivery of a more profitable upstream business and generate strong returns for the UAE.”

Last February, CNPC secured an 8% interest in an onshore concession in the region. The company also holds a 40% stake in the Al Yasat concession with ADNOC. Eni holds a 10% interest in the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession and a 5% interest in the Lower Zakum concession. Total agreed to acquire a 20% stake in the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession, while an ONGC Videsh-led consortium and Japan’s Inpex each hold a 10% interest in the Lower Zakum concession. ADNOC operates both the concessions with a 60% ownership in each of them.

21 march 2018

ABB and Arundo to create Cloud-based virtual multiphase flow meters

A consortium of software company Arundo Analytics and automation technologies supplier ABB has created the first Cloud-based virtual multiphase flow meters for the offshore oil and gas industry. According to ABB, the new solution is set to be part of the fully integrated ABB Ability portfolio.

The Cloud-to-Cloud solution will offer a more reliable option for operators by providing connectivity between ABB Ability and Arundo’s Composer and Fabric software. Providing analytics as a service, the virtual flow meter enables facilities to gain real-time data for understanding the constituent properties of any given stream of produced fluids.

ABB Group Offshore Oil & Gas Digital vice president Espen Storkaas said: “Using the scalable Arundo software to combine physical models with the latest in-data science and machine learning, we are able to bring a number of innovative, Cloud-based data-driven applications to the oil and gas industry.”

ABB uses its physical modelling and simulation knowledge to deliver analytical insights, including modelling flows of individual phases of various intermingled fluids in a single stream. The flows are typically measured with multiphase flow meters, which are deemed costly.

Arundo co-founder and commercial lead Mogens Mathiesen said: “Arundo’s software is purpose-built for taking desktop-based analytical models into live, online environments in just minutes. This collaboration will give the industry more transparency into their operations, while also supporting with the need to find cost-efficient, reliable solutions.”

In a separate move, ABB has unveiled a new global collaborative operations centre equipped with industry experts and enhanced digital technologies. The new centre will enable customers in the oil, gas and chemicals industries to improve operations and maintenance using the services of digital technologies operations experts. Based in Norway, the centre will offer information insights to help enhance customers’ profitability and productivity.

21 march 2018

Living sensor to detect gas pipeline leaks in real-time

Scientists are engaged in the development of a ‘living’ sensor that leverages the metabolic process of bacteria to detect gas leaks in real-time. The development is part of the researchers’ efforts to prevent environmental disasters and fuel-distribution disruptions caused by pipeline leaks.

Last autumn, the Colonial Pipeline, which carries fuel from Texas to New York, developed cracks and it led to spillage of a quarter-million gallons of gas in rural Alabama. Vapours from leaked petrol were so strong that pipeline repair could not be conducted for days. The scientists noted that the proposed technology will inform pipeline managers about leaks as soon as failure begins.

Project leader Veera Gnaneswar Gude said: “The advantage with our sensor is that it can detect very small leaks, and operators can take quick action to repair them. We no longer have to wait until the leak is out of hand. Plus if we are able to develop this system on a larger scale, the same unit would be able to treat the waste and to remediate the soil and water that has been contaminated.”

Operators currently use a device called a smart pig to inspect pipelines. It is an electronic sensor that travels through the pipe, detecting cracks or welding defects. However, regular inspection has not completely prevented the occurrence of leaks. The sensor is being developed by Gude and it is expected to provide additional information about the integrity of the pipes and adhere to the outside of the pipe.

As part of the development, the researchers are testing bacteria that will elicit an adequately measurable cathode voltage, while also having the ability to survive in a marine environment to be able to help with the detection of offshore oil spill. One type of bacteria being tested releases electrons to its environment through metabolic processes after consuming carbon-based material (gas or oil). Following the identification and immobilisation of rugged bacteria, they can be used as leak detectors in various oil transport and drilling applications, including fracking.

20 march 2018

Adnoc signs deal to award stakes to Total for $1.45bn

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed agreements to award stakes in two of Abu Dhabi’s new offshore concessions to French exploration company Total for an aggregate sum of AED5.3bn ($1.45bn). The concession agreements will see Total acquire a 20% participating interest in the Umm Shaif and Nasr concession and a 5% interest in the Lower Zakum concession for a period of 40 years. As a result of the deals, Total is set to add production of 80,000 barrels of oil per day this year. Operated by ADNOC’s subsidiary ADNOC Offshore, the Umm Shaif and Lower Zakum concessions are located about 135km and 65km off the coast, respectively.

ADNOC Group CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “Total brings deep knowledge and understanding of Abu Dhabi’s offshore oil and gas fields, as well as specialist expertise and technology that will help accelerate the development of the giant Umm Shaif gas cap. At the same time, we both see tremendous opportunities, through this partnership, to create greater value and generate higher returns across our joint activities.”

The development comes after Italy’s Eni signed a deal to acquire a 5% stake in the Lower Zakum and a 10% stake in the Umm Shaif and Nasr. Apart from Total and ADNOC, other stakeholders in the Lower Zakum concession include an Indian consortium, led by ONGC Videsh, Japan’s INPEX, and Eni.

19 march 2018

CGG begins acquisition of new survey in Brazil’s Santos Basin

Integrated geoscience company CGG has started its acquisition of a 3D broadband survey, Santos VIII, in the pre-salt area of the deepwater Santos Basin off the coast of Brazil. The multi-client survey is part of CGG’s ongoing pre-salt programme and is expected to deliver ultramodern seismic data that allows bidders to better evaluate pre-salt opportunities for Brazil’s pre-salt licensing rounds. It will cover an area of more than 8,000km² near the Peroba, Pau Brasil and Boumerangue fields.

The company will use its full-waveform inversion technology at its Rio de Janeiro Subsurface Imaging Center to image the resulting BroadSeis data. Thereafter, the data will be merged with the Constellation reprocessing project to provide a regional broadband image of the basin.

CGG CEO Jean-Georges Malcor said: “The addition of Santos VIII will extend our world-class broadband data coverage in the highly prospective deepwater Santos Basin. It is the latest installment of our contiguous volume of over 94,000km² of seismic data and integrated geologic studies that bridge the Santos and Campos Basins to cover the entire pre-salt area. These multi-client data sets are an essential resource for oil and gas companies to complete a detailed picture of the complex Santos Basin in advance of Brazil’s future licensing rounds.”

The company aims to offer fast-track products in the fourth quarter of this year, while final products are expected to be available in the second quarter of next year. Constellation is a 44,000km² project that aims to upgrade the company’s existing Cluster and Cluster Extension surveys with its latest subsurface imaging technology, in order to deliver detailed broadband pre-salt images.

16 march 2018

Shell to divest New Zealand assets to OMV for $578m

Shell has signed an agreement to sell all of its oil and gas interests in New Zealand to Austrian firm OMV, in a deal valued at $578m. The development is line with Shell Group’s strategy of earning $30bn through divestments by the end of this year and comes after the sale of the company’s interest in Kapuni last year. 

The transaction with OMV includes joint venture (JV) interests in Pohokura (48%) and Maui (83.75%), as well as related production, storage and transportation infrastructure. OMV already has interests in the acquired assets, including a 26% stake in Pohokura and 10% in Maui. Following the completion of the acquisition, the company plans to become operator of both JVs. The divestment marks Shell’s exit from New Zealand operations.

Royal Dutch Shell Integrated Gas & New Energies director Maarten Wetselaar said: “Today’s announcement is another step towards reshaping and simplifying our company, deepening Shell’s financial resilience and competitiveness, in order to become a world-class investment.”

Alongside the aforementioned deal, the company has also agreed to divest its 60.98% interest in the Great South Basin venture to OMV.
OMV executive board chairman and CEO Rainer Seele: “This acquisition is an important step to develop Australasia into a core region in line with our new strategy.”

The acquisition is set to give an additional recoverable resource base of 100 million barrels of oil equivalent to OMV. Subject to certain closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed this year.

16 march 2018

Bibby Offshore secures three new contracts

Subsea services provider Bibby Offshore has secured three contracts from an undisclosed oil and gas firm in different areas. The scope of the first contract covers completion of riser replacement works, including a production/test riser and riser buoy connector pipe changeout at an oil field located in the Central North Sea. Engineering work for this project started in the fourth quarter of last year. Bibby Offshore will mobilise dive support vessel (DSV) Bibby Polaris and a construction support vessel (CSV) with a reel lay spread and tensioner in the second quarter of this year to deploy flexible risers.

Bibby Offshore chief executive Howard Woodcock said: “These contract awards represent an important win for Bibby Offshore, leveraging our extensive experience in the North Sea and further strengthening our established relationship with this supermajor. The planning and execution of all workscopes will be done in close alignment with our client to ensure safe and efficient operations.”

As part of the second award, the company will use services of DSV Bibby Polaris to support operations at a Southern North Sea gas field. The scope of the work under this contract includes the installation of the manifold and spools for linking a new pipeline to the platform. Bibby Offshore will commence works related to the third contract at the end of this month. The company will undertake inspection and remedial works at a gas field offshore Tunisia. DSV Bibby Polaris will be employed to deliver the offshore work.