Industry News

25 May 2018

OGA awards 123 licences under 30th Offshore Licensing Round

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has granted 123 licenses of more than 229 blocks or part-blocks to 61 companies under the 30th Offshore Licensing Round. These awards will serve as a platform for future exploration and production across the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

OGA has offered a total of 26,659km² for awards. The additional area under licence will be a 50% increase on the existing acreage. OGA expects this licensing round to lead quickly to activity.

The new work programme includes nine firm new-shoot 3D seismic surveys, eight firm exploration/appraisal wells and 14 licenses advancing directly to field development planning as these are second-term licenses. This round is expected to unlock around 12 undeveloped discoveries with an estimate of 320 million barrels of oil equivalent.

UKCS is estimated to currently have around 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent of resource in commercial undeveloped discoveries. Many of these were earlier considered to be too small or technically difficult. The 30th round offers line-of-sight to the advancement of 20% of the untapped reserves. In addition, around 3.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent of exploration prospectivity will be advanced by the new licensees using industry’s resource estimates.

OGA chief executive Dr Andy Samuel said: ‘The UKCS is back. Big questions facing the basin have been answered in this round. Exploration is very much alive with lots of prospects generated and new wells to be drilled.

“The results show a great diversity of active players from super-majors to new entrants, and the hard work promoting undeveloped discoveries is starting to pay off. I’m looking to industry to rapidly press ahead with these activities and maximise recovery from these great opportunities.

“Together, we are building on the good momentum and collective efforts of industry, OGA and government over the last three years, with four projects already sanctioned this year and a healthy pipeline of 50 projects under consideration.”

The OGA offered several incentives to support the round and increase interest, including the new, flexible Innovate Licence, an extended 120-day application period; a technology forum staged with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre in Aberdeen; and new digital maps, prospect and discovery reports, plus well and seismic data.

23 may 2018

Telford Offshore secures new contract in Mexico

Telford Offshore has secured a new topsides, subsea and accommodation support services contract from Protexa in the Gulf of Mexico. The contract involves the deployment of Telford 31, a DP3 multi-purpose offshore construction vessel at the Bay of Campeche.

The project, located at a water depth of around 40m-70m, will use Telford 31 at Kab-C, PB-Litoral-T, PP-Maloob-B and D platforms situated in Pemex’s Litoral de Tabasco and Ku-Maloob-Zaap oilfields. The contract started earlier this month and will continue until October this year. Around 300 people will be accommodated onboard throughout the course of the project.

Telford Offshore chief operating officer Duncan MacPherson said: “We are very pleased for the repeated confidence of Protexa in our teams and in the versatility of our fleet of modern DP3 vessels.

“They can each support multiple activities, focusing on high-capacity accommodation combined with lifting, fabrication and installation services. Through Protexa we are proud to serve Pemex on their most productive national oilfields.”

A part of the Telford Offshore DP3 accommodation and construction vessel fleet, Telford 31 has a 400t heave-compensated main crane, a heave-compensated gangway and 1,300m² of unobstructed deck space. Overall, it can accommodate 469 people.

Based in Dubai, Telford Offshore provides cost-effective construction and project management solutions for the oil and gas industry. The company was established in February this year after it purchased four DP3 multi-purpose offshore construction vessels from Sea Trucks Group.

It aims to provide offshore services across the globe, focusing mainly in the regions of West Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

22 may 2018

Azinam to carry out drilling campaign offshore Namibia

Oil and gas exploration company Azinam has unveiled plans to undertake a multi-well drilling campaign offshore Namibia over the next 24 months. Through the drilling campaign, the company intends to test and verify its acreage across the Walvis Basin.

Azinam holds stake in six licences across the majority of the Walvis basin, with working interests each ranging from 20% to 42.5%. The prospective resources contained in the licences are estimated to be more than ten billion barrels. The company noted that the licences are strategically positioned to allow access to the multiple play types within the basin.

As well as an extensive 2D seismic database, Azinam has six modern 3D broadband seismic data surveys covering an aggregate area of more than 13,000km². Supported by a complete legacy well library, the database provides Azimuth with technical insights into the basin’s hydrocarbon potential.

Azinam managing director David Sturt said: “Throughout the oil price decline we continued to invest in high-resolution ‘broadband’ Geostreamer 3D seismic and Azinam has built up an enormous portfolio of over 90 leads and prospects.

“We are now optimally placed to benefit from the considerable industry excitement as the multi-well drilling programme evolves.”

The company is also set to start a process to find potential partners in order to manage and broaden its exposure across West Africa.

Azinam chairman Erik Tiller said: “With a rapidly improving market combined with a significant renewed industry appetite for exploration and upcoming drilling activity, the spotlight is firmly on Namibia.

“We have always believed in the potential of this proven hydrocarbon province and now is the right time to engage with the industry to seek strategic partners that can add value as we look to further our investment across the region at a very exciting time in the development of our company.”

21 may 2018

Total to quit South Pars 11 project in Iran if US sanctions not waived

Oil and gas major Total has threatened to pull out of the South Pars 11 (SP11) gas development project in Iran in the wake of impending US sanctions on the Middle-Eastern nation. The SP11 project is aimed at supplying domestic gas to the Iranian market and the French firm signed a contract to develop it with an initial investment of $1bn.

The latest announcement made by Total is in response to the decision taken by the US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal reached with Iran. Trump is also set to renew sanctions on Iran and the impending action is a worrying sign for global companies having business interests in the country.

Total has stated that unless the US, along with French and European authorities, does not grant a specific waiver for SP11, it will not continue with the project. The company noted it will unwind all project related operations before 4 November this year unless sanctions are revoked.

In a statement, Total said: “Total has always been clear that it cannot afford to be exposed to any secondary sanction, which might include the loss of financing in dollars by US banks for its worldwide operations, the loss of its US shareholders or the inability to continue its US operations.”

The company is currently engaged in negotiations with the French and US authorities to examine the possibility of a project waiver. Until now, Total’s spending on the SP11 project is less than €40m in group share.

21 may 2018

Keppel to divest five rigs to Borr Drilling for $745m

Singaporean company Keppel Offshore & Marine has entered a master agreement through its wholly owned subsidiary Keppel FELS to sell five existing jackup rigs to Bermuda-based Borr Drilling for around $745m.

Under the deal, Borr Drilling will pay $288m in the first instalment within 20 business days from the effective date of the agreement. The remaining amounts will be paid within five years from the respective delivery dates of each rig.

Keppel Offshore & Marine CEO Chris Ong said: “The agreement with Borr Drilling demonstrates that rig owners continue to look for reliable, high-quality rigs, such as the KFELS B Class, to maximise efficiency and productivity.

“This is a win-win agreement for all parties and enables Keppel O&M to further improve our cashflow, minimise the holding risks of the projects, and clear several of the deferred orders.”

The rigs are being built by Keppel FELS, and are set to be delivered progressively from the fourth quarter of next year to the same period in 2020. One of the rigs will be delivered next year, and the remaining in 2020.

Borr Drilling CEO Svend Anton Maier said: “Our partnership with Keppel is crucial as it enables us to provide the market with the latest in jackup rig technology, safety and operability.

“This is an opportune time for us to grow our fleet of highly capable jackup rigs as the market is showing signs of recovery from the bottom of the business cycle.”

The agreement is subject to certain conditions and relevant sales and purchase agreements for the individual rigs.

18 may 2018

Chevron calls for shared development of Australia’s oil and gas

Chevron has pitched its idea of shared development of Australia’s offshore oil and gas resources to strengthen the country’s position as a natural gas supplier. The company has called for industrial collaboration to maximise the potential of the country’s resources and acquire more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Carnarvon and the North-West Shelf to improve domestic gas supplies.

Speaking at the APPEA Conference, Chevron Australia managing director Nigel Hearne proposed the development of as a multi-user, open access offshore pipeline known as Trans Carnarvon Basin Trunkline (TCT) that creates a truly ‘interconnected basin’.

He said that the TCT will offer the ability to connect remote accumulations such as Scarborough, Thebe and the Exmouth fields to existing gas facilities such as the North-West Shelf, Pluto and Wheatstone.

Hearne said: “We have a once-in-a-generation strategic opportunity to most effectively open up new gas resources and deliver energy security and greater economic benefits.

“By collaborating, we will drive efficiencies, optimise the resource, bring valuable domestic gas to market and put downward pressure on those domestic gas prices.

“The interconnected basin vision, which involves a gas gathering system underpinned by shared infrastructure with system-wide optimisation, is the best and most responsible way of developing our resources.”

The collaboration between industry players will help fulfil challenges such as keeping 11 LNG trains at full capacity over the next 30 years, ensuring enough gas supplies to the domestic gas market and improving the competitiveness of the Australian export industry.

In addition, the shared approach to the development of the resources, with support from governments, is expected to drive efficiencies and minimise duplication of infrastructure. Chevron has recently announced its decision to proceed with the expansion of Gorgon’s subsea gas gathering network to ensure a steady supply for the Gorgon natural gas plant.

18 may 2018

Wintershall submits PDO for North Sea Nova field

German crude oil and natural gas producer Wintershall has submitted the Plan for Development and Operation (PDO) to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for its North Sea Nova field. Wintershall submitted the plan along with its partners Capricorn, Spirit Energy, Edison and DEA.

A total of approximately Nkr9.9bn ($1.22bn) investment has been estimated for the Nova development. It is expected that the field has recoverable reserves of nearly 80 million barrels of oil equivalent, of which the majority is oil.

Wintershall Board of Executive Directors member Martin Bachmann said: “With the Nova investment decision, we demonstrate our commitment to Norway.

“We believe in Norway and we continue to invest in high-quality projects that will return value to us, our partners, our shareholders and the whole of Norwegian society.”

The company plans to develop the Nova field as a subsea tie-back that will connect two templates to the adjacent Gjøa platform for processing and export. Gjøa is also set to deliver lift gas to the field and water injection for pressure support. The Gjøa platform provides power to the field from the shore.

Wintershall Norge managing director Hugo Dijkgraaf said: “As well as selecting the most economically robust solution for developing the Nova field, utilising existing infrastructure is the most environmentally friendly solution.”

While final approval from the Norwegian authorities is pending, the licence alliance now enters the execution phase of the Nova development. Discovered in 2012, Nova is located in the north-eastern part of the North Sea, about 20km south-west of the Neptune-operated Gjøa platform and approximately 120km north-west of Bergen.

17 may 2018

United Oil & Gas completes 3D seismic survey in Jamaica

United Oil & Gas has completed a 3D seismic acquisition survey of 2,250km² over the Walton-Morant licence that is operated offshore Jamaica by Tullow Oil and includes the high-graded Colibri target. United owns a 20% equity stake in the 32,065km² Walton-Morant licence and the remaining is held by Tullow Oil’s Jamaican subsidiary.

Carried out using the Polarcus Adira vessel, the seismic survey is focused on de-risking several prospective clastic and carbonate reservoir targets. The targets have been previously mapped by Tullow on reprocessed and reinterpreted 2D seismic data.

In addition, the included Colibri target is estimated to contain more than 200MMstb of gross unrisked mean-case prospective resources. United said that the technical case for Colibri is bolstered due to the recent discovery of an active, thermogenically derived offshore oil seep present to the south of the structure.

United Oil & Gas CEO Brian Larkin said: “With prospective resources of over 200mmbbl estimated for the Colibri target alone and with multiple copycat structures already identified, Walton-Morant has clear potential to be transformative for United.

“The completed 3D seismic survey is key to de-risking Colibri and other structures to the point where they are drill ready.”

The firm expects to obtain the fast-tracked data by mid-July this year and the final processed data-sets later in the year. An exploration well may be drilled in 2020-2021 depending on the results.

Larkin added: “With work underway to bring the Podere Maiar well into production, appraisal drilling on the Colter structure on course to commence in H2 2018, and the 3D seismic survey now completed in Jamaica, we are delivering on our objective to expose our shareholders to a diverse series of value trigger events.”