22 MAy 2020

Aberdeen Drilling Consultants unveils Covid-19 “resilience audit”

Scottish rig inspectors Aberdeen Drilling Consultants (ADC) has launched a “resilience audit”, a new service to help offshore operations maintain high standards of health and safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

ADC has worked with regulatory bodies, such as Oil and Gas UK and the country’s Health and Safety Executive, to develop the audit, which will assess clients in relation to a number of safety procedures, such as following social distancing rules and ensuring workplace hygiene, and makes a number of recommendations to improve performance. The audit is available alongside the company’s existing TRAMS digital rig audit system, or can be used separately, as ADC targets improving operational safety across the offshore industry, not just among its existing customers.

“Naturally, the health and wellbeing of our own specialists are of paramount importance to us when they travel offshore, or to a shipyard to one of the projects we are part of,” said ADC director Austin Hay, announcing the audit. “But our business focus has always been to ensure drilling operations can continue as smoothly as possible.

“Reduced staffing levels due to Covid-19 has both health and productivity implications for an asset. We can help companies avoid unnecessary risks and thereby maintain operations by ensuring they comply with the most up-to-date best practices.”

The offshore industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with some of the world’s biggest oil and gas developers, such as the US and China, also suffering from some of the highest numbers of cases of Covid-19 in the world. Combined with the isolated nature of offshore work, which encourages the spread of viruses between workers, the pandemic has created significant challenges for the sector; earlier today, China slashed its production target for the year, triggering a fall in oil prices.

“In these uncertain times, and with the world coming to terms with Covid-19, ADC is doing what it can to support our clients and others in helping prevent the spread of the Covid-19 on offshore installations across the globe,” concluded Hay.


22 may 2020

Oil prices slip after China abandons 2020 growth target amid Covid-19

Oil prices have decreased after China could not set an economic growth target for this year, which sparked concerns that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress fuel demand in the country.

Brent crude was down $1.38 at $34.68 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by $1.79 to $32.13 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Oil prices have witnessed gains for the past four weeks after the historic crash of US crude to below zero seen last month.

China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) launched a week-long meeting with the government saying it omitted this year’s growth target, while pledging to issue CNY1tn ($140bn) of special treasury bonds to support companies and regions hit by the outbreak.

AxiCorp chief global market strategist Stephen Innes was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Abandoning the growth target could be interpreted as putting less focus on infrastructure investment and could be viewed as negative for oil.

“The commodity market, in general, was looking for a bigger infrastructure pump from the NPC so there is bound to be an element of disappointment.”

Meanwhile, growing tensions between the US and China over Beijing’s plan to implement national security law in Hong Kong also hit commodities as well as other markets.

Phillip Futures commodities senior manager Avtar Sandu said: “Concerns over geopolitical and trade issues … remain amid signs of improving demand and production cuts by major oil producers.”

According to data from Reuters, easing coronavirus-related restrictions is driving a recovery in gasoline demand with traffic congestion in some of the world’s capitals returning to last year levels.


21 May 2020

Neptune Energy Polarcus vessel completes Petrel survey

UK-based offshore operator Neptune Energy has completed the acquisition of the 3D broadband seismic survey of the extensive Petrel field in the Bonaparte basin, Australia.

The survey, which covers 2,900km², expanded the area of seismic data that the company holds. It also increased the quality and breadth of data.

Neptune owns 54% of the Petrel field. Other partners include Santos (40.25%) and Beach Energy (5.75%).

Neptune noted that the internal analysis and interpretation of the acquired data will enable the company and its partners to plan for the future of the field.

Survey vessel Polarcus Asima was used to carry out the seismic survey, which began late last year.

On behalf of the Petrel JV, Neptune signed an exclusive data licensing agreement with Polarcus Asia Pacific. Polarcus is the acquirer of the Petrelex 3D seismic survey.

Neptune Energy Australia managing director Thor Andre Løvoll said: “The safe and successful completion of the survey is testament to the excellent teamwork of Neptune and its partners.

“The seismic survey was the first significant investment in this part of the Bonaparte basin in more than five years and it continues to present exciting future growth opportunities for Neptune offshore Australia.

“Our deeper understanding of the area also positions us well for the upcoming offshore petroleum exploration release later this year.”

Polarcus was granted approval for an environmental plan allowing new 3D multi-client data acquisition across the field.

Last week, Neptune Energy conducted a dual drilling operation from an integrated subsea template structure at the Fenja field, offshore Norway.

Last month, Neptune Energy announced the start of a drilling campaign on the Fenja field offshore Norway, following spudding of the first well.

In February this year, Neptune Energy produced first gas from the L5a-D4 well in the deepest producing gas field in the Dutch North Sea.


21 may 2020

ABS unveils guidelines for FPSOs and FPUs operating in Brazil

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has introduced a detailed technical advisory and two new notations for floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units and floating production units (FPU) operating in Brazilian jurisdictional waters.

ABS claims that the guidelines serve as the industry’s most comprehensive support package for offshore operators in Brazil, where the regulatory environment is very complex.

The ‘ABS Practical Considerations for Regulatory Compliance in Brazil’ provides detailed guidelines on navigating the regulatory environment in the country.

The two new notations, namely the BRZ and BRZ+ notations, provide owners, operators, designers, and shipyards with a construction-focused approach in order to help achieve compliance with domestic regulations for FPSOs and FPUs operating in Brazil.

As part of the BRZ notation, basic physical requirements to be implemented in the design and construction stages of the floating facility project will be covered.

The BRZ+ notation, according to ABS, expands the coverage of requirements.

It also includes a larger set of regulations from several agencies to assist clients through the development phase of the project.

ABS Global Offshore senior vice-president Matt Tremblay said: “Brazil operates a complex regulatory regime with multiple agencies involved. As the leading classification organization for offshore operators in Brazil, with the largest fleet of FPSOs, no one is better qualified than ABS to assist in navigating the compliance environment for operating in Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters.

“ABS has built a strong relationship with all Brazilian regulatory authorities and operators.

“We have developed a deep understanding of the wide array and complexity of local regulations, resolutions and standards for operating in Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters, allowing us to help clients understand and successfully apply these standards during the Class process.”

Last month, ABS partnered with public health officials and launched a comprehensive guidance on sanitising and decontaminating to maintain the safety of vessels and offshore assets potentially exposed to Covid-19.


19 may 2020

Odfjell and Total agree to delay South African drilling work

Norwegian drilling firm Odfjell Drilling has announced that it has reached an agreement with French giant Total to suspend proposed drilling work off the South African coast, due to ongoing uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two companies had originally agreed to begin drilling work in the second quarter of this year, using one of Odfjell’s Deepsea Stavanger drills, a facility designed for use in exploratory or development work, which can operate up to depths of three kilometres.

As recently as April, the companies expected the drill to be shipped to South Africa to begin work, but this timeframe has since proven optimistic, with both companies accepting that the rig will remain idle for an unspecified time.

“Once the idle period is complete, the rig will mobilise to South Africa to commence its charter as planned,” said Odfjell in a statement announcing the delay. “The idle agreement is a reflection of both parties’ commitment to proceed with the South Africa drilling program and shall provide the framework to navigate the current uncertainty.

“Odfjell Drilling will be compensated by Total during this idle time,” continued the company.

Total first discovered the gas condensate deposit during exploration work completed last February; the discovery, dubbed the Brulpadda well, revealed gas deposits up to 3,633m below the surface of the water, and Total immediately followed this work by purchasing a number of additional exploration licenses.

In sum, Total has permits to explore 19,000km2 up to a depth of 1,800m in the area, and has signed operating agreements with a number of other companies, including Qatar Petroleum and South African consortium Main Street, to further develop the project.

“We are very pleased to announce the Brulpadda discovery, which was drilled in a challenging deepwater environment”, said Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president of exploration at Total upon the discovery last year. “With this discovery, Total has opened a new world-class gas and oil play and is well positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the same block.”


19 may 2020

PGS to carry out three surveys offshore eastern Canada this year

Norwegian survey services firm Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) has announced three more surveys for two of its vessels this summer.

The Blomidon, South Bank, and Torngat Extension GeoStreamer surveys together cover approximately 10,000km2 offshore Labrador and Newfoundland, eastern Canada. They are supported by industry funding, said PGS.

Survey ships Ramform Atlas and Ramform Titan will acquire the surveys between early next month and early September this year.

The company said it will deliver fast-track results this year, and final imaging and interpretation products early next year for all the surveys.

The Blomidon 3D survey will cover about 4,000km2 of GeoStreamer 3D data over open acreage. This area will be included in the northeastern Newfoundland Call for Bids, slated for closing in November 2022.

According to PGS, the South Bank 3D survey will cover about 3,000km2 with GeoStreamer 3D data over open acreage included in the southeastern Newfoundland Call for Bids, which closes in November next year.

Meanwhile, Torngat Extension 3D builds an additional ~3,000km2 on the company’s existing coverage from last year’s acquisition. This will create 6,600km2 over open acreage that is part of the South Labrador Call for Bids, also closing in November next year.

PGS Canada new ventures manager Neil Paddy said: “Canada remains a good investment for explorers and we experience significant interest for our multi-client GeoStreamer data in the Newfoundland and Labrador area as GeoStreamer data continues to enhance understanding and unlock new potential.”

In December 2019, PGS signed an agreement with Perupetro to create a new MegaSurvey in Peru.

Last June, PGS and TGS secured the Jeanne d’Arc High Density 3D (HD3D) multi-client project offshore Newfoundland, East Canada.


18 may 2020

Equinor drills dry well near Fram field in North Sea

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has reported Equinor has concluded the drilling of wildcat well 35/10-6, near the Fram field in the northern North Sea.

Equinor operates the well, located in production licence 827 S. It was drilled about 20km northwest of the Fram field, and about 145km northwest of Bergen.

According to the NPD, the objective of the well was to prove petroleum in reservoir rocks from the Early Eocene as well as Late Palaeocene Age.

In a press statement, NPD said: “Sandstones were not encountered in the Balder Formation. In the Sele Formation, sandstones were encountered with a thickness of about 40 metres with good to very good reservoir properties.”

NPD said the well is dry and data acquisition has been carried out.

The 35/10-6 well is the first well in production licence 827 S, drilled to a vertical depth of 1907m by the West Hercules drilling rig. It has now been plugged and abandoned.

The West Hercules rig will be now be deployed to drill the 30/2-5 S well in Equinor-operated production licence 878 in the North Sea.

In February this year, Equinor commissioned a new gas module for the Troll C platform in the UK North Sea, which will improve production from the Fram field.

In January, Equinor announced plans to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated at offshore fields and onshore plants in Norway.


18 MAy 2020

Shearwater wins Apache contract for Forties field seismic survey

Marine geophysical services company Shearwater GeoServices has secured a contract from hydrocarbon exploration firm Apache to provide a 4D seismic survey with 3D extension over the Forties Field in the UK North Sea.

In a statement Shearwater said the contract work will start in the second quarter of this year and should last for about one-and-a-half months. The diesel/electric powered seismic vessel Amazon Warrior will carry out the survey.

The Forties oil field lies in UK Licence Block 21/10, approximately 140 miles north-east of Aberdeen. BP discovered it in October 1970.

Shearwater GeoServices CEO Irene Waage Basili said: “We are very pleased to see a Shearwater Qmarine 4D crew returning to the Forties Field for the fourth time.

“The project adds to the North Sea 4D program we announced earlier this year and we continue to demonstrate industry leading technology and experience in 4D seismic.”

The Qmarine point-receiver marine seismic system is one of Shearwater’s marine acquisition technologies, entering the market in 2000.

In January this year, Shearwater announced multiple 4D surveys execution in the 2020 North Sea season.

In September last year, Shearwater GeoServices secured new Isometrix seismic acquisition projects for Lundin and Spirit Energy Norway in the Barents Sea.

In August, Shearwater began a 3D seismic survey over the Pensacola Prospect on Licence P2252 in the Southern North Sea.