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    Canadian Syncrude Oil-Sands Output Halted (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The largest owner of the giant Syncrude oil-sands project said it stopped production after a fire damaged equipment at a processing facility in Alberta, Chester Dawson reports. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. didn’t estimate the volume or value of the lost output, but Syncrude’s synthetic crude output averaged 207,700 barrels a day in the second quarter and it sold for about 74.47 Canadian dollars ($56.28) per barrel.Canadian Oil Sands holds a 37% stake in Syncrude Canada and six other companies own the rest, including lead operator Exxon Mobil Corp. unit Imperial Oil Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc.Besides low oil prices, Canadian Oil Sands has had a rough time amid swinging to a loss, growing debt, unplanned equipment outages and Moody’s Investors Service cutting its credit rating.Meanwhile, the Canadian unit of Chinese state-controlled energy company Cnooc Ltd. said it will comply with an order to shut down pipelines at an oil-sands plant in Alberta.Separately, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S said it received approval to develop the largest new natural-gas find in the U.K. North Sea in a decade, Kjetil Malkenes Hovland reports, while Eric Sylvers reports that Italian oil-and-gas company Eni SpA said it made a huge natural-gas discovery off the coast of Egypt, calling it the largest-ever find in the Mediterranean Sea.Source: blogs.wsj.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Regulator Orders 95 Nexen Pipelines Shut Down After Leak (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The Alberta Energy Regulator has ordered the immediate suspension of 15 pipeline licenses issued to Nexen, the Canadian unit of China’s Cnooc Ltd., after finding “noncompliant activities” at the company’s Long Lake oil-sands operations.The order results in the closing of 95 pipelines carrying natural gas, crude oil, salt water, fresh water and emulsion, the regulator said in a statement.Nexen will be required to provide documentation to assure the agency that it can operate the pipelines safely, and further enforcement action may be taken as the investigation continues, the regulator said.“Given that this company has already had a pipeline failure at this site, the AER will not lift this suspension until Nexen can demonstrate that they can be operated safely and within all regulatory requirements,” said Jim Ellis, chief executive officer of the Alberta regulator. “We will accept no less than concrete evidence.”The agency had been investigating a July spill of about 31,500 bbl of crude oil, sand and water after a pipeline failure in an area about 22 mi southeast of Fort McMurray.The company said Saturday in a statement that it will comply with the agency’s order. Nexen said it had begun an internal audit of its pipeline management system after the July spill and on Aug. 25 voluntarily disclosed to the agency a number of non-compliance issues, mostly related to documentation of maintenance activities.Cnooc CEO Li Fanrong, speaking Aug. 26 at a post-earnings press conference in Hong Kong, apologized for the July leak and said the company is actively cooperating with investigators.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Hurricanes now Less Likely to Disrupt U.S. Output (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that there is now a lower than before risk of a hurricane jeopardising the U.S. oil and gas production.The reason for this is a record low Gulf of Mexico offshore energy production, combined with a below-normal 2015 hurricane season.According to EIA, In 2003, 27% of the nation’s crude oil was produced in the Gulf of Mexico; by 2014, that share had declined to 16%. The Gulf of Mexico’s share of natural gas production has also declined from a high of 26% in 1997 to 5% in 2014.This decline in the Gulf of Mexico’s share of production has reduced the vulnerability of U.S. crude oil and natural gas supply to hurricanes, EIA said in its August 28 update.It added that, based on NOAA’s outlook, EIA estimated in its June Short-Term Energy Outlook that storm-related disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico during the 2015 hurricane season would total 9.7 million barrels of crude oil and 15.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas, or 3.5% and 2.8% of total Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas production, respectively, and even smaller percentages of total U.S. production.No GoM shutdowns in 2014No crude oil or natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut in during the 2014 hurricane season, and EIA estimated a 14% probability that production during the current hurricane season will also be unaffected.However, EIA says, strong storms are still capable of causing significant production outages. Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast 10 years ago Saturday, and Hurricane Rita, striking less than a month after Katrina, shut down almost all offshore natural gas and crude oil production for several days, with production remaining at reduced levels for months after the hurricanes.In September 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike shut down almost all production in the Gulf of Mexico. Even if the offshore rigs are not directly in the projected path of the hurricane, these rigs may be evacuated as a precautionary measure, EIA explains.The Gulf Coast is also home to about half of U.S. refining capacity, and several natural gas processing and distribution facilities that could also be affected by severe weather. However, EIA says, high levels of crude oil inventories, both domestically and globally, could mitigate the supply impacts of weather-related disruptions. Similarly, natural gas processing capacity has been added in areas beyond the Gulf Coast in recent years, lessening the potential effect of storm-related processing outages.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Rig Manager who Swindled $3.5 from Drilling Contractor Jailed for 4 years (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Maersk Drilling, a Danish offshore drilling contractor, has won a case against its former employee of Russian origin.Namely, the employee, named Vladimir Volkov, according to Danish media, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding the company. The 30-year-oil, living in Murmansk, Russia, was arrested in June at the airport in Copenhagen.He used to work as a rig manager aboard the Maersk Deliverer drilling rig, off the coast of West Africa.Last week, he was convicted by the court of Lyngby of having paying for fictitious deliveries from a Ghanaian company using the company cash and then having the money transferred to his private account.According to a Maersk Drilling spokesperson, the employee has been expelled from the company and has been ordered by the court to pay back full damages, around 23 million Danish crowns ($3.45 million), to Maersk Drilling.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Oil Industry to Encourage Women Workers (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The oil and gas industry is dominated with stories of job cuts as employers react to the downturn and the price of Brent crude lurks around $50 a barrel.Against this backdrop, it may seem strange to be advocating that employers should be attracting and retaining more women in to the industry by using the law as leverage, but that’s what I will be doing in Aberdeen at the world’s second largest oil show, as Offshore Europe rolls in to town next week.The proportion of women in the UK oil and gas industry is reported to be 23 per cent compared to a 47 per cent national average, which worsens when narrowed to offshore staff with only 3.6 per cent represented. But, aside from moral and social arguments in favour of equal opportunities, why should employers be interested in increasing the participation of women throughout their workforces?Research shows increased female representation can bring a range of benefits such as access to a larger talent pool, better financial performance, increased productivity, greater responsiveness to the market and stronger corporate governance. In the North Sea, the focus is now on realigning organisations to create sustainable businesses for the future. Strategies which could increase performance and competitive advantage should be highly relevant. My argument is that gender diversity should be considered as one such strategy, rather than seen as an add-on topic for the HR department.At Offshore Europe I will explore themes such as flexible working, shared parental leave to boost the number of women in the sector, legal entitlement which allows positive action, and gender pay gap reporting.Flexible working is a touchy subject because most employers will say there is absolutely no scope for flexible working in their organisation, and of course I am not suggesting that offshore shift patterns could be overhauled to make them more family friendly. But if these themes are rejected in their entirety without any exploration of potential business benefits in certain contexts, it could be a missed opportunity. The obvious challenge is the commercial pressure organisations are already under, and a lack of resources to look at these propositions. Not surprisingly, their immediate conclusion is that ‘this costs money’ and they won’t take it any further. However, other sectors like financial services have demonstrated the business case for greater gender diversity is quite compelling.The counter argument is that, at a time when the primary concern of employers in the industry has become one of pure survival, something radical is needed. The continuous cycle of cut-cut-cut in hard times and recruiting back when things improve, seems to me to be unsustainable and we now have an opportunity to do things completely differently.From next March - under new gender pay gap reporting regulations - companies with more than 250 employees must publish data showing the differences in pay between men and women. The national average difference is 19 per cent, but with a male-dominated workforce in the North Sea, I am guessing the average for the oil and gas industry will be considerably higher.The first step is for employers to audit their pay structures, identify whether there is any disparity, then to understand the reasons why and assess whether gender inequality is an issue.The process of auditing and reporting becomes a virtuous circle, because once the employer is required to publish the data this can empower women to take legal action. To avoid the risk of claims, employers need to address any results of the audit that suggest inequality.The changing legal landscape requires companies to consider investment in this area to ensure compliance, no matter how hard times may be. Good data management is just the first step: the disclosure of a gender pay gap will require investigation into its causes and then remedial action. Exposure to potential litigation is not the only risk, as a poor track record on gender pay gap reporting could affect corporate reputation and an employer’s ability to attract and retain talented workers.Increasing the rate of participation of women in the workforce should be considered as a strategic business issue. This means making some difficult decisions on how to facilitate gender diversity. The various legal entitlements provide tools for leveraging these decisions, but ultimately oil and gas employers must consider going beyond compliance and forge a way towards increased female representation and gender equality.Source: www.scotsman.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Total To Sell $5.5 Billion In Assets This Year (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    When the price of a commodity falls, there are two ways for companies to react: Either cut costs and even sell assets to improve cash flow, or to invest – if you can afford to.The past week saw examples of both approaches. On Aug. 26, Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oilfield services company, said it will spend about $12 billion to buy Cameron International Corp., a leader in making oilfield equipment. The deal is intended to streamline Schlumberger’s operations and attract customers by bundling service and equipment fees at lower prices.The next day, Total, France’s oil and gas giant, took the other tack, saying it would sell a gas pipeline and a gas terminal in the North Sea for $905 million as part of restructuring plan that includes a reduction in investments, an increase in oil production and a cut in investment costs.Total said it will sell its 225-mile Frigg UK Pipeline, which stretches from the Frigg field in the North Sea, and its terminal in St. Fergus in northern Scotland to North Sea Midstream Partners. Although the Frigg field is no longer operating, the pipeline still serves the St. Fergus terminal, which can accommodate 2.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day.Total says it hopes to dispose of $5.5 billion worth of its minor assets this year to boost revenues at a time of depressed oil prices. The company says it’s been overproducing crude for Europe at a time when demand there has fallen by 15 percent since 2008. The company attributes the lower demand to Europe’s desire to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the increased efficiency of new cars.The Paris-based company also is facing strong competition from oil producers in the United States, who have been relying greatly on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract generous amounts of oil and gas from underground shale formations.Already, in July, Total made more than $880 million by selling a 20 percent stake in Laggan-Tormore, a deepwater gas field about 75 miles west of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. The buyer was the British energy generator SSE.More sales may be coming. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in February that his company would increase and accelerate its program to cut expenses begun by the previous CEO, Christophe de Margerie. Pouyanné said much of the cost-cutting would focus on energy fields in the North Sea, where Total has lately been investing “almost zero.”As for the sale of the Fergus pipeline and terminal, Total’s chief financial officer, Patrick de La Chevardiere said it was “another example of Total’s strategy of active portfolio management and the strong potential to unlock value from a range of infrastructure assets.”North Sea Midstream said the sale will breathe new life into the North Sea energy industry. Revenues from the region have plunged not only because of the plunge in oil prices during the past year, but also because decades of drilling have depleted its energy fields. Further, drilling equipment is aging and requires investment in maintenance and, in some cases, replacement.“We see midstream infrastructure as crucial to the longevity of the North Sea and firmly believe that the independent ownership of such infrastructure can help maximize the ultimate economic recovery of the British continental shelf’s oil and gas reserves,” North Sea Mainstream CEO Andy Heppel said.Source: www.oilprice.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Keppel buys Cameron’s Rig Business (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) will buy Cameron’s offshore rigs business, which comprises the LETOURNEAU TM jack-up rig designs, rig kit business, and aftermarket services for $100 million.The designs Keppel is acquiring, which include theLETOURNEAU™ Super 116E, WORKHORSE, Super Gorilla XL and Jaguar, will add to Keppel’s offerings in the jack-up rig market, the rig builder said in a statement.With the acquisition, Keppel says it will be able to offer customers the LETOURNEAU™ rig designs through the sale of rig kits to shipyards, or deliver ready-to-drill rig solutions from Keppel yards worldwide. The rig kits include jack-up leg components, elevating units/jacking system and cantilever/skidding system. Support equipment such as cranes and anchor winches are also options in the rig kits.Another aspect of the business is the provision of aftermarket services, Keppel says. With about 100 LETOURNEAU™ rigs currently operating around the world, many operators require servicing and repair of their rigs.Keppel will be able to leverage its network of yards worldwide to better meet these customers’ needs, Keppel said in a statement on Monday. Besides repairs, upgrades and modifications, jack-ups are required to undergo five-year Class recertification special periodic surveys.Chow Yew Yuen, CEO of Keppel O&M, said, “This is an opportune and strategic acquisition as it will not only broaden our suite of jackup rig design offerings in this highly competitive sector, but also provide us with enhanced capabilities to service customers through the provision of expanded aftermarket sales and services. We are confident that the long-term fundamentals of the offshore rig market remain positive.”“With the current low oil price, we have seen a slowdown in newbuild rig orders. Rig owners are instead looking at repairing and upgrading their current fleet. We believe that we can make best use of our after-sales service infrastructure to service rigs of both the LETOURNEAU™ as well as Keppel FELS designs. These are popular designs operating in many of the world’s offshore oil fields and rig owners can now utilise our global network of yards to service and maintain their rig assets cost-effectively.”Keppel O&M has assured it has the expertise to build rigs of the LETOURNEAU™ design having previously completed 16 such rigs.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Wärtsilä Wins Two more Regasification Module Contracts for LNG Vessels (Monday, 31 August 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    South Korean shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has placed two contracts with Wärtsilä for seawater/propane based regasification modules.The systems are to be installed on FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit) vessels owned by Höegh LNG, the Norway-based owner and operator of floating energy solutions, and by Russian energy company Gazprom. The contracts were signed in July. There is also an option for a further contract from HHI for another Höegh vessel that is valid until December of this year.Both regasification systems are modularized for easy installation. They will also be supplied with seawater filter and steam/seawater heating modules. The system to be supplied for Gazprom will be winterized so as to be capable of operating in ambient temperatures as low as minus 30°C. The use of Printed Circuit Heat Exchangers and Plate Heat Exchangers enables the systems to be far more compact and lighter than alternative solutions. By utilizing seawater for heating, CO2 emissions are far less than solutions using steam heating.Wärtsilä has delivered and commissioned numerous floating LNG regasification plants based on either closed loop regasification technology, using steam with water/glycol as the intermediate heating medium, or open loop regasification technology using seawater with propane as the intermediate heating medium.The company has also delivered modularized regasification plants for jetty installations. These facilitate a much shorter construction time compared to conventional land-based LNG regasification terminal projects.Source: www.worldoil.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

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