Sea Lion Partners Agree to Lower-Cost Development

Partners in the Falkland Islands’ Sea Lion field announced Thursday that they have agreed to adopt a phased, lower-cost development solution for the field with an initial phase designed to commercialize approximately 160 million barrels of oil.

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Rockhopper Exploration said the development concept will target a gross production plateau of between 50,000 and 60,000 barrels of oil per day.

The cost of developing the field to its initial phase is estimated to be less than $2 billion. Premier said that it believed that it could achieve this with a smaller, initial development of just the northeast part of the field – which would utilize a reduced well count. The firm said that it would be similar in scale to Premier’s existing Catcher field development in the UK North Sea.

In spite of the lower-cost development solution, the firms said that they will continue to target first oil from Sea Lion in 2019 following sanction during the first half of 2016.

Rockhopper CEO Sam Moody commented in a company statement:

“We have worked closely with Premier Oil on a lower cost initial development scheme that allows us to move together towards project sanction that is not contingent on the involvement of a third party.
 
“Overall, we are delighted with this revised approach as it materially reduces uncertainty of first-oil from Sea Lion, which we expect to be on production in 2019, as well as very significantly reduces the capex required to reach production.”

Genel Strikes Deal to Develop Major Gas Fields in Iraqi Kurdistan

LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Genel Energy has signed an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to develop two huge gas fields that could supply Turkey with gas from the winter of 2017/18.

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The Miran and Bina Bawi gas fields, with combined estimated resources of 11.4 trillion cubic feet, are valued by analysts at around $2.6 billion and are expected to help the KRG meet a gas export deal it signed with Turkey last year.

“This is a world-scale resource and the market was absolutely looking for confidence that we can come to a contractual agreement with the KRG to develop this asset,” Genel Chief Financial Officer Julian Metherell told Reuters.

Genel, one of the main oil producers in Iraqi Kurdistan, owns all of the Miran gas field and on Thursday agreed to buy the remaining 36 percent stake in Bina Bawi that it does not already own from Austria’s OMV for $150 million.

The London-listed company also said it expected a steady stream of income from its oil and gas operations in Iraqi Kurdistan from the first quarter of 2015 as it was still owed around $150 million by the KRG for oil exports at the end of September.

The autonomous government announced last week it would make initial payments of $75 million to oil producers in the region for their exports and Genel said it was expecting a transaction this month.

The advance of Islamic State fighters near Genel’s operations in August meant it was forced to evacuate some of its international contractor staff.

This has slightly delayed its plans to increase capacity at the Taq Taq oil field, in which it owns a 44 percent stake, to 200,000 barrels per day to the third quarter of 2015.

The delay meant its 2015 production guideline slightly undershot analysts’ expectations, at 90,000-100,000 barrels per day.

The energy company, which is led by ex-BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward, also said it was expecting to make $500-600 million in revenue next year, based on $80 per barrel oil prices, in line with its forecast for 2014.

Shares in Genel were up 1.6 percent at 835.5 pence at 0944 GMT.

Gulf Keystone says Iraqi Kurdistan Oilfield Output Target on Track

Nov 13 (Reuters) – Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd said it was on track to meet its full-year production target at Shaikan, its key oilfield in Iraqi Kurdistan.

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The company’s stock, however, fell as much as 13.2 percent in early trade, primarily on the uncertainty around how much money Gulf Keystone would receive from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for oil exports, according to a trader.

The KRG said last Friday that it would pay $75 million to oil producing companies for their exports in November and make further payments on a regular basis.

The oil producer said on Thursday it was nearing its production target of 40,000 gross barrels of oil per day at the Shaikan field by the end of 2014.

“Gulf Keystone’s production operations and export oil sales have continued uninterrupted in 2014,” Chief Executive John Gerstenlauer said.

Gulf Keystone’s shares recovered most of its losses, trading down 2 percent at 75.2 pence at 0956 GMT.

Schlumberger Makes Mozambique Survey Available

Schlumberger announced Monday the availability of its multiclient seismic survey offshore Mozambique. The Schlumberger multiclient seismic data offered in collaboration with the National Petroleum Institute of Mozambique (INP) includes reprocessed 2D lines and newly acquired seismic data, and provides detailed imaging of the subsurface.

“The recent discoveries and regional appraisals in the area indicate significant frontier exploration potential,” said Maurice Nessim, president, PetroTechnical Services, Schlumberger. “By combining multidisciplinary expertise for advanced attribute analysis and high quality acquisition technology, the data can provide valuable insights in this geologically complex area including illumination of the profile of structures and identification of faults.”

More than 68,350 square miles (110,000 km) of exclusive 2D seismic data—the most extensive data library of offshore Mozambique—are available for licensing, including more than 22,369 miles (36,000 km) of recently acquired long-offset 2D data using the ObliQ sliding-notch broadband acquisition and imaging technique.

The Schlumberger multiclient data are available in all offshore blocks offered in the Mozambique 5th Licensing Round issued by INP.

EnQuest Awards Technip Kraken Contract

Technip was awarded by EnQuest earlier this year a large engineering, procurement, installation and construction (EPCI) contract for the Kraken development located in the North Sea, 249 miles (400 kilometers) North-East of Aberdeen and 81 miles (130 kilometers) East of Shetland, at a water depth of approximately 394 feet (120 meters).

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The contract covers various project management engineering and installation works, which include:

  • fabrication and pipelay of approximately 31 miles (50 kilometers) of rigid pipe – 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) of metallurgically clad pipe and 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) of HDPE lined
  • installation of 3 umbilicals totaling 8.7 miles (14 kilometers)
  • installation of 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) of flexible risers and jumpers
  • template and manifold installation at three drill centers
  • diverless tie-ins to pipelines and manifolds
  • pipeline flooding, hydro testing and leak testing

Technip’s operating center in Aberdeen, United-Kingdom, will execute the contract.

The Group will leverage its unique vertical position in the subsea business. The Group’s spoolbase in Evanton, United-Kingdom, will weld and load-out the rigid pipe and Technip Umbilicals, Technip’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Newcastle, United-Kingdom, will manufacture the umbilical. All construction work on the project will be undertaken via diverless construction methods.

A number of vessels from the Technip fleet will be utilized for the offshore campaign, including Technip’s Deep Energy, one of the largest pipelay vessels ever built.

Bill Morrice, managing director of Technip in the UK, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract which builds upon our excellent relationship with EnQuest. Our vast experience in the delivery of efficient, cost-effective solutions for our clients has been recognized once again and we look forward to supporting EnQuest to maximize production from the Kraken field, currently one of the largest developments in the UK North Sea.”

Metgasco Responds to Gas Plan Mooted by NSW Government in Australia

Natural gas explorer Metgasco Limited announced Friday that it welcomes the New South Wales (NSW) Government’s recognition that gas supplies are essential to the future of NSW and that the gas industry in the Australian state can be managed safely.

Metgasco is, however, concerned about the repeated changes in regulation and policy since the current Government came to office and the uncertainty the latest announcement has created.

In March 2011 the NSW Government effectively put a hold on the industry while it created new regulations, which included a Strategic Land Use Policy and a myriad of other regulations. In September 2012 it announced that the industry had the toughest standards in the world and gave the green light for exploration and development to proceed. It correspondingly renewed exploration licenses and announced the approval of Metgasco’s first production license (just south of Casino).

Since then it has taken a number of actions which have had the effect of stifling the industry.

The new policy announcement does not sufficiently clarify the business and regulatory environment for the gas industry in NSW. Business needs a degree of certainty to justify expenditure. We now have new rules and regulatory responsibilities, many of which will not be defined until well into 2015, uncertainty about the rules for land holder compensation and some indication that the royalty regime might change to encourage exploration.

Metgasco has invested approximately $104.4 million (AUD 120 million) over the past ten years exploring for natural gas in NSW and has established the second largest gas resource in the state. It did so with the expectation that its exploration rights would be respected.

Metgasco is seeking a meeting with the Minister for Resources and Energy to clarify the impact of the new policy on the potential of the significant gas resource in the Northern Rivers region.

It is important that the NSW Government sends a message to all investors that NSW is a place in which investment can be made with confidence.

Romania Does Not Have Shale Gas, PM Ponta Says

BUCHAREST, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Romania has fought hard to discover shale gas that apparently does not exist, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said late on Sunday.

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Like its emerging European Union peer Poland, Romania has opened the door to companies seeking to uncover shale gas, hoping to replicate a boom in cheap energy seen in the United States.

The drive to find alternative gas resources has become more urgent since the conflict broke out in Ukraine, through which Russia sends almost half of its gas exports to the EU.

But Poland sharply slashed its estimated shale gas reserves to about a tenth of the 5.3 trillion cubic metres that the U.S. Energy Information Administration initially anticipated.

The administration has also estimated Romania could potentially hold 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, which would cover domestic demand for more than a century.

“It looks like we don’t have shale gas, we fought very hard for something that we do not have,” Ponta told television channel Antena 3. “I cannot tell you more than this but I don’t think we fought for something that existed.”

Earlier this year, U.S. energy major Chevron Corp finalised exploration works at a well in the eastern Romanian village of Pungesti, after repeatedly postponing operations because of protests from local residents.

Chevron, the first company to begin exploring for shale gas in Romania, has said it was analysing data collected from Pungesti and that it aimed to drill more wells in the area. It also has rights for three licence blocks near the Black Sea.

In October, Energy Minister Razvan Nicolescu told Reuters Romania will produce more gas than it and smaller eastern neighbour Moldova consume by 2020.

Local firm Petrom and U.S. major ExxonMobil have discovered 1.5-3 trillion cubic feet (42-84 billion cubic metres of gas reserves in the Black Sea, which could become commercially viable in 2019. The country plans to tender 36 new onshore and offshore areas for exploration next year.

Romania is the third-most energy-independent state in the EU and unlike many of its emerging European peers it imports only a fifth of its gas needs from Russia.

Driller Transocean To Take $2.76B Charges, Delay Results

Nov 7 (Reuters) – Rig contractor Transocean Ltd said it expected to incur impairment charges of $2.76 billion in the third quarter and would delay its results for the period, sending its shares down as much as 10 percent premarket.

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Rig operators such as Transocean have been battered this year as new rigs enter service, adding to an already oversupplied market.

Day rates for offshore rigs are expected to drop further over the next few quarters as oil companies shy away from expensive offshore production.

Transocean is the owner of the world’s largest offshore drilling fleet.

The company was expected to report after market close on Thursday.

Revenue at Transocean is expected to fall 15 percent – its steepest in three years – according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to report an adjusted profit of 83 cents per share on revenue of $2.20 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Unit Transocean Partners LLC also delayed its quarterly results.

Transocean’s shares were down about 9 percent at $27.42 in premarket trading on Friday.

Up to Thursday’s close, Transocean’s shares had fallen 40 percent this year.

3Legs Sells its Last Polish Shale Gas Concessions

WARSAW, Nov 5 (Reuters) – British energy company 3Legs Resources sold its last shale gas concessions in Poland to Sweden’s Stena Group, the firm said on Wednesday, making it the latest in a series of foreign investors to back out of Polish shale gas.

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The firm follows Total, Marathon Oil, Talisman Energy and Exxon Mobil in pulling out of Polish shale gas, which has failed to live up to its initial promise.

Earlier this year, 3Legs already backed out of its three shale gas concessions in northern Poland, after test drilling did not yield satisfactory results.

It said the last three permits, in the eastern part of the onshore Baltic Basin, would be sold to a unit of Stena Group for 0.5 million euros ($625,400). Stena Group’s businesses include ferry routes, shipping, and offshore drilling.

Poland launched a major push into shale gas three years ago, aiming to wean itself off Russian gas supplies.

But in 2012 a government report cut Poland’s estimated shale gas reserves by about 90 percent. Challenging geological conditions as well as legal uncertainty have also undercut investor interest.

Chevron and ConocoPhillips are still operating in Polish shale gas, along with a number of independents and Polish energy firms. (1 US dollar = 0.7995 euro) (1 US dollar = 0.6269 British pound)

Seadrill’s West Telesto to Drill Sea Lion Prospect in VIC/P57 Off Australia

Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad (Hibiscus Petroleum) revealed Wednesday that its wholly-owned entity, Carnarvon Hibiscus Pty Ltd (CHPL), has signed a rig share agreement for the drilling of an exploration well located in VIC/P57 offshore Australia. The agreement is signed with Origin Energy Resources Ltd (Origin) which intends to drill two wells prior to handing over the rig to CHPL.

Under the agreement, CHPL will assume the services of the Seadrill West Telesto (400′ ILC), an independent leg cantilever jackup, to spud and drill the Sea Lion exploration well after the Origin’s drilling activities. The drilling of the Sea Lion exploration well is estimated to take up to 30 days. The agreement also provides CHPL with an option to drill the two West Seahorse development wells immediately following Sea Lion.

The Rig Share Agreement with Origin was chosen for several reasons, including the significant savings gained for sharing of the mobilisation and demobilization costs, certainty of the rig’s availability period, strong past operating performance, crew competence and good health, safety and environment record. Seadrill Ltd is an international drilling contractor that is listed on both the Oslo Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange.

Commenting on the award, Dr Kenneth Pereira, managing director of Hibiscus Petroleum said, “After months of planning, we are excited to get our drilling program in VIC/P57 underway. If successful, Sea Lion would be developed as a tie-back to West Seahorse, fully utilizing the planned West Seahorse facilities and providing a cost effective solution for the development of Sea Lion”.

The Sea Lion exploration prospect which is targeted to be drilled in the second quarter of 2015, has been selected for drilling after in-depth technical and economic evaluation, with estimated prospective resources of about 11 million barrels.

CHPL currently has a 50.1 percent participating interest in VIC/P57, while the balance is held by 3D Oil Limited (3D Oil). Pursuant to various agreements signed between CHPL, 3D Oil and Hirex Petroleum Sdn Bhd (HIREX, a 41 percent jointly controlled entity of Hibiscus Petroleum) July 4, CHPL will acquire a further 5 percent interest in VIC/P57 whilst HIREX has an option to acquire a 20 percent interest in VIC/P57 exploration permit from 3D Oil. The completion of these transactions is pending the satisfaction of certain condition precedents.