Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

Old entries from my weblog on geophysics and the energy industry.


WSJ (subscription): Increasingly Skeptical Congress Takes Up Bush's Energy Plan.

"... Mr. Bush's position has deteriorated since he rolled out his energy package in mid-May. One week after its unveiling, Democrats seized control of the Senate. Gasoline prices at the pump have drifted lower, easing the sense of crisis Mr. Bush invoked in trying to gain support for his priorities. In polls, many Americans complain that Mr. Bush is too closely tied to the energy industry and insufficiently devoted to conservation...."

Oil & Gas Journal: US fuel economy study sidesteps auto mileage recommendations.

"The US National Academy of Sciences Monday said the fuel efficiency program for passenger vehicles must be updated to reflect improved auto technology and to reduce reliance on foreign oil. But the report did not offer specific fuel economy recommendations."

Oil Online: MMS offers five-year lease sale proposal.

Oil & Gas Journal: Budget office estimates GOP leasing proposals would cost $462 million.

Oil Online: Deepwater seismic survey in progress off New Zealand.


WSJ (subscription): Oil Giants Struggle to Spend Profits Amid Shortage of Exploration Sites.

"Instead of spending wildly, the majors have turned to buying back their stock. Exxon Mobil spent $2.35 billion to buy 54 million shares in 2000 and spent a further $1.44 billion buying back 35 million shares in the first quarter of this year. It barely made a dent in the cash hoard: As of this month, Exxon Mobil has $9.3 billion on hand. Similarly, Shell spent a record $4 billion in just the first quarter buying its own stock, yet when the quarter ended the company was sitting on $11.68 billion in cash, 182% more than a year earlier."

Scott Burns: Some expect cheap oil, some say we'll be over a barrel.


New York Times: Lawmakers Begin Effort to Get U.S. to Fight Global Warming.

"With the United States now alone in the world in opposing the treaty to combat global warming, some lawmakers are pressing for Congress to take the lead toward reducing emissions of so-called greenhouse gases...."


Another long piece on Kazakhstan, from yesterday's WSJ ->

WSJ (subscription): A Once-Decrepit River Outpost Gets a Western-Style Overhaul.

"Downtown, bulldozers will raze 1,777 decrepit buildings, preserving just 23 of them.... Those structures will be replaced by a new 25-acre complex of 16-story office and apartment buildings, a 1,000-room luxury hotel, a supermarket and a bigger city hall."

> I'm not posting all the links, but everybody's earnings were great this last quarter. If you care. *Yawn*


A long background piece on Kazakhstan ->

Houston Chronicle: Kazakhs drill hopes into Kashagan. Field may be huge find, but difficulties are vast.

"The oil reservoir, which begins 45 miles south of Atyrau, is a massive, salt-capped slab of limestone nearly a mile thick lying three miles deep and stretching for 50 miles.

"The work so far shows a 350 million-year-old coral atoll holding an estimated 10 billion to 30 billion barrels of recoverable oil. At 20 billion barrels, it would be the world's fifth-largest oil field."

Reuters: Shell blows into U.S. wind market in Wyoming.

"Oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell announced on Monday an agreement to buy its first commercial wind farm, a 50-megawatt project in Wyoming...."

Science News: Power Harvests. The salvation of many U.S. farmers may be blowing in the wind.

"Globally, wind generation of electricity has nearly quadrupled over the past 5 years, and in the United States, it's expected to grow 60 percent this year alone."

WSJ (subscription): Oil Companies Flourish in Quarter But Brace for Leaner Times Ahead.

ExxonMobil ->

"Earnings from exploration and production rose 3.1% to $2.85 billion, driven mostly by higher natural-gas prices, particularly in the U.S. The results were partly offset by lower crude-oil sales and higher exploration expenses on growth areas."

Chevron ->

"Exploration and production earnings increased by 3.6% to $1 billion, despite a 4% drop in international earnings caused mainly by a $48 million write-off of a failed well in Azerbaijan. Higher U.S. natural-gas prices fueled the overall increase."

Oil & Gas Journal: Bush administration backs elevation of EPA to cabinet department.


Paradigm Geophysical Announces Second Quarter and Six Month 2001 Results.

"In the third quarter of 2001 the Company will issue its latest software release `PG2.0' -- an integrated release of Paradigm's reservoir analysis system."

Oil & Gas Journal: Unocal says Trident find in deepwater Gulf of Mexico taps 300 ft of pay.

"Unocal said preliminary evaluation indicates reservoir fluid of 40-gravity or higher. Trident is 185 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Tex, in 9,687 ft of water. The well was drilled to 20,500 ft TD in 66 days at an estimated cost of $34 million."

Houston Business Journal: Anadarko sets $1 billion stock buyback.


Associated Press: Negotiators Rescue Kyoto Climate Pact.

"Negotiators from 178 nations rescued the 1997 Kyoto Protocol after 48 hours of marathon talks ending Monday, leaving the United States isolated as the rest of the world embraced the first binding treaty on combating global warming."

Oil & Gas Journal: MMS issues notice for Aug. 22 Gulf of Mexico lease sales.

"They are Sale 180, which will offer 4,114 western gulf tracts, and Part 2 of central gulf Sale 178, which will offer 53 tracts in the area known as the `Western Gap.'"


ABC News: Scientists Bet on Global Warming.

"A report issued this month by the United Nations' scientific body, the International Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], predicted global temperatures will rise somewhere between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees, but did not say which side of the scale was more likely. Today's report, which appears in the journal Science, comments on the wide range of numbers."

Reuters: Study Sees Earth's Temperature Soaring by 2100.

"The researchers said the planet has warmed up by about 1 degrees over the last century. But they say it is likely to heat up by about 1 or 2 degrees as early as 2030. By 2100, the most likely increase would be in the range of 4 to 7 degrees, while there is a 90 percent chance global average temperatures will rise 3 to 9 degrees, they said."

Oil & Gas Journal: MMS plan proposes 20 offshore lease sales for 2002-07.

Reuters: Report says coal, oil power plants spew big percentage of pollution.

"Coal and oil-burning power plants in the United States and Canada were top polluters in 1998, spewing out 43 percent of industrial air emissions in the two countries, an international environmental agency said Friday."


Houston Chronicle: Oil exploration firms riding high. Analysts predict fall slowdown.

"Shares of many of the large independents have declined drastically since the beginning of the year, with some companies, such as Anadarko, Apache and EOG Resources, down more than 30 percent this year."

Last week it was the IEA, this week it's the API --

Oil & Gas Journal: API says slowing US economy trimmed products demand in first half.

> "Products" is the stuff the downstream folks make with petroleum.

Oil & Gas Journal: Carbon dioxide emission cap would benefit gas, EIA says.

"The agency projected natural gas-fired generation would be 61% higher in 2010 and 43% higher in 2020 than if no cap is imposed."

Oil & Gas Journal: BP joins conservation group Alliance to Save Energy.


Houston Chronicle: Shares of oil-service giants fall to 52-week lows.

"Dallas-based Halliburton, the No. 1 oil service company, fell $1.75, or 5.4 percent, to $30.40. Schlumberger, based in New York and Paris, fell $1.55 to $48.90. Baker Hughes, based in Houston, fell $1.29 to $30.31."

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Cuba prospects for oil in Gulf of Mexico.

"While friends and foes of offshore oil drilling in Florida are locked in a heated debate over plans to tap energy reserves off the gulf coast, this summer Cuba will launch its first deep-sea oil explorations in the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba has partnered with the Spanish oil company Repsol YPF to begin seismic studies of the gulf floor in August."

Oil Online: MMS issues Eastern Gulf sale notice.

"The sale is tentatively planned for Dec. 5, 2001 in New Orleans."

Nature: Oracle's secret fault found. Ancient prophesies made at Delphi may have been inspired by natural gas.

"The oracle at Delphi made the site a major religious centre for 2,000 years. Greek and Roman rulers flocked there, seeking advice on private and political affairs. The oracle was originally sacred to the Earth goddess Gea; later, a temple was dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. The oracle was finally forbidden in AD 392 by the Christian emperor of Rome."


Houston Chronicle: SUV popularity fueling issues on gas economy.

"Nationwide, pickups, vans and SUVs accounted for 46 percent of new auto sales last year, twice their market share just eight years ago, government records show.... Because of Americans' craving for a monster set of wheels, the typical passenger vehicle driving down Main Street today gets fewer miles to the gallon than at any time in the last two decades."

Scott Burns: World running out of cheap oil that fuels economies.


Associated Press: IEA Again Cuts Oil Demand Forecast.

"In its latest report, the IEA predicted that demand for crude would increase this year by 460,000 barrels a day to a total of 76.0 million daily barrels. That rate of growth is only a fifth of what the agency had foreseen last summer."

Associated Press: Power Companies Dominate IPO Market.

"Fourteen of the 39 companies that went public in the first half of 2001 were energy-related. By June 29, the last trading day of the second quarter, 10 of the 14 had fallen below their first day's closing price."


Houston Chronicle: Senate OKs drilling in eastern Gulf. Committee showdown looms for measure at polar odds with House bill.

"In a show of support for President Bush's energy strategy, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to permit oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The Democratic-led Senate, by a 67-33 vote, rejected an amendment that would have prohibited the Interior Department from leasing offshore exploration rights in the Gulf's eastern sector." ...

"Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., argued that foes of oil and gas activity in the Gulf should be more concerned about spills from oil tankers."

Oil & Gas Journal: Senate bill retains Lease 181 lease sale, ban on monument drilling.

"The US Senate late Thursday passed a spending bill that blocks new energy leases in designated national monuments but retains a controversial lease sale in the eastern Gulf of Mexico scheduled for this December.

"Also included in the Interior Appropriations bill is expanded federal funding for oil and gas research programs and a continuation of the decades-old ban against drilling on most of the federal offshore, excluding the central and western Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska."

Houston Chronicle: Drilling for natural gas deflates. A decline in prices means a decline in rig-use forecasts.

"Twenty-six service companies followed by Simmons & Company International have seen their stock prices decline by 37 percent from their 52-week highs." ...

"Some, like seismic companies and offshore construction companies working in deep water, may not be affected. Oil companies will be needing more seismic data, not less, said Simmons."

De-hua Han and Mike Batzle gave talks at Paradigm on Tuesday. These guys are rock physics demigods, and it's always a mind expanding experience to hear them talk.

A couple of weeks ago, Paradigm's Anat Canning came through Houston on her way back to Israel from the Stanford Rock Physics consortium. She claimed that De-hua was cited in nearly every presentation at the Stanford meeting.


Nature: Climate widens the gulf. Global warming could make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

"New maps in the report show that warming and increased CO2 levels will increase global food production over the next 70 years. At the same time, these factors could force about 2 billion people living around the equator to endure large cuts in food production."

WSJ (subscription): Looking for Ways To Save Gasoline.

"Today's renewed interest in reducing gasoline use is driven as much by worries about global warming (cars produce 20% of U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide) as it is by 25-year-old fears about imported oil (cars account for 40% of U.S. oil consumption)."

Physics Today: Bush Sends Mixed Science Signals.

"While partisanship marked the arguments over the administration's slow appointment process in key science positions, both Republicans and Democrats continued to express concern about the lack of understanding of science shown in Bush's budget proposal, which hit the physical sciences hard."

Oil & Gas Journal: IPAA chairman predicts steady US natural gas prices for 2-5 years.

"Jerry Jordan, speaking at the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York's summer meeting, ... said industry should be cautious in asking for a national energy policy, because federal actions in the past sometimes have had onerous effects on the industry, such as the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 and the `windfall profits' tax on oil in the late 1970s."


Houston Business Journal: Conoco nets approval for Gulf Canada deal.

"Conoco Inc. has gained regulatory approval for its $4.3 billion cash purchase of Gulf Canada Resources Ltd."

WSJ (subscription): Hess to Buy Triton Energy for $2.67 Billion In Move to Boost Its Production Business.

"The purchase will provide a windfall for Triton's biggest shareholder, Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc., which agreed to sell its stake of about 38% to Amerada Hess. In late 1998 and early 1999, when oil prices were falling to 20-year lows, Hicks Muse invested about $350 million in Triton and installed its own management team. Hicks Muses values its stake at about $1.1 billion, based on the Amerada Hess offer.

"Thomas O. Hicks, Triton's chairman and Hicks Muse chairman and chief executive, said ... `We figure if we could make three times our money in three years, it was good enough for us.'"


New York Times: Amerada Hess Agrees to Buy Triton Energy for $2.6 Billion.

"The deal will add to Amerada Hess earnings next year and increase the company's oil production to 535,000 barrels a day from 425,000 now, Mr. Hess said. Production will surpass 600,000 barrels a day in 2003...."

Reuters: Exxon Mobil grabs top spot on Fortune Global 500 list.

"Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, set a world record during 2000 for the highest-ever profits by any company in one of the best years in history for the oil industry."

WSJ (subscription): Bush's Oil-Drilling Proposal Fuels Controversy in Alaska.

"Indiana, for one, pumps 2.5 million barrels of oil a year, compared with Alaska's current level of 400 million annual barrels, which amounts to 20% of the nation's domestic oil supply. Alaska spends about $3 million a year to monitor oil-field safety. Indiana spends $1.4 million, deploying its nine inspectors mostly across a 480-square-mile oil patch. The five inspectors employed by Alaska's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, by contrast, oversee wells spread across 1,000 square miles of icy emptiness. California, which produces about 300 million barrels of oil a year, has 40 oil-field safety inspectors."


Oil & Gas Journal: Another analyst reduces natural gas price forecast.

"Despite the rollback in demand, Morris said, `We remain steadfast in our assessment that domestic natural gas production will be up at least 3.5% this year over 2000. During the third quarter, we expect production to be up around 2 bcfd, which should more than offset the anticipated increase in demand from new power generation facilities.'" ...

"Salomon Smith Barney is maintaining its price projection for benchmark US oil at $22/bbl through 2001 and beyond. However, Morris reported Friday that prices could average in the mid-$20/bbl level or higher for the rest of this year if members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintain their current discipline."

More alumni news from UTIG:

Steve Cardimona was one of the scores of students that shared UTIG office space in the suite of rooms that we affectionately called "the student ghetto." Now he's a member of the University of Missouri-Rolla G&G faculty.

Also, Steve has just published a novel about Lady Godiva, writing under the pseudonym "Steven James."


Physics Today: Warming Oceans Appear Linked to Increasing Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases.

"Barnett notes that neither changes in solar irradiance nor geothermal heating can come close to supplying the heat required to make the changes seen over the last 40 years. `That pretty much leaves anthropogenic sources as our only explanation,' he says.

"Because of their large thermal inertia, the oceans are clearly the memory of the world's climate system.... As estimated by a recent paper, even if manmade greenhouse gas emissions were to cease immediately, heat coming out of the oceans would continue to raise atmospheric temperatures by an additional 1C before the system equilibrated."

> It would be nice if they could get the modeling to match the observations better, but that may not be just the fault of the modeling. We probably also need to improve the quality of the field observations.

Houston Chronicle: Houston to join two other cities in role of computer hub for Shell.

"About 40 computer systems will have been transferred to the three hubs by the end of 2002, McGarry said. Shell and IBM spent a year working out the agreement, which is valued at more than $100 million over the five-year life of the deal...."


If you're into subsalt imaging:

I just read the Muerdter and Ratcliff article on ray trace modeling in June's The Leading Edge. (Warning: it's a 17 Mbyte download! It may be easier to just find a copy of the magazine.) After a lengthy four-page introduction about ray trace methods, they present 2D ray trace experiments studying illumination problems at the edge of a number of simple salt sill models.

Of course, salt edges are exactly where ray trace methods break down. But since most prestack imaging relies on ray tracing, subsalt imagers ought to take a look at this stuff. I think it would be really interesting to repeat some of the experiments in this paper using wave equation modeling...

Incidently, this is part one of a three part paper. Parts 2 and 3 will be in the July and August issues.

I missed this one back in May --

WesternGeco to Purchase Exploration Design Software.

"`EDS software will supplement the existing imaging technology in WesternGeco's Omega seismic processing system installed on cost-effective PC clusters, giving WesternGeco a superior price/performance advantage in the growing prestack imaging market,' said Craig Beasley, WesternGeco's vice president, data processing."


Oil & Gas Journal: Interior pulls Florida tracts from Lease Sale 181.

"Industry officials, however, maintained that the lease properties dropped from consideration could contain up to 90% of the area's total production potential."

New York Times: A Second Oil Shortage: Experienced Workers.

"According to the American Petroleum Institute, about 754,500 people worked in exploration and production, arguably the most crucial part of the oil industry, in 1982. As of last month, the number had almost halved, to 336,400. From 1997 to 1999, the oil and gas industry shed 60,000 exploration and production jobs, mainly because of low oil prices, said Ron Planting, an analyst at the Petroleum Institute."

> A three-pager.


New York Times: S.U.V.'s, Golf, Even Peas Join Eco-Vandals' Hit List.

"`... these attacks aren't constructive,' Mr. Giller said. `They're not winning any converts to the cause. They're not environmentalism. They're vandalism.'"

> They're felonies.

[via Today's Papers]

Walter Kessinger

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