Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Houston Chronicle: Chairman repeats: Adios, Oklahoma. Despite state's pleas, ConocoPhillips will call Houston home.

"[Phillips CEO] Mulva said Wall Street analysts indicated that having offices in Bartlesville, where the company employs 2,400, hurt the company's share price. Conoco employs 1,900 at a Ponca City research facility, refinery and back-office operation that includes credit card processing. Phillips has research, credit card processing and other back office functions in Bartlesville."


Oil and Gas International: Landmark releases enhanced GeoGraphix Discovery.

Fugro NV introduces third leg, triggered by the acquisition of Jason and endorses outlook of net profit growth for 2001 of 30%.

"After the acquisition of Robertson Research International Ltd. earlier this year, the acquisition of Jason Information Systems B.V. enables the formation of a third division.... Jason will be acquired for EUR 100 million." ...

"Fugro introduces the geoscience division as its third division supplementary to the geotechnical and the survey divisions. The geoscience division quantifies and qualifies resources for oil, gas and minerals and optimises production."


Houston Chronicle: Analysts favor oil data consolidation. Say Petroleum Geo-Services, Veritas deal holds great potential.

"If the deal goes through as planned, the big two in the industry will together control nearly 80 percent of upper-end 3-D vessels, which provide the highest quality images of underground formations, according to Simmons & Company International of Houston."

Hart's E&P: High-density surveys proving worth.

"With the recent advances in streamer-towing capabilities, it is possible to deliver single-source acquisition with the same crossline bin size and crew efficiency as industry standard dual-source acquisition....

"In addition to the increased S/N ratio resulting from higher fold, single-source data will be of better quality than dual-source data. This is due to improved sampling in the common midpoint, common receiver and common offset domains. These produce improved results from spatial filtering multiple attenuation techniques, such as surface-related multiples and Radon demultiple."

Oil and Gas International: Advanced seabed seismic system field trials.

"Nexans and Sercel SA have successfully performed the first field trial of a new seabed seismic system, Deep Sea Link, which the two companies have been co-developing for several years."


Reuters: Petroleum Geo-Services to Buy U.S.-Based Rival.

"Petroleum Geo-Services A.S.A. of Norway, known as P.G.S., agreed yesterday to acquire its rival Veritas DGC Inc. in a $772 million stock swap that would create the world's second- largest provider of geophysical data to the energy sector. The concerns will combine to form a new holding company in which shareholders of P.G.S. will own about 60 percent of the combined company and Veritas, based in Houston, will own the rest."

Houston Chronicle: Petroleum Geo-Services, Veritas to team up in providing oil data.

"The combined company will have 21 marine seismic crews, the capability to field 25 to 30 high-tech land three-dimensional seismic crews, more than 20 data processing centers and eight data visualization centers."

Oil and Gas International: Veritas & PGS to merge. Nice pictures.

Hart's E&P: What do you do when the sky is falling?

"For those who didn't attend the annual meeting of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) in San Antonio, Texas, the day of the attacks was the second day of the exhibition.... People on the exhibit floor heard about the attacks through a variety of channels, and those exhibitors with television capabilities turned off their geophysical software displays and tuned into the network news."

> Where were you?


Houston Business Journal: Oil merger creates one more major.

"The merger announced this week between Conoco and Phillips Petroleum would leave Houston-based Marathon and Amerada Hess among the dwindling few independent oil producers left. And both of those companies are no doubt looking at merger deals of their own -- possibly with each other or with Conoco and Phillips, says John Gerdes, an equity analyst in the Houston office of Raymond James & Associates."

Oil and Gas International: Fugro-Geoteam to shoot 5 major Iranian fields.

"Fugro-Geoteam was contracted to carry out the US$17 million seismic acquisition project by the Iranian Offshore Oil Company, a division of the National Iranian Oil Company."


Science News: Ripples Spread Wide from Ground Zero.

"Only about one-ten-thousandth of the energy of each collapse, which the Lamont-Doherty researchers estimate equaled the explosion of 23.5 tons of TNT, was converted into seismic vibrations. Much of the total energy went into twisting the buildings' steel framework and crumbling other construction materials into rubble and dust."

The second part of the Salon article I linked to yesterday -

Salon: Oily waters.


A look at the connections between the Bush administration and the oil industry -

Salon: The United States of oil.

"A review of the evidence suggests that over time, the oil industry has progressively lost power."

> The third page has info on the history of Dick Cheney and Condi Rice, which I thought was interesting.


Scientific American: Study Shows Massive Magma Chamber Lies Beneath Vesuvius.

"Mount Vesuvius, the volcano most famous for blanketing the towns of Pompei and Herculaneum with lava and debris in A.D. 79, may be sitting atop a reservoir of magma that covers more than 400 square kilometers, a new study suggests."


Oil and Gas International: Halliburton acquires Magic Earth.

"Magic Earth has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton as a result of a US$100 million stock-for-stock transaction."


New York Times: Tuesday's Commodities Roundup.

"Crude oil futures rallied amid rising hopes that Russia will lower its production to bolster efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to lift sagging global oil prices. Front-month January crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped 72 cents to close at $19.15 a barrel."

Houston Chronicle: Pact may prompt other mergers in struggle to survive.

"Companies like Houston-based Marathon Oil Co., Amerada Hess Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Unocal Corp. `all probably need to figure out what their long-term strategy is, and whether they are going to be able to compete as independent companies,' said David Wheeler, an analyst with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in New York."

> Suddenly, I feel like I'm chronicling the death of an industry.


Oil Online: Reduced demand to keep oil, gas prices lower, rating agency says.

"Fitch, the international rating agency ... has lowered its price deck, or forecast for oil and gas to $19.50 and $2.15, respectively for 2002."

Oil & Gas Journal: Amerada Hess finds first oil off Faroe Islands in northeast Atlantic.


WSJ (subscription): Phillips Petroleum Agrees to Buy Conoco In a Stock Deal Valued at $15.17 Billion.

"The deal would make ConocoPhillips the sixth-largest oil and natural-gas company in the world, based on reserves and production, behind No. 5 TotalFinaElf.... The combined concern would easily pass Exxon Mobil as the largest U.S. refiner, with 2.23 million barrels a day of refining capacity, and it would be the fifth-largest refiner in the world. The combination would give ConocoPhillips a little more than 20,000 gasoline stations -- thrusting the new company into the top five retailers, based on station count."

Oil and Gas International: PGS Reservoir now PGS Seafloor Seismic.

"The renamed division, formerly PGS Reservoir Services, focuses specifically on seafloor seismic acquisition, thus the new designation. It provides PGS clients with a wide spectrum of multi-component seafloor seismic technologies, including two-component or dual-sensor systems and the company's four-component FOURcE SM Seafloor Seismic Acquisition System."

Oil and Gas International: ExxonMobil going for the gold.

"ExxonMobil is putting its efforts where its money is by commissioning Global Marine's drillship Jack Ryan to sink its first exploratory well in the prize block of this summer's Central Gulf Lease Sale 178, Mississippi Canyon Block 912."


Houston Business Journal: Conoco awarded patent for exploration technique.

"Conoco said the patent, `Method for Gravity and Magnetic Data Inversion Using Vector and Tensor Data,' is a technique that has been applied with impressive results to challenging areas in the Gulf of Mexico and the United Kingdom's Atlantic Margin....

"`This method allowed our explorers to accurately delineate the base of a salt body in the Gulf Coast region that seismic data alone could not resolve,' [said Alan R. Huffman, Conoco's Seismic Imaging Technology Center manager.]"

Oil and Gas International: Anti-ANWR drilling adds actor's voice.

New York Times: Oil Prices Tumble to 2-Year Low.

"For Russia, the decision to defy OPEC may be less a national energy strategy and more an effort to avoid confrontation with the country's powerful oil companies. Under Russian law, the government has some control over oil exports. But unlike the situations in Mexico and Norway, in Russia most of the industry is in private hands and the government has been hesitant to force companies to cut."


Oh-oh ->

WSJ (subscription): OPEC Warns of $10-a-Barrel Price, Insists Other Producers Cut Output.

"Thursday, oil prices slumped, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude falling $2.29 to $17.48 for December delivery."

From the front page of Unocal's web site:

"Unocal has received inquiries about a previously proposed pipeline that, if built, would have crossed a part of Afghanistan. We withdrew from that project in 1998, and do not now have - nor plan to have - any projects in that country. We do not support the Taliban in any way whatsoever."

Of course, that's not going to satisfy the conspiracy proponents (nothing would).

The Unocal site also has this PR job on their gasoline patents.


Word is that Veritas Exploration Services just went through a small layoff -- 14 people. Ouch. That's life with the contractors, I guess.

I've been calling up old contacts over the last three weeks, of course, taking stock of job opportunities for an exploration seismologist with a bias toward depth imaging. The one aspect of the upstream landscape that really sticks out is how industry consolidation is shrinking my prospect list. That's across the board: majors, independents and contractors.

Oil IT: 4D seismics absent from SPE.

"PDM [Petroleum Data Manager]'s mission to report from the Society of Petroleum Engineers conference in New Orleans on the application of 4D seismics to reservoir engineering failed miserably. Time-lapse seismics was nowhere."

Houston Chronicle: Greenspan takes on energy at Rice award presentation.

"`... it is essential that we do not lose sight of the policies needed to ensure long-term economic growth,' Greenspan said. `One of the most important objectives of those policies should be an assured availability of energy. That imperative has, if anything, been elevated by the heightened tensions in the Middle East -- an area that harbors two-thirds of the world's proven oil reserves.'"

AFX Press: BP Vietnam says anthrax scare false alarm.


Oil and Gas International: Oil for the Poor.

"... the AHEAD/PFA joint initiative seeks to provide the energy people need to live, while attempting to mitigate human pressures on forest resources. Of prime importance is the development of hydrocarbon reserves -- in particular, natural gas -- to expedite the replacement of firewood and charcoal as fuel.... [A] very small gas well produces as much end-use energy as burning a hundred tons of firewood per day."

Houston Chronicle: Jackson says coalition wants role in energy deal.

"Activist Jesse Jackson says the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition intends to be a part of the regulatory process leading to the closing of the Enron-Dynegy deal. The organization, which he founded, owns Enron stock and shares in several other large Houston-based energy firms."


Oil & Gas Journal: DOE plans unit to coordinate defense of US energy infrastructure.

"Global Integrity, a division of Predictive Systems Inc., Reston, Va., will operate the new energy center. Bobby R. Gillham, manager of global security for Conoco Inc., Houston, will serve as coordinator between industry, DOE, and various law enforcement agencies."


Oil & Gas Journal: EIA reports US CO2 emissions increased 3.1% in 2000.

Oil and Gas International: BP performance problems at Prudhoe.

"There are widespread problems at BP's immense Prudhoe Bay Field in Alaska ranging from negligence to equipment failure, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by Jim Carlton."

WSJ (subscription): BP Issues Report Detailing Problems That Plague Prudhoe Bay Oil Field.


Oil and Gas International: Anthrax found at BP Petco office.

"The Ho Chi Minh City offices have been temporarily closed to ascertain the extent of the anthrax infection. The white powder was discovered October 31st under a meeting room table folded into a piece of paper...."

Oil & Gas Journal: Leasing proponents say ANWR lacks votes to override Senate filibuster.

Houston Business Journal: Energy watchers say Houston needs fresh thinking to stay on top.

"Simmons says the energy industry trails other businesses, including computers, where research is richly rewarded and executives recognize the risks of experiencing some failures on the way to successful projects.

"And it is difficult for an energy researcher to get a chance to show his stuff...."


Houston Chronicle: Job growth to hit brakes in Houston. Economist says energy less of cushion these days.

"... Barton Smith, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston ... predicts Houston employers will add 29,000 jobs in 2002, a 1.3 percent increase. That's a sharp decline from the 51,000 jobs, or 2.4 percent, the city will have created by the end of this year."

> But nonetheless, an increase!


Oil and Gas Online: Eastern Gulf lease sale set for Dec. 5.

Oil and Gas Online: MMS releases seismic maps.

"The seismic information was acquired by the MMS in 1976 through seismic permits issued in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic OCS. Federal regulations required that the geophysical information acquired under OCS permit must be released 25 years after the information was submitted and retained by the MMS."

Houston Business Journal: Shifting employment leaves petroleum firms in search of equilibrium.

"Historically, 100 percent or close to 100 percent of technical staffing was internal. As downsizing, mergers and acquisitions have increased within the industry, staffing has begun to shift. Today, perhaps as much as 15 percent of the technical manpower is provided by competent consultants."

> What percentage of O&G manpower do incompetent consultants provide? (Apparently the competency of internal staff is unknown or irrelevant.)


Oil & Gas Journal: US Congress restores oil and gas research, continues drilling bans.

Oil and Gas International: Bush's energy bill blocked by ANWR issue.

"At the heart of the issue is the necessity for the United States to import oil from other countries, including the Middle East, because the country consumes 25% of the world's crude oil but produces only 4% -- a fact that probably could not be altered regardless of how much domestic production is increased due to continued growth in demand, despite political protestations to the contrary."

Oil and Gas International: Magic Earth offering visualization on Linux.

"Magic Earth is working with IBM to offer customized hardware configurations that optimize CPU, memory, and graphics performance. The combination of software and hardware will be offered as a full solution set, ready for work out of the box."

Scientific American: Dissent in the Maelstrom. Maverick meteorologist Richard S. Lindzen keeps right on arguing that human-induced global warming isn't a problem.

"It's difficult to untangle how Lindzen's views differ from those of other scientists because he questions so much of what many others regard as settled."


Reuters: Oil Reserves Rise 1.3 Percent -EIA.

"U.S. crude oil and natural gas reserves grew last year due mainly to new energy discoveries in western states and in the Gulf of Mexico, the Energy Department's analytical arm said on Friday. Crude oil reserves totaled 22.045 billion barrels at the end of last year, up 1.3 percent from the year before, according to the annual numbers from the Energy Information Administration."

Oil and Gas International: GeoQuest's Finder set for Open-Spirit.

"In addition to development of the Finder Well Server, GeoQuest, the software division of SIS, has recently released two OpenSpirit-enabled applications -- Variance Cube volume attribute software and MathCube seismic volume calculator."

> Despite all the hype, it's hard for me to get excited about the "OpenSpirit framework" -- whatever it is.

Oil and Gas International: PGS morphing into oil company.

"A PGS spokesman said the company has no intention to become a competitor to the traditional oil companies operating on the Norwegian Shelf nor does it intend to seek concessions or bid on licenses in any upcoming competition for acreage."


Houston Chronicle: We won't be No. 1 much longer. Los Angeles poised to dethrone Houston as smog capital of nation.

"Los Angeles, the previous, and perennial, title holder, enjoyed its lowest ozone levels in recorded history this year but still managed to outpace Houston, which saw its own drop in ozone levels."

Walter Kessinger

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