Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Oil and Gas International: Congo ex-pres convicted of treason. Oxy deal leads to trial and conviction of Pascal Lissouba, former Congo Republic president, for treason and embezzlement.

Houston Business Journal: Enron Wind sells wind project to AEP.

"American Electric Power said Monday that it has purchased the wind turbines that will supply power to City Public Service from Enron Wind Corp. of California for $175 million. "


Just for the record, here's a list of geophysical work sites I gathered while I was job hunting. I didn't really use these myself, but I probably should have.


Oil & Gas Journal: Oil prices rise as OPEC sees in the New Year with output cut. (Thursday)

"The agreement reached in Cairo means that OPEC, with a 60% share of the world oil export market, will reduce production by 6.5% starting Tuesday."

WSJ (subscription): Oil Futures Fall Despite OPEC Production Cut. (Friday)

"February crude-oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended near the day's lows, down 49 cents at $20.47 a barrel."


Oil & Gas Journal: EIA predicts 32% increase in US energy demand by 2020.

"The agency predicts world oil demand will increase to 118.9 million b/d in 2020 from 76 million b/d in 2000, in part because of higher demand in the US and developing countries, including in the Pacific Rim and Central and South America. However, OPEC production is expected to reach 57.5 million b/d in 2020, nearly twice 2000's number. Non-OPEC production will reach 61.1 million b/d by 2020."

Houston Chronicle: Devon to pay down debt. But selling assets as prices decline will be problem.

"Devon's higher profile in Houston will soon be obvious after a familiar downtown skyscraper is renamed for the company. The 36-story Two Allen Center will be renamed Devon Energy Tower because the company signed a lease for 193,000 square feet of space.

Devon has about 335 employees here now and will be adding an undetermined number of Mitchell's 370 workers. There will be layoffs, but no specifics have been offered as to how many. Devon plans to keep Mitchell's Woodlands office building, which will give it a total of 559,000 square feet of office space in the Houston area."


A couple of months ago I announced here that I was looking for employment, so now I should announce that I'm not. Right after the first of the year, I am starting a new position as a research geophysicist with Ensign Geosciences (USA). They are a medium-small processing company with some really great technology (that's not listed on their web page!). It should be hard work, and I'm really looking forward to it.

I want to thank everyone who gave me a lead or said a good word for me over the past two months. Even the dead ends were marvelous morale boosters.


Here's another story about the Arthur Andersen survey I pointed to on the 7th and the CERA study from the 13th ->

Houston Business Journal: Oil surveys predict lower prices, more volatility in coming years.

"Also not surprisingly, 80 percent say advances in technology will improve exploration success and lower production costs.

"That view is confirmed by Cambridge. Volatile oil price cycles and increasing competition will make astute application of technology a key determinant of success for the oil industry, Cambridge reports in its Global Oil Trends 2002, a study conducted with Sun Microsystems."


Reuters: Antitrust suit reinstated against oil companies.

"The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in a decision dated on Thursday, threw out a lower court ruling dismissing the suit, brought against 14 major companies that employ about 80 percent to 90 percent of the industry's work force." ...

"The suit was brought by Roberta Todd, a former Exxon worker on behalf of herself and other Exxon employees. She alleged that the companies violated federal antitrustlaw by regularly sharing detailed information about compensation paid to nonunion managerial, professional and technical employees. The suit alleged the companies agreed that they would use the data to set salaries."

Bloomberg: Ruling revives pay-fixing suit in oil industry.

"This appeals court decision follows a big settlement in an oil industry case in Houston. Fifteen offshore drilling companies agreed to pay $75 million to settle a wage-fixing case here last month after employees complained that employers conspired to keep their wages and benefits depressed for three decades.... In that Houston case, about 60,000 employees are expecting settlements. "

Oil and Gas International: Argentina operators told to return funds.

"... the remaining government temporarily headed by head of the Argentine Senate Ramon Puerta has ordered operators ChevronTexaco, Perez Companc, Repsol-YPF, and TotalFinaElf, among others, to repatriate their profits from the Argentine oil and gas they have produced and to seek special authorization from the Central Bank of Argentina if they must withdraw any funds and if they intend to service any external debt with funds deposited in Argentine banks."

Oil and Gas International: Roxar signs Statoil for 3D modeling system.


Oil and Gas International: Petrobras shopping for US Gulf acquisition.

"Petrobras is actively seeking to acquire an oil company active in the US Gulf of Mexico for approximately US$3 billion, according to the company's director of finance, Joao Nogueira Batista."

> Well, who fits the bill?

Oil and Gas International: Landmark & SGI form visualization JV.

"Halliburton's Landmark Graphics and SGI have joined forces to market GeoProbe software and SGI Reality Center facilities. The GeoProbe software was developed by Magic Earth, a recent acquisition and wholly owned business unit of Halliburton." ...

"`There are more than 550 SGI Reality Center facilities around the world, over 120 of them in the energy sector,' added SGI CEO Bob Bishop."

Oil Online: Shell awards contract to Landmark.

"The scope of the work includes management of more than two terabytes of Shell seismic data using PetroBank(TM), the most advanced data management system in the E&P industry...."

> Maybe I'm getting jaded, but 2 Tbytes almost doesn't seem worth a PR release any more. Anyway, congratulations to the former PGS Data Management.

Houston Business Journal: Core cuts earnings outlook.


Oil and Gas International: Seitel opens new seismic data center.

"Seitel's Seitel Solutions is opening its seismic data hosting facility in Houston. The new 72,000 sq ft facility will house Seitel's 1.4 petabytes of seismic data that will be accessible 24 hours per day/seven days a week via the Internet." ...

"[Paul Frame, president and CEO of Seitel, said] `Our clients will have the capability to receive seismic data ordered from our on-line archive, delivered to their workstations on average in less than ten minutes. We currently offer 24-hour response time on all orders while the industry norm is significantly longer than that.'"


Loren Carroll, World Oil: Technology, environment drive service / supply's future during weak 2002.

"In its 2002 Drilling and Production Outlook released in September, Spears and Associates forecasts declines ranging from 21% to 40% within the service / supply market.... However, a handful of segments, such as subsea equipment, geophysical services and FPSOs, are predicted to see flat-to-moderate growth." ...

"Onshore environmental centers are now treating waste as a resource to be recovered and re-used for other purposes. The onus will be on service companies to not only treat waste, but to dramatically minimize the amount generated at the wellsite. Consequently, environmental issues should be considered an opportunity for growth."

Hart's E&P: Emerging Technology -- Stuck at the starting gate.

"It is the service companies that drive that cost reduction. They shoulder an increasing share of the cost (and risk) associated with technology development, and they have a huge incentive to commercialize it quickly to make a return on their investment. This raises the specter of applied science replacing pure science in the oil patch, but it also offers the hope that service companies, many of which have absorbed some of the displaced R&D folks who used to work for oil companies, will move technology through the pipeline a little more quickly."

Oil and Gas International: TGS-NOPEC acquires major multi-client surveys in $32 million deal.

"TGS-NOPEC now fully owns and controls the Mississippi Canyon 3D Survey along with all derivative pre-stack depth migration products. This state-of-the-art survey, completed in 2001, covers perhaps the most active deepwater region of current exploration and development in the entire Gulf of Mexico."


Oil and Gas International: PanCanadian boosts US Gulf blocks to 142.

"PanCanadian Energy Corporation has increased its holdings in the US Gulf of Mexico from 55 to 142 blocks via two joint ventures.... The increase in the land position is part of a company strategy to build a core exploration and production area in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The two agreements are with ChevronTexaco and Union Oil."


Oil & Gas Journal: Royal Dutch/Shell strategy sets investments of $12 billion/year.

"The company said its exploration and production division would provide the main thrust of its activities with substantial developments in Nigeria and China. It indicated that it is in a position to take advantage of the present downturn in the industry to make acquisitions."


I think I misssed this one last week ->

Reuters: PGS says key unit sale delayed.

"Norwegian seismic specialist Petroleum Geo Services said on Tuesday that it was taking longer than expected to carry out the planned sale of its Atlantis unit, which is key to a merger of PGS and U.S.-based rival Veritas."


Houston Chronicle: Halliburton putting off new offices.

"Halliburton announced last summer that it would construct two 21-story towers and a 10-story building on its Oak Park business park at the West Belt and Bellaire Boulevard.... `To make the best use of corporate funds, we have decided to look at other alternatives to constructing the new buildings and are investigating options for moving into existing office space in the city,' Halliburton chairman Dave Lesar said in a memo to his employees."


Oil & Gas Journal: ExxonMobil finds hydrocarbons near Crazy Horse field in Gulf of Mexico.

"The Hawkes well on Mississippi Canyon Block 509 and the Timber Wolf well on Mississippi Canyon Block 555 both found pay in Miocene reservoirs, said ExxonMobil."


Oil & Gas Journal: CERA sees demand drop pushing oil prices $6/bbl lower in 2002.

"CERA said global oil demand growth has seen a significant slowdown. In 2000, daily global oil demand increased by 700,000 bbl, but in 2001 it is expected to grow only 200,000 bbl, the smallest year-on-year increase in more than 5 years. It said daily world oil demand is estimated to fall in the fourth quarter 2001 by 500,000 bbl from the year-earlier level. Nevertheless, projected 2001 oil demand of 76.1 million b/d will be a record."

Oil & Gas Journal: Gov. Knowles tightens Alaska's environmental, safety oversight.

"Under the program, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will increase well inspections, testing, and follow-up. The governor said the number of wells in Alaska has increased from less than 1,000 in the early 1980s to over 3,600, yet the commission's staff is the same as it was 20 years ago."


I attended the first annual review meeting for Art Weglein's seismic research consortium last Thursday at UH. It was an impressive meeting. Weglein attracted 19 companies to join his consortium in its first year, so it was quite well-attended -- probably 60 attendees in the morning, including UH participants.

The agenda included about a dozen technical presentations, half of which were from outside Weglein's program. The main attractions of the meeting, however, were the UH presentations on inverse wave scattering techniques. In addition to Arthur's obligatory presentations describing the basis of wavefield scattering inversion, two of his students showed solid progress on wavelet estimation and depth imaging.

Very cool stuff.

Oil & Gas Journal: IEA confirms non-OPEC producers take bigger share of global market.

"Orrin Middleton, an energy specialist at Barclays Capital in London said, `If OPEC fails to come up with anything by the end of the week, prices won't pause for breath until Brent hits $15/bbl. Even if OPEC comes up with something, prices are bound to fall back as people wait for compliance figures.'"


Oil and Gas International: OPEC exceeded output limits by 800,000 b/d in November.

"It is this level of blatant cheating on their official output maximums that has miffed non-OPEC producers and made them question whether they should cut their production so that OPEC members can continue to over produce...."


Houston Chronicle: Houston expects to be drilled by energy job cutbacks in coming year.

"McCollum [a spokesman for business advocacy group the Greater Houston Partnership] said the partnership predicts a loss of 1,800 out of 35,000 upstream jobs in the greater Houston area next year, while oil field services jobs may shrink as much as an eighth."


Oil & Gas Journal: Industry poll indicates lower oil prices, more spending for 3 years.

"Although Andersen officials couldn't explain the dichotomy between projections of less capital and more spending, Burk noted that 80% of the respondents expect greater success and lower costs because of technology advances."

Wall Street Journal (subscription): Halliburton Shares Tumble 43% After Verdict Against Subsidiary.

"As of 4 p.m. Friday, Halliburton's stock dropped ... to close at a 52-week low of $12 on the New York Stock Exchange." ...

"Its 52-week high is $49.25."


Houston Chronicle: Oil leases off Florida go for $340 million.

"Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a Houston-based independent, had the most high bids, totaling $167.4 million on 28 tracts, followed by Shell Offshore with $127.9 million in winning bids on 28 tracts."

Oil & Gas Journal: Sale 181 has mix of successes and underachievers.

"But some industry observers are still scratching their heads over several established deepwater stars who either were underachievers or didn't even bid in the first lease sale in those waters since 1988."


Oil & Gas Journal: Oil firms bid on 95 of 233 tracts offered in Eastern Gulf sale.

"MMS said Monday it has received 190 bids from 14 companies. All 95 tracts drawing bids were in 1,600 m of water or deeper and carried 1/8 royalties."


Conoco is really hyping their new gravity patent --

Houston Chronicle: Formerly secret military technology aids Conoco's search in Gulf.

"The Houston-based oil company is using gravity and magnetic readings, coupled with traditional seismic readings, to better visualize the shapes of the salt, which is an important detail when trying to pinpoint prospects."

> Back in 1995 I was co-author of an SEG presentation that Manik Talwani gave on "defining base of salt by inverting gravity data." The truth is, though, I'm not a big gravity fan. A bad gravity interpretation by some unknown (to me) contractor ruined a commercial subsalt imaging project I conducted around '94, and I've never really believed gravity results since then. (For salt, that is. For big, regional plate tectonics, I'm sure gravity is great.)

> If you believe the hype, though, full tensor gravity gradiometry produces much more accurate gravity results than traditional gravity methods.

Oil and Gas International: PGS scores $33 million offshore Brazil survey.

"Continuous Long Offset technology was developed by PGS to improve efficiency, reduce cost and achieve high data quality. CLO acquisition uses physical streamers 1/2 the length of the desired maximum offsets, combined with an additional source vessel."

> Monica Miley's thesis used data from a two-ship survey that was aquired for HARC in the Green Canyon area in 1991. It was a 2D line, but it was still a processing nightmare; I guess PGS has streamlined the processing sequence.

Oil and Gas International: US Republicans trying to slip ANWR past Senate.

Walter Kessinger

Walter's Work Archive Walter's Home Page