Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


WSJ/MSNBC: Edgy policies gain in Exxon vote.

"Mr. Raymond, who has a reputation for being gruff, appeared patient at this year's meeting, seldom cutting off speakers who criticized the company on everything from human rights to executive pay. He even chuckled at jokes made at his expense."

> Edgy?


Dow Jones: Exxon Holders Advised to Vote Against Company on Hot Issues.

"In an unusual move, shareholder adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. is recommending that Exxon Mobil Corp.'s shareholders vote for two controversial proposals because it believes the company's opposition to the issues could ultimately hurt its bottom line, Wednesday's Wall Street Journal reported.

"ISS, which advises pension and mutual-fund managers, is backing a proposal calling for Exxon Mobil's board to outline how it will promote renewable-energy sources. ISS also is supporting a proposal that asks the board to explicitly prohibit discrimination against gays."

Dow Jones Newswire (subscription): All Shareholder Proposals Defeated.

"... Exxon Mobil officials announced that all of the shareholder proposals were defeated. Among others, the anti-gay discrimination proposal was rejected 76.5% to 23.5%, while the proposal concerning alternative energy was defeated 79.7% to 20.3%."

> If I recall correctly, similar proposals the past two years were defeated by about 95% to 5%. So this is progress.

Oil Online (press release): Magic Earth Launches SpecDecompInterative.

"Magic Earth, a wholly owned business unit of Halliburton, has announced the release of SpecDecompInteractive(tm) ... based on spectral decomposition algorithms developed by BP.... Incorporated into Magic Earth's volume visual interpretation software, GeoProbe, the technology allows for fine-tuned qualitative interpretation of reservoir properties, coupled with the industry-leading visualization speed of GeoProbe."

> So ... how fast will Landmark move to incorporate all their interpretation technologies into GeoProbe and then dump their creaky legacy platform?


Press Release: IBM and Halliburton's Landmark Graphics Sign Global Petroleum Industry Agreement.

"Landmark and IBM will together provide Linux for desktop advanced 3D graphics, server and mobile computing solutions and advanced cluster technology for high-end, supercomputing applications."

Press Release: PGS Geophysical Releases Seismic Data Processing Solution for Linux PC Systems.

WSJ (subscription): ChevronTexaco Finds Itself Over a Barrel in Dynegy Mess.

"What is ChevronTexaco Corp. going to do?

"The world's fourth-largest publicly traded oil and gas producer is the biggest shareholder in Houston-based Dynegy Inc., with a 26% stake in the common shares plus a $1.5 billion preferred-stock position.... ChevronTexaco's stake in the common shares, held since 1996 and valued at $5.6 billion last year, now stands at $892.5 million."


Oil & Gas Journal: Simmons: Oil services sector consolidations likely to ramp up in 2003.

"According to Simmons, the `Rule of Three' specifies that `the optimum competitive landscape for an industry is comprised of three broad-line generalist companies and various, smaller niche companies.' Currently, this `Big Three' dynamic is present within certain oil services segments, including pressure pumping, wireline logging, drilling fluids, electric submersible pumps, and measurement-while-drilling services." ...

"[Since 1998] `only three more [product service lines] were consolidated into a Big Three, namely drilling fluids, marine seismic acquisition, and US land workovers,' the firm noted."

Houston Chronicle: Offer planned for Seitel properties. Seismic firm's stock rises amid potential sale of oil, gas assets.

"By far, Seitel's largest business segment is its seismic data library and the services associated with it, with oil and gas exploration rated second. Revenues from seismic activities were $22.5 million, compared with $2.6 million for oil and gas in the first quarter."

Press Release: Fox Paine to Acquire Paradigm Geophysical in US$100 Million Cash Transaction.


Press Release: PGS Reservoir Consultants Awarded Prospect Generation Contract By UNOCAL.

"In this consulting role, PGS' experienced Gulf of Mexico technical team will interpret a large 3D seismic survey in the western Gulf of Mexico. PGS will generate exploration ideas based on its in-depth knowledge of the project area and its regional Gulf of Mexico GIS database."

Oil and Gas International: JNOC disappearing amid overwhelming debt.

"... the Japanese government passed legislation dissolving the debt-ridden state-owned company effective March 2004."


Oil and Gas International: US Geological Survey says Alaska Petroleum Reserve major oil province. Re-assessment indicates NPRA contains four times previous estimates.

"Using the USGS estimates for undiscovered technically recoverable oil, a comparison between the federal study areas of NPRA and the ANWR 1002 area shows the NPRA federal area, some 22.5 million acres, contains 5.9-13.2 billion bbl of oil with a mean value of 9.3 billion bbl, while ANWR 1002 federal area, about 1.5 million acres, contains 4.3-11.8 billion bbl with a mean value of 7.7 billion bbl."

Houston Business Journal: PGS gets extension for $250M bank facility.

"Petroleum Geo-Services ASA has received an extension of its $250 million bank credit facility to at least June 16, 2003." ...

"PGS is due to complete a $660 million stock-swap deal to merge with Houston-based Veritas DGC Inc. Both companies provide seismic data to the oil and gas industry."

> Hummmm...


World Oil: EAGE will make integration of geosciences its theme.

> Florence, Italy, May 26 - 30.

Houston Chronicle: Seitel reports loss, property sales. Seismic company seeks loan extension.

"The company said Wednesday it may cut previously budgeted capital expenditures for the acquisition of new seismic data in order to conserve cash."

Oil and Gas International: Conoco to set depth record with US Gulf Magnolia Field TLP.

"Conoco, in partnership with Ocean Energy, will install a tension leg platform (TLP) on the US Gulf of Mexico Magnolia Field in nearly 4,700 ft of water, a record depth for this type of floating structure."

WSJ (subscription): Debt-Rating Triggers Could Spark Liquidity Crunch at Energy Firms.

"Only 24 companies surveyed by Standard & Poor's show serious vulnerability to a liquidity crisis because of special clauses in their borrowing agreements. ... [A]bout half of those at risk are in the energy sector, including Haliburton Co., Dynegy Inc. and Reliant Corp." ...

"Other U.S. companies with the greatest potential risk are Aquila Inc., Black Hills Corp., Dominion Resources Inc., Georgia-Pacific Corp., Mirant Corp. Petroleum Geo-Services ASA , PG&E National Energy Group Inc., Philadelphia Gas Works, Raytheon Co., SEMCO Energy Inc., Tyco International Ltd. and Williams Companies Inc. The European companies at risk are Basell NV, Eutelsat SA, Polish Oil and Gas Co., Repsol-YPF SA, Telekomunikacja Polska SA, Rexel SA, Vivendi Environment SA and Vivendi Universal SA. "

Houston Business Journal: Halliburton chief confirms eventual relocation to Houston.

"Once the move takes place, however, only 20 people will be affected. The 20 employees are mainly corporate officers that lead the company from Dallas."


Financial Times: Energy watchdog sounds warning on oil output.

"In its latest monthly report, the IEA, the OECD's energy security watchdog, issued a thinly veiled plea to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries to consider raising exports when it meets next month."

> What else is new?

"OECD demand in the first quarter contracted by more than 1.6m barrels a day or 1.2 per cent, the biggest drop for 12 years. On the supply side, the 10 Opec members party to quotas were still exporting over 1m b/d over their 21.7m b/d ceiling while Russia, supposedly an ally of the cartel in squeezing output, recorded yet another production record in March."

Denver Post: Shell exec: Patience may pay off for oil shale, renewables.

"[Philip] Watts oversees a corporate giant with 90,000 employees, operations in 130 countries and a market capitalization of $115 billion." ...

"Q: How much are you investing in renewable energy?

"A: In 1997, we decided to spend $500 million over the following five years. Now, we're going to invest $500 million to $1 billion over the next five years."

Oil and Gas International: Hess makes US Gulf deepwater discovery on Devil's Island prospect.

"The discovery, made by the [Garden Banks] 344 No. 4 well, encountered more than 100 ft of net oil pay in a single, high quality reservoir. The Devil's Island discovery well was drilled by the Glomar Arctic 1 semisubmersible to a total depth of 24,525 ft in approximately 2,300 ft of water."


Seismic research at it's finest --

The Leading Edge (subscription): Lena: A seismic model.

"The original Lena image was first published in Playboy in November 1972 as `Lenna.' Lena is the Swedish spelling of the name. The image has become an industry standard for work on digital image processing. A search on the Web for `Lena Image' will yield hundreds of scientific articles on image compression. Lena Soderberg (née Sjööblom) was last reported living in her native Sweden, happily married with three kids. In an interview by a Swedish computer-related publication, she was reported as being pleasantly amused by what had happened to her picture, and has more recently been a guest at scientific conventions."

Oil and Gas International: TGS-Nopec & WesternGeco to cooperate on Norwegian multiclient 3D surveys.


Oil Online: OTC 2002 -- Independents Dominate Gulf of Mexico.

"... independents hold 80% of leases in the shallow water of the Gulf of Mexico and 50% of deepwater leases." ...

"Key driver of new drilling and production in uncharted territories will be state-of-the-art seismic speculative data, according to one IPAA member."

Oil & Gas Journal: OTC: MMS says Gulf of Mexico deepwater key to US production future.

"The report details what MMS calls the `extraordinary' growth of oil and gas industry activity in the deepwater (1,000 ft of water or more) gulf over the past 7 years. MMS officials said that 59% of all oil production in the gulf now comes from deep water."

Oil Online: OTC 2002 -- More offshore projects needed to keep production flat.

"In regard to oil demand Simmons said that unless population growth is slowed, OPEC countries as a group will be the largest oil consumers by 2030. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the population was about 6 million in 1970 and 22 million people in 2000. With the present birth rate, there could be 40 million people between 2010 and 2014, he said."


Houston Chronicle: Seitel's private sale of stock falls through.

"Shares of the Houston company closed Tuesday at $4 per share, down $1.65. Seitel's shares have lost 55 percent of their value since the opening bell Monday morning."

> Geotrace/Ensign just lost a seismic processing manager to Seitel. He started his new job on Monday.

> Richard, did you do this?

Reuters: Israel's Paradigm confirms talks for company's sale.

"Paradigm said in a statement, `The board believes that the parties may not reach agreement on material terms. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that a transaction will be completed, or, if completed, on what terms.'"


Oil & Gas Journal: Gulf of Mexico oil service sector showing signs of an upturn.

"The May 3 PatchWork Survey showed survey respondents' budgets are based on an average oil price of $20.65/bbl and an average natural gas price of $2.70/Mcf. In response to commodity price signals, operators are preparing to increase exploration and production spending."

Houston Business Journal: Seitel selling $20M of its stock in private placement.

"Shares of Seitel closed at $9.02 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday. But on Monday shares slid $3.37, or 37 percent, to close at $5.65."

Wall Street Journal: Seitel Shares Tumble After Company Violates Loan Covenants.

"Seitel, which disclosed last month that it would restate results for 2001 and the first three quarters of 2000 and adopt `more conservative' accounting policies, said its loan problems could prompt its auditor, Ernst & Young LLP, to raise questions about its ability to continue as a `going concern.'"

> I think that quote was supposed to say that E&Y might question Seitel's viability if it was "unable to renegotiate the terms of its debt."

Ha'aretz Daily: Paradigm-Geo shares soar on sale rumors.

"Shares in the Nasdaq-traded Paradigm Geophysical yesterday soared (by 17 percent on heavy turnover at press time) after Ma'ariv reported the controlling shareholders were in advanced talks to sell the software firm to a U.S. investment company for $100 million.... Paradigm's market value before publication of the report was around $60 million."


It's OTC time. I believe the geophysics presentations are on Monday and Tuesday, but I'm too busy to attend.

This isn't a well-written (or edited) article, but there are a couple of good items buried in it --

Houston Chronicle: OTC technology offers brains over braun.

"There are now 120 [seismic] visualization centers in the oil and gas industry, said Bill Bartling, director of global energy solutions for SGI. This is out of a grand total of 560 [visualization] centers [worldwide? all using SGI computers?], with the others finding uses ranging from auto companies in designing vehicles to the military in handling battlefield strategies to media companies developing video games."


"Seitel is trying to increase demand for its library of seismic information by offering a friendly online tool.... In Houston and in a sister facility in Calgary, Alberta, Seitel Solutions has started converting North America's largest seismic library, containing data that goes all the way back to the 1960s, to an electronic format.... Seitel is dealing with 1.4 petabytes of seismic data, which if on disk would fill a 40-floor building." ...

"Just managing seismic data is said to be a $400 million to $600 million-per-year business, in total, of which Seitel would like to capture 30 percent."


Oil and Gas International: ConocoPhillips headquarters & upstream to be in Houston.

"Bartlesville, Oklahoma, currently the location of Phillips' corporate headquarters, will be home to the new company's global information technology center, global financial services, and human resources support organizations. In addition, research and development activities currently performed in Bartlesville will remain there."


Oil and Gas International: PGS geophysical operations backlog building.

Press Release: Petroleum Geo-Services Releases First Quarter Results.

"Geophysical Operations backlog continues to build. Our marine seismic contract backlog was at its highest level since 1998, while our significant land seismic contract backlog demonstrates our success in significantly expanding this line of business since its 1997 inception. In addition to our `traditional' seismic crews, our more specialized crews are carrying a substantial portion of our backlog: our four-component crew in the North Sea is booked through October 2002 and our other multi-component crew is booked on 2C work in Africa and on a combination of 4C/2C work in the Middle East through February 2003."

Oil & Gas Journal: US will likely face 'major' natural gas supply problems, analyst says.

"So far this year, US natural gas production is declining faster than first anticipated, said Raymond James & Associates Inc. in a recent report. And with this fall in gas supplies, gas prices are expected to creep higher later in the year."

Associated Press: GM demonstrates gasoline-fed fuel cell vehicle.

"A high-pitched whine emanated from the electric motor as the bright blue and white pickup truck accelerated to 25 mph on a rural park road."


Walter Kessinger

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