Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Press Release: Veritas-PGS Merger: New Company Name.

> Veritas Geo-Services, or VGS.


SEG Press Release: SeaBed Geophysical AS awarded contract for building and testing prototype ultra deep 4C system.

"BP has awarded SeaBed Geophysical AS a contract for development, building and testing of a prototype 4C system. The prototype 4C system, CASE DEEP, will be a marine four component seismic recording system including autonomous sensors with ultra deep capabilities (3000m)."

Oil & Gas Journal: OPEC extends current production quotas through September.

WSJ (subscription): Seitel Says Former Officers May Have Misused Funds.

"Seitel is seeking more than $4 million in repayments from the former chief executive officer, Paul Frame, and the former chief financial officer, Debra Valice."

Houston Chronicle: Seitel accuses former executives of misusing funds.

"Meanwhile, Valice has sued Seitel for wrongful discharge." ...

"Frame owns a 14,000-square-foot home on River Oaks Boulevard, according to Martha Turner Properties. The realty company is marketing the recently completed home, which has never been occupied, for $15 million."

> Lifestyles of the rich and infamous.

The Veritas - PGS merger is still on track --

Houston Chronicle: Terms set again for seismic merger.

Dow Jones Business News: Veritas DGC, Petroleum Geo-Services Amend Merger Agreement.

"Several of the changes are similar to the preliminary revisions released in March." ...

"The companies expect to close the deal late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter."

Green Gabbro: Thoughts from Geophysical Field Camp.


Bloomberg Business News: World Bank may finance BP's Azerbaijan oil project to avoid Iran route.

"The pipeline would carry oil out of the Caspian Sea region while bypassing Iran, as well as Russia. Getting the pipeline built has been a U.S. objective in the region for almost a decade." ...

"After years of pressure by the U.S., the oil companies have come to accept the route."


Houston Chronicle: Oil data firm Seitel lops off 37 jobs. Most of 26 positions lost in Houston will come from Web unit.

"The majority of the layoffs, which represent 18 percent of its workers, will be in Seitel Solutions, a relatively new part of the Houston company that provides a Web-based method for customers to search its library of seismic data."


Houston Chronicle: 200 workers in area to lose jobs.

"Unocal Corp. said Thursday that it is laying off about 200 people out of 750 associated with its Gulf Region business unit in Sugar Land."

Oil Online: Unocal business unit restructures.

"The restructuring measures will involve about 200 layoffs from the Gulf Region workforce in its Sugar Land office and field locations. The cuts represent about 7 percent of Unocal's total U.S. workforce." ...

"The focus of the exploration program has been redirected from the Gulf of Mexico's mature shallow depths to the emerging `deep shelf' play, which represents a new frontier for the industry. [Ken Butler, Gulf Region vice president] said the restructuring also would involve the divestment of properties by year-end that are marginal to Unocal."

Oil Online: ChevronTexaco increases target for annual savings.

"ChevronTexaco Corp.increased its merger-related synergy target to $2.2 billion, an annual before-tax rate to be achieved by April 2003."

> That sounds a lot better than "cost savings from reduced headcount," doesn't it?

Oil and Gas International: MMS Central US Gulf Lease Sale 182 banks $355.7 million.

"The US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today the completion of the two-phase bid evaluation process for Lease Sale 182, which was held on March 20, 2002.... Those companies that rank in the top five for participating in the highest number of winning bids for Sale 182 are: Spinnaker Exploration..., Magnum Hunter..., BP Exploration & Production..., Dominion Exploration & Production..., and Kerr-McGee...."


Oil and Gas International: Largest oil & gas producer in America endorses ENDA. BP latest leader in oil industry to support the US Employment Non-Discrimination Act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"Of all the major oil companies, only ExxonMobil does not have a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation nor does it provide domestic partner benefits other than to those who already had them under Mobil's benefits program before Mobil was acquired by Exxon."


Houston Chronicle: Marathon buying Globex Energy.

"Marathon Oil Corp. will buy Houston-based Globex Energy for $155 million, its second acquisition this year of reserves off Equatorial Guinea. Earlier this year, Marathon bought CMS Energy's interests off the West African country for $993 million...."

Oil and Gas International: WesternGeco shooting 3D over Malaysian Block F.


Reuters: Devon says "4C" seismic yields Gulf gas finds.

"Devon Energy Corp. said on Monday its first drilling program based on four-component, three-dimensional seismic technology has led to four successful offshore natural gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.... The company said it has licensed two large four-component seismic surveys in the Gulf of Mexico, covering a total of 660 square miles, from which it expects to develop several more ready-to-drill prospects."

Press Release: Paradigm Expands its Reservoir Characterization Offering With Stratimagic Version 2.0.

"The new release of Stratimagic offers multi-attribute seismic facies classification, integration with the industry-leading VoxelGeo(TM) volume-based seismic interpretation solution, and expanded interoperability with third party databases."

Oil and Gas International: Veritas to shoot 3D survey in western Wyoming.

"Veritas DGC is planning to acquire 3D data over a 290 sq mile tract near Merna, Wyoming.... According to Veritas' submitted acquisition plan, it will utilize vibroseis buggies, all-terrain vehicles, and helicopters to complete the shoot. In those areas where vibroseis buggies are unable to go, subsurface charges will be used for sources."

Oil and Gas International: Saudi privately owned services company planned.

"Plans at this juncture are that the company to be set up will carry out a range of services to include drilling, engineering, seismic acquisition, the manufacture of numerous oilfield products, and others."


Bloomberg Business News: Survey: Oil spending to drop.

"Budgets for drilling and servicing oil and natural gas wells in North America are expected to decline 16 percent from a year earlier, although spending outside the region will rise 6 percent, Salomon analyst Geoff Kieburtz wrote in an industry note." ...

"Nearly 60 percent of Salomon's survey respondents expect spending to increase in 2003, with 42 percent forecasting growth of more than 10 percent."

Dow Jones Newswires: Shareholders OK Acquisition Of Paradigm.

"Fox Paine & Co., a San Francisco-based private equity firm, agreed in May to acquire Paradigm Geophysical for $100 million. The $5.15 a share price was a 37.8% premium over Paradigm Geophysical's average closing price of $3.74 for the 90-day period ended May 21."


Houston Chronicle: Seitel board lops at top. Two leaders pushed out over finances.

"While the top management has changed, Seitel's future is still in the hands of its creditors. The company, one of the nation's largest seismic data firms, is negotiating with holders of its senior notes, trying to agree on new repayment terms on bonds with $255 million in principle outstanding."


Houston Business Journal: Seitel's CEO quits, board fires CFO.

"Seitel Inc. said Wednesday President and CEO Paul Frame has resigned in the wake of investor lawsuits, allegations of securities violations and noncompliance with certain loan agreements. Seitel, a Houston-based provider of seismic data for oil and gas exploration, also said the board of directors fired Chief Financial Officer Debra Valice."

Business Week: The Green Arm of an Oil Giant. Jim Davis of ChevronTexaco explains the thinking behind its Energy Solutions unit, which includes alternative energy.

"At some point in the future, these technologies are going to become cost-competitive, and when they do, a huge market shift is going to take place.... In the stationary power market ... it's going to happen within the next 10 years. In the transportation market, you're probably well past 10 -- maybe a 20-year horizon, although we're seeing the hybrid [automobiles, like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius] take out more market share."


Reuters: IEA Says Oil Demand Recovering.

"China led a recovery in world oil demand in the second quarter but oil prices are ebbing because inventory cover remains comfortable and speculators less concerned about tensions in the Middle East, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday. Growing leakage over official output limits by OPEC, record exports from Russia and worries about the slow pace of global economic recovery also have dulled the impact of rising oil demand, the IEA said in its monthly Oil Market Report."

Oil and Gas International: Daily US Gulf oil & gas production rising rapidly to 2006 - US MMS.

"[MMS Director Johnnie Burton said], `Should the high case projection be met in 2006, oil production would be at almost 2.5 million b/d versus the 945,000 b/d in 1995.' Gulf oil production was an estimated 1.5 million b/d in 2001. Gulf deepwater oil production surpassed shallow-water oil production in March 2000. According to these forecasts, as much as 77% of daily oil production in the Gulf and 26% of daily gas production could come from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico by 2006."

Houston Business Journal: TGS-NOPEC to survey offshore Nigeria.

"The Ministry of Petroleum Research in Nigeria has granted TGS-NOPEC exclusive rights to acquire multiclient seismic data over the prospective blocks located in shallow waters adjacent to several producing hydrocarbon fields."

Oil and Gas International: TGS-Nopec seismic shoot off Western Sahara proceeding.

"The company came under criticism for the project following its recent announcement of the non-exclusive 2D offshore seismic program south of the Tarfaya region of Morocco off the area claimed by Morocco but contested by the local Western Sahara (Saharwi Republic) government."

> The OGI article includes a map.


Los Angeles Times: US Refuses to Buy Back Oil Leases.

"The Bush administration on Friday rejected Gov. Gray Davis' request that it buy back offshore drilling rights, as it did last week in Florida, arguing that circumstances in the two states are quite different and that `Florida opposes coastal drilling and California does not.'" ...

"`Ever since the spill off Santa Barbara in 1969, Californians have vehemently opposed new offshore drilling,' Davis said in a statement Friday." ...

"The 1969 blowout of an oil platform did more than solidify California's opposition to offshore drilling. Heart-wrenching images of dying, oil-soaked birds and goo-covered beaches inspired the nation's first Earth Day and helped launch the environmental movement."

Associated Press: Oil millionaire Simon, [GOP] candidate for Calif. governor, speaks out against offshore drilling.


Reuters: Oil refiners can make "clean" hydrogen too - Shell

"`While some environmentalists are reluctant to admit it, the refining industry offers a number of very practical ways forward on hydrogen. Refineries can convert fossil fuels to usable hydrogen by gasification far cheaper than the solar model,' [Michiel Boersma, the head of Shell's Global Solutions consultancy] said. `This would set the ball rolling on hydrogen, build public acceptance and attract investments into research.'"

Wired: Fuel Cell Car Coasts Across U.S.

"`We feared everyday that we weren't going to make it,' said Wolfgang Weiss, who led the team of 16 engineers and technicians that drove the Necar 5. Weiss said the greatest challenges were getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Chicago, and the days when the mercury surpassed 90 degrees. `Fuel cell engines don't like to get hot or stand still.'"

Oil and Gas International: WesternGeco opens seismic data processing center in Trinidad

"The WesternGeco data processing center will focus on hiring and training local employees, with the first Trinidadian geophysicists already having undergone geophysical training in the USA and Norway."

Press Release: GX Technology Opens New Aberdeen Service Centre


Houston Chronicle: Seitel beefs up board, shuffles top management.

"The company's stock hit a 52-week low Wednesday and closed at $1.93 per share, down 16 cents. The current price represents a 90 percent decline from a year ago, when Seitel's stock was valued at $18.75 per share."

Press Release: Input/Output, Inc. and QinetiQ Announce Strategic Alliance to Jointly Develop Fiber-Optic Based Seismic Sensors and Systems.


Associated Press: TotalFinaElf dominates lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

"TotalFinaElf, until now a minor factor in Alaska's oil fields, paid more than $10 million each for two parcels on the way to shelling out $52.9 million — 83 percent of the total winning bids — for 19 tracts."

Oil and Gas International: DMT scores Central Europe's largest seismic survey.

"Germany's Deutsche Montan Technologie (DMT) has won a contract to acquire 3D seismic data on the northern edge of the Austrian Alps from Rohöl-Aufsuchungs. It is said to be the largest such survey ever in Central Europe."

Oil & Gas Journal: Newfield Exploration to acquire EEX in $640 million deal.


New York Times: Climate Changing, U.S. Says in Report.

"In a stark shift for the Bush administration, the United States has sent a climate report to the United Nations detailing specific and far-reaching effects that it says global warming will inflict on the American environment. In the report, the administration for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming. It says the main culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that send heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."

New York Times: White House Warns on Climate Change.

"`I read the report put out by the bureaucracy,' Bush said dismissively Tuesday when asked about the EPA report, adding that he still opposes the Kyoto treaty."


Oil and Gas International: BHP Billiton scores deepwater discovery in US Gulf Walker Ridge.

"The Cascade prospect lies approximately 35 miles south-southwest of the Mad Dog and Atlantis oil and gas discoveries, where earlier this year BHP Billiton approved funding to advance these fields into development and production."

Oil and Gas International: ChevronTexaco to drill US Gulf ultra-deep Keathley Canyon.

Oil Online: PGS to survey fields off Saudi Arabia.

"The contract includes ... the provision of seismic data processing services by PGS' Data Processing division. The survey will cover 1,000 square kilometers using high-resolution two-component and four-component seafloor technology to better characterize the producing reservoirs and identify potential deeper targets."

A couple of press releases that just got posted to the SEG site:

Input/Output introduces VectorSeis System Four.

"The heart of the VectorSeis platform is a micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer that is designed and manufactured by I/0 specifically for the seismic industry. This technology offers significant benefits such as direct digital output at the sensor, inherently high vector fidelity and wide seismic bandwidth."

CGG teams up with Norsk Hydro and ENI to launch VectorVista for multi-component processing.

"VectorVista offers the full range of 4C data analysis and interpretation tools. Compressional wave data (PP) and converted wave (PS) data can be displayed simultaneously. A compressed function to display squeezed PS sections is also built in. The workstation offers a number of ways to compute the PP/PS ratio, or Gamma function, which is a fundamental issue in 4C processing."

Walter Kessinger

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