Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Business Wire: Merger Agreement Between Veritas DGC And Petroleum Geo-Services Terminated.

> I guess this means Veritas had to pay PGS the $7.5 million merger termination fee. Probably money well spent.

> A predictably bad day for PGS --

CBS Marketwatch: Petroleum Geo-Services plunges. Collapse of Veritas DGC merger sparks selling.

"In recent New York Stock Exchange action, Petroleum Geo-Services' stock plummeted $1.65, or 77.1 percent, to 49 cents, while Veritas DGC soared $2.99, or 33.2 percent, to $11.99."

Dow Jones: Petroleum Geo-Services 2nd Quarter Loss 30 Cents/Share.


Business Wire: Veritas Board Withdraws Support For Combination With Petroleum Geo-Services.


First Break: DVD option for seismic data storage is here!

"Landmark EAME in Cambridge believes that it has established a first by offering DVD-R as an archive medium for seismic data.... DVD-R combines the flexibility of random access media with a data volume -- currently 4.7 Gb -- comparable to tape systems." ...

"There are many other advantages, the company says. CD and DVD readers are consumer items, which means that they are cheap, an order of magnitude cheaper than, say, a 3590 drive."

> I brought this up with one of our IT people just a couple of weeks ago. I can write DVD-R's on a $2000 iMac. The whole computer is a fraction of the cost of a 3590 drive!

> But -- has Landmark published the file structure of these Archive Explorer disks? I don't want some "industry standard" that can only be accessed using outrageously expensive proprietary software.

Oil and Gas International: Shell Oil funding launch of Rice University Energy Center.

"Shell Oil, recognizing Houston as the oil capital of the world, presented the city's Rice University with US$3.5 million to develop the Rice University Energy Center. The Energy Center is to be established for the study of sustainable development."

First Break: Commercial release for I/O's VectorSeis acquisition system.

"VectorSeis System Four is said to provide superior subsurface seismic images, speed the acquisition of multi-component data, and gather the highest fidelity P-wave data of any existing acquisition system."

Reuters: After 25 years of flowing crude, Alaska's North Slope a new place.

"Nothing has changed Alaska as dramatically as the pipeline, one historian said. `It dwarfs anything that's ever happened in the north,' said Steve Haycox, a University of Alaska-Anchorage history professor. `Oil did really improve the economic condition in Alaska, by a factor of at least 10.'"

The Inquirer: IBM-Intel-Linux score big oil win. Seismic shift, firms claim.

"IBM and Intel will install IBM Xeon servers using 2,500 Xeon chips in WesternGeco's London Data Centre...."


Mother Jones: Open Season on Open Space. The Bush administration has made energy development on public lands its priority number one. The wild West will never be the same.

"Last September, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which controls mineral rights on much of the public land in the region, allowed 52,000-pound `thumper' trucks to pound the ground near Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands, searching for oil with seismic measuring equipment. The trucks crushed ancient stands of juniper, left fragile desert soil vulnerable to erosion, and cut 176 miles of new roads. In February, a federal review board halted similar exploration in the Dome Plateau, saying the BLM had failed to conduct environmental reviews mandated by federal law."

> Over the past two years, I hope I've made it clear that I believe the oil and gas industry -- which employs more earth scientists than any other industry -- has a special responsibility to protect the environment while carrying out its activities.

> On the other hand, I'm fairly certain that the only thing we can do, as representatives of the oil and gas industry, to placate the editors of Mother Jones would be to die and leave our carcasses exposed so that vultures could feast on our remains.


Reuters: S&P may still cut Petroleum Geo-Services.

"Although both companies [PGS, a.k.a. PGO, and Vertas DGC] respect the economic logic of the merger, Standard & Poor's believes that PGO's looming debt maturities in 2003 remain a concern that could scuttle the transaction."

Oil and Gas International: Input/Output acquires S/N & AXIS.

"AXIS Geophysics, based in Denver, Colorado. provides specialized data processing and integration services to major and independent exploration and production companies.... AXIS Geophysics and Green Mountain Geophysics, another I/O company located in the Denver area, will be combined in order to build on the Green Mountain strengths in seismic acquisition planning and to leverage AXIS Geophysics services through the Green Mountain worldwide market presence." Shareholders Warned on Oil Company Environmental Risks.

"Investors in energy stocks should pay greater attention to the potential impact of environmental issues on the bottom lines of publicly traded oil and gas companies, according to a report released Wednesday by the Washington D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI)."


The Guardian: Hands up or we strip! Six hundred Nigerian women held a US oil giant to ransom armed with a simple weapon -- the threat of taking all their clothes off. And it worked.

"`The mere threat of it would send people running,' says Sokari Ekine, international representative for Niger Delta Women for Justice...."

San Jose Mercury News: The next energy crisis doesn't have to happen. California must build natural gas pipelines and diversify sources.

"Virtually all the new power plants in California and across the Southwest are powered by natural gas.... RAND expects California's use of gas to increase between 18 and 50 percent by 2010."


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

"Veritas and Norway's Petroleum Geo-Services agreed to postpone a period during which either company can terminate the transaction to the five business days ending Aug. 15."

Oil and Gas International: Petrobras acquiring majority interest in Perez Companc.

"Petróleo Brasileiro revealed today that it is acquiring 58.6% of Perez Companc upon completion of an agreement between the Brazilian operator and the Argentine company's family and foundation owners."


Thomas R. Wright, Jr., World Oil: Helping Jeb II.

"The area in question is the Destin Dome Unit, a large natural gas discovery in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The lease holders -- Chevron, Conoco and Murphy Oil -- will relinquish seven of nine leases in the unit in exchange for $115 million. The remaining two leases, to be held by Murphy, will be suspended until at least 2012 under terms of the settlement."

> I partially covered this in June, but Thomas Wright is so indignant about the subject that he deserves his own link --

"As expected, the greenies were seen dancing in the street."

Houston Chronicle: Seitel wants money back.

"Seitel said Friday that its former chief executive officer, Paul Frame, owes it hundreds of thousands of dollars for company funds spent on such things as a home security system and sports car racing."

Oil and Gas International: JNOC's days are numbered -- deleted by Diet.

"The JNOC will cease to exist by March 2005. Until then, it is charged with activities aimed at that dissolution for the next two years, after which it is to carry out a complete liquidation of all assets before its final days of operations in 2005."


World Oil: North Sea operators provide feedback on new marine seismic system.

"WesternGeco has devoted considerable resources to developing new techniques for acquiring what it considers the highest quality towed streamer marine seismic data possible. The result is a unique system, Q-Marine, the only single-sensor, towed streamer seismic system." ...

"[WesternGeco] believes that the imaging power and resolution of the new system will quickly prove its worth to the industry. The steered-streamer, point-receiver, calibrated-source technique opens the door to various high-end processing possibilities. The company is actively working on a seabed system and is looking at the potential of the system to tackle a long-standing problem in marine seismic-data acquisition: the elimination of multiple echoes."

Oil and Gas International: Multiwave Geophysical adds OYO GeoRes system.

"The system will be deployed to acquire multicomponent, 4D seismic data for a major oil company on a field in the North Sea."

"[Gary D. Owens, OYO Geospace's chairman, president and CEO]: `While we recently announced the sale of the world's largest permanently entrenched GeoRes system, this is our first sale of a redeployable deepwater GeoRes system for use in reservoir characterization and monitoring.'"

Oil & Gas Journal: US petroleum imports mark largest 6-month decline in more than a decade.

"Due to a combination of increased domestic supplies and `exceptionally weak' demand, US petroleum imports fell more than 8% during the first half of this year -- the largest 6-month decline in more than a decade....

Despite that reduction in volume, however, imports of oil and petroleum products totaled 11.17 million b/d -- 58% of all US demand...."


Houston Chronicle: Halliburton moving headquarters here.

"The number of people relocating from Dallas will not be large. Only 20 people work in the Halliburton headquarters office in Dallas...."


Oil & Gas Journal: IOGCC: US energy plan should address industry worker shortage.

"In a letter to President George W. Bush, [North Dakota Gov. John] Hoeven stated, `Currently, only a small percentage of graduate students in petroleum science in the US are US citizens. While this nation should feel honored that the rest of the world flocks to our universities to learn about petroleum technology, these scientists will not stay in the US but will be returning to their own countries.'"

> 1- Wrong! A lot of these scientists are willing to stay in the US.

> 2- But most new jobs in the industry will probably be created back in their home countries.

> 3- I don't know if I can in good conscience recommend the oil and gas industry as a career path to anyone. (Although I have in the past enjoyed and currently am enjoying my work immensely. But I have to at least warn wide-eyed teen-agers that it won't be like a 30-year career working for GE.)

Oil and Gas International: Landmark is 20 years old today.


Oil and Gas International: French selling "golden share" of TotalFinaElf.

"The French government is relinquishing its ownership of its share in Elf Aquitaine (99% held by TotalFinaElf) in compliance with the European Union's Court of Justice ruling...."


Financial Times: IEA sounds warning on falling oil output. [again???]

"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."

> If IEA keeps crying "wolf" long enough, sooner or later they might get it right.

"But while Opec members are pledged to maintain market stability, other factors in the IEA report will cause them to be wary about lifting output."

Oil and Gas International: US MMS offering extensions for US Gulf subsalt prospecting.

"The US Minerals Management Service is giving explorers on the US Gulf of Mexico continental shelf extensions to their leases when the companies are probing beneath the salt strata."


Oil & Gas Journal: BP review: worldwide energy use growth marginal in 2001.

"Global energy consumption grew only marginally in 2001, increasing by 0.3%, marking the third consecutive year that consumption rose by less than 0.5% year-on-year."

Christian Science Monitor: Tanker opens new chapter in US energy supplies. First Russian oil arrives, further reducing America's dependence on Mideast.

"Mikhail Brudno, first vice president of Yukos -- the company that sent the first shipment to Houston (via a rather circuitous route) -- says there are half a dozen more to come this year. After that, Russia's No. 2 oil producer will evaluate whether it's economically feasible to continue such shipments."

Newsday: Russia Shifts Ties With Iraq. Oil firms seek deals in West.

"The conventional wisdom is that the Russian oil industry would be an obstacle to American action in Iraq. As the Bush administration continues to make detailed war plans to force a change of leadership in Iraq, however, some analysts now think the position of Russian oil companies in an increasingly Western-style industry may not be so clear-cut."

Houston Chronicle: Seitel raising needed cash by selling DDD subsidiary.

"Officials said Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Rising Star Energy of Dallas to buy Seitel's DDD Energy for between $25 million and $40 million. DDD Energy finds, develops, produces and sells oil and gas reserves."


Wired: Supercomputing: Suddenly Sexy.

"This [NEC] Vector chip-based supercomputer [("Earth Simulator"] is the size of four tennis courts. It blew away the competition by being five times faster than its nearest competitor in recent tests announced in Heidelberg, Germany, and performs at a sustained rate of 35 teraflops. It needs all that power to do its job." ...

"The Simulator's nearest rival, IBM's ASCI White, clocks up a comparatively modest, but nonetheless impressive, 7 teraflops."

Today's special for those in the audience interested in seismic velocity analysis:

I just tripped across this paper by Jianming Sheng and Gerard T. Schuster on the web site of the Utah Tomography And Modeling/Migration (UTAM) consortium.

Actually, I didn't "just trip across" it. I was looking for a discussion of tomography resolution, and here it is --

Finite-Frequency Resolution Limits of Wavepath Traveltime Tomography for Smoothly Varying Velocity Models.

"... tomographic images are limited in accuracy because the high-frequency assumption of ray theory conflicts with the inherent low frequency of the observed teleseismic arrivals. This conflict leads to an inaccurate estimate of the model errors because the finite-frequency effects are not taken into account. Exploration seismologists also use ray-based tomographic methods to determine subsurface velocity structures, and so their velocity models are also limited by finite-frequency effects in the data."

WSJ (subscription): Oil Industry Lags on Funds For Cleaning Alaska Region.

"Under Alaska state law, oil companies have been required to post bonds or other financial assurances totaling about $200,000 for each one's drilling operations and $500,000 to cover all of a company's oil and gas leases in Alaska.... Yet the cost to dismantle the roads, pipelines, processing plants and other infrastructure that has been built in Alaska's remote Arctic over the past 30 years could range between $2.7 billion and $6 billion, according to the report by the General Accounting Office."


Oil and Gas International: OYO completes first permanent seabed data acquisition system.

"[Last week] OYO Geospace Corporation ... announced the completion of its first data acquisition system built for permanent seabed installation of deepwater reservoirs. The GeoRes system is the world's largest cabled, realtime seismic data acquisition system. The system was manufactured for a major oil company and is to be embedded in the ocean floor across a producing offshore reservoir."

Oil and Gas International: WesternGeco shooting 3D over Buzzard Field.

"The Geco Topaz is equipped with the exclusive WesternGeco Q-Marine single-sensor technology and will deploy six streamers with a 50-meter streamer separation."

Houston Business Journal: BP donates land for wetlands preservation.

"BP has signed an agreement with the State of Louisiana and the nonprofit organization White Lake Preservation Inc. to donate and assure the preservation of one of the largest undeveloped fresh water marshes in the southeastern U.S."


Paul Krugman, New York Times: Everyone Is Outraged.

"The president's supposed anger was particularly hard to take seriously. As Chuck Lewis of the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity delicately put it, Mr. Bush `has more familiarity with troubled energy companies and accounting irregularities than probably any previous chief executive.' Mr. Lewis was referring to the saga of Harken Energy, which now truly deserves a public airing."


Oil & Gas Journal: MMS's 5-year OCS leasing plan wins approval.

"The program schedules 20 lease sales in eight OCS planning areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska.... The first lease sale scheduled under the new program is western Gulf of Mexico Sale 184, slated for Aug. 21 in New Orleans." ...

"Oil and gas produced from the OCS currently provides about 25% of total US production, MMS noted, adding that new technology has opened up more areas for offshore drilling in the past decade, with 35 rigs currently exploring in water depths of more than 1,000 ft."

Oil & Gas Journal: Possible tight oil market may give way to competition, analysts say.

"The most visible threat to OPEC -- the `one that appears to have forward momentum' -- is Russia and the other former Soviet Union oil-producing countries. The International Energy Agency estimates that oil production from Russia and other FSU countries will average 9.17 million b/d this year, up from 7.95 million b/d in 2000. `This is a staggering increase for only a 2-year period,' said [said Stephen A. Smith, founder of Stephen Smith Energy Associates, Natchez, Miss., in a recent report]. `In total, all other non-OPEC producers are expected to increase by 0.35 million b/d over the same period."


Oil & Gas Journal: MMS introduces well logs online.

"About 170,000 well logs with run dates of December 1995 and prior are available to the public. The logs are scanned in raster format (TIFF images) and include 1-in. and 5-in. induction, neutron density, formation density, and dipmeter logs."

Hart's E&P: Women negotiate career roadblocks.

> Anonymous quotes from men and women in the energy industry on the subjects of equality and discrimination in the workplace.

Walter Kessinger

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