Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Associated Press: $15B Conoco-Phillips Merger OK'd.

"The deal would create the world's sixth-largest oil and gas company. In the United States, ConocoPhillips would be No. 3 behind Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp."

Houston Chronicle: Two oil majors expect merger to pass muster.

"There will be layoffs after the closing, but the companies have not indicated how deeply they will cut their combined worldwide work force of about 57,000."

Oil and Gas International: Major oil companies call for all governments to adopt Kyoto Protocol.

"The unexpected union of the Greenpeace and 160 multinational corporations, including BP, ChevronTexaco, PetroCanada, Royal Dutch/Shell, Statoil, and TotalFinaElf, called upon every government in the world to adopt the [Kyoto] treaty to reduce greenhouse gases today at the Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg."

SEG Press Release: Veritas announces acquisition of Hampson-Russell Software.

"The latest Hampson-Russell products include interpretation tools for multi-component and 4-D seismic data."

SEG Press Release: Paradigm expands product portfolio to include Linux-based solutions.

"Paradigm's Linux-based seismic data processing and imaging products include the GeoDepth velocity model building and depth imaging system, the Focus seismic processing system, and Probe for AVO inversion, analysis and modeling."

Press Release: 3DGeo Moves to Energy Corridor.

"... 3DGeo has added access to 1000 CPU cluster. 3DGeo plans to add even more computing power to the Houston office with the purchase of a 512 CPU Linux Cluster."

Oil Online: Petroleum Geo-Services consolidates corporate functions.

"The future PGS corporate center will be located in London, with Houston and Oslo performing certain corporate and local support functions. London will serve as the center of gravity for corporate leadership, including office of the Chairman, CEO, CFO and other key corporate functions."


Wall Street Journal (free): Oil prices threaten U.S. recovery. OPEC is reluctant to raise production quotas.

"Next year, OPEC estimates demand will rise by a modest 790,000 barrels a day to 76.95 million barrels a day, with non-OPEC supply up 920,000 barrels a day. The Paris-based International Energy Agency sees non-OPEC supply rising less, by 700,000 barrels a day next year, but OPEC officials stick to their forecast. `In the longer term, this doesn't appear to be a market in need of oil,' said Mr. Shihab-Eldin, the OPEC economist. `There is plenty of supply.'"

Oil and Gas International: Veritas & Fugro to deploy solid towed arrays.

"The Guardian arrays feature solid as opposed to oil-filled cables.... The advanced Guardian streamers were specifically designed to minimize mechanically induced noise.... Compared to oil-filled arrays, the solid Guardian is said to be able to operate in far more difficult weather conditions."

Oil & Gas Journal: Oil in granite concept due tests under Canada's Athabasca area.

"Canadian interests will make another try at evaluating deeper light oil potential beneath the vast Athabasca tar sands.... The Athabasca tar sands is one of the world's largest oil deposits with 1.3 trillion bbl in place across 28,000 sq km. Calgary geologist C. Warren Hunt theorizes the oil leaked through fractured granite from a deeper source and into the McMurray sands and became biodegraded."


New York Times: Oil Prices Won't Depend on Iraq, but on Its Neighbors.

"At its peak in 1979, before it launched its disastrous invasion of Iran, Iraq was producing 3.5 million barrels a day. Its physical capacity to produce is now at something around 3 million barrels a day. Its actual output is a good deal lower, closer to 1.8 million barrels -- a fraction of Saudi Arabia's 8 million barrels a day. After accounting for domestic consumption and smuggled oil, Iraq's exports are about a million barrels a day."

Oil and Gas International: US Interior Department board rejects appeal to stop seismic shoot.

"An appeal by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to prevent seismic acquisition and exploratory drilling near Arches National Park has been rejected by the US Interior Department's Board of Land Appeals."

Oil and Gas International: 20% of world's gas flaring in Nigeria.

"Every year, some 35 million tons of carbon dioxide and 12 million tons of methane are released into the air in Nigeria through flaring of associated gas from the country's hundreds of oilfields." ...

"The environmentalist said that flaring is due to the low fines that the government imposes -- about 11 US cents per 1,000 cf of gas -- which makes it cheaper to pay the fines than to construct gas collection and transport facilities."

BBC: Big investors criticise Shell boss.

"Mike Felton, director of UK equities at Friends Ivory & Sime said that part of the problem for Shell was that its big rival, BP, was so good at communicating.... `With their results they will come out with a set of figures that are either way ahead or way behind expectations,' he added. Big investors do not like those sorts of surprises."


Oil & Gas Journal: Western gulf lease sale generates less money for more tracts.

"Interests were almost evenly divided between shallow and deep waters at the federal oil and natural gas Lease Sale 184 Wednesday in New Orleans, which drew apparent high bids of $151.3 million out of a total $181.6 million bid by 44 participating companies on 323 of the 4,102 tracts offered in the western Gulf of Mexico."

Oil and Gas International: Magic Earth launches its Linux PC platform MagicDesk.

"Magic Earth says the new product delivers the same hallmark performance of GeoProbe with a significantly reduced hardware cost and that it is immediately available to the market."

The Street: Pure Resources Soars on Unocal Offer.

"Unocal offered about $400 million in stock to buy the remaining shares of oil and natural gas producer Pure Resources from its stockholders. Unocal already owns 65% of the company's shares."

Oil and Gas International: Court blocks WesternGeco shoot in Colorado national monument.

"Located near the Four Corners area about 20 miles west of Mesa Verde National Park, the Canyons of the Ancients Monument is estimated to contain 5,000-15,000 archaeological sites ranging from major Anasazi Indian cliff dwelling complexes and religious enclosures that are 10,000 years ago. When made a national monument, it was said to contain `the highest known density of archaeological sites in the nation.'"


Oil Online: Landmark Releases SeisSpace.

"Landmark Graphics Corporation, a wholly owned business unit of Halliburton, has announced the release of SeisSpace(tm), a new seismic processing platform for distributed network computing in the Landmark R2003 environment.... Landmark customers currently using ProMAX(tm), the industry's most widely used commercial seismic processing system, should notice a dramatic improvement in data throughput by executing hybrid ProMAX flows within the SeisSpace parallel input/output environment."

Houston Chroncle: Seitel says its loss reaches $79 million. Firm's stock faces delisting by NYSE.

"The loss for the period that ended June 30 compares with a year-earlier loss of $3.2 million, or 12 cents a share. Revenues of $47.1 million were up from $24.7 million a year ago."

Oil and Gas International: Murphy Oil probing ultra-deep US Gulf Quatrain prospect.

"Located in water depths of 3,435 ft, the exploratory well follows a series of successful wells in the area, most of which have been drilled to considerable depth, such as Murphy's Green Canyon 338-4, which went to a total depth of 24,257 ft."


Nature: Fossil fuel without the fossils. Petroleum: animal, vegetable or mineral?

"But a wealth of chemical evidence points to a biological origin for petroleum. Petroleum and biological molecules contain the same type of carbon and have the same molecular structure - hinting at a common origin."


Oil and Gas International: BLM okays WesternGeco seismic shoot in Colorado national monument.

"The US Bureau of Land Management has given its blessing to WesternGeco for a 3D seismic acquisition in Colorado's Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The vibroseis survey is to be conducted on behalf of Legacy Energy, a Denver operator."

Associated Press: Exxon Mobil Enters Tobacco Agreement.

"With nearly half of underaged smokers reporting that they buy their cigarettes from gas stations, the nation's largest oil company will implement new ways to reduce tobacco sales to minors."

> The Houston Chronicle headlined this article "Exxon Mobil joins teen tobacco fight. Oil firm's voluntary program will train clerks at service stations."


Oil and Gas International: Horn Mountain Spar installed on site in US Gulf.

"The field is believed to harbor some 150 million bbl of oil equivalent in recoverable reserves. BP is the operator of the Horn Mountain Field with a 67% interest in Mississippi Canyon Block 127. Occidental Petroleum holds the remaining 33% interest."

Press Release: Fox Paine Completes Acquisition of Paradigm Geophysical.


New York Times: This Oil's Domestic, but It's Deep and It's Risky.

"[T]he deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico ... holds some of the most promising oil reserves in the world. BP, the world's third largest oil company and the owner of the biggest reserves in the deep gulf, estimates that the region contains 40 billion barrels of oil equivalents, a unit that includes crude oil and natural gas. In comparison, an estimated 20 billion barrels has been found so far in the North Slope of Alaska.... Already, oil from the deep Gulf of Mexico accounts for 16 percent of domestic oil production and will claim a greater share with time."

Oil Online: Statoil recognized for technology.

"The group was cited for its underground injection of carbon dioxide at the Sleipner West field in the North Sea."

I'm six months tardy, but I just read "Seismic migration problems and solutions," the Gray/Etgen/Dellinger/Whitmore paper that was published in Geophysics in September 2001. [Whether or not you have an online Geophysics subscription, you may want to grab this preprint version. It's double-spaced.]

This paper doesn't offer anything new -- it an "overview" paper. But it's a damn good overview paper. It has a lot of good general knowledge and practical advise for depth imaging geophysicists. For instance:

"The depth migration interval velocity model should not contain more structural detail than the quality of the velocity analysis supports, however. Even after residual moveout and stack, spurious structure in the velocity model will generate false structure in the depth migrated image."

> I agree with that last statement (85%?), but it could easily start a debate with some depth imagers. That's true of a lot of the statements in this paper, which makes it required reading.

> And the bibliography is excellent.


Oil Online: Anadarko increases capital budget, announces divestiture plan.

"`The higher capital program will allow us to take advantage of additional delineation and development opportunities resulting from our exploration successes this year in Canada and the U.S., as well as to restart our exploration program in Algeria,' said John Seitz, Anadarko president and chief executive officer."

Oil and Gas International: TGS & WesternGeco shooting 3D in Barents Sea.

"The survey is located northeast of Norsk Agip's Goliath discovery in Norway's Block 7122 along the same geological trend...."

Oil and Gas International: PetroVietnam to shoot 3D in Cuu Long Basin.


Oil and Gas International: Major seismic effort set for offshore southwest Ghana.

"Ghana National Petroleum has joined with Devon Energy and EnCana in an effort to increase exploration offshore Ghana in the Keta Basin. GNPC said today the joint venture will carry out a US$56 million program."

I heard about this a couple of weeks ago, but I neglected to look up the press release --

Core Lab Acquires Business of Advanced Data Solutions.

Oil and Gas International: PGS CEO Michaelsen resigning.

"PGS says that this decision by Michaelsen was planned prior to the cancellation of the merger that was to occur of PGS and Veritas DGC, that he had intended to take a similar non-executive role had the two companies completed their merger."


Deutsche Welle: Sweeping Harmful Carbons Under the Sea.

"In order to avoid carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere, Statoil pumps them down a pipeline some 1,000 metres under sealevel. Here, a sandstone formation seeps up the gas, which dissolves in the salty seawater collected in the sandstone's pores. 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide could be stored in this formation, according to Statoil."

Houston Business Journal: Newfield offering $225M in senior notes.

"Newfield will use the proceeds to repay debt from its previously announced acquisition of EEX Corp. for $280 million in stock. The net proceeds will be held in escrow pending closing, which is expected to occur in late September 2002."


New Scientist: Unique meteorite crater found under North Sea.

"Phil Allen, a consultant geophysicist based near Aberdeen, discovered the crater by chance. Petroleum giant BP had asked him to look at 3D seismic data from a gas field four kilometres below the North Sea. During his analysis, Allen discovered some unusual features in layers of chalk lying above the gas field, one kilometre beneath the seabed."

Houston Chronicle: BP to spend $15 billion on Gulf.

"BP has six major fields under development in the deep-water Gulf -- Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Holstein, Horn Mountain, Mad Dog and Na Kika -- and holds 50 percent or greater interest in each.

"BP is the largest acreage holder in the deep-water Gulf, with more than 650 blocks in depths greater than 1,500 feet. The company, which has been operating in the Gulf since 1986, has about one-third of all deep-water Gulf reserves discovered to date."

As usual, the International Oil and Gas version of this story includes a map.


Oil and Gas International: Major oil companies funding ultimate satellite gravity data study.

"A group of leading oil companies are funding a two-year R&D study by GETECH to provide them with the highest ultimate resolution satellite gravity data over all the continental margins of the world (excluding the ice covered margins of the Arctic and Antarctica). The tectonic framework of all the major offshore petroleum basins can be seen in satellite gravity data."

Oil and Gas International: CGG to do 3D land shoot in Amatitlán, Mexico.

"The Amatitlán acquisition, along with a number of recent less important contracts, represents an aggregate $40 million gross addition to CGG's backlog and renews growth of the Group's land seismic activity after the low point of the first quarter of this year. It is equally indicative of the recent momentum of the Mexican market, heading for a high level of seismic activity in 2003 for both land and marine segments with significant awards awaited in the coming months."

Business Wire: OYO Geospace Reports Third Quarter Results. Earnings Per Share Increases to $0.21 vs. $0.11.

"Our third quarter results largely reflect a $15.8 million sale of a large GeoRes seabed reservoir characterization and monitoring system, one of our recently developed suite of geophysical data acquisition systems."

Houston Chronicle: Veritas, PGS call off their merger. Offer withdrawn on $1 billion deal to create huge seismic firm.

"While [PGS] should have sufficient cash flow to meet interest payments for the rest of 2002 and for 2003, [according to Bruce Schwartz, a credit analyst for Standard & Poors], it may not be able to meet next year' debt maturities."

Walter Kessinger

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