Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Casper Star Tribune: A battle in Utah's oil patch over more drilling.

"This is Utah's largest-ever survey for gas and oil, covering 1,700 square miles, and a battleground over the Bush administration's push for more domestic energy production that's finding some resistance in the Utah wilds.

"It's one of nine seismic surveys completed, proposed, challenged or reversed in court in Utah since President Bush ordered federal agencies in May 2001 to `expedite' environment reviews for oil and gas projects."

Reuters: S&P issues report on oil and gas cos Q4 ratings.

"`Companies in the service sector, aside from seismic services and a couple of other exceptions, continued to successfully weather the decline in drilling activity, while many of the larger exploration and production companies seem to be maintaining conservative capital budgets despite the strength of commodity prices,' said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Paul Harvey."

Reuters: Seitel says bondholders OK extension to Feb. 10.


Oil and Gas International: WesternGeco midway through Alaminos Canyon 3D shoot.

"WesternGeco's DeepView project is part of the company's longer range program intended to produce high quality, depth-imaged 3D seismic data over the Gulf of Mexico's primary ultra-deep province, which includes not only Alaminos Canyon, but Atwater Valley, Green Canyon, and Garden Banks.... WesternGeco said that from this first phase it will make available both prestack depth-migrated 3D data and a 3D depth velocity model of the targeted area."

Oil & Gas Journal: Petrotech prepares for Block Z-6 seismic off Peru.

"US-financed PetroTech Peruana SA is holding two hearings for environmental impact studies in March before beginning a marine seismic survey of Block Z-6's Sechura basin off northern Peru."

Houston Business Journal: Firms warm up to the 'ice that burns'.

"The U.S. Department of Energy is helping to fund the $9.2 million research project that is being undertaken by Anadarko, Noble and Mauer, which are tasked with determining whether methane hydrates in the permafrost of Alaska's North Slope could be commercially produced. This is one of two dozen research projects DOE is funding to learn more about methane hydrates."


Forbes: Seitel says bondholders OK extension.

"Seitel Inc., a provider of seismic data for oil exploration, said on Tuesday that bondholders have agreed to extend until Friday a deadline to reach agreement on restructuring the company's $255 million of senior notes."

Oil Online: Caspian Geophysical Completes Marine Seismic Surveys.

"Caspian Geophysical [the joint venture between WesternGeco and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic] performed four-component (4C) and time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys."

Just spotted this from two weeks ago --

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Sounds OK so far. Sonic hunt for oil doesn't irk whales at all, early tests say.

"Seismic testing done to locate oil and gas within Gulf of Mexico rock formations doesn't appear to interfere with the behavior of sperm whales, according to preliminary results of a federal study released in Metairie this week.

"But final results of the $6 million, three-year study won't be released for more than a year, so it's too early to declare seismic testing completely safe, researchers said. The tests to date have involved explosions well below the maximum loudness typical in seismic operations."


Andrew Gumbel and Marie Woolf, The Independent: Beyond petroleum, or beyond the pale? BP left out in the cold.

"Daily output at Prudhoe Bay, where BP manages 1,600 wells on behalf of itself, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, has slumped from more than two million barrels a day in the mid-1980s to less than one million. The resulting cost-cutting and job losses, the critics say, has compromised worker safety and made accidents almost inevitable."


Oil and Gas International: PGS sells Atlantis unit to Sinochem for $105 million.

"The London-based Atlantis subsidiary is staffed primarily with reservoir engineers, geologists, and geophysicists, who provide technical consulting services, reservoir studies, enhanced recovery services, prospect identification, seismic data interpretation, seismic data reprocessing services, and other geophysical services in exchange for cash or other compensation, including interests in oil and gas properties or concessions."


A very frank article, whose only by-line is "International Association of Geophysical Contractors" --

The Leading Edge: Industry at a crossroads: A message from the geophysical industry.

"Figure 6 [download the article!] shows a cumulative view of annualized investment along with cumulative free cash flow [for the seismic industry]. The astonishing cumulative industry total of some $13 billion is roughly equivalent to 500-800 deepwater wells." ...

"Seismic data today cost more to produce than they are sold for, period."


Links to OGI's seismic industry coverage --

Oil and Gas International: Anglo-Suisse licensing PGS 3D data over 2,300 US Gulf blocks.

"Under the terms of the agreement, PGS will receive an equity position in Anglo-Suisse following completion of private equity funding. PGS will also receive a royalty from Anglo-Suisse for commercial completions drilled using the database."

> It looks like PGS has found a new way to pay off its debt.

Oil and Gas International: PGS to shoot US Gulf 3D seafloor survey for ExxonMobil.

"PGS said that its dual sensor seafloor technology is being applied over a producing field for improved fault definition, reservoir geometry insight and salt body delineation compared to that realized with previously acquired data."

Oil and Gas International: Input/Output outsources manufacture of VibroSeis vehicles.

"Input/Output is a Houston-based provider of seismic acquisition imaging technology for land, marine, transition zone exploration, production, and reservoir monitoring."

PR Newswire: Rock Solid Images and Earth Decision Sciences Announce Agreement for gOcad Development.

"Earth Decision Sciences provides easy-to-use, advanced 3D modeling and interpretation software for the exploration, production, and mining industries."

Oil and Gas International: Ødegaard releases 4D-ISIS workflow system for 4D projects.


Dow Jones: BP To Cut About 1,000 Jobs In Non-Alaskan US Operations.

"Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP's downstream operations in Chicago, said 400-500 retail and marketing jobs were also being eliminated -- out of a total of around 20,000 -- as a result of continued rationalization following the Amoco merger in 1998 and the acquisition of Arco in 2000."

For those of you who can't get enough of this story, this is a couple of days old --

Houston Chronicle: BP will chop 350 jobs in Houston. Oil giant intensifies cost cuts.

"The reduction in Houston of 350 jobs amounts to about 15 percent of the 2,500 workers here, most of whom work at the company's Westlake Park offices near Memorial Drive and Eldridge."

SEG Press Release: Statoil innovation invests in VoxelVision.

"There are no exclusivity or non-compete clauses tied to the investment."


New Scientist: Probe of Africa's break-up blasts off.

"Since Saturday, over 70 scientists from Europe, the US and Ethiopia have detonated 19 explosions across and along Ethiopia's Rift Valley. Project EAGLE is Africa's largest ever seismic survey, and the world's biggest ever three-dimensional seismic survey."

> Hyperbole aside, this sounds like a great experiment.


Houston Business Journal: Houston BP employees to get pink slips.

"U.K.-based BP plans to lay off 25 percent of its work force in the United States by early March, including as many as 375 employees in Houston."

Oil and Gas International: Wintershall acquiring 3D seismic in Libyan oasis.

"After more than ten years of seeking the approval of the residents of the Libyan oasis of Jakhira, Wintershall has received their permission to conduct a 3D seismic survey over the oasis and small desert village and has been granted the exploration concession by the Libyan government."

Oil Online: PGS to survey Gulf of Oman blocks.

"It will comprise of 3 blocks, 18A, 18B and 41, situated in the Gulf of Oman. In total the blocks cover an area of 45,240 sq km's."

Oil and Gas International: Brazil & Argentina agree on Petrobras-controlled Perez Companc.

Oil Online: Kerr-McGee announces 2003 capital plan .

Follow-up from the other day --

Houston Chronicle: PGS' computing power standing by.

"The company taps hundreds of processors linked together to act as one supercomputer via the Internet when it needs processing power, said David Turek, vice president of IBM Supercomputing."

> I'm still skeptical. Anyway, even if we're just talking about a new billing model for leasing computers, it's news for people who lease computers.


Oil & Gas Journal: Apache to buy North Sea Forties oil field stake, Gulf of Mexico assets from BP for $1.3 billion.

"The Gulf of Mexico assets comprise interests in 61 small fields, mainly gas producers, covering 113 blocks off Texas and Louisiana.... The transaction makes Apache the largest acreage holder on the continental shelf, the company said."

Oil Online: Energy consultants open Houston area office.

"Fusion Geophysical, a Norman, Okla.,-based consulting company, has opened a new office in The Woodlands, Texas. Created as a consulting practice for University of Oklahoma faculty members, Fusion offers expertise in geophysics, geology and reservoir engineering. Alan Huffman has been named president and chief executive of the Texas subsidiary."

Oil Online: Dawson Geophysical announces Oklahoma office.

Oil and Gas International: PGS teams with IBM for supercomputing on demand.

"Using supercomputing grids employing their latest POWER or Intel processor-based supercomputer clusters, PGS Data Processing is able to employ supercomputing power without owning or operating the hardware and will only have to pay for processing power based on the required capacity and duration of use.... The company anticipates it will save approximately US$1.5 million annually using IBM's Supercomputing on Demand services."

> "Supercomputing grids," eh? Me wonders whether these be just fancy new terms for inclusion in old-fashioned computer leasing contracts.


World Oil (Phil Fontana and Chip Gill): Marine mammals and seismic vessels jockey for position.

"As recently as the mid-1980s, sperm whales were not generally known to inhabit the Gulf of Mexico -- they were not even mentioned in the 1986 Environmental Assessment. But they are now widely known to populate the Gulf of Mexico in large numbers and to concentrate along the 1,000-m water-depth contour.... They spend most of their life feeding under water, diving to 1,500 to 5,000-ft depths, echo-locating their prey (6-ft squid) and staying submerged for 40 min. to more than an hour and a half at a time."

Oil and Gas International: Paradigm releases enhancements to Explorer & GeoDepth systems.

"The company also announced the availability today of its new Earth Domain Imaging suite of 3D pre-stack depth migrations.... The Earth Domain Imaging migrations offers a new Kirchhoff traveltime solution and two wave equation migration offerings."


Oil and Gas International: [China National Petroleum Corporation]'s BGP spinoff expected to capture greater land seismic market.

"BGP has about 160 seismic crews and 17 non-seismic crews operating in China and internationally. The company's principal operating areas are China, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East, and Latin America...."

> CNPC had a big booth at SEG in October.

Oil Online: Fire damages seismic vessel.

"A fire broke out Dec. 20 on the seismic vessel CGG Mistral offshore Trinidad, severely damaging the vessel. All personnel were evacuated safely from the vessel."

Oil and Gas International: Mitcham Industries acquires Seismic Asia Pacific.

Walter Kessinger

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