Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Business Wire: Input/Output Inc. to Host Webcast to Discuss Appointment of CEO.

"... March 31, 2003 at 3:30 p.m. Central Standard Time ..."

> Is I/O big enough to justify all this drama?


Oil & Gas Journal: MMS proposes new offshore royalty relief for deep gas in shallow waters.

"Outer Continental Shelf natural gas currently provides about 25% of domestic production, although the contribution from the shallow-water area has declined precipitously over the past 5 years. While the shallow waters of the gulf have been actively explored, relatively few wells have penetrated depths below 15,000 ft due to the high cost and risks associated with such wells, MMS said. Because a drilling infrastructure is already in place, MMS anticipates that production could come on line relatively quickly with new incentives."


Financial Times: Gulf oil: how important is it anyway?

"A decade from now the world will likely be consuming 20 per cent more oil than today. What this means is that today's 77m barrels a day will be over 90m barrels a day by 2013." ...

"In 1975, the Persian Gulf produced 40 per cent of world output of 52m barrels per day. Today, world consumption is 77m barrels per day. Yet the Persian Gulf's output has grown only slightly, with the result that its output has declined to 30 per cent of total world output."

Press Release: Grant Geophysical, Inc. and Hocol S.A. Complete Successful 3D Seismic Data Acquisition Project.

"The project covered 539 square kilometers in the east foothills of Colombia."

Jim Felton: Chicken Little Logic.

"... seismic surveys ... have been used for over 70 years because they reduce the risk of drilling dry holes, thus minimizing environmental impacts. Implying that seismic surveys will shake Indian artifacts off canyon walls is Chicken Little logic."

> I don't think I have to chutzpah to claim I'm in seismology to "minimize environmental impacts" of oil exploration...


Stragglers from last week's lease sale --

Magnum Hunter High Bidder on 40 Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Blocks.

Devon Energy High Bidder on Eleven Gulf of Mexico Blocks.

Ocean Energy Apparent High Bidder on 22 Gulf of Mexico Blocks.

"On Feb. 24, Ocean announced its intention to merge with Devon Energy Corporation. The proposed merger is expected to occur in late April...."

Unocal Adds GOM Leases in OCS Sale.

Oil & Gas Journal: Worldwide oil, natural gas asset sales hit $40.7 billion in 2002.

Oil Online: ABB and I/O form seismic alliance.

"ABB Offshore and Input/Output have signed an alliance agreement to jointly pursue the worldwide market for permanently deployed ocean-bottom seismic monitoring systems."

Houston Business Journal: Encouraging outlook for Houston economy hinges on oil services.


Oil & Gas Journal: MMS reports high bids of $315.5 million in GOM Lease Sale 185.

"MMS officials received 793 bids totaling $414.7 million from 74 companies at the sale." ...

"There was a fairly even mix of major integrated companies and independents participating in the sale, MMS statistics indicated."

Press Release: Kerr-McGee High Bidder on 63 Gulf of Mexico Blocks; Company Leads Industry in Number of Bids and High Bids.

"... of which 30 are in deep water.... Including these blocks, Kerr-McGee will hold interests in 698 leases in the Gulf of Mexico and will operate more than 71% of these leases with an average working interest of 56%."

Press Release: Spinnaker Exploration Company Apparent High Bidder on 15 Gulf of Mexico Blocks.

Press Release: Pogo Wins 10 New Gulf Coast Offshore Leases.

Houston Chronicle: Fired Seitel executive wins $4 million award. Breach of contract, defamation alleged.

"The jury also decided that Seitel's former Chief Financial Officer Debra Valice had been defamed by news releases of June 12 and June 25 and awarded her $780,000 in actual and punitive damages...."

Press Release: Geokinetics Stockholders Approve Restructuring Transactions.

"Geokinetics Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is a provider of 3D seismic acquisition and high-end seismic data processing services to the oil and gas industry."


Central Gulf Lease Sale Tommorrow.

Press Release: Paradigm Awarded Major Pre-Stack Depth Migration Services Project in Germany.

"The current project involves velocity-depth model building and pre-stack depth migration in an area of approximately 1500 km2, incorporating close to a dozen solid salt structures."

Canada IT: Kelman Announces US Executive Appointments and Expansion of Operations.

"Effective immediately, Mr. Don Chitwood is appointed as Vice President, Seismic Processing while Mr. Greg Hess is appointed Vice President, Data Management. Mr. Paul Huff, President of KTI USA has resigned to pursue other interests."


Houston Chronicle: For ATVs, slow and easy does it. Seismic company devises speed control.

"WHEN a Veritas DGC worker hit a fence and died in 1996 while driving an all-terrain vehicle, Darin Silvernagle got an order: Make them safe or the seismic company would stop using them.... So Silvernagle, the Houston company's technical manager, created a device that limited the speed of the ATVs, which are used by seismic crews to haul, set up and monitor equipment, to 15 mph without changing the horsepower.... The device reduced the number of ATV accidents by 97 percent."

All Africa: Western Sahara Weekly News.

"The Norwegian seismic survey company TGS-Nopec decided to give up any further seismic surveys in Saharawi territorial waters.... [Financial officer Arne Helland] admitted that his company had made a mistake in accepting an oil prospecting contract in a zone over which Morocco does not exercise sovereignty."

News Release: Pulse Data Inc. Reports 2002 Results.

"Following the business combination with ReQuest, Pulse now owns and controls one of the largest, most strategically positioned, high-quality, non-exclusive seismic data libraries in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin."


Roger Anderson et al., Energy Pulse: Future Natural Gas Supplies & the Ultra-Deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

"The sediments that make up the new Carbonate Play concept in the Ultra-Deepwater Gulf of Mexico form an extensive, but deep reservoir target. Most current production from offshore Texas and Louisiana is from shallower deltaic sands that cover the carbonates in 20,000 feet or more of sediments." ...

"The Mississippi, Rio Grande, and other rivers to the east and west have supplied vast quantities of sand to the deepwater. The sediment has been trapped in salt bounded, intra-slope basins and transported to unconfined settings down-dip by turbidity currents. Porosities over 30 percent and permeabilities greater than one Darcy in deepwater turbidite reservoirs (very high) have been commonly found in the deepwater. Connectivity in sheet and channel sands is high for deepwater turbidite reservoirs, and gas and oil recovery efficiencies are in the extraordinarily high 40-60% range. The high production potential of ultra-deepwater sand reservoirs is documented by recent results at the Mars field. Flow rates at Mars from turbidite sands have been reported as high as 50,000 barrels of oil per day per well, far surpassing the previous Gulf of Mexico single well record of 12,000 barrels of oil per day. The carbonates could be even more prolific, judging by the Mexican analogy. In the early part of the 20th century, the Poso Rico field in Mexico's Golden Lane near Tampico supported production of >100,000 barrels per day from a carbonate reservoir that seismic mapping has tracked all the way to the north into the Perdido foldbelt of offshore Texas."

Houston Business Journal: Royal Dutch/Shell chief addresses global warming.

"As the keynote speaker at the opening of the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University, Phil Watts said the global energy industry must ‘take action to solve the problem’ of global warming ‘before it is too late.’

"‘We can't wait to answer all questions beyond reasonable doubt,’ he said, adding that ‘Shell has seen and heard enough’ to know that greenhouse gas emissions, ‘largely from burning fossil fuels,’ are causing climate changes that threaten the world."

Also at Rice --

Oil & Gas Journal: Energy is 'key area' for worldwide sustainable development.

"[Dr. Amy Myers] Jaffe told the audience ... ‘Roughly 1.6 billion people on this planet have no access to electricity at present. About 2.4 billion located in developing countries are using traditional biomass for their basic energy needs -- many of them suffering ill health effects as a result.’ It is this ‘lack of electricity’ that contributes to ‘a perpetuation of poverty,’ she claimed."

Oil Online: Seitel will begin trading on OTCBB (Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board) market.


Oil Online: MMS to offer Alaska royalty incentives.

"The Minerals Management Service, Alaska OCS Region, will offer royalty incentives to boost interest in Beaufort Sea Lease Sale 186 in September.... Sale 186 will include 1,850 whole or partial blocks covering about 9.7 million acres offshore Alaska's northern coast."

WSJ (subscription): Oil Markets Have Less Margin Of Error Than in Last Iraq War. Producers, Shippers, Users Are All Facing New Strains.

"When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, suppliers had large unused capacity that let them pump more right away. Saudi Arabia alone was able to make up for 60% of the lost Iraqi and Kuwaiti crude, which it did before the bombs started falling in January 1991. This time, almost everyone is pumping flat-out already."


Another wrap-up of oil industry current events. But what the hell does the title mean? --

The Economist: A convenient war, perhaps. Oil majors are less keen on a war in Iraq than might be expected.

"The confluence of tight supply, high demand and low stocks suggests that the oil industry is wrong to fear a dramatic price collapse. Oil markets will probably remain buoyant even if Mr Bush's war against Saddam Hussein turns out to be as swift and relatively bloodless as his father's was in 1991. Prices will surely come down from any pre-invasion spike, says Edward Morse of Hetco, an energy-trading firm, but `it is almost inconceivable that oil prices can crash in a manner similar to what occurred in 1991.'"

Petroleum News Alaska: North Slope seismic goes green. Accelerating changes in technology and methods radically reduce environmental impact of North Slope 3D seismic studies.

"Over the last 20 years, but more importantly over the last five to 10 years, North Slope seismic techniques and equipment have undergone a radical transformation, resulting in a staggering decrease in environmental impact, says Mike Faust, manager of geoscience for ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc." ...

"In the 1960s and the early 1970s, survey crews plowed their source line with bulldozers. Survey lines from that era are still visible today, Faust said."

More hometown news --

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Gas leak closes street.

"Lafayette Fire Department official Russell Goulas said Eagle Geophysical of Lafayette was setting up equipment for seismic exploration for oil when a small gas line was punctured."


CNews: [Canada News?] Seismic testing off Cape Breton given go-ahead.

"Oil and gas companies won approval Thursday to drag powerful sound guns through a biologically diverse area off Cape Breton, angering fishermen and environmentalists who fear the seismic tests will harm fish stocks and marine mammals." ...

"The board said it reviewed the report that came out of the hearings and decided there was little threat to marine species or wartime, unexploded ordnance that lie scattered in the oil companies' licensed areas. It did limit the activity to between Nov. 1, 2003, and Feb. 28, 2004, a period when fish stocks are not usually reproducing."

Business Wire: Anglo-Suisse Selects Magic Earth Technology for Gulf of Mexico Project.

Houston Business Journal: Landmark Graphics, BP renew technology pact.


PR Newswire: Input/Output, Inc. to Host Webcast Update of CEO Search.

"Input/Output, Inc. announced today that it will host a real-time webcast regarding the progress of its CEO search. This webcast is scheduled for Thursday, March 6, 2003 at 9:00 am Central Standard Time."

Associated Press: Scientists find mounting environmental, social, economic effects from oil drilling in Alaska.

"Stan Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska and a peer reviewer of the [National Academy of Sciences]'s findings, said the report debunks some of industry's claims that oil and gas drilling have not affected the environment."

Bloomberg Business News: Unocal accused of fooling regulators. FTC contends clean-gasoline patent created illegal monopoly.

"The Federal Trade Commission said Unocal duped California regulators into adopting a pollution-control standard that conformed to the company's exclusive patented refining method."

Houston Chronicle: Hydrogen to power D.C. demo.

"Shell Hydrogen and General Motors Corp. are hoping to get policy-makers pumped about hydrogen fuel cell cars by offering joy rides through the nation's capital, topped off by futuristic fill-ups."


New York Times: For Exxon Mobil, Size Is a Strength and a Weakness.

"In a speech at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference in Houston in February, Exxon Mobil's chairman and chief executive, Lee R. Raymond, described the challenge the oil industry, and perhaps most acutely his company, faced: `When we consider, that as demand increases, our existing base production declines, we come squarely to the magnitude of the task before us. About half the oil and gas volume needed to meet demand 10 years from now is not in production today.'"

Reuters: U.S. could release emergency oil in war -- Exxon CEO.

"At the analysts' meeting, he also said the world's largest publicly traded oil company is likely to use some of its $7 billion in cash to buy back its stock." ...

"The company -- which currently has a market capitalization of $232 billion -- bought back $4.8 billion worth of stock last year and $5.72 billion worth the year before. Analysts predict it will buy back anywhere between $4 billion and $6 billion in 2003."

The Wall Street Journal: Schlumberger Chief Sees Tough Future For Iraqi Oil.

"Schlumberger has struggled amid a poor seismic-testing climate and a depressed market for information technology, and has been criticized for mediocre results from its 2001 acquisition of software firm Sema PLC for $5.2 billion. Mr. Gould acknowledged that the Sema acquisition had reduced the company's financial flexibility. He reiterated the push, announced in December, to reorganize the unit to focus on developing Schlumberger's core oil-field-service business."


Oil and Gas International has gone subscription. $349/year!

Ouch! I really like OAGI, as you can tell from all the links here. But ... $349!!!

I think I'll need a new job to be able to foot that bill.

Seismic exploration in my hometown, as reported by the hometown paper (which has a classically great name) --

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Houston company looking for oil beneath Lafayette.

"Hundreds of little, white boxes are appearing along streets all over town. The futuristic-looking boxes, with photocells on the front and antennae on top, are recording devices for seismic exploration for oil." ...

"When the surveys are done, they will give Seitel a complete picture of possible undiscovered reserves in Lafayette Parish, [Paul] Richards said, which could lead to increased land drilling."

> And speaking of Seitel --

Houston Business Journal: Seitel bondholders agree to extend deadline [again!]

"Seitel Inc. said Friday its bondholders have agreed to give the company until April 10 to reach agreement on restructuring the company's $255 million of senior notes."

Houston Business Journal: Input/Output continues search for CEO.

"Seismic acquisition company Input/Output Inc. ... said Friday it expects to announce a decision by the end of this fiscal quarter."

Walter Kessinger

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