Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Warrnambool Standard: Seismic link possible in marine decline.

"A Warrnambool charter boat operator is concerned that seismic testing contributed to a decline in marine life seen in south-west Victoria last year."

> It's getting to the point that every time someone someone finds a dead dolphin, they are going to blame "seismic oil exploration."

> By next year, there will be a Bruce Willis action-adventure movie with Bruce battling an evil oil acquisition corporation harvesting whales with deadly seismic guns....

Canada Press: Pulse Data to buy Mosaic Mapping in deal worth $9M in cash and stock.

"Seismic data collector Pulse Data Inc. has signed a deal to buy Mosaic Mapping Corp., a digital mapping and imaging company, for $9 million in cash and stock, the company announced Tuesday."

Houston Chronicle: Briefs.

"Grant Geophysical, a Houston-based seismic company, says it has completed refinancing, reducing its debt from $92.7 million to $10.1 million as of Dec. 31."

First the good news --

AFP: ExxonMobil profit jumps 63 percent.

"World number one oil company ExxonMobil said its profit rose 63 percent in the fourth quarter to 6.65 billion dollars, boosted by a one-time tax settlement and strong crude oil prices."

> Now the not-so-good --

AFP: ExxonMobil ordered to pay 6.75 billion dollars in Valdez spill.

AFP: ExxonMobil to blame for around nearly 5 percent of greenhouse gases.

"In a statement, Friends of the Earth said it had singled out ExxonMobil for its persistent denial of the global warming problem and fierce lobbying against the Kyoto Protocol...."


OGJ: MMS issues deep well, shallow water royalty relief rule.

News Release: Veritas DGC Inc. Appoints New Chief Executive Officer.

"Veritas DGC Inc. announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Thierry Pilenko Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer effective March 1, 2004, subject, however, to the receipt of immigration documents that will allow him to live and work in the United States."

Houston Business Journal: Chroma secures Pemex seismic contract.

"Chroma Energy Inc. has landed a deal with Petroleos Mexicanos to provide seismic interpretation services to support Pemex's ongoing domestic exploration and development operations. The deal calls for Sugar Land-based Chroma to work on a exploration study in the Isthmian Saline Basin of Campeche offshore Mexico."


Business Week: Shell: The Case Of The Missing Oil.

"... [O]verbooking made Shell look stronger than it is in key performance measures.... A good example is the Gorgon gas project in Western Australia. Shell listed those reserves in 1997, even though a final investment decision hadn't been made." ...

"The SEC is expected to probe what happened at Shell and to look more closely at other companies' numbers. And there are already calls for independent third-party audits, which are not required now, and for greater transparency and detail in reports of reserves. If analysts had known that Shell's list of reserves included the Gorgon project, they would have realized the company was pushing the envelope."

Bloomberg News: Shell's strategy led firm into decline, brokers say.

"The difficulty is partly a result of the divergent paths Shell and its competitors took when oil prices dropped to $10 a barrel in 1998, analysts said. While then-smaller rivals Exxon Corp. and British Petroleum Co. expanded by acquisitions and mergers, Shell focused on cutting costs and investment."

Business Wire: TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company Recognized with SRI Designation. Acknowledgement of Corporate Standards for Ethics, People and the Environment.

"SRI is a designation used by parties having a desire to invest in companies that meet high standards for their practices with employees, the environment and the community in addition to traditional financial performance."

Houston Chronicle: Oil state? Try natural gas instead. In Texas, crude no longer reigns.

"With the help of sharply higher prices, the value of natural gas to Texas producers jumped 58.9 percent in 2003 to $28.6 billion.... Meanwhile the value of crude oil sold grew 18.8 percent to $9.98 billion."


OGJ: BP, partners make deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil discovery.

"BP PLC and partners BHP Billiton and Unocal Corp. reported an oil discovery on Green Canyon Block 823 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with the drilling of their Puma-1 exploration well."

Warrnambool Standard: Marine seismic testing alarm.

"The group Whales in Danger is concerned tests led to a number of strandings and deaths in South Australia, Tasmania and distressed a whale off the Warrnambool coast."


Press Release: Landmark Releases Well Seismic Fusion.

"Landmark Graphics Corporation, a wholly owned business unit of  Halliburton, today announced the release of DecisionSpace Well Seismic Fusion, a suite of interpretation and analysis tools for predicting reservoir rock properties from prestack seismic data, synthetic data and well data."

Press Release: PGS Announces Sale of Tigress.

"Based in Marlow, UK, Tigress has more than 150 software installations in 42 countries. The company develops and markets a well established suite of reservoir interpretation software tightly integrated around an Oracle database."

Business Wire: TGC Industries Experiences Increased Demand for Seismic Services.

"TGC, based in Plano, Texas, is a geophysical service company which primarily provides 3-D seismic services to oil and gas companies."

Oil Online: BP may spend $5 billion more in Sakhalin.


Houston Chronicle: Feds' stance spurs Shell's decision on reserves.

"London-based Shell, parent company of Houston's Shell Oil Co., announced Friday it was reducing its reserve base by a massive 20 percent, or 3.9 billion barrels." ...

"When determining proven reserves, regulators continue to use a standard set more than a quarter of a century ago, before the advent of three-dimensional seismic data and other new technologies. The SEC, which has all of two petroleum engineers on staff, wants to see the results of a traditional flow test, in which oil and gas is actually brought to the surface."

Reuters: US Oil Tops $35, OPEC Calls for Stability.

"Speculative investment funds leading the oil price rally are running heavy long positions on U.S. crude futures in a bet that prices will rise. The slump in the value of the U.S. dollar on currency markets has attracted hedge fund cash to oil and other commodities."


World Oil: Regulating seismic acquisition for marine mammal protection: Competing interests or mutual goal?

"The seismic industry has to live with the reality of public perception and misconception, and has taken a proactive stance toward protecting marine life."

Business Wire: OYO Geospace Announces Performance Bonus for Seabed Reservoir System and Gives Guidance for First Quarter Fiscal 2004 Results.

"The company also announced that the permanent seismic reservoir characterization and monitoring system that was installed in the North Sea last summer for BP has continued to work well." ...

"‘While we historically have not provided advance information as to expected earnings (and do not intend to change our practice in that regard), we believe the circumstances make it necessary to give a pre-announcement advisory. Due to the significant revenues resulting from the performance bonus payment and additional revenues from other seismic reservoir products in the first quarter, we expect to report revenues in excess of $16.0 million and earnings in excess of $0.50 per diluted share for the first quarter.’"

Oil Online: CGG closes seismic equipment acquisition.

"Compagnie Generale de Geophysique announced that on January 2, 2004 its wholly owned subsidiary Sercel finalized the acquisition of the seismic equipment business of Thales Underwater System...."

WSJ (subscription): Royal Dutch/Shell Says Reserves Were Overbooked by 20%.

"The company's stock price fell 5.1% in London on the news... Shell said most of the downward revision in reserves involved assets in Nigeria, where such companies as Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco, France's Total SA and Italy's ENI SpA are also present, and in Australia, where Exxon and Chevron also have natural gas reserves."

O&GJ: Global natural gas supplies to double by 2025, analyst says.

"The study's author, Michael R. Smith of EnergyFiles Ltd., said, ‘Natural gas is the only viable fuel that can link the carbon-based global energy supply used today to a renewables-based energy supply that will have to be used in the future. It is the only relatively clean alternative to oil and coal, fully supported by commercially effective production and distribution technologies -- there is little doubt that natural gas will be the fuel of the future.’"


Business Wire: Input/Output Sells Digital Seismic Imaging Technology to Bashneftegeofizika; Pilot Test Proves Commercial Value of Full-Wave Technology.

> Who?

"... one of the largest geophysical companies in Russia ..."

> Oh.

Oil Online: CGG closes seismic equipment acquisition.

"Compagnie Generale de Geophysique announced that on January 2, 2004 its wholly owned subsidiary Sercel finalized the acquisition of the seismic equipment business of Thales Underwater Systems...."


So I take a few days vacation ...

Bloomberg News: Seitel, shareholders agree on rescue plan.

"Seitel, a bankrupt provider of seismic data, said it reached an agreement with shareholders to rescue the company and canceled a plan to turn the business over to billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway."

Press Release: Seitel Negotiating Amended Reorganization Plan.

"If a definitive agreement is reached, the Company expects to file an amended plan and a related amended disclosure statement on or about January 14, 2004. The Bankruptcy Court has tentatively scheduled a hearing with respect to approval of the Company's amended disclosure statement on January 30, 2004."

... and someone buys the company I work for! --

Business Wire: Allied Capital Invests $18.4 Million in Geotrace Technologies, Inc..

"The financing will support the acquisition of the company by Oak Investment Partners."

Business Wire: Trace Purchases Seismic Imaging Technology from Input/Output.

"Input/Output Inc. announced today that Trace Energy Services, a privately held seismic contractor based in Calgary, entered into an agreement to purchase I/O's VectorSeis(R) digital, full-wave sensors and a cable-based System Four(TM) central recording platform. Apache has committed a sizeable acquisition program to Trace in which I/O's VectorSeis System Four land imaging system will be used exclusively."

Houston Business Journal: Input/Output appoints new CFO.

Business Wire: Scientific Solutions Issued Permit to Test New Approach for Protecting Whale Populations.

"Scientific Solutions' approach will use low-power, high frequency active sonar soundings that can detect the proximity of whales under any conditions."

Walter Kessinger

Walter's Work Archive Walter's Home Page