Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Houston Chronicle: Seitel comeback to narrow focus. Slimmed-down firm to emerge in June.

"[Seitel] shut down an ambitious and costly program to convert its library of seismic information into digital form, which would have turned Seitel into the Internet of the seismic business. The industry wasn't ready yet, explained Zeidman, although the company is still converting some of its own data."

Light Reading: The Other Veritas Goes Force10.

"The Force10 E1200 scales up to 336 Gigabit Ethernet or twenty-eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis while fully distributed hardware and modular software deliver line-rate throughput across all ports regardless of traffic conditions."


O&GJ: Shell cuts reserves again, postpones annual report until May.

"On Thursday, Shell announced the recategorization of another 250 million boe as of Dec. 31, 2002.... ‘During the finalization of the 2003 reserves data, concerns arose about the volume of the proved reserves booking proposed for Ormen Lange field’ off Norway, the company said."

The Times, UK: Viking raider that has always meant trouble.

"The problem relates to the use of threedimensional seismic data to define the area of ‘proved reserves’. This is not permitted under SEC rules without corroborating evidence, and Shell has backtracked. BP and Norsk Hydro disagree; they have booked most of their Ormen Lange gas. Norsk Hydro says the project is going ahead, the Government has blessed it and drilling contracts have been tendered. Who is right?"

Press Release: Seitel Reorganization Plan Confirmed By Bankruptcy Court.

Houston Chronicle: Seitel to shift into recovery mode.

"In most Chapter 11 cases, new shares go to bondholders and other creditors while shareholders get nothing. Seitel shareholders will receive about 15 percent of the company's stock and warrants to buy an additional 75 percent."


Houston Business Journal: Gulf leases receive record number of bids.

"The U.S. Minerals Management Service on Wednesday received 829 bids from 83 oil and gas companies vying for oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The total value of the bids was $636.8 million."

Associated Press: Gulf oil lease sale draws most bids in last six years.

"Of the tracts that drew bids, 340 are located on the shallow shelf that could produce deep gas; 73 more are in deep-water tracts ranging in depth from 2,600 to 5,300 feet, while 91 are beyond 5,300 feet in depth."

AP: Oil Prices Push Past $38 a Barrel.

"Oil prices pushed past $38 a barrel on Wednesday, closing above that level for the first time in 14 years, and analysts predicted that already-high gasoline prices would keep moving higher."

> I know this is a difficult concept to analyze, but I wish on of these stories on the high price of oil would try to quantify the effect of the freefall of the US dollar.

Press Release: PGS Updates Status Regarding Implementation of Fresh Start Reporting Under U.S. GAAP.

"As a result of the Company emerging from Chapter 11 proceedings and adopting ‘fresh start’ reporting, the financial position and results of operations of the reorganized Company will not be comparable to the financial position and results of operations reflected in the historical financial statements of the Company for periods prior to November 2003." ...

"The multi-client library has been valued at $429.2 million.... Property and equipment has been valued at $1,049.1 million, including the following main categories: ... Seismic vessels and equipment are valued at $355.8 million"

Houston Chronicle: ChevronTexaco buys tower anyway.

"ChevronTexaco closed its deal Wednesday to buy the 40-story Enron building downtown, despite getting stiffed a day earlier by county officials over sought-after tax breaks."

Kenia Peninsula Clarion: Soldotna man OK after bear mauling.

"A 53-year-old bear guard working with a seismic crew near Anchor Point was mauled by a brown bear sow Tuesday morning, according to Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement Troopers."


Bloomberg: BP May Invest $3 Bln in Sakhalin Oil Venture, Rosneft CEO Says.

"Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil producer, owns a license to explore the Sakhalin-5 fields, which may hold as much as 5.7 billion barrels of crude, almost twice as much as Russia's annual output. BP will own 49 percent of the venture and assist Rosneft in securing funds until the first oil is produced. Rosneft will start repaying the loans once the venture begins making a profit."

Reuters: Exxon Mobil CEO says high prices won't last.

"When asked at an annual analyst meeting in New York if high oil prices were here to stay, Raymond said he was skeptical. ‘I had the same question in 1995, and the price soon dropped to about $10 a barrel,’ said Raymond."

WSJ (subscription): El Paso Corp. Is Likely to Restate Its Financial Results Downward.

"While the amount of the revision will remain unchanged, El Paso said, the company is reviewing whether portions of the markdown should be applied to prior years, requiring it to restate financial results for those periods. For 2002, the company posted a loss of $1.47 billion on revenue of $12.19 billion."

Petroleum News: Hot Ice finds gas, but no gas hydrates, at test well.

"Hot Ice No. 1 was drilled as part of a two-year cost-shared partnership between DOEıs Office of Fossil Energy, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Mauer Technology Inc. and Noble Engineering and Development.

"Not very much is known about the subsurface distribution of methane hydrate, which is a compound of water and methane that forms under pressure at cold temperatures and has been found under Arctic permafrost and in deep-sea sediments, DOE said, but the worldwide volume of methane hydrate ‘is estimated to be far greater than all the worldıs conventional natural gas resources.’"

Houston Chronicle: ChevronTexaco gets tax break on Enron tower but is holding out for another.

"Despite receiving a tax abatement from the city of Houston today, ChevronTexaco has decided to delay its purchase of a gleaming, 40-story downtown tower until county officials also come across with a tax break."


Houston Chronicle: Chavez threatens to freeze oil if U.S. invades.

"Chavez has increasingly railed against U.S. meddling in Venezuelan affairs as his opponents step up protests to demand the recall vote."

Reuters: Saudis declare their oil fields will hold up.

"And refiners are keen to burn Shaybah's Arab Extra Light crude, virtually devoid of polluting sulfur and rich in gasoline. In fact, so high is it in gasoline content that the oil was sometimes poured straight from the wellhead into the tanks of bulldozers used to shift the sands of Shaybah during the site's construction."

CNW Telbec: Pulse Data Inc. Reports 2003 Results and Declaration of Quarterly Dividend.

"Commodity prices are expected to remain strong through 2004 which should result in continued high levels of exploration and development drilling activity in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, and a continuing strong demand for seismic data.... Pulse is a Calgary-based seismic data library company specializing in acquiring, marketing, and licensing non-exclusive seismic data in Western Canada."


NYT: Shell's Top Executive Is Forced to Step Down.

Business Week: The Spark That Shakes Up Shell?

"The furor over Royal Dutch/Shell Group's shocking downgrade of a big chunk of its oil and gas reserves in January has finally claimed scalps at the world's third-largest oil company. On Mar. 3, Shell's board ousted Group Chairman Philip Watts, 58, and his heir apparent, exploration and production chief Walter van de Vijver, 48."

Dow Jones: BHP Billiton Betting On Deep Water Bonanza.

"BHP Billiton has already earmarked about US$1.4 billion to bring two Gulf of Mexico oil fields into production. And six recent discoveries mean the green light for another major project might be just 12 months away.

"Underscoring the importance of oil to the company's overall health, the petroleum exploration budget this year ending June 30, 2004, will now near US$350 million, its highest figure yet. Once considered a candidate to be spun-off, the unit has given the company a steady cashflow during the leaner years of a commodity price crunch."

Houston Chronicle: China seismic leases come under scrutiny.

"Oil-field services company Baker Hughes said Friday that U.S. authorities are investigating compliance with export licenses issued to its former Western Geophysical unit from 1994 through 2000 for seismic equipment leased by China."


This is London: 1,000 exploration licences up for grabs.

"Oil and gas firms will be able to bid for more than 1,000 North Sea exploration licences from today under the Department of Trade and Industry's latest licensing round -- the biggest for nearly 40 years."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune: Shaken, Not Stirred.

"Parish officials and residents gathered Tuesday morning for a demonstration near Torres Park in Chalmette to learn about the sound-wave technology that will be used.... With four of the seismic operation's trucks... crews demonstrated the noise level and vibrations involved in the testing. Two raw eggs and two light bulbs were buried 8 inches under the weight of the vibrating pads on the trucks. Afterward, none of the eggs were broken and the light bulbs still worked."

Press Release: Compagnie Generale de Geophysique: Sercel Continues its Expansion and Acquires Two Technology Companies.


The Lebanese Daily Star: Saudi Aramco goes public about its reservoirs.

"[Exploration Vice-President Mahmoud Abdel-Baqi and reservoir management manager Nansen Saleri] insist that Saudi Arabia's reserves -- nthe biggest in the world -- can produce at current rates for over 50 years. Only a small amount of exploration success is necessary to produce that long at much higher rates, they say. Aramco's 10 million barrel per day (bpd) production capacity could easily increase to sustainable rates of 12 million or 15 million bpd if world markets demanded the additional oil, they say."

Houston Chronicle: New firm to focus on North Sea niche.

"The North Sea is still one of the world's great places to look for oil and gas, with more than 50 billion barrels of undiscovered reserves, by one estimate. Endeavour International says it has acquired the license rights, from Petroleum Geo-Services, to a seismic database larger than any other company operating in the North Sea. Its strategy will be to look for 10-million-barrel to 100-million-barrel fields, which are too small for the oil majors...."

Reuters: Moody's raises Veritas DGC ratings .

"The ratings outlook remains negative, reflecting continued sector over-capacity and the company's continued spending of significant capital ($135 million expected for 2004) on the multi-client library which has been generating diminishing returns as evidenced by the $82 million of library write-downs taken since 2002."

From Plano --

Business Wire: TGC Industries Returns to Profitability in 2003.

"As previously reported, the Company entered into the Vibroseis market in 2002, an existing market in which the Company had not participated in the past. The Vibroseis market has been very beneficial for the Company. As a result, the Company reported a 35% increase in revenue and its first profitable year since 1998. In addition, the Company has acquired three additional Vibroseis units and deployed its second seismic crew."

Walter Kessinger

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