Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Reuters: Pemex claims giant new fields. But analysts say Gulf oil deposits still unconfirmed and hard to get to.

"The deposits, mainly in deep waters for which Pemex will need hefty investments and technology-sharing agreements to access, could reach 54 billion barrels of crude equivalent, which would boost Mexico's total reserves to 102 billion." ...

"But analysts worry about how Pemex, which hands over 61 percent of its revenue to the state in taxes, will afford the investments required to drill wells 1.3 miles deep."

Oil Online: CGG awarded ONGC seismic work.

"The project comprises 19 separate surveys covering a total surface area of approximately 13,000 sq km and is located predominantly in the Bombay High basin."

Business Wire: Vanco Announces the Commencement of Offshore Madagascar 3D Seismic Acquisition Program.

Reuters: Russian Oil Project to Be Vetted for Whale Threat.

"The World Conservation Union said the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company had requested an independent study into its plans to expand production around Russia's Sakhalin Island near feeding grounds of the Western Gray Whale. The independent scientific panel is expected to complete the review by the end of November."

Press Release: OMNI Reports Second Quarter Results.

"The Company reported its seismic drilling revenues were approximately $2.0 million less than expected during the quarter ended June 30, 2004 due to abnormal weather conditions."


The Christian Science Monitor: Economic fallout of $50 a barrel.

"Consumer spending has also been affected in the US. It slowed to a 1 percent annualized pace in the second quarter of 2004, from 4 percent in the first quarter. Some analysts note that the last three sustained oil price rises in recent decades have been followed by recessions."

Newsweek has an "energy revolution" issue hitting the stands. Here's an overview on o&g advances. There's an embedded sidebar with links to other articles. --

Newsweek: Digging Deep. Even remote patches of oil are starting to look more and more attractive.

The Globe and Mail: Setbacks aside, East Coast may be a sleeping giant.

"... 12 exploration licences held since 1999 by the likes of ExxonMobil, Shell Canada, Kerr McGee and others expired in July, presumably because the data gathered in the five-year period didn't yield any compelling prospects. There were five dusters in 2003 and seven in 2002.‘It's a tough environment with a lot of risks associated with it,’ says Professor Larry Lines, chairman of the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Calgary. Add to this the cost per well ranging between $60-million and $100-million [Canadian]...."


Business Wire: Statoil Commits to Q-Technology for Time-Lapse Surveys in the Norwegian Sea.

"Through this agreement, WesternGeco becomes Statoil's preferred contractor for time-lapse seismic surveys over the Norne and Heidrun fields in the Norwegian Sea for five- and six-year periods, respectively."

Slate: The Paradox at the Pump. If oil prices are rising, why are gas prices falling?


Reuters: Oil Prices Fall to $45 as Iraq Oil Flows.

"U.S. light crude fell $1.05 to $45.00 a barrel, slipping further from last week's $49.40 peak, which was the highest level in 21 years of New York oil futures trading. London Brent crude lost 81 cents to $42.22 a barrel.... Some market players were starting to look at the possibility that prices may have peaked, after this year's near 40 percent gains."

PR Newswire: Petroleum Geo-Services ASA Announces Expected Late Sale Uplifts from Brazil License Round 6.

"Petroleum Geo-Services Petroleum Geo-Services ASA announced today that based on preliminary acreage awards to its customers in the Brazil Licensing Round 6 held on August 17th and 18th, 2004, it currently expects to realize multi-client late sale uplifts of approximately $15 million."


O&GJ: Brazil 6th oil and gas licensing round nets record $219 million in bids.

"... 154 blocks were snapped up by bidders. Of these blocks 89 are onshore, 10 in shallow waters and 55 in deep waters -- together totaling 39,658 sq km."


Patrick Seale, Dar Al Hayat: The Hydrogen Challenge to Arab Oil.

"It is almost certain that within three, four or, at the latest, five decades from now, the petrol pump will have been left behind and replaced by some other form of energy-provider. At present, the world's 500 million cars are driven by internal-combustion petrol engines. By 2030, the number of cars is forecast to increase to more than two billion, largely due to growth in Asia. What new technology will drive them?"


Houston Chronicle: Anadarko getting off shelf with asset sale to Apache.

"Anadarko will now concentrate its exploration activities in the deep waters, using a single offshore platform, the recently commissioned Marco Polo."


Reuters: Oil Falls from Highs After Missing $50.

"U.S. light crude fell $1 in late trade to $47.70 a barrel on profit-taking from a record $49.40 a barrel on the last day of the September futures contract. It later closed at $47.86. Crude oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange set all-time records in all but one of the last 16 trading sessions but failed to break $50."

WSJ (subscription): High Demand for Oil Could Mean High Prices Are Here for Long Run.

"In inflation-adjusted dollars, oil peaked in 1981 at $73 a barrel, 55% above where it's trading now. Back then, moreover, the oil crisis sparked a full-blown recession. Today, despite some signs of a slowing, the economy continues to grow -- and, with it, oil demand." ...

"U.S. gross domestic product grew 4.2% in 1973 but swung to a decline of 1.9% in 1974, according to Credit Suisse First Boston. In 1978, the year before Iran's revolution began, U.S. growth was 6.7%. It was zero in 1980." ...

"The amount of oil and natural gas used to produce a dollar of GDP dropped by 55% between 1973 and 2003.... But the bulk of that improved efficiency occurred prior to the mid-1980s. Since then, it has slowed. One big reason is the transportation sector, which accounts for the biggest chunk of fuel use. During the past two decades, the average fuel economy of U.S. cars and light trucks has gotten worse." ...

"Europe has zipped past the U.S. in energy efficiency, largely because it has slapped high taxes on energy."

Associated Press: Anadarko to sell $1.31 billion in assets.

"Apache will pay $537 million for 78 fields and 112 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico shelf, and Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. will pay $775 million for an overriding royalty interest.... Upon completion of the deal, expected to close by the end of September, Woodlands-based Anadarko will operate only one offshore platform."

O&GJ: MMS reports $171.4 million in apparent high bids in GOM Lease Sale 192.

"MMS officials received 421 bids totaling $197.4 million from 54 companies at the sale.... Of the 351 tracts receiving bids, 135 were in water depths of less than 200 m.

"The latest sale offered 3,907 blocks up for sale covering 21.2 million acres in the western gulf's Outer Continental Shelf planning area off Texas and Louisiana."


WSJ (subscription): Exxon Mobil Bets On New Technology In the Hunt for Oil.

"Oil is a ‘resistive’ material -- a poor conductor of electricity. So when electromagnetic energy waves are sent into the earth, oil-soaked rocks show up as a resistive layer that contrasts with more conductive substances like water-soaked rocks. Schlumberger Ltd. pioneered electromagnetics as the standard for ‘well logging,’ the process of mapping the layers of oil in a newly drilled well. Scientists have nurtured the notion that the same technology could be used to explore for oil from the surface." ...

"There was one big problem: Electromagnetic ‘noise’ in the atmosphere wreaked havoc on measurements, muddying the picture scientists tried to get from deep in the earth."

China Daily: [China's] 1st coalfield beneath seabed to begin production.

"Three-dimensional seismic prospecting above the sea and coastline physical and geological prospecting, plus 15 rounds of technical dissertations conducted by a number of Chinese colleges prove that Longkou Mining Group has 150 sq km of its coalfield beneath the seabed, with the coal reserves estimated at approximately 800 million tons."

Oil Online: PGS Marine Geophysical announces organizational changes.


World Oil: MMS offers wealth of data.

"The MMS, part of the US Department of the Interior, released its Final Notice for Western Gulf Lease Sale 192, which will be held on Aug. 18, 2004, in New Orleans.... What is not routine is the amount of online information available to the public.

"MMS has placed a wealth of information that includes 18 of the largest prospects. Data on these include seismic time structure; seismic cross section and 3D volumes; play type; play description; play characteristics; depositional style; exploration history and discoveries; production history from similar plays; petrophysical data (porosity, water saturation, etc.); and much more."

Reuters: Oil Slips from Record High of $46.3.

"Oil prices eased from new record highs on Monday as victory for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a referendum on his rule eased fears that unrest could upset the country's oil exports."

Houston Chronicle: Anadarko goes into LNG field. Purchase of Canadian company gives independent a terminal to build.

"Seeking a new way to magnify its natural gas business, Anadarko Petroleum has bought a Canadian company that has most of the permits to build a terminal to import liquefied natural gas in Nova Scotia."

O&GJ: Norske Shell begins seismic acquisition in 18th round license.

"Shell and 40% partner Statoil ASA said work would begin this fall. PL 326 contains large, high-risk prospects in an area of the Norwegian Sea with water deeper than 1,000 m."


Afrol News: Seismic divestment offshore occupied Western Sahara.

"More companies have renounced the ‘ethical aspects’ of their own participation in the search for oil resources offshore Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. The Dutch seismic company [Fugro] now follows in the footsteps of Norway's TGS-Nopec, indirectly admitting its operations in the territory were politically and ethically unwise. Harm is however already done."

Go Cara! --

Small Times: Focus on Energy -- Nanotech Extracts Benefits for Oil Industry.

"Cara Kiger, an Input/Output geophysicist and VectorSeis specialist, said the sensors provide more accurate and rapid data in a lighter package than traditional geophones." ...

"‘I think the micromachines are going to be key to the future for bringing us new efficiencies,’ Kiger said.... ‘One of the things MEMS technology is going to do is give us better information ... across the board.’"

OIl Online: New positioning technique reduces costs and improves productivity in deepwater GOM.

"During a recent ten-day project in the Gulf of Mexico for a major exploration and production company, C & C Technologies' use of inertial navigation technology reduced vessel time by three to five days over the course of the deployment and positioning of seismic data acquisition modules. Prior to this successful sea-trial, precise underwater positioning was achieved by dropping and calibrating an array of acoustic beacons on the seabed -- a time-consuming process that requires deployment, calibration and later recovery of the beacons."


Sydney Morning Herald: Noise a killer for whales.

"Scientists studied 11 beachings of whales in Japan between the late 1980s and May 2004, and found mid-frequency sonar used by US armed forces in the region was the probable cause." ...

"The commission said it had received papers ‘demonstrating impacts from seismic airgun surveys on [baleen whales], including western gray whale displacement from its critical feeding habitat off Sakhalin Island, Russia, and humpback whale mortalities in a breeding habitat of humpbacks off Brazil’."

Biz Ink: Kelman Announces Operating Results for Q2 and other Corporate Matters.

"Despite the improvements recorded for the second quarter it is apparent that the seismic service market in Canada and the US is continuing to be slower than normal."

PR Newswire: Seitel Announces Final Results of Stockholder Warrant Offering.


USA Today: Anxiety keeps oil prices elevated.

"By most estimates, current oil supplies exceed demand. So why won't prices fall?

"Fear, says Jason Schenker, economist at Wachovia, who predicts oil will remain above $40 a barrel for a year and could spike to $50."

LA Times: Oil Companies to Enter Whales' Remote Habitat.

"The gray whales that glide down the California coast each year on their annual migrations are remarkable in their abundance: Nearly extinct a century ago, they now number about 17,500. Not so their almost identical twins on this side of the Pacific.

"About 100 gray whales remain in the group that idles its summers away in the Sea of Okhotsk near this remote Russian island."


Business Week: Even Cheaper Oil Will Be Costly.

"Given the still relatively abundant worldwide oil supply and a ‘natural’ price in the mid-$20s or lower, it's been hard for producers to justify making additional investments in capacity. With the rise of worldwide demand, though -- to the point where production capacity is strained and prices may have taken a longer-term leap -- those investments are starting to look more potentially profitable."

Odessa American: 'Breakthrough' technology could help oil producers.

"Vladimir Kozlov, with the Moscow Institution of Physics and Technology, and Jacob Bindler, chief operating officer of Met Tech of Jersey City, N.J., met with ... geoscientists and banking executives about a [new] seismic sensor that uses molecular electronic technology to measure motion and frequency."

PR Newswire: Seitel Announces Clarification of Press Release Regarding Change in Certifying Accountants.

"Ernst & Young LLP ... informed Seitel that it would resign as independent accountants for Seitel after the filing of Seitel's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2004."


Slate: Is Russia the Next Zimbabwe? Putin's crusade against Yukos could be economic suicide.

"But the destruction of Yukos is about more than a rich, arrogant jerk getting his deserts and investors in one of the world's riskiest stock markets getting burned. At stake is the direction of Russia's ongoing experiment with its unique brand of post-Soviet capitalism and whether the privatization process that forms the foundation of Russia's economy will be subjected to additional modification."

Walter Kessinger

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