Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


NYT: Keiiti Aki, 75, Is Dead.

LA Times: USC Expert Refined Ways to Measure Quakes' Strength.

"Keiiti Aki, a founder of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC and arguably the greatest seismologist of the last 50 years, died May 17 on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean."

[via Yami McMoots]

Press Release: Eni Begins Production from K2 Field in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The K2 field is located in 1,200 meters of water depth, at an average reservoir depth of 8,500 meters, and has estimated resources in excess of 100 million BOE.... The subsea wells are tied back to the Marco Polo platform, located 11 km away."

AP: Trial is butt of jokes as judge drones on.

"The year is 2008 and, according to a joke making the rounds in Moscow, the judge is reading the last page of the Mikhail Khodorkovsky verdict. Wait, says a lawyer, a couple of points weren't clear -- and the judge says, ‘All right, I'll start over.’"


PR Newswire: PGS Announces Unaudited First Quarter 2005 Results.

"... operating profit of $40.8 million, up $16.4 million (67%).... Net interest bearing debt was reduced by $203 million in Q1...."

Biloxi Sun Herald: Large crowd attends hearing on drilling off Mississippi barrier islands.

"The Mississippi Development Authority had to turn more than 100 people away from the meeting Tuesday at the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center. The auditorium seats about 350, most of them opposed to drilling near and seismic testing on the barrier islands."

O&GJ: AAPG, SPEE mull backing of 'reserves evaluator' certification program.


This is worth a pointer. The CSEG website has an archive including a number of recent geophysics lectures.

I was sorry when I missed Greg Partyka's spec decomp presentation in Houston earlier this year. Now I have a chance to watch the replay --

CSEG Webcasts.

The Globe and Mail: Deep pockets buy into high tech.

"Happy as EnCana is, the company is still leaving a lot of oil in the ground, nearly two-thirds of the total 1.4 billion barrels it knows are in the reservoir. That fact might shock outsiders, but it is a simple fact of life in the petroleum industry that the vast majority of oil never sees the light of day. In Western Canada, for every barrel of oil pumped out of a well, another three remain trapped underground."

If you really want to follow this one, here it is --

Trinidad (and Tobago!) Express: My brother did nothing wrong.

"Director/Trustee of Maranatha Geophysical Services Ltd, Ernest Williams, has denied any wrongdoing by his brother, Energy Minister Eric Williams, in seismic data contracts from oil and gas giant bpTT."

T&T Express: Anatomy of a bribery timeline.

Houston Chronicle: BP makes a doubtful run at taking responsibility.

"Blaming employees for not following procedure is a ‘premature stopping point’ for an inquiry, according to guidelines established by the Center for Chemical Process Safety."

> Yeah, but let's not lose sight of the fact that BP is trying to take responsibility for this. They're certainly not stonewalling, and passing the buck wasn't their intention either.


Houston Chronicle: Houston unemployment -- energy prices cut two ways.

"Locally, one of the strongest sectors is oil and gas exploration and production, which added 4,000 jobs over the past year, up 6 percent. The Houston area's mining sector, which includes oil and gas exploration, is now at a record high with 70,500 jobs. Over the past five years, almost 10,000 jobs have been created."

Associated Press: Khodorkovsky Final Verdict May Take Weeks.

"The first week of the verdict-reading in the politically charged trial of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky ended Friday, but with 1,000 pages still to go the final determination of guilt and the sentencing could still be weeks away.

"The drawn-out process has increasingly frustrated defense attorneys and even garnered a sarcastic headline -- ‘Khodorkovsky sentenced to lifetime reading of verdict’ -- in Friday's government newspaper."

Jackson Hole Zone: Exxon to survey wilderness study area.

"The project would require amending the Bridger-Teton forest plan to allow seismic working during one month of rifle hunting season. Seismic operations, however, would be suspended for the day prior to opening day, opening day and two days following opening day for the big game rifle seasons for mule deer and moose...."


The Leading Edge: I married a doodlebugger.

"Alice Barnard Thomsen was the wife of Erik Thomsen, a well-respected oil-finder for Stanolind (later Amoco), and the inventor for Stanolind of what is now called bright spot technology. This article was written in 1951."

Trinidad & Tobago Express: bpTT-Maranatha contract worth $4m.

"The contract, which was negotiated between Kelvin Mapp of Maranatha and bpTT's team leader, Donald Mootoo, allowed for Maranatha to claim a ‘one-time mobilisation fee of US$75,000’, a monthly amortised capital contribution/lease of US$6,565, transcription rates (as and when required) and reimbursable expenses that are included in the contract price. The overall price is just over TT$4 million-much less than the $200 million being touted by UNC chairman Wade Mark."


FWN Financial News: OPEC says Non-OPEC Supply Growing Much Slower Than Expected.

"The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will have to pump at its highest rate this winter despite slowing world oil demand because of sharply weaker oil output from non-OPEC producers, the group said Tuesday."

Business News Americas: Petrobras to Increase E&P Budget.

"The company's management should announce the increase in the annual E&P budget when it unveils the seven-year 2005-2011 strategic investment plan in June. The previous 2004-2010 plan pegged E&P investments at US$32.1bn, or some 60% of the company's total US$53.6bn budget for the period."

Oil Online: TGS-NOPEC commences acquisition of Multi-Client CSEM Survey.

"... a Multi-Client Controlled Source ElectroMagnetic survey in the Norwegian Barents Sea."


WSJ (subscription): BP Takes Blame for Lethal Blast, Citing Mistakes by Its Employees.

"Acting swiftly to take responsibility for a deadly refinery blast this year, BP PLC blamed company managers and employees for an explosion at its facility in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 contract workers and injured more than 170 others.

"In a preliminary but detailed report on the March 23 blast, BP concluded that its employees committed ‘surprising and deeply disturbing’ mistakes."

There seems to be some story going on down in Trinidad, but I haven't been able to figure it out --

Trinidad Express: Mark questions value of bpTT contract.

"Leader of Opposition Business Senator Wade Mark is calling on chairman and chief executive officer of bpTT Robert Riley to tell the country what was the value of the seismic data contract signed between his company and Marantha Geophysical Services Ltd."


The Globe and Mail: Bass brothers angling for big oil find off Nova Scotia.

"A major find would reignite an exploration frenzy in a region that has been hit hard by a series of misses in the past year, including a failed effort by Exxon Mobil Corp. and a well that came up dry for EnCana Corp., which at $100-million was the most expensive ever drilled in Canada."


Houston Chronicle: BP leads nation in refinery fatalities.

"BP leads the U.S. refining industry in deaths over the last decade, with 22 fatalities since 1995 -- more than a quarter of those killed in refineries nationwide, a Houston Chronicle analysis shows. The company's total includes 15 contractors who died in the March 23 Texas City accident...."

> Not a good record to hold. If Hollywood catches wind of this, the BP sunburst might start popping up in unflattering places in films and television.

Press Release: EMPS Wins Seismic Contract from PetroKazakhstan.

"EMPS Corporation's subsidiary, TatArka, LLP., has been awarded a contract to provide 3D seismic data acquisition services to PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian based oil and gas exploration and production company."

This one is from last month --

El Universal, Mexico: Pemex reserves overestimated.

"Recently, it's top executive, Luis Ramírez Corzo, described the monopoly as ‘on the verge of bankruptcy.’" ...

"‘The financial structure of Pemex is in crisis,’ he said, noting that the company has US45 billion in debt. More than half of that, US24 billion, is in off-balance-sheet obligations that must be paid to private contractors upon completion of projects. Pemex is forced to resort to such devices by a tax regime that claims more than 60 percent of the firm's gross revenue for the treasury."


Houston Business Journal: GX Technology to open Nigerian imaging center.

"GX Technology Corp. announced Friday it is opening an advanced imaging center in Port Harcourt, Nigeria."

Press Release: Geotrace Awarded Khalda 3D Processing Contract.

"Geotrace has been awarded a two year contract by the Khalda Petroleum Company for 3D Seismic Processing in their onshore Khalda concession, the Western Desert, Egypt."


PR Newswire: CGG -- First Quarter 2005 Results.

"Total revenues for Geophysical Services for the first quarter 2005 are Euros 113 million (USD 150 million), up 37% in Euros and 45% in USD compared to Euros 83 million (USD 104 million) for the first quarter of 2004.... This strong improvement reflects the price increase in the exclusive marine market, the excellent productivity of the fleet and the good level of multi-client after-sales, which doubled year on year." ...

PR Newswire: Seitel Announces First Quarter Results.

"Seitel, Inc. ... reported revenue of $47.3 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2005, compared to $41.3 million for the first quarter of 2004."

Press Release: OMNI Provides Update on Auditor Opinion.

"The Company's independent registered public accounting firm, Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, P.C., issued the going concern qualification on the financial statements of the Company for the fiscal 2004 results reported on April 18, 2005 and was based on the significant operating losses reported in fiscal 2004, the current default with respect to certain Company debt, and a lack of external financing to fund working capital and debt requirements."


UPI: New Saudi Oilfield Discovered.

"The oil minister said the kingdom possessed the world's largest oil reserves estimated at 200 billions barrels and will continue to be one of the main oil producers in the world for the next 70 to 100 years."


O&GJ: Industry's 2004 finding, development costs soar.

"The integrated companies' ["majors"] fully loaded [finding and development] cost rose to an all-time high of $9.55/boe in 2004 from $7/boe in 2003, a jump primarily driven by a 50% drop in proven reserves added per successful well in the US and net negative reserve revisions...."

"The study showed the integrateds' exploration and development (E&D) costs ... to be $9.85/boe, just above the independents' $9.70/boe figure, ‘driven largely by an uptick in the integrateds' US costs,’ the report noted. ‘In fact, the integrateds' domestic E&D costs ... were $16.80/boe, or roughly 70% higher than the independents.’"

Associated Press: ChevronTexaco shortens name to Chevron.

Associated Press: Small Grand Rapids firm claims huge oil find in Utah.

"A small Grand Rapids oil company has snapped up leasing rights to a half-million acres in central Utah that it says could yield a billion barrels or more of oil."

NYT: No New Refineries in 29 Years? There Might Well Be a Reason.

"Last month, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, visiting the president at his Texas ranch on April 25, chided him with the message that his country could send more oil, but the United States would not have the ability to refine it."


Financial Times: Oil companies 'underinvesting by up to 20%'.

"Lack of access was a problem both in Middle Eastern member states of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as non-cartel producers such as Mexico and Russia, which also restrict foreign investment." ...

"[Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist] said companies' lack of access to Opec reserves had caused most exploration expenditure to flow to mature and therefore costly oil and gas fields in North America and Europe. These two regions accounted for 71 per cent of the 25,000 new fields drilled over an eight-year period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, while the Middle East accounted for only 2 per cent."

Houston Business Journal: Energy industry mergers to increase, survey predicts.

The Daily Astorian: What a whale of a tale!

"Whales have an acoustic signature that people can hear, a pattern of clicks they use for echolocation to hear what's out there. [Bruce Mate, the director of Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Program,] told the audience that when he was in the water with a sperm whale that was half a mile away -- as soon as he dove down, the whale's clicks turned into booms." ...

"Mate is planning studies where the investigators will intentionally set off seismic booms at specific distances from whales, to see what effect the noises will have."

Houston Chronicle: Local Earnings.

"OYO Geospace reported improved results on rising demand for seismic testing by oil companies seeking exploration prospects, with record results in Russia."


USA Today: Oil projects may get less scrutiny.

"If the Senate passes the bill and the president signs it into law, many oil-and-gas projects will no longer be analyzed for their environmental effects or be open to public comment. Some examples:" ...

"Most seismic explorations, which use sound waves generated by trucks or small underground explosions to find likely pockets of gas and oil."

Lafayette Independent Weekly: Drilling Deficit. Louisiana is missing out.

"A triple-whammy of draconian red tape, lawsuits by landowners and high drilling costs have put a chokehold on south Louisiana's oil patch."


Houston Chronicle: Oil companies confront 'age gap'.

"U.S. universities are churning out 43,000 new lawyers each year, but only 430 geologists, [Gaurdie Banister Jr., technical director for Shell Energy Resources Co. in Houston] said."

PR Newswire: Dawson Geophysical Company Reports Second Quarter Results.

"The Company's growth in revenue is due to the rapid expansion from six seismic data acquisition crews in March of 2004 to the current level of ten, price improvements in the markets for its services, and more favorable contract terms with its clients."

O&GJ: Leads abound from south, east Falklands seismic.

"Falkland Oil & Gas Ltd., London, said it gained encouragement from 9,450 line-km of 2D seismic data it acquired in the South and East Falkland basins. Preliminary interpretation led to identification of 130 leads and a wide range of play types compared with 8 leads last fall prior to the survey. Some of the leads cover 300-500 sq km."


Houston Chronicle: Deep seas hold key to oil's future.

"[Ian Ashcroft, vice president of energy consulting for Woods McKenzie] estimates the ultimate reserve potential of the deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico to be 50 billion barrels of oil, with only 15 billion barrels discovered to date."

> Only including U.S. waters, apparently.

Walter Kessinger

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