Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


WSJ Editorial Section: A Cartel and Its Snakeoil.

"Almost 90% of Saudi production comes from six giant fields, all of them discovered before 1967. The ‘king’ of this grouping -- the 2000-square-mile Ghawar field near the Persian Gulf -- is the largest oil field in the world.... Aramco has prospected extensively outside the Ghawar region but found nothing of significance. In particular, the Arab D stratum -- the source rock of the Ghawar field -- has long since eroded in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula."

The LA Times: The Vanishing Mirage of Saudi Oil.

"The moment that Saudi production goes into permanent decline in the not-too-distant future, the Petroleum Age as we know it will draw to a close.... Transportation, and everything it affects -- virtually the entire world economy -- will be much more costly. The cost of food will also rise, as modern agriculture relies to an extraordinary extent on petroleum products for tilling, harvesting, protecting, processing and delivery."


Houston Chronicle: No end in sight for soaring oil prices.

"In the United States -- where one-quarter of all oil is consumed -- demand for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products continues to rise. And as an industrial revolution takes hold in Asia, China and India can't seem to get enough of the stuff."

Stuck in among all the "national security vs. free trade" BS editorials, this one was interesting because it looks at the CNOOC Unocal bid from a different angle --

International Herald Tribune: Beyond China's oil bid, a greater danger.

"The Unocal issue cannot be separated from the wider issue of U.S.-China trade imbalances.... The only way to avoid these problems going from bad to worse is to address not the symptoms but the macroeconomic origins.

"Thanks to Greenspan, money is absurdly cheap in the United States, hence the alarmingly low household savings rate, rising indebtedness and buoyant consumer demand. And money is cheap in China, too, as it pegs its currency and its interest rates to Greenspan's policies, in the process creating growth led by excess investment -- not least by state enterprises -- and unsustainable export expectations."


What do you get when you mix politics, business and science? --

San Francisco Chronicle: Bush urged to block takeover because of energy, security fears.

"Although Pombo and other congressional critics described the potential Chinese takeover as a national security risk, they did not give details. Congressional staffers explained that the acquisition of Unocal, which is based in El Segundo (Los Angeles County), could give China access to seismic technology that could be used in nuclear weapons research."


Bloomberg News: Chinese firm tops Chevron bid for Unocal.

"CNOOC, China's third-largest oil producer, offered Wednesday to buy California-based Unocal Corp. for $18.5 billion in cash, topping the price Chevron Corp. agreed to pay for the U.S. oil and gas company."

NYT: Chinese Oil Giant in Takeover Bid for U.S. Corporation.

"Even though CNOOC's offer is worth $1.5 billion more than Chevron's, some shareholders could still decide that the regulatory review process and the time required to complete a deal with CNOOC would pose too great a risk, given the size of the offer."

The UK Independent: Something quite seismic is happening at Shell.

"In the space of a year, the chief executive Jeroen van der Veer has swept away a century of conservative, in-bred tradition. Five days from now Shell will shed its split personality and its historical baggage and re-emerge as a single company with one board, one chief executive and one headquarters."

Calgary Herald: Explosives stolen from seismic site.

"A large amount of explosives, including dynamite, were stolen in northern Alberta last weekend."

PR Newswire: EMPS Corporation Awarded Contract to Provide Geophysical Services to PetroKazakhstan.


St. Petersburg Times: Gulf oil back on Senate's reserve list.

"The energy bill still must pass, and the Senate will have to reconcile its version with the House energy bill, which doesn't include the offshore inventory. But Tuesday's decision to mandate government-sponsored seismic testing for gas and oil reserves marked a historic victory for the petroleum industry and its backers in Congress, who have been pushing for an extensive inventory for at least 20 years." ...

"If it passes, the inventory would begin within six months after the bill is signed into law. It would map all waters within 200 nautical miles of the nation's Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts." ...

"The National Ocean Industries Association, which represents the offshore drilling industry, lauded Tuesday's vote, noting it has been 30 years since any serious attempt to catalog fuel reserves.... The association also countered the argument by environmentalists that the testing is harmful to wildlife, citing an Interior Department study that found seismic surveys have ‘no significant impact.’" ...

"Andrew Wetzler, who studies the effects of undersea noise for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said several studies have found that testing drives marine life away and disrupts feeding and migration patterns. Commercial fishing catch rates drop temporarily after testing, he said."

NYT: China Oil Giant Expected to Vote Wednesday on Unocal Bid.

"... so far CNOOC's nonexecutive board members have blocked a bid, troubled by the amount of debt that would need to be taken on to buy Unocal."


South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Senate refuses to kill inventory of offshore oil and gas resources.

"The senators from Florida argued that the inventory itself could endanger wildlife and cause pollution.

"‘We are (talking about) seismic explosions that could cost the federal government in all of the outer continental shelf up to a billion dollars,’ Nelson said. ‘Seismic explosions! These air-guns that shoot air pressure all the way to the surface of the ocean floor. Now that's what we're trying to stop.’"

Orlando Sentinel: Senate Approves Tally of Offshore Oil and Gas Resources.

"‘It's the first step toward drilling,’ said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) ‘It's the proverbial camel's nose under the tent.’" ...

"Opponents contended that conducting the inventory, which would use seismic air guns likened by Nelson to ‘long, submersible cannons....firing shots of compressed air into the water every 10 seconds,’ could harm sea life."

> I have to ask, what does he mean by long? Is he talking about the hydrophone cables?


AP: Crude Oil Prices Soar Near $60 a Barrel.

"Oil analyst Andrew Lebow at Man Financial in New York said ‘once we're in this $55-$60 area, it's been kind of hard to justify. But it is what it is. It seems like we'll hit $60 at this point.’"

WSJ (subscription): Crude Facts.

> Graph with inflation-adjusted oil prices over the past 35 years.

Business Wire: TGS Commences Acquisition of Sophie's Link 3-D Survey in Gulf of Mexico .

"The survey, known as ‘Sophie's Link’ will bridge the gap between TGS' ongoing 400 OCS block Deep Resolve Survey and its 627 OCS block Mississippi Canyon 3-D survey."

Sudan Tribune: White Nile awards seismic pact in South Sudan.

"White Nile Ltd, ... 50% owned by the 'New Government of South Sudan', said Friday that Terra Seis Geophysical Ltd ... has been awarded the contract to conduct an extensive seismic evaluation programme of White Nile's 65,000 sq km Block Ba oil licence area in South Sudan."

PR Newswire: Seismic Shoot Completed Over Key Offshore Philippines Prospects.


Business Week: Napoleon Of China's Oil Patch.

"CNOOC on June 7 said that it is still interested in a deal [to buy Unocal], potentially derailing Chevron Corp.'s $16.4 billion bid for the U.S. oil producer.... CNOOC is dwarfed by China's two biggest petroplayers, PetroChina Co. and Sinopec Corp., but it's proving to be the toughest kid on the block."

U.K. Department of Trade and Industry: North Sea Bids Hit 30 Year High.

"Applications for the UK's latest offshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round have hit a thirty year high with firms applying for a record 279 blocks, the largest number applied for since 1972, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said."

Press Release: Pulse Data Inc. reports successful closing of significant seismic data acquisition.

"The acquired data base consists of approximately 2,500 net square kilometres of 3D data and 500 net kilometres of 2D data, and is located in the south-central area of Alberta."

Press Release: BP Awards Fugro West Nile Delta AUV Survey Offshore Egypt.

> Hazard survey.


O&GJ: Study notes exploration successes, disappointments.

"Energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. rated the biggest exploration successes in absolute terms during the last 10 years as Kazakhstan, the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Angola, and Nigeria." ...

"The study said the biggest disappointments included deepwater Brazil and Azerbaijan."

Associated Press: SEC Wants Terror State Information.

"... Houston-based seismic-data acquisition specialist Veritas DGC Inc. detailed in its 2004 annual report the receipt of $1.5 million in revenue from Libyan customers, $428,000 from Iranian customers and $9,000 from a Syrian customer. Veritas DGC emphasized that ‘the governments of Libya, Iran and Syria have been identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism and are subject to sanctions.’"

PR Newswire: Paradigm Releases Epos 3 Second Edition Software Package.

> Interpretation package. I assume this includes VoxelGeo?


Enterprise Storage Forum: Tape Losses Loom Large at Storage World.

"The ASNP Summit keynote speaker Alan Nuns, GM of global strategy at Chevron, managed to drop a few jaws among seasoned storage veterans when he trotted out the basics of his storage environment -- 1,700 TB and growing at 2 TB per day."

Sci-Tech Today: Apple -- More Than Just Intel PCs.

"Seitel buys seismic data and licenses that information to oil companies. It has 25 TB of data in various forms, which it wants to make available online, both internally to its own users or externally to customers."

> I guess that number just refers to Seitel Solutions Canada. Still, compared to the Chevron quote above, it looks kind of puny.

A. G. Edwards & Sones: Dawson Geophysical upgraded to "buy".

"Dawson Geophysical is expected to witness robust sequential revenue growth in the near future, driven by the recent addition of four seismic crews, the analysts say."


LA Times: Chinese Firm Weighs Bid for Unocal.

"A Chinese oil company said Tuesday that it might try to top Chevron Corp.'s $16-billion proposed acquisition of Unocal Corp., raising the possibility of a bidding war for the El Segundo-based oil company."


O&GJ: US drilling hits new high for the year.

"US drilling activity increased this week to the highest level this year with 1,353 rotary rigs working, up by 22 from the previous week and from 1,168 in the same period last year, said Baker Hughes Inc."

O&GJ: What's so "super"about independents?

"Any three sets of consultants, bankers, and oilmen will provide their own unique lists of SIs. However, the companies that show up on nearly all of them are: Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Apache Corp., Burlington Resources Inc., Devon Energy Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp., and Unocal Corp. If you include non-US companies, add Calgary-based EnCana Corp. and UK-based BG Group to the mix."


Petroleum News: Explorers choke on salt.

"David Eyton, BP's vice president of deepwater developments for the U.S. Gulf, told industry analysts at the same conference that compared to many offshore areas, including West Africa's Angola, explorers operating in deepwater U.S. Gulf likely spend three times the cost of finding and appraising a deepwater discovery."


Business Week: Finding Sweet Spots In Mid-Caps.

"Q: Anything you like in energy?"

"A: ... Veritas DGC (VTS). It's around $900 million in market cap. They are involved in seismic mapping, 2D or 3D images used to find oil locations, reservoir size, etc. They can determine the size and structure of these gas and oil fields -- so again another indirect play, but it has done quite well, and I'd buy it on any pullback."

AP: Omni selling aviation unit.

"In announcing the deal, Omni said it would be concentrating on its core businesses, including seismic drilling and environmental services for the petroleum industry."


Xinhua Financial News: ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco Well Placed for Sakhalin-3 Project.

"... the Russian government announced in 2004 that new bids for the right to exploit the site would be accepted, sparking off protests from ExxonMobil, which had already invested US $60 million in the project. But during a meeting with the US minister for commerce Carlos Gutierrez today, [Russian minister for natural resources Yuri] Trutnev assured both companies that they were in a ‘privileged position’ when it comes to bidding for the rights to exploit the site."

Oread Daily: Western Sahara -- The Intifada You Haven't Heard About.

"Only one major oil company seems to be completely dissing the [Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic]. Kerr McGee appears largely alone in its oil dealings with Rabat [Morocco] on Western Sahara following the pullout from the territory of Norwegian, Dutch and Danish seismic firms in 2003 and mid-2004 and then Total -- which had a similar agreement with Rabat -- last November."

Houston Business Journal: Input/Output lines up new credit facility.

"Seismic services firm Input/Output Inc. has inked a three-year deal that sets up a $25 million senior secured revolving credit facility...."

Walter Kessinger

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