Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


NYT: No Quick Fix for Gulf Oil Operations.

"Offshore platforms were damaged by the storm's winds and waves, and some had snapped out of their moorings and were drifting away; 10 refineries, accounting for 10 percent of the nation's capacity, were shut down and remained without power yesterday; strategic pipelines linking the gulf to major markets in the rest of the country were still closed because they too lacked power." ...

"Over 95 percent of the gulf's daily output -- or 1.43 million barrels -- remained closed yesterday, while gas production was down by 88 percent, or 8.8 billion cubic feet, according to the Minerals Management Service, a unit of the Department of Interior." ...

"The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port remained shut for a second day. It is one of the main crude oil-importing ports in the gulf, with a daily capacity of a million barrels."


Rigzone: Areas Most Affected By Hurricane Katrina.

"Hurricane Katrina forced operators to shut in over a million barrels of oil per day, according to the MMS. A total of nearly 2,800 platforms, more than 500 of them manned, were within the areas affected by the storm. Of those platforms, about 1,100 of them were within the direct path of the hurricane where they experienced hurricane force winds in excess of 74 miles per hour. "

Houston Chronicle: Oil companies begin inspecting damage in Gulf.

"In all, more than 92 percent of the Gulf's oil output and 83 percent of its natural gas production was offline due to evacuations and shut downs completed in advance of the storm."

ABC News: Katrina Slams Largest U.S. Port, Affecting Flow of Oil, Steel, Grain.

"The Port of Southern Louisiana is the largest in America and the fifth-largest in the world -- only Singapore, Rotterdam, Shanghai and Hong Kong are bigger. By tonnage, fully a quarter of America's exports pass right through the disaster zone."

AFX: CNOOC unit wins joint oil contract to explore disputed waters.

"A subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd has won a joint contract from the state oil companies of China, the Philippines and Vietnam to search for oil and gas in a disputed area of the South China Sea, state media reported Saturday."

AP: CGG Announces Acquisition.

"Compagnie Generale de Geophysique, a provider of seismographic services and equipment for oil and gas companies, said Monday it bought a 60-percent stake in a Norwegian marine seismic services firm, a move that fits its long-time strategy of consolidating the seismic sector."

Indo-Asian News Service: India to tap frozen methane from under sea.

"Under a National Gas Hydrates Programme (NGHP), several Indian institutions are studying ways to tap these rich sources of gas found in the form of hydrates, or methane in frozen form, petroleum ministry officials said. ‘We are planning to drill two wells exclusively for the coring gas hydrates for sample study,’ an official said."


Houston Business Journal: Houston energy companies react to hurricane with production shut-downs.

"At least 42 percent of daily Gulf of Mexico oil production, 20 percent of its daily natural gas output and 8.5 percent of national refining capacity was shut down on Sunday in advance of Hurricane Katrina, according to reports from producers and refiners."


Fleet Owner: EIA Foresees Grim Fuel Future.

"An analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that several factors may keep crude oil prices high for the foreseeable future -- with subtle changes levied by the recently passed energy bill potentially adding to the fuel woes of motorists by next spring."

EFE: Venezuelan Energy Minister Goes to China Amid Spat with U.S.

"Venezuela's oil minister was on an official visit to the Chinese capital Wednesday amid an escalation of animosity between Caracas and Washington that included a warning from the major South American oil supplier that it might cut off the flow of its crude to the United States."


Ouch! Look at this press release from corporate raider Boone Pickens --

PR Newswire: Arbitration Panel Awards $1.5 Million for Seismic Survey Damage on Pickens' Mesa Vista Ranch.

"An oil and gas company has been directed to pay more than $1.5 million for surface damages to a Texas Panhandle ranch owned by energy executive Boone Pickens, who has spent the past two decades under-grazing and restoring the land to its natural state and creating one of America's finest quail habitats." ...

Said Pickens: ‘3-D seismic operations are invasive and destructive to the land. Landowners have had to settle for nominal surface damages that have been offered by oil and gas companies for far too long.’"

> Here's the Wikipedia entry for T. Boone Pickens, Jr.

Press Release: I/O Sells Comprehensive Streamer Technology Suite to Exploration Resources.

"The C-Orion [vessel] had been outfitted with previous versions of I/O technology while acquiring 2D seismic data for Multiwave Geophysical and others over the last several years.... Total value for the entire technology suite is approximately $20 million."


The New Nation, Bangladesh: Unocal to start seismic survey in Block-7 soon.

"Unocal is likely to start seismic survey work for the hydrocarbon Block-7 in southern Bangladesh in December under an additional deal the US oil giant has recently signed with Petrobangla.... As planned, the survey operation by the Unocal, which has recently been taken over by another US-based oil giant, Chevron, will complete by May 2006."

Houston Business Journal: Input/Output switches accounting firms.


MSNBC: What keeps driving oil prices higher?

"Even with the technology available to today's ‘Nintendo geologists’ -- who can ‘see’ underground by displaying 3-D seismic data on room-sized screens -- identifying oil deposits is not an exact science."

NYT: Chinese Company to Buy Kazakh Oil Interests for $4 Billion.

"China's biggest state-owned oil company agreed today to pay $4.18 billion for a Canadian oil company with substantial reserves in Kazakhstan, China's largest foreign acquisition yet."

Houston Chronicle: Choking on crude. Indonesia has plenty of oil, but it still has to import it.

"Faced with the possibility of expulsion from OPEC, Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is trying to make changes to bring Indonesia back into good standing."


Biloxi Sun Herald: Lott blasts coalition, backs seismic testing.

"Lott spoke out for seismic testing.... ‘Those opposed to seismic testing act like someone is going to nuke Horn Island. You need to back off, calm down and get an explanation of what seismic testing is.’"

> I really hate being on the same side of an issue as Trent Lott.

AP: BP Receives Urgent Safety Recommendation.

"The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued an urgent safety recommendation for the first time in its history Wednesday, requesting that BP PLC form an independent panel of experts to review safety at the company's five North American refineries."

Houston Chronicle: Bids rise for Gulf leases.

"Fifteen of the tracts that received bids are in water depths of 660 feet or less, where exploration companies have been returning to look for ‘deep gas’ that is contained thousands of feet down in the Gulf shelf. Years ago, shallower gas was developed from the leases before new drilling technologies made it possible to drill much deeper."


MMS: Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 196 Attracts $ 285,192,865 in High Bids.

"MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes called the lease sale a very strong sale.... ‘We continued to see strong bidding activity in the Deepwater Gulf particularly in the Alaminos Canyon and Keathley Canyon Areas,’ explained Oynes. ‘This activity is due largely to the encouraging results of rank wildcat drilling activity in the Lower Tertiary - Wilcox Trend.’"

EFE News Services: Pemex Studying Alliance with Shell to Exploit Gulf Oil Reserves.

"The paper cited sources close to the project and Energy Secretary Fernando Elizondo, who acknowledged that Shell is interested and added that the two firms have already approached one another on the matter."


MMS: Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 196 Receives 422 Bids on 346 Tracts.

"Lease Sale 196 will take place tomorrow, August 17, 2005, at 9 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, located at 500 Poydras Plaza, in downtown New Orleans."


Mostly just talks about BP --

Houston Chronicle: Energy companies in the hunt for a few good technicians.

"... the job openings are spread around BP, including about 100 drilling and completion specialist jobs, 100 subsurface engineers and geoscientist positions, 100 facility operators and project managers, and another 70 MBA, analysts and marketing jobs."

O&GJ: Chevron enhances growth with Unocal merger.

"The merger will increase Chevron's proved reserves by more than 15%.... In the Asia-Pacific region, the combined company will produce more than 20% of its daily crude oil and natural gas production. "


Salt Lake Tribune: Explosion Aftermath: Picking up pieces.

"[Travis Stewart, 30,] and his co-driver, Troy Lysfjord, 37, of Blackfoot, Idaho ... were hauling 17 pallets with 40 explosive devices per pallet. Each device was a cylinder 29 1/2 inches long and 2 to 3 inches in diameter, coated in orange plastic...."

The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah: UDOT scurries to fix crater.

"UDOT didn't waste any time stabilizing the canyon walls, filling in the gaping hole and paving the highway. Between 55 and 65 UDOT and contractor employees hit the road and worked around the clock to fix the highway. " ...

"The Utah County Bomb Squad, comprised of members of the Utah County Sheriff's Office and Provo Police Department scoured the debris field around the crater -- which was 30 feet deep and 70 feet wide -- for scattered live explosives before they allowed anyone to survey the scene.

"Sgt. Darrin Gilbert of the Utah County Sheriff's Office said at least six team members recovered at least 100 pounds of the live high-grade form of TNT. More was found later in the evening by work crews.... He said the explosive, which requires a detonator or heat source to ignite, is relatively safe."

> A quote from Lt. Doug McCleve, a Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman:

"It is a true miracle in my mind that not one person was killed as a result of the blast."

> Also, note that there is a correction to yesterday's assertion that the truck was "unmarked."


The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah: Blast injures several, sparks wildfire.

"Lt. Doug McCleve of Utah Highway Patrol said the driver lost control of the vehicle, jack knifed and rolled it, then skidded along the highway. Sparks from the skidding ignited the spilled fuel, which caused the explosives, a high-grade form of TNT used for seismic exploration, to detonate." ...

"The force of the explosion created a hole in the highway about 70 feet across and 30 feet deep.... Seven vehicles were damaged because of the concussion of air caused by the blast; most had windshields or side windows shattered. Railroad tracks, power lines and buried fiberoptic cables all were mangled, disrupting services to multiple towns." ...

"The remains of the truck were scattered up and down the road and on the roadside; the largest piece, a part of the engine, was nothing more than a charred, twisted hunk of metal sitting next to the crater."

Eyewitnesses say truck was 'gone' after explosion.

"No one realized the unmarked truck was loaded with 35,500 pounds of explosives, but the scorching heat of the inferno nudged the small crowd of onlookers back from the scene. The truck tires burst, and they feared the fuel tank would erupt."

Houston Chronicle: Chevron takes Unocal, finally.

"So far, 5,000 of Unocal's employees have accepted job offers with Chevron -- a 95 percent acceptance rate. More workers are considering moving with the merged company, O'Reilly said."

Associated Press: Russia slashes BP's tax bill.

"BP's Russian joint venture said Wednesday that authorities have cut a nearly $800 million back tax levy by two-thirds, another hopeful sign for investors rattled by the legal assault against the Yukos oil company."

PR Newswire: Seitel Announces Second Quarter Results.

"For the six months, the company reported a net loss of $0.8 million, or $0.01 per share, compared to a net loss of $5.9 million, or $0.23 per share for the same period of 2004."


Minerals Management Service: 2005 Energy Policy Act Grants MMS New Authority.

"The legislation calls for MMS to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the estimated oil and natural gas resources on the [Outer Continental Shelf], including moratoria areas. The bill requires the use of ‘any available technology, except drilling, but including 3-D seismic surveys.’ The first report to Congress is required to be submitted within six months of enactment.

"Given the six month time frame, additional significant 3-D seismic surveying is not plausible. MMS will use existing data and provide qualitative assessments. MMS encourages the industry to provide data to MMS that may not have been previously shared."

LA Times: Unocal to Vote on Takeover [Today].

"Now the focus is expected to be on how quickly Chevron can integrate Unocal's operations into its own. Both companies have largely kept mum about job cuts, and Chevron has gone through at least two rounds of job offers to Unocal employees."

Reuters: Unocal shareholders give OK to Chevron offer.


Bloomberg News: Kerr-McGee plans sale of its North Sea fields.

"Kerr-McGee Corp. agreed to sell its North Sea oil and natural gas fields for $3.5 billion after a proxy battle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn that saddled the company with debt."


Thanks to the new energy bill, we have weeks more of this coming --

Cape Cod Times: Energy bill hid offshore interests.

"The legislation authorizes the use of 3-D seismic technology which relies on sound waves to locate potential drilling hotspots. The sound waves are produced by airguns which critics say have a deafening effect on wildlife."...

"The provision does not provide any money for the surveys, [MMS] spokesman Gary Strasburg said, so it's premature to call the provision a step toward drilling in Georges Bank. ‘The only thing we are going to be able to do is gather information on what's out there,’ he said."

> As the MMS is correctly pointing out, they are going to spend the $55M that has been allocated for a "national survey" just finding out what data already exists. Maybe part of that will include formulating a plan for acquiring new data.

> Any realistic plan for new surveying will have acquisition (and funding) spread out over years, if not decades.


WSJ (subscription): Exxon Mobil CEO Plans To Retire at Year End.

"On Wall Street, Mr. Raymond is admired for his financial performance but feared by analysts who tell stories of his dressing them down in public when they ask questions he regards as bothersome or inane. Politically, Mr. Raymond has become a lightning rod for his skepticism about global warming, continuing to question the science behind such worries."

> Looking past Lee Raymond's image problem, I would have to say that XOM has been a remarkably well-run company.

PR Newswire: I/O Reports Second Quarter 2005 Results.

"Input/Output, Inc. today announced second quarter 2005 net income of $2.5 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, on revenues of $84.0 million...."

"The Marine Imaging Systems Division is performing better than expected led by a strong seismic marine market.... GX Technology (GXT) made progress in the second quarter, and processing backlog continues to improve."

PR Newswire: I/O Signs Multi-Year Agreement With Reservoir Exploration Technology.

"Input/Output, Inc. and Reservoir Exploration Technology, a marine seismic contractor headquartered in Oslo, Norway, jointly announced today the signing of a multi-year agreement for the purchase of I/O's VectorSeis Ocean (VSO) system. VSO is a redeployable, ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic imaging system equipped with VectorSeis digital, full-wave sensors for multicomponent data acquisition on the seabed. RXT previously purchased, and deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, the first commercial VSO system during June 2004."

Borneo Bulletin: BSP to conduct more seismic surveys this year.

"Brunei Shell Petroleum has announced a further programme of marine seismic surveys to be undertaken this year. This follows on from the 3D (three-dimensional) surveys conducted over Champion West and Iron Duke in April to June."

Jack Adamo, Forbes: Buffett-Cool Investing.

"In April, shortly after my recommendation of Dawson appeared in these pages, the stock plunged 20%.... Fast forward a few months, and Dawson reports second-quarter earnings per share up 29%. Those who kept their heads and held the stock are 10% above their original buy price. Those who bought more after the stock's plunge, as I recommended, are up 36%. This was really easy money."

San Francisco Chronicle: Why Chinese dropped bid for Unocal -- Congress aired bipartisan fear of Beijing's economic power.

"‘You're not looking at a tiny country here,’ said Charlene Barshevsky, the U.S. trade representative under former President Bill Clinton who negotiated trade agreements reached with China during the 1990s, including China's entry to the World Trade Organization. ‘You're looking at one-fifth of the world's population ... And if China is not engaged and integrating with the world on the basis of Western economic norms, then what on earth are we accomplishing?’"


Christian Science Monitor (carried here on CBS News): Energy Probe A Risk For Sea Life.

"While most opposition centers around the potential ramifications of the survey, environmentalists are sounding an alarm over the seismic survey itself. A typical seismic air gun array pulled by a ship might fire its compressed air bubbles into the ocean five or six times a minute -- more than 7,000 shots in 24 hours. Some researchers worry such testing would pummel sea creatures with a barrage of sound pulses 200 decibels and higher -- equivalent on land to listening to an artillery gun being fired 500 feet away."

> Calling the IAGC! It's time to get busy and mount some level of response! Right now, all I could find on your site was more pictures of whale tails.

> And what's with all the studies on mountain goats and prairie dogs?

Associated Press: Chinese company gives up pursuit of Unocal.

"China's CNOOC Ltd. said today it has withdrawn its $18.5 billion cash offer for Unocal Corp., stating it considered raising its bid and ‘would have done so but for the political environment in the U.S.’"


Press Release: Geokinetics to Acquire Trace Energy Services, Ltd..

"Geokinetics Inc. announced today that it had entered into an agreement to purchase all of the stock of Trace Energy Services, Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada for approximately CDN $35,000,000 in cash ... and 1,000,000 shares of Geokinetics Common Stock. Trace, with operations in the United States and Canada, performs 2-D, 3-D and 4-D seismic surveys using both conventional analog and digital seismic equipment for a wide range of customers exploring for oil and gas reserves." ...

"Geokinetics, through its subsidiary, Quantum Geophysical, Inc., provides seismic surveying services in the Gulf Coast, Mid-Continent and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. The combined companies will operate up to nine seismic crews in the North American market."

I'm working with a bunch of guys, myself included, who used to do stuff like this [multi-client consortiums] all the time --

O&GJ: Knowledge Systems Launches Joint Industry Project to Improve Subsalt Pore Pressure Prediction.

"Knowledge Systems announced the launch of a Joint Industry Project to develop an improved methodology for predicting subsalt geopressures. This project will develop best practices for pressure analysis below salt while examining methods to improve subsalt imaging with seismic data."

Business Wire: OYO Geospace Announces Public Offering of Common Stock by Selling Stockholder .

Walter Kessinger

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