Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Houston Chronicle: Storm left big platform upside down.

"When Hurricane Rita took a last-minute turn, veering north and east to spare much of the onshore energy infrastructure along the Houston Ship Channel, it barreled straight through one of the most prolific oil and natural gas production areas in the Gulf before slamming into the coast and pounding the refining hub of Port Arthur and Beaumont. Hundreds of production platforms that pull oil and gas out of the ground were in Rita's way in places like the East Cameron Block off Lake Charles."


WSJ (subscription): Storms to Hurt Chevron's Profit.

"Hurricane Katrina and other storms will cost Chevron Corp. more than $350 million in third-quarter profit and more than 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent of production.... The oil giant indicated that the hit will be even more substantial because the figures released yesterday don't include estimates for the financial impact of Hurricane Rita." ...

"Separately, Chevron said its giant Gulf of Mexico platform, Typhoon, is floating upside down after the deep-water facility took a direct hit from Rita."

Rigzone: Chevron Says Typhoon TLP Suffers Damage During Hurricane Rita.

"... located in 2,000 feet of water in the Green Canyon area approximately 165 miles south-southwest of New Orleans..."


O&GJ: Tighter market pushes up energy prices.

"US Minerals Management Service officials said 758 offshore platforms and 101 drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated as of Sept. 26. Shut-in production amounted to 1.5 million b/d or virtually all of the crude, and 7.8 bcfd or 75.4% of the natural gas normally produced from the Gulf of Mexico."

India Times: ONGC Videsh to pump $150 m into Cuba fields.

"ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas investment arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, will invest close to $150 million in the seven oil and gas blocks it recently acquired in Cuba.... The work programme includes acquisition of 3,000 sq km 3-D seismic data."


NYT: Refineries Escape Major Damage, but Gas Prices May Still Rise.

"As the hurricane approached Texas on Friday, Galveston and Houston seemed directly in its path, and had the storm plowed into those cities, laden with petroleum tank farms, refineries and natural gas processing plants, insurance experts feared that losses could have run to $30 billion. But initial estimates put insured damage at $5 billion or less."

Mobile Register: Designs of offshore platforms at issue.

"Under the latest International Building Code, a model adopted by many states and localities, beach houses on many of the Gulf's barrier islands would be constructed to withstand stronger winds than is required by the design criteria for offshore platforms."


WSJ (subscription): Why the World Is One Storm Away From Energy Crisis.

"Though Katrina sank more than 50 oil and natural-gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and knocked out about 1.5 million barrels of daily oil production, the storm was only 10th on a list of 11 top shocks of recent decades, according to the International Energy Agency. Yet Katrina had a wide impact because it hit at a time when markets for crude oil are the most stretched they've been in a generation."


Houston Chronicle: Energy crunch -- It's coming, the experts say, and much sooner than you think.

"At the heart of the problem is transportation, 95 percent of which is fueled by oil products. No amount of new coal-fired and nuclear power plants will reduce the need for oil. Only conservation, hybrid vehicles and alternative power sources not yet developed can do that."

Enterprise IT Planet: Chevron Makes Seismic Storage Shift.

"Chevron Corp. of Houston, TX, must have one of the largest storage environments around. It has swollen to nearly 1800 TB and grows at a rate of 2 TB a day." ...

"Of [Chevron's] over 1700 TB of data, two thirds is technical and the rest business. Half the data is structured in databases, ERP systems, etc., leaving the other half completely unstructured."

> I would guess that SEG-Y format counts as "completely unstructured."

Houston Business Journal: Data recovery firm opens Houston facility.

"CBL Data Recovery Technologies Inc. has opened a service facility in Houston as part of its overall strategy of expanding operations in the United States.... The Houston facility includes drop-off reception and advisory service for computer users who have damaged digital data storage media including hard disk drives, magnetic tape and flash memory cards. "


O&GJ: Tropical Storm Rita renews gulf evacuations.

"Rita could become a Category 1 hurricane within 24 hr and could threaten the central Gulf of Mexico and the Texas and Louisiana coasts within 5 days, said officials at the National Hurricane Center."

CNN: Norsk buys U.S. Spinnaker at big premium.

Houston Business Journal: Norsk Hydro to acquire Spinnaker for $2.45 billion.

"Earlier this year, Hydro lost a bidding battle with rival Statoil ASA for Canada-based EnCana Corp.'s $2 billion Gulf of Mexico assets, AP reported."

PR Newswire: CGG Wins New Seismic Survey Offshore India.

"Compagnie Generale de Geophysique announced that it has been awarded a major 3D seismic offshore acquisition contract by ONGC for the third consecutive year in India."

Provo Daily Herald, UT: Ensign-Bickford to close Utah plant.

"The explosives company being sued for contaminating Mapleton's water supply is closing its Utah facility." ...

"Ensign-Bickford manufactured the explosives that detonated in Spanish Fork Canyon in August, destroying a piece of U.S. Highway 6, although an independent trucking company was transporting the load."


Houston Chronicle: Gulf oil production several months from normal.

"Over 56 percent of daily oil production in the Gulf remained blocked as of today -- about 35 percent of which is shut in because of problems with onshore infrastructure, the Minerals Management Service said. About 34 percent of gasoline production is shut in." ...

"Last year during Hurricane Ivan, some of the worst damage was to the underwater pipelines. That does not appear to be as big a problem this time, officials said."

Press Release: TGS-NOPEC Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Aceca Limited.

"Aceca's primary business is creating and selling multi-client interpretation studies in northern Europe utilizing well log, seismic, and other forms of geoscientific data."


NYT: At Time of Epic Storms, Oil Industry Thinks Anew.

"‘Most definitions of a 100-year event were calculated before Ivan and Katrina,’ said Bob Hamilton, a vice president at the Woods Hole Group, an ocean engineering group in Massachusetts. ‘At this point, are the 100-year criteria good enough?’"

Houston Chronicle: Drivers use less gasoline for 2nd week. Analysts ponder how hard higher energy prices are hitting economy.

"One economist who has studied the relationship between energy price spikes and recessions said he's not surprised gasoline demand dropped in recent weeks -- he's just surprised it didn't happen sooner."

Business News Americas: Oil Unions to File Complaint Against PDVSA.

"Three oil workers' unions in Venezuela plan to file a writ detailing several complaints against state oil firm PDVSA with the labor ministry ... which basically states that workers will not strike if the company accepts their demands. "


O&GJ: C-Surveyor II AUV begins GoM projects.

"Survey sensors onboard include a multibeam echosounder, chirp side scan sonar, chirp sub-bottom profiler, methane detector, CTD system, and an Edgetech DW106 sub-bottom profiler customized with narrow transmit and receive beams to permit significantly deeper seabed penetration."

> Cooooool.

Business News Americas: Brazil's Round 7 Attracts More Than 80 Potential Bidders.


Jackson Hole Star-Tribune: Seismic studies, hunting don't mix.

"The development is the latest in an emerging issue in Wyoming during fall: whether oil and gas seismic exploration, a widespread activity during the current energy boom, is too disruptive to hunters.... [T]he Wyoming Wildlife Federation was joined by the National Wildlife Federation and the Wyoming Outdoor Council in arguing against seismic exploration -- which includes the use of ATVs, helicopters, cables and explosives -- during hunting season."

Reuters: Shell looks to Beaufort Sea for its Alaskan ambitions.

"Shell Exploration & Production Co., which operated in various parts of Alaska since the 1950s but departed the state in 1998, has ambitions to become a major North Slope player."


Houston Chronicle: Oil spill adds to woes of a Louisiana town.

"According to the Coast Guard, Hurricane Katrina appears to have caused more damage -- both onshore and offshore -- to energy industry infrastructure than first suspected.

"Millions of gallons of crude oil burst forth from ruptured storage terminals and pipelines in Louisiana, stretching from Chalmette, just southeast of New Orleans, down to Empire, Venice and Pilottown at the mouth of the Mississippi River." ...

"And offshore, the Coast Guard said 52 oil and gas production platforms sank in the storm and 58 were damaged. Another three drilling rigs sank when Katrina rumbled through the Gulf of Mexico and another 16 rigs were damaged."

AP: About 60 percent of Gulf's oil production off market.

"Following a survey of 56 energy companies, the Minerals Management Service reported that 122 of the 819 staffed platforms in the Gulf were shut down, blocking 897,605 barrels -- or 59.8 percent of the Gulf's normal daily production of 1.5 million barrels."


AFP: IEA -- Katrina oil shock 'severe" but damage repairable.

"Katrina was likely to curtail world oil production until the end of the year by 55 million barrels, about the same as Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the IEA estimated in a report." ...

"There was much pipeline damage, about 37 platforms in shallow water had been destroyed and four platforms in deep water, including the Mars platform owned by Shell, had suffered extensive damage. The IEA said, however, that ‘90 percent of production could be back on stream in less than the three to six months which these specific facilities are likely to require for replacement/repair’."

Business Wire: TGS-NOPEC Awarded Promote Licenses in 23rd UKCS Licensing Round.


WSJ (subscription): A Massive Repair Job Begins To Fix Gulf's Broken Oil Network.

"While power outages, flooding and battered pipelines will keep many refineries in the area from returning to full operations for days or weeks, and in some cases for months, it now appears that half of the lost refinery output in the region will be restored soon. That should mean averting a worst-case shock to the economy.

"Production of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico is a tougher case, with many facilities, especially underwater pipelines, still not fully assessed."

> A large portion of the article talks about Exxon's experiences during the storm --

"Exxon had begun bracing for Katrina as early as Aug. 24, when its weather service warned of a tropical depression east of Florida. As the storm zeroed in on the Gulf Coast two days later, the company installed dozens of computers and phone lines in an emergency command center in Houston, where 100 employees would monitor and coordinate a disaster response."

PR Newswire: CGG -- Strong Increase in Operating Result.

"Total revenues for Geophysical Services for the second quarter 2005 were Euros 132 million (USD 167 million), up 51% in Euros and 57% in USD compared to Euros 87 million (USD 106 million) for the second quarter of 2004. Land revenues were Euros 32 million.... Offshore revenues [were] Euros 73 million.... Processing and Reservoir revenues were Euros 27 million...."

The Herald, UK: Independents' day celebrated at Aberdeen oil licensing round.

"Aberdeen-based independents did well in the latest North Sea licensing round, picking up a clutch of exploration permits despite unprecedented competition from around the world."


Houston Chronicle: Helping workers rebuild lives.

"A little more than 1 million barrels a day of oil production, or 70 percent of daily average amount, and 5.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas production per day, or 54 percent of daily average in the Gulf of Mexico, remain shut in as of Monday...."

Press Release: PGS to Convert 4C Crew to Streamer Vessel Operations.

"Petroleum Geo-Services ASA announced today that it has decided to convert its current 4C Ocean Bottom Crew operation, including the vessels Ocean Explorer and Falcon, to towed streamer vessels. The third vessel used in this operation, Bergen Surveyor, is on a short term lease and will be returned to its owners." ...

"PGS intends to retain a presence in the 4C market in the form of employee know-how and technology allowing for a future re-entry to the market."

AP: CGG Lifts Stake in Exploration Resources.

"Compagnie Generale de Geophysique, a French provider of seismographic services and equipment for oil and gas companies, said Friday it raised its stake in Exploration Resources ASA, a Norwegian provider of marine seismic services, to 90 percent"

Newindpress, India: Seismic survey begins at Cuddalore coast.

"An extensive seismic survey sponsored by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), commenced at the Cuddalore coast with the venture of a research vessel MV Geco Emerald on Monday."

Hawke's Bay Today: Bay in oil hunt.

"Hawke's Bay is poised to take part in the biggest oil and gas search in New Zealand as world oil prices skyrocket.... The results of the $15 million Crown Minerals survey were released last night by the Ministry of Energy, along with an offer of four East Coast blocks covering 100,000sq km."

PR Newswire: TGC Industries Files Registration Statement for Proposed Common Stock Offering.


WSJ (subscription): Damage to Oil and Gas Facilities Pushes U.S. Closer to Energy Crisis.

"The core of the unfolding situation is that four days after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast, eight major refineries are still shut down and several could require a month or more to restart. In addition, there are early rumblings in the industry of significant, unreported damage to offshore pipelines, energy-gathering hubs and producing platforms that could take months to repair." ...

"Whether a true energy crisis emerges -- with persistent fuel shortages, soaring gas prices and a wallop to the economy -- will depend on how quickly the onshore and offshore infrastructure gets back up and running, how deftly the industry and government handle fuel distribution in the meantime and, critically, whether large numbers of consumers panic."

WSJ (subscription): Major Oil Spill Found In Venice, La's Southern Tip.

"Officials conducting overflights of the Gulf of Mexico have found a major oil spill near Venice, at the southern tip of Louisiana, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said Friday morning.... DEQ has no immediate plans for containing the damage because the waterways are not navigable, Mann said."

KHOU 11 News: Mayor White: 100,000 evacuees in Houston.

"Mayor White said the GRB Convention Center will also be used to shelter about 5,000 evacuees. Upcoming conventions will be cancelled."

> As for the 75th Annual SEG convention, the SEG site says, "Houston city officials have notified SEG that ‘[a]t this time the George R. Brown Convention Center is scheduled to be in full operation October 1, 2005.’"

I'm going to start adding back some "normal" industry coverage --

O&GJ: Woodside strengthens GoM presence through acquisition.

"Woodside paid $282.7 million to acquire Gryphon, a private upstream oil and gas company with extensive exploration and production interests in the Gulf.... Gryphon has interests in 118 leases in the Gulf, 95 of which are operated by the company. The majority of the leases are on the continental shelf."

Press Release: Grant Geophysical Wins 3D Seismic Project in Egypt.

"... an 1100 sq km 3D Dual Sensor Transition Zone / OBC survey ... in the eastern Nile Delta area of the Mediterranean ..."

Press Release: TGS-NOPEC Begins New Seismic Survey in West Greenland.


AFP: 20 oil rigs missing in Gulf of Mexico: US Coast Guard.

"At least 20 oil rigs and platforms are missing in the Gulf of Mexico and a ruptured gas pipeline is on fire after Hurricane Katrina tore through the region, a US Coast Guard official said."

> Also, if you subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, this is a nice summary page listing the status of key energy facilities.

"Hurricane Katrina, which plowed into the U.S. Gulf Coast energy industry, shut eight refineries and the bulk of all U.S. offshore oil and natural gas production."

Walter Kessinger

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