Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


WSJ (subscription): Off to the Gulag -- A Day in the Life Of a Russian Tycoon.

"... the new abode of Mr. Khodorkovsky, founder of the Yukos oil company, is a reminder that no Russian prison is Camp Cupcake."


The release last week of the "ocean noise" report by the Natural Resources Defense Council generated two widely republished wire stories --

Reuters: U.N. says sonar threatens dolphin, whale survival.

"Seismic exploration used in the hunt for undersea oil and gas and the increased movement of large ships may also cause problems for cetaceans, the report said."

Associated Press: Ocean noise harms dolphins, whales.

"The NRDC recommended year-round restrictions of excessive ocean noise in critical habitats and seasonal restrictions on migration routes. For example, the group suggested that oil-and-gas companies avoid seismic surveys in the winter off the west coast of Africa when baleen whales are breeding offshore."

Houston Chronicle: Access biggest obstacle to expanding oil output.

"In the past decade, the seven biggest publicly traded energy companies -- the industry's biggest spenders -- have seen their percentage of exploration investment plummet to 40 percent from about 65 percent a decade ago, according to the Wood MacKenzie report.

They might spend more if they could get to meaningful crude oil reserves in places such as Russia, Mexico, Iraq and Libya. Those are among the most oil-rich but off-limits places on Earth...."


AP: Texas sues Sony over cloaking software on music CDs.

> I hope Sony gets crushed by lawsuits and has to pay hundreds of millions over this. Any thinking individual -- or corporation -- should have realized that this was an activity that, if it wasn't already illegal, clearly should have been illegal.

> Of course, Sony isn't the only company out there that thinks it's o.k. to hack the computers of its users.


Natural Resources Defense Council: New evidence shows marine life is under siege from rising ocean noise.

"The report Sounding the Depths II: The Rising Toll of Sonar, Shipping and Industrial Ocean Noise on Marine Life, is accompanied by a five-minute movie narrated by actor and environmentalist Pierce Brosnan and produced by the firm Imaginary Forces. The film, Lethal Sound, is about harm to marine mammals from high-intensity military sonar and seismic air guns."

I'm looking forward to a drawn-out media debate over this next issue -- Is seismic exploration harmful to surfers?

Kevin J. Kelly, Asbury Park Press: Oil exploration won't harm surfing.

"I surf and have always enjoyed reading Jon Coen's surfing column in the Press. I must take issue with his use of his Nov. 6 column...."

"Coen is concerned that if any pollution occurs, surfers will be hurt. But how will exploration using seismic devices and other modern techniques 100 or more miles off our coast affect surfers?"

> Maybe we could have Lethal Sound 2, narrated by Pierce Brosnan and starring Sean Penn!

Press Release: Hydro Invests in New Geophysical Technology.

"Zurich-based Spectraseis Technologie AG provides surveys and data processing services using ultra-sensitive spectrometers and proprietary software to generate maps showing probable distributions of hydrocarbon deposits in a survey area, based on the analysis of passive, low frequency seismic data."

Al Bawaba: Shell to start seismic operations in Libya.

"By the time the work is complete in mid 2007, Shell will have acquired nearly 8000 km of 2D and 3300 square km of 3D seismic, as well as 68,000 km of aeromagnetic data."

Oil Online: Chevron Norge AS and Statoil ASA enter long-term Area of Mutual Interest agreement.

"... regarding exploration in the Barents Sea."


Houston Chronicle: Surgery for an unwieldy patient.

"Companies have been scrambling to make repairs since the storms passed, but the going is slow. Nearly 47 percent of the Gulf's daily oil production and 36 percent of the natural gas output remained off line Friday, according to the federal Minerals Management Service."

LA Times: U.S. Backs Squeezing Oil From a Stone.

"By Shell's reckoning, the denser oil shale formations here could produce a billion barrels of oil per square mile. Those projections are hotly debated, but as a point of comparison, should the Green River Formation produce as predicted, it would amount to as much as eight times the proven oil reserves in Saudi Arabia."


Houston Chronicle: And speaking of 'Big Oil'....

"While some people may find big and bad synonymous, it's hard to deny the bigness of Big Oil. Exxon Chairman Lee Raymond, testifying before Congress last week, used a slightly different term -- ‘huge.’"

Dan Ebrom, GSH: In Memorium -- Karl Seibert.

"Karl Seibert passed away on November 10 at the age of 40."

Reuters: Geophysique to boost share capital.


Washington Post: Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force.

"Alan Huffman, who was a Conoco manager until the 2002 merger with Phillips, confirmed meeting with the task force staff. ‘We met in the Executive Office Building, if I remember correctly,’ he said."


Reuters: Norwegian seismic firm PGS says to split.

"Norwegian seismic survey firm PGS launched a $1 billion refinancing of its debt on Tuesday and said it aimed to split into to two separately listed firms in 2006 to spur growth." ...

"Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) would consider splitting into a company for geophysical operations and another for oil production services, it said."

Anchorage Daily News: BP working to unlock the mystery of hydrates.

"BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. may drill a test well on the North Slope to confirm the presence of hydrates around producing oil fields, the company says."

Trinidad and Togabo Express: Fishermen want $800 a day seismic survey in Gulf.

"San Fernando fishermen are calling for fixed compensation during a 90-day seismic survey scheduled for mid-December in the Gulf of Paria."

Business Wire: Burlington Resources Acquires [Something].

"Burlington Resources Inc. today announced that it has reached agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of a privately held company that is a co-owner with Burlington in the prolific Savell Field in the Bossier trend of East Texas.... Burlington agreed to pay $400 million for the assets...."

O&GJ: New Zealand.

"Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., Wellington, plans to acquire a 3D seismic survey in early 2006 over the Cardiff structure on PEP 38737 in the Taranaki basin, where it has drilled a deep test."

O&GJ: Promote licenses bring new entrants to the North Sea.

"Work commitments from these promote licenses include 15 firm wells, 5 of which have already been drilled. In addition, 7 new seismic surveys with contingent wells will be spudded before the end of September 2007."

> I'm all for spudding as many new seismic surveys as possible. :-)


O&GJ: Deepwater capex to reach $20 billion [annually] by 2010.

"The ‘Golden Triangle’ of deepwater, namely the Africa, GoM and Brazilian areas, will still account for 85% of global deepwater expenditure over the forecast period...."


UH News Release: Pinpointing oil, gas below earth's surface focus of UH prof's research.

"For his groundbreaking research, Castagna is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Reginald Fessenden Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and was presented with the award at the SEG 75th Annual Exposition and Annual Meeting this week in Houston."

Houston Business Journal: Input/Output credits strong seismic market for net income.

"The Houston-based seismic solutions provider logged third-quarter net income of $1.4 million, or 2 cents share, on revenue of $82.7 million."

PR Newswire: Compagnie Generale de Geophysique -- Third Quarter 2005 Results.

"CGG Chairman & CEO, Robert BRUNCK, commented: ‘The Company activity did strengthen during the third quarter with Sercel's sales at a record high and a sustained market demand in all the Geophysical Services segments.’"

Washington Post: GOP to Strike Arctic Drilling From House Bill.

"... at least 22 Republicans told the House leadership they would not vote for the sweeping bill unless the drilling provision was removed and they were given assurances that it would not return after House and Senate negotiators hash out a final measure."

Bloomberg News: Exxon Mobil to sink billions into Africa. Oil giant plans to raise production there by 50 percent.

Washington Post: Oil and Grilling Don't Mix.

"At times, the senators seemed to be bigger boosters of the industry than the executives themselves. Under questioning from Sen. Ron Wyden ..., all five executives testified that they did not need the tax breaks in the recent energy bill. ‘That energy legislation is zero in terms of how it affects Exxon Mobil,’ said the company's chairman, Lee Raymond."

AP: Shell unit to reopen in New Orleans.

"On Monday, Shell said it expects its 1,474 New Orleans-area employees to return to their regular stations in the first and second quarters of 2006."


PR Newswire: I/O Announces Technology Alliance With Transform; Collaboration on a Full-Wave Seismic Interpretation Platform.

Press Release: I/O Unveils FireFly Land Seismic Acquisition System.

"FireFly is scheduled for commercial release in late 2006...."

Press Release: Seitel Announces Third Quarter Results.

"For the third quarter, the company reported a net loss of $2.3 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to a net loss of $80.6 million or $0.76 per share in the third quarter of last year."

Business Wire: Paradigm Chooses Dell-Powered Supercomputing Cluster.

Business Wire: AMD touts Opteron Processor at SEG.

Houston Chronicle: Defying damage by storms.

"On Monday, 51 percent of oil production and 45 percent of natural gas production in the Gulf remained off line." ...

"‘Sure, the hurricanes were bad, but there are a lot worse places to work in the world,’ [said David Pursell, an analyst with Pickering Energy Partners.]"


I'll be spending the next few days at the SEG meeting here in Houston. Maybe I'll see you there.

Tim Bradner, Alaska Journal of Commerce: BP May Employ 'Super Rig' for Record Reach at Liberty.

"BP Alaska Exploration (Alaska) Inc. says it may build a "super rig" to drill long, extended-reach wells that may be needed to produce the Liberty oil field, located five miles off Alaska's northern coast."


Houston Chronicle: Spinning tar into oil in Alberta.

"From above Fort McMurray, hundreds of miles north of the U.S. border, the landscape looks more like the cratered surface of the moon than the boreal forest of Alberta. The sandy soil is sticky with crude, so energy companies have rushed in to clear-cut the land and strip mine for oil where vast stretches of pines and firs once stood."

The Independent, London: Putin Chastises Shell Over Soaring Sakhalin Bill.

"Mr Putin told the group's chief executive Jeroen van der Veer the Kremlin would not allow the energy titan to double its investment to $20bn (pounds 11bn) as it has requested."


Xinhua Financial News: IEA Warns Oil Price May Rise 50% if Saudi Arabia Does Not Meet Capacity.

"The International Energy Agency said oil prices could rise a further 50% by 2030 if Saudi Arabia does not muster the political will to invest billions of dollars in new production."

Reuters: US Senate backs oil drilling in Alaskan refuge.

"The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), narrowly rejecting a Democratic attempt to strike the plan from a budget bill."

KTUU, Alaska: If ANWR development occurs, seismic surveys must be completed.

"Everyone agrees if the budget bill passes intact, one thing will be at the forefront for the oil companies, conducting seismic surveys in the so-called 10-02 area, a 1.5 million acre section of the wildlife refuge."

Homer News, Alaska: Exploration work continues off Anchor Point.

"Under a contract from ConocoPhillips Alaska, Veritas Geophysical has been doing testing between a half mile and six miles along the coast from Happy Valley to the mouth of the Anchor River."

Houston Business Journal: MMS shifts most operations back to New Orleans.


Houston Chronicle: Backlash forms over oil profits.

"Exxon Mobil has taken out ads in major daily newspapers comparing oil and gas company earnings with other sectors.... The ad shows energy companies earning 7.7 cents per dollar of revenue, and Exxon Mobil 8.6 cents, versus 7.9 cents for U.S. industry overall."

Provo Daily Herald, UT: Truck driver charged in U.S. 6 explosion.

"[Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson] said it took two months to file the charges against Stewart because Utah Highway Patrol investigators wanted to determine the total financial losses resulting from the destruction. That price tag, Bryson said, is approximately $600,000, including repairs to the highway, the Union Pacific railroad tracks, utility infrastructure and the semitrailer and its cargo." ...

"The price tag does not factor in the costs incurred by the U.S. Forest Service for suppressing the wildfires in Spanish Fork Canyon caused by the blast nor private property damage to other vehicles."


Rhonda Duey, Hart's E&P: Changing the game.

"... I've recently written about ... the Mission-Oriented Seismic Research Program (M-OSRP) at the University of Houston. Led by Dr. Art Weglein, the goal of the program is to find truly game-changing ways to improve seismic imaging in the world's most challenging geologic environments.

"Simon Shaw is now with ConocoPhillips after graduating from the program in 2005. His contribution to the program was a new algorithm that can bypass the need for an accurate velocity model in depth migration, an important seismic processing step prior to interpretation."

China View: China, Viet Nam firms to jointly explore oil and gas.

"President Hu Jintao yesterday became the first foreign leader to address Viet Nam's parliament, as he called for closer links between Beijing and Hanoi."

Walter Kessinger

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