Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


NYT: At Exxon Mobil, a Record Profit but No Fanfare.

"‘We take these issues very seriously,’ said Mark Boudreaux, a company spokesman. ‘We realized that we needed to do a better job of explaining how the industry works.’

"To help make its case, the company organized slide shows for groups of journalists ahead of the report, explaining that its operations accounted for only 3 percent of global oil production."

Christian Science Monitor: New Orleans lands a big corporate fish. Will others get away?

"It came as a surprise ... when Shell Exploration & Production Co. announced it would return its 1,000 workers to the hurricane-scrubbed city -- especially because the company had toyed with the idea of leaving even before Katrina."


Reuters: ExxonMobil sees crude prices falling.

"Exxon is ramping up operations in Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, where it believes its leases could hold as much as 7 billion to 10 billion barrels of oil." ...

"A promising seismic study in 2004 by independent U.S. exploration company Vanco Energy sparked interest in its potential, but Madagascar's prospects are still not well-mapped."

Alaska Journal of Commerce: ConocoPhillips, BP to invest millions in Alaska projects.

"ConocoPhillips plans 3-D seismic surveys this summer on 378,000 acres of highly prospective lands in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska recently opened for leasing by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, [ConocoPhillips' Alaska president Jim Bowles] said. The company will also participate in a 3-D survey in the Chukchi Sea, an Outer Continental Shelf offshore area west of the North Slope, he said."

Burleson-Crowley Connection: Seismic testing crews to check 4,000 city acres.

"Another type of testing will have large trucks traveling through city streets, conducting tests lasting just a few minutes that will not be as loud as standing next to a passing locomotive.... Homeowners might feel slight shaking in their homes or on the street, but little or none if theyıre standing on soil."

Press Release: Dawson Geophysical Company Announces Fielding of Additional Crew.

"The additional crew will bring the Company's total crew count to twelve."


CGG: Record Backlog Close to One Billion Dollars.

"Backlog for the CGG Services division as of January 1, 2006 was $758 million, up 112 % year on year. This strong increase comes mainly from the Offshore business unit and reflects the good market conditions prevailing in this sector."

Press Release: MMS to Hold Oil and Gas Lease Sale in New Orleans.

"The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service will hold its upcoming oil and gas lease sale in downtown New Orleans this March. The annual sale will cover the Central Gulf of Mexico planning area."


O&GJ: Veritas DGC to open Caspian data library.

"... an exclusive agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Kazakhstan for the acquisition of non-exclusive seismic data over the entire open acreage of the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea."

Houston Chronicle: Gulf waters attract two $1 billion deals.

"Cal Dive International will pay $1.4 billion for Dallas-based Remington Oil and Gas Corp., which has assets in offshore waters that mainly produce natural gas. And W&T Offshore will pay $1.3 billion for Oklahoma City-based Kerr-McGee Corp.'s shelf properties in the Gulf."

O&GJ: Saudis, Chinese agree to landmark energy accord.

" Neither side provided any details of the agreement, but Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal underlined Hu's remarks on hydrocarbons as a main theme of the summit, saying ‘China is one of the most important markets for oil and Saudi oil is one of the most important sources of energy for China.’"


AP: Necropsy Performed on River Thames Whale.

"A marine mammal expert conducted a necropsy Sunday on the whale that wandered into the River Thames, hoping to determine what caused the 20-foot-long animal to veer off course and splash through central London before dying during Saturday's rescue attempt." ...

"Woodley said it was too early to say what caused the whale to become lost, and he dismissed as speculation suggestions the mammal may have been disoriented because of sonar signals from navy ships in the North Sea."

> Some of the speculation --

The Independent, UK: Sonar threat to world's whales.

> As usual, this article doesn't make much distinction between military sonar and marine seismic exploration.

> Clearly, there is strong empirical evidence linking a handful of mass whale beachings to the use of military sonar. However, the Australian case that they sight as a link to seismic exploration is pure bunk.


I like this --

Press Release: PGS Says Ramform Valiant has Record Month Offshore Brazil.

"The Ramform Valiant acquired 4,656 sail kilometers during the month of December while working in the Camamu Almada Basin, offshore Brazil. Towing a streamer configuration of 10 x 6,000 meter long streamers at 100 meter streamer separation, this translates to 2,328 square kilometers in a single month! This is believed to be a new world record for any seismic vessel."

> Why don't more press releases use exclamation points?

Dow Jones: Schlumberger Doubles Net, Sees More Growth.

"The more than doubling in operating income at WesternGeco in the December quarter from a year ago stemmed in part from continued acceptance of advanced Q-vessel technology and showed the strong resurgence in interest in exploration, the company said."

MMS Releases Offshore Facilities Impact Assessment from Hurricanes.

"MMS estimates that 3,050 of the Gulf's 4,000 platforms and 22,000 of the 33,000 miles of Gulf pipelines were in the direct path of either Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita.... However, there was no loss of life or significant oil spills from wells on the outer continental shelf (OCS) attributed to either storm."


Press Release: Veritas to Perform Wide-Azimuth Survey for BP in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The six-month program, which has a minimum value of over US $50 million, is expected to commence in the summer of 2006."

Casper Star Tribune: Judge halts seismic survey.

"A federal administrative appeals judge has halted an oil and gas seismic survey project proposed for the Adobe Town area of southwest Wyoming's Red Desert."

FWN Financial News: IEA: 2006 World Oil Demand Unchanged.

"The International Energy Agency said Tuesday that global energy demand is still expected to grow by 2.2% in 2006, adding producer fears about the impact of traditionally weaker demand in the second quarter aren't justified."

Newsweek: The Saudis May Have Enough Oil.

"Between 1984 and 1988, the five largest Persian Gulf oil countries -- led by Saudi Arabia -- raised estimates of proven oil reserves by 40 percent, or a total of 237 billion barrels." ...

"All the OPEC countries did in the late '80s was to adopt more realistic estimates. Nor is it surprising that the estimates have remained stable since: rising prices allow producers to shift more oil into the category of economically accessible reserves, and most Persian Gulf states have invested in exploration at a rate designed to replace existing reserves."


O.K., one more post on last year's late summer hurricanes. Here's a nice graphic from the MMS showing the tracks that Rita and Katrina made through GOM offshore platforms --


Something I found recently on the Lamont-Doherty web site --

John Diebold's take on Lamont's History.

"The air guns were fine for reflection profiling, but to determine deeper structure, like the depth of the crust-mantle transition [the Mohorovic -- "Moho"] discontinuity required more power." ...

"Chief scientists Bill Ludwig and John Ewing taught me the strict rules we followed, in the successful hope of preventing another accident like the one that killed John Hennion. I have never found another task that held my attention quite the way that cutting fuse, crimping blasting caps, strapping together blocks of high explosives, lighting the fuse, and dropping the charges over the rail did."

PR Newswire: TGC Industries Announces Agreement to Acquire Seven New Vibration Vehicles.

"TGC Industries, Inc. announced today that the Company has entered into a Purchase Agreement with Industrial Vehicles International, Inc.... After receipt of these 16 new vibration vehicles in 2006 (nine in the first quarter and seven in the third quarter), the Company will own a total of 34 vibration vehicles."


O&GJ: Norway/UK geophsyical merger.

"Norway's Global Geo Services and UK geophysical services company Spectrum have agreed to merge their business interests."

Houston Business Journal: Rock Solid Images opens office in Malaysia.


Houston Business Journal: Cash-flush energy companies ready to loosen purse strings.

"With an estimated $75 billion in cash in their coffers, the world's 20 largest oil and gas companies are expected to go on a spending spree in 2006. They'll be increasing their combined exploration and production budgets by as much as 15 percent.

"And they'll also be spending cash on more mergers and acquisitions."

Reuters: Trinidad issues arrest warrant for energy minister.

"The charges allege that [Energy Minister Eric Williams] received around $12,000 in bribes in return for ensuring that Dhansook's company, Geoseis Services Ltd., won a contract to supply labor to a seismic survey project."

Caribbean Net News: Trinidad's Energy Minister resigns following bribery allegations.

PR Newswire: TGC Industries Announces the Deployment of Its Sixth Field Acquisition Crew.

Newsday: Sarah Hughes is a Yale student now.

"Absent from this week's Olympic trials, figure skating's reigning gold medalist .... currently is a sophomore at Yale University.... Required Spanish, geology and geophysics courses, plus classes in psychology and linguistics kept her busy last semester."


Perry A. Fischer, World Oil: Efficacy of passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals set to improve.

"Of all of the mitigation effort and expense that's been placed on the seismic industry, it's Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) that simultaneously holds the most promise to unambiguously detect marine mammals at a substantial distance, but also has a huge potential for misuse through premature deployment, without knowing its efficacy, thereby running up millions of dollars in useless expense."

Press Release: OYO Geospace Receives $7.0 Million Order for Seabed Acquisition System.

"OYO Geospace reported that the Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting (BGP), one of the world's largest seismic data acquisition service contractors, entered into a $7.0 million sales contract with the company for a retrievable seabed data acquisition system."

O&GJ: PGS starts new 3D campaign in Brazil.

> Two campaigns, in fact.


Business Wire: Veritas DGC Inc. and Eidesvik Agree on Charter of New Seismic Vessel.

"When delivered ... in February 2007, the vessel will be the seventh seismic vessel in the Veritas fleet...."

The UK Herald: Oil exploration firm rocked by drilling failure.

"However, Philip Rhind, chief executive, suggested shareholders should be philosophical about the reverses, insisting Bowleven's prospects in Cameroon remained bright. ‘This is not a disaster, this is the nature of the exploration business,’ he said."

> It's the risk part of that "high risk, high reward" equation.


O&GJ: MMS to move OCS regulation beyond oil, gas.

"MMS published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the Dec. 28, 2005, Federal Register of a program to regulate alternative energy activities, such as generation of electricity from wind or ocean waves, on the [Outer Continental Shelf]."

> As a fifteen-year-old high school debater in the late 1970s, I spent a year arguing energy policy. My partner and I proposed developing offshore OTC -- ocean thermal conversion -- power generation plants.

> No one asked us whether an OTC plant would withstand a hurricane, though.

Press Release: TGS Announces New Gulf of Mexico Multi-Client 3D Survey -- Eastern Delta.

"The company has contracted Reservoir Exploration Technology to perform the acquisition of the 1800 square kilometer survey utilizing a Vector-Seis Ocean Bottom Cable recording system."

Houston Business Journal: Chevron, Anadarko outline Big Foot oil discovery.

"Operated by a Chevron subsidiary, the Big Foot #2 discovery well is located in about 5,000 feet of water and was drilled to a total depth of 25,127 feet."


Slate: How Do You Steal Gas From a Pipeline?

"Pipeline thefts are relatively rare in the United States, where most equipment is buried at least five feet underground. Still, there are plenty of long, unguarded stretches of pipeline."


Houston Chronicle: Gasoline prices changing habits, a little at a time.

"According to a recent survey, more than 70 percent of consumers said it would take gasoline prices greater than $3 a gallon to force them to replace their current vehicles with more fuel-efficient alternatives."

Walter Kessinger

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