Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Press Release: PGS -- Option for Second New Ramform Vessel Exercised.

"Petroleum Geo-Services ASA announced today that it has decided to exercise the option with Aker Yards, Langsten to build an additional new third generation Ramform vessel, ‘Ramform 8.’"

PR Newswire: CGG-Sercel Acquires Vibtech.

"Based in Scotland, Vibtech, founded in 1996, has pioneered the use of advanced wireless technologies for seismic recording."

Mercury News: 'Hotbed' of economic espionage -- Silicon Valley.

"In 2004, a Chinese national affiliated with the Chinese state-owned oil company PetroChina, was convicted in the United States for illegally accessing the computer network at 3DGeo, a seismic imaging firm in Mountain View." ....

"The incident hurt 3DGeo's business in China, said president Dimitri Bevc. But now the two companies have made peace and are in discussions to renew business ties.... ‘There's still opportunity for us in China.’"


The Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Scientists look for recruits.

"In recent years, the number of experienced micropaleontologists has dwindled, and they are not being replaced because many universities in the United States don't even teach the subject anymore."

> My dad used to teach micropaleontology in Lafayette. I thought his college was the last one in the country to require it as part of the geology curriculum. Apparently not --

"At places like the University of Nebraska, the field is being taught to a new generation.... David Watkins, a micropaleontologist and chairman of Nebraska's department of geology, said it's something that the university is committed to."

Press Release: ONGC Extends Q-Marine Contract Offshore India.

"Under the existing contract, ONGC utilized two Q-Marine vessels throughout the 2005-2006 acquisition season in offshore India. New surveys, covering targeted areas along the eastern and western coasts of India, commit two WesternGeco Q-Marine vessels to ONGC for a further two seasons."

Press Release: TGS-NOPEC Establishes Russian Subsidiary, Opens Office in Moscow.


NYT: British Science Group Says Exxon Misrepresents Climate Issues.

"A British scientific group, the Royal Society, contends that Exxon Mobil is spreading ‘inaccurate and misleading’ information about climate change and is financing groups that misinform the public on the issue."

Press Release: Avista Capital Partners Invests $100 Million in Geokinetics.

"Avista Capital Partners ... today announced it has invested $100 million in Geokinetics Inc. to partially finance Geokinetics' previously announced $125 million acquisition of Grant Geophysical...."


MSNBC: Oil company wins round over whale impacts.

Anchorage Daily News: Judge favors Conoco in whale-noise suit.

"Conoco issued a statement saying it was pleased with the judge's ruling.

"‘We appealed the permit conditions because we do not believe there is scientific support for the requirement to monitor for whales in an area 2,000 times the size of monitoring zones imposed in the past,’ the statement said."

NYT: Who Produces the Most Oil? Not Who You Think.

"... those not attuned to the finer points of the oil market may have missed a shift in the rankings over the summer, as Russia sneaked past the Saudis to top the list, with a six-month average of 9.37 million barrels a day, compared with 9.32 million for the ex-champ."


Houston Chronicle: Giant BP oil platform won't start up until 2008.

"BP said today the startup of its Thunder Horse production platform will be delayed until the middle of 2008 due to problems with subsea equipment."

India Financial Express: Penalties on ONGC, Reliance recommended.

"The DGH levied a penalty of 7.275 million dollars on RIL for failing to do a 3D seismic survey and drill two exploratory well on block KG-OSN-97/3 and 2.645 million dollars for unfinished 2D and 3D seismic survey and one undrilled exploratory well on block KG-OSN-97/4."


Anchorage Daily News: Conoco disputes sonic test regulation.

"Conoco Phillips is suing the federal government, seeking relief from tightened rules for protecting Arctic Ocean whales from disturbance by offshore seismic work." ...

"Central to Conoco's suit is that NMFS adjusted down the sound level that must be monitored, from 180 decibels to as low as 120 decibels. This greatly expands the territory the company must monitor, the suit says."

Oil Online: Schlumberger and Apache collaborate on commercialization of data whitening technology.

"Schlumberger has announced that WesternGeco has acquired the rights to a data whitening technology from Apache Corporation." ...

‘The Monk-Whitening algorithm has proven to enhance 3D seismic data, providing more detailed images than traditional techniques,’ said Mike Bahorich, executive vice president, E&P Technology, Apache."

Houston Chronicle: BP takes part in office boom.

"Oil giant BP is planning a major expansion of its West Houston campus to accommodate 2,000 new workers over the next few years."


Houston Chronicle: Oil lease blunder hidden 6 years.

"Interior Department officials realized in 2000 that their offshore lease agreements with oil companies shortchanged American taxpayers, but they covered up their multibillion-dollar mistake for six years, an investigator said Wednesday." ...

"Nearly 30 different Interior Department officials were required to sign off on those lease agreements [in 1998 and 1999], but no one apparently caught the omission."

"The oil companies, however, did notice the change. Chevron officials met with Chris Oynes, MMS' regional director, three times in 1998 and 1999 to discuss the lack of price triggers, according to a subcommittee memo. Oynes told lawmakers at a previous hearing he did not recall those conversations."

Reuters: Ten oil companies may renegotiate drill leases.

"The U.S. Interior Department told Congress on Thursday that about 10 oil companies have shown an interest in renegotiating drilling leases that at present would allow the companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in royalties normally owed on oil and natural gas found in the Gulf of Mexico."

AP: Kazakh Oil Company to Conduct Oil Survey .

"Oil India Ltd., a state-owned exploration firm, said Wednesday that it has hired a Kazakh company to conduct a seismic survey in the country's northeast as part of efforts to find new oil sources in the region."


Los Angeles Times: Oil Projects Idle as Supply of Gear, Staff Runs Dry.

"The drilling rigs, seismic equipment, technical personnel and other necessities of oil exploration have become so scarce that Colombia and other oil producers are being forced to idle key oil projects until they can scrape together the machinery and staffing. Hold-ups of more than a year are common."

WSJ (subscription): Chinese Official Calls On U.S. To Jointly Develop Oil Fields.

"Zhang Guobao, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the U.S. and China, the world's two biggest oil consumers, ‘need to oppose the cold war mentality’ and work together to guarantee stable world oil supplies and prices."

PR Newswire: Geokinetics Acquires Grant Geophysical.

"... Geokinetics Inc. announced [yesterday] that it completed the purchase of Grant Geophysical, Inc. on September 8, 2006 for $125 million cash"

OIl Online: Geotrace acquires Tigress Geosciences.

AFX News: Petroleum Geo-Services re-enters Gulf of Mexico with new seismic survey .

"The firm said the planned survey, which has been named 'Crystal', covers the areas of Garden Banks, Keathley Canyon, Green Canyon and Walker Ridge, and is approximately 401 deepwater OCS blocks, or 9,345 square km in size."

Reuters: Mitcham Industries shares down as earnings fall.

"... the [Canadian] geophysical equipment supplier reported weaker-than-expected earnings."


Houston Chronicle: Stormy world of energy has a clear forecaster.

"Groppe sees oil hovering in a range of no less than $55 to $65 a barrel for the next 10 years and likely much more because unforeseeable political unrest and weather will drive prices up."


Houston Chronicle: Deal's aim is to create seismic giant. Geophysique of Paris buying Houston's Veritas.

"The Houston offices of the combined CGG-Veritas would cover the Western Hemisphere, and the Paris offices of the new company would cover the Eastern Hemisphere...."

"Together, the two surveyors would employ 7,000 people. Their combined sales last year were $1.7 billion."

> The CGG web site has a nice PDF presentation on the merger. This graph shows the relative sizes of the major seismic contractors, with and without Sercel:

> I wonder where BGP would fit on this chart?

The LA Times probably has the best article covering the Chevron production test. Be sure to click on the graphic --

LA Times: Chevron Reports Major Oil Field Find.

"San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron, whose partners include Devon Energy Corp. of Oklahoma and Norway's Statoil, wouldn't quantify the size of its find, except to note that the gulf's deep waters could hold 3 billion to 15 billion barrels of oil -- at the high end, a more than 50% boost to U.S. petroleum reserves."

Jackson Hole Star Tribune: Deal allows seismic work to proceed.

"An agreement between an oil and gas company and a conservation group will allow seismic exploration to proceed in an area of the Big Horn Basin considered important sage grouse habitat."


Captial One Southcoast: Veritas DCG "buy".

"... analysts mention that Veritas DCG's share price has appreciated by 12% since August 28 due to speculations of the potential acquisition of the company by Petroleum Geo-Services ASA."

> Nope! --

Reuters: France's CGG to buy Veritas in $3.1 bln deal.

"French energy services group Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG) is to buy Texas-based Veritas DGC Inc. in a $3.1 billion deal that will make it the world's biggest listed provider of seismic surveys."

Bloomberg: Geophysique Plans to Buy Veritas for $3.1 Billion.

"The new company, to be called CGG-Veritas, will surpass Schlumberger Ltd.'s WesternGeco unit, currently the market leader."

Market Wire: Veritas DGC Inc. Terminates Discussions Relating to Sale of Land Seismic Acquisition Business.

"Veritas DGC Inc. announced today that on September 4, 2006, it terminated its discussions with Matco Capital Ltd. (Matco) relating to the possible sale of Veritas's land seismic acquisition business."

WSJ (subscription): In Gulf of Mexico, Industry Closes In On New Oil Source.

"With three-quarters of the world's oil and natural-gas resources off-limits to Western oil companies, the high oil prices swelling their coffers have encouraged them to take bigger financial risks in search of new sources of oil." ...

"With the Jack well, Chevron and its partners are hoping to kick off a new wave of Gulf of Mexico exploration. Since the first oil derricks went up in Gulf waters in 1947, more than 99% of the oil and natural-gas molecules have been sucked out of rocks no more than 24 million years old. The Jack well and others in the region are drilled into older rocks that remain largely unexplored."

BBC: Has oil production finally peaked?

"Given all the potential advances, petroleum geologist William Fisher from the University of Texas believes we have a long time to go before any kind of peak emerges." ...

"‘My own sense is that we won't find a peak, and that there will probably be a demand peak that will probably come in 25 or 30 years.’"

> What a killjoy! Oh, well, that should get me to the end of my career.

Forbes: Schlumberger Shares Seen As Attractive.

Walter Kessinger

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