Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


NYT: 2 Oil Firms Are Defiant in Venezuela.

"The investments at stake are large by any measure, with values ranging from $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion for Conoco if Venezuela takes ownership of its heavy oil projects. Exxon stands to lose about $800 million. More than $6 billion may be lost by other private companies, depending on how they are compensated."

WSJ (subscription): Exxon, Conoco Exit Venezuela Under Pressure.

"Conoco isn't throwing in the towel in Venezuela yet. By not signing a deal, the Houston company kept open the option of pursuing compensation through arbitration. Exxon declined to say if would consider arbitration. Western companies successfully used the tactic after Libya nationalized its oil fields in the early 1970s."


Houston Chronicle: ConocoPhillips to leave Venezuela, source says.

"The decision came a day before the deadline to decide the fate of projects capable of pumping almost 600,000 barrels a day of extra-heavy crude from the Faja del Orinoco region. ConocoPhillips will abandon four projects."

WSJ (subscription): ConocoPhillips To Walk Away From Venezuela.

"Attempts to meet the Venezuelan government halfway were unsuccessful, said the person familiar with the matter, so ConocoPhillips decided to end talks and preserve its right to seek international arbitration. Venezuela has assets in the U.S., including refineries owned by PDVSA's Citgo Petroleum Corp."

WSJ (subscription): Fleeing Chávez, Oil Workers Flock To Frigid Alberta.

"Frigid, remote Alberta has become one of the world's fastest growing enclaves of Venezuelans, rivaling such warm-weather spots as Weston, Fla., outside Miami; and Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston. There are now 3,000 Venezuelan-Albertan families, up from 800 or so last year."

Merco Press: Norwegian vessel seismic surveying in Falklands and Uruguay.

The Bohol Chronicle: Petition to stop oil survey filed.

"The petition stated that the conduct of seismic surveys in the Bohol Strait will cause ‘irreparable harm’ to marine life as proven by different studies."

The Assam Tribune, Guwahati: People's consent must for development projects.

"Peoples in the region have been losing their right over resources both under colonial regime and also in the hands of the post-colonial Indian state. They have hence doubted link of the proposed seismic survey with the neo-imperial objective of extraction of oil, the participants said and demanded immediate revocation of the decision to undertake the survey."


Associated Press: World oil reserves used up faster than they're being found.

"The world's major oil companies replaced reserves at levels below 100 percent for the third straight year in 2006, even as costs to find and produce the key asset continued to rise, a new analysis shows."


Reuters: Seismic firm PGS buys UK's MTEM for $275 mln.

"MTEM operates two onshore crews, one offshore crew and 67 employees, PGS said. It has its headquarters in Edinburgh and satellite offices in Houston, Calgary and Aberdeen."

AFX News: Fugro wins seismic contract in Mexico from Pemex for 82 mln USD.

"Fugro will acquire and process seismic data over approximately 7,200 square metres in the Gulf of Mexico."

Nickles: Statoil Unleashes New Supercomputer.

"Arild Halsetronning, staff engineer in T&P, ... says it comprises a cluster of 256 interconnected servers with 1,024 processors. It is Scandinavia's biggest and can execute twelve-thousand billion calculations (12 teraflops) per second."

AP: Geokinetics Redeems Notes.

"... redeemed all of its floating rate notes on Thursday for about $113.3 million."


Reuters: BP halts Vietnam exploration plan due China dispute.

"‘In the circumstances, we felt we had to suspend the planned seismic surveys of Block 5.2 in order to give the governments involved the opportunity to resolve the issue,’ spokesman David Nicholas told Reuters."

Offshore Shipping Online: Huge demand for seismic vessels -- tenfold increase in classification requests.

"At present, there are 20 seismic research ships under construction awaiting DNV classification. In 2004, there was only one."

Offshore Shipping Online: New seismic vessel for Fugro.

"Geo Barents is a 3-D seismic acquisition vessel capable of deploying six 6 streamers of up to 9 km in length. The vessel has an overall length of 76.95m."

Press Release: WesternGeco launches the Western Spirit.

"Schlumberger has announced the launch of the Western Spirit, the seventh Q-Marine vessel to join the WesternGeco fleet."

Press Release: WesternGeco releases new technologies for onshore and offshore operations.

"The innovative WesternGeco DSC Dynamic Spread Control, the new Desert Explorer DX-80 vibroseis unit and the MD Sweep Maximum Displacement..."

Reuters: I/O in JV for offshore reservoir monitoring system.

"The seismic solutions provider said it will license technology and contribute personnel to the JV formed along with Reservoir Innovation AS and Hydro Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of a Norsk Hydro ASA subsidiary."

AFX News: Petroleum Geo-Services to establish new 800 mln usd credit facility.

"Petroleum Geo-Services ASA said it is seeking to establish a new 800 mln USD credit facility to repay existing facilities and fund a special 300 mln dividend, announced earlier this year."

AFX News: Petroleum Geo ratings affirmed on debt refinancing, dividend news.

"Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it has affirmed its 'BB-' corporate credit rating on Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) following PGS' announcement that it will seek to refinance existing senior secured debt with 800 mln USD in new senior secured credit facilities as well as fund a one-time special dividend of 300 mln USD."


The Wichita Eagle: Oil industry wild about 3-D process. A new technology that "takes an MRI of the Earth" has a high success rate of locating places to drill.

> That's right. 3-D seismic -- "a new technology." Did I mention that we're in Kansas now?


I linked to the initial TGS press release about the PDS acquisition a couple of months ago, but it didn't mention the purchase price. A friend just pointed this out to me --

Rigzone: TGS Acquires PDS.

"Final consideration included US $56.4 million in cash and 608,865 shares of TGS.... TGS expects the PDS acquisition to generate approximately USD 15 million in net revenues for contract imaging services between now and the end of 2007."

> Whoa! What kind of multiplier is that?

> And take closer look at that "expected net" revenue figure. What was PDS' revenue last year? With 21 employees?


Carrie Dahlberg, Sacramento Bee: Human noise at sea could imperil creatures that depend on sonar.

"When David Mellinger, an Oregon State University specialist in whale acoustics, put microphones deep in the mid-Atlantic, he was startled to find almost constant noise from distant oil and gas exploration -- seismic air guns shot off every 20 seconds to analyze the seabed in search of oil and gas deposits. Air guns, Mellinger and others say, are probably the second largest source of human ocean noise, second to shipping."

Marinelog: First X-bowed seismic ships.

"Newly formed Dubai-based 3-D seismic specialist Eastern Echo has ordered four seismic vessel at Astillero Barrera, Vigo, Spain. The ships will be of Ulstein SX124 design. They will be the first seismic vessels of Ulstein design and will be built with the Ulstein X-bow."

BusinessWire: Seismic Micro-Technology Announces Strategic Investment from Technology Crossover Ventures and JMI Equity.

Oil Week: VGS Seismic swings to profit after revenues jump due to increase in data sold.

"... revenues of $4.2 million for the three months ended March 31 ..."


Dow Jones Newswires: WEC Survey -- Energy Execs See Oil in $60-80 Range for 5 Years.

"Abundant supply, new extraction technologies and accessible resources led many respondents to predict a ‘coal renaissance’ in the next five years." ...

"The main question over the growth of coal was environmental. ‘Coal needs to be clean to be viable. Technologies already exist; the issue is their application,’ said one respondent."

Looks like the GOM infrastructure isn't the only area vulnerable to the weather --

Reuters: Oil hovers at $70 as Middle East cyclone fears ease.

Reuters: Russian Oil, Gas Firms Agree On Output Cut Amid an Excess.

"Russian oil and gas firms showed rare solidarity yesterday, quickly responding to a call from state gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom to cut output to help handle excess gas after an abnormally warm winter."

> Respond quickly or we'll respond for you, comrade!


Barron's: The New Drill Masters.

"Over the past decade or so, the burden of research and development investment has fallen increasingly on the balance sheets of the oil-service companies: the businesses that conduct seismic surveys, undertake geological studies, develop and operate drilling rigs and monitor production.

"‘But service companies have had little success in moving from a fee-for-service compensation model to an incentive-based model,’ says Judson Jacobs, director of upstream technology at Cambridge Energy Research Associates. ‘The big prize is the increased production that results from technology....’"

"‘It's only recently that service companies have started to get paid for their technology, and then it's only selectively,’ [John Dowd, an energy analyst at Fidelity,] notes. ‘The more a new technology reduces the amount of time spent drilling,’ the more willing a client is to pay up."

Mena Report: BP returns to Libya after more than 30 years.

"The initial exploration commitment is set at a minimum of $900 million, with significant additional appraisal and development expenditures upon exploration success."

Houston Business Journal: Geokinetics chief 'pleased with first quarter results'.

"Buoyed by the late-2006 acquisition of Grant Geophysical Inc., Geokinetics Inc. on Thursday reported net income for the first quarter ended March 31 of $6.3 million, or 75 cents per share, on revenue of $110.9 million...."

AP: Shares of Input/Output Near 52-Week High.

Walter Kessinger

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