Stale Thoughts and Broken Links

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


Houston Chronicle: The year's top business stories -- Oil's not yet $100, but it's poised to get there.

"But the real run-up burst in September, when prices left the July 2006 high of $77.03 in the dust to breach $80. By Halloween, prices had surpassed $90 and closed at the year's high of $98.18 the day after Thanksgiving."

The Christian Science Monitor: Oil prices may go down in 2008.

"Behind the predictions: a slowing US economy and stronger production from both OPEC and non-OPEC sources. In addition, tensions with Iran seem to have eased somewhat, and the supply of oil from northern Iraq appears to be better."

WSJ (subscription): Oil Firms Are Called to Talks On Stalled Kashagan Project.

"With its 13 billion barrels of recoverable reserves, Kashagan is one of the largest discoveries of the past 30 years. Development of the oil field has been stalled for the past six months amid a dispute between the foreign consortium and Kazakh authorities, who were demanding a bigger share of the project's returns."


Thomson Financial News: Petroleum Geo-Services' 400 mln usd convertible bond rated 'B' by S&P.

"S&P said the rating is notched down twice from the 'BB-' corporate rating, as Petroleum Geo-Services' prioritized debt to assets exceeds 30 pct...."

I think this is different than the two Fugro ship orders from earlier this month --

Hydro International: Fugro Orders Geophysical Survey Vessel.

"The Fugro Searcher will be operated by Fugro Survey Limited of Aberdeen."


Reuters: Norway's PGS warns of margin shortfall.

"Margins at Norwegian seismic surveyor Petroleum Geo-Services will fall short of expectations this year as its vessels spent longer than forecast in dry dock.... But PGS said several recent contracts awarded ‘at terms well above 2007 levels’ reinforced its expectations of a strong 2008 and lifted the combined backlog of orders for the marine and onshore business to a record of about $950 million."

Reuters: Ion Geophysical sees revenue of $780 mln to $830 mln in 2008.

Houston Chronicle: BP's delayed Atlantis platform now pumping.

"The semi-submersible platform, moored in more than 7,000 feet of water, has a capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil and 180 million cubic feet of gas per day." ...

"The next milestone for BP will be the startup of Thunder Horse, the biggest offshore platform in the world with capacity to produce 250,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day.... Thunder Horse is now slated to begin production next year."

Once again the seismic industry gets tarred by the US Navy's experimental sonar exercises --

NYT: Of Humans, Oil, and Whales.

"We know from the hemorrhaging of other whales elsewhere, especially Orca and Beaked whales, from the Navy's exercises that the effects can be tragically lethal."


Houston Business Journal: 'Robust environment' ahead for energy industry, report says.

"Oil and gas producers are predicted to have a good year in 2008, according to a report by Ernst & Young's Global Oil & Gas Center." ...

"If implemented by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, international financial reporting standards could transform global financial operations.... IFRS could be a watershed event for global oil and gas companies."

S&P: S&P raises CGG-Veritas on strong performance.

"Competitive advantages include the global reach of its 20-vessel seismic data-acquisition fleet, access to advanced modern equipment and technology, and an attractive and growing seismic data library, notably for the Gulf of Mexico. Offsetting credit weaknesses are the sector's intense competition, the continued high cyclicality for the offshore segment -- principally because of rapid new-build of marine vessels rather than because of demand, which is anticipated to stay strong -- together with our expectation that current record demand for SERCEL equipment will return to more normalized levels from 2009 onward."

Engineer Live: Time-lapse seismic surveying.

"A measure of how important Time-lapse (or 4D) seismic has become is that in the order of 75 per cent of current seismic survey work on the North-west Europe Continental Shelf, of which the North Sea is the largest component, relates to 4D assessment of existing fields, primarily in the Norwegian and UK sectors."


Financial Week: SEC to consider changes to accounting for oil and gas reserves.

"The current reserve requirements date back to the 1970s, and a number of new techniques, including 3-D seismic interpretation, have improved oil company reserve estimates, some experts say.... In 2004, the SEC allowed some oil companies to use seismic data to justify reserves in the Gulf of Mexico."

Reuters: TGS-Nopec teams with WesternGeco for GoM project.

"Norwegian seismic surveyor TGS-Nopec has agreed to cooperate with U.S. oilfield services group Schlumberger's WesternGeco seismic unit for a multi-client project in the Gulf of Mexico starting in 2008." ...

"TGS-Nopec said it regreted that its merger partner Wavefield Inseis declined to participate."

Reuters: Norwegian seismic tie-up takes nasty tone.

"TGS's plan to buy Wavefield hit a bump after a TGS warning in October of weaker-than-expected revenues for the third quarter knocked the value of the deal to Wavefield shareholders, who then asked the Wavefield board to halt the merger."

Penn Energy: Eastern Echo orders two seismic boats.

"Eastern Echo has signed shipbuilding contracts with Dubai Drydocks, and design and equipment contracts with Ulstein Design AS for two 12-streamer seismic vessels."

Offshore Shipping Online: Fugro signs contract for two new vessels.

"The contract includes construction of a seismic vessel and a ROV offshore construction vessel with a combined value of around Euros 150 million."


O&GJ: Global E&P spending forecast to rise 11% in 2008.

"Global capital expenditures for exploration and production companies is expected to increase 11% to $332 billion in 2008, according to the latest spending survey released Dec. 10 by Lehman Bros." ...

"The survey found that increases in spending outside North America will be ‘substantially stronger’ than that in North America."

Houston Chronicle: Oil-field services firms may have to consolidate to compete, exec says.

"[Chad Deaton, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Baker Hughes said] mergers in the sector will be driven by the need to acquire more technology and to strengthen balance sheets...."

Houston Business Journal: Seismic activity boosts OYO Geospace's net income.

"For the year, net income was $19.6 million, or $3.23 per share, on sales of $138.1 million, compared with net income of $9.8 million, or $1.64 per share, on sales of $103.7 million in the prior year."

AFX News Limited: StatoilHydro Secures Six Seismic Vessels.

"The deal's value is estimated at US$325 million. Secured seismic capacity includes three Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) vessels, Ramform Challenger, Ramform Sovereign and Atlantic Explorer, as well as Fugro Geoteam's Geo Celtic, Wavefield Inseis's Geowave Commander and Western Geco's Geco Triton."

AFX News Limited: PGS to offer notes for 400 mln USD.

"Petroleum Geo-Services said it is to make an offering of approximately 400 mln usd in convertible notes due 2012 to fund the acquisition of Arrow Seismic."

The Beaumont Enterprise: Many residents grow tired of seismic testing.

"Since the Lake Ronel Oil Co. began testing for oil and gas about three miles below the surface, Orange county and city officials have received complaints about damage residents say the testing has caused."


Beaumont Enterprise, Texas: Seismic testers, Beaumont residents hope to avoid bad vibrations.

"Joe Crownover, an area manager with Vibra-Tech vibration monitoring experts, explained the U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted tests to determine how much velocity a home could withstand. At a particle disturbance rate of four inches per second, a home immediately suffered minor damage that included cracks at the door. The work being proposed will have a disruption rate of .5 inch per second." ...

"‘I am not going to tell you you are not going to feel anything. You are sitting right here and you can feel the trains out there,’ [Fred Griggs, Lake Ronel's senior geophysicist,] said to council members as trains were switching on the tracks behind City Hall. ‘It will be less than the construction going on on the second floor.’"

Offshore Shipping Online: GeoStreamer starts to make waves.

"PGS has announced that its next generation streamer, a revolutionary dual sensor seismic streamer, is to be named GeoStreamer."

"The company says GeoStreamer ‘marks a significant step in the development of marine seismic recording, being the first ever towed streamer to successfully house both pressure and velocity sensors, thereby delivering enhanced resolution and deeper penetration to provide a higher quality, deghosted seismic image.’"

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Dawson Geophysical reports record results.

"Dawson Geophysical Company reported record revenues of $257,763,000 for its fiscal year ending September 30, 2007 compared to $168,550,000 for fiscal 2006, an increase of 53 percent."

UPI: India claims oil gains.

"India says its reserve replacement ratio has been more than one over the past five years."

PR Newswire: Paradigm Signs Multi-Year Agreement to Provide Interpretation and Modeling Software to Chevron.

Walter Kessinger

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