"Oil prices hit a more than 4 1/2-year low this week, falling 77% in the past five months. On Friday, crude oil for January delivery fell $2.35, or 6.5%, to $33.87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil producers who were enjoying record-setting revenue earlier this year are re-examining projects that now are of questionable value." ...
"Budgets in the U.S. and Canada are being cut the most, as projects in the high-cost oil-sands and unconventional natural-gas fields now make less economic sense. Companies such as Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips have delayed announcing budgets to spend more time assessing the market." ...
"There is a lack of consensus, however, on how to deal with price instability. ‘Of course, everyone agrees the price swings are absolutely mad,’ said Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italian oil company Eni SpA. ‘But to move from this statement to practical action is a different story.’"
Houston Chronicle: Oil companies are hitting the pause button.
"‘If you're looking at a go/no-go decision now, and steel prices are going down, a typical deep-water project gets a quarter of its cost from steel,’ said Candida Scott, an analyst with IHS Energy. ‘If in six months you're going to see that cost come down, it gives pause to the amount of money you're about to spend.’" ...
"Last week the federal government again trimmed its forecast for the 2009 average oil price to $51 from last month's $63.50 -- and that had been cut from a forecast of $101.45."
"The IEA, in its widely watched monthly oil-market report for December, forecast 2008 global oil demand to slide by 0.2%, or 200,000 barrels a day, to 85.8 million barrels a day on average. The outlook, a cut of over 300,000 barrels a day from November, would represent the first demand contraction since 1983."
"The Department of Petroeum Resources (DPR) appears to be enmeshed in a seismic data racketeering scandal.... It was gathered that the National Data Repository (NDR) established in 2005 under the supervision of the DPR has been stripped and available data in its holding given to a private consultancy outfit selling same to the public for personal gain."
Scandinavian Oil - Gas Magazine: CGGVeritas final OK to offer $310M for Wavefield.
"Norwegian competition bureau has given the greelight for Paris-based survey outfit CGGVeritas to buy up all the equity in Norway-based seismic outfit Wavefield Inseis in a $310 million share deal."
Energy Current: Wavefield loses one contract, gains another.
"Wavefield Inseis ASA was awarded the 2009 Ringhorne/Balder/Forseti seismic program offshore Norway by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS." ...
"However, Wavefield also received a letter of cancellation from StatoilHydro related to the four-month contract to acquire 3-D seismic data in the North Sea for the 2009 season."
"Geophysical company CGGVeritas said on 4 December that it has secured a multi-year contract extension with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to perform seismic data processing and imaging services at the Mina Al Fahal site."
Press Release: SeaBird -- Seabed Contract Award From BP.
"SeaBird Exploration Limited has received a letter of award from BP Exploration & Production Inc. for an ocean bottom nodes seismic acquisition survey in Green Canyon, Gulf of Mexico, USA"
"In his new position, Hollis will oversee all operations of the Company, including all business units, sales and manufacturing. Hollis will report to Bob Peebler, who will continue as the Company's Chief Executive Officer."
PR Newswire: ION and PGS Sign Fleet-Wide Agreement for Orca.
"ION Geophysical Corporation today announced that its Concept Systems software group has signed a five-year agreement with Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), one of the leading geophysical companies in the world. The agreement, the largest ever for Concept Systems software, specifies that PGS will upgrade all existing 2D and 3D towed streamer vessels to Orca(R) command & control in a phased manner and that all new-build PGS vessels will be outfitted with Orca upon commissioning. Following successful joint development for Orca's predecessor Spectra, this contract will extend the parties' technology partnership in marine command and control to over 20 years."
Houston Chronicle: Energy job market loses some of its zing.
"... Barton Smith, director of the University of Houston's Institute for Regional Forecasting, warns that this town's immunity from the financial problems plaguing the rest of the U.S. is evaporating." ...
"‘What we don't know here in 2008 is how long this is going to last,’ he says. If a relatively mild recession occurs like the one the U.S. saw in the early 1990s, Smith predicts Houston will lose 20,000 jobs, many in energy, many in 2009. But if the double gut-punches of Americans losing trillions of dollars in home equity and their stock market portfolios at once turn into a ‘lost decade’ situation like Japan saw in the 1990s, Smith says, energy job losses will get ugly."