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Foreland Buys American Liberty’s Gabbs Valley Crude

American Liberty Petroleum Corp. is pleased to announce that on April 19, 2012, Foreland Refining Corporation (“Foreland”) signed an agreement to purchase all of the Company’s crude oil production from the Gabbs Valley oil field in Nye County, Nevada. Foreland operates the Eagle Springs Refinery in Ely, Nevada, in neighboring White Pine County to the east. The refinery receives crude oil from Nevada’s Railroad Valley and other oil wells to process into asphalt, diesel fuel and other petroleum products.

“We’re fortunate to now have an agreement in place with a nearby refiner for the purchase of all subsequent production from our Gabbs Valley-based activities. Our next step is to maximize on the production potential of the Paradise 2-12 well while further exploring our other opportunities in the area.”

Foreland signed the crude oil purchase agreement with Independence Drilling LLC, the designated operator for a joint venture (“the JV”) between American Liberty Petroleum, Cortez Exploration LLC and Desert Discoveries LLC. The JV was formed to acquire and develop oil and gas properties in Nevada with the aim of petroleum production.

According to the terms of the crude oil purchase agreement, Foreland will pay the “Big West Oil” Black Wax crude posting adjusted for gravity and B.S. W. and less freight delivered to Foreland’s Eagle Springs Refinery. Foreland will make its payments via wire transfer of funds on the 20th day of the month following the month of delivery.

American Liberty Petroleum’s President, Alvaro Vollmers, commented: “We’re fortunate to now have an agreement in place with a nearby refiner for the purchase of all subsequent production from our Gabbs Valley-based activities. Our next step is to maximize on the production potential of the Paradise 2-12 well while further exploring our other opportunities in the area.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK?



 


Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=117207&rss=true

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

While overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands operations are still rising, some producers are improving their environmental performance, according to the latest available government data analysed by CanOils, an Evaluate Energy service. Total GHGs from oil sands projects increased 9.3 percent to 62.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2010, this compared with an estimated 13 percent rise in production CanOils estimates. However, efficiency gains by in situ producers were offset by rising GHG per unit emissions from integrated producers. Emissions from integrated projects (those that both extract and upgrade bitumen) increased to an average 119 kg of CO2e per barrel of synthetic crude production in 2010, up from 113 kg per barrel in 2009. In contrast, emissions from in situ projects were down for a second consecutive year, emitting 79 kg for every bitumen barrel of production compared with more than 89 kg in 2007. The combined total average emissions in 2010 were 110 kg CO2e emissions per barrel.

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

Total oil sands production increased to over 1.4 million barrels a day in 2010, an increase of 13 percent on 2009 production for both integrated and in situ operations. In situ production accounted for 41 percent of the total, while integrated production made up the remaining 59%. Despite the increased efficiencies from in situ operations in 2010, the impact of larger producing integrated projects and the escalation in production have meant that total emissions in the oil sands have continued to grow. Integrated projects released 45 million tonnes of oil sands CO2e emissions in 2010, while in situ operations produced 18 million tonnes. These figures were up 9% and 10% respectively on 2009 total emissions.

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

For operators, cutting emissions at the project level is not just about reducing the environmental impact of their projects, it also means a more efficient project and lower operating costs. For in situ projects this is due to the large amount of emissions created by burning natural gas to steam raw bitumen out deep within the oil sands deposits. The efficiency measure for this process is called the steam-to-oil ratio (SOR); as a general rule a low SOR equates to lower emissions per barrel and lower operating costs. In 2010 the Christina Lake project, operated by Cenovus Energy Inc. had the lowest CO2e per barrel of the in situ projects with an average 48.3 kg CO2e emissions per barrel of bitumen produced. Foster Creek which is also operated by Cenovus, was the second most efficient project producing only 53.3 kg CO2e per barrel. The top ten most efficient projects utilised Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technology as opposed to Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS), utilised extensively in Imperial Oil’s Cold Lake operations. The graph below, taken from the CanOils Oil Sands Service, shows how larger projects have better unit efficiencies.

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

23 oil sands extraction and 7 upgrading or integrated projects reported their 2010 GHG emissions, making up 30 of the largest 163 Albertan and 537 total Canadian facilities required to report data. Alberta accounted for 47 percent of total Canadian emissions and oil sands operations approximately 6.9 percent of the total; second to Alberta, Ontario contributed 21 percent. Overall Canada’s 2010 emissions remained stable, increasing by only 0.25 percent to 692 megatons, while the economy grew 3.2 percent in this time.

Efficiency Gains Offset by GHG Rise from Integrated Producers

Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=117210&rss=true

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Sierra Club Files Protest Against LNG Export Facility

Sierra Club Files Protest Against LNG Export Facility

Once upon a time, the Sierra Club supported natural gas as one of the best clean alternative forms of energy. But politics got in the way of common sense and now the Sierra Club trash talks natural gas a “dirty fossil fuel”. Such are the vagaries of the energy debate. The Sierra Club’s latest natural gas objection is to building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Louisiana, a facility just approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Sierra Club filed an official objection (embedded below) with the Department of Energy calling on them to extend their studies of fracking before allowing the facility to be built.

The Sierra Club’s twisted but simple logic is that if the U.S. exports natural gas, that means we’ll drill for more of it, and drilling uses fracking and as “everybody knows” fracking is from the devil himself (Dick Cheney and Halliburton). Fracking is a “dirty and dangerous operating practice” according to the Sierra Club.

From the Sierra Club press release:

The Sierra Club filed a formal protest to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) late today, challenging a proposal to export billions of cubic feet of domestic natural gas from a facility on Lake Charles in Cameron Parish, LA. The Sierra Club’s protest challenges natural gas companies’ efforts to secure liquefied natural gas (LNG) export licenses without acknowledging its damaging effects. DOE is currently studying the effects of exporting as much as a fifth of the domestic gas supply, and the Sierra Club calls for similar studies of the public health and environmental damage caused by increased fracking.

“Exporting natural gas is dirty and dangerous, and puts American families at risk,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club’s action today follows a series of filings in an ongoing effort to protect families from the natural gas industry’s dirty and dangerous operating practices.”

The Sierra Club’s challenge contends that the Cameron export proposal would lead to increased air and water pollution in Louisiana and Texas and raise domestic natural gas prices. The filing calls for a full Environmental Impact Statement to study the extent of this proposed facility’s environmental damages before DOE makes any final decisions. Weighing these threats is particularly important because the oil and gas industry currently exploits numerous loopholes and exceptions in federal safeguards, putting the health and safety of Americans at risk.

Today’s filing is the fifth protest the Sierra Club has brought before DOE and other regulatory bodies, opposing LNG export facilities. The other challenges were filed against Cove Point, MD, Sabine Pass, LA, Coos Bay, OR, and Freeport, TX.*

*Sierra Club (Apr 23, 2012) – Sierra Club Challenges Louisiana Liquefied Natural Gas Export Facility

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April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

PennFuture Releases “Plain Language Guide” to PA Act 13

PennFuture Releases “Plain Language Guide” to PA Act 13

Anti-drilling group PennFuture yesterday released their spin on Pennsylvania’s new Marcellus drilling law called Act 13. Calling it a “Plain Language Guide,” PennFuture takes aim at trying to dismantle the new law by first undermining people’s opinion of the law, and second by threatening to use their considerable $2 million per year war chest to throw at litigation against the new law. A summary of the main points in their new guide is embedded below. A full copy is available at their website by filling out a form (clever marketing to get your personal details for future fundraising appeals).

Here’s the PennFuture press release announcing the Plain Language Guide:

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) today released a new report, “Pennsylvania’s New Oil and Gas Law (Act 13): A Plain Language Guide and Analysis,” which clarifies the provisions of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas law, particularly around drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

“Since this law was signed, there has been a great deal of confusion about the various provisions,” said George Jugovic Jr., president and CEO of PennFuture.

“The law rewrites Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas Law in a very fundamental way,” continued Jugovic. “For the first time, the state is attempting to regulate the shale gas industry, which has been drilling in Pennsylvania for nine years. This plain language report separates rumor from fact, and will help elected officials, public health officers and physicians, and citizens in and out of the drilling fields understand their rights in terms of drilling.”

“PennFuture’s legal staff provides $2 million in pro bono legal work each year, and we intend to devote much of our time to assisting elected officials and citizens understand this new law,” said Brian Glass, chair of PennFuture’s law staff. “We encourage Pennsylvanians to download this plain language guide and to contact us with any questions and concerns. We will post the questions and answers online.”

The full report and the two-page listing of key provisions are available at www.pennfuture.org/marcellus. Questions for PennFuture’s law staff can be posted at www.pennfuture.org/AskTheLawyers.*

*Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (Apr 23, 2012) – PennFuture Releases Plain Language Analysis of Marcellus Law

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April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Bumpy Road Continues for Chesapeake Energy

Bumpy Road Continues for Chesapeake Energy

bumpy road aheadAn update of the ongoing story about Chesapeake Energy and the disclosure that CEO Aubrey McClendon’s has borrowed over $1 billion to help cover drilling costs. Chesapeake’s stock has taken a hit, down 25 percent this month, heading for what may be its worst monthly performance since the global financial crisis in 2008 when the company’s stock ultimately slide 38 percent in a single month.

Energy analysts are at best nervous about the current situation:

“Chesapeake is walking a tightrope right now,” Mark Hanson, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. McClendon “has shown a predilection to outspend, sometimes recklessly.”

Philip Weiss, an analyst at Argus Research in New York, said McClendon and the board should be fired.

A “credibility chasm” between Chesapeake’s management and investors will continue to overshadow the company’s operating performance and will weigh on the share price for at least the next 12 months, said Tim Rezvan and Ryan Mueller, New York-based analysts at Sterne, Agee Leach Inc.*

The situation in brief: McClendon gets a 2.5 percent ownership stake in each well drilled by Chesapeake. But along with that ownership stake comes the responsibility to pony up money to help drill the well. The Chesapeake board says that giving McClendon a 2.5 percent stake in the wells is better than stock options and other forms of compensation because it more closely aligns McClendon’s interests with the interests of the company.

In order to get the cash to cover his portion of the drilling expenses, McClendon mortgages his share of the wells, using them as collateral, to get the money to help drill them. The problem is, natural gas prices are at 10-year historic lows, so his 2.5 percent “asset” is not worth as much as it once was, and it’s not as profitable as it once was. You can spend the fixed cost to drill a well, but if the profit the well returns is less (natural gas prices are down 55 percent from last year this time), you have less money to pay back the loans you used to drill it. So McClendon keeps borrowing to cover the difference between what he pays as his portion to drill the wells, and what he gets back as profit. However, McClendon keeps participating in the 2.5 percent wells ownership plan:

McClendon told the company’s board of directors in September he will participate again this year in the program that the company said lost him more than $600 million in the past three years, according to an April 20 public filing.

During the first quarter, McClendon had $88.1 million in net losses in the wells program after accounting for capital expenses, according to the filing. Full-year losses amounted to $315.3 million, $141.9 million and $116.1 million, respectively, for 2011, 2010 and 2009. The company also reported it cut McClendon’s compensation 15 percent last year to $17.86 million in response to shareholder concerns that he was overpaid.

McClendon now finds himself squeezed between gas prices close to a 10-year low and expanding commitments to fund his drilling costs, Hanson [analyst at Morningstar] said.

“There’s no question that if Aubrey had to come up with that money on his own there is no way he could,” Hanson said.*

In 2008 when the global financial crisis hit, investors called in their loans to McClendon and he had to scramble to cover them. Ultimately, the Chesapeake board gave McClendon an $87 million bailout loan at the time. Would they do it again now?

Prospects for another CEO bailout are slim, said Scott Sprinzen, a Standard Poor’s debt analyst. Chesapeake is unlikely to “again provide what we view as amounting to extraordinary financial support” he said.*

What happens next? Both McClendon personally, and Chesapeake the company, will have to work hard to cover “massive internal funding shortfalls” this year that could reach $9 billion. Their favorite method of raising money is to use a volumetric production payment, or “VPP.” In a VPP, Chesapeake agrees to deliver a certain amount of natural gas over a specified period of time at a given price, in return for up-front cash. Chesapeake has done 10 such VPP deals since 2007 raising $6.4 billion in cash. Looks like they’ll be doing more of them this year.

One thing’s for sure: Never count Aubrey McClendon out. He’s battled back before, and if MDN were betting, we’d bet on McClendon to do it again.

*Akron (OH) Beacon Journal/Bloomberg News (Apr 23, 2012) – Chesapeake’s 25 percent decline linked to CEO’s overspending

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April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Cnooc Sales Rise 3.7% as Oil Prices Counter Output Drop

Cnooc Ltd. (883), China’s biggest
offshore oil and gas explorer, said successes in discovering new
fields in the country will help the company achieve its goal of
as much as 10 percent annual growth in production.

Spending increased 58 percent to 9.64 billion yuan ($1.5
billion) in the first quarter, helping Cnooc make five new
discoveries and drill as many appraisal wells, the Beijing-based
company said in a statement yesterday. Sales rose 3.7 percent as
higher crude prices countered a 6.3 percent drop in production
after oil spills shut China’s largest field in September.

“The exploration and appraisal success rate achieved (was)
the best for some time,” Neil Beveridge, a Hong Kong-based
analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Co., said in a research note
after the production report. “The most important catalyst for
Cnooc remains the restart of Penglai 19-3.”

Cnooc has forecast a 2.7 percent increase in production
this year as it plans to start new fields and awaits government
approval to resume operations at Penglai 19-3. Overseas assets,
including shale-gas acreages in North America, on which the
state-controlled company has bid for about $9 billion in the
last two years, are supplementing output from Chinese fields.

Cnooc has “made significant progress,” Chief Executive
Officer Li Fanrong said in the statement. “These achievements
will strongly support our production growth target of 6 percent
to 10 percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 to 2015.”

Penglai 9-1, located in the eastern part of Bohai Bay, is
among the biggest oil discoveries in the area in recent years,
Cnooc said April 17. Tests at one appraisal well in the field
produced about 700 barrels of crude oil a day, it said.

Accelerate Development

Cnooc will accelerate the development of the field and
plans to start production in three to five years, Chief
Financial Officer Zhong Hua said on a conference call yesterday.
Bohai Bay will be the engine of future output growth, he said,
declining to give an estimate how much oil Penglai 9-1 is likely
to produce.

“While the Penglai 9-1 discovery was exciting, it will not
move the needle on the earnings in the short term,” said Simon Powell, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian Oil and Gas Research
at CLSA Ltd. “Cnooc’s production is going to be flat this year.
The new discoveries will only contribute to the production in
the longer term.”

Oil and gas sales rose to 48.84 billion yuan ($7.7 billion)
in the three months ended March 31, Cnooc said. Output fell to
79.8 million barrels of oil equivalent in the period from 85.4
million barrels a year earlier.

Cnooc, which gets almost all its income from oil and gas
production, doesn’t report first-quarter profit.

Oil Prices

The explorer’s shares have fallen 20 percent in Hong Kong
trading in the past year, outpacing the 14 percent decline in
the benchmark Hang Seng Index. (HSI) Cnooc fell 0.3 percent to close
at HK$15.96 yesterday, before the statement was issued.

Brent oil rose 12 percent to $118.45 a barrel in the first
quarter from a year earlier.

Cnooc realized an average $120.79 from every barrel of oil,
about 19 percent higher than a year earlier, according to the
statement, while its realized gas price rose 20 percent to $5.88
per thousand cubic feet.

Overseas oil production rose 11 percent to 10.9 million
barrels, Cnooc said. The company said it completed the $1.47
billion acquisition of Tullow Oil Plc (TLW)’s prospects in Uganda
during the quarter.

The Long Lake oil-sands project in Canada and the Missan
oilfield in Iraq progressed on schedule, the company said.

The explorer lost 62,000 barrels a day after the government
ordered the closure of the Penglai 19-3 oilfield. Cnooc owns 51
percent of the oilfield and operator ConocoPhillips (COP) (COP) the rest.

Penglai 19-3

CEO Li said last month the field would start this year,
without giving a time frame. CFO Zhong said yesterday the
company is awaiting government approval to resume operations.

Cnooc was forced to cut its 2011 production goal by as much
as 9.3 percent after the field was shut and its $7.1 billion
purchase of BP Plc (BP/)’s Argentine unit collapsed in November. The
explorer produced 331.8 million barrels of oil equivalent last
year and its average realized oil price surged 41 percent to
109.75 a barrel, the company said March 28.

The unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp. targets
producing the equivalent of 330 million to 340 million barrels
of oil in 2012.

The energy explorer will start four blocks in the South
China Sea this year, Cnooc said March 28, when it reported 2011
earnings. These are Weizhou 6-9/6-10, Yacheng 13-4, Panyu 4-2/5-
1 and Liuhua 4-1 blocks. Weizhou 6-9/6-10 and Yacheng 13-4 are
ready for production, the company said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Aibing Guo in Hong Kong at
aguo10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Amit Prakash at
aprakash1@bloomberg.net

Article source: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-24/cnooc-sales-rise-3-dot-7-percent-as-oil-prices-counter-output-drop

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Offshore oil drilling near Cuba renews spill concerns in Florida Keys

In Cuba?s North Basin, the Spanish company Repsol has begun risky exploration for oil and natural gas on a semi-submersible rig, now just 77 nautical miles from Key West and even closer to the ecologically sensitive Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In a month or so, Repsol expects its drilling through 5,600 feet of seawater and about 14,000 feet of layered rock will reach the reservoir.

That?s frightening for many who live and work along the island chain.

Here, the memory is still fresh of the psychological hysteria and economic havoc caused two years ago by the explosion of Deepwater Horizon ? despite the reality: No oil from the 4.9-million-barrel spill reached the Keys. For just the scare, British Petroleum has paid out more than $200 million in claims filed by businesses and residents of South Florida, the bulk of them in Monroe County.

?I had actual visions of oil covering Florida Bay and the mangroves and all the fish being completely devastated,? said Richard Stancyzk, longtime owner of Bud N? Mary?s Marina, where 45 fishing captains dock their boats in Islamorada. ?We were hurt financially, but I?d really like to sue BP for pain and suffering. It actually made me sick and nauseous.?

That vision of oil-slicked beaches, coral reefs and marine habitat was shared by many after some scientists and government officials predicted strong currents would bring the toxic crude oil to the Keys, more than 450 miles from the site of the spill. The Today show aired a scary graphic provided by the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research that showed the oil traveling around Florida and all the way to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fear set in. Keys residents and business owners took hazardous-materials classes, learned to clean oil off wildlife, picked up debris on beaches and complained there was not enough protective boom. They learned about the Loop Current and an eddy named Franklin. And they prayed.

The situation was made worse when national media broadcast the arrival of tar balls in Key West, leading to the misperception that the spill had reached the subtropical paradise. Visitors canceled weddings, conferences, fishing trips and diving vacations.

LESSONS LEARNED

Since then, many lessons have been learned from the devastating spill, whose true environmental effects will not be known for years.

Science has advanced. Coordination of federal, state, local and private agencies has improved. And communication of information will be a more critical part of future responses.

?We joke about it now, but even if we have the greatest response in the world, if we are not getting the word out accurately, it doesn?t matter,? said Capt. John Slaughter, chief of planning and force readiness for the U.S. Coast Guard?s Seventh District, based in Miami.

The Coast Guard has incorporated all the lessons learned into a comprehensive offshore response plan to deal with the new threat of a major spill in waters controlled by Cuba.

?We?re certainly more ready than a year ago,? Slaughter said. ?We?re not as ready as we?ll be in six months and in a year. Planning for this will never end.?

Coast Guard Sector Key West also has spent the past two years updating its more than 1,000-page area contingency plan, which now includes responding to the potential near shore and landfall issues of a massive spill coming from Cuba. Before Deepwater Horizon and the exploration of oil offshore of Cuba, the worst-case scenario for the Keys? emergency drill was an oil tanker grounding on a reef.

KEEPING CALM

Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commander of Sector Key West, agreed with Slaughter that communication is a huge part of the plan.

?Equally as challenging as anything we?ll do on the water or on the shorelines is trying to keep folks calm and let them know there is a plan ? a very detailed organization we will be following with a very large group of responders,? DeQuattro said. ?If we don?t communicate that well, we?ll run into a similar situation [to Deepwater Horizon], where folks are confused and angry.?

Despite the proximity of the Keys to the Cuban rig site, the statistical probability of significant oil reaching Keys shorelines is low, even in the event of a massive spill in Cuban waters, according to three scientists for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

They say geography is in all of Florida?s favor because of the powerful Gulf Stream, which flows between northern Cuba and the Keys, several miles from any land, before heading north.

?The currents are like a conveyor belt at the grocery store,? said Doug Helton, NOAA?s operations coordinator for the office of response and restoration. ?Oil moves at 2 to 3 percent of the wind speed. It moves at 100 percent of the current speed. It would take a strong wind and a persistent wind to move oil out of the current.?

NOAA scientists recently completed new computer tracking models to evaluate the threat. They chose 20 potential drilling sites off Cuba and used 200 different spill scenarios based on six years of current information of water and weather conditions, including hurricanes, said Brad Benggio, a NOAA scientific support coordinator.

ONLY A DRILL

To create the scenario of oil reaching the shorelines of the lower or middle Keys for the recent Coast Guard-led tabletop drill, conditions included winds of 30 knots out of the southeast that continuously blew for ?days and days and days.? That would mean the oil would take a week or more to reach land.

?That would allow for a lot of natural weathering,? said Jim Jeansonne, a NOAA scientific support coordinator. ?We won?t have a lot of black oil coming ashore or threatening the resources of the reefs. What we will have are tar balls, which are of much less a threat, but not a zero threat.?

Although the chance of oil slicks reaching the Keys or the east coast of Florida was even more remote during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that probability was not communicated well. Fears that the Keys were in for a big mess prevailed. The bigger unknown of what damage oil and dispersants to break it up would do if any of it did reach Keys fisheries and habitat also was a big concern.

THE SETTLEMENTS

On the same day Sector Key West held its tabletop oil spill drill, two lawyers from Miami were at the Harvey Government Center across town to solicit clients for the BP settlement, approved last week.

?You are going to have a floodgate of attorneys here, I promise,? attorney Gabrielle D?Alemberte told a handful of business owners in Key West.

Despite not having any oil arrive, the settlement includes all of the Florida Keys. Miami-Dade and Broward counties are not part of the settlement.

The oil spill that began as a nightmare for the Keys will end up having a silver lining, said Stancyzk, the marina owner.

?It rained oil up north but down here it ended up raining money,? he said. ?BP threw money at everybody. There were some inequities, but it was an economic boom.?

Commercial fishermen, dive companies, vacation rental businesses and even a locals? watering hole called the Brass Monkey sued BP and the other companies involved with the spill.

With a public relations disaster on its hands, BP set up three claims offices in the Keys and even paid law enforcement officers $40 an hour to guard them.

To date, BP has paid out nearly $181 million to nearly 11,000 claimants in the Keys, an average of about $16,450 per claim. One fishing captain based at Bud N? Mary?s marina received $150,000.

BP paid $21.5 million for 1,895 claims in Miami-Dade County and another $15.7 million for 433 claims from Broward County.

DeQuattro, the Coast Guard commander, said the massive response to the spill, called the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, still is vivid in his memory.

Deepwater Horizon also was a semi-submersible rig that was exploring in deep waters for oil, similar to the $750 million rig now being used by Repsol.

?That response employed 40 to 50,000 responders, over 200 aircraft, thousands of vessels and technical specialists from around the country if not the world,? he said. ?To say that we are perfectly prepared for that today is not the case. ? But we?ve come a long ways and are progressing towards having a better plan.?

The Coast Guard now routinely patrols by boat and air in the vicinity of the Repsol oil rig, always keeping a lookout for any signs of oil despite a good relationship with the Spanish company.

Said DeQuattro: ?We do have a good feeling it?s not leaking.?

To read more, visit www.miamiherald.com.

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/23/4434644/offshore-oil-drilling-near-cuba.html

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

FNM fears conflict in any PLP oil drilling decision

The Free National Movement (FNM) said yesterday that if the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is re-elected, its leaders’ ‘relationship’ with the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) would impact whatever decision they make in relation to the company’s bid to drill for oil in Bahamian waters.

PLP Leader Perry Christie last week confirmed that BPC benefited from advice he gave as a consultant to Davis Co., the law firm which represents Bahamas Petroleum Company.

Christie’s confirmation came after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said his administration would not allow oil drilling, and suggested that the PLP leader was providing consultancy work for BPC.

Christie said the working relationship with Davis Co., the law firm owned by PLP Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, began after his party lost the 2007 general election.

The FNM said, “Perry Christie promises that, if elected, his role as a consultant to the Bahamas

Petroleum Company will not influence his government’s decision on allowing BPC to drill in Andros in 2013.

“Perry (Christie) cannot think that Bahamians don’t see through this empty statement. Bahamians know that the PLP record is not one of ethical clarity and transparency…”, said the statement sent by
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
.

But Christie said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian last week, “It’s not a conflict because the advice I’m giving now has nothing to do with any decisions I [will] make as prime minister.

“What a Cabinet minister must do is declare [his] interests and ensure that it is clearly understood that in the past or present he’s had a relationship [with a company].”

The FNM said senior members of the PLP, who would have a say in granting the exploration license to the Bahamas Petroleum Company, are deeply intertwined with the company.

On its website, under company advisors, BPC lists the law firm Davis Co., run by Davis, as part of its Bahamian legal team.

The law firm of former PLP attorney general Sean McWeeney (Graham Thompson Co.) is listed as the second firm representing BPC in The Bahamas. McWeeney is a partner in the firm.

BPC’s website also lists PLP candidate for Killarney Jerome Gomez as its resident manager.

“Believing that these relationships will not influence the contractual process to the benefit of BPC requires a level of blind trust in Christie and the PLP — a trust that the record clearly shows neither deserve,” the FNM said.

“If the PLP is elected, the Bahamas Petroleum Company will be another one of many on the long list of PLP scandals.”

BPC said yesterday it believes it has significantly exceeded all license commitments and obligations with cumulative expenditure in excess of $50 million.

“The company is already working to fulfill the increased requirements of this next three-year phase,” BPC said.

Article source: http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29631&Itemid=27

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Exploratory oil drilling off Cuba renews oil-spill fear factor in the Keys


In Cuba’s North Basin, the Spanish company Repsol has begun risky exploration for oil and natural gas on a semi-submersible rig, now just 77 nautical miles from Key West and even closer to the ecologically sensitive Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In a month or so, Repsol expects its drilling through 5,600 feet of seawater and about 14,000 feet of layered rock will reach the reservoir.

That’s frightening for many who live and work along the island chain.

Here, the memory is still fresh of the psychological hysteria and economic havoc caused two years ago by the explosion of Deepwater Horizon — despite the reality: No oil from the 4.9-million-barrel spill reached the Keys. For just the scare, British Petroleum has paid out more than $200 million in claims filed by businesses and residents of South Florida, the bulk of them in Monroe County.

“I had actual visions of oil covering Florida Bay and the mangroves and all the fish being completely devastated,” said Richard Stancyzk, longtime owner of Bud N’ Mary’s Marina, where 45 fishing captains dock their boats in Islamorada. “We were hurt financially, but I’d really like to sue BP for pain and suffering. It actually made me sick and nauseous.”

That vision of oil-slicked beaches, coral reefs and marine habitat was shared by many after some scientists and government officials predicted strong currents would bring the toxic crude oil to the Keys, more than 450 miles from the site of the spill. The Today show aired a scary graphic provided by the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research that showed the oil traveling around Florida and all the way to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Fear set in. Keys residents and business owners took hazardous-materials classes, learned to clean oil off wildlife, picked up debris on beaches and complained there was not enough protective boom. They learned about the Loop Current and an eddy named Franklin. And they prayed.

The situation was made worse when national media broadcast the arrival of tar balls in Key West, leading to the misperception that the spill had reached the subtropical paradise. Visitors canceled weddings, conferences, fishing trips and diving vacations.

LESSONS LEARNED

Since then, many lessons have been learned from the devastating spill, whose true environmental effects will not be known for years.

Science has advanced. Coordination of federal, state, local and private agencies has improved. And communication of information will be a more critical part of future responses.

“We joke about it now, but even if we have the greatest response in the world, if we are not getting the word out accurately, it doesn’t matter,” said Capt. John Slaughter, chief of planning and force readiness for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Seventh District, based in Miami.

The Coast Guard has incorporated all the lessons learned into a comprehensive offshore response plan to deal with the new threat of a major spill in waters controlled by Cuba.

“We’re certainly more ready than a year ago,” Slaughter said. “We’re not as ready as we’ll be in six months and in a year. Planning for this will never end.”

Coast Guard Sector Key West also has spent the past two years updating its more than 1,000-page area contingency plan, which now includes responding to the potential near shore and landfall issues of a massive spill coming from Cuba. Before Deepwater Horizon and the exploration of oil offshore of Cuba, the worst-case scenario for the Keys’ emergency drill was an oil tanker grounding on a reef.

Article source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/22/2762927/exploratory-oil-drilling-off-cuba.html

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

Aker Solutions Secures Svalin Umbilical Work

Aker Solutions has been awarded a contract by Subsea 7 for the design and fabrication of a control umbilical for Statoil’s Svalin C project on the Norwegian continental shelf. Contract value is undisclosed.

Scope of work includes a 3.7 miles (6 kilometer) long control umbilical, connectors, engineering and project management.

“We are very pleased to be awarded another contract on the Norwegian continental shelf and look forward to supporting Subsea 7 with this Statoil fast-track project,” said Tove Røskaft, executive vice president of Aker Solutions’ umbilical business.

Management, engineering and procurement of the umbilical will be performed at Aker Solutions’ headquarters in Fornebu, Norway. Manufacturing will take place in Moss, Norway.

Svalin is a fast-track oil field project located in the middle part of the North Sea, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) southwest of the Grane field and 115 miles (185 kilometers) west of Haugesund. The water depth is approximately 75 miles (120 meters).

In December 2011, Statoil awarded Aker Solutions the contract for engineering, procurement and construction of the subsea production system for the Svalin project. The contract value was approximately $62 million (NOK 400 million).

Subsea umbilicals are deployed on the seabed to supply necessary controls and chemicals to subsea oil and gas wells, subsea manifolds and any subsea system requiring a remote control. The Svalin umbilical will be delivered in 2Q 2013.

Aker Solutions’ contract party is Aker Subsea AS.

Article source: http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=117175&rss=true

April 24th, 2012 | Posted in Drilling & Production | Read More »

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