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Tuesday, 05 September 2017 02:21

OE17: Aker launching MultiBooster

Aker Solutions (stand 5C100) is launching its MultiBooster, a new, up to 6MW subsea multiphase pump to help operators maximize production from existing oil and gas fields, at SPE Offshore Europe this week.

Aker Solutions says the now qualified, standardized and modular design pump is more powerful than any other pump currently available, making it ideal for increasing the pressure on long step-outs and tie-backs.

The centrifugal pump is driven by new subsea induction motors, which can boost from 1-6 MW with the same mechanical platform by varying the pump impellers and the number of stages.  

The system is fitted with advanced condition monitoring, including proximity probes to accurately measure radial and axial displacements of the rotor, with integrated software and data analytics, to maintain efficiency and for cost effectiveness.

The industry is looking to get more out of the assets they already have. In many cases, these assets include older fields which require more pressure—that’s where the MultiBooster comes in, said Marco Gabelloni, business development director at Aker Solutions.

Aker Solutions says the MultiBooster’s combination of generated pressure and boost capacity means it can be deployed in a wide range of oil fields with various flow rates, water depths (down to 3000m) and long tie-back distances.

System performance has been proven through an extensive testing campaign in a full-scale multiphase test loop at Tranby, Norway, with varying mixtures of water and gas to demonstrate the MultiBooster’s gas handling capabilities.

Together with the POWERJump, which was qualified earlier this year, the MultiBooster complements Aker Solutions portfolio of subsea multiphase pumps by providing solutions for all types of boosting applications.

Monday, 28 August 2017 05:06

Harvey continues to wreak havoc

Tropical storm Harvey continues to wreak havoc in North America after bringing much of Houston to a halt following torrential rain over the weekend, leading to record "catastrophic" flooding. 

Transport across the city, a key hub for the oil industry, has been halted by floodwaters, due to more than 30in of rain falling on the city in some areas, with up to 50in expected in areas, according to Bloomberg. The city's George R. Brown Convention Center has been opened to those forced out of their homes. Thousands of flights have been cancelled, public transport was halted and schools will shut for a week, says Bloomberg. 

Harvey is being described as the strongest storm to hit the US since 2004. This morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the flooding was "catastrophic and life threatening." NOAA says, on the forecast track, the center of Harvey is forecast to move off the middle Texas coast this morning, and remain just offshore through Tuesday.

Many oil firms have shut their offices today, including Baker Hughes, a GE company, ConocoPhillips, which tweeted today that its offices would be shut today and tomorrow. Refineries are also being shut-in.

Operators in the Gulf of Mexico had started to evacuate offshore failities mid-week, before the storm hit. By Sunday, personnel had been evacuated from 105 production platforms, amounting to 14.25% of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, says the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). 

Personnel had also been evacuated from five rigs (non-dynamically positioned, or DP), equivalent to 50% of the 10 rigs of this type currently operating. One DP rig, out of 21 operating in the Gulf, had moved off location as a precaution, said BSEE yesterday. A further update is expected at 1pm CDT today.

According to operator reports, it is estimated that about 21.64% of the current oil production of 1.75 MMbbl b/d in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in, equating to 378,633 b/d. It is also estimated that approximately 25.71%, or 827.89 MMcf/d of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut-in. 

Image: NOAA rainfall forecast, for 28 August through 4 September.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017 03:13

SNE FPSO tendering later this year

Tendering for a floating production unit and subsea systems for the SNE project offshore Senegal is set to start later this year, Cairn Energy says. 

The project, which has seen 2C resources increase from 473 MMbbl to 563 MMbbl, with 1 Tcf of gas resource, is set to be a phased development, starting with up to 25 wells, including water and gas injectors, targeting 240 MMbbl, with first oil targeted for 2021-23. Subsequent phases would add a further 40 wells, with 20 producers and 20 water injectors. 

The first phase, in the Sangomar Deep Offshore, would target the S500 lower reservoirs with an initial target plateau of 75,000-125,000 b/d. The subsequent development phases will target the S400 upper reservoirs and additional areas.

The current SNE development plans assume gas re-injection during initial development with the potential for gas export in later phases. It is estimated that the SNE field holds more than 1 TcF recoverable non-associated gas and 0.3 TcF of associated gas.

Partner Woodside is due to take over operatorship for the development phase next year, with Cairn continuing exploration activities on the acreage. The pair plan to submit an evaluation report and exploitation plan to the Government of Senegal in 2018, with front end engineering and design planned to start next year and a final investment decision targeted before the end of 2018.

Cairn says it is also continuing to focus on exploration potential around SNE. On the Rufisque and Sangomar offshore blocks, the pair are maturing multiple prospects on newly processed 3D seismic data with a view to potential further exploration drilling, which in a success case could potentially support a standalone development.

Cairn (Operator) has a 40% WI in three blocks offshore Senegal (Sangomar Deep, Sangomar Offshore and Rusique Offshore) alongside partners, Woodside (35%), FAR (15%) and the Senegal National Oil Company, Petrosen (10%). 

“With the upcoming Kraken and Catcher cashflow and debt funding, Cairn can probably fund the development of these projects,” says GMP Research. 

French oil major Total has agreed to buy Maersk Oil from its parent company A.P. Møller – Mærsk in a US$7.45 billion share and debt deal which could help it make $400 million in "synergies" a year.

Total will gain about 1 billion boe of 2P/2C reserves, 85%, 80% of which is in the North Sea, an area which will help towards the $400 million in annual "operational, commercial and financial synergies," Total says.

Assets include the high-pressure, high-temperature Culzean field, currently under development (49.99% Working Interest), close to Total's Elgin-Franklin hub, and a stake in the giant Johan Sverdrup oil development (8.44% Working Interest) in Norway.

In July, Total took over from Maersk Oil as operator of the giant Al Shaheen field, offshore Qatar. Maersk Oil had operated the field since 1992, but will now become part of the firm which took operatorship from it.

As a result of the deal, which will make the firm the second largest operator in the North Sea, Total production will rise to 3 MMboe/d by 2019. 

According to Wood Mackenzie, the transaction is the biggest North Sea-weighted deal since the Statoil / Norsk Hydro merger in 2006. 

The deal will see A.P. Møller – Maersk get $4.95 billion in Total shares, while Total will take on $2.5 billion of Maersk Oil’s debt.

Total will gain 160,000 boe/d in production, mainly liquids, production in 2018, rising to more than 200,000 boe/d by the early 2020s. The 2018 production will have an estimated free cash flow break-even of less than $30/bbl. 

Total chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne said: “The combination of Maersk Oil’s North Western Europe businesses with our existing portfolio will position Total as the second [largest] operator in the North Sea with strong production profiles in UK, Norway and Denmark, thus increasing exposure to conventional assets in OECD countries. Internationally, in the US Gulf of Mexico, Algeria, East Africa, Kazakhstan and Angola there is an excellent fit between Total and Maersk Oil’s businesses allowing for value accretion through commercial, operating and financial synergies.

"We are also very pleased that we will have a new anchor point in Denmark, which will host our North Sea Business Unit and supervise our operations in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. We intend to build on the strong operational and technical competencies of the Maersk Oil teams in the same way we managed to do it in Belgium with the teams of Petrofina in the refining & chemical businesses." 

The deal will also see Total take over operatorship and 31.2% ownership of the DUC producing assets in Denmark. Total says the deal will result in consolidating Total’s US Gulf of Mexico presence with the Maersk Oil interest in the Jack development in the Wilcox formation, make it the second largest IOC in Algeria by production, compliment its position in East Africa via Maersk Oil’s Kenya assets, strengthen its Kazakh business via addition of operated production, offer potential upsides in Angola and Brazil and enable the pooling of Total and Maersk Oil geological and operational expertise in Middle East - North Africa Region.

Analysts weigh in

Dr Valentina Kretzschmar, director, corporate service, at Wood Mackenzie's corporate services unit, says that there are a number of strategic drivers at play in this deal.

"For Total, the deal is first and foremost about consolidation in the North Sea. Cost synergies should add value, with the North Sea a key area of overlap. The deal will also reduce Total's weighting towards areas of high above ground risk.

“There are a number of strategic drivers at play here. The acquisition improves Total’s near-term growth outlook – it provides Total with an immediate 6% production increase and strengthen near-term growth.

“It will further shift Total’s weighting towards OECD regions, a core strategic driver for the company as it looks to balance the portfolio away from areas of high above ground risk,” says Kretzschmar. 

According to WoodMac, The acquisition also strengthens Total’s North Sea exposure, through Maersk’s core positions in the UK, Norway and Denmark. Total gains access to the Johan Sverdrup discovery (8.44%) and the UK's largest gas development, Culzean (49.99%). Both are currently under development and are expected to come on stream towards 2020.

The deal will also see Total strengthens it platform for growth in the Middle East and Africa.

“Total is acquiring a deep specialist in unlocking complex reservoirs and boosting recovery factors through enhanced oil recovery techniques,” Dr Kretzschmar said. 

“Total took operatorship of the large Al Shaheen oil field in Qatar last month and will be looking to leverage Maersk’s intimate knowledge of the asset," says Kretzschmar.

Image: Al Shaheen. Image from Maersk Oil.

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