Archive for the ‘exploration’ Category

The great new oil and gas frontier of Myanmar, warts and all

Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country still called Burma by many people, is rapidly emerging from almost 50 years of military rule and related economic isolation.

The country, which is slightly smaller than Texas and home to more than 50 million people of many ethnicities, religions and language groups, has great potential. Apart from known and hoped-for oil and gas resources the country also has substantial tin, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead and coal resources, as well as jade, other gemstones and hardwoods.

A few days spent in the former capital Yangon earlier this month proved a real eye opener. Those five decades of isolation have led to a many idiosyncrasies and problems, making it a struggle for most foreign investors to do business there.

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China hails new deepwater natural gas find, done all on its own

China National Offshore Oil Corp. has plenty to get excited about these days. After years of touting the unexplored and hidden depths of the South China Sea, the company has finally scored a coup with its first independent deepwater discovery.

The company earlier this week announced the success of the Lingshui 17-2-1 wildcat well, hailing it as a major breakthrough in exploration efforts.

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Utica shale’s big natural gas flows, and Edvard Munch

Did you ever feel like that kid in the poster for the classic movie “Home Alone” who is clutching his face with both hands, mouth agape in shock at having to foil two nitwit burglars?

I did when I saw the initial natural gas production rates that have come out of some recent Utica Shale wells.  Although it wasn’t out of shock but sheer awe at the volumes being yielded by wells the Northeast US natural gas-prone play.

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Scotland independence vote sets North Sea oil industry on edge

Scotland’s independence vote has received a last-minute jolt of energy as polls show a surge by the Nationalist camp, which has effectively countered a mostly downbeat “No” campaign and picked holes in London’s claims to be a responsible custodian of North Sea oil.

A week ahead of the September 18 referendum and with oil remaining a major issue, pro-Union politicians and the financial community in London have been alarmed by polls showing the Nationalists level-pegging, after months in which the “Better Together” camp had a comfortable lead.

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The north of Australia is getting some oil and gas exploration attention

Australia’s ongoing offshore exploration success — Santos last week announced another gas discovery in the prolific Browse basin — has seen the vast country’s largely-untapped onshore resources overlooked by many.

Some of the country’s unconventional resources — notably Queensland’s coal seam gas fields in the east of the country — have been known about and developed for years, while others such as the Cooper Basin, in east-central Australia, have attracted significant investor attention of late, notably from US major Chevron.

But delegates at the 20th South East Asia Australia Offshore & Onshore Conference last week, held in the booming northern port city of Darwin, heard about less well known, but equally promising, onshore basins such as South Bonaparte, MacArthur and Carolina.

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At the Wellhead: Colombia takes a sobering look at its oil industry

The looming changes in Mexico’s oil patch have the potential to negatively impact what has been a Latin American success story: Colombia. In this week’s Oilgram News column At the Wellhead, Chris Kraul looks at the issue with an experienced Colombia oil hand.

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Miners become leaner and meaner to thrive in lower price environment

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie is a multilingual, soft-spoken Scot who had a brilliant academic career before moving into industry. Rio Tinto’s urbane CEO Sam Walsh is a patron of the arts in Western Australia and is well-known for collecting antique jugs.

Neither men are what you might describe as “bruisers.” Yet both have rolled up their sleeves since taking charge a year or so ago, flexing their managerial muscles with the aim of turning their mining companies into much leaner and meaner organizations.

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Operator outputs from US oil and natural gas resource plays continues to leapfrog

Perhaps the most striking thing upstream companies revealed in their recent round of second quarter calls was the astounding production increases from US unconventional plays brought about by an array of tweaks to well drilling and completion techniques.

One tactic they’re using to eke more hydrocarbons from the ground is optimized well spacing — configuring wells as close as possible to best drain the reservoir without interference. Other techniques are placing hydraulic fracture sections or “stages” closer together and using more proppant to hold fractures open so oil and gas can flow more easily from the reservoir.

It’s taken a few years for operators to figure it all out, but about four years after they began widespread exploitation of unconventional oil plays, which are the current focus of most large companies, they are largely approaching full development mode.  In the meantime, they have seen staggering production growth, especially on the crude oil side.

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Regulation & Environment: Debating the success of US federal land policy

Is the federal government in Washington boosting or hindering exploration hydrocarbon exploration on federal lands? Brian Scheid looks at that issue in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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Australian Wolf stalks Mongolian oil opportunities

Mongolia might not be the first place that springs to mind as a potential investment destination for oil and gas players, but one small Australian company is hoping the recent passing of a new petroleum law will open up opportunities in the landlocked nation between Russia and China.

Wolf Petroleum is the only Australia-listed oil and gas company operating in Mongolia. But the industry minnow, capitalized at just A$5.5 million ($5.2 million), claims a position as Mongolia’s largest petroleum acreage holder, with one production block and two exploration areas covering more than 74,400 sq km (18,000 million acres).

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