Archive for the ‘exploration’ Category

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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Gas Daily: Colorado’s anti-fracking ballot initiative fizzles out…for now

After some local areas of Colorado last year passed fracking bans of dubious legality — that sort of thing is generally the responsibility of the state, not a city or town — there arose a clamor for an initiative that would give localities that power. It was seen as a way to severerly limit fracking throughout the state.

It was such a hot-button issue that Democrats in the state were concerned that the issue could create rifts in the party. But all that fretting was for naught; the issue won’t be on the ballot in November.

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New Frontiers: Looking at the oil prospects in the Delaware Basin

In another look at a highly prospective formation in the US, Starr Spencer reviews the outlook for the Delaware formation, part of the Permian basin, in this week’s Oilgram News column, New Frontiers.

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“Mini-trends” increasingly common in the oil industry

In the talk about oil cycle phases, one pattern that has emerged in recent years is the appearance of “mini-trends” within the industry that are often at odds with what is happening in the larger market.

As a result, data is growing increasingly complex, and even single data sets contain a “story-behind-the-story” which often makes more complete interpretations necessary and keeps journalists and researchers busy “Deciphering It All.”

Case in point — one of many — is the offshore industry which is undergoing a slump in dayrates, particularly for deep- and ultra-deep waters, while the onshore sector — which at least in the US and increasingly overseas now consists of unconventional drilling — churns ever-higher amid what is generally agreed to be a larger, unprecedented boom.

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Pertamina CEO finds ways around the Indonesian government

The CEO of Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina Karen Agustiawan seems to have it sorted out: If Pertamina is to succeed, it must do so “despite” the government.

During my trip to Jakarta last month, where I was attending the Indonesian Petroleum Association’s annual oil and gas conference, I heard many executives talk about the hurdles they face in doing business in Indonesia. Too much bureaucracy, too many permits and an unattractive fiscal regime were the most commonly cited issues.

All of them expressed frustration, but none as candidly and openly from the dais as Agustiawan.

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