Archive for the ‘exploration’ Category

Wall Street sees slide ahead for deepwater rig dayrates

In the controversial 1940s book The Fountainhead, arch-villain Ellsworth Toohey, who above all seeks power and control of other people, comments — and this is a paraphrase — that the way to topple a system is to make one small negative but still-key move in just the right place, and then sit back and watch the whole edifice implode as its members scramble for self-preservation.

Although Ayn Rand, the author of that book and fierce champion of individualism, hated the popular notion that “we’re all in this together,” the fact is that in oil markets and economic systems, we are.  One ominous signal — and even worse, a handful — can start a rumble that creates an earthquake.

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“Look out for the flags,” former Anglo boss warns miners

Most small mining companies are not in a position to look beyond funding the next stage of their project or trying to find a strategic partner. But a recent presentation at the Hong Kong Mines and Money conference gave an insight into how large mining companies take a much longer-term view, and how they consider all kinds of eventualities that could impact their business.

British-born Clem Sunter was CEO of Anglo American’s successful gold and uranium businesses in South Africa, and became the company’s expert in “scenario planning.” He and co-author Chantell Illbury penned a book on the subject, entitled Mind of a Fox, which became a best-seller in the wake of 9/11.

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Santos tries a new tack in PR war over New South Wales CSG project

Australian upstream company Santos concedes it is coming a distant second in the public relations battle with environmental activists over the development of its coalseam gas reserves in the eastern state of New South Wales.

Santos is clearly exasperated with the lack of traction its message has been getting in the public debate, which is being driven by anti-CSG lobbyists including the Greens political party and high-profile conservative radio commentator Alan Jones.

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At the Wellhead: Unconventional drilling comes to Australia’s Cooper Basin

Christine Forster writes from Australia that 2014 is going to be a key year in the quest to develop unconventional oil and gas resources in that country’s Cooper Basin. Her discussion of it is the focus of this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead.

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New Frontiers: New life for once-spurned Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases

Starr Spencer attended last week’s Gulf of Mexico lease sale in New Orleans. She noticed something about the bidding: old, abandoned leases have gotten renewed interest. She reviews the trend in this week’s Oilgram News column, New Frontiers.

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Indian oil subsidies have an impact way up the supply line

India’s financial reporting season never fails to remind us of the fragile state of the country’s state-owned oil marketing companies whose profits swing wildly from quarter to quarter. Those moves are not for any fundamental reason, but because they may or may not have been reimbursed by the government for losses incurred from selling diesel, LPG and kerosene at below market prices.

But these companies — Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd. — are usually fully compensated by the end of the financial year, which runs from April to March in India.

Until they get compensated, they rely on market borrowings to fund their operating expenses and the longer the non-payment period, the higher their interest costs on these borrowings. But the bottom line is that they get compensated.

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New Frontiers: Eagle Ford vs. Permian, the great Texas oil showdown

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Starr Spencer compares the performance of Texas’ two giant plays, the venerable Permian and the young upstart, the Eagle Ford.

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Chevron makes a well-intentioned faux pas in Pennsylvania

Sometimes a well-intentioned gesture comes off as an inadvertent slight and that could be the case with Chevron’s distribution of gift certificates to people who live near a gas well that blew up February 11. 

On the Sunday following the blast, representatives of Chevron North America distributed upwards of 100 gift certificates for a large pizza and a large drink to residents of Bobtown, the unincorporated community nearest to the explosion.

Chevron said in a note it wanted to give residents an update on the incident and answer questions. “We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment,” the note also said.

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Regulation & Environment: Companies looking at the Arctic know to watch the whales

In this week’s Oilgram News column “Regulation & Environment,” Alaska correspondent Tim Bradner looks at how the issue of respecting the whales living in the Arctic has played, and will continue to play, a key role in any exploration in the region.

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Slowing growth in US oil production highlighted by a research firm

Bernstein Research, in an analyst’s note today, points out that the rate of increase in US crude oil production has recorded a significant slowdown in the last few weeks.

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