Posts Tagged ‘drilling’

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Digging deeper into figures on oil and gas industry workplace fatalities

A few days before the New Year rang in, National Public Radio came out with an interesting report on how workplace deaths have increased with the hiring spree in the oil patch to keep up with the boom in unconventional oil and gas drilling.

In fact, right in the third paragraph, we see that 138 workers were killed on the job while extracting, producing or supporting oil and gas in 2012, the most recent year that data is available, according to reports from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The number was more than double that of 2009.

The 138 fatalities in the oil patch during 2012 was actually the highest number in 10 years, up from 112 in 211 and 107 in 2010, BLS figures show.

Read the rest of this entry »

At the Wellhead: More on the Australian coalseam gas future

Last week, The Barrel featured a piece by James Bourne on the Australian coalseam gas future. He expanded on some of those same themes in this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do rig counts tell us much about oil and natural gas supplies anymore?

Consider the facts: Lower-48 gas production averaged at 72.1 Bcf/d in January, close to all-time highs, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Gas rigs, meanwhile, were at 14-year lows, averaging at 434 for the same month.

Simple answer to the question: Not if you’re trying to gauge supply, they’re not.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recent crude-carrying train derailments in US heat up crude by rail safety debate

Two trains carrying crude oil derailed in the US this month, making headlines that garnered more attention to a recent debate over the in-vogue shipping method’s environmental impact.

The popularity of crude by rail shipments has opponents of major proposed crude pipeline projects (like Transcanada’s Keystone XL) asking the question: is rail transport safe?

Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Ryan’s energy argument may have false premise

In the budget proposal he released this week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made a rather convincing case for why the federal government needs to stop funding renewable energy sources like wind and solar at the expense of fossil fuels, pointing to the Obama administration’s trend of bankrolling failed projects.

While you may have only heard about the fallout from Solyndra, the bankrupt solar startup that received a $535 million federal loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, highlighted two other “failed” solar projects the Obama administration continues to waste money on.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Frontiers: another round of change, and M&A, may be looming

No one could argue that major changes haven’t jolted the oil industry in the last several years, which have galvanized upstream companies and demanded major changes. Between the so-called “shale gale” of frenzied drilling for unconventional gas and later oil, the Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that raised safety standards for offshore drilling, and the severest economic recession since the 1930s, operators have been forced to adapt. They have pared down balance sheets, merged, partnered up in joint ventures and found ways to shave costs from projects through continually improving technology.

In this week’s Oilgram News column, “New Frontiers,” Starr Spencer, senior editor for oil, looks at where E&P companies have been and how they are transforming and re-positioning for the years ahead.

Read the rest of this entry »

Round of Q3 calls showed oil E&P operators’ cost-slashing prowess

E&P companies continued to tout the efficiencies and cost-slashing prowess of “pad” drilling and other savings measures undertaken during third-quarter earnings conference calls, highlighting a trend that has been especially notable this year as companies have stepped up activity across a growing number of unconventional fields.

Operators seemed particularly proud of snipping down the number of days needed to drill wells. For example, in South Texas’ prolific Eagle Ford Shale field, Forest Oil aims to migrate to pad drilling, which allows multiple wells to be drilled from a single site rather than moving the rig after each well, company CEO Patrick McDonald said during his company’s call last month.
“We’ve installed a rig walking system that will allow us to skid the rig over in a much shorter time period and allow us to drill four well pad locations in approximately 60 days — a significant time savings over current single-well style drilling,” McDonald said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cyber threats to energy security, as experienced by Saudi Arabia

Cyber assault is emerging as the principal concern for energy security. One oil major told me a few days ago: “We’re constantly under cyber attack.” But there is still a sense of denial hanging over the issue.

So while no less a figure than US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta can describe the al-Shamoon virus which assaulted Saudi Aramco and Qatar’s Rasgas in August as  constituting probably the most destructive attack the business sector has yet sustained, Saudi Aramco itself has sought to downplay the impact. Read the rest of this entry »