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11 Posts authored by: vargairola

Fulfilling his campaign pledge to bring the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines back to the table, President Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday reversing the position forged by former President Barack Obama.

The orders don’t fast-track either pipeline, but “advance” them for renegotiation. Trump has long said he could obtain a “better deal” for the United States – perhaps even a cut of the profits – on TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone line.

"We are going to renegotiate some of the terms, and if they like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "If we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States.”

TransCanada’s request for a presidential permit to cross the border from Canada into the United States lingered in the Obama White House for years before it was finally rejected in November 2015.

The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a $3.8 billion project that came to a halt in November after months of fierce protest by Native Americans and environmentalists, is also up for renegotiation.

Reaction to the move was swift on both sides of the aisle.

House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the infrastructure from these projects would create more jobs and advance affordable energy.

“This action is a path forward on critical infrastructure projects that should have already moved forward,” Bishop said in a statement. “We have a new era before us of investment, jobs and energy security that I look forward to coordinating with the Trump administration.”

Special interests with a “radical, anti-energy agenda” had used these pipeline projects to derail fossil fuels, said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. A domestic economic boost and “thousands of good-paying jobs” lay in the balance.

These major infrastructure projects that will yield benefits for U.S. workers and consumers, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL).

"We thank President Trump for giving the American people the benefits of jobs and plentiful, affordable energy that pipelines will bring," said Andrew Black, AOPL's president and CEO, in a written statement.

Citing figures from the U.S. State Department, AOPL contends that building Keystone XL (KXL) alone would generate more than 42,000 U.S. jobs and $2.1 billion in U.S. worker payroll. The project would also support 31,500 jobs in construction, manufacturing, trade, finance and insurance, food and accommodations, health services and other services, according to AOPL.

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has already spurred the creation of approximately 12,000 construction jobs and contributed more than $3.54 billion to the U.S. economy, added AOPL.

The Bakken could also emerge as a big winner as a result of the executive orders, noted Afolabi Ogunnaike, senior research analyst with Wood Mackenzie.

“(B)oth pipelines would increase takeaway capacity from the oil play which has long been the epicenter of US crude-by-rail,” Ogunnaike said.

But those who fought the pipelines with environmental concerns say renewable energy resources should be at the forefront of the U.S. energy future. And, they vow to resist in the struggle ahead.

“Millions of people came together all over this country to stop the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and say we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” said former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. “Today, President Trump ignored the voices of millions and put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet.”

And Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica said Trump’s move proves that those who demonstrated against the pipelines aren’t welcome in his America.

“Trump has emphatically pledged his allegiance to the oil companies and Wall Street banks that stand to profit from the destruction of public health and the environment,” Pica said in a statement. “The movement to defend Indigenous rights and keep fossil fuels in the ground is stronger than oil companies’ bottom line. Friends of the Earth and our allies will not give up the fight to stop Trump’s agenda and these destructive pipelines.

Far above the Arctic Circle, one of the longest-running controversies in U.S. oil drilling is about to reignite.

Bouyed by Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are pushing to allow oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the frigid wilderness in northern Alaska that’s been a political battleground for drillers and conservationists for decades. The prospects for industry look better than they have in years, with Republicans in control of Congress and Trump vowing to boost U.S. energy production.

There’s just one catch. No one really knows how much oil actually lies beneath the refuge, or how much producers like Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips care about it in a world awash in cheap oil, from Texas shale to offshore Africa. While the government estimates the area could hold 12 billion barrels of crude, making it one of the biggest untapped reserves in the U.S., no one’s sunk a well there since the 1980s.

“Its value is hard to gauge because it’s always been a bit theoretical,” said Andrew Slaughter, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions in Houston. “No administration has really wanted to take on the challenge of going for ANWR.”

That may be about to change. The aging Trans Alaska Pipeline, once the symbol of energy independence for an oil-strapped nation, is now on the verge of obsolescence. The 800-mile system links northern Alaska to the rest of the world, but its output has been falling as fields outside the refuge fade out and supplies from shale oil in the lower states grow.

While it may take a decade for ANWR to start producing oil, the new supply would go a long way toward ensuring the survival of the pipeline and the jobs that go with it, according to U.S. senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The two Alaska Republicans introduced legislation this month to allow development of as many as 2,000 acres in the refuge.

Migratory Birds

“For nearly 40 years, Alaskans have proven that we can responsibly develop our natural resources while protecting the environment,” Murkowski said in a Jan. 5 statement. State residents, moreover, “overwhelmingly support responsible development” of the refuge.

Created by Congress in 1980, the refuge provides a critical habitat and breeding ground for polar bears, wolves, migratory birds and caribou, among other species. It covers 19 million acres in northeastern Alaska, stretching from the mountains of the Brooks Range and boreal forests to a vast, snowy coastal plain that slides into the Arctic Ocean. Yet from the moment it was created, ANWR has been coveted for its untapped oil. The refuge was set aside even as the U.S. ramped up production in the North Slope, in response to the shock of oil embargoes in the 1970s.

Just how rich the prize is remains to be seen. A 2005 review by the U.S. Geological Survey, based on decades-old data, said ANWR may hold as many as 11.8 billion barrels of crude. If that were proven true, it would rival the mammoth Prudhoe Bay field that sparked the Alaskan oil rush 40 years ago, the kind of elephant-sized find that would generate income for decades. That could appeal to companies looking to balance the short lifespans of shale fields and the risks of operating in more politically fraught parts of the globe.

But only one well has been sunk in the refuge, an exploratory project by BP PLC and Chevron Corp. in 1985. The results, deemed proprietary, were never made public. BP, when reached for comment, referred questions to Chevron, which did not respond.

Given the extreme conditions in Alaska, oil would have to sell at about $70 a barrel to make most of it economical to recover. Today, prices hover around $55. The subzero weather and remote distances mean drilling in Alaska typically costs three times as much as in the Lower 48, according to industry researcher IHS Markit Inc.

Exxon Mobil referred questions to the American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s Washington lobbying group. The institute said in a statement that it believes the refuge can be developed in a “safe and responsible” way. ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s biggest oil producer, agrees, spokeswoman Natalie Low said in an e-mail.

“If ANWR were to be opened, we’d consider it within our opportunities,”she said. The area “would have to compete with other regions for our exploration dollars.”

Even if oil prices rise significantly, myriad questions remain. Are the ANWR reserves concentrated or spread out? Mixed with natural gas? At today’s prices, though, such questions are moot, said Imran Khan, a senior research manager in Houston at Wood MacKenzie Ltd., an industry consultant.

“There are a lot of other, cheaper areas that are currently open to exploration that big companies can attack,” he said. If not for the change of power in Washington, “I don’t think anybody would be talking about it right now, because I don’t think it can work."

Source: Rigzone

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced Wednesday a new natural gas discovery in the Papua New Guinea North Highlands, 13 miles northwest of the Hides Gas Field.

The Muruk-1 well encountered similar high-quality sandstone reservoirs as the Hides field and was in line with pre-drill expectations, according to an Exxon statement. The well was safely drilled to 10,630 feet, with evaluations currently underway to determine the size of the discovery.

“We are excited by the results of the Muruk-1 exploration well, which confirms the presence of hydrocarbons in the same high-quality sandstone reservoirs as the Hides field that underpins the PNG LNG project,” said Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company.

“Over the coming months we will work with our co-venturers to better determine the full resource potential,” he added.

“ExxonMobil has been involved in exploration in Papua New Guinea since the 1930s. The Muruk exploration success demonstrates the strength of ExxonMobil’s long-term investment approach and reaffirms its commitment to Papua New Guinea,” Greenlee concluded.

Drilling operations at the Muruk-1 well began on Nov. 2. The well is located in petroleum prospecting license 402, which covers 126,000 acres.

Interest owners in the well are ExxonMobil (42.5 percent), Oil Search Limited (37.5 percent) and Barracuda Limited, a subsidiary of Santos Limited (20 percent, subject to regulatory approval), with Oil Search as operator.

Source : Rigzone

The tone of cautious optimism for the oil and gas industry will likely continue as we enter into 2017. After oil prices bottomed out in 1Q 2016 and OPEC finally agreed to cut production, sentiments among the industry seem to be on the rise.

Oil and gas labor market conditions were positive in 4Q 2016, the first time this year, according to a quarterly energy survey released Dec. 29 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The survey of 147 E&P (exploration and production) firms and oilfield services firms in the Eleventh District (Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico) revealed:

  • Although the majority of respondents reported no change in headcounts, 18 percent of firms reported net hiring, while 15 percent reported net layoffs
  • Oil and gas production stopped declining this quarter, according to E&P firms
  • 58 percent of respondents revised up their 2017 oil price forecasts and company outlooks in response to announced production cuts
  • 71 percent of respondents expect higher oil prices a year from now, while 50 percent expect higher gas prices

OPEC and Production Cuts

The energy survey also included questions about OPEC and some non-OPEC countries agreeing to curb production in 2017.

Responses were split, with most expressing doubt that OPEC and other non-OPEC countries would be able to enforce agreements to limit crude oil production. Forty-two percent of respondents expect production agreements to be enforced, while 58 percent believe they will not be enforced.

Based upon recent meetings regarding cuts to crude production, 44 percent of respondents believe it’s most likely the oil market will come into balance in 3Q 2017. Skepticism surrounding OPEC’s agreement affected these responses. Almost all respondents who believe markets will balance in 2018 or later also doubt producer agreements will be enforced.

Positivity in the Permian

A bright spot for the upstream industry in the second half of 2016 was the increased interest in the Permian. Operators began to jump at the chance to acquire acreage – referred to as “Permian Panic.” Diamondback Energy Inc. said Dec. 14 it would pay $2.43 billion for acreage in the Permian, making it one of the latest companies to show interest.     

While some survey respondents said they believe Permian acreage was overvalued, the increased Permian activity does stand to create employment opportunities – something oil and gas professionals have been waiting on for years.

Oilfield services company Halliburton is looking to hire 200 workers in the Permian, spokesperson Emily Mir said in an email to Rigzone. The company is hiring in all of its product service lines and support functions in the Permian.

“The Permian Basin is an important area for Halliburton and we’ll continue to make adjustments to our workforce based on business demand as needed,” Mir said.

Source : Rigzone

Speed, Agility Key to Oil, Gas Independents Strategy, Success

In today’s environment, two components are needed for a successful independent oil and gas company – good people and good assets – Kris Nicol, principle analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s corporate service practice said.

“You have to be in the right parts of the right plays, particularly if you’re focused on the onshore Lower 48 [U.S. states],” Nicol commented. Independent oil and gas companies also have to have the right strategy in place to facilitate growth, which often or not includes a strong balance sheet. Whether a company has maintained its hedge through the downturn is another factor of continued success. Companies that have continued to invest, maintained consistency in their approach and haven’t taken on too much risk will be successful, Nicol said.

The key to independent oil and gas companies’ success has been their speed and agility to react to the market, scaling their organizations and shifting their strategy, Linda Castaneda, U.S. Oil & Gas Advisory Leader with Ernst & Young, said.

 

The competitive nature of the independent oil and gas landscape has meant that independents, particularly smaller independents, need to innovate and adapt very quickly to technology, Thomas McNulty, director of Navigant Consulting’s transaction advisory services practice in Houston, said.

The smaller size of independents has also allowed for more agility. This is true of both midsize and large independents, the latter which include multi-billion companies with operations across multiple continents, said Castaneda. By comparison, the supermajors structurally are very challenged in terms of trying to make changes, Nicol said.

“Steering a supermajor is like trying to turn a supertanker around,” Nicol commented.

At smaller independent companies, communication is lightly to be more direct compared with a company with thousands of employees. Unlike major oil and gas companies with deepwater and oil sands assets, independent oil and gas companies have also had more flexibility in cost cutting during the past two years.

In larger companies, analysis paralysis can also occur as companies continue to gather data but fail to move forward with a decision. This is understandable due to the higher cost of being wrong. Independents, on the other hand, are able to make decisions quickly, but backtrack if they make a mistake, Castaneda said.

Another factor in mid and larger-size independent oil and gas company success is their ability to get the right data to make decisions, Castaneda said. Companies that have fully embraced Big Data and Internet of Things technology to gain access to data will be able to quickly integrate data.

“The supermajors also have spent a lot of money on technology, but it is how independents have been able to implement that technology at low cost that has made them more effective in the shale space,”

Castaneda believes that the independents’ investment in technology and ability to make and learn from mistakes, will remain a recipe for success.

“However, even the independents know that, to survive in today’s new price culture, fundamental changes will need to be made to cost structure. Rather than just laying off workers and rehiring when prices recover, companies will need to become more digitized and truly transform their workforce for success,” Castaneda stated.

The challenge for these companies has been to implement the right infrastructure and global processes without losing the culture and small company mentality that has made them successful, Castaneda said.

Sources : Rigzone

Global oil and gas exploration should return to profitability in 2017 after 5 years of only single-digit returns, research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie Ltd. says in a report.

“The industry has a good chance of achieving double-digit returns in 2017,” commented Andrew Latham, WoodMac vice-president of exploration. “Smarter portfolio choices and lower costs are already paying off."

WoodMac’s analysis of the 2017 global exploration outlook shows exploration will continue its transformation to a smaller, more-efficient industry, with overall investment, at best, matching $40 billion spent in 2016. Lower costs mean that well counts may hold up close to 2016 numbers, and flat budgets could mean exploration’s headcount cuts are now mainly in the past.

The firm believes the majors and “a handful of bolder independents will drill most of the wells to watch” just like in 2015-16. The firm expects the best discoveries to come from new plays and frontiers, despite greater emphasis on infrastructure-led drilling from many explorers.

 

“More than half of the volumes are expected to be found in deep water,” Latham said. “Here some well costs will fall to $30 million or less, with full-cycle economics that are positive at less than [$50/bbl].”

According to the report, exploration’s share of upstream investment will dip to a new low of just 8% in 2017. An eventual return to historic norms depends on a recovery in crude oil prices. WoodMac expects the Brent oil price to rise sharply from 2019, averaging $77/bbl in real terms for the year. Under that scenario, a recovery in exploration spend will follow 1-2 years later.

“The industry is focusing on acreage capture and reloading for the longer term,” Latham explained. “Companies willing to sign acreage with firm 2017 wells may be spoilt for choice. A spate of new licensing in outer slope plays will continue as explorers digest news of better-than-expected reservoir quality and source rock potential in these ultradeepwater settings.”

He added, "After a decade in the doldrums, the majors’ returns from conventional exploration improved to nearly 10% in 2015. The rest of the industry is heading in the same direction. Fewer, better wells promise a brighter future for explorers.”

 

Source: Oil & Gas Journal

Degreed? Check. Experienced? Check. Great attitude? Check. Tattooed? Not so fast.

While a job candidate may have all the credentials necessary to do the work and the potential to do it well, body decorations in the form of tattoos could still be a deterrent for some hiring managers.

According to a 2013 Salary.com survey of nearly 2,700 people, 76 percent of respondents said tattoos and piercings hurt an applicant’s chance of getting hired during a job interview. Further, 42 percent feel visible tattoos are always inappropriate at work and 39 percent believe employees with tattoos and piercings reflect poorly on their employers.

Ouch.

Rigzone set out to find what attitudes about tattoos are like today and how that affects the many oil and gas professionals looking for jobs.

Prevalence in the Industry

While entertainers and athletes rarely have to worry about losing their jobs due to their tattoos, the majority of the world’s workforce can’t take such liberties. The same Salary.com survey found that just 9 percent of respondents who work in energy and utilities have tattoos.

 “In the energy sector, candidates with tattoos may have a bit more trouble winning over their boss or hiring manager. Tattoos are more accepted and prevalent in creative industries and the energy sector is a hard science application,” Valerie Streif, senior advisor at The Mentat, an organization with decades of experience in hiring, managing and mentoring job candidates, told Rigzone.

Those applying to work offshore where they’ll spend the majority of their time on oil rigs probably won’t be judged as harshly if they have visible tattoos, but candidates who desire to work onshore or in an office environment encounter a different set of rules.

On a Reddit comment thread asking engineers with visible tattoos how tattoos have affected their job experience, one poster admitted to having an upper arm tattoo that he “consciously decided to wait on getting” until after he left his oil and gas job in Houston. He was an automations programmer who mostly worked in the office, and only went into the field for installations.

Another commenter made the point “sometimes it isn’t the presence of tattoos that is the problem, but the content of them. If you have obscene or graphic tattoos, it makes sense to cover them up no matter what job you have.”

“Is it my Tattoos?”

Some workers who have been employed at the same company for years may begin seeking advancement opportunities. If your tattoos didn’t keep you from getting the job, should they factor in to whether or not you get a promotion?

It can be a tricky question to answer.

Denise Noble, senior HR consultant for The HR Engineers, suggests workers watch others in the company who are in positions that they desire. If they don’t have visible tattoos, that may be a point to consider.   

“If all of your performance evaluations are good and there’s no markdown on appearance, it might be best to ask if your tattoos are holding you back from being promoted,” Noble, who has 20 years of HR experience, told Rigzone. “Phrase it by saying, ‘I’m really interested in moving to the next level. What would it take for me to get there?’”

This should be a one-on-one conversation with your immediate supervisor, she said.

“And if all else fails, it may be necessary to take the bull by the horns and ask, ‘is it my tattoos?’”

 

 

SOURCE : RIGZONE

After nearly two years of depressed commodity prices and a host of regulations and activist opposition, the U.S. oil and gas industry is hopeful a Donald Trump administration can help re-ignite growth in the sector, said industry sources.

The 45th president will likely remove regulatory impediments imposed by the Obama administration that have stymied oil and gas drilling and infrastructure buildout, said Frank Murphy, managing director, RW Baird.

One area of likely change is the opening up of more federal lands to drilling activities, said Murphy. A Trump administration is also added insurance against a general ban on fracking, said a midstream investor.

Trump’s election will put more emphasis on expanding U.S. oil and gas production, an industry banker said. The banker did not see Trump as being particularly helpful in the big-ticket offshore drilling projects. Yet the Trump administration could positively impact bonding in the offshore oil and gas sector, an industry lawyer said. The amount and type of bonding companies need to operate in the arena was set to rise under Obama administration efforts and a Trump administration could change that.

Key takeaways

Industry observers believe a Trump administration represents a friendlier environment for the building of pipeline projects, which has the potential to improve the economics of numerous plays that are constrained by lack of takeaway capacity.

 

 

Source: Forbes 

 

 

A legal case against the self-described Frack Master is a sure sign that the so-called bezzle in the shale-oil industry is shrinking.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says the entrepreneur Chris Faulkner inflated his shale companies’ prospects to attract cash, then blew $80 million of investors’ money on questionable expenses like escort services. The oil industry’s lax governance makes it an obvious place for enforcers to hunt for culprits.

John Kenneth Galbraith, the Depression-era economist, coined the idea of the bezzle — an inventory of undiscovered shenanigans that builds up during boom times as investors make gains and ask few questions. In downturns, the bezzle shrinks, as Galbraith explained, because the financial tide goes out and makes problems more obvious even as investors exert more scrutiny. Bad behavior, in other words, gets exposed.

The S.E.C.’s complaint paints Mr. Faulkner, 39, as a consummate snake-oil salesman, able to persuade investors to part with their money despite having no previous experience in the oil business before starting Breitling Oil and Gas in 2009. It accuses Mr. Faulkner of misleading backers about the estimated cost of drilling and completing wells and their likely returns.

As for where the money went, the S.E.C. says that at one point Mr. Faulkner racked up more than $1 million of charges for travel, escorts, strip clubs and exclusive night clubs on an American Express card. His costs were later reimbursed by the company in violation of its expenses policy, according to the complaint. His lawyer called the charges “inaccurate and untrue.”

If there were shenanigans, it is unlikely to come as a surprise to followers of the shale industry. A permissive governance environment allowed Chesapeake Energy’s former chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, to run a private hedge fund and take out personal loans from firms that his company did business with, among other instances of pushing the boundaries.

If that extended to actionable misdeeds, it would be no shock. It is also typical that such things should come to light after many shale players’ finances have been slammed by a fall in oil prices. Mr. Faulkner is an especially colorful test case, but the sector’s record suggests it may not be the last.

Source - New York Times .

 Iran, fresh from an OPEC meeting where it won significant concessions from regional rival Saudi Arabia, accelerated the rejuvenation of its sanctions-ravaged energy industry on Tuesday when the state producer signed a new-model oil investment contract.

National Iranian Oil Co. agreed to the framework of a $2.2 billion deal with Persia Oil & Gas Industry Development Co. to boost output at three fields along the country’s western border with Iraq, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said during a ceremony at the ministry. A second contract will be signed with a local company on Wednesday, Tasnim news agency reported, without giving details. Zanganeh has said the new type of contract, designed to better reward investment in crude and natural gas production, is crucial to increasing the country’s long-term export potential.

Although it may take years for new investment deals to bear fruit, Tuesday’s signing caps a good few days for Zanganeh, who returned from last week’s OPEC meeting in Algiers having secured Iran’s right to pump more oil even as Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies agreed to curb output. President Hassan Rouhani’s government has argued that it should be allowed to return production to levels achieved before international sanctions curbed shipments.

“Iranians feel that they’ve missed out on a big, big party because of sanctions,” Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in an interview. “Sanctions basically took a lot of production out at a time when oil prices were very, very high. Iran doesn’t really have to cut production, and it’s going to get a higher price.”

The prospect of higher oil - benchmark prices in London traded at a three-month high above $50 a barrel on Monday - coupled with increased investment in the energy industry will also be a boost to Rouhani, who faces a reelection battle next year when he must convince voters that rapprochement with the West is paying off economically. Brent crude rose 0.4 percent to $51.10 a barrel at 3:02 p.m. in London.

Even if the real test for Rouhani’s government would be to persuade international oil companies to invest in the country, the oilfield development accord is evidence of progress, together with rising crude exports. Persia Oil & Gas, the energy arm of the conglomerate Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, will develop part of the Yaran, Koupal and Maroon fields near the Iraqi border. The contract is an agreement that sets the framework for a final deal to be signed in five to six months, Zanganeh said.

The International Monetary Fund said Monday that economic conditions in Iran are improving substantially and forecast growth of at least 4.5 percent in 2016-17.

Iran aims to increase exports to 2.35 million barrels a day in coming months from about 2.2 million barrels a day, state news agency Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday, citing Mohsen Ghamsari, NIOC’s international affairs director. The country has raised export capacity to 4 million barrels a day, NIOC’s managing director Ali Kardor said, according to an IRNA report on Monday.

Iran told the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that it wants to produce about 4 million barrels of crude a day to regain its pre-sanctions share of the market, Zanganeh said last week. Iran produced 3.62 million barrels a day in August, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

OPEC Quotas

A previous attempt to reach a freeze agreement in April failed when Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran should participate even without recouping the production levels it lost under international sanctions. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest producer, softened its stance in Algiers, with Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih saying that Iran, along with Libya and Nigeria, should be allowed to “produce at the maximum levels that make sense.”

Iran’s eventual production cap isn’t clear. While OPEC agreed on a new overall range for production, it will set up a committee to decide on output quotas for individual members, before it meets again in Vienna next month.

Iran may already be near its maximum output in the absence of new investment, Jaafar Altaie, managing director at consultants Manaar Energy Group, said by phone from Abu Dhabi. The country needs foreign money and technology to counter the natural decline of its aging fields and to push production capacity much beyond 3.8 million barrels a day, he said.

Paolo Scaroni, the former chief executive of Italy’s Eni SpA, said Iran is able to pump as much as 4.1 million to 4.2 million barrels daily. Any increase from there will take time and foreign investment, said Scaroni, who is now a vice chairman at NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd., speaking in a Bloomberg television interview from London on Monday.

“The pressure is on NIOC to show they can bring additional barrels to the market,” Manaar Energy’s Altaie said.

SOURCE : Rigzone

I  recently had the opportunity to speak with Greg Williams, who is raising funds for a documentary film about “the real heroes” of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Williams told me that his time on the Deepwater Horizon from 2002 to 2008 made a huge impact on his career. His time on the rig – where he worked up to the driller position – taught him most of what he knows about managing people. Williams told me he uses the lessons he learned from working with BP and Transocean in his own business, Houston-based Contechnix LLC.

Williams told me he believes the industry as a whole is doing better in terms of addressing the problems that led to Macondo, including the adoption of recommendations outlined in BP’s Bly Report. Some good things came out of the reforms – including the formation of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and new regulations. But Williams believes that, had the industry practiced what it preached, the incident wouldn’t have happened. Then the guidelines would not have needed a full workover after Macondo.

What kind of lessons should the oil and gas industry learn from Macondo? Williams, who’s worked in the oil and gas industry since 1994, believes that drilling contractors and operators should do a better job on well planning and form a more cohesive team.

“It’s most commonly a ‘them-versus-us’ dynamic that we don’t want to come out, but sometimes it does,” said Williams. “Some of the projects we pursue are advanced and in-depth. They should … invest their time to ensure that everyone agrees on the drilling program, and, if they don’t, then do as they tell the world and stop operations.”

The impact of the Macondo well blowout – which killed 11 people on board the Deepwater Horizon, destroyed the drilling rig and unleased the United States’ largest ever oil spill – is evident in operations today. Williams said he knows a whole generation of drillers who, when mud comes above the rotary table, will disconnect the blowout preventer without a second thought.

“The faster you react, the better,” said Williams, adding that planning between the contractor and the client is paramount. No matter the problem, an investment of time is needed, not walking away and hoping the problem will fix itself, he said.

I agree with Williams’ assertion that industry needs to practice what it preaches. Why have rules and regulations in place if they aren’t followed? I’ve heard at many industry conferences about the need for safety in operations. But ensuring safe operations involves more than just giving speeches; it also involves hanging company culture and operations. Ensuring that all parties are on board with drilling plans – and that employees feel they can say stop if something isn’t right – is critical to preventing future incidents like Macondo.

I also agree with his idea of telling the stories of other survivors of the Macondo incident. I did catch an early screening of the movie Deepwater Horizon, and I can say that Williams’ assumption about the movie is correct: the film’s budget and capabilities of today’s computer-generated imagery resulted in a well-filmed movie. I agree that the film focused on honoring the people who lived through Macondo, not the companies involved. But Williams was right that the movie focuses on one person’s perspective. There are many more stories to be told by the survivors’ and victims’ families. I wish him luck in ensuring that the stories of the survivors are available to the next generation.

SOURCE : Rigzone .