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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


March 2013 Issue

Total Enters Deep Offshore Exploration in Cyprus
Total SA (Paris, France) signed in February two production sharing contracts (PSCs) for blocks 10 and 11 with the Republic of Cyprus. The PSCs were awarded as part of the second offshore exploration licensing round, launched by the Cypriot government in 2012.

The licenses extend more than 2,572 square kilometers in block 10 and 2,958 square kilometers in block 11, southwest of Cyprus, in water depths ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 meters. The exploration program will begin with 3D seismic surveys in block 11 and 2D seismic surveys in block 10.

Shell's Arctic Rigs En Route to Asian Shipyards for Repairs
The two rigs intended for Royal Dutch Shell plc's (The Hague, Netherlands) drilling program offshore Alaska will undergo repairs at shipyards in Asia, Reuters reported in February. Shell has not confirmed whether it will drill offshore Alaska in 2013, but the ships' repairs and previous issues have cast further doubt on whether such plans would be feasible.

Shell has yet to name the shipyards, but the Kulluk will be dry-docked and the Noble Discoverer will go to South Korea. The ships were scheduled to depart Alaska in March for a two-to-four-week-long trip to their destinations.

At the end of last year, the Kulluk had run aground near Kodiak Island after slipping its tow lines. Government regulations and testing had further slowed Shell's progress, as problems were identified with the company's support vessels and Noble Discoverer rig. In October, a fire broke out on the Discoverer. These mishaps culminated with the U.S. Department of the Interior launching a review of Shell's program in January 2013.

Shell has spent $4.5 billion on its efforts in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, according to Reuters. The Noble Discoverer, under contract from owner Noble Corp. (Baar, Switzerland), is costing Shell $244,000 per day, while it is docked in Seward, Alaska, where U.S. Coast Guard inspections revealed deficiencies in its environmental and safety systems.

Oceaneering Awarded Subsea BOP Control Systems Contracts
Oceaneering International Inc. (Houston, Texas) has secured contracts worth more than $40 million with a subsidiary of Transocean Ltd. (Houston) to provide three subsea blowout preventer (BOP) control systems.

The contracts are for discrete hydraulic systems that will be used on existing semi-submersible drilling rigs that Transocean is modifying to comply with the American Petroleum Institute's recently issued standard API 53, which requires subsea BOPs with a single shear ram to be upgraded or replaced.

These systems will be manufactured at the Oceaneering Intervention Engineering facility in Houston, with deliveries anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

DPS Offshore Renamed Forum Subsea Rentals
Forum Energy Technologies Inc. (Houston, Texas) recently announced the rebrand of its DPS Offshore (Aberdeen, Scotland) product line to be known as Forum Subsea Rentals.

Forum Subsea Rentals services operates from locations in Aberdeen; Great Yarmouth, England; Houston; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Singapore.

38 Million Acres Offered In Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale
The Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 227, planned for mid-March, will offer 38.6 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for oil and gas exploration and development, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said in February.

The sale encompasses 7,299 blocks located from 3 to 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 3 to 3,400 meters. BOEM estimates the lease sale could result in the production of 0.46 billion to 0.89 billion barrels of oil, and 1.9 trillion cubic feet to 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The sale, which includes all unleased areas in the Central Gulf of Mexico planning area, will be the second sale under the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 to 2017. It is the first of five Central Gulf of Mexico lease sales that will be held under the program.

Variable Bore Rams to Provide BOP Rams to Weatherford Asia
Variable Bore Rams Inc. (Layfayette, Louisiana) has entered into an agreement with Weatherford Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (Singapore) to provide blowout preventer (BOP) rams.

Equipment stocking began in February to allow for the quicker deployment of rams in the Asia Pacific region. The range of stock will include rams in 7 1/16 inch, 3 to 15M; 11 inch, 3 to 10M; 13 5/8 inch, 3 to 10M; 18 3/4 inch, 10 to 15M; and 21 1/4 inch, 2M.

The venture will be headed by the Weatherford Pressure Control Business unit and Variable Bore Rams Inc.'s International Operations department. Both will oversee all operational activity involved with the contract.

UK Subsea Companies See Bright Future for Industry, Survey Says
Subsea companies in the U.K. are very optimistic for business in 2013 after the industry had a profitable 2012, according to a survey of Subsea UK members.

The survey results, released in February, found that all firms are predicting significant growth in the next 12 months. Almost half expect to grow by 30 percent and a third by more than 50 percent.

Almost 90 percent of those surveyed saw turnover and profits rise in 2012, with more than half reporting growth of 20 percent and a fifth reporting more than 50 percent growth.

The main drivers for growth were a sustained high oil price, an increase in global demand, and new technology and innovation that are leading to more developments becoming viable. The fastest growing subsea segments are inspection, repair and maintenance, integrity and reliability, decommissioning and offshore wind.

The biggest challenge facing the sector is recruiting and retaining skilled people, with 88 percent citing this as their foremost constraint.

Other challenges reported by 15 percent or more respondents were access to finance and working capital in particular, finding suitable premises, controlling costs and managing growth.


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