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The Offshore Frontier

Secretary Zinke announces plan for unleashing America’s offshore oil and gas potential

US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the next step for responsibly developing the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) for 2019-2024, which proposes to make over 90% of the total OCS acreage and more than 98% of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development. By comparison, the current program puts 94% of the OCS off limits. In addition, the program proposes the largest number of lease sales in US history...

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Statoil acquires 25% of Roncador field in Brazil, advances strategic partnership with Petrobras

Statoil and Petrobras have agreed that Statoil will acquire a 25% interest in Roncador, a large oil field in the Campos Basin in Brazil. The transaction nearly triples Statoil's production in Brazil, with attractive breakevens and potential for additional value creation for both parties through the application of Statoil's expertise in improved oil recovery (IOR). The total consideration comprises an initial payment of $2.35 billion, plus additional contingent payments of up to $550 million...

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BSEE approves new drilling operations in Arctic

Achieving American energy dominance moved one step closer with the approval of Arctic exploration operations on the Outer Continental Shelf for the first time in more than two years. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved an Application for Permit to Drill Tuesday. Eni US Operating Co. submitted the application in August. Drilling the exploratory well from a man-made artificial island in the Beaufort Sea is expected to start as early as this December...

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Frigstad Offshore launches project to build new generation harsh environment semi-submersible drilling rig

Frigstad Offshore has initiated a tender process with shipyards in Asia to price a new generation harsh environment semi-submersible drilling rig. The Frigstad D90 AWD design has been developed over the last two years by affiliate Frigstad Engineering to take advantage of latest technology developments, meeting end client and environmental requirements of the future. The Frigstad D90 AWD is designed as a highly versatile and efficient tool for “all water drilling,” both in harsh and benign environments and in water depths ranging from 350 to 14,000 ft. Harald Frigstad, Chairman and Owner of Frigstad Group, commented, “We have seen an increased demand among oil companies for larger and more efficient drilling units. The recent downturn has pushed the industry to ...

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Maersk Drilling announces major contract with Repsol

Maersk Drilling has been awarded a new major contract in the North Sea for the combined drilling and production jackup Mærsk Inspirer by Repsol. With an estimated duration of five years and options for up to an additional five years, the contract covers drilling and production on the Yme New Development in Norway. Following modification work to the production module, the contract is expected to commence operations on the Yme field as early as Q4 2019...

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Deepwater drilling segment reaches nadir in 2017, may see beginnings of a steady recovery in 2018

As the deepwater drilling industry looks toward 2018 and beyond, here’s the silver lining: The worst is likely over. Conditions are still difficult, with few work opportunities available for the large supply of deepwater rigs worldwide. However, companies can take some comfort in the fact that things appear to be on the mend, if slowly. “We believe 2017 does actually represent the nadir of activity in deepwater wells drilled,” said Ben Wilby, an analyst with Westwood Global Energy Group. “It increases next year and then increases steadily for the foreseeable future.” This means rig utilization will also see a slow and steady increase beginning in 2018, although a still-oversupplied rig market is expected to keep dayrates down for the foreseeable future...

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Artificial intelligence-enabled flexibility at heart of cognitive drilling platform

By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor Schlumberger is in the final stages of commissioning its Rig of the Future, which should be commercial by early 2018, Arindam Bhattacharya, President of Schlumberger Land Rigs, said at the 2017 IADC Advanced Rig Technology Conference on 25 October in Amsterdam. The rig brings together not only automation but also mechanization, including a central hoisting and rotating system, as well as an integrated fluid system that will help to integrate workflows like cementing and managed pressure drilling. Elements of the downhole system, like stick-slip mitigation, can also be optimized through automation. The Rig of the Future project was driven by the lower oil price environment and the desire to thrive, not just survive, in this ...

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