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Global and Regional Markets

Geothermal holds potential for new energy – and for new drilling

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Like many renewable energy sources, geothermal carries substantial potential for powering the world in an environmentally friendly way. However, also like many renewable energy sources, geothermal remains unable to evolve into a fully viable alternative to oil or natural gas. The late 1970s and early ’80s saw rapid growth of the US geothermal industry, mostly in western states such as California and Nevada. But by the ’90s, geothermal had hit a wall. Demand went down in the face of strong competition from natural gas – fairly cheap at the time, if you recall. Even after the US government added an investment tax credit for geothermal drilling in 1992, the market continued to stall. Times ...

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New NELP licensing round to push India’s deepwater ambiitions, need for deepwater rigs

After three extensions, the bid deadline for the seventh round of India’s New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) is now set for 30 June 2008. A total of 57 blocks have been offered for bidding, including 29 onshore blocks, nine shallow-water blocks and 19 deepwater blocks. Announced in December 2007, NELP VII has been heavily promoted by the Indian government, with “road shows” promoting the new licensing round earlier this year in cities like London, Houston, Singapore, and Perth, Australia, as well as cities in India. According to the Indian government, the development of the E&P sector has been significantly boosted by NELP. Before NELP, only 11% of Indian sedimentary basins were under exploration. Six rounds of NELP later, 162 production ...

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PV Drilling building new rigs as it eyes Vietnams expanding E&P market, exploration successes

By Linda Hsieh, assistant managing editor Vietnam-based PV Drilling is gearing up to be a serious offshore player – just in time, since Vietnam is gearing up for some serious offshore drilling. Just six years ago, PV Drilling – or Petrovietnam Drilling and Well Services Corp – was a company providing small-scale services such as drilling tool rental and oil spill response. By March 2007, it had taken delivery of its first jackup rig – not only the first offshore rig for PV Drilling but also the first ever offshore rig for any Vietnam-based drilling contractor. Since then, the company has ordered two more jackups from the Keppel FELS shipyard in Singapore. Both are scheduled for delivery in 2009. “It’s ...

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Seadrill confident in growth, believes modern fleet will pay off, says CEO Thorkildsen

By Jeremy Cresswell, contributing editor In Q2 2008, Seadrill landed one of the most spectacular contracts ever awarded in offshore drilling. The client is Petrobras, the revenue potential is $4.1 billion across 18 rig years, and the rigs to be used comprise a trio of sixth-generation semisubmersibles currently in build. Moreover, strategically, Brazil is set to become one of the most important areas of operation for this Bermuda-registered group whose fleet numbers 43 semi-submersibles, jack-ups and tender rigs, including the many new units on order but not options held at the time of writing. Seadrill is one of the fastest-growing, and may in fact be the fastest-growing, company of any engaged in offshore drilling. Of the 43 rigs, 25 are ...

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Exploration on the Atlantic Frontier has been hit-and-miss, but hope lingers for breakthrough

By Jeremy Cresswell, contributing editor As IADC members know all too well, patience is a prerequisite for success in the petroleum industry; it’s a basic fact. But some energy provinces take a lot more figuring out than others before the door to the prize is unlocked. A prime example is surely the Europe Union portion of the Atlantic Frontier, that is, the waters west of France, Ireland, Portugal and Scotland. While a number of promising finds have been made, especially west of Shetland – with three sizable developments producing successfully – and Irish results tantalise, the Bay of Biscay and Iberian waters have yet to yield a meaningful prize. Take the French sector. Thirty years ago, high hopes on France’s ...

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It’s high times, high demand in the North Sea

It’s a fact that the North Sea is a mature oil province where exploration finds are often smaller compared with those offshore Africa or in the Middle East. But when oil is selling for $130 per bbl and bringing natural gas prices along with it to historic highs, being “mature” doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. Rig utilization offshore Europe stands at an impressive 100%, according to the 13 June weekly rig count from ODS-Petrodata, reflecting continued strong demand and interest from operators. And for drilling contractors, 2009 is already shaping up to be a strong year. “We see a slightly underbalanced market of about two units for 2009, which means the market is looking good,” said Ronald Hoope, commercial ...

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