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First oil from Edvard Grieg
Lundin achieves first oil from its new key infrastructure in Norway’s Utisira High
Sweden-based Lundin Petroleum achieved first oil at its flagship Edvard Grieg project on November 28, giving the company’s production levels and cash flow a significant boost. Lundin CEO Alex Schneiter said the project had delivered first oil “on schedule and on budget.”
Edvard Grieg is located in Production Licence (PL) 338, on Utsira High in the Norwegian North Sea. Lundin holds a 50% operative interest in PL 338, with partners OMV (20%), Statoil (15%) and Wintershall (15%).
Edvard Grieg was discovered in 2007, and is currently estimated to hold 187 million barrels of oil equivalent in gross 2P reserves. The project’s developers anticipate peak production of 90,000 barrels per day of oil plus 1.5 million cubic metres of gas.
Lundin also intends to use Edvard Grieg as a field centre, utilising its facilities to receive oil and gas from neighbouring Det Norske-operated Ivar Aasen for further processing.
Partner Statoil was responsible for building the export pipelines, which will
transport oil to the Sture terminal on Norway’s west coast, while exporting gas separately to a facility in St Fergus, Scotland, UK.
A successful appraisal well on the southeast part the field was completed in August, and is projected to increase estimated reserves once Lundin completes the certification process for 2015.
SpareBank 1 analyst Knut Henrik Rolland told NewsBase: “Edvard Grieg is Lundin’s flagship, and it was very important that they managed to bring it on stream before year-end within budget.”
He added: “Incremental barrels over the Edvard Grieg platform will have high value owing to reduced capital investment requirement and low operating costs.”
Arctic Securities analyst Henrik Madsen said his institution expected Lundin’s appraisal work to increase Edvard Grieg’s reserves by 20-30 million boe.
Luno green light
Meanwhile, Lundin last week received drilling approval from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) for wildcat
well 16/4-10, which is located southwest of its Luno II discovery in Production Licence (PL) 544. Luno II is one satellite prospect that could be tied back to Edvard Grieg in the future.
Madsen said that while the importance of getting Grieg on stream could not be overstated, the project remained Lundin’s key risk into next year. “Grieg volumes will be absolutely vital to generate enough cash flow to cover the quite substantial capex requirements going forward on Johan Sverdrup,” Madsen said. “On our estimates, Lundin will invest US$3.3 billion in Johan Sverdrup from 2016 through 2019.”
He highlighted Lundin’s current liquidity position of around US$670 million, with a potential US$1-1.5 billion available if the firm expands its current debt facility.
“We will need to see stable and increasing production towards plateau levels through 2016 to feel the geology [at Edvard Grieg] has been understood and that the topside is working as expected,” he said.
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GAIL uses space technology to
With pipeline monitoring now being
done by drones and sensors, GAIL
(India) is looking at satellite technology
India’s state-run GAIL will soon launch a satellite surveillance system for monitoring its 13,000-km gas pipeline network. The company wants to enhance security on its transportation system.
GAIL will co-operate with India’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), a subsidiary of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to implement a new surveillance system called Bhuvan-GAIL portal. The system will use space technology to survey GAIL’s pipeline network, which the firm said would be an effective way to monitor the pipelines’ Right of Use (RoU) management. This is currently carried out by monthly helicopter surveys.
“GAIL will start live satellite monitoring of the pipeline RoU by January 2016 and is also looking for alternative methods like advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which can also be integrated with this system,” the firm said.
The portal operates with manual and autochange analysis to track changes along the RoU. It is employable within the RoU as well as up to 1 km outside the system.
Aboveground pipelines are usually monitored by fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters because they have the manoeuvrability to follow the course of pipeline corridors while capturing high-resolution imagery at low altitude. However, satellite sensing technology has emerged as a viable alternative in recent years as new high-resolution satellites and object-oriented image analysis have become available.
GAIL says it has developed an application that can instantly upload pictures from mobile phones to the portal, which it hopes will quickly establish what is occurring on the ground. Data will then be sent via a report system to be integrated with the
Bhuvan-GAIL portal. This will then notify “relevant executives” of GAIL via SMS of any changes noted along the RoU, as well as newly available satellite imagery.
In June 2014, unnoticed corrosion in GAIL’s pipeline in Andhra Pradesh caused a gas leakage and a fire in East Godavari, near to a refinery operated by ONGC. The incident claimed at least 18 lives and underlined the need for enhanced monitoring systems on pipelines in India.
GAIL has studied the technical feasibility of utilising space technology with imagery from Indian satellites before moving to higher resolution foreign satellites. The company’s pilot project was performed on a 610-km pipeline that runs from Dahej to Vijaipur.
Scratching the surface
Satellite imaging and monitoring as a service for oil and gas has grown in recent years, driven by the proliferation in available satellites, and the cost and resolution of the images and information available. The latest commercial satellites now have a ground sampling distance
of up to 30 cm, meaning they can be used to detect vital details and asset information before physical site inspections. Service companies such as Fugro, DigitalGlobe and SkyWave provide a number of services from mapping to infrastructure monitoring via linked SCADA systems. Using different spectral bands also allows firms to see different surface information – using the shortwave infrared (SWIR) part of the spectrum even enables researchers to study rock properties.
Indeed, a recent agreement between DigitalGlobe and Exploration Mapping Group will see the two co-operate, using the former’s WorldView-3 satellite to map geology and minerals key to petroleum discovery. Again, SWIR and near infrared (VNIR) bands will be used to analyse host rocks where oil deposits are located.
With competition in the sector already heating up, the growing prevalence of such technology means that in the coming years it is likely that more and more exploration and asset monitoring will be aided – or even carried out – by satellites.
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Just a phase?
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a new form of solid carbon –
and it is harder
Despite being the fourth most abundant material in the universe, we know comparatively little about carbon. It may therefore come as no surprise that researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered a third phase of solid carbon – distinct from the other known phases of graphite and diamond.
Dubbed Q-carbon, the elemental phase is a diamond-like structure at room temperature and pressure. At the same time, it is also harder than diamond and will glow when exposed to even low levels of energy.
More intriguingly, it is also room-temperature ferromagnetic (RTFM) – a property unique to the phase. As lead author of the research, NC State’s John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Jay Narayan, notes: “We didn’t even think that was possible.”
Although the phase is unlikely to occur naturally, Narayan suggests it could be found inside the core of some planets.
The relative ease and inexpensive methods by which the material can be produced means the team has already some identified some interesting applications. “Q-carbon’s strength and low work-function – its willingness to release electrons – make it very promising for developing new electronic display technologies,” Narayan suggests.
How it’s made
According to the team’s paper, published in the Journal of Applied Physics, Q-carbon is formed as result of quenching from the super-undercooled state byanosecond laser pulses. Amorphous carbon – elemental carbon which does not have the crystalline structure of diamond or graphite – is applied to a glass, sapphire or polymer substrate before being hit
with a single laser pulse for around 200 nanoseconds.
This pulses raises the temperature of the carbon to 4,000 K (3,727°C) before it is rapidly cooled, leaving a film of Q-carbon, which can be controlled depending on the desired thickness. The paper suggests a current range of between 20-500 nanometres depending on the process.
Changing variables in the process also leads to different results. By using different substrates and pulse lengths to control the rate of cooling, Narayan and his team can create a range of single-crystal diamond objects.
Not only that, but it can be done “without need for any catalysts and hydrogen to stabilise sp3 [hybridisation] bonding for diamond formation,” and, of course, at room temperature. “We’re basically using a laser like the ones used for laser eye surgery,” Narayan says, “So not only does this allow us to develop new applications, but the process itself is relatively inexpensive.”The single-crystalline structure of these materials makes them “stronger than polycrystalline materials,” he adds.
While full applications have not yet been perfected, Narayan draws attention to the potential for “diamond nanoneedles or microneedles, nanodots, or large-area diamond films, with applications for drug delivery, industrial processes and for creating high-temperature switches and power electronics.”
“We can make Q-carbon films, and we’re learning [their] properties, but we are still in the early stages of understanding how to manipulate it,” Narayan says. “We know a lot about diamond, so we can make diamond nanodots. We don’t yet know how to make Q-carbon nanodots or microneedles. That’s something we’re working on.”
The university has filed two provisional patents filed on the material and the techniques for diamond creation.
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Drones and the energy
sector: SkyTech's the limit
Joshua Potts of SykTech examines how drones are shaping the future energy landscape
The energy industry is a smorgasbord of competing theories on how best to manage resources. Yet what is currently uniting companies is the desire to sharpen maintenance tools to save time, money and avoid uncertainty about the viability of existing and developing infrastructures.
Drones are incredibly useful for the energy sector. A wind turbine, for example, must undergo rigorous inspection for dents or holes in its blades, something that has always carried a commitment to manual solutions. Normally, relying on foot patrols and helicopter flights means that a significant portion of turbines do not last their full 20-year lifespan, simply because these operations are slow to enact on a large scale. Drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – by contrast, can get close to inaccessible infrastructure quicker and more safely than rope-access workers.
They are also more environmentally friendly – one doesn’t need several hundred litres of aviation fuel for a 15- minute ROAV flight.
Although drones account for 2% of all wind farm surveys, demand will grow exponentially when the hundreds of thousands of turbines that currently exist reach the end of their warranty period. Since the commercial UAV sector is already on track to eclipse its military rival by the end of the decade, speculation has already begun on how long it will be before current legislation catches up with market trends.
The oil and gas sector was one of the first areas that welcomed drones with open arms, and is leading their wide-scale application. Engie has been deploying models for nine years to survey hundreds of miles of pipeline. BP is using them to inspect flare stacks and onshore oil sites: for example, staying on top of tricky weather conditions in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. Even for smaller-scale inspections, such as monitoring a single cooling tower, UAVs negate the need for scaffolding rigs and spot-checks that can last a day or more.
BP’s technology director, Curtis Smith, was evangelical when discussing pipeline inspections in 2014 with The Wall Street Journal, enthusiastically citing engineers who gathered “more data in 45 minutes than we’ve gotten in 30 years”.
The efficiency of UAVs is certainly set to encourage the spread of the technology across the energy sector. Greater savings on inspection costs means energy sources are cheaper and easier to maintain, keeping the price of energy down for the rest of us. As remote – and even autonomous – technology grows in usage and capability, it may even allow the energy industry to push further into challenging environments.n this same revolutionary spirit, SkyTech 2016 will showcase the latest developments in UAVs for
the energy industry on the 27-28th January, 2016 at London’s Business Design Centre. Featuring an exhibition, 3 conferences with a range of industry speakers, as well as workshops, product launches and live demonstrations, SkyTech is the ideal destination for those looking to stay informed about the UAV industry.
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2016: Global outlook
The NewsBase editorial team looks back on 2015 and charts predictions, projects and innovations on the horizon for the coming year
African exploration continued to lead the world in 2015, although the discoveries were largely driven by deepwater gas volumes, which may prove hard to monetise. The richness of this resource is driving continued interest in floating LNG (FLNG). This technology remains unproven but Gazprom’s decision to support Perenco’s work offshore Cameroon, signing up to an offtake agreement, suggests it is gaining traction.
Italy’s Eni, in particular, had a strong year, particularly in the shallow-water pre-salt areas off West Africa, where it was able to focus on near-field opportunities. The largest find of the year – Eni’s wholly owned Zohr offshore Egypt – has reinvigorated interest in the Eastern Mediterranean region. However, given the fact that before drilling Zohr had been thought to hold liquids demonstrates that surveying work still has some way to go.
Disappointments continued in Kenya, outside the South Lokichar Basin, suggesting Tullow Oil and its partners have not yet cracked the code for the East African rift system.
Given the conservative mood of the industry at large, a major theme has been cost reduction, particularly with regard to deepwater. This has been reflected in other ways. Total, for one, has made move to a more flexible service staff at its floating production, storage and offload (FPSO) vessels offshore West Africa – a decision which has gained some interest – although safety remains paramount.
Ed Reed, AfrOil Editor
In the still buoyant Middle East, EOR was one of the key themes of 2015 – a note that will continue to sound throughout next year.
In Oman, having successfully tested a solar steam injection enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot project, Glasspoint and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) have begun construction on the Miraah project at the Amal oilfield.
Of all the Middle Eastern hydrocarbons producers, Oman has repeatedly shown itself to be at the forefront of adapting to the enduringly low oil price environment in an innovative and speedy fashion. This is unsurprising given its 2015 budget breakeven price of US$110 per barrel of Brent and the energy sector accounting for around 80% of its total revenues.
Oman’s oil is amongst the most difficult in the world to extract from its deep carbonate reservoirs, resulting in up to US$20 per barrel in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) costs added to the US$15 per barrel or so of standard operating cost (including capex). It puts it behind regional rivals, such neighbouring UAE’s US$7 per barrel.
In late 2015, Saudi Arabian officials also presented Saudi Aramco’s maiden tertiary recovery project at Ghawar – the world’s largest oilfield – to an environmental forum, revealing their major ambitions for the potential of such technologies to ramp up recovery rates and thereby cement the kingdom’s market dominance well into the future.
The Uthmaniya pilot CO2 injection project was launched at Ghawar in July, and Aramco hopes that tertiary recovery techniques could raise recovery rates from the field as high as 70%. The pilot scheme will continue through to the end of 2016 before the company determines whether a wider roll-out is commercially viable.
Also, Wintershall signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) in early November to co-operate on research and development (R&D) for chemical enhanced oil recovery (cEOR) technologies tailored to raise recovery rates at the emirate’s fields.
The state-owned oil firm has experimented with various advanced recovery techniques at its maturing and most-complex fields and has followed an industry trend in signing up international oil company (IOC) partners to assist in developing bespoke solutions. Chemical injection is the least used across the world of the three main EOR techniques but has been gaining ground, with Oman the regional pioneer and a pilot project under way in Abu Dhabi outside ADNOC’s purview.
Ian Simm, MEOG Editor
Asian refiners are scrambling to improve efficiency, with residue upgrading technologies of increasing importance to plant operators.
While lower oil prices have helped refineries post stronger margins in recent months, regional competition remains strong. As such, conquering the bottom of the barrel remains core to ensuring a competitive edge.
Sumitomo Chemical said this month that it had agreed to license its polypropylene (PP) and propylene oxide (PO) manufacturing >
manufacturing technologies to South Korea’s S-Oil.
In September, S-Oil reached a final investment decision (FID) on a residue fluid catalytic cracking (RFCC) plant at its 669,000 bpd Ulsan refinery. Once complete the unit will allow the company to produce high-value gasoline and propylene from the residue oil. S-Oil plans to use Sumitomo’s technologies to convert the propylene into downstream products.
Exploiting residue oil is also gaining importance in China, where a recent Honeywell UOP-commissioned survey of state and independent refinery operators revealed that local players were chasing “breakthrough technologies” in extracting more value from every barrel of crude.
Asia’s exploding downstream capacity has highlighted the need for operators to become more efficient and improve refining margins however possible.
Regional crude distillation unit (CDU) capacity has been forecast to grow by around a third from almost 30 million bpd in 2010 to more than 40 million bpd by 2020. This will force less efficient refineries to make way for more advanced facilities.
This can already be seen in Australia, where older, smaller plants have been unable to vie for local market share with Asia’s biggest facilities.
Japanese refiners have also been forced to rationalise capacity in a bid to survive. JX Holdings and TonenGeneral Sekiyu announced merger plans this month following a similar statement from Idemitsu Kosan and Showa Shell Sekiyu in November.
Even as refiners work to scrape the bottom of the barrel, new capacity planned for China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam will likely force further closures of older plant.
In the upstream, meanwhile, work continues apace to unlock Australia’s shale gas potential.
Ireland’s Falcon Oil & Gas has said it will drill two wells on its 4.6 million-acre (18,600-square km) shale venture in Australia’s Beetaloo Basin in the first half of next year. The wells will then be hydraulically fractured and, if successful, the wells’ gas flow rates will be tested in the third quarter.
The licence area could hold as much as 160 trillion cubic feet (4.53 trillion cubic metres) of gas, compared with an estimated resource potential for Australia of 396 tcf (11.21 tcm). Given that Australian major Santos said in late 2014 that the country still had another 5-10 years left before it would begin to produce the fuel at viable quantities, progress in the Beetaloo will be of particular interest in 2016.
Andrew Kemp, AsianOil Editor