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In a welcome move, the UK government has announced major funding for multiple carbon capture schemes in its Budget for 2020. Although UK chancellor Rishi Sunak refrained from mentioning any new measures for North Sea oil and gas extraction, his first budget laid emphasis on environment-friendly investment. The UK Committee on Climate Change has proposed the country’s first carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) facility and it should be operational by 2026.
Oil supermajor, BP has acquired majority stakes in fibre optic innovation company, Fotech through its business development branch, Launchpad. Founded in 2008, Fotech develops fibre optics products for transportation, smart cities, energy and the security sector. The UK-based firm deploys artificial intelligence and edge computing in its products, spanning areas like surveillance, transport management, cable monitoring and rail management.
Oil and gas services firm, KCA Deutag has secured a five-year contract extension from CNRI for three platforms operating in the UK North Sea. The scope of the contract includes the delivery of drilling operations and maintenance services on CNRI’s Ninian South, Ninian Central and Tiffany platforms. CNRI and KCA Deutag have a long history of working together.
In an unprecedented move, the UK government has effectively banned the controversial practice of hydraulic fracing, dealing a severe blow to the fracing industry. The move came just weeks ahead of a general election, putting an end to the technique in the UK after growing concerns about earthquakes in the region. The decision will serve as a major roadblock to firms like Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. and Ineos Group Ltd.
ConocoPhillips has concluded the sale of two of its subsidiaries to Chrysaor E&P Limited in a $2.675 billion deal, apart from the interest and customary adjustments. The two ConocoPhillips subsidiaries indirectly owned the firm’s E&P assets in the UK, including roughly $1.8 billion in asset retirement obligations. The US oil major also declared about discontinuing exploration activities in the Central Louisiana Austin Chalk trend.
Halliburton has added new technology to its product line. Oil field service company has acquired from Westerton a new portfolio of electro-mechanical downhole cutting tools and related tubing punches. This equipment will offer a safe and reliable alternative to operators for conventional pipe recovery and intervention across the well lifecycle. It will not only reduce the cost of construction of new wells but also extend the life of old wells.
Restrata Platform is a system for real-time monitoring of people and assets. Serica Energy has signed a deal to adopt this platform for Bruce asset in the UK Northern North Sea. CEO of the company said, “Our team will work with Restrata to commence the roll out of the technology and integrate our operating procedures, specific to Bruce".
Diamond Offshore has reported losses in the first half of 2019. The losses have more than doubled and pre-tax losses were registered to be £179 million. The total revenue of the company dropped down to £370m. Also, a backlog of £1.6bn was reported by the firm. However, Diamond has recently secured a new contract for Ocean GreatWhite.
French energy giant, Total has revealed plans of farming out North Sea assets worth £4billion in the current financial year. The asset farm-out news comes tailing a £510m-sale of a UK North Sea mature field package to Petrogas in July. The supermajor said that the divestment strategy is in line with Total’s goals of growing in the LNG market, and will stress on the sales in the exploration and production.
Iran detained two British oil tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz on Friday, worsening tensions with London and Washington. Naval forces from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained and sent the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero to Iranian shores for legal procedures. The tanker was seized on the claims of not following international maritime regulations while transiting the strait. The British Government has cautioned of a “considered and robust” response.
In an attempt to increase its share of North Sea decommissioning work, Scotland has raised funding worth £4 million. In the fourth round of Decommissioning Challenge Fund, the nation gained a higher share of the £15.3bn forecast. Energy Minister said, "Decommissioning North Sea infrastructure will help Scotland’s supply chain gain an even higher share of North Sea projects and capitalise global market opportunities by exporting knowledge and experience".
British tanker faced obstruction from Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel "British Heritage" was reported to be near the island of Abu Musa when Iranian boats tried to impede it. "We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region", said the UK Defence Ministry. However, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has refused involvement in this incident.
UK-based EnQuest yesterday informed that it will shed around 80 of its employees deployed at the Sullom Voe Terminal by the end of 2019. EnQuest regarded the move as “essential” to maintain the competitiveness of the oil terminal and empower it to retain and win new business. The employees expected to be dropped consists of around 60 full-time staff members and 20 contractors.
In March 2017, the Canadian firm CNR International submitted its draft programme for Ninian Northern, which has now received approval from the UK Government. The topside can be withdrawn early next year and the jacket can be removed by 2023, said CNR in its final version. The Ninian platform is located in the UK North Sea and was installed in 1978.
British E&P firm, RockRose Energy has concluded the acquisition of Marathon Oil’s UK business. RockRose entered into an acquisition agreement in February this year to buy out Marathon’s UK division. The acquisition has gained RockRose the ownership to 40% operated stake in the Greater Brae Area, apart from a 28% stake in BP-operated Foinaven development and its satellite fields.
DeltaTek has successfully completed its first SeaCure deployment for Total E&P UK. This cementing service took place in Total's Ballindalloch oil field. Chief Commercial and Operations Officer of DeltaTek said, “We are absolutely delighted with the results of the Total deployment. This project was a major success and again illustrated how SeaCure can optimize drilling operations.”
According to the executives at the Norwegian energy giant, UK’s significance is increasing for Equinor owing to landmark projects in the North Sea. “It is clearly one of the most important countries in our international portfolio. We have 30 countries in there, including three very significant ones – Norway, Brazil and the US”, said the Executive VP for development and production international at Equinor, Torgrim Reitan.
Headquartered in Perth, Talon Petroleum has decided to strengthen its grounds in the North Sea. Until the acquisition of EnCounter Oil, the firm did not have a permanent presence in the UK. MD of the firm informed, “The North Sea is a mature basin with good infrastructure, a government that is trying to be helpful and a lot of opportunities".