From a discovery offshore Congo to a seismic survey awards, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space within the past week.

Activity headlines

Itapu pre-salt field goes online

The P-71 FPSO is moored in 2,010 m water depth in the Santos Basin and serves the Itapu pre-salt field. (Source: Petrobras)

Petrobras has brought the P-71 FPSO in the pre-salt Itapu Field online ahead of schedule.

The FPSO, moored in 2,010 m water depth in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil, is expected to reach peak production in 2023. It has the capacity to process up to 150,000 bbl/d of oil and 6 MMcm/d of gas and can store up to 1.6 MMbbl of oil.

The P-71, originally expected to begin production in 2023, is the sixth and last of the series of replicant platforms operated by Petrobras. These units are characterized by a standardized engineering design, high production capacity and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the unit's low-carbon technologies is the flare gas recovery system, which contributes to a greater utilization of the produced gas and reduction of emissions.

Berling moving forward, Brasse stalled

DNO ASA anticipates submission of a plan for development and operation (PDO) to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for the field by year’s end and has increased its stake in the Berling field, previously known as Iris Hades.

DNO acquired 10% interest in the field from Sval Energi, to raise DNO’s stake from 20% to 30%. Other partners in the field include operator OMV (Norge) with 30% and Equinor Energy with 40%.

The PDO will propose Berling be developed as a subsea tieback to the Åsgard B platform 20 km away.

Separately, Equinor submitted a PDO for the Andvare field development (previously Gjøk). The field lies within a license that also includes the producing Alve field as a subsea tieback to Norne FPSO. Andvare will use existing infrastructure and an available Norne well slot, allowing for a fast-track development of the gas discovery. Equinor operates the field with 53% interest on behalf of partners DNO with 32%, and PGNiG Upstream Norway with 15%.

DNO and its partners have opted not to submit a PDO this year for the DNO-operated Brasse project in PL 740 offshore Norway due to changes in the temporary petroleum tax system and industry cost pressures that significantly weakened the project’s economics. DNO is considering its options to commercialize the Brasse oil and gas discovery, including through a modified development concept.

Perenco finds oil offshore Congo

Perenco map
Since January 2017, Perenco has been operating on the group PGNF South fields, including the licenses of Tchendo II, Tchibouela II and Tchibeli Litanzi II. (Source: Perenco)

Perenco Congo announced a pre-salt find with its TCHNEM1-01 well in the Tchibeli North East Vandji exploration prospect offshore the Republic of Congo.

The Dagda mobile offshore drilling and production unit drilled the well in the Perenco-operated PNGF Sud license.

Perenco said good oil and gas shows were recorded on entry into the reservoir and a 75 m oil column was interpreted on logs.

“This exploration discovery by Perenco Congo and its partners is a potential ‘play opener’ in the pre-salt in Congo, and we are pleased to have also identified a number of other Vandji leads on the acreage,” Rory Keith, Perenco group exploration manager, said.

Perenco operates the license with 40% interest on behalf of partners Hemla E&P Congo with 20%, SNPC with 15%, Continent Congo with 10%, Africa Oil & Gas Corp. with 10% and Petro Congo with 5%.

FPSO Cidade de Anchieta resumes production

The FPSO Cidade de Anchieta, which serves Petrobras’ Baleia Azul Field, has resumed production following the inspection, repair and certification of four tanks.

In its February trading update, SBM Offshore noted the FPSO Cidade de Anchieta had been shut down since January 2022 after oil was observed near the vessel. In its November trading update, SBM Offshore said repair work will continue at least until the end of 2023. The company said it anticipated that the finalized estimate for the total future cost of repairs will necessitate a one-off impairment charge in the range of US$75 million to US$100 million, impacting net profit for the year.

Contracts and company news

Petrobras completes Carmópolis Cluster sale

Petrobras has wrapped up the sale of all of its stakes in 11 onshore concessions, referred to as the Carmópolis Cluster, in Sergipe to Carmo Energy. The conclusion of the sale was nearly a year to the day since Petrobras announced the planned sale.

The sale was valued at $1.1 billion, with $275 million paid as a down-payment, $548 million paid on the Dec. 20 closing of the transaction and $275 million due in one year.

The Carmópolis Cluster comprises 11 onshore production concessions in different municipalities of the state of Sergipe and includes access to the infrastructure for processing, flow, storage and transportation of oil and natural gas.

Average production of the Carmópolis Cluster in November 2022 was 4,500 bbl/d and 22,000 MMcm/d of gas.

KCA reports rig awards

KCA Deutag reported securing contract awards and extensions in Oman, Northern Iraq and Europe worth more than $85 million.

In Oman, the T849, T858 and T899 rigs have been extended for a total of seven years of work. Additionally, KCA Deutag’s Kenera business unit will provide a grid container for rig T-899. This transformer unit will allow the rig to be powered by the electricity grid.

The T63 has mobilized to drill two wells, with two more optional wells, for a client in Kurdistan.  In Europe, the T208 won a contract for 2023, which will see all of KCA Deutag’s purpose-built Euro Rigs and the wider fleet in Europe active during the coming year.

Jackup gear fails Noble Regina Allen

Noble reported that the Noble Regina Allen experienced a mechanical issue on Dec. 15 while preparing to move from its location approximately 26 miles off the coast of Trinidad.

A technical failure in the jacking gear appears to have caused damage to the bow leg braces and joints, preventing the rig from being able to fully retract one of its legs. With the structural integrity of the leg compromised, all rig personnel were evacuated after confirming watertight integrity.

The rig completed all well operations before the event occurred and the well is secure.

CGG sales U.S. land seismic library

CGG announced it had sold its U.S. land seismic multi-client library to Bon Ton Seismic LLC for $63 million.

The library includes about 20,000 square miles, or 52,000 sq km, of 3D seismic data.

“The sale of our U.S. land data library is part of a continuous process of business portfolio management that was initiated in 2018. Earth Data will continue to focus on key prolific offshore hydrocarbon basins, CCUS [carbon capture, utilization and storage], minerals and mining, and digital,” CGG CEO Sophie Zurquiyah said.

PGS expanding Sabah 3D coverage

PGS reported it has secured pre-funding to expand MultiClient 3D coverage in the prospective Sabah platform province offshore Malaysia. The survey will cover about 3,500 sq km. Ramform Sovereign is scheduled to begin acquisition in January 2023 and complete the project in March.

This survey is the sixth phase of MultiClient acquisition in the prolific Sabah region. The first phase started in 2016. Since then, more than 47,000 sq km of 3D data has been acquired.

"The Northwest Sabah basin is a proven petroleum system with producing fields such as Kikeh, Gumusut Kakap and Malikai with enormous potential, yet this is still ranked as one of the least explored basins in the world,” president and CEO Rune Olav Pedersen said.

Valaris announces rig contracts

Valaris reported new contracts and extensions, including a 90-day contract with Kistos in the Dutch North Sea for heavy duty harsh environment jackup VALARIS 123. That contract started in November 2022. The VALARIS 123 also has a 195-day contract with ONE-Dyas in the Dutch North Sea that is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023 in direct continuation of the rig’s current contract.

Heavy duty harsh environment jackup VALARIS 121 won a 210-day contract valued at more than $25 million with Shell in the U.K. North Sea that  is expected to begin early in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Heavy duty ultra-harsh environment jackup VALARIS 247 won a 180-day contract with Perenco in the U.K. North Sea that is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023. The contract has one 60-day option.

Cantium exercised a 90-day option for standard duty modern jackup VALARIS 144 for operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The option period is expected to begin in March 2023 in direct continuation of the existing contract. The operating day rate for the option period is $85,000.

Standard duty modern jackup VALARIS 147 a three-year contract extension offshore Saudi Arabia, expected to begin in December 2022 in direct continuation of the existing contract with ARO. Under the agreement, Valaris will bareboat charter VALARIS 147 to ARO.

Standard duty modern jackup VALARIS 148 also won a three-year contract extension offshore Saudi Arabia with ARO. The extension period is expected to begin in February 2023 in direct continuation of the existing contract. Valaris will bareboat charter VALARIS 148 to ARO.

CGG, TGS win Sleipner OBN survey

CGG and TGS were jointly awarded the acquisition and imaging of a dense ocean bottom node (OBN) multi-client seismic survey in the Sleipner Area of the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

The Sleipner OBN survey, located directly south of the Utsira OBN in the North Sea, will span an additional 1,201 sq km area under receivers to increase the contiguous multi-client OBN coverage in the region to 3,278 sq km area under receivers. The survey area covers a mature part of the North Sea that includes the Sleipner East, Sleipner West, Gina Krog, Volve and Utgard fields, as well as surrounding infrastructure-led exploration areas for potential tiebacks to existing infrastructure.

TGS will be the operator throughout the acquisition phase and CGG will apply its proprietary OBN processing and imaging technology, including time-lag full-waveform inversion, to create a high-quality 3D volume that will enhance resolution and structural definition of the complex geology and reservoirs in the region.

Acquisition will begin in June 2023, with final processed deliverables due to be completed by the end of Q3, 2024. The project is supported by industry funding.

PGS wins Barracuda-Caratinga survey work

PGS announced Petrobras had awarded the company a significant 4D production contract over the Barracuda-Caratinga field in the Campos basin offshore Brazil. Mobilization is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2023, and acquisition is expected to be complete early 2024.

The Ramform Victory will most likely be rigged to acquire the Barracuda-Caratinga 4D survey, supported by PGS Apollo as a source vessel.

ONGC picks Shelf rigs

Shelf Drilling announced Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has awarded it a three-year contract award each for the Compact Driller and Key Singapore for operations in the Mumbai High, offshore India. The planned start-up of operations for both contracts is the second quarter of 2023.

RPS: in-field pipeline coating increases flow

Houston-based Rescue Pipeline Services introduced In-Field Flow Coating (IFC) technology for existing gas pipelines. According to the company, the IFC system uses a nano-composite coating to coat microscopic nooks and crannies in a way that is not possible with conventional coatings.

The result is an ultra-slick, low friction surface providing lower friction loss, increased flow, lower energy consumption and reduced deposition of debris and contaminates with minimal surface preparation, RPS said. IFC can be applied on long pipeline segments, of any diameter, by accessing the ends of the pipeline.

A recent trial for a large North American gas pipeline operator on old 20-inch diameter gas pipeline resulted in a decrease in surface roughness from over 2,000 micro inches (51 micrometers) to less than 150 micro inches (3.8 micrometers). In addition, no damage to the coating was observed after subsequent brush pigging and MFL tool inspection verifying the coating’s abrasion resistance to routine pigging and ILI inspection.

Wintershall DEA to run iQx for Norway projects

Wintershall DEA will implement AGR Software’s iQx probabilistic time and cost estimation and tracking applications for its drilling and well projects in Norway.

The development will play a role in enabling greater standardization for Wintershall Dea’s well and drilling teams in the well delivery process, according to AGR.

Regulatory updates

NSTA fines operators for flaring

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) fined three operators as the organization cracked down on activities that risk the drive to cut emissions in the U.K. while ensuring energy security.

NSTA fined EnQuest £150,000 for flaring an excess 262 tonnes of gas on the Magnus Field between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2021, without the necessary consent in place.

Equinor was fined £65,000 for flaring at least 348 tonnes of CO2 above the amount permitted on the Barnacle Field between June and November 2020. Equinor uses an allocation model to measure flaring volumes for the Barnacle Field, whose production is mixed with oil and gas from other fields and processed on the Statfjord B platform in Norwegian waters. As a result, the exceedance of the flare consent on Barnacle did not result in an overall increase of CO2 emissions from Statfjord B during the period of breach. The breach of the consent was in essence an administrative breach. Nonetheless, Equinor was in breach of its U.K. flare consent for Barnacle for four months.

Spirit was fined £50,000 for exceeding the maximum allowed production volumes from two fields over three years. Spirit’s mechanisms and management oversight were not sufficient to prevent the failure to comply with the license conditions for the Rhyl Field between 2018 and 2020 and the Ceres Field between 2019 and 2020. Producing too much oil and gas can reduce the overall long-term production from a reservoir.

According to the NSTA, flaring on the U.K. Continental Shelf was at a record low in 2021, having been cut by 20% to 25.8 Bcf of gas.

EnQuest, Equinor and Spirit cooperated with the NSTA’s investigations, conducted their own internal reviews and have taken steps to avoid repeats of these breaches, NSTA said.

API gives guidance on subsea leak detection

API has published a first-edition technical report on leak detection for multiphase subsea production gathering and gas injection systems that incorporates best practices on leak detection methods using process data and operator training, with the aim of minimizing impacts on the environment if there is loss of containment.

API 17TR16, Subsea Hydrocarbon Production Leak Detection Systems Using Process Data, provides guidelines for the design, operation, maintenance and personnel training related to process data-based leak detection capabilities on subsea multiphase systems.

The Technical Report incorporates industry best practices and technological advances to improve automated leak detection systems, as well as enhance operator training to respond to potential leaks on subsea production systems.