From new contract awards to Halliburton buying Resoptima, below is a compilation of the latest headlines in the E&P space.

Activity headlines

Four Wells Online at Boatou Permit Offshore Congo

Congo Likouala Axima
Four new wells are producing in Perenco Congo’s Boatou permit. (Source: Perenco Congo)

Decades after its initial discovery, the Boatou Field offshore Congo has begun production, Perenco Congo announced on June 5.

Elf Congo originally discovered Boatou, but it remained undeveloped until recently. Perenco Congo obtained a 20-year operating permit, which required installation of a dedicated platform. Between March and May, Perenco and its partners brought online four new wells with average production of 4,500 bbl/d.

Stéphane Barc, Perenco Congo general manager, said, “Finding tailor-made solutions for marginal fields, delivering them quickly, efficiently and safely, points to a very promising future in the Republic of Congo.”

Perenco Congo operates the permit with 75% interest on behalf of partners SNPC with 15% and  AOGC with 5% and PetroCongo with 5%.

Storting OKs Aker BP’s Yggdrasil, Valhall Projects

Aker BP announced on June 5 that Storting has approved its Yggdrasil and Fenris plans of development and operation, as well as its additional development of Valhall. Aker BP CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik estimated the Yggdrasil and Valhall PWP-Fenris projects alone represent nearly $15 billion in investments.

Yggdrasil, which consists of license groups Hugin, Fulla and Munin, is located between Alvheim and Oseberg in the North Sea. Aker BP estimates overall resources in the Yggdrasil area at more than 700 MMbbl. The development concept has a high degree of flexibility and is designed to accommodate future discoveries and fields. Extensive new infrastructure is planned.

The entire Yggdrasil area will be remotely operated from an onshore integrated operations center and control room in Stavanger.

"Detailed engineering is well under way. All major contracts have been signed and we have started placing thousands of purchase orders to suppliers, both nationally and internationally. We are on track to start construction according to plan in the autumn," SVP Yggdrasil Lars Høier said in a press release.

Valhall PWP-Fenris in the southern part of the North Sea is on schedule for construction start-up before summer. The coordinated development comprises a new centrally located production and wellhead platform (PWP) connected by bridge to the Valhall Field center, and an unmanned installation on Fenris that will be connected to PWP through pipelines on the seabed.

New reserves, as a result of the development project, are estimated at 230 MMboe. The project also ensures a lifetime extension beyond 2028 for Valhall and continued production of existing Valhall reserves estimated at 137 MMbbl.

DNO Wraps Up Decommissioning Project

DNO ASA reported on June 5 that wellhead platform production facilities have been removed from the Schooner Field offshore U.K., marking the last major offshore operation under the operator’s multi-year North Sea decommissioning program.

Heerema Marine Contractors’ Thialf semi-submersible crane vessel lifted the 1,200-metric-ton platform deck aboard the vessel on May 17, and the jacket was removed on May 23 after the piles were cut 3 m below the seabed. The deck and jacket have since been transported to the Hoondert Yard in the Netherlands for dismantlement and recycling.

DNO took over operatorship and working interest in the Schooner and Ketch fields in the U.K. and the Oselvar subsea field in Norway in 2019. Decommissioning for these three end-of-life fields had been deferred by the previous operator. DNO completed plugging and abandonment of the nine Ketch wells and the three Oselvar wells in 2021, followed by the 12 Schooner wells in 2022. The Ketch and Oselvar production facilities were removed and dismantled last year. The estimated that about 95% of removed materials will be recycled.

Near Miss on Hebron Platform

Maintenance on a knuckle boom crane on the Hebron Platform using a hydraulic pin puller resulted in a near-miss projectile and dropped object on the platform, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) announced on June 5.

C-NLOPB said Exxon Mobil Canada Properties reported that on May 28, during the maintenance on the knuckle boom crane, the hydraulic pin puller failed. The puller rod, which weighed about 6.8 kg, was projected about 19 m across the pipe deck, striking the top of the northwest pipe deck handrail, dropping 21 m to the deck below and landing on a walkway.

While the incident had the potential for fatality, C-NLOPB said, there were no injuries. Exxon Mobil immediately ceased work in the area and has initiated an investigation into the root cause of the incident. C-NLOPB is monitoring Exxon Mobil’s investigation of the incident.

Contracts and company news

Pre-Salt PSCs Signed

Petrobras and TotalEnergies announced on May 31 they had signed production-sharing contracts (PSC) for blocks offshore Brazil.

The most recent contract signing follows the December 2022 Permanent Offer Bidding Round. Blocks on offer included Água Marinha, Norte de Brava and Sudoeste de Sagitário.

Agua Marinha is a 1,300 sq km pre-salt exploration block in the Campos Basin south of the Marlim Sul Field. The work program includes drilling one firm exploration well during the exploration period. Petrobras will operate the block with 30% interest on behalf of partners TotalEnergies with 30%, QatarEnergy with 20% and PPBL with 20%.

Petrobras operates and holds 100% interest in the Norte de Brava block and acquired a 60% stake in Sudoeste de Sagitário in a consortium with Shell, who holds the remaining 40%.

Woodside Awards Decommissioning Work

Woodside Energy announced May 30 it had awarded all major contracts for the decommissioning of subsea infrastructure at the Enfield, Griffin, Stybarrow and Echo Yodel oil and gas fields offshore Western Australia.

The decommissioning campaign is expected to begin in fourth-quarter 2023, subject to regulatory approvals. That campaign follows decommissioning activities that have been underway at the Enfield and Balnaves fields since first-quarter 2022.

The new campaign will include decommissioning the riser turret mooring on the Enfield and Griffin fields and the disconnectable turret mooring on the Stybarrow Field.

The contracts cover the removal and disposal of riser and disconnectable turret moorings, umbilicals, flowlines and other subsea infrastructure. Work will be carried out by TechnipFMC, Heerema, McDermott, Fugro, DOF and McMahon. A contract for the permanent plug and

abandonment (P&A) of wells in the Stybarrow Field has also been awarded to Transocean.

TotalEnergies Renews OML130 Offshore Nigeria

TotalEnergies announced on May 29 it had renewed the production license for its operated deepwater OML130 Block offshore Nigeria for 20 years.

The OML130 Block contains the Akpo Field, which began production in 2009, and Egina Field, which began production in 2018. In 2022, production averaged about 282,000 boe/d. The production start-up from Akpo West, a short-cycle project, is expected by the end of 2023. In addition, OML130 contains the Preowei discovery, to be developed as a tie-back to the Egina FPSO.

“This 20-year extension will enable us to move forward with the FEED studies on the Preowei tie-back project,” Henri-Max Ndong-Nzue, senior vice president for Africa E&P at TotalEnergies, said in a press release.

TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria Ltd. operates OML 130 with a 24% interest on behalf of partners CNOOC with 45%, Sapetro with 15%, Prime 130 with 16% and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. as the concessionaire of the PSC. Africa Oil has an effective 8% interest in OML 130 through its 50% shareholding in Prime Oil & Gas Coöperatief.

Jasmine FPSO Extended

Valeura Energy Inc. announced June 1 that two of its contracts related to the Jasmine oil field in Thailand had been extended by five years. Valeura’s charter of the Jasmine FPSO and a contract for operating and maintenance services for the vessel were extended through the end of 2028. 

Shell Awards Worley Frame Agreement

Shell Global Solutions International BV awarded Worley a three-year enterprise framework agreement (EFA), Worley announced May 30.

The EFA includes options for two one-year extensions and follows a previous five-year framework agreement from 2017. Under the EFA, Worley will provide engineering, procurement and integrated project management services around the world for Shell’s projects, covering all of Shell’s businesses. The project execution teams will deliver services with a focus on digitalization and replication.

TCP Used in Frade Field

Strohms pipeline
Strohm’s pipeline technology installed across Prios Frade field in offshore Brazil. (Source: Strohm)

Strohm announced on June 5 it had supplied composite pipe solutions for PRIO’s Frade Field offshore Brazil.

According to Strohm, the project marks the first use of thermoplastic composite pipe (TCP) for permanent subsea operations in the region.

The Frade subsea development is in the deepwater Northern Campos Basin, with wells tied back to an FPSO.

Strohm has already delivered two sets of TCP Jumpers for gas lift service, one 1,300 m long and the second 900 m long, both delivered onto transportation and installation reels. PRIO installed both lines in second-quarter 2023 in about 1,200 m water depth.

DNV Qualifies Saipem Monitoring Technology

Saipem announced on May 30 that DNV had qualified its Integrated Acoustic Unit (IAU) technology for the monitoring of subsea pipelines during laying operations.

Saipem developed the IAU digital instrument, which is based on acoustic technology, to enable non-intrusive, remote offshore pipeline integrity monitoring during laying activities. It can locate obstructions, pipe deformations and water ingress up to several kilometers away in real time. It can also classify and quantify detected anomalies and send the data to an operator.

The system will be used during Woodside Energy’s Scarborough project offshore Australia. Saipem will install the export trunkline of the pipeline that will connect the Scarborough gas field to the onshore plant, subject to the receipt of relevant regulatory approvals.

Saipem has deployed several IAU prototypes onboard its Castorone and Saipem 7000 vessels, and a years-long field test campaign has validated their performances, according to Saipem.

PGS Updates on Upcoming Surveys

PGS reported winning a survey contract and a funding for a pair of multi-client surveys.

On June 1, PGS said a major international energy company had awarded it a 3D exploration acquisition contract in the Mediterranean and that the Ramform Hyperion would mobilize for the survey late in third-quarter 2023. The program has a duration of about 70 days.

On May 31, PGS announced it had secured industry pre-funding for a large multi-season multi-client survey in the Norwegian Sea. The Ramform Hyperion will acquire the first phase of the survey, starting in late June and lasting about 75 days. The second phase of the survey is set for 2024, requiring approximately 70 days of acquisition.

On May 30, PGS announced its joint venture with TGS and SLB had secured pre-funding to expand multi-client 3D coverage in the Sarawak Basin offshore Malaysia. The survey will cover 6,800 sq km. The Ramform Sovereign is scheduled to start acquisition in June 2023 and complete work in August. This is phase two of a multi-year contract awarded initially by Petronas in 2020 to acquire and process up to 105,000 sq km of multi-client 3D data over a five-year period in the basin. The first phase of the Sarawak program was acquired in 2021 and covered 8,400 sq km.

Aker BP Extends Subsea Frame Agreement

Aker Solutions announced on June 2 an agreement with Aker BP to extend a frame agreement for the provision of subsea production systems through the end of 2028. A June 2016 agreement was valid for eight years.

The agreement may cover assistance to Aker BP for feasibility studies and concept developments, FEED, subsea development projects and services during project execution.

Contract Win for Deepsea Yantai

Odfjell Drilling announced on May 31 that the Deepsea Yantai rig won a one-well contract for work in PL 891 in the Norwegian Sea. The contract with ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS includes options for two additional wells.

The firm scope of work is estimated to take 72 days and begin in the third quarter of 2024.

Expro Snags Uganda Intervention Work

Expro Group announced on June 5 it won a five-year well intervention and integrity contract valued at more than $30 million from TotalEnergies EP Uganda for the multi-well Tilenga project.

Work begins in second-quarter 2023, with Expro initially supporting drilling activity followed by production optimization, integrity and well workover support. Expro has designed four well intervention units to deliver a single operational solution for slickline and braided line in a cased hole environment across the life of the well. The solution is designed to reduce equipment footprint and equivalent CO2 emissions, while delivering improved efficiency.

The Tilenga project covers six fields, with more than 400 wells planned across multiple pads. Drilling will start this year and continue for five years.

Halliburton Buys Resoptima

Halliburton Co. announced on June 5 it had acquired Resoptima AS, a Norwegian technology company specializing in data-driven reservoir management. Halliburton said the acquisition will allow integration of the reservoir modeling and predictive analytics of Resoptima into the Halliburton Landmark DecisionSpace 365 suite.

Resoptima, used on more than 130 active fields around the world, provides technology solutions that enhance reservoir understanding to improve oil extraction, resource management and risk mitigation.

Launched in 2013, and developed with input from dozens of customers, Resoptima’s software helps increase reservoir recovery factors and deliver cost savings on reservoir intervention projects by preventing costly mistakes such as underperforming well drilling and unnecessary injection volumes. Atila Mellilo, the former CEO of Resoptima, will join the Halliburton Landmark leadership team.

DecisionSpace365 and Resoptima solutions provide open architectures and interoperability with third-party software. The combined portfolio will maintain these features, enhancing existing and future customers’ ability to capitalize on previous investments.

Hovering AUV Designed for OBN Placement

Saab PXGEO MantaRay
PXGEO developed the MantaRay hovering autonomous underwater vehicle in collaboration with Saab. (Source: PXGEO)

A next-generation ocean bottom node (OBN) handling system uses a hovering autonomous underwater vehicle to speed up precision placement of OBNs.

PXGEO developed MantaRay based on Saab’s Sabertooth platform in collaboration with Saab, which is capable of operating in water depths of 4 m to 3,000 m. MantaRay has a fully electrical design and requires no umbilicals or tethers.

PXGEO CEO Tony Bowman said the expectation is to have the initial fleet of MantaRays in full operation by the end of the year.

Equinor Picks DecisionSpace, OpenWorks

Halliburton Co. announced on May 31 that Equinor had selected Halliburton Landmark DecisionSpace Geosciences as its standard geoscience toolbox and OpenWorks with Open Subsurface Data Universe as its corporate database for interpretations for its subsurface data.

As a result, Equinor’s One Subsurface community will have a standardized subsurface toolkit, enabling them to seamlessly introduce geoscientists into different projects. The solution will consolidate all interpretation data into OpenWorks to enable geological interpretation at scale, and a smooth transition to cloud. Equinor and Halliburton will co-develop the DecisionSpace Geosciences exploration workflows.

Ikon Releases Updates

Ikon 4DJIFISynth_Inverted facies
Inverted facies in production environment: Impermeable and permeable reservoir facies held the same across vintages, while allowing fluid states to change. (Source: Ikon Science)

Ikon Science announced on June 5 it has introduced a 4D inversion technology tool as part of RokDoc 2023.3 and had released cloud-native subsurface knowledge management solution Curate 2023.3.

Ikon said its Time-Lapse Ji-Fi app offers complete 4D fluid tracking capabilities for production and injection scenarios and is applicable in most hydrocarbon production campaigns, as well as carbon capture utilization and storage efforts.