TechnipFMC Acquires Stake In Riserless Light Well Intervention Company

TechnipFMC has signed an agreement with the Island Offshore Group to acquire a 51% stake in Island Offshore’s wholly owned subsidiary, Island Offshore Subsea AS.

The agreement with TechnipFMC is subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.

Island Offshore Subsea AS provides riserless light well intervention (RLWI) project management and engineering services for plug and abandonment (P&A), riserless coiled tubing and well completion operations. Island Offshore Subsea AS employs about 80 people.

Island Offshore Subsea AS has developed proprietary designs related to subsea P&A and riserless coiled tubing. In connection with the acquisition of the controlling interest, TechnipFMC and Island Offshore will enter a strategic cooperation agreement to deliver RLWI services on a worldwide basis, which will also include TechnipFMC’s RLWI capabilities. Island Offshore Subsea AS will be rebranded and become the operating unit for TechnipFMC’s RLWI activities worldwide.

Odd Strømsnes, vice president of offshore integrated services at TechnipFMC, will be the managing director of Island Offshore Subsea AS.

Chevron Names Bruce Niemeyer Corporate Vice President Of Strategic Planning

Chevron Corp. has named Bruce Niemeyer corporate vice president of strategic planning, effective immediately. Niemeyer is currently vice president of Chevron’s Mid-Continent Business Unit.

In his new role, Niemeyer will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for the company, allocating capital and other resources and determining operating unit performance measures and targets.

Niemeyer will be succeeded by Jeff Gustavson, currently president of Chevron Canada Ltd. In his current role, Gustavson is responsible for Chevron’s upstream interests in Canada, including interests offshore Newfoundland and Labrador, the proposed Kitimat LNG project and assets in the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory.

Gustavson joined Chevron in 1999 and has held positions in finance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategic planning, supply and trading, investor relations and upstream, with numerous assignments in the U.S. as well as Venezuela, the U.K. and Canada.

Aker Solutions Q4 Beats Forecast, Vows Further Cost Cuts

Engineering firm Aker Solutions reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 6 and said it would continue to cut costs in the next several years despite a pick-up in demand.

The Norwegian company has completed a two-year program, boosting its efficiency by some 30% from 2015, and now plans at least 20% further improvement by 2021, compared with the 2015 benchmark.

Core operating profits, excluding special items, fell by 11% year-on-year to $61.69 million for the October-December quarter, above analysts’ average forecast of about $53.76 million in a Reuters poll.

“Aker Solutions sees overall revenue somewhat up in 2018 from 2017, helped by the recent new orders and improving activity in the maintenance and modifications markets,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s underlying earnings margin before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for 2018 was seen remaining around full-year 2017 levels, it added.

Separately, the firm said it was entering the offshore floating wind sector by buying a 5% stake in Principle Power Inc., a company that makes foundations for turbines irrespective of water depths, and will raise this to 10% by the end of 2018. It did not disclose the value of the deal.

Kosmos Energy Refinances $1.3 Billion Term Loan

Kosmos Energy Ltd. said it refinanced the loan facility tied to its energy reserves, raising the borrowing capacity to fund exploration.

Borrowing capacity has been increased to $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion, the Dallas-based company said.

The reserve-based lending facility, which previously incorporated only the Ghana assets, now includes the recently acquired producing assets in Equatorial Guinea, Kosmos said.

Aker BP Q4 Core Profit Lags Market Expectations

Aker BP posted a 5% rise in fourth-quarter core profit Feb. 2, lagging market expectations.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $509 million from $485 million a year earlier and missed the $528 million expected by analysts.

The independent oil company, 30% owned by BP, also missed expectations for net profit, which came at $34 million for the period, up from a net loss of 67 million a year earlier.

The company said it would pay in February a quarterly dividend of $0.3124 per share, representing a total dividend of $450 million for the full 2018.

Cosasco, Sensorlink Form Exclusive Partnership

Corrosion and erosion monitoring specialist Cosasco has signed an exclusive partnership with Sensorlink, which manufacturers and supplies high resolution, non-intrusive corrosion and erosion monitoring technologies.

Under the agreement Cosasco said it will have unique access to market, sell and distribute Sensorlink’s PipeMonit SWARM technology worldwide. The agreement also gives Sensorlink an opportunity to widen its market reach for non-intrusive monitoring solutions in the topside market through Cosasco.

As described a news release, “PipeMonit SWARM is a fixed point, online, non-intrusive ultrasonic monitoring solution that provides precise, reliable and repeatable pipe wall thickness measurements, in real-time.

BP Profits Surge As Oil Major Leaves Downturn Behind

BP’s profits more than doubled in 2017 to $6.2 billion powered by higher prices and output of oil and gas, allowing the company to resume share buybacks as it recovers from a three-year downturn.

The London-listed company saw one of the strongest output increases in its history last year, lifting production to levels not seen since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

Production is set to continue growing into the end of the decade thanks to more field start-ups this year.

BP would generate profits in 2018 at an oil price of $50/bbl, CFO Brian Gilvary told Reuters, as years of spending cuts kicked in and as it slowly shakes off a $65 billion bill for penalties and clean-up costs of the 2010 spill.

BP was the first among its European peers to resume share buybacks in the fourth quarter of 2017 after years dilutive austerity measures in the face of the industry slump. With a 20% bounce in oil prices in the last quarter of 2017 to $6/bbl, BP had a surplus of cash that allowed it to buy $343 million worth of shares in the fourth quarter, offsetting the scrip dilution.

Full-year production rose 12% to 2.47 MMbbl/d after BP launched seven new oil and gas fields in 2017, a record year. It is set to start up six additional projects this year including in Egypt, Azerbaijan and Britain's North Sea, helping boost production by 900,000 boe/d by 2021,mostly gas. It previously said it would launch five new projects this year.

BP added about 1 Bboe to its reserves in 2017, the largest since 2004, thanks to six discoveries, including in Senegal and the North Sea. Its reserve replacement ratio was estimated at 143% for the year.

ExxonMobil Names MetLife CEO Kandarian To Its Board

ExxonMobil Corp. has named MetLife Inc. CEO Steven Kandarian to its board of directors Feb. 1.

The company cited Kandarian’s financial and risk management experience as a reason for adding him to the board, which will now have 11 members.

ExxonMobil does not hedge is oil production but does have insurance and other financial protections for part of its operations.

ExxonMobil’s move came the same day Chevron Corp. named Caterpillar Inc. CEO Jim Umpleby to its own board.

Shell Agrees To Sell Stake In Thailand’s Bongkot Field To PTTEP

An affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell has divested 22.2222% interest in the Bongkot Field and adjoining acreage offshore Thailand to PTT Exploration & Production Public Co. Ltd. (PTTEP) for a transaction value of $750 million.

The transaction is expected to complete in the second-quarter of 2018, subject to completion conditions as prescribed in the agreement.

The agreement is for Shell’s stake in Blocks 15, 16 and 17 and Block G12/48. Following the completion of this transaction, PTTEP’s stake in Bongkot will increase to 66.6667%, with the remaining 33.3333% owned by Total SA (NYSE: TOT). PTTEP is the current operator of Bongkot.

Shell’s decision to divest remains driven by its strategy to sell non-core assets in order to re-shape Shell into a simpler, more resilient and focused company. This sale takes Shell a step closer to its divestment target of $30 billion. Shell said the divesture has no impact on its other business interests in Thailand.

Statoil Quits Talks Over Stake In Mozambique Offshore Gas Block

Statoil said it has pulled out of negotiations to take a 25.5% stake in a gas block off Mozambique, citing a lack of progress after more than two years of talks.

Statoil, Eni, South Africa’s Sasol and Mozambique’s national oil and gas company ENH were awarded the exploration rights in the A5-A Block within Mozambique’s Northern Zambesi Basin in 2015.

“Statoil has decided to disengage from negotiations on block A5-A in Mozambique. ... We are not part of this anymore, it is up to the other partners to make any moves regarding the stake,” Statoil spokesman Erik Haaland told Reuters.

The lack of progress in the negotiations and an unfavorable business environment prompted Statoil's decision, Haaland said.

The future of the joint venture after Statoil’s withdrawal lies with the remaining partners, he added. “If they want to continue, there are mechanisms in the bidding process allowing them to do so.”

The block, covering a total area of 5,145 sq km (1,987 sq miles), was seen as having “significant hydrocarbon resources,” Eni said in 2015.

After quitting its bid for A5-A, Statoil has no further assets in Mozambique, which is in the throes of a debt crisis but has large untapped natural gas reserves.

Noble Energy To Sell Part Of Stake In Tamar Gas Field

Noble Energy Inc. will sell a 7.5% stake in the Tamar natural gas field offshore Israel to Tamar Petroleum Ltd. for about $800 million in cash and shares, the Houston-based oil and gas producer said Jan. 29.

Noble will receive $560 million in cash and 38.5 million shares of Tamar Petroleum.

The deal allows Noble to cut its holdings in Israel’s only commercial gas field to 25% from 32.5%, complying with government plans to open the market to competition.

The assets being sold produced about 1.7 MMcm/d (62 MMcfe/d) of natural gas in 2017, Noble said.

The deal follows an initial sale by Noble of 3.5% of the Tamar field in mid-2016. Combined proceeds from both deals amount to nearly $1.25 billion, of which almost $1 billion will be in cash.

Blackstone To Invest In Norwegian Oil Startup Mime Petroleum

Private equity firms Blackstone and Blue Water Energy LLP will together invest up to $1 billion in Norwegian oil startup Mime Petroleum, the companies said on Thursday.

Founded last year, Oslo-based Mime will focus on buying stakes in oilfields off Norway to drive value via production optimization, new developments and near-field exploration.

Blackstone declined to say how big its individual investment would be.

A number of private equity firms, including HitecVision and Kerogen Capital, have bought assets on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) in recent years as oil majors and European energy companies sought to divest.

Shell’s 2017 Profits More Than Double

Royal Dutch Shell profit more than doubled in the fourth quarter of 2017 to $4.3 billion, slightly ahead of forecasts, supported by higher oil and gas prices and production, the company said.

Net income attributable to shareholders, based on a current cost of supplies and excluding identified items, rose 140% from $1.795 billion.

A company-provided analysts' consensus forecast was $4.24 billion.

The Anglo-Dutch company took a $2 billion charge in the quarter due to the new U.S. tax regime, it said.

On an annual basis, Shell’s profits more than doubled to $15.76 billion from $7.185 billion.

J2 Subsea Names Christian Blinkenberg General Manager

J2 Subsea, an Acteon company, has appointed Christian Blinkenberg as general manager based in Aberdeen.

Blinkenberg has more than 15 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, having worked in the U.K, Brazil, the U.S. and Nordic regions, the company said in a news release.

Formed in 2008, J2 Subsea provides ROV tooling products and services for the ROV and underwater survey markets.

Xodus Takes On Study To Benchmark Scottish Subsea Capabilities

Working on behalf of Scottish Enterprise, Xodus Group is undertaking an international study to determine competitiveness and innovation in the Scottish subsea market and benchmark capabilities with regions across the world, a news release stated.

The group aims to shape projects and activities in support of Scottish Enterprise’s Subsea Engineering Action Plan.

“Following initial analysis of Scotland’s competitive advantages, Xodus will conduct a comparison of key international subsea hubs. This will include an examination of each region’s capabilities, such as company bases, supportive policies, research funding, institutes and the industry bodies available for developing these strengths,” according to the release.

Subsea specialists with Xodus will work with a global database of contacts, focusing on eight focus areas. These include project lifecycle, key individual technologies, subsea processing and specific non-O&G industries, the release stated.

“The results of this study will allow us to identify where Scottish subsea companies can deploy their skills and support our plans for delivering a wide range of projects to ensure our companies are well placed to take advantage of new opportunities going forward,” said Andrew Wylie, operations director for Scotland and Norway at Xodus Group.

He added that Scotland accounts for 14% of the world’s subsea market.

Bibby Lands Subsea Decommissioning Contract For Greater Dunlin Area

Fairfield Energy has awarded Bibby Offshore Ltd. a three-year contract for the subsea infrastructure decommissioning of the Greater Dunlin Area, the company said on Feb. 7.

The scope of the contract includes subsea infrastructure associated with the Osprey and Merlin subsea fields and other infrastructure tied back to the Dunlin Alpha Platform. Bibby will procure supporting services from a consortium of suppliers, including the Port of Cromarty Firth.

All materials transported onshore to the Port of Cromarty Firth will be broken down by suppliers into transferable loads before being transported to the appropriate disposal and recycling locations. These activities will be completed within 12 months of the last offshore shipment arriving in port.

The engineering work is due to start immediately, with offshore mobilization expected in April 2018.

National Oilwell Varco Equipment Orders Rise, Loss Narrows

National Oilwell Varco said on Feb. 6 that its oilfield equipment orders rose to their highest in over two years last quarter as rising crude prices spurred U.S. drilling activity, helping to narrow the company’s loss for the period.

Oilfield suppliers are continuing to recover slowly from a brutal three-year downturn as U.S. crude prices climb above $60 a barrel, stirring demand for their oilfield equipment and services.

The Houston-based company reported its loss fell to $14 million in the quarter, from $714 million a year earlier, on a 16% bump in revenue to $1.97 billion. Orders for completions and productions hit $501 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $370 million a year earlier. Within its rig division, new orders were $169 million versus $115 million a year ago.

“It feels to us that the market is nearing an inflection point,” CEO Clay Williams said on a conference call. National Oilwell Varco plans its first “meaningful” bonus compensation in three years, executives said on the call, a move expected to lower its free cash flow in the current quarter.

Rig technologies revenues rose to $614 million, up 20% from the prior quarter, and $1 million higher than the year-ago period.

Promises of capital discipline among oil producers and less bank financing for new projects may temper future production increases, resulting in "higher oil prices down the road," Williams said.

The company remained cautious on the near-term prospects for an offshore equipment and services recovery, noting that producers remain focused on onshore activities, which require lower crude prices to turn a profit.

Baker Hughes, a GE company, last week said the subsea market remained challenging for its oilfield equipment business, and that it expected muted activity in the offshore sector in the short term.

—Staff & Reuters Reports