Pemex Eyes Partners For Heavy Oil

Mexico’s state-run Pemex might bring partners into two heavy crude oil fields in the Gulf’s shallow waters, the company’s chief said March 6, move that could help ease a lack of heavy barrels in the Atlantic Basin.

After nine bidding rounds in just three years and a presidential election scheduled in July, Mexico's oil regulator has started a campaign to convince Pemex and foreign investors that this is the moment to develop much needed extra-heavy oil reserves.

“We are looking to increase production, including heavy crude, so we might put on the table some farmouts mainly for those fields that need secondary recovery strategies,” Pemex’s CEO Carlos Trevino said during a news conference during the CERAWeek by IHS Market energy conference in Houston.

On March 5, Trevino said Pemex was looking for partners for its deepwater Nobilis-Maximino and Ayin-Batsil projects. The heavy oil fields of Ayatsil and Tekel could be offered after that, Trevino said. He did not elaborate on the specific timing.

David Pursell Joins Apache’s Executive Management

David Pursell has been named senior vice president, planning and energy fundamentals, at Apache Corp., effective March 12.

Pursell will oversee corporate planning as well as energy fundamentals systems, processes and analysis.

He previously served as managing director of investment banking for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. (TPH). Before that, he served as head of Macro Research and was one of the founders of Pickering Energy Partners, Inc. Before TPH, he was director of upstream research at Simmons & Co. International. Earlier in his career, he worked in various production and reservoir engineering assignments at S.A. Holditch and Associates, which is now part of Schlumberger. Pursell began his career at ARCO Alaska in Anchorage with production and operations engineering assignments in South Alaska and the North Slope.

Oceaneering Acquires Ecosse Subsea For $69 Million

Oceaneering International Inc. said March 6 it expanded its service line capabilities to the growing renewable energy market with the acquisition of Ecosse Subsea Ltd.

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, Ecosse builds and operates seabed preparation, route clearance and trenching tools for submarine cables and pipelines on an integrated basis that includes vessels, ROVs and survey services. The company serves the renewable energy and oil and gas industries.

Houston-based Oceaneering said one of its wholly owned subsidiaries acquired Ecosse for about $69 million.

“The addition of Ecosse reflects our commitment to expand into the adjacent renewable energy market to more comprehensively serve the offshore energy industry,” Roderick A. Larson, president and CEO of Oceaneering, said in a statement. “We expect the acquisition to be accretive to Oceaneering’s 2018 cash flow and earnings.”

Enabling technologies acquired in the transaction include Ecosse’s modular SCAR Seabed System, capable of completing the entire trenching work scope (route preparation, boulder clearance, trenching and backfill) and its newly developed SCARJet trenching system. The SCARJet is an evolutionary trenching system designed for use with standard work class ROVs and adds jetting and post-lay trenching capabilities to the existing pre-cut methods offered by the SCAR plowing tools.

ExxonMobil Quits Some Russian Joint Ventures Citing Sanctions

ExxonMobil Corp. will exit some joint ventures with Russia’s Rosneft, citing Western sanctions first imposed in 2014, while the Russian company said the pullout will result in serious losses for its U.S. partner.

The move is an about-face for ExxonMobil, which had opposed the sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Crimea and argued they unfairly penalized U.S. companies while allowing foreign energy rivals to operate in the country, the world’s largest oil producer.

Yet the sanctions were effective in slowing work on a project by ExxonMobil and Rosneft on what was hailed as a major discovery in the Kara Sea above the Arctic Circle. Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, said last year that it planned to return to operations at the project in 2019.

ExxonMobil’s exit from projects will not affect the Sakhalin project off the eastern coast of Russia, ExxonMobil and Rosneft spokesmen said. Sakhalin-1 operates under a production-sharing agreement struck in the mid-1990s and currently produces about 200,000 bbl/d of oil.

US Interior Panel Recommends Cutting Offshore Oil, Gas Royalties

A U.S. Department of the Interior committee voted Feb. 28 to recommend to Secretary Ryan Zinke that the agency lower royalty rates for federal offshore oil and gas drilling, to spur production.

The agency’s royalty policy committee voted unanimously to lower the rates to 12.5% through 2024. The existing rate of 18.75% was set during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

The panel, which is made up of department and state officials, tribal representatives, and energy companies, also voted to increase the amount of acreage available for offshore oil and natural gas leasing in the outer continental shelf.

The Houston meeting was aimed at updating around a dozen federal royalty rules, which guide energy and mineral production in the United States.

The committee was formed last year to advise Zinke on whether the government was getting a fair price from resources companies for their use of public land. He will take its recommendations into account.

Energean Secures More Funding For Israeli Gas Fields

Greek energy firm Energean has secured up to $1.275 billion in funding with Morgan Stanley, Natixis, Bank Hapoalim and Societe Generale to develop the Karish gas field offshore Israel.

The agreement will help fund development of the field over the next three years, Energean said in a news release.

Energean hopes to begin production at the Karish and Tanin fields, which contain an estimated 68 Bcm (2.4 Tcf) of natural gas, in early 2021. The company is also planning to raise $500 million in an IPO in London, according to Reuters.

“The participation of four international banks in the facility agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Energean’s flagship project,” Energean Oil & Gas CEO Mathios Rigas said in the release.” Long-term cash flow from Karish and Tanin has been secured through our previously signed gas supply agreements for approximately 4.2 Bcm [148 Bcf]per year with 12 established counterparties.”

ExxonMobil Selling Stake In Canada’s Terra Nova Oil Project

ExxonMobil Corp. is selling its entire stake in the Terra Nova oil project off the eastern coast of Canada, though the company said it was committed to remaining an investor in the region.

The project, located about 350 km (217 miles) off Newfoundland and Labrador, produced about 5,000 bbl/d of oil in 2016.

ExxonMobil is selling its 19% stake in the project and initial bids are due March 30, according to data and a document from Schlumberger Ltd.’s oil and gas asset sale business.

ExxonMobil confirmed the sale process, though said it does not involve other assets in the area. "We continuously review our asset portfolio to ensure it meets our strategic objectives," ExxonMobil spokeswoman Suann Guthrie said in a statement.

The Suncor Energy-operated Terra Nova project consists of an FPSO vessel produce oil. The project has pumped 400 MMbbl of oil and consists of 30 wells that pumped about 31,000 bbl/d in 2017, the document said.

PetroCanada, Husky Oil Ltd. and Murphy Oil Corp. are other partners in the project.

Kvaerner CEO Resigns, Will Become Head Of Aker Energy

Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke on Feb. 23 moved the CEO of his platform-building company Kvaerner to the helm of his new oil company, Aker Energy, which will be developing a big oil field off Ghana.

Aker Energy said on Feb. 19 it had acquired Hess Corp.’s business in the West African country in a $100 million deal and had plans to develop a “significant” E&P business there.

Top of the list is development of the Tano Cape Three Points block, which holds an estimated 550 MMboe, with a development plan due this year and production due to start in 2021.

Jan Arve Haugan will take the helm of Aker Energy on March 1, after leading Kvaerner since 2011.

Aker Energy is an oil firm owned 50% by Aker, Roekke’s main listed investment vehicle and 50% by TRG, the businessman’s privately held holding company.

—Staff & Reuters Reports