• Featured Oilfield News

    More Than 4,000 North Sea Oil Rig Jobs Cut Amid Covid-19 Crisis

    The North Sea’s workforce has fallen by 40% within two weeks as oil companies cut the size of their offshore oil rig teams to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

    The number of workers operating the North Sea’s platforms typically stands at about 11,500. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PAMore than 4,000 rig contractors have been cut in the wake of the UK lockdown, during a difficult year for the oil industry after the collapse of global oil prices.

    The number of workers operating the North Sea’s oil and gas platforms typically stands at about 11,500, according to Oil and Gas UK, but the number of people operating the rigs has already fallen to 7,000.

    The UK oil company Cairn Energy became the latest North Sea oil producer to scale back spending plans. It told investors on Friday it planned to cut its budget for the year by almost a quarter to weather the oil price crisis.

    Cairn will shave $20m (£16m) from its North Sea spending plans to $45m, and will reduce its capital expenditure in Senegal by $70m to less than $330m. The company also plans to cut spending on exploring for new oil and gas reserves by a third, to $100m.

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    One Person Dies As Crane Boom Collapses At Jack-Up Barge Off Qatar

    Jack-up barge said to be working on sub-contract from Saipem, the key contractor for Qatargas’ Barzan pipeline replacement project

    One person is believed to have died on board the jack-up barge Seafox Deema when one of the vessel’s cranes collapsed into the water off Qatar this weekOne person is believed to have died on board the jack-up barge Seafox Deema when one of the vessel’s cranes collapsed into the water off Qatar this week.

    Seafox Deema was working on a sub-contract from Saipem, the key engineering, procurement, construction and installation contractor for Qatargas’ Barzan pipeline replacement project, several people familiar with the incident told Upstream.

    One person said the crane operator working on the vessel died when the crane collapsed into the water, while it was lifting a pipe.

    “A crane from jack-up barge Deema was lifting some pipe spools from an offshore support vessel. The crane failed and toppled into the water with the boom and cabin,” he said.

    A diving operation followed, which later confirmed the fatality, as the crane operator was unresponsive, he added.

    One unconfirmed source claimed the deceased was a 34-year old Indian national.

    A second person said work on the Seafox Deema vessel has been stalled temporarily following the incident.

    One person is believed to have died on board the jack-up barge Seafox Deema when one of the vessel’s cranes collapsed into the water off Qatar this weekHowever, no damage has been reported on the topsides and subsea assets involving the Barzan project, he added.

    Upstream has sought responses from Seafox, Saipem and Qatargas on the incident.

    Seafox Deema is a three-legged, self-elevating jack-up unit for accommodation and offshore support services.

    It was converted to a self-elevating jack-up in 1990 by Lamprell in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and was subsequently upgraded there in 1998.

    The vessel has a maximum person-on-board capacity of 470 and can operate in water depths up to 190 feet (58 metres), according to the company website.

    Seafox Deema has three cranes, with a maximum lift of 200 tonnes.

    One person is believed to have died on board the jack-up barge Seafox Deema when one of the vessel’s cranes collapsed into the water off Qatar this weekUpstream in 2018 had reported that Saipem was set to win a $1 billion-plus offshore pipeline contract from Qatargas, involving its much delayed Barzan gas project in Qatar's giant North Field.

    The Italian contractor landed the key Barzan project in 2018 and has been working on the pipeline project.

    The project’s workscope included the EPCI of more than 170 kilometres of offshore pipelines, plus an additional 80 kilometres of piggyback lines.

    The $10 billion-plus Barzan gas development is being carried out by RasGas (now merged with Qatargas) and US supermajor ExxonMobil.

    State-owned player Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil signed agreements confirming the Barzan project in 2011. The scheme involves a mix of offshore as well as onshore facilities.

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    Halliburton to 'Significantly' Cut 2020 Capex Below 1.2 Dollar Billion Budget

    Oilfield services firm Halliburton is accelerating its cost-cutting and will significantly reduce spending this year below its original $1.2 billion budget, its finance chief said on Tuesday.

    Halliburton to cut capexThe Houston, Texas-based company did not disclose a new spending target, but is testing scenarios including a 60-65% reduction in some areas of the oilfield services sector, Chief Financial Officer Lance Loeffler told investors on a webcast. He pointed to a reduction to $800 million done during the last downturn that began in late 2014 as a potential target.

    Crude oil prices have more than halved since the start of the year as the spread of coronavirus slashes demand, and after Russia and Saudi Arabia launched an unanticipated price war. On Tuesday, U.S. crude futures were trading at $23.72 a barrel. 

    "The industry is facing an unprecedented dual impact on demand and supply side that none of us have witnessed over our professional lifetimes," Loeffler told investors.

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    Schlumberger cuts spending 30%, eyes rapid slowdown in oilfield activity

    Schlumberger , the world’s largest oilfield services company, on Tuesday said it would cut spending by 30% this year from last year’s levels as the oil market has been roiled by the coronavirus outbreak and Saudi-Russia price war.

    Schlumberger expects slow downThe company expects a rapid reduction in active drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity, estimating the number of rigs in operation could fall to levels last seen during the 2016 downturn.

    Oil prices have fallen by more than half this year, diving below $24 a barrel on Tuesday, as coronavirus curtails demand and top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia began pumping full bore to grab share in a slumping market.

    The twin supply and demand shocks have driven major oil companies to slash spending by up to 50% this year and pushed oilfield services providers for price cuts. Rival Halliburton plans to furlough about 3,500 workers in response to the producer spending cuts and coronavirus outbreak.

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    Part of ‘The Beast,’ ConocoPhillips’ massive drilling rig, slides off Alaska North Slope road

    Update, 2:30 p.m. Friday: The rig was back on the road Thursday evening, according to Doyon.

    A file photo of Doyon Drilling Rig 26, dubbed Original story: A modular section of ConocoPhillips’ huge oil drilling rig, “The Beast,” slid partly off a main gravel road west of Prudhoe Bay on Wednesday.

    The mishap delayed the uniquely gigantic rig’s inaugural trip to the oil fields, but caused no injuries or spills.

    The module for Doyon 26, as the rig is formally known, went off a road in the oil company’s Kuparuk field, according to a statement from Natalie Lowman, a ConocoPhillips spokeswoman.

    “The module is partly off the road,” Lowman said Thursday morning. “Emergency response personnel and operations are formulating a recovery plan to safely return the drill rig module to the road.”

    Thursday evening, Lowman said the rig was expected to be back on the road that night.

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    Apache Laying Off 85 Workers In Midland Texas

    Apache Corp. is laying off 85 employees in Midland in response to the oil crash.

    Apache is laying off 85 employees in Midland in response to the oil crashThe Houston oil and gas producer told state workforce officials on Thursday that its layoffs began Wednesday and will continue through May 18. The affected employees work at Apache’s facility at 303 Veterans Airpark Lane.

    The move comes after Apache cut $650 million, or about a third, from its capital budget used to fund oil exploration and production. The company also cut its quarterly dividend by 90 percent to 2.5 cents per share, down from 25 cents.

    “We are significantly reducing our planned rig count and well completions for the remainder of the year, and our capital spending plan will remain flexible based on market conditions,” Apache Chief Executive John Christmann IV said in a statement last week.

    U.S. oil and gas producers are slashing spending on new wells, furloughing and laying off workers after oil prices collapsed Wednesday into the $20 range. Apache and eight other of the most prolific shale drillers in the Permian Basin have cut $9.2 billion from their planned capital budget for this year, portending a sharp decline in drilling activity and layoffs.

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    Pioneer Natural Resources cuts budget nearly in half as oil falls below $30

    Irving oil company Pioneer Natural Resources is cutting its 2020 budget in nearly half as crude prices slipped below $30 per barrel.

    File PhotoThe exploration and production company said late Monday afternoon that it plans to spend between $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion on drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other capital projects in 2020. The figure marks a 45 percent reduction of the company's previously announced budget.

    Some $100 million of the budget has been earmarked for projects to source and move freshwater for its operations as well as move and dispose of oilfield wastewater. The company plans to cut the number of drilling rigs it uses in in half from 22 to 11 over the next two months.

    "Our balance sheet is among the best in the energy sector and provides us ample financial flexibility to manage through a period of prolonged low oil prices," Poineer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffeld said.

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    Apache Pulls All Rigs from the Permian Basin-Others Could Follow

    The major oil company Apache announced Thursday that it will be pulling all of its rigs from the Permian Basin. 

    Oilfield In Permian BasinAccording to CBS 7, Apache announced it will reduce its Permian rig count to zero over the coming weeks, and plans to lower activity in Egypt and the North Sea. 

    Apache also plans to cut 2020 capital spending by close to a billion dollars. The plan will be to cut 2020 capital spending from $1.9-$1.6 billion to around $1 billion. 

    The company says it has ample liquidity through its $4 billion undrawn revolver and flexibility to manage the $937 million of bonds maturing between February 2021 and January 2023.

    Monday multiple oil companies around the Permian Basin reported major loses. Marathon Oil lost more than half of it's market value when it's shares dropped 46%.

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    Lawsuit Accuses Williston-Based Oilfield Services Company Of Massive Fraud, Racketeering

    Oklahoma-based oil company Continental Resources is suing a Williston oilfield company in federal court, claiming it was fraudulently overbilled by more than $2 million.

    FileThe suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, is against Wolla Oilfield Services and its owner, Jason Wolla. Attorneys for Continental claim that Wolla directed his employees to produce fake invoices and bill Continental for work that was never done.

    Wolla Oilfield Services started working for Continental in January 2017 and billed the company about $7.7 million between then and December 2019, according to the lawsuit. In September 2019, however, a whistleblower told Continental that Wolla Oilfield was systematically overbilling the company.

    During an audit, Wolla told Continental employees that he was certain the company had only been billed for work that had actually been done.

    But, Continental’s attorneys wrote, the audit uncovered that Wolla Oilfield had been submitting fraudulent bills.

    “The timesheets Wolla Oilfield’s drivers submitted to Wolla Oilfield consistently showed drivers actually worked less than 10 hours a day on average, but that Wolla Oilfield billed Continental for significantly more,” the company’s attorneys wrote in the suit. “In fact, Wolla Oilfield employees would often bill Continental for more than 24 hours of work in a day. For example, one Wolla Oilfield employee billed Continental and other customers for 28 hours on August 5, 2019, and 29.5 hours on August 6, 2019, even though his actual timesheet shows he only worked 12 hours on each of those days.”

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    Daughter Of Worker Killed In Texas Oil Well Blast Sues Chesapeake Energy, Other Firms

    Chesapeake Energy Corp. and three oilfield service firms were sued by the daughter of a worker who suffered fatal injuries when a Texas oil well exploded in flames in late January.

    Daughter Of Worker Killed In Texas Oil Well Blast Sues Chesapeake Energy, Other FirmsThe wrongful death suit seeks at least $1 million from Chesapeake Energy, Forbes Energy Services, Eagle Pressure Control and Halliburton Co. It was filed this week in Harris County District Court by Madison Hendrix, whose father, Brad Hendrix, died in a hospital days after the blast.

    Hendrix alleged that Chesapeake, the well owner, and the oilfield service companies were negligent, failed to provide a safe work environment or adequate medical care to the workers.

    Chesapeake declined to comment and Eagle Pressure Control did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Forbes Energy Services said it was “beyond saddened that three fatalities have been confirmed” and offered its “deepest sympathy and condolences” to families affected by the incident.

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    Driller Helmerich and Payne Sees Oil Producers Cutting Capex 10% In 2020

    U.S. drilling contractor Helmerich and Payne anticipates customer spending declining about 10% in 2020 from last year’s level, the company’s finance chief said on Tuesday.

     U.S. drilling contractor Helmerich and Payne anticipates customer spending declining about 10% in 2020 from last year’s level, the company’s finance chief said on Tuesday.The reduced spending would imply that U.S. producers will drill 2,300 fewer wells this year than 2019’s total of about 16,400 wells. That would mark a 14% year-over-year decline, the company said.

    Even so, the driller is expecting a “modest” increase in rig activity in the current quarter over last. It plans to run an average of 196 rigs for the quarter, the company said, versus 195 at the end of the last quarter.

    The cautiously upbeat outlook comes as oil prices have plunged in recent days on growing concerns that a rising number of coronavirus cases will erode demand. U.S. crude futures were trading at roughly $50.41 a barrel on Tuesday, after falling below $50 at the start of the week, the lowest level in more than a year.

    “We believe capital discipline by our customers will remain a prevailing theme, and we expect industry activity to look similar to the average level experienced during the second half of calendar 2019,” Chief Executive John Lindsey told investors on a quarterly earnings call, adding that would imply a modest increase from current levels.

    Shares of Helmerich and Payne were up about 3.1% at $42.03 shortly after midday.

    The company said it had increased its market share in U.S. land rigs to 24% from 22%, which it attributed to customer preference for its advanced drilling rigs.

    “Most encouraging is (the) fact that both activity and pricing appear to be stabilizing in HP’s (Helmerich and Payne’s) primary U.S. land segment moving forward,” wrote analysts for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co on Tuesday.

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    Chesapeake Energy, Others Sued for $1 Million In Fatal Texas Oil-Well Blast

    Chesapeake Energy Corp and three oilfield service firms were sued by the daughter of a worker who suffered fatal injuries when a Texas oil well exploded in flames last month.

    Chesapeake Energy, Others Sued for $1 Million In Fatal Texas Oil-Well Blast The wrongful death suit seeks at least $1 million from Chesapeake Energy, Forbes Energy Services, Eagle Pressure Control and Halliburton Co. It was filed this week in a Harris County District Court by Madison Hendrix, whose father Brad Hendrix died in hospital days after the blast.

    Hendrix alleged that Chesapeake, the well owner, and the oilfield service companies were negligent, failed to provide a safe work environment or adequate medical care to the workers.

    Chesapeake declined to comment and Eagle Pressure Control and Forbes Energy Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attorneys representing Hendrix were not immediately available.

    Halliburton said it was not performing any services on the rig when the well control incident occurred. Its well control unit, Boots & Coots, was hired to handle the post-incident well intervention work, a spokeswoman for the company said.

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    OMV Could Lose Millions of Dollars After Accidentally Cutting Its Own Drill Pipe

    International oil giant OMV could be millions of dollars out of pocket after accidentally cutting its own drill pipe while operating off the South Island coast.

    COSL ProspectorThe incident occurred in late January when a blowout preventer — a device used to seal gas or oil wells and prevent hydrocarbons escaping — was mistakenly activated, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

    OMV Australasia senior vice-president Gabriel Selischi said the preventer had been ‘‘unnecessarily engaged’’ during a test by crew on board the COSL Prospector drill ship.

    As a result, the preventer had operated ‘‘as designed’’ and sheared off the drill pipe, which is being used to drill an $80 million exploratory well at the Tawhaki-1 site, 146km southeast of Balclutha.

    However, Mr Selischi insisted there was no risk to the environment or the vessel’s crew, despite the mishap, as the testing was performed before the start of operations for the full-bore drilling programme.

    ‘‘At no point was there any potential for a release of hydrocarbons to the environment as the well was cased and cemented,’’ Mr Selischi said.

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    Feds To Probe Fatal Chesapeake Energy Oil Well Accident

    Federal officials are stepping into an investigation of an accident at a Chesapeake Energy oil well that left three men dead and another hospitalized.

    Federal officials are stepping into an investigation of a fatal Jan. 30th accident at a Chesapeake Energy oil well that left three men dead and another hospitalized.In a Monday statement, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board announced it has deployed a team to investigate the fatal Jan. 30 accident in Burleson County that killed three workers and left one hospitalized.

    Known as the CSB, the federal agency was launched in 1998 to investigate accidents and to determine the conditions and circumstances that led up to them. As part of its work, the agency identifies the cause or causes of accidents so that similar events might be prevented.

    The federal investigation will run alongside ones being conducted by state and local authorities.

    In a court filing, family members reported that 38-year-old Windell Beddingfield of Tyler died at the scene.

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    Chesapeake Energy Is Sued After Deaths Of 2 Workers In Texas Oil Rig Fire

    Hours after a second worker died of injuries suffered in a Chesapeake Energy well fire in South Texas on Wednesday, the Oklahoma City-based company was sued by the mother of the first victim.

    Chesapeake Energy Is Sued After Deaths Of 2 Workers In Texas Oil Rig FireKAGS TV in Bryan, Texas reported the lawsuit was filed by Linda Milanovich whose son Windell Beddingfield died from his injuries in the blowout. She filed a temporary restraining order and a temporary injunction against Chesapeake Energy on Friday, a filing that came after the Thursday night death of a second worker. Her lawsuit was filed against the drilling company and the owner of well.

    Milanovich, who is being represented by Zehl & Associates PC out of Houston, is requesting Chesapeake maintain evidence such as pictures, audio, video, emails, cell phone records, recordings and any other evidence in the blowout and post investigation. The court documents stated Milanovich is worried the company may try to alter the evidence and asked a judge for the temporary restraining order to stop them from doing these acts.

    The announcement of the second death was made by Chesapeake Energy spokesman Gordon Pennoyer in Oklahoma City. But he did not identify the two workers who died in the fire.

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