• Featured Oilfield News

    After 5 Decades, Noble Energy Exits Gulf For Inlands Shale Fields

    Noble Energy has become the latest in a string of oil and gas companies to exit the Gulf of Mexico.

    The Thunderhawk platform produces oil from Noble Energy’s Big Bend field in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles southeast of Port FourchonThe exploration and production company says it will sell its Gulf assets to Fieldwood Energy, also based in Houston, for about $710 million.

    Noble officials say they will use money from the sale to repurchase company stock, raising its value to shareholders.

    The company, which has worked in the Gulf about 50 years, including more than 20 in deepwater areas, says it will focus its efforts on inland shale fields, where break-even costs are lower.

    “The sale of our Gulf of Mexico business represents the last major step in our portfolio transformation,” David Stover, Noble president and CEO, said in a news release Thursday. “This has been done to focus our go-forward efforts on those assets that will rapidly grow our cash flows and margins, primarily the U.S. onshore business and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    “I appreciate the efforts of the many employees who have contributed to our strong legacy of exploration discovery and successful resource development in the Gulf of Mexico. Going forward, we are concentrating the company’s exploration capabilities on higher-impact opportunities that can drive substantial long-term value creation.”


    Noble is part of a trend that started three-and-a half-years ago after a global crude glut caused oil prices to plummet from a high of about $115 a barrel to as low as $26.

    Since then, some companies, including ConnocoPhillips and Marathon, have left the deepwater Gulf for inland shale oilfields, while others have reduced their offshore assets and investment significantly.

    As a result, Houma-Thibodaux’s offshore oil based economy has lost about 16,000 jobs.

    Oil has traded between $60 and $65 in recent weeks, but analysts and economists say it will take months of prices consistently at or above that to encourage more drilling in the Gulf. In comparison, break-even costs in shale fields run as low as $30 a barrel, resulting in a boom in places such as Texas, New Mexico and the Dakotas.


    In contrast, the Gulf rig count, a key barometer for the local economy, stands at 18, up two for the week and one compared to a year ago, according to a count released Friday by services company Baker Hughes. That’s down from 56 in August 2104, a decline of 68 percent.

    Louisiana economist Loren Scott puts the cost differences another way in his economic report for 2018-19.

    “Costs to drill a well in the onshore shale plays are now under $8 million a well, and there is a 96 percent chance of hitting a profitable rock,” the report says. “Costs to drill a well in the deepwater GOM can be in the $130-$230 million range, and the probability of hitting profitable sand is more in the 70-80 percent range at best.”

    Scott predicts Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes will lose another 1,800 jobs this year before gaining 700 in 2019.


    The deal between Noble and Fieldwood is part of the latter company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans, which it filed with a federal court last week.

    Included in the transaction is Noble’s interest in six producing fields and several undeveloped leases. Noble estimates production in those areas to average slightly more than 20,000 barrels of oil a day for this year. Noble’s proven reserves in the fields include about 23 million barrels of oil.

    Fieldwood’s reorganization plan aims to reduce its debt by half with money from a private equity investor, Riverstone. It expects to emerge from bankruptcy this spring to begin developing its oil assets in the Gulf, including those purchased from Noble. Fieldwood, a privately owned company, operates almost exclusively in the Gulf.

    “We fully expect that our operations will continue in the normal course and that we will continue to be able to meet all of our business obligations to third parties as well as the government throughout this process,” Fieldwood CEO Matt McCarroll said in a news release.

    Source: Houma Today


    5 Killed, 10 Injured In Blast On ONGC Drill Ship At Cochin Shipyard

    The bodies recovered have been identified as that of two firemen, two contract labourers and a supervisor. At least three people are reported to be trapped inside the ship and efforts are on to evacuate them.

    Cochin Shipyard in Kerala is engaged in shipbuilding and repairs the largest vessels in IndiaAt least five people died and seven others were injured after a blast on board an under-repair drilling ship at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala on Tuesday.

    The explosion occurred in the water-tank of the ship Sagar Bhushan, owned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), and was triggered by a gas leak, said Madhu Nair, chairman and managing director of the shipyard. He also ruled out any foul play. The state-owned ONGC put the time of the blast at 9.15am.

    “Ship repair is one of the most dangerous jobs and we do take enough safety procedures. Despite strong measures it is sad such a tragedy took place. It seems to be a freak accident and we don’t see sabotage angle in the mishap,” the CMD said. The cause of the explosion is being ascertained, ONGC added in a statement.


    Special Report: Dangers In The Oilfield

    The oil and gas industry impacts nearly every person on the planet and the Permian Basin is at the center of it all.

    Dangers of the oilfieldIn West Texas, the lucrative industry brings a lot to the Basin, but there are also potential dangers of life in the oilfield.

    "In West Texas, it's all about the oilfield," Midland resident Jazmin Reyes said.

    Pump jacks for days, rigs towering over the Permian Basin, trucks carrying loads of oilfield equipment - just another day in West Texas.

    For those who live in the Permian Basin, it's their backyard and for many, their bread and butter.

    "The number one money maker out here is the oil," Reyes said.

    Midland County reigns supreme in oil production. A 2017 report by the Texas Railroad Commission shows the county produced nearly seven million barrels of oil in May.


    Patterson-UTI Reports Profit As Oklahoma Rig Explosion Investigation Continues

    Houston driller and fracker Patterson-UTI Energy reported quarterly profits Thursday, while expressing concerns for the loss of five lives from a January explosion at one of its rigs in Oklahoma.

    PattersonUTI APEXXK 1500 oil rig drill. Tuesday May 9 2017 near College Station.Patterson-UTI posted a $195 million quarterly profit versus a $78 million loss during the final three months of 2016. That new profit is buoyed almost entirely by more than $200 million in benefits from the revaluation of deferred taxes from the new U.S. tax law.

    The company's quarterly revenues of $787 million more than tripled from $247 million a year prior. Patterson-UTI is now bringing in more revenues from pressure pumping, which includes the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of wells, than from its historic strengths in drilling. The company is continuing to add new fracking crews to keep up with demand.

    But much of the focus remains on the investigation into the January explosion. Three of those killed were Patterson-UTI employees, while the other two worked for small Oklahoma contractors.


    Worker Killed As Drilling Rig Moved At Northern Alberta Oilsands Site

    A Cenovus worker is dead after an incident involving a hauling truck Tuesday night at a northeastern Alberta oilsands site.

    Cenovuss Christina Lake project in northern AlbertaThe worker was killed at the Christina Lake site, about 150 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, Cenovus said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The worker was fatally injured around 10:30 p.m. while a drilling rig was being moved on site, Cenovus said.

    The identity of the worker has not been released. The deceased was employed by one of Cenovus's third-party contracting companies.

    Calgary-based Cenovus said it has notified the appropriate authorities and is conducting a full investigation into the incident.

    No further details were provided by the company. 

    "We extend our deepest sympathies to the worker's family, friends and co-workers," reads a statement from Cenovus.

    Brett Harris, a Cenovus spokesman, says the drill rig site has been shut down for an investigation.

    Christina Lake, about 350 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, is a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAG-D) operation which first began production in 2002.



    Texas-Blowout Near Yorktown, No Injuries

    Crews under the employ of EOG Resources managed to regain control of a potentially dangerous situation last week. 

    Crews under the employ of EOG Resources managed to regain control of a potentially dangerous situation last weekLate in the afternoon on January 26, a workover crew performing operations on the well located off of Leo Nelson Road lost control of the well. A well control company was called in, butthe well was not capped until January 30 around 11am. Creighto Welch with EOG Resources’ Government Relations and Communications office informed the News-View that all employess were present and accounted for, and that no fire ever broke out. 

    From the road, crews could be observed jetting water into the emissions from the well to help prevent ignition. The cleanup phase of this incident could be quite expensive and time consuming, as oil, mud and water could be seen in aerial photographs of the site.

    A seperate incident on January 24 sent a tanker driver to the hospital with burns after a fire started on a well pad in Hobson, North of Runge.


    OSHA Investigates Oilfield Fatality Near Williston North Dakota

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an incident that killed a worker last week at an oil site east of Williston.

    Jared Rizzo (Facebook)Jared Rizzo, 23, an employee of Wisco Inc., died Thursday from his injuries after being struck by a falling traveling block on a workover rig, said Eric Brooks, director of the Bismarck Area OSHA office.

    A spokesperson for OSHA says that the victim was struck while tripping out pipe at the time of the incident.

    The last time OSHA investigated an oilfield fatality in North Dakota was January 2017.

    A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with burial expenses


    Montana- Work-Over Rig Explosion Kills Baker man

    A man was killed Thursday morning when the oil rig on which he was working exploded north of Baker.

    Chad TronstadChad Tronstad, 39, of Baker, died when the work-over rig experienced a "pressurized explosion," said Fallon County Sheriff Trenton Harbaugh.

    The explosion happened at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday at an oil rig north of town. Harbaugh said officials are actively investigating the incident.

    Harbaugh couldn't remember the last time the county dealt with an oil rig explosion.

    "It's been a while," he said. 

    One other person was injured and taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

    Funeral services for Chad are pending with Stevenson Funeral Home.


    Officials Investigating Human Remains Found At Oklahoma Drilling Rig Site As Homicide

    Officials say they are still working to determine how human remains ended up near a drilling rig site in McClain County.

    Human remains found at Oklahoma drilling site.Around 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, an oil field worker called 911 to report finding human remains near a rig site around I-35 and Hwy 59, near Wayne.

    Investigators said the remains appear to have been at the scene for quite some time.

    McClain County Sheriff Don Hewett told News 4 on Friday that crews will be processing the scene for the next day or so.

    Currently, Hewett says they are investigating the case as a homicide because of the circumstances surrounding the remains.


    U.S. Oil Output Hits 10 Million Barrels For 1st Time In Decades

    U.S. oil production surged above 10 million barrels a day for the first time in four decades, another marker of a profound shift in global crude markets.

    Precision Drilling oil rig operators install a bit guide on the floor of a Royal Dutch Shell Plc oil rig near Mentone Texas U.S.The milestone comes weeks after the International Energy Agency said the U.S. is poised for "explosive" growth in oil output that would push it past Saudi Arabia and Russia this year. New drilling and production techniques have opened up billions of barrels of recoverable U.S. oil in shale rock formations in the past 10 years, reversing decades of declining output and turning the nation into an exporter.

    The news comes after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided last year to extend an agreement with several non-OPEC members to curb output in response to a global supply glut fed in part by shale. That agreement was finally showing signs of working, with prices emerging from a three-year downturn. After falling near $26 a barrel in 2016, the global benchmark oil price climbed above $70 a barrel in January, and the U.S. price is following suit. Increasing output from the U.S. may threaten that rising price.


    Chevron, Total Announce New Gulf Of Mexico Discovery

    Chevron and Paris-based Total said Wednesday they've made a major oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico southeast of New Orleans.

    Independence (Anadarko) Depth: 8000 feetThe so-called Ballymore prospect is about 75 miles from the Louisiana coast in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf. Total is already calling it the company's largest Gulf discovery.

    Chevron, which owns a controlling 60 percent stake in the partnership, said oil was struck at nearly 30,000 feet in a well that's already showing strong production characteristics. Chevron and Total said they're assessing the discovery to determine how to proceed.

    The Gulf of Mexico is just beginning to show signs of returning to life for the energy sector after a prolonged downturn from the oil bust that began in late 2014.

    "The Gulf of Mexico deepwater is an integral part of our company's long-term strategy," said Jeff Shellebarger, president of Chevron's North American exploration and production. "This discovery is an important addition to our portfolio, especially with its combination of size, quality and proximity to existing infrastructure."


    Chesapeake Energy Lays Off 13% Of Workforce

    News 9 has learned that another round of layoffs is happening Tuesday morning at Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City.

    Chesapeake announces layoffsIn an email sent to employees on Tuesday, company representatives announced a 13-percent layoff. CEO Doug Lawler wrote the following:

    "Dear Colleagues: 

    By now you are aware we have undergone a reduction in Chesapeake’s workforce this morning.   This action impacted approximately 13% of our employees across all functions of the company, primarily on our Oklahoma City campus.  The decision to reduce headcount did not come easily for the leadership team.  Dedicated, value-driven, hard-working people have been affected. You have my personal assurance that we are treating these employees fairly, respectfully, and with considerable effort to assist them with their personal and career transition.    


    Texas-1 Injured In Oil Tank Explosion In Karnes County

    A man was seriously burned and airlifted to a local hospital when an oil tank exploded Wednesday afternoon in Karnes County.

    Texas oil Tank Explosion injures oneKarnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva said workers called 911 to report a tank fire at about 4 p.m. on a field in the Hobson area near FM 81.

    Area fire departments found the man with burns and six tanks ablaze when they arrived, Villanueva said.

    The man was transported via Airlife to the Brooke Army Medical Center in unknown condition, deputies said.

    Villanueva said the man was a worker from out of town and had been checking the tank when the explosion occurred.

    The cause of the explosion was not known Wednesday evening, investigators said.


    Oklahoma Reverses Worker's Comp Rule On Oil Firms

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that oil and natural gas companies can be sued when a worker is killed or injured on the job.

    The state's highest court struck down a state workers' compensation law The state's highest court struck down a state workers' compensation law that exempted oil and gas well operators and owners from lawsuits, including one filed by a worker who was fatally burned in 2014 at an Oklahoma County oil well site operated by Stephens Production Co.

    The ruling was handed down one day after a fiery explosion at an Oklahoma gas drilling rig in southeastern Oklahoma left five workers missing. Officials said Tuesday they had recovered the remains of all five workers who were unaccounted for.

    The family of trucker David Chambers Sr. filed a lawsuit after he was dispatched to the oil well site in Crescent, Oklahoma, to pick up waste water and was severely burned on Oct. 6, 2014. Chambers, who was 59, died three days later. The family's attorney, T. Luke Abel, said Chambers was "horrifically burned" and "never made it out of the hospital."


    Report: Uncontrolled Gas Release Led To Rig Fire-Shut In Failed

    An initial report into a deadly natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma indicates there was an uncontrolled release of gas that caught fire and that a worker at the scene tried unsuccessfully to shut down the well.

    Smoke billows from the site of a gas well fire near Quinton Okla. early Monday Jan. 22 2018The incident report into the explosion and fire that killed five workers was released on Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas operations in the state.

    The blast happened Monday morning at a drilling site near Quinton, about 100 miles  southeast of Tulsa. The explosion sent plumes of black smoke into the air and left a derrick crumpled on the ground.

    Once the drilling site was stabilized on Tuesday, authorities recovered the remains of all five workers.

    Five employees who were killed were in an area of the drilling rig known as the "dog house" where the rig hands worked.