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February 2011 Issue

Reservoir Group Partners With Quest Coring
Aberdeen, Scotland-based Reservoir Group (RG) announced in January that it has formed an alliance with Quest Coring (Nisku, Canada).

The partnership involves Quest distributing its large-bore wireline coring Quick CoreTM technology through the RG Geo division's international network.

"Quick Core provides exploration companies with a unique opportunity to obtain a thorough physical evaluation of a reservoir with significantly reduced drilling down-time," said Pascal Bartette, Reservoir Group's chief executive officer.

Bartette also pointed out that the Quick Core technology could be particularly applicable to gas shale plays, since these activities require long coring intervals in order to accurately evaluate the reservoir structure.

"RG Geo's coring business is the ideal partner for us to distribute swiftly our Quick Core technology worldwide," Quest chief executive officer Doug Kinsella said. "We intend to extend this alliance to new technologies currently in our development pipeline." For more information, visit www.reservoir-group.com.

13 Drillers Halted During Spill May Avoid New NEPA Reviews
Government regulators recently told 13 companies that had deepwater drilling activities suspended by last year's moratorium that they may be able to resume drilling without additional environmental reviews.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) said these companies may be able to resume drilling activities without the need to submit revised exploration or development plans for supplemental National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The companies still must comply with new policies and regulations, BOEMRE said.

"Going forward, we are substantially enhancing our environmental reviews and analysis under NEPA," said BOEMRE director Michael R. Bromwich. "But as we move forward, we are taking into account the special circumstances of those companies whose operations were interrupted by the moratorium and ensuring that they are able to resume previously approved activities. For those companies that were in the midst of operations at the time of the deepwater suspensions, today's notification is a significant step toward resuming their permitted activity."

The steps for previously approved operations to restart include compliance with new regulations and information requirements in notices to lessees (NTL) N06 and N10 and the interim final safety rule.

BOEMRE said the operators will not be required to revise a previously submitted exploration plan or a development operations coordination document as long as the worst-case discharge estimated for the project, as calculated pursuant to NTL-N06, is less than the worst-case discharge estimate included by the company in its oil spill response plan. However, if the worst-case discharge exceeds the oil spill response plan, further reviews will be required.

As described in guidance issued by BOEMRE on December 13, new exploration and development drilling operations must be conducted under new or revised plans subject to appropriate NEPA analysis. For more information, visit www.boemre.gov.

Deloitte Offers 2011 Predictions For Global Energy Industry
The emerging markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States and India, along with technology-driven exploration and production (E&P) operations, will be prominent in driving the energy sector this year, according to predictions published in December by business advisory firm Deloitte (New York, New York).

The energy sector is likely to continue to experience challenging conditions in 2011, despite signs that the global economic downturn is beginning to ease, the company said.

Deloitte also expects to see further technological advances in E&P operations. The recent series of environmental, health and safety incidents in the oil and gas industry are likely to result in greater governmental oversight of all types of energy production, the company said.

Deloitte also stated that the boom in unconventional natural gas is a game-changing event that is likely to continue in the short-term, but its impact may not be as loud or as long as first anticipated due to the increase in environmental activism based on government investigations into the hazards of hydraulic fracturing.

In renewables, the financing of early stage projects and concerns over the efficiency of green energy generation continue to be significant challenges, Deloitte said, but prospects for renewables are looking up as solar technologies increasingly trickle down from industrial users to residential consumers and small businesses.

"Just how quickly solar energy can become mainstream will depend heavily upon how swiftly solar technologies can achieve grid parity—the point at which the cost of electricity from renewable sources rivals that derived from more traditional means," said Graeme Sheils, oil and gas partner at Deloitte in Aberdeen, Scotland. "This is shaped by local climate, utility rates and government support, among other factors.

"Indeed, sustainability considerations are not only becoming key inputs for business decisions, but also decisive factors affecting competition worldwide."

However, as countries continue to invest in long-term environmental and clean energy projects, it is becoming evident that there may not be the necessary skills to push forward the green movement, the company said.

European nations have been struggling for a while to staff their clean-energy investments, and North America does not seem to be immune to this problem either, with recent research by the National Renewable Energy Lab identifying a shortage of skills and training as a key barrier to the growth of renewable energy, Deloitte said.

Similar to the oil industry in recent years, it is vital that skills being developed now in this sector have a means of being replicated—as widely as possible—and made available for future generations; without a continuous means of developing talent through appropriate training and education systems, even an economy based on renewable energy will not be sustainable, the company said. For more information, visit www.deloitte.com.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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