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August 2012 Issue

New Five-Year Oil, Gas Leasing Program Submitted to Congress
The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released in late June a proposed final offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012 to 2017, which includes frontier areas in the Alaskan Arctic. It schedules 15 potential lease sales: 12 in the Gulf of Mexico (the Western and Central Gulf and the portion of the Eastern Gulf not under Congressional moratorium) and three off the coast of Alaska (the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea and Cook Inlet planning areas).

The program has been submitted to Congress, and the Secretary of the Interior may implement it in 60 days. BOEM is on track to hold the first sale under the new program later this year.

The program continues existing protections for Arctic coastal areas by excluding certain areas from leasing, such as a 25-mile buffer near the coast of the Chukchi, two subsistence whaling areas in the Beaufort and an area in the Chukchi near Barrow that is important to Native Alaskan communities.

In July, BOEM completed a final environmental impact statement, which provides baseline analysis for the 10 lease sales scheduled in the Central and Western Gulf planning areas over the next five years.

BOEM also established a comment and mitigation tracking table to allow users to follow the status and treatment of suggestions for areas to be included for leasing, spatial exclusions, temporal deferrals and mitigation addressing all phases of the pre- and post-lease process. BOEM created interactive maps to view multiple data layers and provide data for decision makers.

BOEM issued a notice of intent in July to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement for Western Gulf Lease Sale 233 in 2013 and Central Gulf Lease Sale 231 in 2014. The agency requested comments from interested parties on the scope of issues and possible alternatives to be considered as part of the statement.


Emergency Management Center Opens in Aberdeen
Altor Risk Group (Aberdeen, Scotland) has built a £250,000 emergency response hub for the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen to deliver crisis management facilities for exploration and production operators, service and support companies. It is scheduled to become operational in August.

The center will provide 24/7 emergency support, with specialist responders, practical training exercises and simulations, advice and consulting.

Global asset tracking, and command, control and information management software systems will allow responders to base decisions on real-time information as well as log incidents for later review.

“Major events in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico have underlined the importance of planning for and testing various scenarios to ensure that an organization is well equipped to deal with any potential situation,” Andrew Couper, who was appointed to manage the center, said.


InterMoor Launches MoorVision To Facilitate Drilling Permits
InterMoor (Houston, Texas) launched in July MoorVision, a software system that provides up-to-date photos of the infrastructure in any defined area in the Gulf of Mexico using Google Earth.

The system helps cut the time and effort required to gather the necessary information to obtain a moored drilling permit by accessing and presenting publicly available information from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

It also facilitates the risk assessment process that is recommended in the American Petroleum Institute’s Gulf of Mexico mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) mooring practices for hurricane season.

MoorVision enables users to query BOEM’s public-domain gulf infrastructure database; collect and compile infrastructure data, including well production, pipeline flow rates and reported metering rates within a 28 kilometer radius; generate a Google Earth visualization file; and import the data to the consequence assessment workbook developed by the American Bureau of Shipping for the MODU Mooring Strength and Reliability Joint Industry Project.


GE, Rosneft to Share Technology In Russian Drilling Projects
GE (Fairfield, Connecticut) and Rosneft (Moscow, Russia) signed in July a memorandum of understanding to jointly evaluate and develop commercial opportunities in oil and gas exploration and production in Russia.

The agreement would leverage GE Oil & Gas (Florence, Italy) technologies to help Rosneft improve efficiency and yields in its oil and gas exploration and recovery operations, and explore opportunities to jointly develop, manufacture and sell equipment for use in Russia’s oil and gas industry.

GE and Rosneft will form a joint working group to identify short- and long-term opportunities, including equipment for Arctic offshore field development, gas monetization technologies, and enhanced oil recovery and difficult reserve development.


Kulluk, Noble Discoverer Head to Arctic for Shell
The Kulluk and Noble Discoverer set sail for the Arctic in late June, following completion of environmental and safety upgrades by Vigor Marine (Seattle, Washington).

The Kulluk, an ice-classed semisubmersible drill rig measuring 266 by 230 feet, is designed to operate with zero discharge in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The Discoverer, a 512-by-86-foot ice-classed drillship, underwent winterization and similar environmental upgrades, which were completed in 10 weeks.

Vigor installed E-POD emissions-control technology on the Discoverer’s engines to capture CO2 and nitrous oxide. The vessel’s emissions now meet the strictest global air-quality standards.

The Kulluk and Discoverer are the latest in a series of vessels Vigor Marine has completed work on for Shell Oil Co. (Houston, Texas) in Alaska, including the oil spill response vessels Klamath and Arctic Challenger.


2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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