The National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine
(NASEM) has called for international, multi-institutional research, observation, and analysis of the Gulf of Mexico’s loop
current system (LCS).
The position, strength, and structure of the gulf’s dominant
ocean circulation feature has major implications for oil and gas
operations, oil spill response, hurricane intensity, commercial
fishing, tourism, and other aspects of the region’s economy,
NASEM said in a Jan. 3 report.
The report identifies complementary research efforts, which
would take nearly 10 years to prepare and cost $100-125 million. The research would provide critical information about the
LCS to help promote safer offshore operations, better understand the gulf’s complex oceanographic systems, facilitate disaster response, help protect coastal communities, protect and
manage ecological resources, and predict and forecast weather
and climate impacts, it said.
The recommended research campaign is critical for more accurate predictions of the current’s path, the report noted.
A webinar about the report and the first NASEM Gulf Research Program funding opportunity related to it is scheduled
for Jan. 18. The funding opportunity will open in early February and will focus on the report’s near-term recommendations,
which address activities that can be started before extensive
planning for the larger research campaign gets under way.
Verchere appointed to top jobs at OMV Petrom
Christina Verchere has joined OMV AG as president of the
executive board and chief executive officer of the company’s
Southeast European oil and gas subsidiary, OMV Petrom SA,
She has worked for BP PLC for more than 20 years, most
recently as regional president of the Asia-Pacific region, based
in Jakarta. Verchere succeeds Mariana Gheorghe, who held the
positions for 12 years.
Helms promoted to COO, EOG Resources
Lloyd W. “Billy” Helms Jr. has been promoted to chief operating
officer of EOG Resources Inc.
An EOG employee for 36 years, Helms most recently was
executive vice-president, exploration and production.
Gary L. Thomas, who has been president and chief operating officer, will remain president until his expected retirement
Ezra Y. Yacob has been promoted to executive vice-president, exploration and production, responsible for EOG’s Midland, San Antonio, and Artesia operating areas. He had been
vice-president and general manager of the firm’s Midland office.
Carrell joins Southwestern Energy as COO
Clayton A. Carrell joined Southwestern Energy Co., Houston,
last month as executive vice-president and COO.
He had been executive vice-president and chief operating
officer of EP Energy, Houston, which he helped establish as an
independent firm in conjunction with the acquisition of El Paso
Corp. by Kinder Morgan Inc. (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2012).
EXPLORATION & DEVELOPMENT QUICK TAKES
Ineos Shale challenges Scottish frac ban
Scotland’s ban on hydraulic fracturing has come under legal attack. Ineos Shale said it is seeking judicial review of the government’s decision in October to extend indefinitely a moratorium
in place since 2015 (OGJ Online, Oct. 3, 2017).
Ineos Shale holds two exploration licenses between Glasgow
and Edinburgh. Its 20% partner in one of the licenses, Reach
Coal Seam Gas Ltd., joined it in the challenge.
An Ineos Shale statement alleged “very serious errors in the
decision-making process, including a failure to adhere to prop-
er statutory process and a misuse of ministerial power.”
The statement said the 2015 moratorium took effect after
Ineos and other shale operators in Scotland, relying on earlier
support from the Scottish and local governments, had invested
heavily to acquire licenses and permissions.
“Such investment has been rendered worthless as a consequence of the ban, even in areas where no fracing was proposed,” the statement said, noting that a panel of specialists
appointed by the government had concluded that shale development can be managed safely.
Tom Pickering, Ineos Shale operations director, said the
company “has been left with no option other than to raise this
Esso’s Ranger well yields sixth oil find off Guyana
ExxonMobil Corp. says it plans additional exploration drilling
on its Starbroek block offshore Guyana in 2018. The company’s
affiliate, Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Ltd., encoun-
tered 230 ft of high-quality, oil-bearing reservoir with its Rang-
er-1 well about 60 miles northwest of the Liza discovery.
Ranger makes the sixth discovery on the block, and its po-
tential resources add to a total of 3. 2 billion boe from the op-
erator’s previous five Stobroek block discoveries: Liza, Payara,
Snoek, Liza Deep, and Turbot (OGJ Online, Oct. 5, 2017).
Ranger-1 was drilled to 21,161 ft in 8,973 ft of water. Following completion, the Stena Carron drillship will move to the
Pacora prospect, about 4 miles from the Payara discovery. ExxonMobil has been active on the 6. 6 million-acre Stabroek block
since 2015 (OGJ Online, May 20, 2105). In June, the operator
made an final investment decision for the first phase of development for its initial Liza discovery (OGJ Online, June 16, 2017).
ExxonMobil makes oil find off Equatorial Guinea
ExxonMobil Corp. is now assessing potential commerciality at
its Avestruz-1 well on Block EG-06 160 km offshore Malabo,
Equatorial Guinea. The operator drilled the oil discovery in October but has not released any production data.