Oil and Gas Journal

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A new drill pipe buckling model provided excellent predictions for each full-scale buckling test performed, not only in terms of deformed buckling shape but also in terms of weight transfer. Existing models, on the other hand, failed to predict observed drill pipe buckling behavior. This is the first time in the drilling industry that a buckling model was successfully validated in the field, and this model can predict realistically the onset and severity of buckling for any 3D trajectory. Many articles discuss buckling inside a wellbore but an increasing number of field observations suggest that existing buckling theories fail to predict buckling phenomenon such as lockup. Indeed, existing buckling theories generally assume that the wellbore is idealistically perfect without any doglegs. Recent advancements in drillstring mechanics modeling have demonstrated that doglegs, friction, and rotation affect greatly the buckling phenomenon. This article compares results of full-scale buckling tests with a new buckling model that takes into account actual wellbore tortuosity.
 
The removal of ethane from pipeline gas has attracted interest in recent years since ethane is an increasingly valuable raw material for petrochemicals. High ethane recovery process can be divided into three broad classifications: (1) expander processes; (2) externally refrigerated processes; and (3) combinations of (1) and (2) above. In this article, basic process designs of an expander process and an externally refrigerated process are presented and compared. Based on the conditions presented in this comparison, the externally refrigerated (cascade) process offers lower horsepower, whereas the expander process would have a lower first cost.
 
The US and the Russian Federation might face natural gas supply problems if winter 2002-2003 is unusually cold, despite their spawling gas industries and associated bountiful gas supplies. In 2001, the two countries together accounted for almost 45 and 41% of global natural gas production and consumption, respectively. In 2001, the US imported 116 billion cu m of natural gas and exported about 11 billion cu m. Russia's exports amounted to some 204 billion cu m. The warm weather led to a 6% dip in US natural gas consumption to 616.2 billion cu m in 2001 from 647.1 billion cu m in 2000.
 
According to API, US petroleum demand increased at its strongest rate in 5 yr during 2004, partially due to a nearly 7% demand increase for highway diesel fuel. Product deliveries grew 2.3% to an average 20.5 million bpd. Higher prices for crude oil and petroleum products, including gasoline, dampened oil product demand growth in many instances. Demand growth for low-sulfur diesel, the grade required for highway use, was the strongest among any major petroleum product. Deliveries increased 6.8% year-to-year to an average 2.994 million bpd. Overall distillate fuel oil demand rose by 3.5% as deliveries for heating oil and other products with > 500 ppm sulfur fell by 4.7%. Gasoline deliveries increased by only 1.3% to an average 9.054 million bpd. Kerosene jet fuel demand grew 2.2% to an average 1.613 million bpd while residual fuel oil deliveries climbed 4.1% to an average 804,000 bpd.
 
The American Exploration & Production Council (AEPC) has observed reversals of 2005 gains in the new energy bill passed by the House last summer, HR 3221. The AEPC has released a memo last August stating that the bill by the House Natural Resources Committee to extend project permitting times and increase producers' taxes, fees and other costs would reverse a range of energy-permitting reforms. The council has also seen a "disconnect" in policy making and that once backed by observations. What has been observed is said to be far away from previous expectations.
 
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended a waiver allowing higher ethanol concentrations in fuel for 2007 and later model year cars and trucks to 2001-06 model year vehicles. The American Petroleum Institute and National Petrochemical & Refiners Association separately criticized EPA's action extending the waiver it approved on October 13 for 2007 and newer model year cars and light trucks. NPRA Pres. Charles T. Drevna said EPA has acted without adequate scientific evidence. Widespread use of 15% ethanol in gasoline could cause engine failures that could leave consumers stranded, injured or worse, and hit consumers with costly engine repairs. Renewable Fuels Association Pres. Bob Dineen noted that while EPA's announcement will increase the time frame in which the waiver will cover most vehicles on US highways, labeling issues and misfueling issues still need to be addressed.
 
Due to lower production volumes and weak downstream margins, the collective third-quarter earnings for a sample of US-based oil and gas producers and refiners declined from earnings compared to 2006. Another factor is the weighing of higher depreciation and operating expenses on earnings. A surge in profits was also reported by the same sample companies while also increasing their earnings by 33% due to strong demand for equipment and services. In Canada, a collective decline of 9.5% on earnings was reported while earnings moved 10.4% lower and revenues increased 9.6%. A 39% surge in earnings for the third quarter of this year was also reported by a sample of 28 service and supply companies.
 
Worldwide refiners' needs to produce cleaner fuels and operate to meet environmental regulations, convert more heavy feedstocks to satisfy regional fuel market needs and maximize profit margins continue to guide developments in the refining catalyst market. According to the high estimate, the refining catalyst market will grow about 4.4%/year in hydrotreating, 2.1%/year in FCC, 5.0%/year in hydrocracking, 1.4%/year in naphtha reforming, and 7.6%/year in isomerization. Most growth will occur in North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Oil company consolidations will continue; fewer buyers create more buying power. The catalyst market will become more aggressive because producer companies will compete for the business of fewer and larger refining companies. This makes the refining catalyst market the most competitive segment of the global market. The number of catalysts and producer companies will continue to diminish. Catalyst companies will perform strategic alliances, mergers, joint ventures, and acquisitions to respond to refinery profit margins and environmental pressures. Refining processes will become more efficient and sophisticated; therefore, they will demand new catalysts that will make the business more attractive for catalyst producers. The number of patents related to new product formulations and processes will diminish due to the dynamic and competitive market. Refining catalyst demand will decrease slightly because technology improvements will make them more active on a volume basis. New-generation catalysts will consume equal or less hydrogen than current catalysts. New active materials will be more resistant to deactivation under severe operating conditions.
 
According to industry leaders, the political scene for 2007 could be every bit as unpredictable and exciting as the previous year. This will not be due mainly to the fact that Democrats now control both the House of Representatives and Senate for the first time in 12 years. Following November's election, several Washington, DC-based trade association officials began meeting with federal lawmakers and their staffs. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) is drawing on the political expertise of its staff, some of whom have worked in Washington for decades.
 
The Institut Français du Pétrole reported that oil prices will remain at the $50-55/bbl level over this year and possibly part of 2008. Oil market showed signs of short-term stabilization, with prices remaining under $60/bbl. However, beyond 2008, markets seem to indicate sustained price hikes due to increase in production and demand. Uncertainties also troubled the gas industry because of higher prices and supply security impacting the development of competing energy sources.
 
Global LNG trade dynamics will shift again in 2010-11, largely on the back of recovering Asian LNG demand. LNG imports into the Americas will grow during the same period as terminals in the region, especially in the US, continue to absorb flexible LNG not required by some markets in Asia and Europe. Despite the possibility of lower Spanish LNG imports Europe as a whole will import LNG in 2010 compared with last year as such countries as Italy and the UK receive higher amounts of Qatari megatrain volumes. Japan, global leader in LNG consumption, saw LNG imports in 2009 deteriorate by 6.8% to 64.6 million tons. The global economic slump not only dented industrial sector gas demand but also reduced gas use in the power sector amid lower overall electricity demand. Gas use in the power sector was also weal or due to improved nuclear utilization rates and hydropower output.
 
The 2009 financial results for the OGJ150 group of companies were off sharply from a year earlier, although the group's oil and gas production and reserves totals mostly climbed from 2008. Demand declined in the developed countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development but increased in the developing countries outside the OECD boosted by demand growth in Asia and the Middle East. Aspen Exploration Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. no longer appear in the compilation having sold their properties and Foothills Resources is now a private company and so is no longer part of the 0GJ150. Plains Exploration & Production Co. and Petrohawk Energy Corp. moved into the top 20 this year taking the place of last years No. 16 Dominion Energy and New field Exploration Co., which moved to No 21 from No. 20 a year ago.
 
The first wave of new US LNG import capacity is composed of two terminal commissioning at Texas Gulf Coast this month. The first one is the Freeport LNG Development LP's Quintana terminal, which started receiving its first cool-down shipment from Excelsior. The other is Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal, located in Cameron Parish, La., which received its first cargo for commissioning from Celestine River. There are two other terminals that will begin commissioning later this year, including ExxonMobil's Golden Pass terminal and Sempra LNG's Cameron LNG terminal. The Freeport terminal will have a peak capacity of 1.75 bcfd under Phase 1. The Sabine Pass terminal will see a maximum continuous regasification rate of 2.6 bcfd while the Golden Pass terminal will have capacity for 2 bcfd.
 
New viscometer, developed by Oil Base, Inc, Houston, Tex, can test mud at temperatures up to 650 F and pressures up to 20,000 psi; it determines viscosity at bottom hole conditions and makes calculations on down hole mud performance meaningful.
 
A discussion on a modified roller cone bit regarding its performance in the Tatneft OSC oil fields is presented and is compared with other bits. The designer was able to use a proposed calculation method which allowed him to determine and optimize kinematic parameters of the drill bits. In addition, a review on the performance on one of the jet roller cone bit models was also given which is the 8-1/2 in CH55MRS bit that is designed to drill hard and abrasive formations.
 
Petrobras decided to install the highest horsepower electric submersible pump to produce the heavy oil from the JUB-6 well in the Jubarte field off Brazil. The system has a 1,200 hp motor and a pump capable of producing more than 22,000 b/d. The well is part of Petrobras' Phase 1 plan for the field that includes four wells producing about 60,000 b/d to the P-34 floating production, storage, and offloading vessel.
 
Denbury Resources Inc is purchasing the producing property interests in the Cedar Creek anticline of Montana and North Dakota from a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips for $1.05 billion. The assets include additional interests in Denbury's existing operated fields in Cedar Creek anticline along with operating interests in other fields within the structure. Cedar Creek anticline is 110 mi north of Denbury's Bell Creek field. Denbury is designing a CO2 development plan for Cedar Creek that will include the properties being acquired from ConocoPhillips. The company estimates a CO2 flood of the to be acquired properties could recover 60-80 million bbl of oil. Denbury estimates that at yearend 2012 the proved conventional reserves to be acquired were 42 million boe, of which 95% was oil and 91% was proved developed producing.
 
A Transocean Ltd subsidiary agreed to plead guilty to violating the US Clean Water Act and to pay a total of $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties for its conduct related to the blowout of the deepwater Macondo well and the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible. On 1/3/2013, the US Department of Justice filed criminal information and a proposed partial civil consent decree to resolve the federal government's civil penalty claims against Transocean. The documents were filed in US District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, which was on contract to BP PLC, operator of the Macondo well. Transocean Deepwater signed a cooperation and guilty plea agreement with the government in which Transocean agreed, subject to the court's approval, to pay $400 million in criminal fines and penalties and to continue cooperating with the government's criminal investigation. In addition, Transocean Ocean Holdings LLC, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc, Transocean Deepwater Inc, and Triton Asset Leasing GMBH agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve federal Clean Water Act civil penalty claims for the oil spill. The proposed civil settlement is subject to a public comment period and final court approval.
 
The Piceance basin is one of three large western US basins that contain significant oil shale resources. The Uinta basin, in eastern Utah and westernmost Colorado, and the Greater Green River basin, in southwestern Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and northwestern Colorado, also contain large amounts, and will be assessed separately. The effort was hampered by difficulties recovering digital files used in previous assessments by USGS and the former US Bureau of Mines (USBM), which was disbanded in 1996. There also have been considerable advances in computational power and computer programs since the previous assessment was published, and the new one tries to take full advantage of these improvements. Previous estimates of the amount of oil technically recoverable from the Piceance basin's oil shale formations without considering economics, and using the room and pillar method, ran from 45% in a 1987 study to 55-75% in a 1974 study.
 
Total E&P Canada Ltd and Suncor Energy Inc will form a strategic oil sands alliance encompassing the Suncor-operated Fort Hills mining project, the Total-operated Joslyn mining project and the Suncor-operated Voyageur upgrader project. All assets are in Alberta's Athabasca region. Under the alliance, the firms will pool their combined interests in these projects, with the respective operator holding 51% and the other partner 49%. Total will pay Suncor $1.75 billion. Total is acquiring 19.2% of Suncor's interest in the Fort Hills project, giving it an overall 39.2% interest after its acquisition of UTS Energy Corp, finalized in October 2010. Suncor, as operator, will hold 40.8%, while Teck Resources Ltd holds 20%. Suncor is acquiring 36.75% of Total's interest in the Joslyn project, operated by Total with a 38.25% stake along with Occidental Petroleum Corp. holding 15% and Inpex 10%. Total also is acquiring a 49% stake in the Suncor-operated Voyageur upgrader project near Fort McMurray. The facility will have a capacity of 200,000 bpd of upgraded products and will process Total's Fort Hills and Joslyn bitumen production. Both companies confirmed a Joslyn North Mine timetable calling for production of 100,000 bpd in 2017-2018, subject to receiving the necessary permits.
 
BP PLC has agreed to sell its upstream businesses and associated interests in Venezuela and Vietnam to TNK-BP for a total of $1.8 billion. The agreement includes its interests in the Petroperija, Boqueron, and PetroMonagas joint ventures in Venezuela. In Vietnam, the agreement includes BP's 35% operating interest in Lan Tay and Lan Do natural gas fields along with associated pipeline and electric power generation interests. The sales are part of BP's plan to make divestments of up to $30 billion by the end of 2011 to help the company meet its financial obligations arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Under terms of the agreements, TNK-BP will pay BP a total deposit of $1 billion, with the $800 million balance due on completion of the sales. The two firms anticipate completing both sales in the first half of 2011.
 
Its successful experience with 37,000 dwt integrated-tug-barges (ITB) has led Ingram Ocean Systems to design much larger units to move crude from offshore transshipment points to mainland U. S. refineries. The super-ITB with an unusual length of 940 ft would draw 43 ft carrying 100,000 tons of crude. Its design is described.
 
If petroleum represents one resource abundant in the 1002 Area of ANWR, wildlife certainly comprises another. More than 35 species of land and marine mammals, as well as over 100 species of birds, have been identified in its borders. It is used as a calving ground for caribou, a denning area for polar bears, a year-round habitat for muskoxen, and a major migration route for several kinds of waterfowl. While scientific resource. Much opportunity remains to advance understanding of caribou, polar bear, and muskoxen, for example.
 
On the basis of this new work, responding to a request by the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the US Energy Information Administration created plausible production scenarios for the total assessment area (1002 Area, plus Native Lands and Alaska offshore area), released in a separate report. Together, the recent USGS and EIA studies represent the most current predictions regarding the petroleum potential of the 1002 Area. This paper is a summary of the major points covered in these reports.
 
Top-cited authors
Vello Kuuskraa
  • Advanced Resources International
Roger N. Anderson
  • Columbia University
Kenneth R. Hall
  • Texas A&M University
T. S. Collett
  • United States Geological Survey
Albert Boulanger
  • Columbia University