March’s top news stories

8 April 2019 (Last Updated April 9th, 2019 16:02)

Murphy Oil agrees to sell Malaysian portfolio for $2.13bn, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signs bill banning offshore drilling into law to open 90% of US waters to new oil and gas leasing. Offshore-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from March 2019.

March’s top news stories
Murphy Oil to exit Malaysian oil and gas operations. Credit: gloriaurban4 from Pixabay.

Murphy Oil signs $2.13bn deal to divest Malaysian portfolio

Murphy Oil signed a sale and purchase agreement through its subsidiary to divest its Malaysian portfolio to a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production Public Company (PTTEP) for $2.13bn.

The deal involved the divestment of its two primary Malaysian subsidiaries, Murphy Sabah Oil and Murphy Sarawak Oil.

Under the terms of the agreement, PTTEP will also pay $100m based on certain future exploratory drilling results before October 2020.


Oregon Governor passes bill SB 256 to ban offshore drilling in US

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a bill banning offshore drilling into law during a federal push to open 90% of US waters, including the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and California to new oil and gas leasing.

Indefinitely extending Oregon’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling in state marine waters, the bipartisan bill SB 256 prohibits activities or new infrastructure that would support oil drilling in federal waters offshore Oregon. Set to come into force from 1 January 2020, the new law puts into action Brown’s Executive Order 18-28, which made it the official policy of Oregon to oppose offshore oil drilling.

The bill made a moratorium on oil and gas leasing permanent in the state’s Territorial Sea that had been set to expire in 2020 and directs state agencies to not assist with potential drilling operations in federal waters offshore Oregon.


McDermott and Saudi Aramco sign lease for fabrication facility

A subsidiary of McDermott International signed a lease agreement with Saudi Aramco to establish a fabrication facility in Saudi Arabia.

The agreement awards a lease to McDermott Arabia Company to build the facility that will be dedicated to large scale fabrication of offshore platforms and onshore/offshore modules. This follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the parties in March 2017 to build a new fabrication and marine complex.

According to the deal, the proposed engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) facility will be located within the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries in Ras Al-Khair. Spread over a 1,150,000m² area, the fabrication facility is expected to have a throughput capacity of more than 60,000 metric tonnes per year.


Shell ships first condensate cargo from Prelude FLNG project

Shell reportedly shipped the first condensate cargo from its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project located 475km north-north east of Broome in Western Australia.

Measuring 488m in length and 74m in width, the Prelude FLNG is the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas platform and the largest offshore floating facility ever built.

Shell did not confirm where the cargo will be used. However, trade sources have reportedly told S&P Global Platts that it will be used within Shell’s network of splitters and refineries.


US Gulf of Mexico lease sale receives $244m in high bids

The US Department of Interior (DOI) announced that Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 252 has received more than $244m in high bids for 227 tracts covering 5,103km² in federal waters.

The figure is significantly higher compared to Lease Sale 251, the immediate last lease sale that generated $178m in high bids.

A total of 30 companies participated in Lease Sale 252 submitting a combined $283.78m for all bids. Oil and gas majors such as Shell, Equinor, BP, Anadarko, Total, Chevron and Hess were among the winning bidders.


4Subsea acquires subsea control systems provider Astori

4Subsea acquired Astori, a Norwegian firm that focuses on delivering subsea control systems for well intervention operations.

The acquisition will enable 4Subsea to leverage Astori’s automation and control technology and bolster its position as an independent vendor assisting offshore operators in optimising operations. Financial terms of the acquisition were not divulged.

4Subsea also plans to explore opportunities for further digitising subsea control modules. According to the company, such investigations into opportunities led to the development of digital twins for subsea production and drilling. The process procures sensor data and uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to predict maintenance requirements and facilitate decision making.


EnQuest partner Cairn Energy downgrades Kraken oilfield reserves

Cairn Energy lowered recovery estimates from Kraken oilfield, an offshore field located in the UK sector of the North Sea.

In its annual results, the company downgraded its estimate of Kraken’s reserves by 6.8 million barrel of oil equivalent (Mboe) or 19%. It also booked $166.3m non-cash impairment against the offshore asset.

In 2018, gross production from the Kraken oilfield averaged around 30,300boe/d, below expected production levels.


Qatar Petroleum to acquire 25.5% stake in Block A5-A from Eni

Qatar Petroleum signed an agreement to acquire a 25.5% participating interest in Block A5-A offshore Mozambique from Eni.

Block A5A  covers a total area of around 5,133km² in water depths ranging between 300m and 1,800m. The block lies in the Angoche basin and is located adjacent to Block A5B.

In December 2018, Qatar Petroleum’s affiliate signed an agreement with an ExxonMobil affiliate to acquire a 10% participating interest in Block A5B.


ADES signs contract with Dana Gas for deepwater drilling services in Egypt

ADES International signed a contract to provide deepwater drilling services for Dana Gas in the Egyptian Mediterranean basin.

The short-term exploration contract was signed through its subsidiary ADES, which will provide the service using Vantage’s Tungsten Explorer for one firm well.

The contract will be carried out for 77 days with an extension option for an additional three wells.


Aker BP signs PSV agreements with Simon Møkster, Eidesvik and Solstad

Norwegian oil and gas company Aker BP signed frame agreements with Simon Møkster Shipping, Eidesvik Offshore and Solstad Offshore for the provision of platform supply vessels (PSVs).

The agreements have an initial duration of three years, with the option of two additional periods of two years each.

Working with the three suppliers, Aker BP will develop commercial compensation models, based on performance driven key performance indicators (KPIs).