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E & P News

2017

Mar 2017: Repsol and Armstrong Energy have made a large conventional oil discovery on the North Slope of Alaska, Pikka Unit. The Horseshoe-1 and 1A wells confirm the Nanushuk play to hold significant volumes of light oil. Prior to Horseshoe, 13 E and A wells on the North Slope led to many discoveries. First production is scheduled for 2021.

Mar 2017: Shell (operator, 80%) will develop its Kaikias deep water field in the GOM, 210 kms from the Louisiana coast. It will start production in 2019 tied into the nearby Ursa production hub. Mitsui holds 20%. The first phase includes 3 wells producing up to 40,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day.

Jan 2017: BP has started up the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and is expecting to boost production by 50,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day. The project adds a new subsea production system.  BP operates 4 large platforms;Thunder Horse, Atlantis, Mad Dog and Na Kika and holds interests in 4 hubs; Mars, Olympus, Ursa and Great White.

Jan 2017: ConocoPhillips (operator, 78%) and Anadarko (22%) announced the Willow oil field discovery in the Greater Mooses Tooth (GMT) Unit in the northeast of the National Petroleum Reserve. Two discovery wells were drilled in early 2016. Recoverable resource potential is over 300 mm bbls of oil. Appraisal of the discovery will commence in Jan 2017 with production perhaps beginning in 2023.  

2016

Sep 2016: Shell (operator, 100%) started producing from the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico. The Turritella FPSO and subsea infrastructure is the world’s deepest water oil and gas project in 2,896m of water and will produce around 50,000 bbls of oil equivalent per day by the end of 2017. Two other Shell projects are currently under construction; Coulomb Phase 2 and Appomattox.

Aug 2016: The BOEM held a lease sale offering acreage in 4399 blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas. Lease Sale 248 attracted 24 bids from only 3 companies which took part in the bidding round; BHP Billiton, BP, and ExxonMobil and there were no competing bids for the same acreage.

Jul 2016: Shell (operator, 100%) announced a new discovery in the Norphlet play at the Fort Sumter well in Mississippi Canyon Block 566 in a water depth of 2,152m. An appraisal sidetrack well was also drilled and further appraisals and wells in adjacent structures are planned. Other Norphlet discoveries include Appomattox (2010), Vicksburg (2013) and Rydberg (2014).

Jul 2016: Noble Energy (operator, 31.14%) has started production at the Gunflint oil and gas field in deep water Mississippi Canyon Block 948. It is a subsea tie-back to Gulfstar One platform and is expected to reach 20,000 bbls of oil equiv. per day (75% oil). Partners are Ecopetrol (31.5%), Samson (19.13%) and Marathon (18.23%).

Jun 2016: Alaska LNG, being developed by the Alaska Gasline Devt Corp and BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil is targeted to start up in 2025. The facility will be constructed on the east shore of Cook Inlet on the Kenai Peninsula will produce up to 20 mmtpa of LNG from 3 trains. The project includes an 804-mile gas pipeline and a gas treatment plant at a cost of US$45 to US$65 bn.

May 2016: BP has started up a water injection project at its Thunder Horse platform allow the Thunder Horse facility to recover an additional 65 mm bblsoe. The project is the second of 5 big upstream projects BP expects to bring online in 2016. The Thunder Horse platform in over 1,825m of water began production in 2008.

Apr 2016: ExxonMobil started production at its US$4bn Point Thomson project which will produce 10,000 bbls of condensate per day and re-inject up to 2 bcm of gas each year for future recovery. The reservoir holds an estimated 225 bcm of gas with associated condensate. Point Thomson is located 38 kms east of Prudhoe Bay on the Beaufort Sea coast.

Apr 2016: ExxonMobil (operator, 50%) and Statoil (50%) announced that oil production started at the Julia field in the Gulf of Mexico. The first well is online and a second will start soon. Julia is in water depths of over 2,100m. The initial development phase uses subsea tie-backs to the Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo facility. A third well is being drilled and due online in 2017.

Jan 2016: Anadarko (operator, 31.5%) started production from the Heidelberg field, discovered in 2009  in the Green Canyon area of the GOM. The other 68.5% is shared by Cobalt, Eni, ExxonMobil, Freeport, Marubeni and Statoil. This 80,000 bbls per day truss spar platform is a replica of Lucius which began production in 2015.

2015

Nov 2015: The Coelacanth field platform has been installed at Ewing Bank Block 834 in 365m of water. This  is the third largest fixed platform in the Gulf of Mexico and is designed to produce 30,000  bbls of oil per day and 0.6 bcm of gas per year. Walter is operator with 50.5% partnered with Ridgewood Energy (32.5%), Gordy Oil (16%) and Houston Energy (1%).

Oct 2015: Noble Energy announced that the Big Bend oil field in Mississippi Canyon 698 in the deepwater GOM has commenced production. The single-well field is expected to reach nearly 20,000 bbls of oil per day. First production from the Dantzler field in Mississippi Canyon 782 is expected in November. Both are subsea tiebacks to the Thunder Hawk patform.

Oct 2015: Anadarko (operator, 30%) struck oil at its third appraisal well to test the 2009 giant Shenandoah discovery on Walker Ridge 52 in the GOM. Other partners are ConocoPhillips (30%), Cobalt (20%), Marathon (10%), and Venari (10%).

Oct 2015: The Department of the Interior will cancel the 2 Arctic lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas scheduled for 2012-2017 following Shell’s failure at the Burger prospect.

Sep 2015: Shell encountered oil and gas shows at its Burger J well, 240kms from Barrow in 46m of water. This is insufficient to warrant further exploration. Shell holds 100% in 275 blocks in the Chukchi Sea but will not return to drilling in Alaskan waters for the foreseeable future.

Aug 2015: Chevron does not expect production from its Big Foot TLP in the Gulf of Mexico until 2018 after 9 of 16 tendons lost buoyancy in June 2015. Production was planned to start in 2015. Big Foot lies in water depths of 1,600 m and is estimated to contain 200mm bblsoe.

Jul 2015: Shell will construct its eighth and largest deep water FPU, Appomattox, in the GOM. It will initially produce from the Appomattox and Vicksburg fields and comprise a semisub platform and a 6 centre subsea system with 15 producing wells and 5 water injection wells, owned by Shell (79%) and Nexen (21%). Start-up is expected in 2019.

Apr 2015: LLOG began production from the Delta House FPS at Mississippi Canyon 254 in the Gulf of Mexico in 1371m of water. The development plan calls for 8 wells by the end of 2015. It is the second FPS that LLOG has brought online in the last 4 years. Who Dat began production in 2011.

Mar 2015: Exxon Mobil (operator, 46.7%) began production at Hadrian South in the GOM from 2 subsea wells tied back to Lucius. Output will reach 3 bcm a year and 3,000 bbls per day. Water depth is 2,332m. Lucius came onstream in January. The discovery, Hadrian-2, was drilled in 2008, and the appraisal , Hadrian-4 sidetrack, in 2009. Petrobras holds 23.3% and Eni 30%.

Feb 2015: Shell plans to return to Alaskan drilling, spending around US$1bn from 2015, subject to getting permits and legal clearance. The company suspended its offshore operations in 2012 after one of its drilling units (the Kulluk) ran aground and a drillship (the Noble Discoverer) had to be towed due to failures with its engine and other equipment.

Jan 2015: Inpex announced first production from the Lucius field in Keathley Canyon blocks 874, 875, 918 and 919 in 2,160m of water. Oil and gas  will be processed at a floating facility and transported onshore to Louisiana by pipeline.The field is operated by Anadarko.

Jan 2015: Chevron announced an oil discovery at the Anchor prospect in the Gulf of Mexico in  Green Canyon Block 807. The well is located 225 kms off the coast of Louisiana in 1,580m of water. Appraisal drilling will begin in 2015. Chevron is operator (55%) with Cobalt (20%), Samson (12.5%) and Venari (12.5%).

2014

Dec 2014: Stone announced that its Cardona deep water project initial production testing has started from 2 wells and is expected to reach a combined production volume of 12,000 bbls of oil per day flowing to the Stone operated (100%) Pompano platform. The Cardona subsea facility allows for the tie-in of two additional wells in 2015.

Dec 2014: Chevron announced that oil and gas production has begun at the Jack/St. Malo project in 2100m of water in the Walker Ridge area. Production from the first development stage is expected to ramp up to 94,000 bbls per day. The fields were developed with subsea completions tied to a  semi-submersible FPU.

Nov 2014: Hess (operator, 57.14%) and Chevron (42.86%) announced production has commenced from the Tubular Bells field in 1,310m of water in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to deliver 50,000 bbls per day from three producing wells by year end. Tubular Bells utilizes the first classic spar built in the USA.

Oct 2014: Hess (operator) will develop the Stampede field in water depths of 1097m in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 2005, the field is in Green Canyon Blocks 468, 511 and 512. It will have 10 subsea wells (including 6 producers delivering up to to 80,000 bbls per day after 2018), tied back to a TLP. Hess, Union Oil, Statoil and Nexen all own 25%.

Oct 2014: Repsol has made an oil discovery in the Leon well in the Gulf of Mexico, Keathley Canyon 642 block, at a water depth of 1865m. It is close to its 2009 Buckskin discovery. Repsol has 60% and is operator with Ecopetrol holding 40%.

Oct 2014: Chevron announced an oil discovery at the Guadalupe prospect in Keathley Canyon Block 10, Gulf of Mexico. Well No. 1, drilled with a drillship in 1217m of water, encountered oil pay in the Lower Tertiary Wilcox Sands. Chevron is operator with 42.5% along with BP (42.5%) and Venari Resources (15%).

Sep 2014: Shell (100%) has reported that production is underway from the Cardamom field in 820m of water in the ulf of Mexico. Oil is piped from subsea wells through the Auger platform. Since Auger’s first production in 1994, the facility has received a number of subsea upgrades for new discoveries with Cardamom the seventh.

Aug 2014: Noble Energy has announced an oil discovery at the Katmai  exploration well in Green Canyon 40 block in the Gulf of Mexico in 640m of water. Noble is operator with 50% along with Ridgewood Energy Corporation (also 50%).

Jul 2014: Shell announced its third  discovery in the Norphlet play in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The Rydberg well is 120 kms offshore in Mississippi Canyon Block 525 in 2,280m of water. Reserves  of approximately 100 mm bbls are expected, which, together with the Appomattox and Vicksburg discoveries, brings Norphlet potential to over 700 mm bbls.

Jun 2014: Eni (operator, 100%) has achieved its goal of 25,000 bbls of oil per day from the Nikaitchuq field and is working to 30,000 bbls per day. The field is located on and offshore (3m water depth) the North Slope of Alaska and holds reserves estimated at 200 mm bbls. Production began in 2011 from horizontal wells and facilities on land and on an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea.

Apr 2014: The Bakken field of North Dakota and Montana has  reached a milestone of 1 bn bbls of light oil produced. Two-thirds of this oil has been extracted since 2010. The Bakken field is the largest newly exploited oil field in the world in more than 40 years and Continental Resources is the largest producer, driller and leaseholder.

Mar 2014: Lease sales for federal waters in the central Gulf of Mexico achieved US$872 mm in high bids on 329 tracts covering 1,707,358 acres of offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Feb 2014: Shell (operator, 71.5%) and BP (28.5%) have begun production from Mars B through the Olympus TLP in 945m of water. Mars B includes subsea wells at West Boreas and South Deimos, pipelines and a shallow water platform at West Delta 143. Development drilling will achieve a peak of 100,000 boe per day in 2016. Mars produced over 60,000 boe per day in 2013.

Jan 2014: US Oil Sands has awarded KBR a contract to bring both the extraction facilities and mine development of its PR Springs oil sands project in Utah to commercial production. The startup of the 2000 bbl per day first phase of development has been delayed until 2015 due to lack of financing.

2013

Dec 2013: BP, with ConocoPhillips, has made an oil discovery at its Gila well in the GOM Keathley Canyon Block 93, in 1493m of water. BP has previously announced two other Paleogene discoveries in the area; Kaskida in 2006 and Tiber in 2009.

Sep 2013: Noble Energy has announced a discovery at the Troubadour prospect in the Gulf of Mexico in 2217m of water within the Rio Grande area, Mississippi Canyon Block 699. The discovery at Troubadour follows on from the nearby Big Bend discovery in 2012. Initial project sanction is targeted by the end of this year and first production is planned by 2016 using subsea tiebacks.

Aug 2013: Gas production from the Marcellus shale is rising rapidly with output from Pennsylvania and West Virginia up 50% compared with 2012. Projections are for a year-end total of 90 bcm. Furthermore fewer rigs are drilling more wells. The shale extends across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Maryland, but most of the production is in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Ohio production is at an early stage but is expected to grow from 2014.

Jun 2013: Shell has announced a discovery at Vicksburg A in the GOM De Soto Canyon Block 393 in a water depth of 2,269m. The discovery adds to potentially recoverable resources that have already been discovered at the nearby Appomattox and Vicksburg B. Shell is operator with 75% along with Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC, (25%).

Jun 2013: Oil production from North Dakota could exceed the state's forecast of 850,000 bbls per day by the end of 2013. Output in April was 33% higher than a year earlier. The number of wells completed fell in April by 28 to 119, still above a threshold of 90 new wells per month to ensure production growth.

May 2013: Shell has announced that the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico will host the deepest production facility in the world with two subsea wells tied back to an FPSO followed later by six additional wells. The Stones field is located in 2,919m of water and was discovered in 2005. Tankers will transport oil from the FPSO and gas will be transported by pipeline. Shell holds 100% and will operate the development.

May 2013: Operator Exxon Mobil with 50% and Statoil (50%) have sanctioned the Julia field development in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 2007, Julia is estimated to have nearly 6bn bbls of resource in place. Julia will be a subsea tieback to the Jack and St. Malo floating production platform operated by Chevron and sanctioned in 2010. Drilling operations are planned to start in 2014 with production in 2016.

Apr 2013: Anadarko has announced that its Phobos-1 well in the deep water Gulf of Mexico, Sigsbee Escarpment area has discovered oil in Lower Tertiary-aged reservoirs. Phobos lies in 2,590m of water close to Anadarko’s Lucius discovery, which is under development. Anadarko is the operator with 30% along with Plains (50%) ExxonMobil (20%).

Feb 2013: The Central GOM Lease Sale 227, which includes 7,299 blocks in water depths of more than 3000m, will offer 38.6 mm acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for exploration and development. The sale will be held on March 20 and includes all un-leased areas in the Central GOM Planning Area. The Administration created an outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, and this is the second sale and the first of 5 central GOM lease sales.

Jan 2013: Demand for petroleum products fell 2% in 2012 to 18.6 mm bbls per day in 2012 while oil output jumped 13.8% to a 15-year high of 6.4 mm bbls per day; the largest annual increase in output since the beginning of commercial production in 1859. Imports were down 6.9% to 10.5 mm bbls per day, the lowest level since 1997. Gasoline, the most widely used product saw a 0.4% drop for the full year to 8.7 mm bbls per day. Oil stocks ended 2012 at 359.8 mm bbls, a 31-year high, and an 8.7% rise from a year earlier.

2012

Nov 2012: The western Gulf of Mexico lease sale covering 20 mm acres yielded US$113.8 mm in high bids for 652,520 acres. ConocoPhilips was the highest bidder with US$51.8 mm for 62 tracts. The sale is the first in the new Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012 to 2017.

Oct 2012: Oil production in North Dakota surpassed 700,000 bbls per day in August, almost as much as Qatar. Most was from the Bakken and Three Forks shale reservoirs, where production rose to around 635,000 bbls per day. Horizontal drilling with fracturing has led to the rise with output doubling since February 2011. North Dakota is now the second biggest oil producer in the USA after Texas. Oil production is likely to decline a little in the winter as remote wells become inaccessible and costs rise.

Sep 2012: Petrobras has started production at its deep water Chinook field in the Gulf of Mexico. The Chinook-4 well was drilled and completed in Lower Tertiary reservoirs. Production from Chinook is processed by the BW Pioneer which is the first FPSO to operate in US waters.

Aug 2012: Shell was granted permission to carry out preparatory activities for its exploratory drilling program in the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska. It will not be allowed to begin drilling until the Arctic Challenger vessel is approved on location. Shell can begin work, using the Noble Discoverer drillship, on creating a mud-line cellar to allow casing to be installed where no hydrocarbons are expected.

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