The Scottish Government has been urged to explain its position on hydraulic fracturing after telling a judge that no ban is in place and ministers still have to make up their minds. Scotland will block hydraulic fracturing indefinitely after a public consultation found overwhelming opposition to the practice, the British region’s energy minister said on 3 October in a victory for environmentalists.
The outlook in the UK is a case study of the squeeze facing E&P in other basins where operators are trying to pay to sustain production with discoveries, while plugging and abandoning old wells, all paid for by the lean cash flow due to low oil prices. Subsea inspection/repair/maintenance services have traditionally relied on vessel-based, ROV, or diver operations. In the longer term, identifying significant incremental savings in these operations is not sustainable and an innovative approach deploying digital technologies is being investigated. The deal gives Equinor an additional 7.5% ownership stake in the Njord redevelopment project and associated tiebacks in the Norwegian Sea, and potentially raises Faroe’s value in the midst of a hostile takeover attempt by DNO. Startup comes 8 months after the initial discovery in March, marking the second successful tieback since 2017 to the Beryl Alpha platform in the UK North Sea.
BP and partners have sanctioned the Azeri Central East project, the next stage of development of the giant Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli oilfield complex in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. The vessel will produce approximately 2.5 mtpa of LNG for the project, which is expected to deliver first gas in 2022. A newly launched JIP aims to bridge the BSEE and API frameworks and achieve industry consensus on the analysis and inspection data required to assess the feasibility of an extended service life. Current production from the phase is 400 MMcf/D and expected to peak at 700 MMcf/D. A third phase also is slated to come on stream this year.
The explorer has so far encountered 400 ft of reservoir pay zone in an area where it has three other producing fields. Thirteen companies placed bids on 18 blocks in the Austral, North Argentina, and Malvinas West basins as part of Argentina’s first open bid round for offshore acreage in more than 20 years. The major’s dominant showing in US Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 252 propelled another rise in bids and dollars for the biannual regionwide auction. Funding for startups in the upstream industry does not always guarantee that oil and gas companies will want to test the new technology. A new venture and accelerator model hopes to change this through guaranteed pilots.
UK's First Carbon Capture and Storage Project Could Be Operational by Mid-2020s The UK's first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project should be operational by the mid-2020s, according to ministers. A commitment to develop the technology, which stops greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, was made ahead of a summit in Edinburgh. Research funding has also been announced for a carbon capture scheme in Aberdeenshire. It will see carbon dioxide piped to storage sites under the North Sea. Experts say the technology is an important tool in tackling climate change.
Cuadrilla Resources says that natural gas has reached the surface from its horizontal shale well at Preston New Road in Lancashire, UK. Operations restarted last week after the firm halted hydraulic fracturing work for the second time because of earthquakes measuring 1.1 and 0.76 magnitude. Cuadrilla has drilled two horizontal wells into the Bowland Shale at the site—the UK’s first horizontal shale wells—and plans to test their flow rates at around the turn of the year. While the early results are promising, the firm’s challenge will be ensuring continued operations with minimal interruption as it attempts to assess their potential. Cuadrilla has said it costs £94,000/day to keep its fracturing equipment on site.
Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire, where the firm hopes to have an initial assessment of recoverable gas in next year’s first quarter. UK operator Cuadrilla Resources has twice halted injection work at its hydraulic fracturing site at Preston New Road in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, following the detection of small earthquakes. The latest and largest came 29 October at 1.1 magnitude about 2 km below the surface. This was just 3 days after the operator first stopped injection activity because of a 0.76 magnitude tremor, which was proceeded by a second at 0.78 magnitude. Other, smaller quakes have also been detected since fracturing operations began on the site about 2 weeks ago.
Privately held Cuadrilla Resources is set to hydraulically fracture the UK’s first two horizontal shale wells. Fracturing work on the first well is expected to begin at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire next week, the operator said in a statement. Both wells, which intersect the Bowland Shale, are slated to be completed over 3 months, with their flow rates tested over 6 months. An initial assessment on recoverable gas from the wells is expected in next year’s first quarter, at which point Cuadrilla will determine the site’s commerciality, said Francis Egan, the company’s chief executive officer. The Bowland Shale contains 1,329 Tcf of gas in place, according to a 2013 estimate from the British Geological Survey.