|Theme||Visible||Selectable||Appearance||Zoom Range (now: 0)|
Two of the world's wealthiest men have put their vast resources behind what the nuclear industry calls small modular reactors (SMRs) in the quest for the perfect carbon-free energy source. TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates, and PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, are sponsors of the project. The first SMR from TerraPower, the Natrium reactor project, will be built in Wyoming--the nation's primary coal producer--at the very location that once housed a coal station, where the infrastructure for a steam-cycle power plant and distribution to the electrical grid already exist. Last year, the state legislature passed a law authorizing utilities to replace coal or natural gas generation with small nuclear reactors and the US Department of Energy awarded TerraPower $80 million in initial funding to demonstrate Natrium technology; the department has committed additional funding subject to congressional approvals. Just ask anyone in Texas where a combination of frozen wind turbines and unprecedented demand last winter darkened the state for days.
Calgary-based Tourmaline Oil Corp. announced today that it is acquiring Black Swan Energy in an all-stock deal valued at CAD $1.1 billion. The transaction is set to boost Tourmaline's output by 50,000 BOE/D and the company expects to average around 500,000 BOE/D by mid-2022. The operator said the Black Swan acquisition is one of several it has made recently to become the largest producer in the north Montney Shale area of British Columbia. Black Swan's 231,000-acre position gives Tourmaline an estimated 1,600 horizontal drilling locations and proven and probable reserves of 491.9 million BOE. Tourmaline said in its announcement that Black Swan has not booked material reserves in other areas that it sees as having high potential and complementary to its existing footprint.
Schlumberger and Panasonic have announced that they will collaborate on a new battery-grade-lithium production process that they say will pave the way for improved lithium production to help meet the expected surge in demand from the fast-growing global electric vehicle (EV) market. The announcement came from the Schlumberger New Energy arm of Schlumberger and from Panasonic Energy of North America, a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The lithium-extraction and -production process will be used by Schlumberger at the Nevada pilot plant of its Neolith Energy venture. According to Schlumberger, Neolith Energy's approach uses a differentiated direct-lithium-extraction process to produce high-purity, battery-grade lithium material while reducing production time from more than a year to weeks. The company also said the process significantly reduces groundwater use and physical footprint vs. conventional evaporative methods of extracting lithium.
Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) said this week it has agreed to sell almost 25,000 net acres in the Permian Basin of Texas to Colgate Energy Partners III for nearly $508 million. Average output of the properties amounts to 10,000 BOE/D from about 360 wells in the southern Delaware Basin, Houston-based Oxy reported in its announcement. The sale, expected to close in the third quarter, will boost Midland-based Colgate's holdings in the Permian to about 83,000 acres with an estimated production of 55,000. Colgate said it plans to run up to six drilling rigs by year's end and boost average production to 75,000 BOE/D by 2022. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down Oxy's debt that was around $35.4 billion in March, down slightly from the $36.03-billion debt reported last June.
TC Energy said this week that it has terminated plans to complete the transborder Keystone XL Pipeline which has faced legal battles and permitting challenges for more than a decade. The Calgary-based pipeline operator halted construction on the project on 20 January, the day that US President Joe Biden took office and in one of his first acts as chief executive revoked the pipeline's permits. TC Energy's CEO, François Poirier, issued a statement that said the company values the experience it gained, and relationships made with various stakeholders while pursuing the ill-fated project. "Through the process, we developed meaningful indigenous equity opportunities and a first-of-its-kind, industry-leading plan to operate the pipeline with net-zero emissions throughout its life cycle. We will continue to identify opportunities to apply this level of ingenuity across our business going forward, including our current evaluation of the potential to power existing US assets with renewable energy," Poirier said in the statement.
The International Gas Union's (IGU) recent report on world LNG markets found that the trade increased by only 1.4 mt to 356.1 mt compared to 2019 supported by increased exports from the US and Australia, together adding 13.4 mt of exports. Asia Pacific and Asia again imported the most volumes in 2020, together accounting for more than 70% of global LNG imports. Asia also accounted for the largest growth in imports in 2020--adding 9.5 mt of net LNG imports vs. 2019. While 20 mtpa in liquefaction capacity was brought on stream in 2020, all in the US, startup of several liquefaction trains in Russia, Indonesia, the US, and Malaysia were delayed as a result of the pandemic, according to the report. The only project that was sanctioned in 2020 was the 3.25-mtpa Energia Costa Azul facility in Mexico, and in early 2021 Qatar took final investment decision (FID) on four expansion trains totaling 32 mtpa.
In the last quarter of 2019, the world experienced a dramatic change in the way daily activities happen: A completely new and unknown virus (COVID-19) appeared, forcing many nations and societies to implement several restrictions in an effort to minimize contagion and deaths. In this article, some SPE African sections share their experience on how to conduct activities during the global pandemic, so other SPE sections can implement similar events to benefit their members. "[The lockdown] has strongly affected membership drive, sponsorship of events, and most importantly the conviviality that we used to have during most SPE in person events. We should know and agree that there is a paradigm change in the way we do things. Most guidelines and by-laws must be reviewed along COVID-19 protocols. Also, [we need to] ensure there is an updated methodology of reaching out to members and sponsors. We should be careful of too many virtual events/programs to avoid stress-related issues to our members. I also think we should start trying out hybrid events."
Transocean told investors the debut of the world's first two 20,000-psi-ready (20K) rigs has been pushed into next year. While the share price dropped on the news, the delay attributed to supply chain disruptions during the pandemic could be well timed to a rising tide of work with oil demand and prices up sharply. Transocean's message is that the market is recovering in time for the start of work by the Deepwater Atlas, which is set to begin drilling next year, and the Deepwater Titan, scheduled for early 2023. They are the new high-specification rigs to be available for deepwater work at a time when demand is rising for the limited supply of high-end deepwater rigs. Bobby Thigpen, chief executive officer for Transocean, predicted that by year's end nearly every active rig in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico is likely to be on contract.
Canada's oil sands have been criticized as being one of the most carbon-intensive assets in the world's vast basket of crude plays. If a new plan comes together, however, they will become a carbon-negative source of hydrocarbons by 2050. This is the goal of a group of operators that represent nearly 90% of oil sands production in Canada: Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Imperial Oil, MEG Energy, and Suncor Energy. The five-company alliance is calling its plan the "Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero." In April, production from the region was nearly 3.2 million B/D.
ExxonMobil and Hess Corp. announced today their latest discovery offshore Guyana with the Longtail-3 well that is in the massive Stabroek Block. A net pay of 230 ft (70 m) was reported within hydrocarbon bearing reservoirs that are below the first intervals discovered by the Longtail-1 well drilled in 2018 about 2 miles to the south. The new discovery was drilled in a water depth of about 6,100 ft. Texas-based ExxonMobil said it added two drillships to its Guyana operations, bringing the total to six. The newly arrived assets are the Stena DrillMAX and the Noble Sam Croft which are now part of a 15-well drilling program in the Stabroek Block.