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Intelligent wells are downhole flow control devices, sensors, power and communication systems, and associated completion equipment. This equipment is used to optimize production, improve recovery, and manage well integrity. Developing an intelligent-completion solution requires the clear definition of well and/or project objectives. Initially flow control devices were based on conventional wireline-operated sliding-sleeve. These valves were reconfigured to be operated by hydraulic, electrical, and/or electrohydraulic control systems to provide on/off and variable position choking.
Equinor will exit two Mexican deepwater blocks as part its upstream investment strategy to focus on assets offering rapid and strong returns. The two blocks located in the Salina Sureste basin were acquired in Mexico's 1.4 bid round in an equal equity split with BP and TotalEnergies. Block 3, where Equinor holds a 33% operating interest, has water depths ranging from 900 to 2500 m. Block 1, where BP is the operator, has water depths ranging from 200 to 3100 m. Exploration commitments include a single well on each block, not yet drilled.
BP has entered a contract with Sempra Energy and Mexico's Infraestructura Energetica Nova for delivery of the company's first carbon-offset liquefied natural gas cargo. The cargo was delivered on 16 July to the Energia Costa Azul terminal, a joint venture between Sempra and IEnova, in Mexico's Baja California. The cargo will be sourced from BP's global LNG portfolio, and its estimated emissions will be offset using carbon credits sourced from a BP forest creation project in Mexico. "We are excited to advance our goal to lower GHG [greenhouse-gas] emission intensity at our LNG facilities," said Justin Bird, chief executive of Sempra LNG. "Sempra LNG continues to build a strong business portfolio focused on sustainability and the global energy transition."
Russian oil major Lukoil agreed to acquire the 50% operator interest held by Houston-based Fieldwood Energy in Mexico's Area 4 offshore shallow-water project for $435 million plus 2021 expenditures incurred up to the closing date of the transaction, Lukoil announced. Fieldwood Energy and PetroBAL, the oil and gas subsidiary of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Bal Sa De CV, won rights in October 2015 to develop Block 4 under a production sharing agreement (PSA). The partners' lone bid in Mexico's second licensing round granted 74% of the pretax profit to the Mexican government but without any increases to the minimum local work program requirements. In August 2020, Fieldwood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in June won approval of its plan to restructure $1.8 billion of debt and invest an estimated $7 billion in environmental cleanup, according to Bloomberg. The Chapter 11 plan was approved in late June after 5 days of virtual testimony and argument in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas which highlighted such issues as the legal ins and outs of plugging oil wells that are no longer in use, Bloomberg reported.
A ruling by Mexico's Energy Secretariat, or SENER, this month has made the national oil company Pemex the operator of the contested Zama field that was discovered by Houston-based Talos Energy in 2017. The companies have been in dispute over the shallow-water Zama prospect since 2018 after Pemex claimed that the discovery was a contiguous reservoir that extends into its offshore block. Independent reserves audits commissioned by each company have supported their own claims, with Talos' audit showing that 60% of the reservoir's estimated 670 million BOE fell within its block. Pemex estimates that its block represents 50.4% of the Zama reservoir. In statement issued 5 July, Talos lamented the decision and highlighted that it has drilled four wells in the Zama field (one exploratory, three delineation wells) and has demonstrated to Mexican authorities its ability to operate the unit.
Job cuts across Australia's gas industry have heightened concerns about maintenance risks on offshore rigs, which unions and environmentalists fear could threaten workers' safety and the marine environment. The international petroleum industry has been in the spotlight after a gas leak sparked the underwater "eye of fire" boiling to the surface in the Gulf of Mexico and a large blast at a Caspian Sea oil and gas field . Gas companies operating on Western Australia's North West Shelf and in Bass Strait shed workers in 2020 amid a coronavirus-induced price downturn because of plummeting energy demand, which was driven by travel restrictions. Unions estimate about 3,000 jobs were lost. However, both the unions and Australia's gas industry peak representative group rejected any comparison with international disasters, arguing Australia's safety record was better than other developed nations' gas industries in the UK, Norway, and the United States.
BP has begun production from its two-well Manuel subsea development in the Mississippi Canyon area of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The wells, located in Block 520, are tied back to the Na Kika floating production system to the west. The wells are expected to boost gross platform production by an estimated 20,100 B/D of oil equivalent. "Our disciplined investment in Manuel is part of our target to add 900,000 B/D of production from new projects by the end of 2021," said Ewan Drummond, BP's senior vice president of projects, production, and operations. "The safe production of resilient hydrocarbons in the basins we know best is core to advancing our strategy to transform into an integrated energy company."
Tropical storms severely affect oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, especially during the storm season from June to December. Offshore well managers often need to shut down operations and evacuate the facility because of storm alerts. Furthermore, if the storms have a more-severe effect, facilities may need to be repaired before production restarts. The purpose of this paper is to determine the effect of storms on production by quantifying metrics such as downtime days and downtime percentage after the storm has passed and whether a facility's platform type affected these metrics. Oil and gas production at offshore facilities (Figure 1) are severely affected, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, by frequent storms.
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.
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.