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The US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a second Security Directive related to the ongoing cybersecurity threat against pipeline systems that requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to implement several protections against cyber intrusions. The second directive requires owners and operators of critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational technology systems, develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan, and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review. "The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our nation's critical infrastructure from evolving threats," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. "Through this Security Directive, DHS can better ensure the pipeline sector takes the steps necessary to safeguard their operations from rising cyberthreats, and better protect our national and economic security. Public/private partnerships are critical to the security of every community across our country, and DHS will continue working closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase their cybersecurity resilience."
Petroleum engineering is and will be needed for decades to come to provide the required energy for the world and help alleviate the challenges of climate change. Of course, petroleum engineering will evolve into energy transition as it has been changing since its inception in modern history with the Drake well in 1895, located in Pennsylvania. At the same time, we will continue to use the current practices in our daily operations. Petroleum engineering practices can and will also be used in solving some of the climate change issues. This information is described in detail in SPE 200771 (Kamal 2020).
The Biden administration is poised to issue new cybersecurity regulations for pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities in the aftermath of the April hack that temporarily paralyzed the nation's biggest liquid fuel conduit. The rules, which could be released as early as this week by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are the second tranche by the agency since the attack on Colonial Pipeline. It represents a further move away from a system that until now had relied on self-reporting and other voluntary measures. "This Security Directive will apply to those pipeline systems that TSA has designated as critical to our nation's infrastructure and is urgently needed so as to better protect our critical pipeline infrastructure from cybersecurity threats," the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, said in a statement that added that the directive would apply to liquefied natural gas facilities as well as pipelines. TSA officials were scheduled to brief the industry on the rules on 19 July, according to one person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing nonpublic information. Under the rules put in place in May, pipeline operators who fail to report cybersecurity attacks could be subject to fines and would also require pipeline companies to designate a representative to be available around the clock as a point of contact.
The US produced more oil, petroleum liquids, and natural gas than any other nation last year, according to newly released figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The US managed to lead the world for the seventh year despite seeing a year-over-year decline from a record high output in 2019. The EIA pegged combined oil and gas production in the US in 2020 at 66.9 quadrillion BTUs. This topped Russia and Saudi Arabia's output of 45.5 quadrillion BTUs and 26.5 quadrillion BTUs, respectively. "Petroleum and natural gas production fell in all three countries in 2020 following a rapid decline in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent crude oil price declines, particularly in the first quarter of 2020," the report read.
As with most technology, proper candidate selection is key to success. The economics are often determined by the number of and locations of the wells and by the overall geographical development plan. It is important to recognize that downhole processing is not a substitute for prudent profile control of wells through workovers, gel polymer treatments, cement squeezes, and so on. The following discussion applies to both gas/liquid and water/oil processing, followed by sections that discuss screening criteria specific to each. From an equipment standpoint, gas/liquid separation is much easier than oil/water separation. This generally means that it is a more robust application. All separation and pump equipment has an expected lifetime that is typically much shorter than the lifetime of the well. The cost of replacing or repairing the equipment must be considered as well as the initial capital cost.
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.
Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies are supporting a 12-month research project, which is expected to achieve a world-first in demonstrating high-resolution satellite-based monitoring of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions at sea. Led by Canadian-based GHGSat, the new research project aims to assess the feasibility of space-based methane monitoring technology to measure emissions from offshore oil and gas platforms. GHGSat is testing a technique developed by NASA, amongst others, and proven in fields such as ocean height and ice-thickness measurement. With a vantage point 500 km above the Earth, and high revisit rates, the company believes satellites could hold the key to verifying emissions from rigs, easily and cost-effectively. The study will monitor 18 offshore sites in locations such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for over 12 months.
Texas Tech University will serve as the administrator for the newly created Texas Produced Water Consortium, a collaborative effort to explore options, alternatives, and potential economic impacts for the billions of gallons of produced water in Texas each year. The consortium will bring together industry, stakeholders, and university expertise to grow understanding, formulate research, and collaborate on options for produced water use and management in Texas. The consortium, introduced to the Texas legislature by state Senator Charles Perry and signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June, will study the economic impact of and technology needed to reuse produced water, including environmental and public health considerations. The move by Texas follows the creation of a similar consortium in New Mexico in 2019, which solicited proposals for produced water recycling research and development projects earlier this year. "As chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs, it has been a mission of mine to find new water resources for Texans, and specifically, our rural and agriculture communities," said Perry.
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.
Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, said a 2 July leak in the 12-in. There was no oil spill, and immediate actions taken to control the fire on the surface prevented environmental damage, the operator said. The platform is part of the large Ku-Maloob-Zaap field cluster, which is among the company's most profitable producing assets. "As a result of these events, and after approximately 5 hours, the fire was extinguished in its entirety by closing the underwater valve and injecting nitrogen into the pipeline," Pemex said in a statement. Bad weather with heavy rain appears to have set off the chain of events that led to the fire, including the pneumatic pumping gas turbocharging equipment necessary to produce the wells being knocked out of operation.