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Whenever I am considering a topic or a theme for the paper selection, I realize that certain topics may generate some instant reaction that is counterproductive. I say counterproductive because it may lead to a decision not to read the synopses, let alone the papers themselves, even though there may be good reasons to read them. The topic for this selection falls in that category: offshore wind energy. Now, if you are tempted to stop reading, please bear with me for a few minutes. I did not select this topic because I want to promote renewable energy or because I believe that oil and gas production will end in the foreseeable future.
The industry requires the ability to test system concepts in a realistic environment on a pilot-scale size. While several units up to 10 MW are being tested onshore, existing electrolyzer technology to convert power to H2 has not yet been applied offshore. However, many suppliers are developing innovative concepts and are scaling up to larger units. It has been estimated that at least 1 MW of electrolyzer capacity can be placed on an offshore platform with existing technology.
Is It Time To Buy Oil Acreage? The Wolfcamp formation in the Midland Basin, which is part of the Permian Basin, has attracted many oil companies because of its stacked potential. Shown here is a structure and thickness map for the formation. A private-equity firm has agreed to put in $900 million to start a company that will buy US oil and gas operations with a focus on finding more oil. The equity investment by Oaktree Capital Management is far below the records set when the industry was looking up, but with acquisitions activity at a crawl, the timing is striking.
For any offshore development, especially an ORE project, a specific site investigation is required to qualify environmental, geophysical, metocean-related, and geopolitical issues. Most ORE developments will cover a significant area of ocean or seabed and will require investigation to ensure that marine life, antiquities, unexploded ordinance, and other ocean users will not be put at risk when installation and operation activities are performed. Obtaining the required permits and approvals from all those potentially affected by an ORE development is a complex and time-consuming operation. All stakeholders connected with a development must be considered because the installation could be in position for 30 or more years. A summary of the types of wind and MHK devices is presented in Table 1 of the complete paper.
Offshore wind is a rapidly maturing sector, increasingly seen as a major contributor to electricity supply in states with coastal demand centers and good wind resources. While an almost 3-decade history exists in European experience, the US only recently is beginning to move forward with grid-scale projects on national and state levels. As floating wind is scaled up, to minimize technical risks experienced in the past, formal processes will help to identify the novel features, novel applications, and highest-risk components. Large offshore wind farms have been built by all countries with coastlines on the southern North Sea, the area with the most favorable conditions: strong, consistent winds; water depths of less than 40 m; sand or clay deeper than 70 m; and close proximity to onshore electrical distribution networks and centers of high demand. Rapid reductions have been realized in the cost of electricity, calculated over the full project lifetime, from well over 200 Euros/MWhr for the first large-scale wind farms to 50/MWhr.
Oil companies have asked security services to tighten surveillance as violent antipolice brutality protests and the expected sacking of hundreds of workers worsen desperation in the region, industry sources told Reuters. Unemployment akready is above 40% in Nigeria’s energy regions, and observers say further job losses could aggravate problems of pipeline tapping, illegal oil refining, and pirate attacks. Three sources close to the companies, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the majors had asked for tougher surveillance, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) said crime was a risk. Oil major Chevron plans to cut 25% of its Nigeria workforce, which IndustriALL Global Union said included 1,000 jobs. Already, the oil companies do not provide enough jobs to satisfy employment needs in the region, which has few other industries.
Investments from global exploration and production companies (E&P) in 2021 are projected to reach around $380 billion, almost flat year-on-year, a Rystad Energy report shows. About 20%, or $76 billion, of the estimated 2021 investments could be at risk of deferral or reduction, with the remaining amount being categorized in the safer tiers of low and medium risk. The amount is Rystad’s base-case scenario, but, with 2020’s market turbulence fresh in mind and the currently uncertain rollout timing of the recently announced COVID-19 vaccines, it is worth expanding the forecast to a range of $350 billion to $430 billion, incorporating some scenario deviation. Investments may rebound to the precrisis level of $530 billion by 2023 if oil prices rise to around $65/bbl—though, after the previous market crisis in 2014, annual E&P investments never recovered to the precrisis level of about $880 billion and instead settled at $500 billion to $550 billion. Much of that reduction was because of supply chain and efficiency improvements, leaving little scope for further such reductions this time around.
Industrial artificial intelligence (AI) software company Cognite and engineering company Wood formed a strategic partnership to create AI solutions for heavy-asset, infrastructure, and industrial clients. The collaboration will combine Cognite’s Data Fusion product with Wood’s multisector domain knowledge, data extraction, and technology integration expertise. Data will be transformed from siloed raw information into real-time digital insights to guide business and operational decisions. The companies said they are committed to deploying performance solutions for the energy transition, which would allow for more understanding of assets and operations, and free up data trapped in fragmented and legacy systems. Mark House, Wood president of automation and control, said the companies will leverage physics-based models and AI to provide faster analytics.
Pragma is bringing the industry’s first 3D metal printed, ultrahigh expansion bridge plug to market, the Aberdeen-based company said in a press release. Its patented M-Bubble bridge plug has successfully completed final lab testing and is due to begin field trials by the end of 2020. Initially targeted at both the plug-and-abandonment (P&A) sector and water shutoff applications, the first M-Bubble addresses a gap in the market for a lower-cost, fast-turnaround, permanent plugging solution, with a high pressure differential (3,000 psi) capability, the company said. The plug can be set without additional cement to save rig time and “waiting-on-cement” time, which can accumulate significant savings for the operator, especially in deeper, extended-reach wells. It also provides barrier-integrity reassurance when there is the possibility of a poor cement bond or cement channeling occurring on the high side of deviated wells, the company added.
Halliburton announced today that it has entered a program designed for companies to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG). The oilfield services company said it has submitted a letter of intent with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), the first step to developing a full-fledged emissions-reduction plan under the initiative. Halliburton plans to establish its first emissions targets next year with the SBTI. The SBTI is then expected to independently validate the targets by 2022. The SBTI was formed in 2015 and includes more than 1,000 corporate members.