Archive for April, 2023

Industry consultancy Rystad Energy estimates Guyana will be pumping 1.7 million barrels per day by 2035, which is higher than other major offshore basins including the Gulf of Mexico, ranking the country as the world’s fourth largest offshore oil producer. 


The GoM is currently producing >1.8 million bopd. If Rystad/OilPrice intended to say that Guyana production will exceed GoM production in 2035, that could be the case. However, sustained GoM production in 2035 could easily be >1.7 million bopd with proper resource management by government and industry. In fact, BOEM’s latest forecast (table below) calls for production >1.8 million bopd in 2031, the last year in their forecast.

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Old York Road near West Olney Avenue. December 14th, 1914.

I saw this old picture and was intrigued by the “Mobiloils” sign. I didn’t think Standard of New York had already evolved into Mobil in 1914. A couple of Wiki excerpts explain:

Following the break-up of Standard Oil in 1911, the “Standard Oil Company of New York” (or ‘Socony’) was founded, along with 33 other successor companies.

Socony merged with Vacuum Oil Company to form Socony-Vacuum. Vacuum Oil had used “Mobiloil” automobile lubricating oil brand since 1904, and by 1918 it became recognizable enough that the company filed it for registration as a trademark (it was registered in 1920)

Note that the Mobil Pegasus was trademarked by Vacuum Oil Company of South Africa.

Mobil Pegasus

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Based on drilling contractor rig activity reports, the table below lists 19 deepwater MODUs under or soon to begin contracts in the GoM. (Further details are pasted at the end of this post.) Per the Valeris report, platform rigs are operating on bp’s Thunder Horse and Mad Dog platforms. Per the BSEE borehole file, Arena and Cantium continue to drill development wells on the GoM shelf.

Rig NameOperator
Deepwater TitanChevron
Deepwater AtlasBeacon
Deepwater PoseidonShell
Deepwater PontusShell
Deepwater ProteusShell
Deepwater Conquerornot disclosed
Deepwater ThalassaShell
Deepwater AsgardMurphy
Deepwater InvictusWoodside
Globetrotter IShell
Globetrotter IIShell
Faye KozackQuarterNorth
Stanley LafosseMurphy
Valaris DS-18Chevron
Valaris DS-16Oxy
Ocean BlackHornetbp
Ocean Black Lionbp

Excerpts from rig activity reports:

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368 million barrels remain.

previous SPR udpate

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BSEE will continue to evaluate the process for issuing decommissioning orders and will continue to issue decommissioning orders to jointly and severally liable parties on a case-by-case basis.

Final decommissioning rule (preamble). 4/18/2023

Although the news release for BSEE’s final decommissioning rule asserts that the regulations “provide the certainty requested by industry,” that does not seem to be the case. The main change in the final rule was to delete the reverse chronological order (RCO) provision which called for issuing decommissioning orders to the most recent predecessor first. Instead, BSEE may continue to issue decommissioning orders arbitrarily.

While deleting the RCO provision may be advantageous for the regulator, and in some cases for the public, claiming that the decision provides certainty for industry is quite a stretch. BSEE may continue to issue a decommissioning order to anyone in the ownership chain, whether the company was a recent lessee or one that had owned the lease decades ago. Original or early lessees may be held liable for decommissioning old facilities regardless of subsequent damage, modifications, or neglected maintenance.

The absence of a defined procedure for issuing decommissioning orders may also expose BSEE to new legal challenges, particularly in cases where a company has not held the lease for decades. A 1988 letter from the Director of the Minerals Management Service to Amoco (attached below) explicitly relieves the assignor (predecessor) of decommissioning liability after the lease has been assigned. A revised bonding rule published on May 22, 1997 reversed that policy, but decommissioning liability for leases assigned prior to the 1997 rule may still be very much in question.

Another concern is the split jurisdiction for decommissioning between BSEE and BOEM. The financial, land management, operational, and environmental aspects of decommissioning are inextricably intertwined and attempts to divide these responsibilities between two bureaus with separate regulations is a prescription for gaps, overlap, inconsistency, inefficiency, disputes, and confusion. Decommissioning should be regulated holistically, not with separate “BOEM-only” and “BSEE-only” regulations.

Finally, wind facility decommissioning may prove to be even more challenging given the higher facility density and economic uncertainties. The regulatory regime needs to be clearly established early in the development phase.

Related posts:

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“The 4776-meter-tall Pao Pao Seamount (right) in the South Pacific Ocean has been mapped by sonar. Many others haven’t.” NOAA OFFICE OF OCEAN EXPLORATION AND RESEARCH

This Science article underscores how little we know about the oceans.

With only one-quarter of the sea floor mapped with sonar, it is impossible to know how many seamounts exist. But radar satellites that measure ocean height can also find them, by looking for subtle signs of seawater mounding above a hidden seamount, tugged by its gravity. A 2011 census using the method found more than 24,000. High-resolution radar data have now added more than 19,000 new ones. The vast majority—more than 27,000—remain uncharted by sonar. “It’s just mind boggling,” says David Sandwell, a marine geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who helped lead the work.

Besides posing navigational hazards, the mountains harbor rare-earth minerals that make them commercial targets for deep-sea miners. Their size and distribution hold clues to plate tectonics and magmatism. They are crucial oases for marine life. And they are pot-stirrers that help control the large-scale ocean flows responsible for sequestering vast amounts of heat and carbon dioxide, says John Lowell, chief hydrographer of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which runs the U.S. military’s satellite mapping efforts.

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This photo is from OceanMariners.com; I don’t know when or where it was taken.

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  • Be grateful for energy production which gives us the economic means to address environmental issues
  • Appreciate the beauty and ecological significance of offshore facilities
  • Explore, study, and protect the marine environment
  • Strive for continuous improvement in safety and environmental performance
  • Acknowledge and learn from past mistakes
  • Live responsibly as individuals, families, and communities

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