Archive for the ‘UK’ Category

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The offshore oil and gas (O&G) sector is set for the highest growth in a decade in the next two years, with $214 billion of new project investments lined up. Rystad Energy research shows that annual greenfield capital expenditure (capex) broke the $100 billion threshold in 2022 and will break it again in 2023 – the first breach for two straight years since 2012 and 2013.

Offshore activity is expected to account for 68% of all sanctioned conventional hydrocarbons in 2023 and 2024, up from 40% between 2015-2018.



  • Middle East investment continues to be strong
  • Good for South America thanks to Brazil (16 new FPSOs by the end of the decade) and the Guyana success story.
  • Strong forecast for Norway and the UK boosts Europe.
  • North America could do far better with less obstructive access policies.

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15 Minute Cities

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A firm with a licence to drill for natural gas in Manx waters expects to begin exploratory works in October, its chief executive has said.

Crogga has appointed Three60 Energy to drill an appraisal well to understand how much gas is under the seabed 17km (10.5miles) off Maughold Head.

Isle of Man

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This rather arrogant and condescending policy makes neither good business sense nor good social sense (unless you support energy poverty), but I’m sure the executive team is proud. That said, they do seem to have left themselves with a fair amount of wiggle room.

In line with the policy, we will no longer provide new lending or capital markets finance for the specific purpose of projects pertaining to new oil and gas fields and related infrastructure when the primary use is in conjunction with new fields.

We will continue to provide finance or advisory services to energy sector clients at the corporate level, where clients’ transition plans are consistent with our 2030 portfolio-level targets and net zero by 2050 commitment.


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Using satellite data, SpaceKnow detected 2 “dark ships” near the pipelines prior to the explosions. The ships were operating with their automatic identification system (AIS) transponders turned off or malfunctioning. While this is cause for suspicion, no data were provided on the frequency of such issues in the Baltic. Also, what were the specific routes and timelines for these vessels? Absent this information. the “dark ship” reports aren’t terribly meaningful.

Although the assumption that the explosions occurred outside the pipeline seems most likely, some observers have suggested that the explosions were internal. It’s unknown whether the investigators have ruled out this possibility.

Meanwhile, the folks in Germany and elsewhere in Europe are understandably impatient. They want answers from their governments!

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Two supporters of Just Stop Oil have thrown soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, as actions in the capital roll into the 14th day. They are demanding that the UK government halts all new oil and gas projects.

Just Stop Oil

Why these stunts will continue in Europe and N. America:

  • Minimal penalties for their behavior.
  • Publicity and contributions. (Donate buttons are the main feature of JustStopOil)
  • Prominent supporters and leading political figures have endorsed their message, if not their conduct.
  • Weak, imbalanced educational systems, particularly with regard to energy.

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OEUK statement

It’s disappointing that this statement was even necessary. Under the circumstances, the need for new UK offshore licenses would seem to be obvious and undeniable.

“The European energy sector right now is cracking at the seams. Without the contribution of UK oil and gas resources, that crack would be a gaping hole.” 

Mike Tholen, OEUK

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Piper Alpha Memorial Garden, Aberdeen, Scotland
Scottish Hazards

In terms of the total number of fatalities, the Piper Alpha fire was the worst disaster in the history of offshore oil and gas operations and sent shock waves around the world. Eight months later another interactive pipeline-platform fire killed 7 workers at the South Pass 60 “B” facility in the Gulf of Mexico. A US Minerals Management Service task group reviewed the investigation reports for both fires and recommended regulatory changes with regard to:

  1. the identification and notification procedures for out-of-service safety devices and systems,
  2. location and protection of pipeline risers,
  3. diesel and helicopter fuel storage areas and tanks,
  4. approval of pipeline repairs, and
  5. location of ESD valves on pipelines.

Paul Schneider and I wrote a paper on the task group’s findings and that paper was published in Offshore Operations Post Piper Alpha (Institute of Marine Engineers,1991). The proposed regulations that followed summarized these findings and can be be found at this Federal Register link.

Lord Cullen’s comprehensive inquiry into the Piper Alpha tragedy challenged traditional thinking about regulation and how safety objectives could best be achieved, and was perhaps the most important report in the history of offshore oil and gas operations. Per Cullen:

Many current safety regulations are unduly restrictive because they impose solutions rather than objectives. They also are out of date in relation to technological advances. Guidance notes lend themselves to interpretations that discourage alternatives. There is a danger that compliance takes precedence over wider safety considerations and that sound innovations are discouraged.

Cullen advocated management systems that describe the safety objectives, the system by which those objectives were to be achieved, the performance standards to be met, and the means by which adherence to those standards was to be monitored. He called for safety cases that describe major hazards on an installation and provide appropriate safety measures. Per Cullen, each operator should be required in the safety case to demonstrate that the safety management systems of the company and the installation are adequate to assure that design and operation of the platform and its equipment are safe.

Links for the full Piper Alpha Inquiry: volume 1 and volume 2

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