This week’s news in brief
ROGER JORDAN, Associate Editor
The U.S. has awarded the first three oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico boundary area subject to the U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement to Exxon. The boundary area is estimated to contain as much as 172 MMbbl of oil and 304 Bcf of natural gas.
BP and Anadarko Petroleum could face billions of dollars in fines after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled they were automatically liable for pollution-law violations as co-owners of the Macondo well.
Det Norske Oljeselskap is to buy Marathon Oil’s Norwegian business for $2.7 billion. The deal will boost the Norwegian company’s output and help it fund its part of the development costs for Johan Sverdrup, one of the largest discoveries on the Norwegian shelf since the mid-1980s. The Norwegian government and the opposition also reached an agreement to avoid potential delays to Sverdrup.
Gazprom Neft announced that production at Iraq’s Badra oil field started on May 31. Production from the field is expected to peak in 2017 at 170,000 bpd and then remain the same for a period of 7 years.
France’s Total said the development of Absheron field -- in the Azeri section of the Caspian Sea -- will be delayed by a year, with production of natural gas now expected to start in 2021. The news follows Total’s decision to sell its 10% stake in the Shah Deniz gas project.
A fourth fatality was reported at Suncor Energy’s oil sands site in Alberta. A contract worker was fatally injured while working on a piece of heavy equipment on June 2. In May, a female employee was killed by a bear. Suncor also reported fatalities at the site in April and January.
Wood Group Kenny has been awarded a $60 million call-off contract, for 2014, with BP Azerbaijan under their 2007 Global Agreement. The contract will cover engineering and project management services for the Shah Deniz 2 Subsea Execute phase.
Two new compressors were lifted aboard Statoil’s Troll A platform in the North Sea on June 4. The company says the compressors will boost recovery from the field by 83 billion standard cubic meters of gas -- 522 MMboe. And in the Gulf of Mexico, as part of an effort to expand its E&P portfolio in North America, Statoil is midway through drilling a wildcat well in the Martin prospect.
The UK government is to introduce legislation to make exploring for shale oil and gas easier. In a speech setting out the government’s legislative plans for the next year, Queen Elizabeth II said a bill would be proposed to “enhance the UK’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites.”
Rosneft’s Igor Sechin has called for the Russian government to limit new oil and natural gas rights in the country’s east to domestic investors. And Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of Total, said banks are more reluctant to fund projects in Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine.