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OIL AND GAS
More drilling expected in the North Sea; No disruptions from Ophelia
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Oct 16, 2017


No North Sea disruptions from Ophelia
Washington (UPI) Oct 16, 2017 - Energy companies working in the British waters of the North Sea offered no indication Monday that storm system Ophelia was disrupting their work.

The British Met Office, the national forecaster, said former Hurricane Ophelia is moving across parts of Ireland, Wales and Scotland with winds as strong as 80 miles per hour in some areas. So-called Amber Warnings are in place for parts of the region.

"There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage," the latest forecast read.

A spokesperson for Norwegian oil company Statoil told UPI there were no disruptions to its activity in the North Sea from Ophelia. British energy company BP offered no indication that its work was impacted.

Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said total British oil production during the first seven months of the year increased slightly to average around 1 million barrels per day. Summer production was curtailed by seasonal maintenance, though production is expected to increase with the start of new fields. Total British output next year should grow to 1.04 million barrels per day, which is a revision upward of 40,000 barrels per day from OPEC's estimate in September.

Elsewhere, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla., reported a tropical disturbance moving west toward Florida. The storm is producing wind gusts strong enough to approach the characteristics of a tropical storm, but the system is not expected to develop any further.

A series of hurricanes in August and September upended parts of the U.S. energy sector. The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Saturday in its last update for Hurricane Nate that less than 1 percent of the total U.S. crude oil production capacity in the Gulf of Mexico was still offline, or around 12,000 barrels per day.

At the peak last week, Nate sidelined about 20 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production.

The Norwegian government said Monday it signed off on new plans for oil drilling and exploration work in the national waters of the North Sea.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said it gave Statoil approval to drill an exploration well in the shallow waters of North Sea. Drilling starts in November and will run for about 99 days, depending on whether or not the company makes a discovery.

Elsewhere, Statoil secured approval to start drilling in the Troll field in the North Sea later this month.

"The Troll field is ... the largest gas discovery made in the North Sea," the NPD stated.

Statoil, which is co-owned by the Norwegian government, is one of the larger oil and gas producers in the world. When announcing results for the first half, the company said that it's posted nine discoveries so far this year and several of those could "quickly be put into profitable production."

The company said its equity production in the second quarter, not counting portfolio changes, was 3 percent higher than the same period last year. For the year, Statoil said production growth should be around 7 percent.

The maturation of some of the basins in the North Sea has prompted some companies to shift strategies. BP in April sold off some of its legacy holdings as it reconfigured its regional operations by parting ways with a pipeline system tied to Forties crude oil, a component of the Brent basket. Oil from the Troll field, meanwhile, will be added to the Brent crude oil basket, which serves as the benchmark for the price of crude oil.

A new discovery made by Statoil in August, made in the British waters of the North Sea, holds between 25 million and 130 million barrels of recoverable oil. The company said the discovery solidified the future for a maturing basin in the North Sea, where it believes significant potential remains.

OIL AND GAS
OPEC's oil price forecast near a make-or-break point for U.S. shale
Washington (UPI) Oct 11, 2017
The price for crude oil next year should be around the so-called Goldilocks number for shale oil drillers in the United States, OPEC economists said. The Goldilocks scenario refers to a price point that's not so high that it encourages a strong drive in crude oil exploration and production, but not low enough to curtail capital spending and operations. Economists with the Organiz ... read more

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