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Last Updated: July 3, 2017
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Confusion about co-loading of oil cargoes following Qatar's diplomatic isolation may have eased, but Asian buyers are still cautious of signing on the dotted line for cargoes, a move that could trim volumes from the Middle Eastern exporter until the deadlock is broken.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, joined by the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, abruptly severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar.

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Autonomous Offshore Robot
Centurion 3

Iron Ocean in Dundee has collaborated with the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and Heriot-Watt University to create Centurion 3; an offshore survival system.

Centurion 3, which was unveiled in early 2019, is made up of three layers which produce heat when exposed to cold water. The protective clothing is designed to be worn beneath a standard offshore survival suit.

It is thought that Centurion 3 could increase life expectancy by around ten minutes for those who have fallen into cold water by heating the material to just over body temperature.

Commenting on the technology, Simon Lamont, founder of Iron Ocean, wrote as part of a press release that “I realized something had to be done to protect workers from the harsh elements of the North Sea in the event of an offshore incident”.

Mhairi Begg, OGIC project manager added in the same release, “when people think about innovations in oil and gas the focus is on engineering technology… this project shows just how much potential there is for innovations to take place across the whole industry including materials to benefit health and safety”.

April, 24 2019
New Oil and Gas Technology Roundup

There has been a myriad of technological advancements in the oil and gas industry over the course of last year. Largely, digitization has become the most prevalent trend and as such, many new technologies have begun to focus on making complex tasks more efficient and cost effective. Additionally, there have been various innovations in more advanced machinery. Here, we take a look at some of the latest technology creating a buzz in oil and gas.

Autonomous Offshore Robot

After winning Total’s ARGOS challenge (Autonomous Robots for Gas and Oil Sites) in 2017, TU Darmstadt from Germany and Austrian manufacturer Taurob have collaborated to produce this autonomous offshore robot.

The robot’s 18-month trial, which started in April 2018 in the North Sea, marks the first time an automated ground robot will work on a fully operational oil and gas installation. The robot is ATEX-certified and is able to perform tasks such as visual inspections, reading dials and advanced navigation around humans and obstacles.

Commenting on the machine, Dave Mackinnon, the head of technology and innovation for Total E&P, said in a company statement that “we are on the cusp of delivering technology that will improve safety, reduce costs and even prolong the life of North Sea operations”.

Jean-Michel Munoz, next-generation conventionals manager for Total S.A., added in a press release that “implementing this technology on our sites will bring benefits in terms of operation safety and cost optimization”.

April, 24 2019
The Rise of a New Ultramajor?

A tremor ran through the oil & gas industry last week. It wasn’t a by-product of fracking activity, but it is certainly linked. Supermajor Chevron agreed to purchase US independent Anadarko Petroleum for US$33 billion, a 39% premium to Anadarko’s last traded price. It’s the largest industry deal since Shell’s US$61 billion takeover of the BG Group in 2015. That deal catapulted Shell to become the world’s largest LNG trader, expanding its reach in the fast-evolving industry. Chevron will be looking to do the same.

The purchase of Anadarko gets Chevron into two prolific areas: the Permian Basin in the US and LNG. Chevron is already one of the largest supermajors operating in the Permian, with 2.3 million acres in the area. In this respect, the purchase is strategic. Combined with Anadarko’s assets, Chevron would now have a 120 corridor in the sweet spot of the shale basin –  Delaware, which straddles the Texas-New Mexico border. It’s a major salvo fired and a great boost to Chevron’s ambitions, which named investment in the Permian as its major focus last year. But more than just extracting oil, the purchase plugs a hole in Chevron’s portfolio. Through Anadarko, Chevron will gain major US midstream space, including a 55% stake in the Western Midstream Partners whose pipelines crosses all over Texas, linking the Permian to the processing and exporting base on the Gulf.

Internationally, the acquisition also boosts Chevron’s presence in LNG, which had recently  lagged behind other supermajors like Shell, ExxonMobil and Total. Anadarko’s Mozambique LNG project is neck-in-neck to become the African nation’s first LNG project with ExxonMobil. Drawing on Mozambique’s prolific Rovuma basin, the LNG export project has a nameplate capacity of 12.88 mtpa, of which 8.5 mtpa has already been committed through sales and purchase agreements. With FID scheduled for this year and operations expected in the 2023/24 timeframe, it complements Chevron’s current LNG portfolio – including the massive projects in Western Australia – nicely.

Together with recent investments in the upper echelon of energy companies, it seems the moniker supermajor may not be enough. Within the supermajor category, there was already a hierarchy, with ExxonMobil and Shell outpacing the rest. With this Anadarko apurchase, Chevron leaps into that tier, which analysts are calling ultramajors. That is, if there isn’t a spanner in the works. Occidental Petroleum, which is also focused on the Permian, had previously made a US$70 per share bid for Anadarko. It is now considering a counter proposal. The battle for Anadarko will go on, but we expect that Chevron will prevail, seeing how Anadarko’s operations fit so neatly into its own portfolio.

But more than just Chevron, could this be a preview of the future? The US shale revolution was kickstarted by plucky companies and ambitious independents, while the majors lost out. With this Chevron deal – along with ExxonMobil’s expansion and BP’s recent purchase of BHP assets – this could kick off another round of industry consolidation, centred around buying the way into the Permian and other shale basins. This might be a major purchase that shakes up the status quo, but if the signs are correct, there is more of this to come.

Infographic: The Chevron-Anadarko deal

  • US$33 billion 25% cash- 75% stock deal
  • Chevron to acquire Anadarko shares for US$65 per share
  • Chevron will assume net debt of US$15 billion
  • Chevron will sell some US$15 billion of assets to offset the purchase
April, 24 2019