12 members of SPE Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Student Chapter had their first geological trip at Miri, Sarawak from 11th until 14th of January 2018 consisting of 2nd and 3rd years of Petroleum Engineering students of the said institution with one accompanying staff from The School Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS).
With the objective of exposing the participants to geology concepts, they learn numerous technical geological knowledge which includes:
Throughout the trip, these 13 people had covered:
At Kampung Bakam outcrop, there is a flat layer of clay and sandstone with a distance of 3.7m from the entrance. Members used auger, a manual hand coring equipment and drilled up to 133cm (52 in.) depth into the bed to see its sedimentary structure but could only find clay and no rigid bedding structure. This place is is said to have the same characteristics to one of the hydrocarbon fields in Sarawak, leading the members to seek for oil seepage. Across the floor of the outcrop, a small stream comes from the higher part of the outcrop creating modern ripples.
At the coastal road, the 52°NW dipping outcrop lays flat on the surface of Earth and participants are seen standing on the outcrop 5m from the entrance.
At the strand of Bungai and Peliau beach, expecting to see strands of dipped beds from the remnants of eroded beds from Tusan, participants could only find sand sediments with a loose conglomerate sample alongside the beach as the weather was raining heavily and the tide rises.
Reaching Tusan cliff, knowing that a landslide had happened 2 days before the arrival, members gave extra precaution going down the cliff. The situation worsens when a tide is rising and an approximate wave of 2m can be seen from afar but resides slowly reaching shallower area nearing the cliff. Due to this weather, auger coring could not be done. A 32°W dipping bed is seen and ancient beds and sedimentary structure can be logged until 143cm here. Members logged the area as sandstone and clay inter-bedded sandstone with visible fractures. At another point at the cliff, a 217cm log can be done where the bed is clearly dipping towards the sea and a laminar structure with erosion occurred.
At Lopeng outcrop, quickmud (similar to quicksand) nearly along the 38.2m outcrop dipping 76°W overfills the area due to human activity where the sediments become soft and bubbly with visible small channels. A fault and disconformity are obvious at this outcrop where beds are seen to laterally disconnect due to the geological happenings. At a distance of 4.1m from the entrance, the outcrop is logged with clay and interbedded sandstone with medium grain size sands and a loose shell-like fossil is found.
Lambir outcrop is quite hidden into the road as it is seen as a disposable garbage area by modern human activities. This place of 42m elevation above sea level is expected to be cleared by the government as it might no longer posses any geological findings. Older and younger sediments at this area shows different occurrences where the older one at a length of 61.5m is filled with mudcrack and burrows alongside the clay and sandstone beds, and an obvious hummocky cross-stratified bedding; concluding that this was a shallow marine environment. Spending nearly 2 hours here, participants gathered a number of fossils traces and very visible burrows on loose samples. Dipping 20°SE are beds of clay, sandstone and interbedded clay and sandstones.
A documentary of this trip can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pavDPbh1Nik&t=21s with credits to the videographer, Izzat Isa.
This trip could not be possible without the help of the Board of Directors of SPE HWUM SC in organising, planning and carrying out the event itinerary before, during and after the trip.
An educational visit to Curtin University Malaysia hosted by Felicity Valerie Karim exposes the students to the facilities of Petroleum Engineering students in Curtin University Malaysia and wishes to have future collaboration between the two SPE student chapters.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 11 March 2019 – Brent: US$66/b; WTI: US$56/b
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GEO ExPro Vol. 16, No. 1 was published on 4th March 2019 bringing light to the latest science and technology activity in the global geoscience community within the oil, gas and energy sector.
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In 2017, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global – also known as the Oil Fund – proposed a complete divestment of oil and gas shares from its massive portfolio. Last week, the Norwegian government partially approved that request, allowing the Fund to exclude 134 upstream companies from the wealth fund. Players like Anadarko Petroleum, Chesapeake Energy, CNOOC, Premier Oil, Soco International and Tullow Oil will now no longer receive any investment from the Fund. That might seem like an inconsequential move, but it isn’t. With over US$1 trillion in assets – the Fund is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world – it is a major market-shifting move.
Estimates suggest that the government directive will require the Oil Fund to sell some US$7.5 billion in stocks over an undefined period. Shares in the affected companies plunged after the announcement. The reaction is understandable. The Oil Fund holds over 1.3% of all global stocks and shares, including 2.3% of all European stocks. It holds stakes as large as of 2.4% of Royal Dutch Shell and 2.3% of BP, and has long been seen as a major investor and stabilising force in the energy sector.
It is this impression that the Fund is trying to change. Established in 1990 to invest surplus revenues of the booming Norwegian petroleum sector, prudent management has seen its value grow to some US$200,000 per Norwegian citizen today. Its value exceeds all other sovereign wealth funds, including those of China and Singapore. Energy shares – specifically oil and gas firms – have long been a major target for investment due to high returns and bumper dividends. But in 2017, the Fund recommended phasing out oil exploration from its ‘investment universe’. At the time, this was interpreted as yielding to pressure from environmental lobbies, but the Fund has made it clear that the move is for economic reasons.
Put simply, the Fund wants to move away from ‘putting all its eggs in one basket’. Income from Norway’s vast upstream industry – it is the largest producing country in Western Europe – funds the country’s welfare state and pays into the Fund. It has ethical standards – avoiding, for example, investment in tobacco firms – but has concluded that devoting a significant amount of its assets to oil and gas savings presents a double risk. During the good times, when crude prices are high and energy stocks booming, it is a boon. But during a downturn or a crash, it is a major risk. With typical Scandinavian restraint and prudence, the Fund has decided that it is best to minimise that risk by pouring its money into areas that run counter-cyclical to the energy industry.
However, the retreat is just partial. Exempt from the divestment will be oil and gas firms with significant renewable energy divisions – which include supermajors like Shell, BP and Total. This is touted as allowing the Fund to ride the crest of the renewable energy wave, but also manages to neatly fit into the image that Norway wants to project: balancing a major industry with being a responsible environmental steward. It’s the same reason why Equinor – in which the Fund holds a 67% stake – changed its name from Statoil, to project a broader spectrum of business away from oil into emerging energies like wind and solar. Because, as the Fund’s objective states, one day the oil will run out. But its value will carry on for future generations.
The Norway Oil Fund in a Nutshell