Archive for the ‘PETROLEUM’ Category

The world’s top 10 oil and gas companies. Infographic shows

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The world's top 10 oil and gas companies [infographic]

When North Americans think of oil and gas companies, they often think of the big private sector companies such as Exxon Mobil or ConocoPhillips. However, it is always interesting to look at the sheer size and scope of some of the major government owned (or partnered) oil and gas firms to really see the extent of the industry.
Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil and gas giant, is by far the biggest energy company in the world. Saudi Aramco’s biggest field, Ghawar, generates 5 million barrels per day of oil, and the company as a whole makes more than $1 billion per day in revenues. The company’s value has been estimated around $10 trillion – the biggest company in the world. That’s about 15 times the size of Apple.
Gazprom and National Iranian Oil Company also produce 8.1 million and 6.1 million bpd equivalent. Meanwhile PetroChina, only one of three big state-owned oil giants in China, produces 3.9 million barrels each day.
With oil prices at their lowest in five years, it will be interesting to see how all of these companies respond.
Henry Sapiecha


Monday, April 16th, 2012


As the world’s appetite for oil and gas continues to increase while access to easily accessible reserves decreases, deep-sea oil and gas wells are being positioned in ever-deeper waters. The dangers and difficulties faced in such operations were highlighted in 2010 with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. While placing a containment dome over a leak and piping the oil to a surface storage vessel had worked on leaks in shallower water, the attempt to do the same on the Deepwater Horizon’s largest leak failed when the formation of methane hydrate crystals blocked the opening at the top of the dome. Now researchers at MIT have developed surface coatings that can inhibit the buildup of these methane hydrates and keep the gas and oil flowing.

Methane hydrate is a solid cage-like compound – or clathrate – that forms under very high pressure in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water to form an ice-like solid. Although it was originally thought to only occur in the outer reaches of the solar system, it is now estimated that total amount of methane contained in hydrates in the world’s seafloor is much greater than the total known reserves of all other fossil fuels combined.

Much like the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits on the inner walls of arteries inside the body, the buildup of methane hydrates – which can freeze upon contact with cold water in the depths of the ocean – inside a well casing or on the inner walls of pipes that carry oil or gas from the ocean depths can restrict or even block the flow of gas or oil. It was this kind of blocking that caused the failure of the containment dome technique attempt on the Deepwater Horizon leak.

Current techniques to prevent this happening include the heating or insulation of the pipes – which is expensive – or adding methanol into the flow of gas or oil – which can harm the environment if it escapes.

An MIT team led by associate professor of mechanical engineering Kripa Varanasi had been looking for a solution to this problem even before the Deepwater Horizon spill and now say they have found it. Having already studied the use of superhydrophobic surfaces to prevent the buildup of ordinary ice on things such as aircraft wings, the team decided to examine whether similar surfaces could be used to keep pipe walls clear of methane hydrates.

Using a simple “hydrate-phobic” coating, Varanasi and his colleagues were able to reduce the adhesion of hydrates in a pipe to one-quarter the amount compared to untreated surfaces.

“The oil and gas industries currently spend at least $200 million a year just on chemicals” to prevent methane hydrate buildups, Varanasi says. However, the total figure for prevention and lost production due to hydrates would be much, much higher. Using passive coatings on the insides of pipes would be much cheaper than current prevention techniques and allow the use of containment domes to capture flows from leaks in much deeper waters than is currently possible.

Additionally, the team says the test system they devised provides a simple and inexpensive way to search for even more effective inhibitors. They say their findings are also applicable to other adhesive solids, such as solder adhering to a circuit board, or calcite deposits inside plumbing lines. The testing methods developed by the researchers could also be used to evaluate coatings for a variety of commercial and industrial processes.

The team’s findings are detailed in a paper published in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

Source: MIT

Published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Oil demand has not been this low  since


By Guy Chazan in London

Oil demand is falling for the first time since the 2008-09 global financial crisis as a result of a mild winter, high crude prices and the European economic crisis, according to fresh estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The industrialised nations’ watchdog said oil demand dropped by 300,000 barrels a day in the final quarter of 2011. Such a fall is rare: over the last decade, oil demand has posted drops only in the financial crisis of mid-2008 to mid-2009.

The IEA revised down its outlook for growth in 2012 to 1.1m b/d from 1.3m b/d amid signs of weakness in the world economy.

It also warned of the geopolitical risk posed to oil markets by rising tensions with Iran.

Global oil demand in 2011 was 89.5m b/d, the IEA said.

David Fyfe, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division, said the year-on-year fall in demand was largely due to the exceptionally cold winter of 2010-11 compared to this winter’s milder temperatures. But it was still surprising.

“Even in the 2008-9 crisis we only had a couple of quarters of absolute contraction, so it is quite rare,” he said. “We’re flagging that there are clearly downside risks to the global economy and to oil demand.”

The IEA’s latest monthly oil market report comes against the backdrop of a looming showdown between Iran and the west over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Oil prices jumped $4-$5 a barrel at the new year as the European Union prepared to impose a ban on Iranian oil imports and Tehran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial conduit for oil exports from the Gulf.

The agency characterised the oil market as finely balanced between fears of supply disruptions due to the coming Iranian embargo and concerns about an economic slowdown that will weaken demand for oil.

The price of crude has been relatively stable since last spring within a range of $100 to $120 a barrel. But the IEA said the stability was “more apparent than real.”

It said markets were caught between a “rock” – the growing likelihood of a sharp economic slowdown, or even outright recession, in 2012 – and a “hard place” – possible geopolitical turmoil triggered by the west’s face-off with Iran.

“That is scarcely a source of comfort,” the report said.

Oil markets in Europe and Asia, hit badly last year by the loss of Libyan supply, worry that sanctions against Iran will seriously affect the availability of crude.

The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea have been seeking assurances from Middle Eastern producers like Saudi Arabia that they can make up any shortfall.

Europe, which imports about 600,000 b/d of Iranian crude, is also on the hunt for replacement supplies.

These concerns come at a time of tightness in physical oil markets.

Last year, non-Opec supply grew by only 50,000 barrels a day, the third lowest performance in the last decade – largely due to a series of unscheduled disruptions in places like the North Sea, Canada and China. That was compounded by the unrest in Libya, which knocked out its exports.

While members of the Opec cartel, especially Saudi Arabia, increased production to compensate, and the IEA released emergency stocks, this was not enough to make up for the Libyan shortfall.

The IEA said crude stock levels in industrialised countries remain below the five-year average for a fifth consecutive month.

European refiners faced a “difficult task” in finding substitutes for Iranian supply, and some market dislocation was inevitable, the agency warned.

But the gradual phase-in of any EU import ban and the “considerable latitude in implementation” built into the US sanctions “will serve to minimise unwanted market disruptions,” it added.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, May 1st, 2011


OLI GIExxon earned nearly $US11 billion ($A10.15 billion) in the first quarter, a performance likely to land it in the centre of the national debate over high gasoline prices.

The world’s largest publicly traded company on Thursday reported net income of $US10.65 billion ($A9.83 billion), or $US2.14 per share, in the first three months of the year. That compares with $US6.3 billion ($A5.81 billion), or $US1.33 per share a year ago. Revenue increased 26 per cent to $US114 billion ($A105.2 billion).

The results surpassed Wall Street estimates of $US2.04 per share on sales of $US112.6 billion ($A103.91 billion), according to FactSet.

The quarter was Exxon’s best since it earned a record $US14.83 billion ($A13.69 billion) in 2008’s third quarter. It comes at a time when some drivers are paying $US4 or more for gas and President Obama is threatening the oil industry’s multibillion-dollar tax subsidies.

Earnings grew across the company’s business segments. Income from its exploration and production business gained 49 per cent to $US8.7 billion ($A8.03 billion) while the company’s downstream business, which includes refineries, posted a huge 30-fold jump to more than $US1.1 billion ($A1.02 billion).

Anticipating a strong reaction to the results from drivers and politicians, Exxon said on a company blog on Wednesday that it has little control over the price of oil, which has risen to near $US113 per barrel. The company also noted that less than 3 cents of every dollar it earns comes from the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel.

That may not appease many motorists, however. The national average for a gallon of gas is $US3.89, about $US1.02 more than a year ago. It’s above $US4 in 8 states and the District of Columbia. And on Thursday, the Commerce Department said economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, partly because of high gas prices.

On the blog, Ken Cohen, Exxon’s vice president of public and government affairs, said the company was anticipating “the inevitable headlines and sound bites about high gasoline prices and what to do about them” after the earnings were reported.

Exxon’s huge profit followed similar results by other oil companies.

Europe’s largest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, reported $US8.78 billion ($A8.1 billion) in first-quarter profits, up 60 per cent from a year ago. BP PLC’s quarterly earnings rose 16 per cent to $US7.2 billion ($A6.64 billion). ConocoPhillips said net income grew 43 per cent to $US3 billion ($A2.77 billion) and Occidental Petroleum Corp said earnings climbed 46 per cent to $US1.55 billion ($A1.43 billion).

Exxon Mobil Corp increased earnings even though it produced less oil and natural gas liquids. Benchmark crude prices rose 20 per cent from a year ago.

The company has increasingly focused on producing natural gas. Exxon expects natural gas to displace coal as the second most important fuel source within the next decade, and last year it acquired XTO Energy to become the largest US natural gas producer.

Natural gas production increased 24 per cent in the quarter for Exxon, but prices declined as other companies followed Exxon’s lead and rushed to develop underground shale gas deposits in North America. Natural gas prices fell nearly 16 per cent from a year ago.

AP   Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Woodside in defence mode

as Shell sells down

Barry FitzGerald
November 8, 2010 – 2:18PM

Australia’s biggest independent oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum is in takeover defence mode after long-time shareholder and technical adviser Shell offloaded a 10 per cent stake for $3.3 billion.

The sale will leave Shell with a 24.27 per cent Woodside stake but has signalled that Shell is an eventual seller of the rest of its stake, with BHP Billiton a candidate following its inability to secure Canadian government approval last week for its $40 billion hostile takeover bid for crop nutrient producer Potash Corp.

Shell’s divestment to a spread of investors through UBS AG is at $42.23 a share.

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That is at a discount to Woodside’s closing market price today of $45.86 a share – a higher level reached in recent days in response to speculation that BHP would now turn its attention to the operator of the North West Shelf gas project following the Potash disappointment.

Shell has told buyers of the offloaded stake that it will stick around with the rest of its holding for at least one year.

Shell chief executive Peter Voser said Shell’s selldown was part of the Anglo-Dutch giant’s drive to focus on direct investments, rather than indirect stakes. ‘‘We will manage our remaining position in Woodside over time in the context of our global portfolio.”

The selldown by Shell means that the world’s oil and gas majors – minus Shell – will be running the rule over the country’s premier liquefied natural gas producer.

The move by Shell comes as future management of Woodside is left in limbo following the recent decision by long-serving chief executive Don Voelte to return to America.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

PETROL HEAD-Woodside’s top job is up for grabs

1:24pm | Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte plans to retire in 2011 after seven years at the helm of the energy giant.
Received & published by Henry Sapiecha