www.upstreamonline.com http://www.upstreamonline.com/ www.upstreamonline.com Nine hurt in Mexico refinery fire http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370401/Nine-hurt-in-Mexico-refinery-fire Most of Ciudad Madero refinery shut as blaze continues Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370401/Nine-hurt-in-Mexico-refinery-fire Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:20:37 +0000 live Seven workers were reported to have suffered dehydration and physical exhaustion, with another two sustaining minor burns, the Mexican oil company said on Twitter.

“We are working to control and extinguish a fire sustained in a gasoline storage tank at the Ciudad Madero refinery,” Pemex tweeted, adding that both firefighters and the Civil Protection of Cidudad Madero were assisting the operation.

Another 200 people who live near the Ciudad Madero refinery in Tamaulipas state were evacuated, a spokesman for Pemex told Reuters.

The spokesman said that "most of the refinery plants are stopped for security", while stressing there was a very low risk of the fire spreading to other parts of the facility.

Local television images showed out-of-control flames at the site, where the blaze began during the night in a gasoline storage tank.

The company said firefighters were waiting for the gasoline to burn off, most likely by the afternoon local time, before the fire could be fully extinguished.

The Ciudad Madero refinery is the smallest of Pemex's six domestic refineries, with a total crude processing capacity of 190,000 barrels per day.

FCX eyes more asset sales http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370380/FCX-eyes-more-asset-sales Further disposals in prospect after Eagle Ford sale in drive to exploit US Gulf deep-water play Steve.Marshall@upstreamonline.com (Steve Marshall) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370380/FCX-eyes-more-asset-sales Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:26:03 +0000 live The Phoenix, Arizona-based mining-to-oil and gas company recently picked up interests in the Lucius and Heidelberg field projects in the US Gulf, as well as several exploration leases, for $900 million on the heels of its Eagle Ford deal with Canadian buyer Encana.

FCX was left with net after-tax proceeds of $1.8 billion following the transactions and is now looking to plough cash into drilling and development work in the US Gulf deep as it targets “high-impact growth in oil production and cash margins”.

In particular, the company is looking at “multiple development and exploration opportunities” with the possibility of field tie-backs to its existing operated Holstein, Marlin and Horn Mountain production platforms.

“Operations to pursue these opportunities have commenced and activities are expected to accelerate following the delivery of contracted drillships over the next 12 months,” FCX said in its results statement.

The company started drilling this month at the Copper prospect south-east of the Holstein field in 4400 feet of water and aims to drill a delineation well at the earlier Holstein Deep discovery in the third quarter.

It also plans to drill five additional sidetracks from the Holstein spar platform in the next two years after the current one is completed, as well as drill five subsea tie-back wells using drillships over the same period to boost output from the facility.

FCX is also investing heavily in the under-development Lucius and Heidelberg fields that are due to start production in the second half of this year and in mid-2016, respectively.

Lucius in Keathley Canyon is being developed using a truss spar with Heidelberg in Green Canyon being tapped using a lookalike facility that is currently under construction and due to be towed to the field site later this year.

Oil and gas subsidiary FM O&G holds respective working interests of 25.1% and 12.5% in Lucius and Heidelberg.

The company said “additional oil and gas asset sales may be considered to provide additional funding to accelerate” its growth plans in the offshore play, where it was also awarded 20 exploration leases in Central Gulf of Mexico lease sale 231 earlier this year.

Its capital expenditure on oil and gas operations, which amounted to $1.5 billion in the first half, is projected to reach $3.4 billion for the full year, including $1.8 billion in the US Gulf deep.

FM O&G, which incorporates the former Plains E&P and McMoRan that were acquired last year, also holds producing oil assets onshore and offshore California, onshore natural gas resources in Louisiana’s Haynesville shale play, gas production from the Madden area of Wyoming and coastal gas acreage in the shallow-water US Gulf and onshore south Louisiana.

The subsidiary generated second-quarter revenue of $1.24 billion, up from $372 million a year earlier, as parent FCX, which also has copper and gold mining operations, was left with unchanged net income of $482 million for the period.

Ebola sees ExxonMobil delay Liberia spud http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370282/Ebola-sees-ExxonMobil-delay-Liberia-spud Deadly outbreak in West Africa leads to shortage of staff as supermajor puts wildcat on ice Eoin.Ocinneide@upstreamonline.com (Eoin O'Cinneide) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370282/Ebola-sees-ExxonMobil-delay-Liberia-spud Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:35:13 +0000 live Canadian Overseas Petroleum, the US supermajor’s partner in Block LB-13, said the recent outbreak, which has killed hundreds of people in three countries, had left a shortage of expatriates available to work in Liberia.

ExxonMobil was thought to be nearing the spudding of the Mesurado-1 wildcat on the block.

Although the Canadian partner did not provide any further information on the development, a spokesperson said it is still possible that drilling could happen before the end of the year.

Canadian Overseas had said in March that an oil major had taken the Seadrill drillship West Tellus for a multi-well programme adjacent to Block LB-13. Seadrill’s fleet status report shows that the ultra-deepwater unit went on charter to Chevron from January to July off Liberia at $635,000 a day.

It is not known if ExxonMobil had booked the West Tellus for the Mesurado probe.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson told Upstream: "Safety is our top priority. ExxonMobil continues to work logistics and other preparations to start drilling on Block 13 offshore Liberia."

The spokesperson would not say, however, when drilling is now set to begin, or reveal other details about the programme.

"Our Monrovia office remains open. We are supporting the Government of Liberia to raise awareness of public health precautions related to Ebola including a grant to Plan International."

The US giant is operator of the block on 83%, with Canadian Overseas on 17%. The former is carrying the latter for drilling at the well.

Urals Energy wins $41m debt case http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370395/Urals-Energy-wins-41m-debt-case Russia ruling may prompt new case in Cyprus, explorer warns Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370395/Urals-Energy-wins-41m-debt-case Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:38:18 +0000 live Moscow arbitration court dismissed the claim of UEN Cyprus to recover $41.65 million from Cyprus-registered Urals Energy, but only on jurisdictional grounds.

Urals Energy said that “given that the claim was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, it being between two Cypriot companies, the board anticipates that it is likely that an appeal will be made and also that a new claim will be launched in Cyprus”.

The AIM-listed, Russia-focused junior has denied from the outset that it ever signed a debt repayment agreement with UEN Cyprus and says the claimed document is a forgery intended to defraud the company.

UEN Cyprus, which is owned by Vyatcheslav Rovneiko, made the claim against Urals late last year.

The debt row was among the factors that prompted an unnamed Russian oil operator to pull out of its non-binding letter of intent to buy Urals Energy.

Shareholder Fire East Corporation, which is owned by Russian oil and gas manager Oleg Makhno and holds around 18% of Urals, had also been agitating for a change of the explorer’s board at that time.

Hercules battles tough rig markets http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370360/Hercules-battles-tough-rig-markets US jack-up owner posts profit despite reduced activity in US Gulf and issues in West Africa Eoin.Ocinneide@upstreamonline.com (Eoin O'Cinneide) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370360/Hercules-battles-tough-rig-markets Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:13:13 +0000 live Poor weather and decreased customer spending in West Africa coupled with weaker domestic drilling markets have led the owner to implement some cost-saving measures.

Net profit for the three months to the end of June was $6.65 million as compared to a loss of $27.36 million a year earlier, when a large loss from discontinued operations hit the bottom line.

Revenues were up from $211. 46 million to $242.96 million, while there was a $19.3 million pre-tax gain on the sale of three cold-stacked rigs.

The US Gulf of Mexico market saw a slowdown in drilling activity, largely due to property transfers and consolidation among the company’s customers. Current discussions over future contracts, however, signal an upturn in activity later this year, Hercules said.

Failure to secure visas for crew members saw Angolan state player Sonangol quash the contract for the jack-up Hercules 267 in June, while the owner also terminated the three-year contract for the Hercules Triumph for the same reason.

The liftboat segment experienced fluctuations in utilisation, with poor weather in West Africa and reduced spending among customers in Nigeria all having an impact.

“While our third quarter results will likely be impacted by the current operational challenges, conditions are expected to improve toward year end,” said chief executive John Rynd.

Rosneft, Gazprom meeting 'debt wall' http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370279/Rosneft-Gazprom-meeting-debt-wall Russian giants face refinancing pressure next year as sanctions closing the door on Western credit Steve.Marshall@upstreamonline.com (Steve Marshall), (News Wires) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370279/Rosneft-Gazprom-meeting-debt-wall Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:23:52 +0000 live The pair are among Russian companies with debts totalling $112 billion due to mature over the next four years, with a peak maturity wall in 2015, Moody’s Investor Service stated in a report cited by Reuters.

It stated there was a very significant bank and bond debt maturity hurdle – in particular for Rosneft and Gazprom – to overcome next year.

Russian companies are facing tougher conditions to refinance international loans since the West imposed sanctions on some of them over Russia's involvement in Ukraine. On top of this, the country's economy has slowed and is expected to grow just 0.5% this year.

Washington imposed a new round of sanctions last week on Rosneft, gas producer Novatek and bank Gazprombank – companies run by allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin – that will bar them from financing debt of more than 90 days’ maturity with US sources.

"This year... refinancing for Russian issuers may present more challenges than before," Moody's analysts wrote in the report on investment-grade non-financial companies.

"The peak annual bank debt refinancing requirements of IG [investment grade] issuers in Russia is in 2015.”

Analysts have been concerned about Rosneft's ability to attract funds as costs of borrowing have risen for Russian companies after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March.

The state-owned oil company will need to repay $26.2 billion between July 2014 and December 2015, with peak repayments of $9.4 billion and $11.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 and first quarter of 2015, respectively, according to another recent report by Moody's.

The agency said it estimated that approximately $5 billion to $6 billion of this will have to be refinanced.

Moody's said though that Rosneft has taken steps to mitigate refinancing risks by signing an oil suuply contract with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).

Rosneft and CNPC last year agreed to double oil flows to China to 600,000 barrels per day in a $270 billion deal between 2018 and 2037 with partial prepayments.

The report said that Russian maturities were significantly concentrated in the energy sector, which accounts for 72% of total Russian debt maturing in the next four years, with the remaining 28% shared among the utilities, metals and mining, transportation services, telecoms and chemicals industries.

It stated that bank and bond debt held by Russian investment grade companies accounts for about 10% of the total $1.17 trillion refinancing requirements due between 2015 and 2018 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, up from 8% a year ago.

Germany, France and the UK have larger refinancing needs, holding 15% each.

OMV hit with Kazakhstan write-down http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370377/OMV-hit-with-Kazakhstan-write-down Austrian explorer to book cost of well failures in Gabon, Faroe Islands and Norway Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370377/OMV-hit-with-Kazakhstan-write-down Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:17:10 +0000 live The Austrian explorer said it wrote off around €110 million from one of its assets in Kazakhstan due to “unsuccessful field redevelopment results”.

OMV has been conducting a workover compaign at its four operated oilfields - Tasbulat, Turkmenoi, Aktas and Komsomolskoye - onshore the Mangistau region of West Kazakhstan near the Caspian Sea.

The Vienna-headquartered company also wrote off an exploration licence in Tunisia for a charge of around €20 million.

Exploration expenses also rose to around €180 million mostly due to unsuccessful wells in Gabon, the Faroe Islands and Norway.

The oil and gas producer saw level production for the quarter of 297,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day compared to the second quarter of last year.

The output was however down 5% quarter-on-quarter from 311,000 boepd in the first three months of 2014 because of production shut-ins in Libya and a weaker performance in Kazakhstan.

OMV said the fall was mitigated by the successful start-up of Norway’s Gudrun field and slightly higher production volumes in Austria and Romania.

It is expecting a “marginally positive” impact on the results from a rise in oil prices, which were up more than $7 in Brent oil prices to average $109.67 in the second quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.

Over the same timeframe the value of the euro against the dollar rose to $1.37 from $1.30.  

The company releases its second quarter and first-half results on 12 August.

Tamboran seeks Northern Ireland shale drill http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370335/Tamboran-bids-to-drill-shale-borehole Australian explorer bids to sink scientific borehole to gauge Fermanagh gas potential Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370335/Tamboran-bids-to-drill-shale-borehole Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:01:25 +0000 live The explorer said that it would collect core samples with the 750-metre depth borehole near Belcoo in County Fermanagh.

Tamboran Resources UK director Tony Bazley stressed that the company was “fact-finding, not fracking”, and that its intention at this stage is “only to verify that the elements necessary for natural gas and its recovery are contained within the shale”.

If approved drilling would start in late August and take 30 days, the explorer said.

Bazley said that “if the indications are that there is not enough natural gas that can be released from the shale rock then we will know this quickly and almost certainly decide not to continue with our investment in Northern Ireland”.

Alternatively if signs in the target Bundoran shale formation are positive the explorer would seek to drill a vertical well between now and the end of its PL2/10 licence's term in 2016, he said.

The project has come in for criticism from both environmental campaigners and local politicians over the future possibility of hydraulic fracturing, which was placed under moratorium in 2011, and over the non-requirement of a full planning process to drill the borehole.

Last year PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent in potential reserves lay in Northern Ireland’s Lough Allen shale, much of which is in Fermanagh as well as elsewhere in the north-west.

Max Petroleum puts up 'For Sale' sign http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370316/Max-Petroleum-puts-up-For-Sale-sign Cash-strapped Kazakh-focused junior mulls strategic options Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370316/Max-Petroleum-puts-up-For-Sale-sign Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:08:40 +0000 live The Kazakh-focused explorer said the process being run by Blackstone Group International Partners could look at a corporate merger, acquisition or new investor as well as a sale of the business or a farm down or disposal of assets.

Max Petroleum also warned of stiff impairments on the way in its annual results for the 12 months to 31 March that will be announced next month.

The company will wipe $64.6 million off the capitalized value of its post-salt assets to reflect “limited exploration potential” based on the latest independent reserve report.

 It may also cut up to $113 million off the value of its pre-salt assets, although a final decision has not yet been taken on this write-down.

The explorer would need another $20 million to $25 million to finish its aborted Nur-1 deep well that ran into operational troubles this time two years ago and caused Max’s share price to collapse, and the exploration phase of its blocks A&E licence runs out next March.

In May the explorer said it was creating a $3.8 million severance fund for plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs by closing its Houston office and downsizing staffing in London and Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh-focused company first flagged plans in late January to reorganise its cost structure to help it enter development and production after talks on new financing ended without a deal.

The explorer said it had already chopped general and administrative costs by more than 30% to save around $4 million a year.

Shares in the AIM-listed company were trading up 3% at around £0.01 on Wednesday morning having sold for £0.15 three years ago before the well trouble.

Uganda ruling for Tullow http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370326/Uganda-ruling-for-Tullow UK player gets to keep lion's share of indemnity payout after Heritage loses appeal bid Steve.Marshall@upstreamonline.com (Steve Marshall) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370326/Uganda-ruling-for-Tullow Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:26:51 +0000 live UK-listed Tullow was last year paid $345.8 million by Heritage after winning a High Court battle over an indemnity claim for a capital gains tax payment it made to the Ugandan authorities on behalf of Heritage.

The Uganda Revenue Authority had required Tullow to make a $313 million payment under a sale and purchase deal to acquire Heritage’s assets in the country in 2010.

Heritage lodged an appeal against the High Court judgment but the Court of Appeal upheld all but one point of the ruling, only requiring Tullow to repay $2.5 million plus interest to the Canadian counterparty, Tullow said in a statement.

Det Norske spuds Heimdalshoe wildcat http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370274/Det-Norske-spuds-Heimdalshoe-wildcat Drilling starts on an exploration well in the Norwegian North Sea Josh.Lewis@upstreamonline.com (Josh Lewis) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370274/Det-Norske-spuds-Heimdalshoe-wildcat Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:16:13 +0000 live Joint venture partner Fortis Petroleum revealed the jack-up Maersk Giant had spudded exploration well 2/9-5S on Monday.

"We are pleased to announce the spudding of this very exciting well in the southern part of the Norwegian North Sea,” Fortis chief executive Michael Haagaard said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The well marks Fortis’s first exploration well and is the first of three wells we expect to drill in 2014.”

The Heimdalshoe prospect lies in 65 metres of water, roughly 34 kilometres west of the Valhall field.

The 2/9-5S well is expected to take between 60 and 125 days, contingent on a discovery, and will target the hydrocarbon potential in the primary Upper Jurassic target with a prognosed total depth of up to 3542 metres.

Det Norske holds a 30% operating stake in PL 494, with partners Dana Petroleum (24%), Fortis Petroleum (16%), Spike Exploration (15%) and Tullow Oil (15%).

PKN Orlen slumps to Q2 loss http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370290/PKN-Orlen-slumps-to-Q2-loss Polish oil company hit by Lithuania write-down, slashes mid-term target Bill.Lehane@upstreamonline.com (Bill Lehane) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370290/PKN-Orlen-slumps-to-Q2-loss Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:40:02 +0000 live The company insisted total sales were “largely comparable” with the same period last year and that without the impairments it earned LIFO-based ebitda of 856 million zloty.

The bulk of the charges went on its struggling Lithuanian refining business which was written down by 4.2 billion zloty in a fall attributed to the collapse in marine sales to the US because of the shale revolution.

PKN Orlen produced 4500 boe per day in Canada in the second quarter, up 800 boe on the first quarter thanks to its recent Birchill Exploration acquisition, with aims to lift output to 16,000 boepd by 2017.

In Polish unconventionals, PKN Orlen continues to chase a significant shale gas discovery.

It is planning a multistage fracture of its Stoczek-OU1K shale gas well in the coming quarter, and will drill another horizontal, Nowy Streczyn, by the end of the year. It may also run a production test at its Lublin-OU1 well depending on core test results.

The company also slashed its mid-term target from 6.3 billion zloty in average last in first out based ebitda by 2017 to only 5.1 billion a year.

PKN Orlen chief executive Jacek Krawiec said: "Given the present market situation, we believe that the recent developments in our industry are becoming the new reality. Accordingly, we have decided to revise our strategic assumptions and bring them in line with market conditions.”

The company hopes to hike annual production to 6 million barrels of oil equivalent by 2017, and will devote about 30% of its 10.8 billion capital budget for the period to upstream developments.

Ruspetro finishes testing in Siberia http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370278/Ruspetro-finishes-testing-in-Siberia Company adds to production thanks to success at Pottymsko-Inginsky licence bianca.bartucciotto@upstreamonline.com (Bianca Bartucciotto) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370278/Ruspetro-finishes-testing-in-Siberia Wed, 23 Jul 2014 06:44:57 +0000 live The well flowed at an average rate of 1350 barrels of oil per day after the initial clean-up operations, with a water cut of about 50%.

Ruspetro carried out a successful ten day flow test on the well and the water cut is steadily dropping.

The well is now connected to the company’s production infrastructure and has been contributing to sales since the start of the month.

Before this well was on production, the company’s average production rate was 3235 bpd during the second quarter.

The second well in the current drilling programme is expected to be wrapped up in early September.

Chief executive John Conlin said the production performance of the well was “encouraging”.

“Equally exciting is the introduction of innovative yet proven completion technologies into our operations, which we believe will make a positive contribution to value creation for our shareholders,” he said.

The company is planning on using a very new completion system on the next well in the queue.

Hydra support role on TEN http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370313/Hydra-support-role-on-TEN Local contractor to assist Wood Group Kenny on subsea engineering services for project off Ghana Steve.Marshall@upstreamonline.com (Steve Marshall) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370313/Hydra-support-role-on-TEN Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:58:37 +0000 live Ghanaian-owned Hydra will second some of its engineers to the Wood Group Kenny (WGK) unit that recently secured an engineering services contract with the British operator covering implementation of subsea, umbilicals, risers and flowlines work for execution of the project.

Hydra will act as partner to WGK under a two-year pact signed after agreeing a memorandum of understanding with local subsidiary Wood Group Ghana last year. No value was disclosed for the deal.

Tullow is targeting first oil in mid-2016 from the TEN fields - Tweneboa, Enyenra and Ntomme – located in the Deepwater Tano block about 60 kilometres off Ghana.

Bentara flows for Roc http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370283/Bentara-flows-for-Roc Aussie independent and partners kick off second field in Balai Cluster off Malaysia Steve.Marshall@upstreamonline.com (Steve Marshall) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370283/Bentara-flows-for-Roc Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:26:41 +0000 live Bentara is the second field to start producing in the four-field cluster in the South China Sea after production was launched from Balai late last year, with the remaining fields – Spaoh and West Acis – still to get under way.

The marginal field, being developed by tripartite consortium BC Petroleum, is expected to produce at an initial rate of more than 1000 barrels per day of oil, rising to average rate of between 2000 and 3000 bpd.

Australia-listed Roc Oil, which holds a 48% stake in the joint venture under a risk service contract, gained official approval earlier this year for the first phase of development on Bentara, which is being produced from two wells through the EPV Balai Mutiara vessel.

 The remaining stakeholders in the venture are Malaysian companies Dialog Group and Petronas with 32% and 20% respectively.

Court rules for Metgasco http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370272/Court-rules-for-Metgasco Supreme court moves to lift drilling ban in NSW bianca.bartucciotto@upstreamonline.com (Bianca Bartucciotto) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370272/Court-rules-for-Metgasco Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:51:16 +0000 live The Rosella-1 well was blocked by the state government, a decision which has now been overturned.

Metgasco managing director Peter Henderson said he was not surprised by the decision and there was no new information.

“Metgasco will proceed to the next stage of the court process to seek a lifting of the government’s suspension, with the company to present its evidence on 28 July,” he said.

“One section of the NSW Government’s response says that Metgasco’s failure to comply with condition 8 of PEL 16 had become apparent by 14 May.

“We will be intrigued to see what supporting evidence is provided to support this statement.”

NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts made the decision that the suspension would remain in place.

On 14 May, the office made a decision to suspend the drilling of the conventional well.

The office gave Metgasco written material on the decision to renew the suspension stating it had changed its interpretation of “effective consultation” with stakeholders.

Metgasco believes the new interpretation “does not accord with its own guidelines”.

The company believes the office has no justifiable basis for renewing the suspension, stating it believed it lived up to its community consultation obligations, according to managing director Peter Henderson.

The company is looking into potential for a claim for damages to compensate for losses resulting from the suspension.

Semco & PV Shipyard team up http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370267/Semco--PV-Shipyard-team-up Duo to provide rig owners in South East Asia with an alternative to Singapore for rig upgrades Josh.Lewis@upstreamonline.com (Josh Lewis) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370267/Semco--PV-Shipyard-team-up Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:38:56 +0000 live The pair have entered a strategic partnership which will see them jointly carry out rig repair, rig refurbishment and rig upgrades in Vietnam under the name Vung Tau Rig Services.

The duo have already worked together, having successfully completed two major rig upgrades in 2013, and the agreement further builds on that partnership.

“We unite our competences, enabling us to meet our common goal - to become a leading rig service specialist in Asia,” PV Shipyard managing director Phan Tu’ Giang said.

“We are proud to generate more jobs to local supply chain as well as providing skilled specialists.”

Semco said the prospects for rig upgrades in South East Asia market were positive with about 25 rigs currently operating in Vietnamese waters.

It added that the new partnership would give rig owners in the region and alternative to moving their rigs to Singapore to have them upgraded, saving both time and money.

Brent slips to $107 http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370270/Brent-slips-to-107 Geopolitical tensions fail to keep Brent price high (News Wires) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370270/Brent-slips-to-107 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:13:01 +0000 live The European Union threatened Russia with harsher sanctions over Ukraine, while Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip with no ceasefire in sight.

Brent crude for September delivery fell $0.06 to $107.27 a barrel by Wednesday morning, after slipping $0.35 in the previous session.

US crude for September delivery was $0.34 lower at $102.05 per barrel.

“The fundamentals in Brent are very weak with a glut in places like Nigeria and Angola. But upcoming maintenance in the North Sea will help relieve that glut, which I think will support Brent in the next month or two,” Newedge Japan commodity sales manager Yusuke Seta told Reuters.

“And with strong supporting news in places like Iraq and Russia, I believe the bearish market sentiment is temporary,” Seta said.

Investors in energy markets will focus their attention on the weekly crude oil inventory report from the US Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration due at Wednesday morning.

Stocks are expected to decline 2.8 million barrels in the week to 18 July, according to a Reuters survey.

Domestic crude stocks fell by 7.5 million barrels the previous week, the biggest draw since January, caused by a sharp increase in refinery activity.

The American Petroleum Institute data released on Tuesday showed that US crude inventories fell 555,000 barrels last week to 374.7 million.

The European Union threatened Russia, the world's biggest producer of crude oil, on Tuesday with harsher sanctions over Ukraine that could inflict wider damage on its economy following the downing of a Malaysian airliner, but it delayed action for a few days.

Efforts to forge a united front were hampered by a French announcement that the planned delivery of a warship to Moscow would go ahead despite US and British pleas to halt it.

Israel continued bombing across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top US and United Nations diplomats pursued talks on halting the fighting that has claimed more than 600 lives.

In Libya, oil production had fallen to around 450,000 barrels per day as of Monday compared with 555,000 bpd on Thursday, a National Oil Company spokesman said.

The drop comes as a twin suicide bombing at a Libyan army base in Benghazi killed at least four solders.

Still, more crude from the North African country could hit global markets with the Brega oil port expected to be operating within a “few days” after the government reached a deal with protesting security guards to end a blockade.

Oil supply from southern Iraq remained unaffected after fighting broke out in Iraq between Sunni militants and government forces last month.

On Monday and Tuesday, Iraqi government air strikes killed 19 people, including children, in Falluja.

Oil prices were pressured by a strengthening US dollar, which rose to six-week peaks against a basket of currencies on Tuesday.

AusGroup to buy Ezion supply base operator http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370261/AusGroup-to-buy-Ezion-supply-base-operator AusGroup set to buy two Ezion subsidiaries with operations in Australia Josh.Lewis@upstreamonline.com (Josh Lewis) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370261/AusGroup-to-buy-Ezion-supply-base-operator Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:47:03 +0000 live The pair entered into a sale and purchase agreement which will see AusGroup purchase 100% of the issued and paid up share capital of Ezion Offshore Logistics Hub (EOLH) and 90% of Teras Australia for an aggregate S$55 million (US$44.4 million).

EOHL is set to operate a marine supply base in Australia’s Northern Territory which will provide administrative, storage and logistics support to various vessels, including those from oil and gas projects in the region.

However, EOHL is still in the process of setting up the port and the marine supply base and is yet to fully commence operations.

The base is located north of the Northern Territory’s capital of Darwin, in the Apsley Strait between Melville Island and Bathurst Island. 

Earlier this year Ezion walked away from its planned takeover of fellow Singaporean company Ocean Sky International into which it had said it had planned to inject its marine supply base business.

The other subsidiary up for sale, Teras, is an Australian incorporated company and provides ship chartering services and maritime training to indigenous workers in Australia.

Ezion said it was selling off the subsidiaries to focus on investments in service rigs amid strong demand currently for the units.

AusGroup will settle the payment for the subsidiaries through a S$14 million cash payment and the issue of nearly 92.2 million fully paid ordinary shares, carrying a value of S$41 million, which will also leave Ezion with roughly 17.8% of the enlarged share capital of AusGroup.

The sale is still subject to certain regulatory conditions and AusGroup carrying out due diligence and gaining shareholder approval for the deal.

Beach spuds in the Cooper http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370266/Beach-spuds-in-the-Cooper Record production levels could be further boosted by new drilling bianca.bartucciotto@upstreamonline.com (Bianca Bartucciotto) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370266/Beach-spuds-in-the-Cooper Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:13:57 +0000 live Joint venture partner Cooper Energy announced the Elliston-2 spudded in PPL 249 on the western flank of the basin.

The oil development well is southwest of the Elliston-1 well and is designed to drill to a depth of about 1655 metres.

It is expected to take about one week to complete.

Beach is the operator of the well and holds a 75% interest in the permit, while Cooper holds the other 25%.

The Australian duo had a shocking drilling campaign in PEL 92 with all three wells coming up dry.

The Shelly-1, Morgan-1 and Fishery-1 wells were found to be shy of commercial.

Transocean subsidiary files for IPO http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370243/Transocean-subsidiary-files-for-IPO Rig giant could raise around $350m in offering; subsidiary will own majority stakes in three deep-water units to start Luke.Johnson@upstreamonline.com (Luke Johnson) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370243/Transocean-subsidiary-files-for-IPO Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:47:52 +0000 live Transocean Partners could raise around $350 million in the offering, detailed in a preliminary prospectus filed with the US Securities & Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

The Aberdeen, Scotland-based, Marshall Islands limited liability company will initially sell offer 17.5 million common units at between $19 and $21 apiece, according to the filing.

The subsidiary will own 51% stakes in three rigs to start: drillships Discoverer Inspiration and Discoverer Clear Leader, both currently under contract to Chevron, and semi-submersible Development Driller III, currently contracted to BP.

Transocean will also be required to sell to its subsidiary a majority ownership stake in four of the six newbuild drillships currently under construction.

These rigs include Deepwater Invictus, due to get to work for BHP Billiton later this quarter; Deepwater Thalassa, contracted to Shell from 2016; Deepwater Proteus (Shell, 2016); Deepwater Pontus (Shell, 2017); Deepwater Poseidon (Shell, 2017); and Deepwater Conqueror (Chevron, 2016).

"We believe that our relationship with Transocean will provide us with access to leading international energy companies, as well as suppliers and other key service providers for our industry," the subsidiary said in the filing.

"We also believe that Transocean’s operational and managerial expertise will enable us to compete more effectively for contract opportunities than other contract drilling companies similar in size to us."

Transocean Partners shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "RIGP".

Underwriters include Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo Securities, with Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch, DNB Markets, MUFG, Credit Agricole CIB and Standard Chartered acting as co-managers.

In a planned future move, Transocean is still planning to separate eight of its mid-water floating rigs active in the UK North Sea, forming a new entity to be dubbed Caledonia Offshore Drilling.

Rawson set to look deeper http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370260/Rawson-set-to-look-deeper Seismic reprocessing will help Oz player size up Otway holding bianca.bartucciotto@upstreamonline.com (Bianca Bartucciotto) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370260/Rawson-set-to-look-deeper Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:35:44 +0000 live The company recently completed a successful drilling campaign in some exploration licences in the basin.

Rawson will reprocess selective 2D seismic lines, with may be set to include some 3D seismic data.

The programme will focus on the deeper stratigraphic interval, in the Pretty Hill and Casterton formations.

It will tie the licences with the company’s recently drilling programme.

Eni loses Brazil court battle http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370269/Eni-loses-Brazil-court-battle Court rules in favour of government's decision to cancel 2006 award of offshore block Josh.Lewis@upstreamonline.com (Josh Lewis) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370269/Eni-loses-Brazil-court-battle Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:30:48 +0000 live The government's 2006 decision to suspend the auction and its 2012 decision to cancel the sale were legitimate and offered no recourse to grant ENI's injunction, Reuters cited Judge Eugenio Rosa de Araujo, of the 17th part of 2nd Regional Federal Court in Rio de Janeiro, as saying in his ruling.

The auction was suspended and finally cancelled after the discovery of giant offshore reserves in a region known as the subsalt, south of Rio de Janeiro and near the block for which Eni had made the highest bid. The suspension and cancellation came before Eni could complete its purchase and sign a contract with Brazilian regulator the ANP.

The discovery of the subsalt reserves led the government to rewrite its oil rules. The new rules, first used in 2013, replaced the use of concession rights with production-sharing contracts in the subsalt region.

Eni bid 307.4 million reais ($142.3 million at the time) for the area, nearly double the next highest bid from Brazil's state-led oil company Petrobras, Reuters reported.

The subsalt resources are trapped beneath a layer of salt under five kilometres or more of ocean and seabed.

Other companies that lost their winning bids at the cancelled auction include Repsol, India's Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and Norway's Norsk Hydro. 

The ruling on Eni's case came on 20 June but was only made public by the ANP on Tuesday.

ENI's lawyers in Brazil were not immediately available for comment. 

Sinopec ditches Puffin exploration rights http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370257/Sinopec-ditches-Puffin-exploration-rights Joint venture relinquishes Timor Sea permit confirming earlier reports bianca.bartucciotto@upstreamonline.com (Bianca Bartucciotto) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370257/Sinopec-ditches-Puffin-exploration-rights Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:01:02 +0000 live The company operates the Puffin oilfield joint venture and has recently finished an extensive evaluation of AC/P 22.

This confirms earlier reports that the company was set to give up the licence.

Joint venture partner AED Oil announced that in the absence of any real exploration targets that would produce economic outcomes, the permit should be relinquished.

All of the partners and administrators have supported the relinquishment.

Drilling of a well, which was mandatory as part of the work commitment for the permit, will now not go ahead because of the relinquishment.

Oil production from the Puffin oilfield stopped in May 2009 and a review of the status of the licence is required within five years.

Seven wells will be abandoned in water depths of between 75 metres and 104 metres.

The Puffin-7 and Puffin-8 wells - which are understood to be first in line - are currently in a suspended state with all control and safety valving closed.

The next five wells were temporarily suspended with wellheads in place but no subsea christmas trees or completion strings.

Sinopec bought a 60% equity stake in the field from AED Oil in June 2008 for A$600 million ($563 million).

Tullow firms up Namibia leads http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370258/Tullow-firms-up-Namibia-leads Multi-million barrel potential prospects identified on initial seismic data Josh.Lewis@upstreamonline.com (Josh Lewis) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370258/Tullow-firms-up-Namibia-leads Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:31:15 +0000 live Joint venture partner Pancontinental revealed on Wednesday that early interpretation of 3D and 2D seismic which was gathered earlier this year over EL 0037 had started “to yield very encouraging results”.

It said initial mapping had confirmed at least four main prospects in the 3D area named Albatross, Gannett, Petrel and Seagull.

The most promising of those prospects is Albatross, a large base-of-slope turbidite fan of mid to early Cretaceous age which covers about 300 square kilometres and has been assessed to have the potential to contain 422 million barrels of oil.

Pancontinental said the chance of success at the prospect was currently estimated at 17%, adding that it was interpreted to be horizontally and vertically close to the fairway of mature oil source rocks which had been previously identified and subsequently verified in the Wingat-1 well which was drilled in the adjacent licence area.

The remaining prospects and leads are currently assessed to hold gross mean risked resources of more than 150 million barrels of oil.

Pancontinental warned that the prospective resource estimates given so far were made using existing data and were subject to change when fully processed 3D and 2D data became available and had been interpreted and mapped.

It added a number of additional large prospects were expected to be identified and mapped as possible drilling targets once the data was fully interpreted.

It expects fast track processed results from the seismic shoots earlier this year will be available by mid- to late-August, with fully processed data becoming available in September.

EL 0037 covers an area of 17,295 square kilometres in the offshore Walvis basin.

Tullow operates the licence with a 65% stake and is partnered by Pancontinental on 30% and Paragon Oil & Gas on 5%.

FMC beats on strong subsea quarter http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370250/FMC-beats-on-strong-subsea-quarter Equipment maker more than doubles earnings from 2013 period, helped by business sale Luke.Johnson@upstreamonline.com (Luke Johnson) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370250/FMC-beats-on-strong-subsea-quarter Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:14:04 +0000 live FMC more than doubled earnings in the three months ending in June compared to a year earlier. It tallied $226.3 million in the period compared to $105.2 million a year earlier.

The profits came on nearly $2 billion in revenues, up 16% from a year ago.

Subsea technologies contributed a healthy chunk to the bottom line, adding $850 million to the total $1.5 billion in inbound orders. Subsea technologies backlog was $6.3 billion. Revenue for the segment was $1.3 billion, up 18% from a year earlier.

"Subsea technologies produced strong sales and margins largely resulting from improved execution of backlog," said chief executive John Gremp.

"We are pleased with the results from our focus on improving execution and have increased confidence of delivering mid-teen margins in our subsea business in the second half of the year."

The Surface technologies segment brought in $511 million in second quarter revenue, 16% more than a year ago.

Operating profit in the segment increased 38% to $79 million driven by volume growth in the North American fluid control and international surface wellhead businesses.

Energy Infrastructure revenue in the second quarter was down 6% to $149 million, while operating profit decreased 16% to $18 million as reduced revenue from the sale of the of Material Handling Products business was partially offset by improved results in loading systems and separation systems businesses during the quarter.

Cowen & Co said in the note that "operating performance exceeded our expectations, particularly in subsea", though "orders were below our forecast".

FMC earnings included a pre-tax $86 million gain related to the sale of FMC's Material Handling Products business.

Nabors swings to profit http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370254/Nabors-swings-to-profit Top land drilling contractor reports strong activity across a range of business segments Kathrine.Schmidt@upstreamonline.com (Kathrine Schmidt) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370254/Nabors-swings-to-profit Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:24:24 +0000 live The Bermuda-headquartered company reported net income of $64.4 million in the three months to June, up from a loss of $4.3 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue also increased to $1.62 billion, ahead of $1.4 billion in the 2013 quarter.

"Operationally, our second quarter represented solid improvement in all of our larger segments, partially offset by the usual seasonal weakness in Canada and Alaska," chief executive Anthony Petrello said.

"Our US land operations led the way with improved pricing and a significant increase in rig activity.

"Our international results also improved as the initial contribution of new rig startups more than compensated for the temporary suspension of several existing rigs."

Nabors also reported strong ongoing demand for its land units, signing deals for eight more of its Pace-X newbuilds in the US market.

The company added that it expected to realise about $100 million from the sale of Alaska land holdings and four "non-core" US offshore rigs.

Nabors also said a $2.86 billion deal with C&J Energy Services in a merger of completion businesses is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

N’Goma FPSO sails off to Eni field http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370241/N’Goma-FPSO-sails-off-to-Eni-field Unit leaves shipyard en route to new home off Angola Kathrine.Schmidt@upstreamonline.com (Kathrine Schmidt) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370241/N’Goma-FPSO-sails-off-to-Eni-field Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:52:25 +0000 live The FPSO has left behind the Paenal shipyard and is headed to the Eni-operated Block 15/06 where hookup will be completed with the SBM Installer.

The vessel, which had its naming ceremony on 18 July, is owned by Sonasing, a joint venture between SBM Offshore, Sonangol and Angolan Offshore Services.

N’Goma unit arrived at the Paenal shipyard in Port Amboim on 17 June after the majority of the upgrading job was done at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore.

Paenal built two modules for the FPSO – the sulphate removal package and hot oil pump – both of which have now been integrated. The other nine modules were fabricated and integrated at Keppel.

The Singaporean outfit performed upgrading work on the hull and turret, as well as integration of new and refurbished topsides.

The unit will, following final verifications, set sail for the Eni-operated Block 15/6 West Hub development off Angola, where first oil is expected this year.

The former FPSO Xikomba will have total oil-producing capacity of 100,000 barrels per day, gas-handling capacity of 115 million cubic feet per day and water injection capacity of 120,000 barrels per day.

Pressure on Apache to shed global stakes http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370209/Pressure-on-Apache-to-shed-global-stakes Houston-based independent's shares up after activist investor urges sales Luke.Johnson@upstreamonline.com (Luke Johnson) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370209/Pressure-on-Apache-to-shed-global-stakes Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:27:06 +0000 live The hedge fund disclosed late on Monday that it had taken a stake in Apache worth more than $1 billion. It subsequently sent a letter to shareholders calling for the company to sell out of expensive international ventures, in particular the capital intensive Wheatstone and Kitimat liquefied natural gas projects in Australia and Canada, respectively.

Jana wants Apache to refocus its efforts on areas like the Eagle Ford shale and Permian basin in Texas, where profits are more predictable and near-term. Apache holds around 1.7 million acres in the Permian and about 180,000 acres in the Eagle Ford.

If Apache does not unload stakes in those international ventures, Jana urged the company to sell itself, according to reports.

"A value-unlocking opportunity this obvious and extraordinary is unlikely to persist," Jana reportedly wrote in the letter.

Apache has already made progress in unlocking shareholder value, selling off some $10 billion worth of international assets in the past year and a half. It has also indicated efforts to find a buyer for its 50% stake in Kitimat, which it operates alongside US supermajor Chervon, and has reportedly engaged in talks to sell its 13% stake in Wheatstone.

"We welcome Jana Partners' investment in Apache," Apache spokesman Pat Cassidy said. "We are focused on continuing to execute our strategic plan to rebalance our portfolio and to focus our strategy on more predictable and profitable production growth in our North American onshore assets."

Apache's New York-listed shares closed down on Tuesday at $98.56, but rose 5.4% in after-hours trade. The stock was at $103.60 at midday in Houston. The company has a market capitalisation of $40.38 billion.

Jana has had success as an activist investor recently, successfully lobbying management at QEP Resources to sell off non-core assets in the Midcontinent region and in the Williston basin earlier this year.

Analysts viewed the proposed moves as positive for Apache's stock.

Capital One Southcoast analyst Richard Tullis said Apache "could benefit from a more focused asset base that should allow the company to better highlight" its shale assets.

Energy investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt said a sale of the LNG stakes could be worth as much as $2.5 billion to Apache, "depending on sale timing".

However, Tudor Pickering said a sale "would more likely be a positive for optics" than net asset value

"Certain parts of North American portfolio could take more capital... but we suspect any proceeds would go largely towards additional share buybacks and/or dividend increases," Tudor Pickering said.

Apache spent more than $2 billion to buy back its own stock in the past year and the board has authorised repurchasing of additional shares.

Oil sands protesters arrested in Utah http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370235/Oil-sands-protesters-arrested-in-Utah Authorities set to release all 21 after demonstration against first commercial oil sands projects in US Luke.Johnson@upstreamonline.com (Luke Johnson) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370235/Oil-sands-protesters-arrested-in-Utah Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:44:03 +0000 live Scores of protesters showed up early on Monday morning to the site in Utah operated by US Oil Sands, locking themselves to equipment used to grade an area ahead of the construction of a bitumen processing plant about 200 miles east of Salt Lake City.

Others sat in the road to as a "blockade" to prevent work from happening, while banners were hung on fences reading "Respect Existence or Expect Resistance".

A total of 21 were arrested including two that came to the Uintah County jail to "provide support" to the protesters after the demonstration, according to the group Utah Tar Sand Resistance.

Two protesters were injured, with one sent to hospital, the group said.

On Tuesday, the group said on Twitter that all were being released from jail.

Calgary-based US Oil Sands has commenced work work on Utah’s first commercial oil sands mine at PR Springs.

The company was informed in a letter from the US Environmental Protection Agency that the project area includes land within the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, a fact that reportedly fueled the protest on Monday.

US Oil Sands has secured all the necessary state permits to begin construction on the 213-acre site. The company won a victory in the Utah Supreme Court several weeks ago when a case was dismissed alleging that a groundwater discharge permit-by-rule, issued in 2008, was not correctly issued.

The court ruled the company’s process of bitumen extraction uses low-impact, non-toxic substances, recycles water, and does not use tailings ponds, and therefore has "negligible impact" on groundwater.

Commercial start-up of the $60 million, 2000-barrel-per-day first phase of the project is expected during the second half of 2015.

US Oil Sands has trumpeted the lower environmental impact of its Utah project compared to the large-scale developments in Canada. The company will use a citrus-based biodegradable solvent to separate oil from the sand, thus eliminating the need for tailings ponds.

Celtique UK well plans blocked http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370158/Celtique-UK-well-plans-blocked Private explorer refused permission to drill Wisborough Green prospect Eoin.Ocinneide@upstreamonline.com (Eoin O'Cinneide) http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/1370158/Celtique-UK-well-plans-blocked Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:12:40 +0000 live The decision from the West Sussex County Council planning committee concerning the planned probe at Wisborough Green had been expected after the council's director of strategic planning had already recommended it be turned down.

A tweet from the council on Tuesday said it has "officially refused the application" for the prospect.

The council director had already said that the explorer had not given enough consideration to how many heavy goods vehicles would be needed to serve the development near the West Sussex village of Wisborough Green and found its proposed route through a conservation area to be unsatisfactory.

The planning report had, however, also noted that, aside from the HGVs and increased noise, there were no other adverse affects to public health or the environment arising from the application.

It also acknowledged the national planning policy framework’s guidelines on the need for indigenous oil & gas resources state that such mineral prospecting applications should ordinarily be approved.

Nobody was immediately available for comment at Celtique after Tuesday's decision was made by the council committee.

Although Celtique was looking to drill a conventional well, it also intended to intersect two shale formations to gain data.

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said: "The shale industry’s clumsy attempt to impose fracking on Sussex has fallen at the first hurdle.

"Save for Celtique, this is fantastic news for everyone in the area and should bring hope to other communities resisting the industrialisation of their local countryside.

UK privately-owned explorer Celtique Energie had planned to look for conventional oil pay in the Kimmeridge limestone and Great Oolite formations, but said it would also drill into the Kimmeridge and Liassic shales to gain log and core data.

If sufficient potential were to be uncovered in the shale, permission could be sought in future for a horizontal well and hydraulic fracturing.

Greenpeace said that a group of nine residents and landowners had joined forces to oppose horizontal drilling underneath their land, which includes much of the perimiter of the drill site.

Celtique Energie withdrew its application for a planned horizontal well at Fernhurst elsewhere in the country earlier this year after another set of landowners objected to the drill.

The company is still seeking permission to drill a vertical well on the site, with a delayed decision from the South Downs National Park Authority now expected at its meeting on 3 September.

The UK government published plans earlier this year that would change the law to allow horizontal drilling without the landowners’ prior consent, but it has yet to be enacted.