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Oil and Gas Energy News Update

Monday, May 16, 2011

Iran's President to Be Caretaker of Oil Ministry

- Iran's President to Be Caretaker of Oil Ministry

Monday, May 16, 2011
Xinhua News Agency
by Xiong Tong

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he will run Iran's Oil Ministry as a caretaker following his move to remove some ministers and to merge some ministries, the local satellite Press TV reported Monday.

"The Iranian government and Majlis (Parliament) have consensus on the Oil Ministry merger... I am the caretaker for the Oil Ministry," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

Last Monday, the cabinet ministers announced Ahmadinejad government's downsizing plan to merge ministries of roads and transportation with housing and urban Development, energy with oil, industries and mines with commerce, and welfare and social security with labor and social affairs.

The decision to merge ministries was made based on a "legal duty" and "structural obligation," said the Iranian president on Sunday, according to Press TV.

In three separate decrees on Saturday, Ahmadinejad dismissed Welfare and Social Security Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, Minister of Industries and Mines Ali-Akbar Mehrabian and Oil Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi from their posts, according to the 53rd article of the country's Fifth Five-Year Development Plan.

According to the plan, the Iranian government is obliged to reduce its ministries form 21 to 17 to officially improve the efficiency of state administration.

Copyright (c) 2011 Xinhua News Agency

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Far East Energy Reports Shouyang Production Testing Results

- Far East Energy Reports Shouyang Production Testing Results

Monday, May 16, 2011
Far East Energy Corp.

Far East Energy announced the preliminary results of production testing on the SYS02, P8 and P12 pilot development test wells in the Shouyang Block. The SYS02 well is located midway between the northern and southern boundaries of the block and is approximately 20 kilometers south of the 1H production area. It is producing from a depth of 1274 meters which is several hundred meters deeper than the Company's wells in the northern portion of the block. Initial calculations indicate the Company has again found high permeability in the #15 coal seam, and that the high permeability observed at shallower depths also exists well down-structure at much greater depths.

The P8 is 12 kilometers due east of the 1H area. Preliminary production tests at the P8 also indicate high permeability. The P12 pilot development test well is located approximately 22 kilometers southeast of the 1H area and is producing between 35 and 60 Mcfpd, with indications of high permeability. If these preliminary high permeability results are maintained in the SYS02, P8, and P12, then this will indicate that the entire upper half of the block (approximately 980 square kilometers or 242,500 acres) may have high permeability and be potentially commercial.

In addition, drilling activities of pilot development test wells P18, and SYS05 are proceeding. These wells represent test wells reaching out as far to the east and south as the Company has drilled to date. The SYS05 well is located well into in the lower half of the block, approximately 14 kilometers south and 22 kilometers east of the SYS02 and 35 kilometers south of the producing 1H area. Pilot development test well P18 well is located 26 kilometers southeast of the 1H area, in the far eastern area of the block. These wells will give the Company an expanded look at the permeability of the #15 coal seam at a significant distance from the present producing area and well beyond the recently drilled SYS02 and P12 wells. These test wells will provide valuable information regarding the prevailing permeability in a previously-untested significant portion of the Shouyang Block.

As announced on May 4th, the Company is connecting 14 previously drilled wells to its gathering system. In addition, 3 wells currently being drilled, and 9 wells with locations prepared for drilling, will be connected. This will add a total of 26 additional wells to our original gathering system, bringing the total number of wells tied to the gathering system to 56.

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Hydra Energy Welcomes Non-Executive Chairman

- Hydra Energy Welcomes Non-Executive Chairman

Monday, May 16, 2011
Hydra Energy

Hydra Energy announced the appointment of Mr. Andy Rigg as Non-Executive Chairman with immediate effect.

Andy has over forty years of experience in the oil and gas and energy sectors working in geological and managerial executive positions and also in non-executive Board positions in such companies as Esso Australia, Santos, Ampolex, Anzon Australia and MEO Australia. His most recent roles were as Deputy Chairman of Mosaic Oil prior to that company's successfully implemented Scheme of Arrangement with AGL Energy Limited in 2010, and as Managing Director of Elk Petroleum Limited.

Paul Nimmo, Managing Director of Hydra Energy said, "I have known and worked with Andy for a number of years and am delighted that he is joining the Hydra Energy team. His experience, knowledge and network within the upstream industry together with his significant geological expertise will further enhance the capabilities and strategic input of the board, leading to the continued growth of Hydra Energy."

Hydra Energy is backed by Barclays Natural Resource Investments (BNRI), a division of Barclays Capital.

Meb Somani, Head of Oil & Gas Investments at BNRI said, "We are very pleased to have a person of Andy's caliber joining the Hydra team and we look forward to working closely with him, and the Hydra team, as it acquires its first assets."

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Schlumberger Unveils Latest Version of Wellbore Software Platform

- Schlumberger Unveils Latest Version of Wellbore Software Platform

Monday, May 16, 2011
Schlumberger Ltd.

At the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts Annual Symposium, Schlumberger announced the release of Techlog 2011 software.

"This latest release of Techlog enables customization at several levels of granularity—from the corporate perspective, within a project, and for the petrophysicist, geoscientist or engineer," said Stephanie Gottlib-Zeh, vice president, Geoscience and Drilling, Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS). "This ensures consistency and auditability, while still supporting productivity and personalized workflows for individual users."

The new Pore Pressure Prediction module incorporates industry standard methods to compute the pore pressure and fracture gradients and establish the safe mud weight window to ensure safe drilling operations. The 2011 release also sees the full implementation of GeoFrame ELAN functionality in Techlog, augmenting the existing mineral solver capabilities with the proven algorithms from this industry recognized application. Other advanced applications such as NMR and Wellbore Imaging received significant upgrades in this release.

The 2011 release delivers a complete modernization of the application interface. The new ribbon interface combines highly intuitive icons with complete customization capability—to bring clarity and knowledge sharing directly into the application. A key innovation in usability, the convenient dashboard mode supports automatic window tiling to maximize the workspace and reduce mouse movements. Furthermore, an intelligent right-mouse-click in context brings frequently used tools and actions directly to the users' fingertips. All of these new developments ensure a significant increase in productivity.

The powerful workflow interface enables users to create comprehensive cross-domain analysis workflows that are applicable across single or multiple wells with equal ease. Workflows can be saved and shared as templates, edited and re-applied to new data facilitating consistency, ease of use and efficient sharing of expertise across asset teams.

"With the significant developments in usability, technology from GeoFrame and more advanced expertise contributions from Schlumberger, we continue to develop Techlog as the most capable wellbore package available on the market," said Gottlib-Zeh.

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Delta Marine Technologies Inks Agency Agreement with Ampelmann

- Delta Marine Technologies Inks Agency Agreement with Ampelmann

Monday, May 16, 2011
Delta Marine Technologies Inc.

Delta Marine Technologies and its affiliates announced the signing of an Agency Agreement with Ampelmann Operations BV of The Netherlands as sole agent throughout much of the Western Hemisphere excluding Brazil for the rental and hire of the Ampelmann Offshore Access System.

This system is designed to address the requirement for personnel transfer in the offshore environment where active compensation of wave-induced vessel motions of marine vessels brings safety and efficiency to new levels of performance unmatched by the more conventional conveyances currently employed in the offshore energy industries of Oil and Gas, Wind and Wave Power.

Future applications for the Ampelmann system include but are not limited to the following:

  • Floatel accommodation support
  • Offshore hook-up and commissioning
  • Platform decommissioning
  • Platform jacket installations
  • Brownfield re-development
  • Production operations for unmanned facilities
  • Ship-to-Ship personnel transfer
  • Wind Energy installation projects
  • Wave Energy installation projects

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Obama Orders Expansion of Oil Drilling

- Obama Orders Expansion of Oil Drilling

Monday, May 16, 2011
The Washington Post
by Steven Mufson

Nine months after the end of the nation's worst oil spill, President Obama is ordering the Interior Department to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, hold annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve and speed up geological research of exploration prospects off the south and mid-Atlantic coasts.

The moves, announced in the president's Saturday radio address, are not so much a reversal as a return to the policy stance Obama adopted in March 2010, shortly before the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in flames and BP's Macondo well began gushing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

In his four-minute address, Obama touched on the hardship caused by $4-a-gallon gasoline, but made no mention of last year's spill, an environmental disaster that temporarily derailed new wells and set off political sparring over drilling permits that Republicans and oil executives say have been needlessly delayed.

Instead, the president said he would increase access to the Alaskan reserve, an area four times the size of New Jersey. He said that he was also ordering Interior to hold a Gulf of Mexico lease sale this year and two in 2012, thus completing the department's five-year plan for the area. And he said that seismic work off the Atlantic coast would map out new areas for future lease sales.

The only indirect reference to the spill was when Obama said that companies needed to "meet higher safety standards when it comes to exploration and drilling."

Obama said he would also extend oil company leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska where work was delayed by the drilling moratorium he imposed last year. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement has issued 14 deep-water drilling permits since the moratorium.

Last year, the gulf oil spill seemed certain to doom efforts to open up new lands or coastlines for drilling, but congressional Republicans and oil industry executives have taken advantage of high gasoline prices to charge that Obama isn't doing enough to increase domestic supply. Just last week, the Republican-controlled House passed three bills that would compel the government to sell leases for exploration in new coastal and onshore areas, while limiting the ability of drilling foes to mount legal challenges on environmental grounds.

The president's actions could help defuse the drilling and oil supply issue, though Obama acknowledged that "there are no quick fixes to the problem" of expensive gasoline, which Washington Post-ABC News polls indicate is a liability for the president.

Obama's address drew praise from Republicans, criticism from Democrats, and more complaints from the American Petroleum Institute.

"I've been strongly critical of this administration's policies on domestic production, but today I want to give credit to the president," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

By contrast, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said that opening the East and West Coasts to drilling would, according to government estimates, only lower gas prices by 3 cents a gallon by 2030.

"That's not about relief now, that's not really even about consequential relief in the future, and it puts at risk significant coastal economies like New Jersey has - its commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, and tourism industry," he said.

Menendez is an author of a Senate bill that would curtail oil industry tax benefits amounting to $21 billion over 10 years. Obama gave that measure a plug in his address.

"The American people shouldn't be subsidizing oil companies at a time when they're making near-record profits," Obama said. He said Congress should "end these oil company giveaways once and for all."

"This announcement is carefully timed ahead of the oil tax vote in the Senate next week to counter the charge that the administration is against new domestic supply," said Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser at the Bipartisan Policy Center who worked on energy issues in the Clinton administration. "In the face of consumer complaints about high prices, the White House is determined to occupy the populist position on both oil company tax breaks and oil production at the same time."

The president has also set a goal of reducing oil imports by 30 percent by the next decade.

A senior administration official said the Obama administration was not reacting to the House measures, but that it had been "on track" to complete its Gulf of Mexico drilling plans "regardless of legislation." Another senior official said the administration believed it could move ahead in Alaska in "attractive areas" for drilling while remaining "consistent with environmental values."

Still, the announcement of new lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve provoked concern among environmental groups.

The 23-million acre reserve is located west of the big but declining Prudhoe Bay oil field on the North Slope of Alaska. Set aside by President Warren G. Harding as a strategic naval petroleum reserve in 1923, it was renamed and transferred to Interior in 1976.

It was opened up to some limited drilling in 1980 as a result of a provision inserted into an appropriations bill by the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). A later provision diverted half the royalties to the state of Alaska, even though the reserve is federal land. Six lease sales were held between 1999 and 2010.

Environmental groups say that the reserve provides critical habitat for the peregrine falcon, two caribou herds, moose, rough-legged hawks, gray wolves and other wildlife.

On Oct. 1, 30 environmental and conservation groups submitted a letter urging a "balanced development and strong protection of the extraordinary biological resources in the Reserve."

A senior administration official said that some areas, such as Teshekpuk Lake, would not be open to drilling.

Obama also said he would expedite other Alaska permits. That could help Shell Oil, which has poured $2.2 billion into buying leases and $1.5 billion into preparations for drilling in Alaska, while fending off legal challenges by environmental groups.

In a recent interview, Shell president Marvin Odum said, "Certainly my view is that when the government puts leases out there for sale, it's a statement that they're ready to go." But, he added, Shell has been waiting five years for one air permit for drilling in the remote Chukchi Sea.

"To wait five years before drilling is a pretty frustrating process," he said.

Obama administration officials also said that they would scrutinize existing leases, asserting that half of leased areas onshore and 70 percent of those offshore were "inactive," despite oil industry complaints about limited lease sales.

Oil companies have argued that the administration is counting areas where companies are still making preparations to explore.

Obama said he would seek to "create new incentives" that a senior administration official said could include lower royalty rates for early development.


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Clamor Increasing to Regulate Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling

- Clamor Increasing to Regulate Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling

Monday, May 16, 2011
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Timothy Puko, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

State Rep. Garth Everett gets e-mails about Marcellus shale legislation every day lately. As of last week, his staff had counted 68 bills related to gas drilling filed in Harrisburg in fewer than five months.

After years of relative inaction on the state's Marcellus shale gas boom, state lawmakers say they might be on the verge of passing industry reforms and regulations.

Some legislative leaders are waiting on this summer's report from Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission. But key committee chairs agree the state needs to beef up its environmental rules, especially to protect water.

Three environmental groups issued policy recommendations in the past two weeks, suggesting broader buffer zones around drilling sites and larger bond requirements to insure for damages. The Sierra Club's Pennsylvania chapter says it is getting ready to release a "Landowners' Bill of Rights."

The proposal, still being written, will demand public announcements of pending drilling permits and easier public access to view those permits, said Thomas Au, the group's conservation chair and water quality committee co-chair. It also will insist on more protections for the thousands of property owners who don't own mineral rights to their land and now have no say over drilling on their property, he added.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation released a joint report last week, and PennEnvironment released recommendations May 5. They share suggestions that legislators say are popular in Harrisburg:

  • Shale wells should be at least 500 feet from buildings, drinking-water wells and high-quality waterways, up from the 200 feet permitted now.
  • Drillers should pay to test water wells within 2,500 feet of gas wells before drilling, and pay for new water supplies if those wells sour within a year.
  • Drillers should have to put up more than a single $25,000 bond for their wells statewide, guaranteeing money is there to pay for damage to roads and the environment, and to cap wells when they dry up.

All three groups released reports with similar recommendations in past years, but with little legislative success. Lawmakers hesitated last year because of the state budget impasse, the imminent departure of Gov. Ed Rendell and the General Assembly election, said John Walliser, vice president of legal and governmental affairs at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

"But I do think this is going to get a lot more traction than it did last session. I think there was a lot of concern from the Legislature that they wanted to get more information and a better understanding of what's going on here," said Walliser, whose group is part of Corbett's commission. "I think there's a recognition now that changes do need to be made."

Industry braces

Industry officials expect changes from Harrisburg this year and, while some could be useful, not all are imperative, said Dave Spigelmeyer, vice president of government relations for Chesapeake Energy.

For example, most drillers have started water well testing out to 2,500 feet around their shale gas wells, he said.

"You don't necessarily have to have laws in place to have the industry perform," he said. "We do things not only to protect the public but to protect the industry as well."

The state's Oil and Gas Act needs to be updated because it was not written to deal with the widespread, deep drilling that has come with the Marcellus shale, said Sen. Mary Jo White, R-Venango County, chair of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee. She said ensuring safe disposal of drilling wastewater is her top priority.

Widespread feeling

Everett, R-Lycoming County, a member of the House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, said he supports the environmental groups' push for better well water protection. He's also considering bigger buffer zones and said the Department of Environmental Protection should be able to hit offending drillers with harsher punishments.

"Consensus over the last year has really been building," said Sen. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne County, the minority chair on White's committee. "I really sense a great deal of momentum."

But several Republican leaders want to wait. Corbett's commission has until July 22 to release its recommendations, and its members are the experts, said Stephen Miskin, spokesman for House Republican leadership.

"We do fully support strong regulations on the industry. Definitely strict enforcement," Miskin said. "But, in order to do something, let's see what (commissioner members) have to say first. They're hearing from the industry, they're hearing from outsiders, they're hearing from concerned people."

The governor's commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. James Cawley, has 30 members, including leaders of seven state agencies such as the DEP. Members are working with representatives of the industry, environmental groups, business groups and local governments.

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Copyright (c) 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Indonesia Needs $34B in Annual Investment in Oil

- Indonesia Needs $34B in Annual Investment in Oil

Monday, May 16, 2011
Asia Pulse Pte Ltd

Indonesia needs up to Rp290 trillion (US $34 billion) in new investment in the oil and gas sector per year to prevent further decline in the country's oil output.

Shrinking production lately has been caused by a number of factors such as delay in investment for explorations for new reserves, analysts said.

Most of the producing oil field have been too old with production shrinking 12 percent per year, Sammy Hamzah, vice president of the Indoensian Petroleum Association said.

In addition, 70 percent of the production facilities have been told that that frequency of unplanned shutdown is higher, Sammy told the newspaper Investor Daily.

(C) 2011 Asia Pulse Pte Ltd.

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Western Pennsylvania Firefighters Trained in Natural-Gas Blazes

- Western Pennsylvania Firefighters Trained in Natural-Gas Blazes

Monday, May 16, 2011
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Craig Smith, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When it comes to natural-gas fires, what lies beneath worries firefighters.

"It's what you can't see," said New Castle fire Chief Thomas A. Maciarello.

More than 50 firefighters from 16 Western Pennsylvania fire departments recently completed specialized training on battling natural-gas fires, such as the one that ignited in February at a Marcellus shale drilling site in Washington County.

"It's essential firefighters understand how to respond to a natural-gas fire because many times they are the first at the scene," said Carol Fox, president of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, which conducted the training at company facilities in Ellwood City in Lawrence County and Waynesburg in Greene County.

Fire departments don't often practice responding to such fires because they occur so infrequently, Maciarello and Mt. Lebanon fire Chief Nicholas Sohyda said.

"We have several gas transmission lines, underground vaults, brick gas houses, some near schools," Sohyda said. "It's not a high-frequency event. ... But there is the potential to have a little bit more significant incident."

The training "gives us an idea of what we can do," Maciarello said.

In addition to well fires, firefighters were trained in extinguishing fires caused by natural gas migrating to the surface; fires at an above-ground regulator station or meter; and fires in excavation pits.

Columbia Gas, with local headquarters in Canonsburg, serves about 400,000 customers in 26 counties. It is one of the 10 energy-distribution companies of NiSource Inc., which serves 3.8 million natural-gas and electric customers in nine states.

This fall, Columbia Gas will provide similar training to fire departments in eastern and central Pennsylvania.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Chesapeake Resumes Work Three Weeks after Accident

- Chesapeake Resumes Work Three Weeks after Accident

Monday, May 16, 2011
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by Laura Olson

Three weeks after the gas-well blowout at one of its Bradford County sites, Chesapeake Energy announced it will resume well-completion operations in Pennsylvania.

The company had voluntarily halted hydraulic fracturing and other procedures to prepare a well for production following an April 19 accident. As workers attempted to seal that well, briny wastewater spilled for several hours into a nearby creek tributary.

Chesapeake's well-completion work resumed in late April at its West Virginia and Ohio sites, but sites here remained idle as state Department of Environmental Protection officials sorted through company paperwork detailing what happened.

DEP spokeswoman Katy Gresh said the agency also was waiting on "assurances" from Chesapeake that they would use local well-control specialists if the company has an accident requiring such assistance. In the Bradford incident, the company called the Houston-based company Boots and Coots, who did not arrive on the scene for 12 hours.

Ms. Gresh said Chesapeake agreed to local well-control specialists in the future, which the company also noted in its statement.

The company attributed the accident's cause to a faulty connection at the wellhead, which allowed fluid to be released. They described the valve failure as "extremely rare," adding that they have since inspected their wellheads and updated how the equipment is assembled.

"We understand that operating in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a privilege," said John Reinhart, Chesapeake's vice president of operations for its eastern division. "We have learned from this and have taken steps to mitigate the risk of this type of event happening in the future."

Of the wastewater that spilled off the well pad, Chesapeake officials said about 240 barrels of "a mixture of well fluid and rain water" flowed onto nearby land and into a small tributary. They estimated that figure included one barrel's worth of highly diluted chemical additives used in hydraulic fracturing.

The spill caused "minimal and localized impact" to the environment, according to the company. They said a small farm pond near the well was drained, and the water treated at a Chesapeake wastewater recycling facility. DEP officials also have reported that an unknown number of amphibians died in the pond.

State environmental officials have not yet issued any fines or violations in response to the incident. Ms. Gresh said the DEP investigation is ongoing.

Copyright (c) 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Ithaca Confirms Reserves at Cook Field

- Ithaca Confirms Reserves at Cook Field

Monday, May 16, 2011
Ithaca Energy Inc.

Ithaca announced that further to the announcement of the Sale and Purchase Agreement ("SPA") with Hess:
  • The Company has been informed that Hess has received an exercising notice in relation to the existing Maclure field coventurers' rights to pre-empt the Maclure part of the Transaction
  • Sproule has completed its Reserves Audit Opinion on the Cook field and considers Management's view of combined remaining Proved plus Probable ("2P") reserves of 5.75 million barrels of oil equivalent ("mmboe") net to Ithaca as at January 1, 2011 to be reasonable
  • Adjusted consideration of US $62.5 million and the transfer from Ithaca to Hess of a 10% interest in three Southern North Sea exploration blocks

As announced on April 4, 2011, Ithaca entered into the SPA to acquire interests in the Cook oil field ("Cook") and Maclure oil field from Hess and to transfer certain blocks to Hess. Subject to completed documentation being executed by Hess and any pre-empting parties, the interest in the Maclure field will be removed from the Transaction and the consideration will be adjusted accordingly such that Ithaca shall acquire a 28.46% non-operated interest in only Cook from Hess. The effective date of the Transaction remains January 1, 2011.

The Company commissioned Sproule to undertake an independent audit of Management's estimate of remaining oil and gas reserves in the Cook field. Management estimate that the acquisition of the Cook interest will increase the Company's remaining 2P net reserves by 5.75 mmboe from 46.05 to 51.80 mmboe and this estimate has been considered reasonable by the findings of the audit. The audit was performed in accordance with the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook ("COGEH") reserves definitions and evaluation practices and procedures as specified by National Instrument 51-101 ("NI 51-101").

Based on 5.75 mmboe of 2P reserves remaining in Cook, the acquisition is priced at 10.87 USD per boe. Management anticipates that average production from Cook for 2011 to be approximately 1,900 boepd net to Ithaca.

The Transaction is anticipated to complete in 3Q 2011 and is subject to DECC and co-venturer approvals. At completion, the consideration will be subject to normal industry adjustments to reflect the income and costs incurred since the effective date.

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Otto Notes Drilling Ops at Duhat Well

- Otto Notes Drilling Ops at Duhat Well

Monday, May 16, 2011
Otto Energy Ltd.

Otto provided the following update on the progress of the Duhat-1 well. Since the last update, the well was drilled to 325m TVD (True Vertical Depth) in the 12 ¼" section before becoming stuck due to unstable hole conditions (similar to those experienced at this depth in the nearest offset well).

The well was subsequently plugged back to 224 meters TVD and successfully sidetracked. The well is currently drilling ahead at 295 meters TVD.

Geological prognosis is unchanged and rig performance is satisfactory to execute the work program.

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Max Petroleum Discovers Oil at Zhana Makat Field

- Max Petroleum Discovers Oil at Zhana Makat Field

Monday, May 16, 2011
Max Petroleum plc

Max Petroleum announced that the ZMA-ET2 appraisal well in the Zhana Makat Field has reached a total depth of 1,492 meters, with electric logs indicating 18 meters of net oil pay in three Triassic sandstone reservoirs at depths ranging between 1,283 and 1,358 meters. Reservoir quality appears excellent with porosities ranging from 18 to 26%. The Company is running production casing in the well. The Company will complete and test the ZMA-ET2 well using a workover rig after obtaining the requisite governmental approvals, and will announce test results as soon as practicable.

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Bering IDs Prospect in Permian Basin

- Bering IDs Prospect in Permian Basin

Monday, May 16, 2011
Bering Exploration Inc.

Bering has identified its initial West Texas prospect in the Permian Basin which has potential gross reserves of 600,000 barrels of oil or $60 million based upon current prices. This prospect is approximately 640 acres and will target the Sprayberry formation at a depth of approximately 9,000 feet. Bering is currently conducting its technical assessment and once satisfactorily completed will begin leasing the mineral rights. Bering expects to initially retain a100% working interest.

This prospect was the first identified as a result of its recently announced three year exclusive exploration agreement with Glaux Oil & Gas, LLC (Glaux) for the development of numerous leads and prospects in approximately 500,000 gross acres in West Texas using a proprietary aeromagnetic survey. Once leased, Bering will use other advanced oil finding technologies such as telluric and seismic to identify well locations.

The Permian Basin is one of the largest and most active oil basins in the United States, with the entire basin accounting for approximately 19 percent of total U.S. oil production. The Permian Basin remains a significant oil-producing province and contains an estimated 30 Billion barrels of remaining mobile oil and has the biggest potential for additional oil production in the country, containing 29% of estimated future oil reserve growth. Through increased use of enhanced-recovery practices the Permian Basin can have a substantial impact on U.S. oil production.

"We are excited to have our initial prospect selected and expect to begin the leasing phase later this month," stated Steven Plumb, Chief Financial Officer of Bering. "Our exclusive relationship with Glaux is providing us with quality prospects that have been identified using very unique and exciting technologies."

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Surge Wraps Up Ops at Valhalla Well

- Surge Wraps Up Ops at Valhalla Well

Monday, May 16, 2011
Surge Energy Inc.

Surge provided the results of its third horizontal multi-frac well at Valhalla South and to announce the closing of its previously announced light oil asset acquisition in North Dakota. Surge also announced that it has syndicated its bank facility and increased its bank line from $90 million to $120 million.

Operations Update at Valhalla South

Surge's third horizontal well (14-19-74-8W6M, 53.5 percent working interest "WI") in the Valhalla South Doig light oil pool (40 degree API) has been successfully drilled and completed. The well encountered approximately 1,000 meters of Doig Formation and was completed with ten frac stages averaging approximately 30 Tonnes of proppant per frac. A five day flow test on the well has been recently completed, resulting in flow rates averaging 1,450 boe/d (77 percent light oil and NGLs) with the last day of the test flowing at a rate of 1,225 boe/d ( 77 percent light oil and NGLs). The well produced through the 114mm (4.5") tie back liner which is currently being replaced with a more optimum production string of 89 mm (3 1/2") tubing.

This very encouraging result compares very favourably to the previously disclosed flow test on Surge's second horizontal well at 2-7-74-8W6M (100 percent WI) which averaged 945 boe/d (85 percent light oil and NGLs) over a similar five day flow period, with the fifth day flowing at 835 boe/d (79 percent light oil and NGLs). The 2-7 well has since been flowing for more than a month with a first month average rate of 635 boe/d (80 percent light oil and NGLs). The last day of the first month, the well flowed at 615 boe/d (80 percent light oil and NGLs).

Surge has identified at least 22 gross (15.8 net) more horizontal multi-frac locations to drill into the pool and has budgeted to drill, complete and tie-in at least three more wells this year. Drilling of the next well is scheduled to spud later this month.
In addition, Surge has now completed operations on the re-fracing of four of the 22 original vertical wells in the Doig pool. The first four were selected in order to sample and evaluate a representative cross section of the re-frac opportunities that the team initially envisioned. Two of the wells have now produced for over one month free of frac fluid and have far exceeded the team's initial expectations. In the first month, the two wells averaged a combined rate of 350 boe/d (50 percent light oil and NGLs) versus a combined pre re-frac rate of 50 boe/d. The other two wells are recovering re-frac load fluid and the team ultimately expects to see production improvements from these wells. A total of $1.4 million was spent on the program which has resulted in first month average incremental production additions of 300 boe/d ($4,700/boe/d production efficiency). With the results of the first four wells known, the team now views half of the remaining 18 vertical Doig wells as attractive re-frac candidates. The costs of these re-fracs are forecasted to be approximately $300,000 per well. These opportunities will be blended in with the future drilling and muti-frac operations in the Doig light oil pool. Surge is also evaluating plans for a secondary recovery pilot program in the area.

In addition to its operations at Valhalla South, Surge has budgeted four more Bluesky light oil wells at Windfall and ten more light oil Spearfish wells planned at Waskada to achieve its 2011 exit production estimate of 7,500 boe/d (greater than 70 percent light/medium oil & NGLs).

Closing of the Second Light Oil Asset Acquisition in North Dakota

Surge is pleased to announce that it has closed its second light oil asset acquisition in North Dakota. As previously disclosed, the first light oil asset acquisition in North Dakota closed on March 31, 2011. The assets from both acquisitions were acquired by Surge Energy USA Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Surge Energy Inc.
Through the two acquisitions, Surge acquired 100 bbl/d (2010 exit rate) of high quality, high netback, light oil production, 6,000 net acres of highly prospective land in the Spearfish light oil resource play and greater than 100,000 acres of high working interest, undeveloped land for total consideration of $21.5 million in cash. The acquisitions added an internally estimated 205 gross (120 net) horizontal Spearfish drilling locations and approximately 126 mmbbls gross DPIIP1. Surge now has approximately 329 gross (231 net) horizontal Spearfish drilling locations in southwest Manitoba and North Dakota and greater than 460 gross (350 net) oil drilling locations in the Company.

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Adino Reaches Terminal Depth at James Leonard Well

- Adino Reaches Terminal Depth at James Leonard Well

Monday, May 16, 2011
Adino Energy Corp.

Adino has reached terminal depth in the James Leonard Well #2 at 1,262 feet. An open hole log was performed which identified several potential pay zones including the Breneke, Fry and Jennings sands. Adino owns 100% of the working interest (86.5% net revenue interest) in the James Leonard lease.

Management expects to complete the well this week and begin testing, with results expected the week of May 23, 2011.

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EPC Offshore Scores Stella Gig

EPC Offshore Scores Stella Gig

Monday, May 16, 2011
EPC Offshore

EPC Offshore has won a £1million contract with Ithaca Energy which will see the company provide a team of experts to support key areas of the Greater Stella Area (GSA) Development project.

The initial phase will see EPC assist in developing the concept selection process across floating production, subsea and pipeline disciplines for the development of the Stella, Harrier and potentially Hurricane reservoirs, including provision of execution strategies for each element.

A 10-strong team will be involved in the work which is the latest in a series of contact wins for the company which is on track to double its turnover in its second year of business.

EPC's chief executive officer Keith Wallace said, "This is a very important project for us and cements our position as the people who turn opportunities into assets. As we continue to grow and increase our portfolio, we are achieving some of our key strategic initiatives such as an increased market presence and increased service delivery for our clients."

Based in Albyn Terrace, EPC Offshore works with exploration and production companies to progress projects to sanction and final delivery. It uses a comprehensive and structured set of principles to achieve maximum project value, optimum resource utilization and quality assurance.

The company, which employs more than 35 people, achieved a turnover in excess of £3 million in its first year.

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Bua Ban Delivers Additional Pay for Coastal Energy

Bua Ban Delivers Additional Pay for Coastal Energy

Monday, May 16, 2011
Coastal Energy Co.

Coastal Energy announced the successful results of the Bua Ban North B-03 exploration well.

The Bua Ban North B-03 well was drilled to 4,420 feet TVD and encountered 48 feet of net pay in the Miocene objective with average porosity and water saturations of 28% and 33%, respectively. The water saturations are the lowest seen thus far in the Miocene trend. The B-03 is currently being cased and will then be suspended pending the arrival of testing equipment. The Company then plans to spud the B-05 well to appraise the Lower Oligocene reservoir updip from the discovery in the B-01 well.

Randy Bartley, Chief Executive Officer of Coastal Energy, commented, "The B-03 discovery is significant as it proves that all Miocene fault block configurations along the western edge of the basin are capable of trapping hydrocarbons. This well also continues to highlight the high reservoir quality in the Lower Miocene and Upper Oligocene intervals on the western side of the basin. Based on this discovery we plan to begin evaluating any potential Miocene targets in the central part of the basin between Songkhla and Bua Ban.

"Our 2011 exploration program has been successful thus far with 6 of the 7 wells being successful and adding new reserves."

Randy Bartley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineering and Jerry Moon, Vice President, Technical & Business Development, a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, a Licensed Professional Geoscientist and a Certified Petroleum Geologist in the state of Texas, have reviewed the contents of this announcement.

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Lundin Spins Bit at Avaldsnes Appraisal

Lundin Spins Bit at Avaldsnes Appraisal

Monday, May 16, 2011
Lundin Petroleum AB

Lundin announced that drilling of the first appraisal well 16/3-4 on the Avaldsnes discovery located in PL501, in the North Sea sector of the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), has commenced.

The main objective of the well 16/3-4 is to delineate the Avaldsnes discovery made in 2010 with estimated recoverable resources between 100– 400 million barrels of oil in PL501. The target is to confirm the presence of late Jurassic sand approximately 5 km southeast of the Avaldsnes discovery well 16/2-6. The planned total depth is approximately 2,000 meters below mean sea level and the well will be drilled using the semi-submersible drilling rig Bredford Dolphin. Drilling is expected to take approximately 45 days. The second appraisal well, 16/2-7, will spud directly following the completion of well 16/3-4 using the same rig.

Lundin Petroleum is the operator of PL501 with 40 percent interest. Partners are Statoil Petroleum ASA with 40 percent and Mærsk Oil Norway AS with 20 percent.

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Noble Halts Drilling Ops at Leviathan Appraisal

- Noble Halts Drilling Ops at Leviathan Appraisal

Monday, May 16, 2011
Noble Energy Inc.

Noble has ended drilling operations at the Leviathan #2 appraisal well location, offshore Israel. During the drilling process, the Company identified water flowing to the sea floor from the wellbore. The source is a water sand that flowed behind the surface casing. It has been monitored closely and there are no indications of any hydrocarbons in the produced water. Drilling in the Leviathan #2 well had not yet reached the depth of the targeted gas intervals discovered in the Leviathan #1 well.

The Company has concluded that the current location and wellbore are unsuitable for continued drilling operations. As such, Noble Energy plans to relocate the drilling rig to a nearby location where it will resume the Leviathan natural gas appraisal drilling program.

Noble Energy operates Leviathan, offshore Israel in the Rachel and Amit licenses, with a 39.66 percent working interest. Other interest owners are Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration with 22.67 percent each and Ratio Oil Exploration with the remaining 15 percent.

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Lundin Spuds Skalle Well Offshore Norway

Lundin Spuds Skalle Well Offshore Norway

Monday, May 16, 2011
Lundin Petroleum AB

Lundin announced that drilling of exploration well 7120/2-3 in PL438 has commenced. The well will target the Skalle prospect, which is situated to the north of the Snohvit field in the Barents Sea, offshore Norway.

The main objective of well 7120/2-3 is to test Cretaceous and Jurassic/Triassic age sandstones of a multiple target structure. Lundin Petroleum estimates the Skalle prospect contains unrisked, gross, prospective resources of 250 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe).

The planned total depth is 2,650 meters below mean seal level and the well will be drilled using the semi-submersible drilling rig Transocean Leader. Drilling is expected to take approximately 60 days.

Lundin Petroleum is the operator of PL438 with 25 percent interest. Partners are RWE Dea Norge AS with 20 percent interest, Petoro AS with 20 percent, Spring Energy with 17.5 percent and Talisman Energy Norge with 17.5 percent interest.

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Brigham Accelerates Drilling Ops in Williston Basin

Brigham Accelerates Drilling Ops in Williston Basin

Monday, May 16, 2011
Brigham Exploration Co.

Brigham announced that it is accelerating its pace of drilling operations in the Williston Basin and expects to be at 10 operated rigs by July 2011, which is approximately six months ahead of its previously announced schedule. Brigham also announced that it has further expanded its Williston Basin acreage position, primarily as a result of an acquisition in its core de-risked area, and that it currently holds 378,100 net acres, 224,400 of which are located in its core operating projects. As a result of its drilling acceleration and acreage acquisitions, Brigham announced that it has increased its oil and gas capital expenditure budget to $835.5 million. Brigham also provided an update on its drilling and completion activities in the Williston Basin.

Drilling Acceleration

Brigham announced that it will accelerate its pace of operated drilling activities in the Williston Basin by adding rig eight later this month, rig nine in June 2011 and rig 10 in late June or early July 2011. Its 11th and 12th operated rigs are anticipated to be added in the first quarter 2012 and will be specially built walking rigs capable of maximizing efficiencies associated with smart pad drilling. As a result of the acceleration, Brigham anticipates that an additional 8.2 net wells will be spud in 2011. 

Williston Basin Acreage Acquisition

Brigham has entered into a binding agreement to acquire additional acreage in the Williston Basin, largely in its core de-risked project areas. As a result of the transaction, which is expected to close in approximately 30 days, Brigham will have approximately 378,100 net acres in the Williston Basin, of which 224,400 are located in its core operating areas. Including the aforementioned transaction, Brigham approximates that its core de-risked drilling inventory now totals 783 net remaining drilling locations. 

Updated Oil and Gas Capital Expenditure Budget

As a result of its drilling acceleration and acreage acquisitions Brigham announced that it is increasing its oil and gas capital expenditure budget to $835.5 million in 2011. The bulk of the increase will fund the capital spent in 2011 to drill 8.2 additional net Williston Basin wells, additional acreage acquisitions and the construction of additional support infrastructure to add rail yard facilities west of the Nesson Anticline to create efficiencies for the unloading of oil and gas tubulars and proppant. The expansion of the 2011 capital budget, as is reflected below, is subject to securing additional external capital.

Williston Basin Operated Drilling and Completion Update

Brigham's accelerated development of its acreage in North Dakota and Montana is proceeding with four operated rigs drilling in Rough Rider, two operated rigs drilling in Ross and one operated rig drilling in Montana.

In North Dakota, Brigham is currently drilling a Three Forks well in its Rough Rider project area in Williams County and has a Three Forks well waiting on completion in its Ross project area in Mountrail County. Two additional Three Forks wells are anticipated to spud in Rough Rider by mid-summer, both of which are in McKenzie County.

In Montana, Brigham recently completed drilling operations on the Gobbs 17-8 #1H, which is located in Roosevelt County, and will drill two consecutive additional wells in Montana, one of which is located in Roosevelt County and the other in Richland County.

Brigham currently has five wells flowing back, three wells fracing, two of which are being simultaneously fracture stimulated ("zipper fraced"), and 14 wells waiting on completion. To date, Brigham has completed 61 consecutive long lateral high frac stage wells in North Dakota at an average early 24-hour peak rate of approximately 2,880 barrels of oil equivalent.

Brigham is currently running two fully dedicated frac crews focused on completing Brigham operated horizontal wells in the basin. Brigham estimates that it will be capable of fracture stimulating and bringing on line to production a minimum of eight wells per month, with the goal of achieving 10 fracs per month due to the efficiencies gained by zipper fracs.

Management Comments

Bud Brigham, the Chairman, President and CEO, commented, "We're very excited to announce additional acceleration in the Williston Basin and expect to reach 10 operated rigs by July, roughly six months ahead of our previously announced plan. We believe that our smart pad efficiency initiatives, which incorporate zipper fracs, provide us the flexibility to ramp our operated rig count earlier than anticipated without the need to secure incremental pressure pumping capacity. Given our deep de-risked drilling inventory on our growing core acreage in the Williston Basin, this acceleration helps to accrete additional net asset value to our stockholders by pulling forward wells in the current period that would have otherwise been drilled much later. As we progress and gain more experience with the anticipated efficiencies in drilling and completing our wells utilizing our smart pads, we will revisit our production estimates for the full year 2011 and expect to update production guidance on our second quarter conference call."

Bud Brigham continued, "Our Land Department continues to exceed expectations with acreage additions that have increased our overall position in the Williston Basin by 13,800 net acres since last year. The majority of the acreage has been added to our core areas in Rough Rider and Montana at favorable per acre rates relative to other recently announced transactions. In addition, included in the updated land capital budget is capital that we have included to continue with our ground floor leasing efforts for the remainder of 2011. In total, we now estimate that we have 783 net de-risked locations remaining to be drilled. If we and other operators continue to see positive results in the Three Forks in Rough Rider, we believe our core de-risked inventory could be as high as 1,283 net remaining locations."

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Trinidad Drilling Extends Rig Contract Terms

Trinidad Drilling Extends Rig Contract Terms

Monday, May 16, 2011
Trinidad Drilling Ltd.

Trinidad Drilling has re-signed long-term, take-or-pay contracts with expanding gross margins on 24 existing rigs.

"Trinidad is known in the industry for its modern, technically advanced equipment that performs well in today's challenging drilling environment," said Lyle Whitmarsh, Trinidad's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our ability to re-sign our equipment to multi-year, take-or-pay contracts and lock in improving market conditions reflects the ongoing demand for our equipment and our track record of high performance."

As a part of its strategy to manage cyclicality in the drilling industry, Trinidad maintains a blend of long-term and spot market exposure over its fleet. This blend provides revenue stability during weak industry conditions, while also allowing the Company to participate in the upside as conditions improve. In line with this strategy, Trinidad recently completed contract negotiations on 17 rigs which were due to expire at the end of 2011. These rigs have now been re-signed with the same customer for an additional three year term at 100% utilization at increased dayrates. The successful re-contracting of these rigs reflects the increasing demand for high quality drilling equipment such as Trinidad's. In addition, Trinidad has re-signed another seven rigs, including four rigs that will be moved to the Powder River basin in Wyoming, creating a new operating area for Trinidad. These seven rigs have also been contracted for three years at 100% utilization.

The re-contracted rigs were largely built over the past five years and backed by long-term, take-or-pay contracts associated with their construction. Trinidad's ability to extend its initial contracts reflects the high quality of its equipment and the top performance it has been able to provide its customers. It also demonstrates the ongoing adaptability of the equipment to existing and emerging development areas.

Including the rigs being constructed in 2011 and the re-signed contracts, Trinidad has 52% of its fleet under contract with an average term remaining of approximately 2.3 years. Following the completion of the rig build program, Trinidad will have a total of 122 drilling rigs with 56 rigs in Canada, 63 rigs in the US and 3 rigs in Mexico.

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Rowan Redirects Focus on Offshore Drilling with $1.1B Sale of LeTourneau

Rowan Redirects Focus on Offshore Drilling with $1.1B Sale of LeTourneau

Monday, May 16, 2011
Rowan Companies Inc.

Rowan Companies has entered into a share purchase agreement (the "Agreement") with Joy Global to sell all shares of common stock held by Rowan in LeTourneau Technologies for $1.1 billion in cash. The Agreement is subject only to regulatory approval, which the Company expects to obtain within 60 days.

Matt Ralls, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Joy to monetize our investment in LeTourneau. This transaction is consistent with our stated strategy to separate non-core businesses, and we expect that most of the after-tax proceeds, estimated at approximately $875 million, will ultimately be redeployed into our offshore drilling business, either through continued growth of our high-spec jack-up fleet or expansion into the ultra-deepwater drilling segment.

"We also expect this transaction to create additional opportunities for LeTourneau and its employees, who will become part of an organization that is focused on manufacturing and will continue to encourage further innovations in both the mining equipment and drilling systems businesses. I want to personally thank the LeTourneau management team for the many organizational and operational improvements they have made in the company and their invaluable assistance in reaching an agreement with Joy. I likewise want to thank all of the LeTourneau employees for their dedication and service over the years as part of the Rowan family."

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