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Oil and Gas Energy News Update

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oil & Gas Post - All News Report for Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

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Commodity Corner: Oil Increases on IEA View

- Commodity Corner: Oil Increases on IEA View

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Rigzone Staff
by Saaniya Bangee

Crude futures gained 14 cents Thursday on positive economic reports and raised forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

After fluctuating between $94.29 and $95.75, light, sweet oil rose by 0.2 percent to settle at $94.95 a barrel.

The IEA, during its medium-term report, urged OPEC to raise output levels. The IEA claimed global demand remains strong and increased its five-year global forecast by approximately 700,000 bpd.

Also pressuring oil prices was the modest increase in U.S. labor and housing markets. According to the Labor Department, initial unemployment claims fell by 16,000 for the week ended June 11. Meanwhile, construction on new homes rose 3.5 percent from the prior month.

Natural gas for July delivery plunged to a three-week low Thursday settling at $4.41 per thousand cubic feet. The 3.6 percent-drop came on weather forecasts indicating a decline in demand. The Department of Energy said U.S. gas inventories grew by 69 billion cubic feet, almost balanced with analysts' expectations.

The intraday range for natural gas was $4.408 to $4.595 Thursday.

Front-month gasoline ended the trading session at $2.95 a gallon, up 2.59 cents from the previous session. Prices traded between $2.93 and $2.99 a gallon Thursday.

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Ohio Senate Passes Bill Allowing O&G Drilling in State-Owned Lands

- Ohio Senate Passes Bill Allowing O&G Drilling in State-Owned Lands

Thursday, June 16, 2011
The Blade, Toledo, Ohio
by Jim Provance

A bill allowing drilling for oil and natural gas in parks, forests, and other state-owned lands passed the Ohio Senate Wednesday after the chamber again rejected an attempt to place Lake Erie off limits.

In separate action, the Senate voted 25-7 to forward to Gov. John Kasich a bill that would allow the carrying of concealed handguns into bars, night clubs, and alcohol-serving restaurants.

The drilling bill, however, must return to the House for approval of changes made in the upper chamber.

"There's close to half a billion dollars -- half a billion dollars -- in unmet capital needs in our state parks...,'' said Sen. Keith Faber (R., Celina). "The reality is that around almost all of the state parks where oil and gas drilling is contemplated, there is already drilling, and some of that drilling is taking the gas that is under our state parks.

"Frankly, I'm not opposed to the profit motive, but I would rather have those revenues used to help pay for the unmet capital needs for state parks,'' he said.

The chamber voted 22-10 in favor of House Bill 133 with one Democrat joining Republicans in support. One Republican joined the remaining Democrats in opposition.

Three Republicans, however, joined all 10 Democrats in support of an amendment that would have exempted Lake Erie from the bill. That amendment failed 19-13. The majority argued that the amendment was unnecessary because Lake Erie is already protected by a federal ban.

"However, those federal regulations can be removed at any time.'' said Rep. Mike Skindell (D., Lakewood). "... It would be an incredible ecological disaster should there be a leakage similar to what we saw in the Gulf of Mexico in Lake Erie.''

Among northwest Ohio lawmakers, Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills) was among the three Republicans to support exempting Lake Erie. But he joined his fellow Republicans, including Sens. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay) and Karen Gillmor (R., Tiffin), in support of the drilling bill once the Lake Erie amendment failed.

Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) opposed the bill.

Later, the Senate rubber-stamped Senate Bill 17, the bill easing some restrictions on the carrying of concealed firearms and storing of guns in cars, and sent it to the governor. A short time earlier, the House had voted 56-39 in favor of the bill. In both cases, support crossed party lines.

"We do indeed have the right to defend ourselves and our families anywhere we go. Anywhere we go,'' said Rep. Terry Johnson (R., McDermott), one of the sponsors of a House variation of the same bill.

"If that happens to be a restaurant, so be it,'' he said. "Going to guns in bars, well guess what? There's already guns in bars, and the criminals have them.''

The bill retains current law allowing restaurant, bar, and other private property owners to post signs declaring themselves to be off-limits to guns.

The chamber rejected a proposed amendment from Rep. Ted Celeste (D., Columbus), that would have imposed a mandatory one-year prison sentence on any concealed-carry permit-holder caught violating the bill's prohibition on carrying while drinking or under the influence of alcohol.

"You say you're not going to drink, but what do you go to a bar for?'' he asked. "It's OK now, but when something happens in your community, it's going to be something different.''

Voting for the bill from northwest Ohio were Reps. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township), Robert Sprague (R., Findlay), Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont), Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), and Bruce Goodwin (R., Defiance).

Voting "no'' were Reps. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon), Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), and Dennis Murray (D., Sandusky). Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) was absent.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

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Trying to Stay Safe

- Trying to Stay Safe

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Trevor Brown, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne

The state is partnering with the oil and gas industry to challenge Wyoming's reputation as one of the most dangerous states to work in the country.

An agreement endorsed Wednesday by the state and an industry safety organization will expand education courses and safety outreach programs to help oil and gas employees recognize specific on-the-job hazards.

The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Industry Safety Alliance signed an alliance document at the State Capitol to formally establish the partnership.

Bonnie Foster, communications chairwoman for the Wyoming Oil and Gas Industry Safety Alliance, which is comprised of industry members and other stakeholders, said there currently is a lack of training available to many energy companies in the state.

"Although there are many companies that offer (safety training), they are expensive, and a lot of the mom-and-pop outfits that we have here in Wyoming can't afford them," she said. "So this agreement now shows that the oil and gas industry and the state are both extremely concerned about the safety of the oil and gas workers."

J.D. Danni, program manager for Wyoming OSHA, said work began a couple years ago to create the agreement when officials were growing increasingly concerned by the number of injuries and deaths taking place in the industry.

In 2008, Wyoming had the highest occupational fatality rate in the country with 17.1 deaths per 100,000 workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 33 work-related fatalities that year, 13 came from the natural resources and mining industry.

Following 2008's deadly year, Wyoming lawmakers formed the Worker Fatality Prevention Task Force. Among the recommendations the task force made was to create the state-industry partnership.

As part of the new emphasis on safety training classes, the agreement states the two groups will arrange or assist in the delivery of the OSHA 10-Hour Construction Course and 10-Hour General Industry Course for employees and employers.

Danni said he expects the courses and the additional safety awareness programs to provide quick returns.

"I feel positive about it anytime we can get the word out on safety," he said. "It starts with getting management working with employees, who then buy into it, and soon everyone is watching out for each other because safety is everyone's responsibility."

Meetings and workshops set up through the partnership also will provide a forum for employers and employees to discuss safety concerns and encourage employee participation.

Gov. Matt Mead oversaw the document signing Wednesday. He said the focus on safety could benefit the state from an economic development standpoint.

"As we promote Wyoming and our economy and encourage people to stay here to do business or encourage businesses to come to Wyoming, we also want to say not only is it a great place to work ... but we care about our people in a way that we are proactively addressing this issue," he said.

In addition, Mead said the public-private agreement, which is the first of its kind in the state, could be used as a model in other industries, such as construction or transportation.

The new agreement, which does not require any direct state funding, will continue for two years. At that point, Danni said, the groups will reexamine their goals and decide whether to make any changes.

Copyright (c) 2011, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne

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Marcellus Shale Health Data To Be Tracked

- Marcellus Shale Health Data To Be Tracked

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Paul McMullen, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The state Department of Health wants to initiate a system of tracking health and environmental data related to gas drilling in the Marcellus shale.

The department, which made several recommendations to Gov. Tom Corbett's Marcellus Shale Commission, aims to work with the panel to develop research that will make it easier to investigate complaints of illness that may be associated with gas drilling, said Brandi Hunter-Davenport, deputy press secretary for the department.

"If the department would find that the health of the citizens of this commonwealth were in jeopardy due to drilling or any other activity within our borders, steps will be taken to alert the public and advise on appropriate health responses," she said. "In the meantime, the department continues to do its due diligence to thoroughly investigate any concerns it receives."

Recommendations made to the commission include allowing the department to investigate concerns raised by citizens, routinely evaluate environmental data about Marcellus shale-related activities and educate the public and providers on the drilling process and whether or not they have the potential to cause human illness. It also wants to oversee the creation of a registry to follow people who live in close proximity to drilling sites or are occupationally exposed.

Dr. Bernard Goldstein, interim director of the Center for Healthy Environment and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh, agrees with the recommendations, which express the need for more investigation and collection of centralized resources.

He recommends performing prospective rather than retrospective investigations in order to keep up with any possible health or environmental concerns that could arise. By doing this, evaluations will be more accurate because they will pinpoint specific negative elements as they happen rather than finding them later on and attributing them to the Marcellus shale, he said.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Proposed Drilling Fee May Piggyback on Budget Bill

- Proposed Drilling Fee May Piggyback on Budget Bill

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
by Brad Bumsted, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A Bucks County legislator said she will try to attach her proposed impact fee on deep natural gas wells to a budget companion bill that allows the state to raise revenue.

Her bill normally would have difficulty maneuvering through legislative committees in the two weeks remaining before summer recess. By offering it as an amendment to the budget companion bill, state Rep. Marguerite Quinn, a Republican, hopes the governor could sign it into law with the budget.

Quinn said she initially planned to hold back her bill out of respect for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who wants to consider an impact fee after his Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission issues a report in late July.

But because the GOP-controlled Senate appears ready to move impact fee legislation before the June 30 budget deadline, Quinn said she wants to try to enact H.B. 1700.

She has bipartisan support for her plan to assess $50,000 per well in the first and second years, declining in subsequent years; 35 co-sponsors signed onto her bill, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph, R-Delaware County.

The companion budget bill is the state fiscal code that sets tax rates, and without it, the state could not raise revenue or, ultimately, spend money.

Kevin Harley, Corbett's spokesman, said Tuesday that Corbett intends to wait for the advisory panel's report so that he knows the potential impact on communities. Corbett has said he wants any money from a fee to pay for community needs that arise from drilling.

Quinn's bill would allocate 50 percent for local governments, 5 percent to county conservation districts, 20 percent for the state Motor License Fund and 25 percent for state environmental spending.

She said her plan abides by Corbett's desire not to put impact fee money into the General Fund.

A recent statewide poll found that Pennsylvania voters said by a margin of 69-24 percent that gas extraction from deep wells should be taxed.

"I believe this is a common-sense, balanced approach to address the variety of issues our local governments and communities are experiencing," Quinn said. "It will address the infrastructure and the environment (and) yet not prevent the growth of this industry."

If lawmakers attach a shale tax amendment to the fiscal code, and Corbett holds to his timetable and criteria, it could set up a gubernatorial veto and jeopardize timely passage of the budget.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Caterpillar Announced It Plans To Open A New Manufacturing Facility In Thailand

- Caterpillar Announced It Plans To Open A New Manufacturing Facility In Thailand

Jun 16, 2011

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) announced that it plans to open a new manufacturing facility in Thailand, with construction expected to begin in 2011, and production expected to begin in late-2013.

Tom Bluth, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the company's Earthmoving Division said, "We continue to make strategic investments in our construction business to support our customers. We are pleased to announce the expansion of Caterpillar's manufacturing operations in Thailand, which will increase our capacity for our existing range of medium track-type tractors, particularly as we sharpen our focus on meeting long-term customer demand in growth markets."

Caterpillar has a potential upside of 41.7% based on a current price of $94.92 and an average consensus analyst price target of $134.53.

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Shoaibi Group Inks Agreement with Emerson

- Shoaibi Group Inks Agreement with Emerson

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Shoaibi Group

Shoaibi Group has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Emerson Process Management, a wholly-owned Emerson
company, to offer a complete line of multi-phase flow meters and products for reservoir management and production optimization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The agreement complements the Shoaibi Group's existing rights for distributing Roxar's reservoir management software in the Kingdom. An Emerson Process Management-owned company, Roxar's complete line of products includes instrumentation for topside, subsea and downhole monitoring, high temperature reservoir monitoring, multiphase metering, sand erosion sensors and oil in water monitoring and corrosion detection.

Khalid Al Shoaibi, Group Director commented, "We are pleased to have been appointed by Emerson as the exclusive distributors of Roxar's full range of products in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Combined with our existing portfolio of reservoir management software, this will no doubt position us as the ultimate solutions provider for reservoir management and production optimization in the region."

John Currie, Vice President Roxar from Emerson Middle East & Africa said, "With rising production costs and growing demand, the global oil and gas industry is faced with the challenge of not only producing cost-effectively but also prolonging reservoir productivity and ensuring revenue growth. Emerson's Roxar products not only assist in production optimization, and improved decision making, but also help operators to maximize reservoir performance. Considering Shoaibi Group's strong market knowledge and presence in Saudi Arabia, and in depth knowledge of the oil and gas industry, we are confident of the success of this partnership and the business growth it will bring."

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Peritus Adds Principal Technical Consultant

- Peritus Adds Principal Technical Consultant

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Peritus International

Peritus announced the latest addition to their newly formed Field Development business with the appointment of Steve Sinclair to the position of Principal Technical Consultant – Field Developments, Asia Pacific.

Mr. Sinclair brings more than 20 years experience in production facilities, project, engineering and R&D management to the Peritus team having been involved in many world-class projects, both onshore and offshore, from technical feasibility reviews through to conceptual development, project budget preparation and sanction, detailed engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and brownfield modification.

"Steve's appointment has further strengthened our already considerable field development capabilities," said Peritus CEO, Steve Hindmarsh. "He has significant field development experience gained on some of the world's most challenging and deep water oil and gas projects, and with his addition to the team I am confident that we have the capacity to successfully deliver industry leading field development services to clients around the world."

Mr. Sinclair's appointment follows the recent launch of Peritus' Field Development business line which targets early field feasibility, concept select and cost estimating for offshore oil and gas developments. Mr. Sinclair will assume regional Australia-Asia responsibility for the new business, while responsibility for both the Field Development and the Floating Systems business lines will be that of Peritus' Global Director Floating Systems and Field Development, Mr. Thyl Kint.

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Parker EPD Unveils Subsea Metrology Systems in GOM

- Parker EPD Unveils Subsea Metrology Systems in GOM

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Parker Hannifin Corp.

Parker Energy Products Division (EPD), a division of Parker Hannifin Corporation, is introducing their subsea metrology and dimensional control services to the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas market.

EPD has demonstrated their success with photogrammetry, surveying and position monitoring services in Northern Europe and Asia Pacific. Recently the division has added technical staff in Houston, Texas to support the metrology service expansion to the Gulf of Mexico.

The first subsea metrology system Parker will utilize in this market is SICAMS®; a single camera metrology system used to obtain accurate subsea measurements (centerline distances, diameters, pitch and roll) of existing structures. With SICAMS®, data can be gathered simply, efficiently, and precisely. Unlike other metrology systems, SICAMS® is revolutionary because it does not require acoustics or a full survey crew. Achieving an accuracy of 1 part in 5,000 is routine with Parker's system, though higher accuracies have been measured. Its state-of-the-art processing capability promises quick calculation and deliverables on-site.

Kristoffer Amdal, Parker EPD's Maritime Business Unit Manager, said, "We are confident that the Gulf of Mexico market will benefit from our metrology services. Accurate dimensional information delivered this fast will definitely prove to be a valuable asset to whatever project our clients need measured, whether it be planning a tooling interface, designing a salvage lift, analyzing physical damage, or even designing retro-fit supports."

The metrology system operates by using multiple photos from many angles to produce an accurate 3D model of the object being measured. In addition, there is a reporting tool built into the processing software which allows for a clearer image to be produced and utilized, therefore providing a more reliable 3D model.

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Datacom Opens Service Center in Eagle Ford Region

- Datacom Opens Service Center in Eagle Ford Region

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Datacom has opened a service center in the Eagle Ford Shale region of South Texas.

According to a recent independent report, the surge in new wells in the region is an indicator that Eagle Ford could become the largest shale play in the US. To better serve this rapidly growing area, the new Datacom office in Corpus Christi will enable quicker response time by qualified experts at lower costs. All 22 counties in the formation will enjoy local support for broadband wireless, satellite, microwave, and other communications services.

"We have always maintained a core focus on world-class service," said John Poindexter, CEO of Datacom. "With that in mind, we felt opening this center was the logical next step, and the response from customers has been fantastic."

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Petra Solar Turns Jersey City Into Solar Farm

- Petra Solar Turns Jersey City Into Solar Farm

Jun 16, 2011

Jersey City, New Jersey is now the home to Petra Solar's newest utility-scale solar farm. Petra Solar is using utility poles all across Jersey City and other urban and suburban areas of New Jersey. Five-foot by two-and-a-half foot solar panels are attached to the utility poles about 15 feet above the ground, tilted south towards the sun.

Each panel generates about 225 watts of power, adding to generation capacity and helping utilities meet renewable-power requirements. Petra Solar is a privately held clean-energy technology firm based in South Plainfield, N.J.

Petra Solar Chief executive Shihab Kuran stated, "It allows you to deploy quickly and cost effectively because you don't have to invest in land, you're not building substations or transformers."

Petra Solar is under contract with Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (NYSE:PEG), and is about halfway through their $200 million commitment of providing 40 megawatts of solar power in six cities, spanning 300 rural and suburban communities. Petra has put up 95,000 panels, producing 20 megawatts, enough power for 3,250 homes.

The energy company says it takes roughly 30 minutes to install one panel on the utility pole. The panels feed electricity directly into the power lines.

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Energy XXI Granted Operatorship on West Delta Fields

- Energy XXI Granted Operatorship on West Delta Fields

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Energy XXI

Energy XXI provided an operational update, including results of the first recompletion at the South Pass 89 field and drilling of the Onyx prospect at the Main Pass 73 field.

In addition, the company announced it has been granted operatorship of the West Delta 30 and West Delta 73 fields obtained in the ExxonMobil asset acquisition in December 2010. "Gaining control of these fields allows us to move forward with our production optimization and capital programs," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Schiller said. "We expect to have the last field, South Timbalier 54, under our control by the end of the month."

Exploration and Development Activity

Within the company's core producing properties, located offshore Louisiana, the first of a six-well recompletion program at the South Pass 89 field has been successful. The A-15 well is currently flowing 18 million cubic feet per day and 300 barrels of condensate per day, with 3,100 pounds of flowing tubing pressure. The well, forecast to deliver 800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d) net, is producing 2,500 BOE/d net. These production levels equal the company's pre-work estimate for the entire six-well program.

At the Grand Isle 16 field, the company perforated a prospective natural gas zone in the J 21 well, which instead tested mostly oil at approximately 1,200 BOE/d. That well has been shut in until a platform rig is mobilized to complete work. In addition, the Rowan EXL 3 rig, previously working for McMoRan, will be mobilized to Grand Isle 16 to perform three recompletions that have been identified to optimize production.

Quarter-to-date, production has averaged approximately 42,500 BOE/d, benefitting from the success at South Pass 89 and other previously announced recompletions. Current production exceeds 46,500 BOE/d. This production level has been achieved despite the fact Energy XXI did not have operational control over the West Delta 73 and South Timbalier 54 fields, which are the largest fields added in the December 2010 acquisition.

Near-term production also should be augmented by two successful wells at the Main Pass 73 field. The Onyx well was drilled to 5,635 feet and encountered two pay zones that were previously modeled as salt. The well was completed and initial testing is beginning today. The rig currently is being moved to begin completion operations on the Ashton well which, as previously announced, encountered seven pay zones. Combined initial production from Ashton and Onyx is expected to approximate 1,500 BOE/d within the next 30 days.

Within the shallow-water, ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico shelf program, the McMoRan-operated partnership (in which Energy XXI has various interests) has continued activity at the Blackbeard East and Lafitte exploratory wells and the offset appraisal well at Davy Jones.

The Davy Jones offset well, located on South Marsh Island Block 234 in 20 feet of water, has been drilled and cased to 30,450 feet. Logging operations have been completed and the logs are being evaluated. As previously announced, wireline logs indicated over 200 feet of gross sand and approximately 100 net feet of sand, based on porosity data available, in multiple Wilcox zones that appear to be hydrocarbon bearing. Below the identified Wilcox section the well encountered Upper Cretaceous, Tuscaloosa and Lower Cretaceous sections. The well is being readied for production once equipment has been procured, with expected first production to occur during the second quarter of calendar 2012. Energy XXI has a 15.8 percent working interest and 12.6 percent net revenue interest in Davy Jones.

The Blackbeard East exploration well, located in 80 feet of water on South Timbalier Block 144, was drilled to 32,559 feet before encountering mechanical issues. McMoRan is continuing to make progress recovering drill pipe and tools stuck in the hole. After recovering 1,866 feet of stuck pipe, the remaining 1,374 feet of pipe and tools appear to have slipped further down the wellbore. The operator has washed and reamed the wellbore to a depth of 29,227 feet and has yet to reencounter the top of the stuck pipe. Progress to date provides encouragement that the wellbore may be preserved to the previous depth and deepened to the permitted depth of 34,000 feet. Energy XXI has an 18 percent working interest and 14.35 percent net revenue interest in Blackbeard East.

The Lafitte exploration well commenced drilling on Oct. 3, 2010 towards a proposed total depth of 29,950 feet, targeting Miocene objectives below the salt weld. A liner has been run below the salt to 22,982 feet and the well is currently drilling at 23,645 feet.. Lafitte is located on Eugene Island Block 223 in 140 feet of water. Energy XXI has an 18 percent working interest and a 14.6 percent net revenue interest.

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Chrysler Recalls 11 Models For Steering

- Chrysler Recalls 11 Models For Steering

Jun 16, 2011

Chrysler Group LLC has recalled 11,351 cars, minivans, and others due to a manufacturing problem that can cause the steering to fail.

The problem has affected 11 models from the 2011 model year, but Chrysler does not know if it is the cause of any crashes or injuries according to a statement directed at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Thursday that the steering problem caused by missing or incorrectly installed rivets, although may not be the cause of an accident yet, still increases the risk of a crash.

The Chrysler 200, Town and Country, Avenger, Caliber, Caravan, Journey, and Nitro are among the Chrysler vehicles that are being recalled. The Jeep Compass and Patriot, Liberty, and Wrangler SUVs are also getting recalled.

Dealers will begin checking vehicles still on the lot to ensure the rivet was installed correctly. Repairs on missing or incorrectly installed rivets will be free of charge.

The company had inspected 14,000 steering columns and found that seven were missing rivets or had them misaligned. There have been no known consumer complaints about the problem.

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Energy Transfer to Buy Southern Union for $4.2B

- Energy Transfer to Buy Southern Union for $4.2B

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Ben Lefebvre

Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) agreed to buy Southern Union (SUG) for $4.2 billion in a deal that will create the largest natural gas pipeline company in the U.S.

The two companies hope that combining Energy Transfer's position in prolific natural gas production areas with Southern's access to markets will make them better able to transport natural gas through what is becoming an increasingly congested system. The glut has been brought about by new drilling technology, which in the past decade has unlocked an unprecedented natural gas bounty from shale formations across the U.S.

"Energy Transfer has great interstate pipelines and access to key shale plays, but not as much market access as Southern brings to the Midwest and Florida," said Avi Feinberg, an equities analyst with Morningstar Inc.

The combined company will have capacity to move more than 30 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas along nearly 45,000 miles of pipeline. That's nearly half of the natural gas produced in the U.S.

As part of the deal, Energy Transfer Equity will assume $3.7 billion of Southern Union's debt. The new, larger company will have the heft to invest in adding new pipeline capacity, executives said.

The "mind-boggling" levels of natural gas liquids production coming out of the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale areas of Texas has already tied up pipeline systems in the region, Energy Transfer Chief Executive Kelcy Warren said during a conference call with investors.

"I personally see a train wreck if someone doesn't build takeaway capacity in that region very soon," Warren said. "We're committed to doing that."

Energy Transfer plans an additional $1.7 billion in expansion projects, Warren said. After completion of the merger with Southern--expected in the first quarter of 2012--the new company will have access to more shale production areas than any other U.S. pipeline company, Warren said.

Natural gas is trading far below its prices in mid-2008 when the financial crisis crippled industrial demand even as unconventional gas flowed in great quantities from new shale production. Though the price of the commodity is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future, demand is expected to rise significantly. Oil giants, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, have made huge bets on the sector over the past year through acquisitions.

Energy Transfer said it has identified about $100 million in commercial and operational synergies as well as an additional $25 million in one-time savings.

Under the deal, Energy Transfer will issue new Series B units with an implied value of $33 a Southern Union share, a 17% premium to the former's Wednesday closing price.

Southern Union shares surged 17% to $33.11 in early trading. They last traded above the offer price in the middle of 2007, though they have risen 17% so far this year.

Energy Transfer shares rose 6%, to $45.09. The company reported in February its fourth-quarter earnings fell 13% on a surprise drop in revenue because of weakness in its natural-gas operations.

Southern Union reported last month its first-quarter earnings rose 7.4%, beating analysts' estimates, as increased revenue from distribution and the transportation and storage segments helped offset lower margins.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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AWE Notes Drilling Progress at Arrowsmith

- AWE Notes Drilling Progress at Arrowsmith

Thursday, June 16, 2011
AWE Ltd.

AWE reported that at 0600 hours (WST) the Arrowsmith-2 exploration well was drilling ahead in 8-1/2" hole at a measured depth of 3,102 meters. During the week, two conventional cores were cut in the well; 55 meters in the Carynginia Formation and 45 meters in the Irwin River Coal Measures. Progress for the week was 811 meters.

The Arrowsmith-2 well is designed to test the unconventional gas potential of the Carynginia Formation, Irwin River Coal Measures and Kockatea Shale and will be drilled to a proposed total depth of approximately 3,420 meters.

The well is located approximately 25 kilometers from the Woodada Deep-1 well (deepened by AWE in April 2010 to acquire cores over the Carynginia Shale interval), and approximately 500 meters south east of the Arrowsmith-1 well, which tested gas from the Carynginia Formation.

On completion of drilling, the well will be suspended for future fracture stimulation and testing which is planned for later in the year.

The participants in EP 413 are:
  • AWE Limited (via subsidiaries) 44.252%
  • Norwest Energy NL (Operator) 27.945%
  • Bharat PetroResources Ltd 27.803%

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Buccaneer Reports Log Results from Kenai Well

- Buccaneer Reports Log Results from Kenai Well

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Buccaneer Energy Ltd.

Buccaneer provided the following additional results from a technical review of the logs and data from its 100% owned Kenai Loop # 1 well.

  • A technical review of logs how the well intersected 26 separate gas zones rather than 16;
  • Total gross pay increased to 645' from 510' in the Beluga and Upper Tyonek Formations;
  • Kenai Loop # 1 well log and testing data compared to analogous wells from the Cannery Loop field further underpins confidence in long term production rate;

A technical review of the logs from the Kenai Loop # 1 well has been completed and the results indicate that 26 separate gas zones were intersected while drilling; this is an increase from the 16 zones originally announced. Total gross pay increased from 510' to 645'.
The original planned drilling depth was anticipated to be 10,500'; this was subsequently increased to 10,640' as more gas zones were intersected. Logs indicate that additional gas zones were being intersected when drilling ceased.

Reservoir Data

A flow test over 4 different choke sizes, a 4 point test, was successfully completed on 2 zones (of the 26 intersected) totaling 60' of gross perforated pay out of 87' in gross pay in the two zones, an Absolute Open Flow Potential (AOFP) was calculated as 33.2 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) from this testing.

The high AOFP demonstrates the excellent permeability and porosity of the 2 zones perforated and tested. The permeability and reservoir pressures are comparable to the Cannery Loop # 1 (CL #1) and Cannery Loop # 4 (CL #4) wells, both of which produced from the comparable Upper Tyonek sands tested in the Kenai Loop # 1 well.

There were 11 wells in total in the Cannery Loop field that produced a total of 178 BCF (~22 MMBOE).

The Company's initial assumptions are that Kenai Loop # 1 will deliver a long term deliverable production rate of 6 - 8 MMCFD (750 - 1000 BOEPD) over an initial 2 years, with approximately 10 BCF being ultimately recoverable from the 2 zones tested. ).

The additional 24 zones that remain untested would be incremental.

Kenai Loop # 1 Previous Results

In the initial phase of the testing program, the Kenai Loop # 1 was successfully tested, flowing gas to the surface at a rate of 10.0 million cubic feet per day on a 20/64" choke with a FTP (flowing tubing pressure) of 3,495 psi.

The Company has up to 26 zones totalling 645' of gross pay identified by logs as test candidates in the Beluga and Upper Tyonek Formations. As the rig needed to be released back to Marathon on 1 June 2011, 2 of the 3 high graded zones in the Upper Tyonek Formation were chosen to be perforated and tested.

The 2 zones total 87' of gross pay were described as follows:
  • Zone 1 has an upper sand of 37' of gross pay which logs have confirmed as being quality reservoir with high porosity and good permeability. This upper sand package had a "gas kick" during drilling operations. There is an additional 12' of lower sand which is a lesser quality sand, but remains attractive. Only the upper portion of this zone is included in the testing program.
  • Zone 2 is an additional massive sandstone zone of approximately 50' of gross pay which logs indicate has good porosity and permeability.

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Treaty Pays Final Installment for Tx. Rig, Updates Operations

- Treaty Pays Final Installment for Tx. Rig, Updates Operations

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Treaty Energy Corp.

Treaty updated its stakeholders on drilling progress in Texas.

Andrew V. Reid, Chairman & CEO of Treaty Energy Corporation, stated, "I am extremely pleased to announce that on Wednesday of this week we made the final payment on the Failing 1500 CF Truck Mounted Drilling Rig that was purchased in mid-April to drill wells on the Treaty owned Texas leases."

The purchase price for the Failing 1500 CF Rig and all related components, including all current drilling contracts for this Rig, was $180,000, as detailed in the Company's Form 8-K filing with the SEC on April 20, 2011.

Mr. Reid added, "This Rig has been drilling constantly since being acquired under drilling contracts with independent oil companies, and has a backlog of several more wells to drill and the possibility of a large contract to be agreed to during the next few days." He added further, "Demand has been so intense for this Rig that we are in discussions with Stephen L. York, President and COO of Treaty, to add a second rig for our Texas operations. This would bring the Treaty owned rigs to three should the discussions be finalized to purchase the second Texas rig."

Treaty's drilling company, Treaty Energy Drilling, LLC, has been productively drilling wells for independent oil companies since mid-April and has already logged operational profits of more than $42,000 to date from these drilling contracts. As this drilling continues, the Company's drilling company will be starting a new well (spud in) for another independent oil company on Monday, June 20th.

Stephen York stated, "I have received inquiries to drill another 25 wells for Treaty Energy Drilling's top three customers."

Mr. York added, "The BARNES LEASE has been officially transferred to C & C Petroleum Management, LLC, Treaty's operations entity, and based on this transfer we have started processing all stored oil for sale to BLM Oil Transport. Our HENDERSON and LONG LEASES are awaiting transfer by the State of Texas RRC to C & C Petroleum Management, and I expect these transfers to be completed this week. In addition, all paperwork has been filed with the State of Texas RRC to initiate the transfers of the GREAT 8 LEASES to C & C, a process that should be completed within a week."

Mr. York stated further, "Oil pick ups have been scheduled with the Transporters. Upon initial receipt in the Transporters headquarters of the time and date stamped P4's from the Texas RRC, the transport trucks will commence the pickups. We are expecting to sell a minimum of 850 BBLS of oil in the month of June 2011."

In closing, Treaty Energy's CEO, Andrew V. Reid, stated, "I continue to be very pleased with our progress in Texas and look forward to updating our stakeholders on the Belize project very soon. I am also pleased to report that our Company will show revenues in this second quarter (2Q) of 2011 from both its oil production operations in Texas and from its contract drilling for a number of independent oil companies."

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Petrobras Awards GE O&G Subsea Service Contract in Campos Basin

- Petrobras Awards GE O&G Subsea Service Contract in Campos Basin

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Petrobras has awarded GE Oil & Gas a four-year service agreement to deliver repairs, maintenance and retrofits on Petrobras' fleet of subsea equipment installed in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. The scope of the agreement, valued at approximately $120M, includes service and repairs on over 300 exploration and 250 production tools, as well as retrofitting six subsea production trees each year with GE advanced technology.

GE will conduct the service program from its Macaé Service Center, located in Rio de Janeiro state, which is currently undergoing a $30M investment refurbishment and expansion. The 91,000 sq. meter facility, which employs over 200 highly skilled employees, will be capable of state-of-the-art inspection, maintenance, repair, spares parts, rental tools and field services for capital drilling, subsea wellhead systems, and subsea production and controls equipment.

Fernando Martins, vice president—Latin America, GE Oil & Gas said, "GE will apply its latest high-tech subsea equipment service and repair technologies across much of Petrobras' Campos Basin installed fleet to help minimize downtime and optimize production output. We will deliver this important assignment from our Macaé Service Center which is currently under expansion and delivers critical offshore production servicing projects for customers including Petrobras, Transocean, OGX and Brasdrill and all the IOC's currently operating in Brazil."

The frame service agreement builds on the announcement this week that Petrobras has awarded GE's Wellstream business a long-term, $200M-plus flexible pipe and subsea equipment logistics services contract to be supported from a dedicated new 55,000 sq. meter, $90M investment Logistics Base that GE will build adjacent to Wellstream's existing manufacturing site in Niterói, 14 kms outside Rio de Janeiro.

In February GE Oil & Gas received $50M in contracts to supply subsea wellhead and installation tooling systems to Petrobras for deployment in Campos and Santos basin projects, bringing to over 1,400 GE's tally of mission-critical subsea wellhead systems installed in Brazilian waters.

GE Oil & Gas has an established presence in Brazil and serves its deepwater segment with integrated drilling & production subsea equipment and services, as well as high-tech unit and modular gas turbines and compressors solutions for fixed & FPSO applications.

GE will open a new $100M investment Global Research Center in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

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ConocoPhillips Reaches Deepwater Exploration Deal with Bangladesh

- ConocoPhillips Reaches Deepwater Exploration Deal with Bangladesh

Jun 16, 2011

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) announced it has signed a deal today with the Government of Bangladesh and Petrobangla, the Bangladeshi state oil company, to explore for oil in two deepwater blocks in the Bay of Bengal.

Larry Archibald, senior vice-president, Exploration and Business Development said, "ConocoPhillips is pleased to become part of the Bangladesh oil and gas community. We fully expect that this contract signing will be the first step in a long and successful relationship between ConocoPhillips, Petrobangla and the Government of Bangladesh."

Bangladesh's deepwater area of the Bay of Bengal is virtually unexplored. The 2 blocks are located in an area with a depth of 3,300 to 5,000 feet of water, and are about 175 miles from the port city of Chittagong.

ConocoPhillips has a potential upside of 20.6% based on a current price of $70.57 and an average consensus analyst price target of $85.13.

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Ford Likely To Miss 2nd Quarter Estimates

- Ford Likely To Miss 2nd Quarter Estimates

Jun 16, 2011

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) said Thursday that second-quarter pretax profits will miss analysts' estimates. They will also be lower than its first-quarter results. Last quarter, Ford reported a pretax income of 62 cents per share. Analysts are expecting a profit of 64 cents a share in the latest quarter according to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Vice president and controller Robert Shanks said that the second quarter will be "very close to the first quarter, maybe a bit lower." Steel, oil, and rubber costs are all increasing as well as expansion expenses estimating to cost the company $2 billion more than last year.

Ford Motor has a potential upside of 51.4% based on a current price of $13.15 and an average consensus analyst price target of $19.91.

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Laredo to Buy Broad Oak for $1B

- Laredo to Buy Broad Oak for $1B

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Laredo Petroleum Inc.

Laredo and Broad Oak have entered into definitive agreements whereby Broad Oak will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Laredo in exchange for aggregate consideration of approximately $1 billion.

This aggregate consideration will consist primarily of newly issued units of Laredo. As part of the transaction, Laredo will also pay off the existing Broad Oak bank indebtedness with funds from a revised $1B credit facility. This facility will have an initial borrowing base of $650 million fully underwritten by Wells Fargo and BofA Merrill Lynch as Joint Lead Arrangers. Both Laredo and Broad Oak are privately held companies formed in partnership with their management teams by affiliates of Warburg Pincus LLC.

"Broad Oak is a great company with an impressive track record of success. David Braddock, John Coss, Robert Skinner, Jim Sherrill and their team have don an excellent job building the company and we are excited about the opportunity to combine our technical knowledge and exploitation efforts in the Wolfberry play," said Randy Foutch, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Laredo Petroleum. "This transaction is a significant event for Laredo, as it meaningfully increases our scale while also deleveraging our balance sheet and adding incremental liquidity."

David Braddock, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Broad Oak Energy, commented, "This transaction represents a successful outcome for the senior management, employees and shareholders of the company. I am confident that under the ongoing leadership of Randy Foutch and his team, the assets we developed at Broad Oak will continue to create significant value for both Laredo and Broad Oak stakeholders."

"We've built this great team at Broad Oak and were an early mover in identifying the unconventional potential of the extended Wolfberry play," added John Coss, President of Broad Oak Energy. "I'm looking forward to watching the play continue to evolve as Broad Oak joins forces with Laredo."

The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of July and is subject to customary closing conditions.

Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc. served as financial advisor to Laredo Petroleum and rendered a fairness opinion to the Board of Directors of Laredo. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor to Broad Oak and rendered a fainress option to the Board of Directors of Broad Oak.

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Apache Strikes Multiple Pay in Egypt's Faghur Basin

- Apache Strikes Multiple Pay in Egypt's Faghur Basin

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Apache Corp.

Apache reported five new oil discoveries in its Faghur Basin play in the far southwest of Egypt's Western Desert oil and gas province.

Apache also said that the AG-96 development well in the Abu Gharadig Concession tested 3,347 barrels of oil and 1 million cubic feet (MMcf) of natural gas per day from the Lower Bahariya formation. The well – drilled on acreage acquired from BP in late 2010 – is expected to lead to several additional wells before year end.

The Faghur Basin discoveries included:
  • West Kalabsha-I-4 logged 79 feet of net pay in the Jurassic Safa sands. In a test, the well flowed 7,150 barrels of oil per day and 11.4 million cubic feet (MMcf) of gas per day.
  • Faghur North-1X logged 25 feet of net pay in the Safa and Paleozoic Desouqy sands. Combined tests had a rate of 1,444 barrels of oil and 3.9 MMcf of gas per day.
  • Faghur South-1X logged 38 feet of net pay in Safa and Cretaceous AEB-6 sands. The Safa tested 2,768 barrels of oil and 4 MMcf of gas per day.
  • Huni-1X logged 27 feet of net pay in the AEB-3 sands. The well tested 970 barrels per day from the AEB-3E sand.
  • Neith North-1X logged 20 feet of net pay in the AEB-3 sands and 57 feet of net pay in the Safa sands. A Safa well test is planned this month.

"The Faghur Basin continues to be a successful focus area for Apache, with AEB, Safa, and now Paleozoic reservoirs that have proven to be prolific oil and gas producers. These recent discoveries support the multi-pay potential of this oil-prone area of the Western Desert," said Tom Voytovich, vice president of Apache's Egypt Region. "The Huni and Neith North discoveries continue Apache's recent exploration success in the eastern area of the Faghur Basin.

"These discoveries and production from the Tayim development lease approved during the revolution period illustrate the fact that Egypt's energy sector is continuing to move forward," Voytovich said. "Our recent drilling successes provide clear evidence of the exploration potential on Apache acreage in Egypt and the benefits of working in stacked-pay areas."

Apache recently drilled the first discovery on its westernmost exploration concession. The Siwa-D-1X drilled in the Siwa Concession pushed Jurassic and Cretaceous plays farther south and westward and will lead to follow-up exploration prospects. Apache expects to commence production from the well upon approval of a development plan later in 2011.

The Tayim West-1X discovery in the West Kalabsha Concession represents the first Paleozoic success found in a reservoir separate from the younger proven Jurassic and Cretaceous sands and opens up the area to further deep tests in upcoming wells. The discovery is currently on production.

Thus far in 2011, Apache has drilled eight new discoveries in 10 attempts in the Faghur Basin, and drilling is under way on three additional wells –Mandulis-1X, Neilos-1X and Faghur North-2X. Eight additional exploration wells are planned for the area this year.

Apache continues to evaluate 3-D seismic surveys to identify additional exploration opportunities, including a recently completed 400-square-mile (1,040 square kilometers) survey across the Apache-operated Sallum Concession on the west side of the basin, and a 656-square-mile (1,698 square kilometers) survey covering the eastern part of the basin underlying the Khalda Offset, South Umbarka and Shushan concessions.

Apache's current gross operated production in Egypt totals approximately 215,000 barrels of oil and 900 MMcf of gas per day, including 40,000 barrels of oil per day from the Faghur Basin.

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Total Makes Gas Discovery in Barents Sea

- Total Makes Gas Discovery in Barents Sea

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Det norske oljeselskap ASA

Det norske has as license partner made a gas discovery in the Norvarg prospect in the Barents Sea license 535, operated by Total E&P Norge AS.

Exploration well 7225/3-1 has not been completed. Preliminary well data indicate gas at three different levels, a significant part of it in the Kobbe formation.

It is too early to conclude on flow rate characteristics and potential commerciality; hence the partnership has decided to perform a production test to gather information about reservoir production properties.

The test is planned to be carried out after the well has been drilled to total depth at about 4100 meters. Drilling operations are expected to continue for several weeks. Due to the production test, it is expected that the well will take longer time to complete than previously anticipated.

License owners are:
  • Total E&P Norge AS (operator 40%)
  • Det norske oljeselskap ASA (20%)
  • North Energy (20%)
  • Rocksource (20%)

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CAMAC Commences Drilling at China Well

- CAMAC Commences Drilling at China Well

Thursday, June 16, 2011
CAMAC Energy Inc.

CAMAC announced the spudding and progress of its ZJS-04 well in China. Drilling is expected to take about 50 days to reach the well's target depth of approximately 5,900 feet. Currently the penetrating depth is 2,630 feet drilled towards the main target formations.

"We are very pleased to announce the spudding of this well," said Chief Executive Officer, Kase Lawal. "The work program in China continues to move forward, which is an important step towards further evaluating the resource potential of the Zijinshan Gas Asset."

The ZJS-04 well is the second well of the three wells planned to be drilled in 2011, in accordance with the annual work program as approved by CAMAC Energy and its Chinese Partner, PetroChina CBM Co.

The Company's Zijinshan Gas Asset covers an area of 175,000 acres in the Ordos Basin in the Shanxi Province, the second largest petroleum bearing basin in China. It is in close proximity to major infrastructure, including the West-East Gas pipeline and the Ordos-Beijing Pipelines.

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Strike Enters JV for Eagle Ford Exploration

- Strike Enters JV for Eagle Ford Exploration

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Strike Energy Ltd.

Strike has signed the joint venture agreement governing the Eagle Ford Shale Exploration in Texas.

Under the terms of the joint venture, Strike has secured a 27.5 per cent stake in the venture, which also includes four Texas-based companies. The joint venture is formally named Eagle Landing Joint Venture.

Currently the joint venture has secured 12,400 acres, with 3,410 acres net to Strike. This acreage has been acquired over the last 12 months and the leasing activities will be ongoing for several months.

The majority of the leases are located in Fayette County, Texas, which are on trend with high activity areas in Gonzales and De Witt Counties being drilled primarily by EOG and Petrohawk. Published projected recoveries in these areas range of 450,000 to 1,000,000 barrels of oil equivalent per well based on 160 acres spacing.

Other operators are successfully extending the productive Eagle Ford trend into eastern Gonzales County in the vicinity of the joint venture acreage position, including Penn Virginia, Forest Oil and Magnum Hunter. Three wells recently drilled in Fayette County by Southern Bay Operating, LLC (a subsidiary of GeoResources Inc) are now being fracced and tested. These wells Flatonia East Unit 1H, Flatonia East Unit 2H and Black Jack Springs Unit 1H are in the vicinity of the Strike joint venture leasing. Australian listed company Eureka Energy (ASX: EKA) has a 9.4% working interest in the Black Jack Springs Unit 1H well.

If published recoveries are extended onto leases secured by the Eagle Ford joint venture to date, this provides a target potential of gross 35 to 77 million barrels of oil equivalent or 10 to 21 million barrels of oil equivalent net to Strike's acreage position.

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Statoil Reaches Production Milestone at Leismer Proj.

- Statoil Reaches Production Milestone at Leismer Proj.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Statoil announced that its Leismer Demonstration Project (LDP) in northern Alberta, Canada, has achieved a production milestone of one million accumulated barrels of oil.

"We have achieved many milestones at Leismer in the past year, including regulatory approvals, a safe startup of operations and now this significant production milestone," said Lars Christian Bacher, President of Canadian Operations.

"We will continue to drive shareholder value through operational efficiency as we move into future phases of our oil sands business in Canada."

First oil at LDP was achieved in January 2011 and is expected to ramp up to its rated capacity of 18,800 barrels per day within 24 months.

Statoil's Kai Kos Deh Seh project includes four oil sands leases in the Athabasca region of Northeast Alberta: Leismer, Corner, Hangingstone and Thornberry.

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Winnebago Reports Weak Q1, Revenues Miss Badly, EPS Misses By $0.09

- Winnebago Reports Weak Q1, Revenues Miss Badly, EPS Misses By $0.09

Jun 16, 2011

Winnebago Industries (NYSE:WGO) reported Q3 EPS of $0.04 today, below the consensus estimate for $0.13 per share. Revenues for the quarter were essentially flat year-over-year, edging up 0.5% to $135.57 million, well below the consensus estimate for $151.43 million.

Bob Olson, Winnebago Industries' Chairman and CEO said, "The retail market for motor homes softened during our third Fiscal quarter, adding to our disappointment with the level of industry retail sales thus far in Calendar 2011 compared with the prior year. While discouraging, it is understandable in the context of new job creation slowing in America, along with reports of falling home prices, declining auto sales, weaker consumer spending, the concern over rising fuel prices and the impact these issues are currently having on the stock market. We remain concerned the current recovery appears to be slowing."

Winnebago Industries has a potential upside of 33.3% based on a current price of $11 and an average consensus analyst price target of $14.67.

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General Motors Hires Jack Morton As New Ad Agency

- General Motors Hires Jack Morton As New Ad Agency

Jun 16, 2011

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) hired ad agency Jack Morton Thursday. Jack Morton, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. (NYSE:IPG) will move its offices to downtown Detroit to be closer to GM's headquarters. They are currently located in Troy, Michigan.

General Motors has a potential upside of 48% based on a current price of $28.95 and an average consensus analyst price target of $42.85. The company is currently below its 50-day moving average (MA) of $30.88 and below its 200-day MA of $33.40.

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Cairn Energy CEO Steps Down amid Sweeping Board Changes

- Cairn Energy CEO Steps Down amid Sweeping Board Changes

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Alexis Flynn

Cairn announced a sweeping overhaul of its senior management team, as the company looks to strengthen its exploration emphasis following the expected completion of a delayed transaction in India.

Cairn said its founder and long-standing chief executive, Sir Bill Gammell, will relinquish his position at the helm of the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer in favor of Legal and Commercial Director Simon Thomson. Gammell will in turn replace Norman Murray as chairman, who leaves to take up the same position at oil and gas services company Petrofac Ltd. (PFC.LN).

Two other board members will also step down. The company will retain some other figures, including Deputy Chief Executive Mike Watts, a leader in its exploration venture.

The changes come amid expectations that Cairn will soon close a deal to sell a majority stake in its India unit to Vedanta Resources. The time-frame of the Vedanta deal, worth about $9.6 billion in cash, has been delayed amid a royalty dispute with the Indian government. Indian Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy said recently the matter could be discussed at a cabinet meeting later this month.

Following the reorganization, Gammell, 58, will retain his position as chairman of Cairn India, tasked with overseeing the successful conclusion of the company's India deal.

In addition to the change to the firm's top leadership, Cairn said two other board members would be stepping down. Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Thoms and Engineering and Operations Director Philip Tracy will also depart, said Cairn.

Finance Director Jann Brown will take up the position of managing director, reporting to new CEO Thomson.

"Cairn's key strength of entrepreneurial exploration remains the focus, offering investors significant growth potential in combination with underlying asset value and balance sheet strength," said Thomson.

Cairn shares were lower in line with other U.K. oil producers following the announcement. At 1107 GMT, they were down 8 pence, or 1.9%, at 403p, underperforming the broader FTSE 100 index, which was down 1.1%.

Deutsche Bank said it viewed the changes "to be a constructive step forward that is focused on energizing the group for its next steps of growth."

Deutsche highlighted the fact that Watts will remain as a positive. Watts has been the architect of Cairn's Greenland operations, where the company is currently drilling exploratory offshore wells.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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IEA: Oil Price Risks Hard Landing for World Economy

- IEA: Oil Price Risks Hard Landing for World Economy

Thursday, June 16, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Geoffrey T. Smith

The continuing high price of crude oil risks creating a hard landing for the world economy, the International Energy Agency's Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said Thursday.

Addressing a briefing at the start of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Tanaka said: "If the current oil price continues it will be to the detriment of the global economic recovery."

The current situation "is starting to resemble 2008, and we know that 2008 was a very hard landing for the world economy. We'd prefer a soft landing," Tanaka said.

The IEA is still monitoring the global oil supply situation in the wake of this month's fractious meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Tanaka said, against a background of evidence showing that the world needs more oil from OPEC, which controls around a third of the globe's production and is home to almost all of the world's spare production capacity.

OPEC's ministers last week refused to endorse a group-wide increase in output to take the edge off crude prices, to the frustration of its largest producer Saudi Arabia. Saudi also has the bulk of OPEC's spare capacity.

Earlier in the briefing David Fyfe, head of the IEA's oil markets division, said that current prices for crude oil don't reflect any degree of "excessive speculation," but rather reflected a genuine tightening in the world market.

Fyfe's comments came two days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a sweeping attack on speculation in commodities markets, continuing a campaign for greater regulation that has been the centerpiece of France's presidency of the Group of 20 largest industrialized and emerging economies.

Fyfe also noted Thursday that the IEA's research showed that oil prices do more to reflect exchange rates than vice versa.

Fyfe and other officials were summarizing a new IEA report on the outlook for the world energy market over the next five years. As reported, the IEA has revised upwards its estimate for average oil prices in that period by $19 to $103 a barrel.

The price of crude oil rose by nearly $2 a barrel in Europe and nearly $1 a barrel in the U.S. on the release of the report. At 0850, the benchmark Brent blend was trading at $114.78 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange, while the New York Mercantile Exchange's contract for oil for July delivery was up 82 cents at $95.63 a barrel.

Over 90% of the increase in global demand in the five-year period will come from emerging markets, Fyfe said. He also said that a "tidal wave" of new refining capacity in emerging markets will continue to pose an existential threat to many refineries in developed markets, estimating that the overhang of global refining capacity may reach 4 million barrels a day by 2016.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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