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Oil and Gas Energy News Update

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oil & Gas Post - All News Report for Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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Commodity Corner: Irene Supply Fears Propel Oil, Gasoline

- Commodity Corner: Irene Supply Fears Propel Oil, Gasoline

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Rigzone Staff
by Matthew V. Veazey

Light sweet crude oil gained 14 cents Thursday amid fears that Hurricane Irene could diminish gasoline supplies along the East Coast.

The WTI ended the day at $85.30 a barrel after fluctuating from $83.01 to $86.56. The major hurricane, which is expected to hit North Carolina's Outer Banks Saturday evening, could cause widespread power outages, flooding, and wind damage from the Carolinas to New England. Six refineries with approximately 1.3 million barrels of processing capacity lie within the storm's projected path. Pipelines and terminals serving those facilities could also be impaired should Irene remain on her current track.

As of 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, Hurricane Irene was packing maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. The storm, centered over the Bahamas at press time, was moving north-northwestward at 14 mph.

The Brent contract price also settled higher Thursday, gaining 47 cents to end the day at $110.62 a barrel. It peaked at $111.38 and bottomed out at $109.05.

Buoyed by the threat of Irene, gasoline for September delivery rose nine cents to end the day at $2.97 a gallon. It traded within a range from $2.88 to 2.97.

September natural gas edged upward by one cent to settle at $3.93 per thousand cubic feet. The front-month contract fluctuated from $3.87 to $3.98.

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NJ Gov Vetoes Permanent Fracking Ban, Proposes 1-Yr Ban

- NJ Gov Vetoes Permanent Fracking Ban, Proposes 1-Yr Ban

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Angel Gonzalez

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday issued a conditional veto of legislation imposing a permanent ban on a controversial natural gas drilling method, instead offering a counter-proposal for a one-year ban on the practice.

In a statement, Christie cited an "incomplete public record" on the fallout from the drilling method, known as fracking.

"The potential environmental concerns with fracking in our state must be studied and weighed carefully against the potential benefits of increasing access to natural gas in New Jersey," Christie said.

The process involves the pumping of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to release natural gas trapped in tight rock formations called shales. One such formation, the Marcellus Shale, spans several northeastern states, including New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Detractors claim fracking can lead to contamination of water deposits, and the practice has met stiff resistance from state legislatures in New York and New Jersey.

Christie's moratorium proposal, however, is unlikely to alter the plans of many oil drillers, most of which are currently focused on Pennsylvania and are targeting some parts of the Marcellus in New York state. Only a relatively small fraction of the Marcellus formation is located in Jersey.

The controversy, however, underscores how oil and gas drilling in unconventional reservoirs remains a novel--and some say dangerous--phenomenon in the Northeastern U.S. Drillers are eager to tap natural gas reserves there because of the proximity to New York City and other large markets for the commodity.

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

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Sea Trucks Appoints CEO

- Sea Trucks Appoints CEO

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sea Trucks Group

Sea Trucks announced the appointment of Robert-Jan van Acker as its Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Robert van Acker (39) has over 13 years experience in the international marine industry. He joins Sea Trucks from Svitzer Group, the global provider of specialised marine services, where he worked for over 10 years in a series of increasingly senior management positions. Mr. van Acker led the Salvage, Euromed and Ocean Towage divisions from 2005 onwards, and lately held the position of Senior Executive Vice President as well as being a member of the executive committee of the Svitzer Group.

Mr. van Acker also led the Svitzer team in its successful joint venture, working with Sea Trucks on the removal of the West Atlas Rig in Australia in 2010. He established Svitzer India and was Managing Director of Wijsmuller Ocean Sparkle JV, a marine services company focused on delivering tugboat services to LNG terminals in India.

Robert holds a BA in Business Administration from the Hanze Business school in Groningen, The Netherlands and an Executive MBA from IMD Business school in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Robert will take up his position later this year, at a date which will be announced shortly. Until such time, Mr. Jacques Roomans (owner and President) will continue in his position as Chief Executive Officer until Mr. van Acker will assume his duties and he will work closely with Mr. van Acker during the hand-over period.

Jacques Roomans, President and CEO of Sea Trucks, commented, "We are delighted that Robert has agreed to join Sea Trucks at this exciting time. He brings with him a wealth of experience which will undoubtedly further help us achieve the ambitious goals that we have set ourselves for the coming years. Attracting someone of Robert's caliber to our company is an endorsement of our ambitions and of our vessel fleet and management team that we have in place. We look forward to working with Robert and welcoming him to the company in the very near future."

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Maersk Awards TWMA Contract for Gryphon FPSO

- Maersk Awards TWMA Contract for Gryphon FPSO

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Maersk Oil has awarded TWMA a contract to handle and dispose of subsea structures and equipment damaged during the Gryphon FPSO storm incident earlier this year.

The Aberdeen-headquartered oil and gas environmental waste management company has been contracted by Maersk Oil in the UK to handle the recovered structures and equipment which suffered damage when storm weather in the UK North Sea caused the Gryphon FPSO to move off station in February.

The contract is worth a six-figure sum and was awarded to TWMA as part of Maersk Oil's ongoing Gryphon recovery and repair program.

TWMA's workscope covers onshore handling, cleaning and cutting of subsea structures including risers, riser bases, flowlines, umbilicals, mid water arches and mattresses. The firm will maximize recycling and reuse options for all recovered materials.

The subsea structures and equipment will be recovered offshore prior to landing at Lerwick harbor, Shetland, where they will be transported to TWMA's onshore waste transfer station in Vatster Gott, Shetland.

Brian Henderson, environmental services division manager of TWMA, said, "Maersk Oil is one of our longest standing clients and we are delighted that they have chosen to use TWMA for this important recovery project.

"Having a permanent presence in Shetland with a dedicated waste transfer station and team allows us to deliver a highly efficient waste management service to Maersk Oil and other clients operating in this region.

"We anticipate that 95% of the subsea material recovered from the Gryphon field will either be reused or recycled, thus dramatically reducing the volume of waste sent for landfill.

"TWMA has extensive knowledge and many years of experience in the field of recovered waste materials, mainly handling large subsea structures and equipment such as pipelines and umbilicals for the decommissioning market. We implement similar waste management strategies to undertake projects such as this where equipment needs to be recovered and replaced with minimal disruption for oil production to go back online."

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ITF Extends International Footprint with New Offices

- ITF Extends International Footprint with New Offices

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ITF is increasing its international footprint by opening two new offices in the Asia-Pacific region to drive new technology solutions to tackle global oil and gas challenges.

The Aberdeen headquartered organization is opening bases in Perth and Kuala Lumpur to unite technology developers with its membership of major oil and gas operators and has revealed plans to invest AUD $9 million (£5.7 million) in groundbreaking solutions there by 2015.

Peter Brazier has been appointed as regional manager for Australia, and will head up the office in Perth. With 30 years' industry experience, Mr. Brazier will promote the organization in the region and encourage more operators and service companies to join ITF.

He said, "ITF currently has a good position with major companies such as Woodside and Chevron already signed up as members, who see the benefits of collaborating on funding new technologies. However, there is a growing demand for next generation technologies that will recover hydrocarbons from increasingly challenging environments and I want to make sure that local companies benefit from the funding being offered. I'm looking forward to building strong relationships with oil and gas operators, innovative technology companies and academic institutions."

Mr. Brazier joins ITF following eight years at the Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO), where he held several prominent research managerial positions. This included secondment as chief executive of the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance and secondment as CEO of the research joint venture between WA:ERA and Woodside Energy.

Prior to this he also worked for companies including Woodside Energy and Halliburton Energy. Mr. Brazier is a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association. Mr. Brazier will also facilitate a workshop at Offshore Convention: Australasia on Advances of Subsea Technologies in Australia this month.

ITF's regional director for the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, Ryan McPherson will oversee the Kuala Lumpur base with plans to appoint a full time technology analyst there next year.

Mr. McPherson said, "There is definitely an appetite for concerted technology development in Australia and Malaysia and our aim is to invest $9 million in new technologies over the next four years. We are extremely pleased to welcome Peter to the team and are certain his extensive network of contacts and industry knowledge will enable us to successfully bring more technology to market."

The new offices come as ITF also issues a Call for Proposals for subsea technologies. This was the result of a Technology Challenge Workshop which took place in Perth in June.

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Libya Oil Industry May Fast Recover

- Libya Oil Industry May Fast Recover

Thursday, August 25, 2011
by Jim Michaels

Libya's oil industry should be able to recover fairly quickly after fighting ends, but it might take a year or two to reach pre-rebellion production levels, analysts say.

If the country can establish political stability, Libya could begin producing 250,000 to 300,000 barrels a day within several months, says Samuel Ciszuk, an analyst at consulting firm IHS Energy. Reaching pre-war levels of 1.6 million barrels a day will take a year or more, he says. Most production was stopped by widespread violence.

Restoring Libya's oil production would help stabilize prices and be good news for motorists, who could see modest price drops immediately, energy analysts say.

Unlike in Iraq, where the oil industry was devastated by economic sanctions and struggled for years to rebuild, Libya's infrastructure is in good shape and has benefited from Western investment, says Amy Jaffe, an analyst at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

Even so, Libya's ability to ramp up oil production will depend on how much damage was done to refineries and port facilities and what type of government is established.

Rebels struggled Wednesday to get control of Libya's capital. Their leaders established a national government in Tripoli even as clashes with regime loyalists continued. The rebels put a $1.67 million bounty on missing strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Months of fighting have rattled world oil markets. The United States imports less than 1% of its oil from Libya, but European countries, including France and Italy, depend heavily on Libyan oil.

Libya's former oil minister, Shokri Ghanem, says the country could probably restore production within a few months and reach pre-rebellion levels in about two years, according to Platts, an oil industry information service.

A precise forecast won't be available until engineers survey equipment and oil fields.

"A lot of these facilities haven't had eyes on them by experts in several months," says Christopher Guith, an energy specialist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "No one knows the state of those fields and the state of the infrastructure."

Rebels and loyalists fought some of the fiercest battles around Ras Lanouf, Brega and Zawiya, cities with major refineries. Fires broke out at some of the facilities during the fighting.

European firms have been active in Libya for years. U.S. companies went in after sanctions were lifted in 2003, when Gadhafi agreed to dismantle Libya's weapons of mass destruction.

Foreign employees, who left when fighting started, will be eager to return if Libya is stable, says Al Hegburg of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A key attraction for oil companies is Libya's potential. Before Gadhafi took power, Libya was producing about 3 million barrels a day, nearly twice what it produced during his regime.

Guith says, "It is definitely a good opportunity for oil exploration companies."

Copyright 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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ConocoPhillips Faces Suit in China Over 2 Oil Spills

- ConocoPhillips Faces Suit in China Over 2 Oil Spills

Thursday, August 25, 2011
International Herald Tribune
by Edward Wong

The spills at the country's largest offshore oil field, developed by ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore Oil Corp., have released about 3,200 barrels of oil and drilling fluids into the sea.

The Chinese maritime authority is preparing to sue ConocoPhillips, the American oil company, over two oil spills that took place in June and engulfed large swaths of Bohai Bay in north China, according to a report by Xinhua, the state news agency.

The report, which appeared Wednesday, said the government agency, the State Oceanic Administration, was aiming to prepare a team of lawyers by the end of the month. It cited an agency spokesman as saying that 49 Chinese law firms had applied to provide legal assistance in the lawsuit, which would demand compensation.

The two spills at Penglai 19-3, the country's largest offshore oil field, covered at least 840 square kilometers in Bohai Bay and was the biggest oil disaster in China since a pipeline explosion in Dalian in July 2010 resulted in a leak into the Yellow Sea. About 3,200 barrels of oil and drilling fluids have spilled into Bohai Bay from the June accident. Penglai is being developed by ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore Oil Corp., commonly known as Cnooc.

John Roper, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, which is based in Houston, said in an e-mail Thursday that the company had not received any notice of litigation.

"As far as compensation goes, we will listen to any requests and follow Chinese law, but we have not received any notification of claims," he said. "Cleanup efforts are going very well. We are more than 95 percent finished with the cleanup of mineral oil-based drilling mud and expect to reach our target of being 100 percent by the end of August."

Mr. Roper added that there was no more oil sheen on the surface of the water.

The Xinhua report said the oil spills had spread to beaches in the provinces of Hebei and Liaoning and were being blamed for a slowdown in local tourism and for economic damage to aquatic farming industries. The report also said "nine new oil spill sources" had been found in the bay as of last Saturday.

Mr. Roper said those nine seeps were not from new leaks but rather were residual oil and drilling mud from the June 17 spill that were now migrating to the surface. "Divers were only able to see them once the drilling mud was cleared away from the seafloor," he said. The seeps are small, are clustered together and are releasing a total volume of fluids of one to two liters per day "that is being immediately contained and cleaned up."

In Hong Kong on Wednesday, the chairman of Cnooc, Wang Yilin, addressed the compensation issue.

"If Cnooc is ruled to pay any form of compensation, we will certainly fulfill our commitment and do the right thing," Mr. Wang said at a news briefing after the company announced its first-half earnings, according to Bloomberg News. "Cnooc is a responsible company, and we honor our long-term commitment to the country, people and the environment."

Georg Storaker, president of ConocoPhillips China, said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the spill in Bohai Bay should not be compared with the disastrous spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico for which BP was blamed.

(C) 2011 International Herald Tribune. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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Entek IDs Oil Shows at Niobrara Shale Well

- Entek IDs Oil Shows at Niobrara Shale Well

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Entek Energy Ltd.

Entek provided an update on the Niobrara Shale Oil Project Appraisal Program in the Green River Basin.

Battle Mountain 14-10L – The Frontier (secondary objective) has been successfully fracture stimulated and is currently flowing back fracture stimulation fluid. The well is being unloaded and initial testing will commence over the next week. The completion program for the Niobrara (primary objective), which includes fracture stimulation and testing, is on schedule to start in September 2011.

Slater Dome (SD) Federal 24-9DL – The well has successfully reached its total depth of 8,300 ft after penetrating both the Niobrara and Frontier Formations Formations with oil shows while drilling. The well is now being prepared for wire-line logging.

C&C Cattle 18-8 – Location preparation is complete and awaiting arrival of the rig from the SD Federal 24-9 location.

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Premier Oil Sees 60,000 Boepd Production in Second Half

- Premier Oil Sees 60,000 Boepd Production in Second Half

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Iain Packham

Independent oil and gas company Premier Oil expects production to increase to around 60,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day in the second half of the year as its Chim Sao and Gajah Baru projects come on line in the next few weeks, Chief Executive Simon Lockett told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

First-half production averaged 36,900 barrels of oil equivalent a day, down from 46,600 in the first half of 2010 as unplanned maintenance work sapped production. Full-year production is estimated to be between 40,000 and 45,000, similar to levels in 2010.

Premier has put in place a $40 million investment program to minimize future disruptions and some of the work undertaken will actually boost production, Lockett said.

Premier said it expects second-half production to be higher than the first half as the Chim Sao project in Vietnam, which it operates, starts oil production in the next few weeks. This will be supplemented by the start of gas production at the Premier-operated Gajah Baru project in Indonesia.

Lockett said he expects production from Gajah Baru and Chim Sao will "push our production numbers up from the low end that we had in the first half of this year up to 60,0000 barrels [of oil equivalent] a day towards the back end of this year."

"That will keep us on track to deliver 75,000 barrels [of oil equivalent] a day back-end of next year and on to 100,000 barrels a day in the medium term, which is the stated target."

The company is also stepping up its exploration activities and estimates up to 20 exploration and appraisal wells will be drilled in the next 12 months, targeting around 300 million barrels of oil equivalent. It expects to drill 10 exploration wells in the second half of 2011 in Indonesia, Vietnam, Norway and the U.K.

Finance Director Tony Durrant told Dow Jones Newswires that Premier's exploration activities will cost around $250 million over 2011 and estimated that $150 million of that will be spent in the second half.

Premier said it has set itself an exploration target of achieving 200 million barrels of oil equivalent of reserve additions by 2015, of which around 75 million barrels have already been achieved.

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

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Halliburton Planning To Hire 11,000 In 2011

- Halliburton Planning To Hire 11,000 In 2011

Aug 25, 2011

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) plans to hire 11,000 workers in North America in 2011, according to a top executive who told Jim Cramer on CNBC's Mad Money on Wednesday.

The president of the Western Hemisphere, Jim Brown said many of the new hires will be sent to North Dakota's oil-rich Bakken shale, which is one of the largest oil finds in the U.S.

Brown commented, "If you have a willingness to work and an aptitude to learn with a high school education, within a year-and-a-half to two years, you can become a front-line supervisor. That job will pay $125,000 to $130,000 a year. It's a tremendous opportunity. You gotta come to North Dakota, but what we're doing here, we're replicating across the nation."

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) has a potential upside of 79.6% based on a current price of $40.27 and an average consensus analyst price target of $72.31.

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Legacy Reserves Enters Equity Distribution Agreement for Up to $60 Million In Units

- Legacy Reserves Enters Equity Distribution Agreement for Up to $60 Million In Units

Aug 25, 2011

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ:LGCY) entered into an Equity Distribution Agreement with Knight Capital Americas. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, the Partnership may sell from time to time through Knight, as the Partnership's sales agent, the Partnership's common units representing limited partner interests having an aggregate offering of up to $60 million.

Sales of the units, if any, will be made by means of ordinary brokers' transactions on the Nasdaq Global Select Market at market prices, in block transactions or as otherwise agreed by the Partnership and Knight.

Legacy Reserves (NASDAQ:LGCY) has a potential upside of 27.5% based on a current price of $26.68 and an average consensus analyst price target of $34.

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ONGC Chairman: Plan To Bid Aggressively for Overseas Blocks

- ONGC Chairman: Plan To Bid Aggressively for Overseas Blocks

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Dow Jones Newswires
by Rakesh Sharma

Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) plans to aggressively bid for oil and gas assets overseas in upcoming auctions as part of its strategy to more than double oil production abroad to 20 million tons a year by 2020, the chairman of India's flagship explorer said.

ONGC plans to work with other Indian state-run oil and gas companies through its overseas investment arm ONGC Videsh Ltd., or OVL, to bid for assets overseas, A.K. Hazarika told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview late Wednesday.

"Ours is an import-dependent country and we need energy," Hazarika said. "Although, all the companies can go out and bid, we shouldn't be competing against each other. So we will form joint ventures."

India's state-run companies have lagged behind those from bigger Asian rival China in acquiring energy assets overseas.

OVL's last big acquisition was Russia-focused Imperial Energy in January 2009, which it bought for $2.12 billion.

The federal government is now considering creating a sovereign fund focused on resource asset acquisition overseas to seek energy sources for the world's second-fastest growing major economy.

OVL has been shortlisted to bid in Iraq's forthcoming auction round, Hazarika said, adding his company will form a consortium for bidding.

Iraq is offering 12 exploration blocks in its fourth licensing round, which will take place in January.

He said OVL will also be interested in forthcoming auctions in Brazil and Oman.

Early next year, Brazil is expected to hold the 11th bid round for exploration and production blocks in onshore and offshore basins.

OVL has stakes in one producing block and half a dozen exploratory blocks in Brazil.

Oman is expected to offer about five oil and gas blocks in a new exploration licensing round.

"ONGC will look into the properties and take a call based on due diligence," Hazarika said.

He said OVL, which produced 9.43 million tons of oil and oil equivalent gas in the year ended March 31, has invested INR560 billion ($12 billion) so far in overseas assets.

"Money is not a constraint for us as OVL can easily borrow from the market," Hazarika said. He didn't give details about the company's overseas investment plans.

He said OVL also expects to resume exploratory activities in Libya and explore more investment opportunities once normalcy returns in the African country.

OVL declared force majeure and suspended operations in February in an offshore exploration block in Libya, citing political unrest.

Oil companies active in Libya before the civil war began gearing up for the challenge of resuming operations in the country Monday as rebel forces moved closer to taking over Tripoli.

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

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Beach to Construct New Flowline from Cooper Basin Western Flank

- Beach to Construct New Flowline from Cooper Basin Western Flank

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Beach Energy Ltd.

Beach has signed an agreement with Senex to tie-in the Growler Field (Beach 40%) to the Lycium oil field. It has also agreed with Senex to construct a trunkline from Lycium to the Moomba facility, however, the tie-in of this section remains subject to approval from the South Australian Cooper Basin (SACB) Joint Venture (~Santos Ltd 67%, Beach 20%, Origin Ltd 13%).

It is anticipated that the flowline from the Growler Field will be constructed in two main sections. The first section, directly from the Growler Field to the Lycium oil field, will consist of a six inch flowline with an initial capacity of approximately 8,000 barrels of oil per day. The equity interests for this section of flowline will be Beach 40% and Senex 60%.

Pending approval from the SACB Joint Venture, the main trunkline will service the whole of Beach's operated and non-operated Western Flank acreage and is planned to run between Lycium and the Moomba facility. The capacity of this eight inch trunkline is expected to be in the order of 15,000 barrels of oil per day. The equity interests for this section will be Beach 60% and Senex 40%.

Beach will undertake both the construction and operatorship of the flowlines, with the total cost of approximately $40 million to be effectively shared between Beach and Senex.

These flowlines will provide Beach with access to the Growler Field during times of flooding in much the same way it has for Beach's PEL 92 acreage during the recent flooding events. The second trunkline will also provide for increased production flows from Beach's operated PEL 91 and PEL 92 acreage as a result of recent development, appraisal and exploration success in the area.

The six well approved exploration program set down for PEL 104 and PEL 111 is expected to commence in October 2011, when flood waters are forecast to recede to levels where access can be restored. A number of Birkhead targets have been identified by the Operator which has had an exploration drilling success rate of 80% in the acreage to date.

The tenure of the Beach Operated Western Flank PEL's 91 and 92 have been granted a twelve month extension by PIRSA in acknowledgment that flooding has delayed exploration in the area. It is expected that the flowlines will be commissioned around June 2012.

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GM and LG to Jointly Develop Electric Vehicles

- GM and LG to Jointly Develop Electric Vehicles

Aug 25, 2011

General Motors and LG Group will join forces in design and engineer future electric vehicles, expanding a relationship built on LG's work as the battery cell supplier for the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera extended-range electric vehicles.

The definitive agreement will assist GM expand the number and types of electric vehicles it makes and sells by using LG's proven expertise in batteries and other systems.

Timing of the launch of the first vehicles resulting from the partnership will be announced closer to market readiness. The agreement does not involve an exchange of equity between the companies.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has a potential upside of 85.6% based on a current price of $22.3 and an average consensus analyst price target of $41.38.

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Seadrill Ltd Reported Q2 Results

- Seadrill Ltd Reported Q2 Results

Aug 25, 2011

Seadrill Limited (NASDAQ:SDRL) reported Q2 EPS of $1.34, vs. consensus estimates of $0.69 per share. Revenues for the quarter rose 6.6% year-over-year to $995 million, missing consensus estimates of $1.01 billion.

Seadrill has a potential upside of 23.8% based on a current price of $31.04 and an average consensus analyst price target of $38.42.

Seadrill is currently below its 50-day moving average (MA) of $33.03 and below its 200-day MA of $34.15.

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- Seadrill 2Q Earnings Climb on Demand

Encana to Sell Barnett Shale Assets

- Encana to Sell Barnett Shale Assets

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Encana Corp.

Encana has initiated a process to divest of its North Texas natural gas producing assets in the Fort Worth Basin located in the Barnett Shale play. Scotia Waterous (USA) Inc. has been retained as advisor to assist in the process.

"The initiation of the process to sell Encana's North Texas assets is a continuation of the company's ongoing divestiture program, which is well underway and is targeting net divestitures of between US $1 billion and $2 billion for 2011. Encana continuously looks for opportunities to manage its portfolio of producing assets and improve the long-term value creation capacity of its vast resource portfolio. These North Texas assets are high-quality, relatively mature producing properties that hold strong potential for future development. The assets currently produce about 125 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d) and include the associated processing and pipeline facilities on about 52,000 net acres of land in the Fort Worth Basin. We would expect this divestiture to be completed in late 2011 or early 2012," said Jeff Wojahn, Encana's Executive Vice-President & President, USA Division.

"We acquired our core position in the Barnett Shale play in 2004 as a result of a corporate acquisition that was focused on building a major land and production position in the U.S. Rockies. Alongside developing this strong asset, over the years we built a suite of high-growth, early-life resource plays in the Mid-Continent, led by about 295,000 net acres of land in the Haynesville Shale play, where our production is now more than 500 MMcfe/d. In East Texas, our production is about 250 MMcfe/d and our 240,000 net acres hold strong growth potential. Our Mid-Continent resource play teams and operations, based in Dallas, will continue to be a leading contributor to Encana's long-term growth strategy," Wojahn said.

As a leading North American natural gas shale property, the Barnett Shale has provided Encana with high-quality natural gas growth and foundational knowledge which the company has applied across its U.S. and Canadian portfolio of newer resource plays. That foundational knowledge will continue to provide Encana with operational expertise as the company applies multiple advanced technologies to manage costs over the long term and pursue maximizing the margins from all of its natural gas production.

A sale of Encana's North Texas assets would be subject to receiving an acceptable bid, the approval of the companies' boards of directors, normal closing conditions as well as regulatory approvals.

On other fronts, Encana is actively engaged with a number of parties in a competitive process to divest of midstream and producing assets in the U.S. and Canada that no longer fit with its development plans. The company is also in discussions with a number of potential partners looking to make third-party investments aimed at accelerating the value recognition of Encana's enormous resource potential on its undeveloped lands. Proceeds from these transactions are expected to supplement cash flow generation and strengthen the company's balance sheet, providing financial flexibility going into 2012.

Tremendous resource potential across Encana lands

Across North America, Encana has about 7 million net acres of undeveloped land holding tremendous resource potential. Based on an independent assessment of Encana's proved reserves and low estimate economic contingent resources, as of December 31, 2010, this natural gas inventory would last approximately 30 years based on 2010 annualized production.

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Bridge Inks Farm-In Deal with TAQA Offshore UK

- Bridge Inks Farm-In Deal with TAQA Offshore UK

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Bridge Energy ASA

Bridge announced that, along with its current license partners, it has signed a farm-in agreement with TAQA Bratani Limited ("TAQA") relating to UKCS License P201 Block 211/22a North West Area (Bridge 10%) whereby TAQA has agreed to carry the cost of an exploration well to earn an interest in the license.

Under the terms of the agreement and subject to the approval of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change ("DECC"), TAQA will assume operatorship and drill an exploration well on a prospect known as Contender in the southern area of the block from the TAQA-operated Cormorant North Platform. The well will target the Jurassic Brent sequence of sandstones at a projected drilling depth of 16,900 feet, less than two kilometers east of the Cormorant North Field. The well is expected to spud during the first half of 2012 and will be completely funded by TAQA.

If successful, TAQA will earn 60% interest in the southern area of the block (the "Contender sub-area") and 35% interest in the northern part (the "Kerloch sub-area"). Bridge's remaining interests will be 4% in the Contender sub-area and 6.5% in the Kerloch sub-area.

Tom Reynolds, Bridge's Deputy Chief Executive, said, "We are delighted to have TAQA as a partner in the Kerloch and Contender license area and encouraged that a further exploration well will be drilled within the Bridge portfolio in 1H 2012; in addition to the existing four wells on our 2012 drilling program. TAQA has been successful in the area with the Cormorant North Field and is well placed to further explore the Contender prospect.

"Subject to exploration success; the testing of the well and delivery of production could be conducted at minimal cost and within a short time-frame."

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Cooper to Plug and Abandon Perlubie-2 Well

- Cooper to Plug and Abandon Perlubie-2 Well

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Cooper Energy Ltd.

Cooper announced that the Perlubie-2 appraisal/development well has been drilled to a total depth of 1366 mRT and wireline logs have been run and interpreted.

Perlubie-2 has encountered the Namur sandstone reservoir low to prognosis and logging has confirmed an oil column in Namur and McKinlay Member sandstone reservoirs. Due to the small height of the oil column, the well is not expected to recover sufficient oil to justify a completion and tie-in to the production system and therefore the PEL 92 JV has decided to plug and abandon the well.

The rig will be moved to Germein-1 well location as the next exploration well.

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Completion Ops Underway at Gulf Shores' Saskatchewan Well

- Completion Ops Underway at Gulf Shores' Saskatchewan Well

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Gulf Shores Resources Ltd.

Completion operations are underway on the 4-2-15-33W1 well in the Wapella area of Southeast Saskatchewan in which Gulf Shores Resources has earned a 47.5% working interest. This new oil well offsets the producing 5-2-15-33W1 Bakken oil well in which Gulf Shores also owns a 47.5% working interest.

The rig will now move to the 3-34-14-33W1 location in the Coothill area of Southeast Saskatchewan where drilling is expected to commence within a few days.

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Imperial Drills Ahead at Green Tide SWDF

- Imperial Drills Ahead at Green Tide SWDF

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Imperial Resources Inc.

Imperial announced that the operation to deepen the disposal well at the Company's Green Tide Salt Water Disposal Facility ("SWDF") continues to be drilled ahead vertically from the sidetrack.

As of 18:00 local time on August 24, 2011 the well was at 5,700 feet drilling ahead toward the target formation. To date no major issues have been encountered. The Company anticipates it will reach a total depth of 7,500 feet (approximately 500 feet into the Ellenburger formation) at which point the aim will be to set casing and cement from the bottom of casing back up to 5,700 feet. Once completed, the current rig will be released and replaced by a smaller workover rig which will attempt to drill further into the Ellenburger formation to reach some high porosity strands within the formation to enable maximum potential disposal capacity.

Subject to success, commercial disposal operations are expected to start immediately targeting full disposal capacity of 15,000 barrels per day as quickly as possible. At full capacity, the Company believes the Green Tide SWDF has the potential to generate significant cash flow at relatively low operating costs.
The Green Tide SWDF

The Green Tide SWDF is conveniently located for the disposal of large volumes of salt water generated from essential fracture stimulation operations on Barnett Shale gas wells. There are approximately 6,000 such Barnett wells within 20 miles of the SWDF.

Imperial plans to reopen Green Tide to dispose of up to 15,000 barrels of salt water a day. The Company's acquisition and development of the low run-time Green Tide assets and disposal permit is expected to save in excess of $5,000,000, compared to a new build cost.

Green Tide is one of two key projects identified as transformational for Imperial (the other being the Company's Oklahoma project).

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ROC Pumps Oil at Zhanghai Block Offshore China

- ROC Pumps Oil at Zhanghai Block Offshore China

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Roc Oil Co. Ltd.
by SubseaIQ

Roc Oil (Bohai) Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of ROC, advised that production has commenced from the first appraisal well drilled in the new Zhanghai block – one of two adjoining blocks added to ROC's existing Zhao Dong Block Contract in March 2011 with the aim of commercializing previous near field discoveries in the area and encouraging further appraisal activity.

The appraisal well (ZD CP2N-H-1) commenced drilling from the Zhao Dong C4 platform on July 15 and intersected 310 meters of horizontal reservoir section. The well was completed and production through existing C4 facilities has commenced at an initial rate of 3,546 BOPD. PetroChina exercised its rights under the PSC to participate with a 51% interest in the new Zhao Dong blocks on the commencement of completion activities and commercial development of the well, effective August 12. The interests in the two new additional blocks are now PetroChina 51%, ROC 39.2% and Sinochem 9.8%.

ROC is now planning to drill a second appraisal well (ROC 80% cost obligation on dry hole basis) during 2012.

Commenting on the success of the well, ROC's Chief Executive Officer, Alan Linn, stated, "One element of ROC's strategy is to generate future growth by commercializing near field opportunities through existing infrastructure. Extension of the Zhao Dong block provides an opportunity to incrementally develop a number of existing discoveries through existing Zhao Dong facilities in parallel with ongoing development drilling activities. Exploration opportunities within this acreage could also impact the future profitability and recovery life of the existing assets.

"Production from the first appraisal well in the additional Zhao Dong blocks is a positive outcome for all joint venture partners and represents the achievement of another of ROC's key strategic objectives for 2011: to deliver a new production or pre-development opportunity in China."

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Aurelian Starts Flow Test at Polish Well

- Aurelian Starts Flow Test at Polish Well

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Aurelian O&G plc

Aurelian provided the following operational update.

A stabilized flow test, expected to last between 14 and 28 days, has now commenced at the second Siekierki MFHW, Trzek-3. The planned six fracs have been completed without material mechanical issues. Well clean up operations and a Memory Production Log have all been completed.

A further update will be provided at the end of the stabilized flow test.

Trzek-3 is targeting a separate high to other wells in the Siekierki structure with a recoverable resource estimated at between 16 and 28bcf.

The Siekierki project is located on the Poznan licenses which are 100% held by Energia Zachόd Sp. z.o.o., a company owned 90% by Aurelian and 10% by Avobone N.V.

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Nostra Terra Places Nesbitt Well into Production

- Nostra Terra Places Nesbitt Well into Production

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Nostra Terra O&G Co. plc

Nostra Terra announced that the initial horizontal well in the Nesbitt Prospect Unit, located in the Woodlawn Field in Texas, has been completed. The production facilities have been built and the well has been put into production by New Century Exploration Inc.

Nostra Terra has a 3% working interest in the Nesbitt Prospect Unit, located in the Woodlawn Field in Texas, which is also operated by New Century Exploration, Inc.

The Company will provide an update on 30-day production figures in the future.

Matt Lofgran, Chief Executive Officer of Nostra Terra, commented, "This marks the second well we've put into production this month. We have additional projects funded and in various stages of development, and anticipate bringing on additional wells this year where we own a larger interest."

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Range Advances Operations in Georgia and Texas

- Range Advances Operations in Georgia and Texas

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Range Resources Ltd.

Range provided the following update across a number of its international interests.

Range announced that the hole to 700m has been opened up to 17 1/2" with the 13 3/8" casing successfully cemented to the depth of 700m. The blowout preventer ("BOP") is currently being fitted after which the rig will shortly resume drilling with a target total depth of approximately 3,500m expected to be reached in mid/late September.

The Mukhiani Well is targeting the Vani 3 prospect which has the following estimated undiscovered stock tank oil-in-place ("STOIIP"):

Vani 3 Prospect - STOIIP (MMbbls)

P90 P50 P10 Mean
Gross (100%) 41.7 92.7 178.2 115.2
Net Attributable to Range (40%) 16.7 37.1 71.3 46.1

The recently completed geochemical helium survey undertaken by Range confirmed the suitability of the first drill location with oil exploration and development prospectivity complementing the earlier seismic work completed on the target.

Texas - North Chapman Ranch

Range also announced that the Company remains on track to commence the two well program on the North Chapman Ranch prospect in October 2011, with the Albrecht well to be drilled in the east south east portion of the license area with the second well location currently being finalized. With the Smith #1 and Russell-Bevly wells located in the north-west corner of the license area,
assuming success on the Albrecht well alone, the Company would expect a significant re-classification of the current P2 & P3 (Probable & Possible) reserves into the P1 (Proved) and P2 (Probable) categories.

In addition to the Howell Height formation that the Smith #1 and Russell- Bevly wells are currently producing from, the Albrecht well is
also targeting multiple shallower targets. The shallower objectives are known to produce within or on trend with our license area.

Texas - East Texas Cotton Valley

Operations have resumed on the Company's Ross 3H horizontal well after fluid samples from the well were recently collected and analyzed. The Ross 3H was drilled with significant oil shows and strong evidence of oil saturation from core data but experienced a high pressure salt water flow near the end of its nearly 3,500 ft. lateral section. Range and its partners will continue to perforate and test additional sections of the lateral. If successful, the Ross 3H could set up a multi-well horizontal development program to exploit the
shallow oil reservoir there.

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Seadrill 2Q Earnings Climb on Demand

- Seadrill 2Q Earnings Climb on Demand

Thursday, August 25, 2011
Seadrill Ltd.

Seadrill reports second quarter 2011 results:

  • Seadrill generates second quarter 2011 EBITDA) of US $579 million
  • Seadrill reports second quarter 2011 net income of US $645 million and earnings per share of US $1.34
  • Seadrill distributes quarterly cash dividend of US $0.75 per share
  • Seadrill records a US $416 million gain on realization of the Pride International Inc. shareholding ("Pride")
  • Seadrill exercised its right to call and retire the US $750 million 2012 convertible bond
  • Seadrill ordered a new ultra-deepwater drillship for an all-in cost of US $600 million
  • Seadrill ordered a new tender barge rig for a total consideration of US $115 million and a new semi-tender rig for an all-in cost of US $200 million
  • Seadrill agreed to sell the jackup rig West Juno for a total consideration of US $248.5 million
  • Seadrill agreed to sell the jackup rig West Janus for a total consideration of US $73 million

Subsequent events
  • Seadrill acquired a 33.75 percent ownership stake in Asia Offshore Drilling Ltd through a private placement
  • Seadrill's majority owned subsidiary, North Atlantic Drilling Ltd, takes delivery of the harsh environment jackup rig West Elara
  • Seadrill completed the divestment of the jackup rig West Juno for US $248.5 million in early July
  • Seadrill secures two three-year contracts for two jackups with a US $348 million revenue potential

Second quarter 2011 results

Seadrill reported consolidated revenues for the first quarter 2011 of US $995 million compared to US $1.11 billion for the first quarter 2011. The reduction is due to de-consolidation of Archer Limited from end of February.

Operating profit for the first quarter was US $430 million in line with the preceding quarter.

Operating profit from the Floaters was US $341 million as compared to an operating profit of US $312 million in the first quarter 2011 due to improved average economical utilization rate.

Operating profit from the Jackup Rigs amounted to US $49 million as compared to an operating profit of US $64 million in the first quarter 2011 as result of lower average economic utilization rate.

Operating profit from the Tender Rigs was US $40 million, down from US $49 million in the first quarter 2011 due to the retirement of the tender rig barge T8.

Net financial items for the quarter amounted to a gain of US $264 million compared to a gain of US $441 million in the previous quarter. The second quarter included a gain on realization of our Pride position of US $416 million whereas the first quarter benefited from a US $477 million gain in connection with the deconsolidation of Archer Limited formerly known as Seawell Limited. Loss on derivative financial instruments was US $90 million compared to a US $41 million gain in the first quarter.

Income taxes for the second quarter were US $50 million compared to US $48 million in the first quarter.

Net income for the quarter was US $645 million and basic earnings per share of US $1.35.

Chief Executive Officer in Seadrill Management AS Alf C Thorkildsen commented, "Our second quarter results reflect solid operation and performance for our offshore drilling rigs. We are in particular satisfied with the improved utilization rate for our floaters that was up from 94% to 97%. Based on a sound outlook for our industry and our solid contract portfolio we continue to be optimistic about our future earnings potential and have resolved to uphold a cash dividend of US $0.75 per share for the quarter."

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