IGas confirms 'significant' NW shale resources

IGas has reported the results of its studies of the Lower Carboniferous shale, including the Bowland Shale, under its licences in the North West of England, an area of 300 square miles.

The company has constructed a geological model utilising 330kms of reprocessed seismic lines, subsurface data (including cores, logs) from around 20 offset wells and geological data from IGas’s well at Ince Marshes.

This data has been analysed to give estimates of the reservoir characteristics of the shale formations and the thickness of the shale.

Based on this model, IGas estimated the volume of 'gas initially in place' (GIIP) associated with the shales in the North West, including the Bowland Shale, as ranging between a low of 15.1 Tcf and high of 172.3 Tcf, with 102.0 Tcf given as the 'most likely' volume.

These estimates cover an area of 300 square miles giving an average mid case in place volume of around 340Bcf/ square mile with a range of 93Bcf/square mile to 677Bcf/square mile across the IGas North West acreage.

The proposed drilling programme, which will commence in Q4 2013, in the North West, is at an advanced stage.

Long lead items such as wellheads and casings, have now been ordered and negotiations with drilling and related service companies are well advanced.

“The announcement of the gas in place volumes of up to about 170Tcf in our North West acreage follows the completion of a very thorough study by the IGas technical team, said Andrew Austin, IGas CEO

The finding, he said, support the view that these licences have a very significant shale gas resource with the potential to transform the company and materially benefit the communities in which we operate.

The planned drilling programme, commencing later this year, will further refine these estimates and advance our understanding of this shale basin. We will in due course carry out further analysis and reinterpretation of existing seismic and subsurface data to evaluate the potentially prospective Shale resources in the East Midlands and Weald Basin licence areas.”


Total in Euro1bn upgrade at Antwerp site

Total has approved a €1-billion modernisation project for its Antwerp production facilities – part of a strategy to develop in its largest integrated refining and petrochemical production sites.

The upgrade programme includes two major projects, which will be implemented in the near future: a new refinery upgrading complex and a plant to convert low value refinery fuel gases into feedstock.

The upgrading facility is to comprise a solvent de-asphalting unit and a mild hydrocracking unit. Intended primarily to convert heavy fuel oil into desulphurised diesel and ultra low sulfur heating oil, the planned complex responds to the shift in demand toward products with a lower environmental impact. The facility is to start up in early 2016.

The fuel gas conversion unit will produce low cost petrochemical feedstock, replacing expensive oil-based naphtha. By further enhancing the integration between the platform’s refining and petrochemical units, this project will increase the competitiveness of the latter, said Total. The facility is due to start up in early 2017.

The modernisation also involves the closure of two existing production facilities will be shut down, as they are no longer competitive in the world economic environment:
The smallest and oldest steam cracker, currently idled for lack of markets, will be permanently stopped and dismantled.

The smallest and oldest polyethylene production line will be closed at end-2014, once an investment in other polyethylene lines to produce a new range of polymers has been completed.

The aim is to develop the Antwerp facilities into one of the most profitable platform of the refining and chemicals business of Total, explained Patrick Pouyanné, President of Total Refining & Chemicals.

“With this investment, Total is demonstrating not only its commitment to maintaining its position as a competitive industry leader in Europe and but also its ability to adapt to market trends by reducing its production capacities and emphasizing higher value-added products that meet the most stringent environmental standards,” he said.

Total said the Antwerp platform’s workforce would remain unchanged at around 1,700 people. Employees working in the facilities scheduled for shutdown will all have the opportunity to further develop their careers at the platform’s newly created production facilities.


Emerson role on Clair Ridge project

Emerson Process Management has won a $23m contract to supply integrated control and safety systems for two new bridge-linked platforms for the Clair Ridge project.

As main automation contractor (MAC) on the project, Emerson will carry out FEED work for the integrated control and safety system, as well as other services that include automation engineering, installation, acceptance testing, commissioning, configuration, and start-up support.

Emerson will supply its PlantWeb digital plant architecture, including its DeltaV digital automation system, DeltaV SIS process safety system, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software..

The DeltaV digital automation system will control and monitor platform operations via FOUNDATION Fieldbus and Emerson’s Smart Wireless technologies. The SIS system will offer process and emergency shutdown functions plus fire and gas detection to enable secure control of oil production on the platform.

Emerson said it will also provide a high fidelity process model, an operator training system, and on-going support for the automation system.

The integrated control and safety systems will have embedded device management capabilities provided by AMS Suite to enable remote management and diagnostics of valves and instruments from an onshore location. The software’s asset performance capabilities can also give managers a unified interface to assess asset health and criticality, optimise maintenance expenditure, and view key performance indicators.

Wellhead monitoring and control functions will employ Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology on the offshore platforms. A separate wireless plant network will support applications such as mobile workers and video streaming for flame detection.

BP has also awarded Emerson additional contracts to supply its Micro Motion Coriolis mass flowmeters; Rosemount pressure, temperature, radar level, and vortex flow transmitters; Fisher control valves and regulators; Rosemount Analytical gas chromatographs; and Roxar Watercut meters, the vendor said.


Severn Glocon valves for Ichthys LNG project

Control valve specialist Severn Glocon has been awarded a contract to supply 536 engineered control valves for the processing plant on the Ichthys Project onshore LNG facilities.
Included in the contract are cryogenic valves of up to 42 inches bore, weighing around 20 tonnes, as well as valves with pressure ratings of up to 2,500 ANSI.
This is the largest and one of the most technically challenging contracts in the firm’s 50 year history. The valves will deal with volatile fluids at temperatures as low as -160°c, and they need to handle extreme requirements surrounding cryogenics, thermal dynamics and velocity control.
Severn Glocon’s technical specialists have developed bespoke designs for the valves, and they are being manufactured across the Group’s Gloucester and Chennai facilities.
Valves for some of the most demanding applications, such as compressor anti-surge and gas-to-flare control, will benefit from Severn Glocon’s customised multi-labyrinth trim. This enables precise control of fluid velocity, minimising stress placed on components to enhance performance and reliability, as well as extending valve life and lowering noise levels.
Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) activities for the project are being undertaken by the JKC Australia LNG Pty Ltd (JKC), a joint venture between JGC Corporation, KBR and Chiyoda Corporation. The project is now in the construction phase and the first valves are being shipped. Manufacture and supply of valves will continue into 2014.
“The scope, scale and harsh demands of this project command highly-engineered, technically advanced hardware,” says Roger Spiers, Commercial Manager at Severn Glocon. “Our brightest engineers have been focusing their efforts on developing breakthrough valve solutions. We have also invested in extended in-house cryogenic testing facilities to optimise delivery times.”  
The Ichthys LNG Project is a Joint Venture between INPEX group companies, major partner TOTAL group companies and the Australian subsidiaries of Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas.

Noble wins $655m Statoil contract in UK North Sea

Noble Corp. has won a $655m drilling contract with Statoil for a new-build jackup for use in the UK sector of the North Sea. The initial contract is for four years and is anticipated to commence during the third quarter of 2016.

The ultra-high specification jackup is an enhanced version of  Statoil's "Cat J" specifications and will be designed to operate in water depths of up to 150 meters in harsh environment conditions, with a maximum total drilling depth capacity of 10,000 meters.

The award was made by Statoil as the operator of the Mariner project, which is located on the East Shetland Platform, about 150km east of the Shetland Isles, said ZUG, Switzerlandd-based Noble.

Statoil's partners in the Mariner project are JX Nippon Exploration and Production (U.K.) Ltd and Cairn Energy PLC. The rig will be equipped for operations in harsh environments and capable of deploying either a surface or subsea blowout preventer when drilling wells in these challenging environments.

Noble is in the final stages of negotiating a contract for the construction of the new jackup and expects delivered costs to be approximately $690 million, including project management, spares and start-up costs, but excluding capitalized interest.

"We believe that the fundamentals of the high-specification jackup market segment will continue to be strong in the decade ahead," said David W. Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Noble.

"This unit is designed to meet some of the industry's most stringent operating requirements and supports Noble's ongoing commitment to increasing the technological and operational capabilities of our fleet."

The rig will be based on the Gusto MSC CJ-70-150 design, with enhancements that include a number of features that are designed to further improve the rig's operating capability.

The rig was designed for operations over a very large platform or in a subsea configuration in water depths of up to 150 meters in the Norwegian sector.