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Hydrocarbon Potential in Namibia - Call for Abstracts
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'Attracting investment capital looked like a challenge for the oil and gas industry heading into this year, as investors put increased emphasis on profitability and steady returns. At first that situation appeared to be an emerging problem. Then prices fell off a cliff, with damaging results for exploration funding. The worldwide spread of the coronavirus gutted oil demand while a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia left both sides threatening to increase crude production. OPEC+ eventually reached a compromise on cutting output, but most analysts felt it was too little, too late, putting oil and gas in a money crunch.
As geoscientists, we have a deep appreciation of the rocks themselves, whether they are in the field or in the lab. We also know that the one constant in geological history is change, and those changes can be both gradual and almost instantaneous (think Chicxulub). Now, COVID-19 is challenging educators to force face-to-face learning environments, including classrooms, laboratories, and field courses to move online. Here is a quick summary of best practices and lessons learned when it comes to transitioning from face-to-face to online learning.
It has been said that wise people surround themselves with the smartest people they can find and then listen to them. I am always looking for opportunities to learn something about the future of oil and gas from people in other disciplines. In late February, with that thought in mind, I attended a luncheon hosted by the Unites States Association for Energy Economics at the Federal Reserve building in Houston.
What a difference a month makes. I discussed black swan events in last month’s President’s Column. Let me tell you, the AAPG and the oil industry just got hit with three black swan events all at once: the coronavirus, the stock market’s major drop and the oil price plunge. While the drop in the stock market and the drop in demand for oil have a direct tie to the coronavirus, the unwinding of OPEC+ has added to the oil price drop. Understandably, the events of this past month have caused an increased amount of anxiety for many people.
“Normally one would talk about an event like this in terms of recent discoveries and trends.” That’s Neil Hodgson, AAPG Europe president, talking about what happened – more to the point, what didn’t happen – at the recent APPEX Prospect and Property Expo in London. He has good reason for the non- announcement: recent discoveries and trends in the industry are, he believes, an ongoing occurrence for explorationists – it’s part of their DNA. What is needed right now is a re-focus – a rebirth. Listening to Hodgson, there is a sense that while he sees the clouds on the energy horizon – especially in Europe, he is more excited about the sun peeking through them.
On Feb. 11, Colombia’s state oil company Ecopetrol signed a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell granting the company 50-percent working interest in the Fuerte Sur, Purple Angel and Colombia-5 blocks located in the Southern Colombian Caribbean. Shell is not the only company taking note of Colombia’s offshore potential. Noble Energy entered the country in 2018 and obtained its first acreage position with a 40-percent operational stake in the COL-3 and GUA OFF-3 blocks in March 2019. Ian Gordon, Colombia country manager for Noble, said the country has a lot to offer to companies seeking offshore opportunities.
In the wake of a long hiatus from discoveries that nearly made Oman obsolete in the industry, potential is brewing again. This time, it is offshore where Eni recently began drilling the country’s first deepwater well. Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi announced, “The first drilling that we are doing in the region will be in Oman in February. It will be the first (deepwater) offshore drilling in Block 52 in Oman, so it’s quite important.” Block 52 is a vast area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers off the southern and southeastern seaboard of Oman, with water depths up to 3,000 meters. The exploration well was planned just seven months after the completion of seismic data acquisition and is likely to show gas-condensate.
In the oil and gas industry, the size of a discovery matters. And these days, so does the environmental footprint of extracting its resources. As the world continues to research sustainable energy sources, one geologist – in a rare twist – is looking to giant deepwater oil and gas fields for solutions. “If we’re looking for efficient sources of energy with manageable environmental footprints, deepwater may be the place to look,” said AAPG Member Henry S. Pettingill, consultant and former geologist for Shell and Noble Energy. While it often seems that environmental strain related to energy consumption is the focus, Pettingill suggests considering the environmental cost of extracting and producing that energy.
The worldwide spread of the coronavirus demonstrates how disruptive a medical pandemic can be for the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. In addition to presenting a huge health challenge, the crisis also means a substantial decline in world oil demand. The expectation of reduced consumption has already resulted in a sharp drop in crude prices. But for the U.S. exploration and production sector, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic might not be completely negative, according to at least one analyst.
This Executive Committee and the past five EC have been working hard on your behalf. AAPG had a couple black swan events in 2014 and 2015. The Executive Committees during these few years have been working very hard to cut costs and bring the budget into balance in this new commodity price environment. The bottom line to all this is that in five years we have righted the ship, bailed the water, and are sailing once again.
Save the date! Join us for the upcoming AAPG Exploration in Mature Basins GTW to be held from 30 May – 1 June 2022 in Muscat, Oman. More information to follow soon.
The course will review core data, petrophysical comparisons, rock physics modeling (including pseudo logs and mechanical properties).
The “Great Crew Change” has become the “Competence Train Wreck” due to the repeated personal mis-management practices of our industry and again not anticipating the known volatility of commodity prices. Despite this, hydrocarbon based energy will continue to comprise over 60% of the world’s energy mix for at least the next half century and of that energy need over half of it has yet to be found! Personal experience in working for National Oil Companies, Parastatals, large independent oil companies, small independents, as an independent and as a consultant have given me the perspective of some of the best and some of the worst of the exploration practices the industry has to offer.
This is a less-technical education topic. It can be condensed to an hour or given as 2 two-hour sessions. It stresses selected controversial aspects of fracking that touch some combination of environment and economics and includes a short video of how fracking is done.
Request a visit from David Weinberg!
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