Anadarko Petroleum Corp. CEO Al Walker still sees a future for international exploration—including frontier areas—with technology taking a leading role despite industrywide budget cuts.

Anadarko continues to look for new places across the world to work, and international exploration will “always be a part of what we do,” Walker said May 17 at the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators’ 2017 International Petroleum Summit.

His remarks were delivered amid growing concern that a lack of long-cycle investment will turn today’s abundant supply of oil and gas resources into future shortfalls as production from U.S. shale declines and global demand rises.

“I think it’s important for us as an industry … to think about exploration in new areas, new countries and in new plays,” Walker said.

International portfolio

The company allocates the bulk of its capital nowadays to its Delaware and Denver-Julesburg basins and deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GoM) assets, but it has a sizeable international portfolio.

Anadarko’s interests include positions offshore Brazil, Colombia, New Zealand and Africa. Among the six nations on the continent, Anadarko and its partners are working offshore Mozambique in the deepwater Rovuma Basin, where about 2.1 Tcm (75 Tcf) of recoverable natural gas has been discovered. “Mozambique will be a great source for LNG for the next 20 years,” Walker said.

That probably wouldn’t have been possible without improved subsurface imaging combining proprietary and existing seismic technology that Walker said helped “image the subsurface there in a way that we had not before.”

Strides are still being made. Walker recalled news in late April about a proprietary algorithm created by a BP engineer and his team. When used with full waveform inversion technology the algorithm helped the company identify more than 200 MMbbl of additional resources at the Atlantis Field in the GoM.

BP said it plans to use this technique in other fields across the world. Locations include Azerbaijan, Angola, and Trinidad and Tobago.

“That is simply an individual sitting down and looking through the looking glass differently,” Walker said. “That’s a great example of how emerging technology will change what we do. All of us will be using and deploying techniques that we would not have thought about five years ago.”

Anadarko’s Advanced Analytics and Emerging Technologies group is using the “think-tank environment” to find faster, more efficient and more effective methods.

“We’re [also] thinking about longer cycles of disruptive technologies that completely change the way we think about our business,” he said.

New atmosphere

The atmosphere wasn’t the same 15 years ago for the industry that was once known for being slow to change and embrace technology. That mentality was crushed by the downturn as companies searching for smarter ways of doing business found answers in new technology and improved techniques. Now cloud computing, predictive analytics, algorithms and other forms of technology are getting attention.

“We have terabytes of data related to seismic,” Walker said. “We might, on a really good day, use 5% of it.”

Imagine the possibilities, Walker suggested, if such data were analyzed and put to use, possibly opening other places across the world to exploration.

“Technology will continue to evolve to make our industry better, not obsolete,” Walker said.

Anadarko might not drill as many wildcat wells as it did in 2012 to 2014, he added, but its exploration strategy remains the same. Having a mix of both short-cycle and long-cycle investments is still part of the plan.

In the next five years Walker anticipates seeing plenty of shale development, particularly in stacked U.S. shale plays such as the Delaware. The plays may outperform estimates. But shale production levels will eventually fall and be unable to contribute much to offsetting the 1.2 MMbbl/d to 1.7 MMbbl/d of demand growth per annum that Walker said is anticipated over the next five years.

The world will need conventional oil, he said, encouraging those looking for new places to explore to stay on course. But countries wanting to attract foreign capital must have attractive economics.

Management has to “balance what we think is the right way to run a company for five to 10 years vs. the demands that are being put on us for the next five to 10 quarters,” Walker said.


Mozambique FLNG project advances

Eni takes next step in its Coral South FLNG development project with signing of long-term agreement for subsea equipment and services.

Jennifer Presley, Senior Editor, Drilling Technologies

Building on the successful startup in mid-May of its Offshore Cape Three Points integrated oil and gas development off the western coast of Ghana, Eni shifted focus to Mozambique on Africa’s eastern coast. On June 1 the company launched the Coral South floating LNG (FLNG) project implementation phase with the signing of all drilling, construction and installation contracts for the production facilities as well as regulatory framework and project financing agreements with the government.

The Coral South project is the first in the development of the approximate 450 Bcm (16 Tcf) of gas in place within Area 4 of the Rovuma Basin. The field, discovered in 2012, is located about 48.2 km (30 miles) from the coast of Mozambique in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Eni and its Area 4 partners—Galp Energia, Kogas and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos—signed an agreement in October 2016 with BP for the sale of the entire volumes of LNG produced by Coral South project for a 20-year period, according to a press release. The project, scheduled for startup in mid-2022, includes the Coral South FLNG facility with a capacity of about 3.4 million tonnes per annum and is fed by six subsea wells. The Coral South FLNG unit is expected to be East Africa’s first FLNG project, with the development expected to produce up to 142 Bcm (5 Tcf) of gas, according to Eni.

The Coral South FLNG unit is expected to be East Africa’s first FLNG project, with the development expected to produce up to 142 Bcm (5 Tcf) of gas, according to Eni.

Announcements for first contracts began to roll in shortly after the official launch. In early June the TJS Consortium— comprised of TechnipFMC, JGC Corp. and Samsung Heavy Industries—announced that it was awarded the engineering, procurement, construction, installation, commissioning and startup of the facility and associated systems, according to a TechnipFMC press release.

Saipem also announced in early June that it had been awarded a 15-month drilling contract for the field. According to a company-issued release, the contract is set to start in mid-2019 and includes an extension option of a maximum 45 months. The Saipem 12000 drillship will be used.

Aker Solutions announced in late June that it will supply three steel tube umbilicals totaling more than 19 km (12 miles) in length and associated equipment to connect the FLNG facility to the field’s subsea production system.

GE Oil & Gas announced in late June that it secured orders to supply the Coral South FLNG project’s seven christmas trees; three two-slot manifolds with integrated distribution units; rigid jumpers; seven subsea wellheads with spare components; a complete topside control system to be installed on the FLNG facility; and associated services, equipment and support.