Special meetings determined the shareholders’ votes. The merger of Halliburton and Baker Hughes is scheduled to close in the second half of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.

Africa’s largest oil producer continues to endure tough market conditions and instability, which some fear could escalate as the postponed February elections arrive.

Unite and GMB members voted strongly for an official strike action ballot over shift and pay grievances, Reuters said. A GMB spokesman said an electoral register will be compiled.

The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday that a subsidiary of Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings had pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions related to Iran and Sudan and would pay a $237.2 million fine.

An existing law stipulates that only state energy majors Rosneft and Gazprom can explore offshore fields, but Lukoil, Russia's No.2 oil producer, calls for allowing private firms, Reuters said.

Mexico’s initial production sharing contracts will contain extended exploration periods for 14 shallow-water projects, Reuters said. Companies can meet test well requirements, said the head of Mexico’s national hydrocarbons commission. 

Royal Dutch Shell is cutting about 250 UK North Sea operations staff and agency contractors, Reuters said. In August, 250 were cut. Other large E&Ps cut their North Sea staff.

The U.K. lifted a moratorium in December 2012, but no fracking has taken place, Bloomberg said. Scotland and Wales temporarily banned the method while studying environmental safeguards.

Western sanctions against Russia and Rosneft led Rosneft to cancel a roughly-$150 million contract for Northern Offshore’s Energy Endeavour jackup in the Russian Arctic, Reuters said. 

This latest patented invention relates to fluid treatment and, more particularly, to an improved treatment apparatus for destroying aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in fluids used in oil and gas recovery and conditioning of said fluid for reuse, Ecosphere said in the release.

New rules and guidelines will be published in May. They were developed to reduce accident risk and environmental damage. They cover design, fabrication, installation, structural assessment, life assessment and decommissioning. 

Field operator BP declared force majeure March 16 after a power loss at the FPSO PSVM offshore facility that feeds oil from Plutao, Saturno, Venus and Marte fields, Reuters said.

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