Exclusives

Saudi Aramco’s IPO: Will It Happen?

Recent windfalls generated through taxes and the kingdom’s “anti-corruption purge” has triggered further speculation about the future of Saudi Aramco’s IPO.

At the recent NAPE Global Business Conference, panelists from Hess and Akin Gump gave insight on what plays into developing resources in the Lower 48 or international deepwater.

Westwood, appraisal, offshore oil and gas, oil and gas drilling

The U.K.-based research firm said 70% of the fields it studied, which had limited appraisal, were not performing according to the operator’s development plan.

Aker BP CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik said Feb. 2 that in addition to running four to five drilling operations in parallel through the year, near-term exploration is also among the company’s focus areas.

Maintenance programs can help save costs and enhance long-term production.

Deepwater International

According to WoodMac, its analysis of 2,222 oil fields suggests that if Brent crude falls to US $40/barrel, which is entirely possible, 1.6% of global oil supply could turn cash negative on an operating cost basis. 

At PETEX 2014, Richard Herbert, COO, Exploration at BP, highlighted a number of global trends in exploration that he believes will be factors as energy demand continues on its ongoing growth curve. 

Exploration

Check out the latest activity highlights from around the world.

Schlumberger, Paal Kibsgaard, land and marine seismic acquisition, fourth-quarter earnings

Of the company’s $3 billion of pretax charges for fourth-quarter 2017, more than $1.1 billion was related to WesternGeco seismic restructuring.

At least one European company has shown interest in the undeveloped Gaza Marine Field but Shell's discussions over the field have ground to a halt due to worsening political tensions in the region.

Global investment in exploration, vital to increase output and offset the natural decline of existing fields, will reach $37 billion in 2018, down 7% from a year earlier and over 60% below the 2014 peak, according to WoodMac.

Check out the latest exploration, drilling and production highlights from around the world.

Production

Also supporting oil prices was a statement from the UAE energy minister late on Feb. 15 saying oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia aimed to draft an agreement on a long-term alliance by year-end.

Reduced volumes of oil in storage indicate that production restraint by OPEC, Russia is effective.

"We are looking at the situation as a whole [and] see that the stockpiles have been shrinking anyway," Russia's Alexander Novack said adding that the U.S. shale oil increase doesn't cover both the demand rise and production decrease.

The IEA said oil prices, which briefly touched a high of $71/bbl in January, could be supported even if U.S. production rises, provided global growth remains strong, or if unplanned supply outages persist.

The steady oil price recovery has led to "oil majors catching up in terms of exploration activity this year, both in the shale industry and offshore deepwater," OPEC said.

Technology

ExxonMobil said about 900 million boe in its portfolio now qualify as proved reserves under U.S. SEC Guidelines due to the rebound of oil prices in 2017.

Statoil said it would increase its capex this year to $11 billion from $9.4 billion last year and lift exploration spending to $1.5 billion from the $1.3 billion it had planned to spend in 2017.

Even with Wall Street stocks posting their largest one-day fall since late 2011 on Feb. 5 and measures of volatility spiking to multi-year highs, oil prices haven't suffered to the same extent.

The results are likely to embolden activist hedge fund investor Elliott Management Corp., which has blasted CEO John Hess and other managers for what it called the company's "continuing underperformance."

Statoil, Johan Castberg field

Torger Rød, senior vice president of projects for Statoil, discusses how the company is driving efficiencies with its E&P activities.