Thursday, September 27, 2012

Human Interest Story and Why The Bakken Looks Better and Better

A reader sent me a link to a human interest story. It's a story about Suzanne Browne, a woman working in a man's world in the oil industry. Fascinating story.

For reasons that do not need to be explained, her comment caught my attention:
“There were a couple of years when operators didn’t want to drill in the Gulf during hurricane season,” she said. Dealing with the regulatory changes imposed after the hurricanes has been another challenge, as well as finding prospects when reservoirs on the shelf continue to deplete. “I think the Gulf of Mexico shelf is really going to be a challenge from here on out,” she said, but added that demand appears to have picked up in this hurricane season compared with the last couple of years. “We’ve had plenty of demand especially for our smaller 250-ft jackups,” she pointed out.
Regulations and depleting reserves.

Regulations. Hold that thought.

Then, if you have the time, before leaving that page at the link, move to the sidebar at the link, and about halfway down: GOM doomed as E&P dead sea under "Americanization" proposals. Then go to that story.

Regulations killing activity in the Arctic. The President kills the Keystone XL. Now, folks want to kill the US oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bakken just keeps looking better and better from a drilling analyst's point of view. Who knows, maybe Suzanne Browne will find herself working in the Bakken before it's all over.


In case the link to the second story breaks or a subscription is required later, here is the opening:
Congressional proposals to “Americanize” offshore vessels in the US Gulf of Mexico will inevitably grind OCS development and production to a halt and result in massive layoffs across the Gulf Coast and throughout the nation. A plethora of bills in the US House and Senate, among them HR 5619 and HR 3534 (the so-called CLEAR Act) call for US flagging and 75% US ownership of the entire GOM fleet of drilling rigs, pipelay vessels, and construction and specialty vessels.  
While this seems consistent with “Buy American” bumper sticker logic, these requirements present huge obstacles to stable offshore development. For example, of the worldwide drilling fleet capable of operating in 400 ft of water or deeper, only one is US flagged. That rig is currently on contract outside the US, according to a joint-industry White Paper warning of the severe implications of this train of legislation. 
The bottom line:
Building a US fleet of offshore vessels in any reasonable amount of time is essentially impossible. US shipyards would require several years to install the infrastructure necessary to fabricate the massive hulls required for deepwater facilities, drillships and semisubmersibles. (Many jackups, however, are constructed in the US.)
Well, if it's just "many years," that's how long the permitorium will last anyway. Get building.

Accidents Never Happen, Blondie


  1. Jones Act tankers to carry oil and products from the gulf to the Northeast are limited, so some cargos come from Europe at higher prices. A lot of stuff is both imported and exported because it is too expensive to move it from port to port, or because of shipping shortages.

    anon 1

    1. The things I learn from readers: amazing.

      Here's an interesting article that provides some insight into the Jones Act and how it affects "us" on a daily basis: