Showing posts with label Oil Rig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oil Rig. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mr. Gabrielli, an IEA revision & the Kuwaiti situation

This Monday, the crude world bid farewell to Petrobras’ inimitable CEO José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo who stepped down from his position having been at the Brazilian major's helm since July 2005. Over his tenure, Petrobras took great strides towards ultradeepwater offshore exploration and made several overseas forays. Rumours had been lurking around since January that Gabrielli was in the twilight of his career at Petrobras following differences with Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff – but both the government and the company strenuously denied it.

The reins of Petrobras have now passed on to Maria das Graças Silva Foster (pictured left) a corporate veteran who has worked at Petrobras for 31 years. In addition to occupying various executive level positions in the company, Foster has been CEO of Petroquisa - Petrobras Química, and CEO and CFO of Petrobras Distribuidora. In her career, she was also Secretary of Oil, Natural Gas and Renewable Fuels at the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy from January 2003 to September 2005.

Earlier, Petrobras approved the contract for 21 offline rigs with Sete Brasil, at an average daily rate of US$530,000 and the contract for 5 dual activity rigs with Ocean Rig, at the average day rate of US$548,000, both for a 15-year term. All units, which have local content requirements ranging from 55% to 65%, are to be delivered within 48 to 90 months, according to the schedules established in the contracts.

The project includes the construction of new shipyards in the country and the use of existing infrastructure. Petrobras expects to reduce the average daily rates to US$500,000 for the Sete Brasil contract and to US$535,000 for the Ocean Rig contract. These amounts may suffer further reductions if the parties detect and agree to mechanisms that reduce operating costs.

With these contracts, the plan to contract 28 drilling rigs to be built in Brazil to meet the demands of the long-term drilling program, primarily for use in pre-salt wells has been completed. Based on the conditions submitted by the companies and on the current demand for the development of future projects, Petrobras, in its own words, "chose to take advantage of the negotiated conditions and contract five additional which were not originally planned."

All this is fine and dandy, but since the timelines of construction and delivery are so lengthy, a hike in construction costs is likely – more so because some yards where the rigs are expected to be built, haven’t yet been built themselves. But the Oilholics loathes being too sceptical about what is a reasonably positive agreement.

Meanwhile, the IEA has cut its oil demand forecast again! In an announcement last week, the agency said a weak global economy had prompted its sixth successive monthly revision to forecasts by 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 800,000 barrels for 2012. Before the IEA, the US EIA actually made an upward revision of 50,000 barrels to 1.32 million bpd while OPEC cut its forecast by 120,000 bpd to 940,000. All three forecasters are looking towards non-OECD jurisdictions for demand growth.

Elsewhere, the Oilholic would like to highlight two very interesting corporate client notes. In one issued on February 7th, Fitch Ratings observed that following the recent parliamentary elections in Kuwait, marked frictions between an elected Parliament and the appointed government will continue to weigh on the reform agenda and hamper political effectiveness.

The agency feels that difficulties in reaching agreement at the political level will continue to affect economic reforms, including the implementation of a four-year development plan (worth 80% of GDP over 2010-11 and 2013-14), which aims at boosting the country's infrastructure and diversifying the economy away from oil.

Nonetheless, Fitch rates Kuwait as 'AA' with a Stable Outlook. As relatively high oil prices are being forecast, Fitch’s own being at US$100/barrel for 2012, Kuwait’s earnings should continue to ensure double digit current account and fiscal surpluses which lend support to the rating.

Moving on to the second note, on the expected impact of US' QE3 on the commodity market circulated on February 10th, Société Générale analysts Michael Haigh and Jesper Dannesboe opine that an increase of expected inflation during QE3 Stateside coupled with the impact of the EU embargo on Iran could result in the DJ-UBS commodity index rising 20% and Brent prices rising to US$130/barrel.

“Sep12 Brent call spread with strikes at US$117 (long) and US$130 (short). The current net up-front cost: about US$4.6/barrel. This results in a maximum net profit of US$8.4/barrel. If one also sells a Sep12 US$100/barrel put, the overall structure would have zero upfront cost and the maximum net profit would be US$13.7/barrel. We consider a price drop below US$100 to be very unlikely,” they wrote and the Oilholic quotes. That’s all for the moment folks! Keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

© Gaurav Sharma 2012. Photo: Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster © Petrobras Press Office.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deloitte’s Take on UK Upstream Independents

A report into activities of UK upstream independent companies published by consulting firm Deloitte this morning makes-up for quite interesting reading. Its ranking of 25 leading independents has the usual suspects – Tullow Oil and Cairn Energy atop, as first and second. However, movements elsewhere in the table narrate a story of their own.

Desire Petroleum Plc, Borders & Southern Petroleum Plc and Rockhopper Exploration Plc rose in market value rankings for London-listed independent production companies as they hold exploration rights near the Falkland Islands. According to the report, Desire, which started exploratory drilling in Falkland Island Waters for the first time since 1998, rose by 10 places to 14th place, Borders & Southern rose 17 places to break into the top 25 at 15th and Rockhopper Exploration Plc rose 23 places to 26 – just outside the top 25.

Desire’s Liz prospection field has estimated resources of between 40 million and 800 million barrels, according to published reports. Meanwhile, Falkland Oil and Gas Plc, another operator, has estimated resources of between 380 million and 2.9 billion barrels at its Tora prospection, according to its Q4 documents.

Argentina and UK went to war over the Falkland Islands in 1982 after the former invaded. UK forces wrested back control of the islands, held by it since 1833, after a week long war that killed 649 Argentine and 255 British service personnel. The Islands have always be a bone of contention between the two countries. The prospect of oil in the region has renewed diplomatic spats with the Argentines complaining to the UN and launching fresh claims of sovereignty.

UK has rejected the claims on the basis of the right of self-government of the people of the Islands "underpinned by the principle of self-determination as set out in the UN charter". Market commentators feel the fresh round of diplomatic salvos are as much about oil as they are about politics. A widely held belief that fresh conflict was highly unlikely could precipitate in independent operators in the region being taken over by oil majors.

Ian Sperling-Tyler, co-head of oil and gas corporate finance at Deloitte, raised some very important points while doing his press rounds. In separate interviews with Bloomberg and CNBC Europe, he opined that the wider market would have to wait and see what effect political risk will have on activity levels in the Falklands. However, he thinks it is highly plausible that operators in the Falklands were not big enough to monetise those assets on their own.

Hence, they could very well be acquired by a bigger company. And well the independents are growing bigger by the month too. The top two in the league table - Tullow Oil, which is developing reserves in Uganda, and Cairn Energy, which focuses on India, accounted for 60% of the market capitalisation of the top 25 companies for 2009, the report shows (click on image).

As for the diplomatic row between the two nations; it’s nothing more than a bit of argy-bargy with an oily dimension and is highly likely to stay there. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Spanish oil giant Repsol might be about to join the exploration party from the Argentinean side.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Table Scan © Deloitte LLP UK

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rig Building Industry Remains in a State of Flux

Post-recession, if one may use the expression, the global rig building industry remains in a state of flux. Often oil market commentators give due attention to global rig counts as a way of gauging the prosperity of oil business. The simple conjecture is that when oil price is high, it makes it worthwhile for oil companies to order jack-ups and semi-submersibles in greater numbers for usage at difficult offshore extraction spots.

The latest overall Baker-Hughes rig count, suggests that in year over year terms, 1282 rigs were in operation in the U.S., 233 fewer than the corresponding week last year. Over a comparable period, Canada saw 495 rigs in operation, up by 69. Internationally, excluding U.S. and Canada, 1024 rigs were in operation, down 54 using December 2009 as a cut-off point.

The stated figures are by no means excellent. However, they are not catastrophic either according to those in the rig building business. The first real rig building boom was seen in the early 1980s. Subsequently, American shipyards as well as their European counterparts lost ground of sorts when demand flattened.

Manufacturing sector analysts partly attribute this to the average age of a jack-up being 20 years, which in truth, most oil firms extend by a further two years. Hence, when the next boom arrived in 2001, Asian players seized the initiative. Of particular significance is the global emergence of two Singapore-based companies – SembCorp and Keppel Offshore & Marine. In between 2002 and 2007, both firms became the world’s leading suppliers of rigs.

As oil prices soared over 2007-08, touching $147 a barrel at one point, both saw their collective order books swell to $8 billion. Apart from being listed companies whose share prices were soaring, direct investment from the Singaporean Government, which has a stake in both, undoubtedly boosted confidence.

Inevitably, the rig count took a beating when the oil price plummeted. Prior to that, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) took five rigs offline completely and damaged several others. However, that proved to be a different sort of a growth trigger. To begin with, both hurricanes added to order books of rig builders. Furthermore, as the U.S. economy began to take a beating in 2007, drilling companies signed long-term deals to send rigs overseas. It meant the Gulf of Mexico, widely held as the birthplace of offshore drilling, ceased to dictate contract terms benchmarks for drilling equipment.

Emergence of several offshore zones off the coasts of Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent and China along with a partial rebound in crude prices has stabilised rig building activity, admittedly at a level below that of fiscal year 2005-06. Rig builders worldwide had 91 major offshore rig manufacturing contracts in 2005-06, up from less than 10 in 2002-03, according to ODS-Petrodata, a research and analysis firm.

Since then, the recession and fluctuation in oil prices has made building trends forecasting extremely tricky. ODS-Petrodata’s latest research reveals that 577 of 751 mobile offshore drilling units were under contract worldwide with global offshore rig fleet utilisation at 76.8%; the highest level since July 2009. Speaking in November 2009, at the IADC Annual General Meeting in Miami, Florida, Tom Kellock, head of consulting and research, ODS-Petrodata, highlighted some of the difficulties faced by forecasters and rig builders alike.

He noted that over 100 jack-ups were idle at the time, i.e. assembled but not online. Another 60 or more were nearing completion and Kellock felt that most but not all will enter the market. Furthermore, ODS-Petrodata had seen a trend of rising gas prices and falling jack-up utilisation from 2002 into 2008.

“No longer do we have the close correlation between gasoline prices and jack-up activity. And the only obvious explanation and the one I would support is that, this is such a mature market, the prospects are just not there anymore. Analysts and even some contractors say, well, when gas prices get back to $5, $6 or $7, (at U.S pumps/per gallon) it’s all going to be OK. I really have difficulty with that,” Kellock told IADC delegates.

“I think industry needs to move on from shallow-water Gulf of Mexico, quite honestly.…This is not where people are going if they have a choice these days to look for oil and gas,” he concluded. Pretty much the same arguments are being put forward to explain the difficulties faced by North Sea as an offshore extraction zone.

Looking ahead, ODS-Petrodata forecasts a supply of 506 jack-ups worldwide by the end of 2015, assuming no additional new-builds or attrition. Its middle of the road forecast, based on gradually increasing oil and gas prices, puts jack-up demand at 334 rigs by end-2015, while the conservative forecast is set at 282 units.

Depending on the type of rigs being ordered, costs could range from US$200 million to $900 million. Hire-purchase and subletting rates of oil rigs, which were seen stabilising in 2008, are likely to remain stable over the next three years before a possible shortage develops. The silver lining is that offshore opportunities in China and India are thought to be growing rapidly. The industry also hopes that Petrobras’ prospecting and subsequent extraction off the coast of Brazil would provide a much needed boost.

While many players fret over pragmatically tight market forecasts, SembCorp and Keppel Offshore & Marine have shown the way by diversifying heavily since 2005. SembCorp builds as well as repairs shipping liners. Keppel has real estate and infrastructure divisions. Both Singaporean firms have expanded overseas and currently operate not just rig-building yards but also ship-repair yards around the world.

© Gaurav Sharma 2010. Photo Courtesy © Cairn Energy Plc