BP delays plans for deepwater drilling off Libya

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 13 -- BP PLC has delayed the launch of its deepwater exploration for oil off Libya for an unspecified period of time in an effort to ensure that its plans are in order.

“We are being thorough and making sure everything is in order before we start,” said company spokesman Robert Wine, who explained that the delay was occasioned by the need to check and test plans and equipment for the venture.

The statement reversed earlier ones by BP officials. “We expect to begin the first well in the next few weeks,” said BP company spokesman David Nicholas in early July of the 2007 agreement with Libya to explore the Gulf of Sirte.

Libya's National Oil Co. Chairman Shokri Ghanem defended the venture, saying that BP’s operations would take place under careful scrutiny by his government. “Libya has well defined rules and regulations and there are severe consequences for international oil companies that do not follow them,” he said.

“We continually follow-up with companies and we are certain before allowing any companies to start drilling onshore or offshore the environmental procedures are followed exactly so that damage to the environment is avoided,” said Ghanem.

However, BP’s announcement follows concerns expressed in Europe where politicians increasingly have called for a moratorium on deepwater operations to allow time to assess the environmental impact in light of oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this month Italy’s environment minister Stefania Prestigiacomo told the Financial Times that BP’s plans for deepwater drilling in the Mediterranean, “give rise to serious concern.”

Prestigiacomo said, “A moratorium could be a right approach for potentially dangerous drilling…to give Europe time to define a new and specific strategy for the Mediterranean especially in light of the risk exposed by the Deepwater Horizon spill.”

Her remarks echoed earlier calls by European politicians for a moratorium on BP’s plan to drill off Libya.

“Any responsible government would at present practically freeze new permits for drilling with extreme parameters and conditions,” said the European Union Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger in early July.

“This can mean de facto a moratorium on new drills until the causes of the accident are known and corrective measures are taken for such frontier operations as the ones carried out by the Deepwater Horizon,” Oettinger said.

Oettinger echoed Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini who warned of “disquiet” in Mediterranean countries after BP announced new deepwater drilling off Libya.

“Everybody is watching closely what BP is doing since the worrying events in the Gulf of Mexico,” Frattini told a news conference following talks with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

At the time, Frattini said any action relating to the exploration work near the Sicilian coast would have to be taken up by the Mediterranean Union, which groups rim countries from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

“If an incident like the one in the Gulf of Mexico were to happen in the Mediterranean, it would be a catastrophe beyond repair, because the Mediterranean is like a lake [in comparison],” Frattini said.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

Related Articles

US Forest Service takes no stance on fracturing in national forest

12/12/2014

The US Forest Service has dropped a proposal that would have banned hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest.

Weak crude prices could threaten Bakken production growth

12/12/2014 Bakken shale production set another record in August, but weakening crude prices and flaring reduction efforts threatened to temper production grow...

BHI: US rig count forced down by large losses in Texas

12/12/2014 Forced down by large losses in Texas and specifically the Permian basin, the US drilling rig count plummeted 27 units to settle at 1,893 rigs worki...

Husky reports start of steam operations at Sunrise oil sands project

12/12/2014

Husky Energy, Calgary, reported the start of steam operations at the in situ Sunrise Oil Sands Project in northeastern Alberta.

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

Independent assessment hikes Husky heavy oil resources

12/12/2014 Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, says an independent assessment increases its heavy oil resources in the Lloydminster region of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Stone drills successful Utica exploration well

12/10/2014 Stone Energy Corp., Lafayette, La., reported that its Pribble 6HU well in Wetzel County, W.Va., flowed from a 3,605-ft lateral at 30 MMcfd during t...

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected