Forum: Exploration opportunities outnumber available people, capital

Oil and gas companies today face more emerging exploration opportunities than they have available capital or people, Susan Cunningham, senior vice-president of Noble Energy Inc., told an oil field breakfast forum hosted by consulting firm Decision Strategies.

“There are more opportunities than capital,” Cunningham said. “Where is the right focus so we can make a difference with the right people?” She was among a panel of speakers at the annual event in Houston on May 28.

Helge Hove Haldorsen, vice-president of strategy for Statoil ASA, said the Norwegian company awaits the implementation of sweeping energy reforms in Mexico. Statoil opened an office in Mexico City in 2001 to seek commercial opportunities there, he said.

Statoil expects “some serious developments coming on” with its first round opening oil and gas projects to companies outside state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) likely in 2015, said Haldorsen, who worked as Statoil’s country manager in Mexico.

“Who would have thought that Mexico could erase the monopoly” of its upstream oil and gas operations, he said. In years past, Statoil has maintained a general cooperation agreement with Pemex.

Responding to questions from the audience, Cunningham said she sees “humungous potential” for oil off the Falkland Islands. Noble Energy Falklands agreed 2 years ago to farm in on licenses with Falklands Oil & Gas Ltd. (OGJ Online, Aug. 6, 2012).

Noble Energy and its partners plan offshore exploratory drilling in early 2015 using a floating dock to support drilling activities.

In the South Falkland basin, Noble expects to drill at least two deepwater wells, while Premier Oil plans to drill three wells in the North Falkland basin on the Zebedee, Jayne East, and Isobel-Elaine prospects (see map, OGJ, Dec. 5, 2005, p. 35).

Matthew D. Conlan, managing director of Wells Fargo oil field services sector, said he too considers people to be an issue for industry although he considers the issue to be about how politicians and regulators establish oil and gas rules and policies since industry relies heavily upon access to capital and access to reserves worldwide.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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