Drilling/Production news briefs, June 27

Smedvig � Keppel Fels � Pride Foramer � Ocean Rig � Sonangol Exploration & Production � Hurricane Hydrocarbons � China National Petroleum Co. � Mobil Oil Canada � Chevron Canada Resources � Petro-Canada � Canada Hibernia Holding � Murphy Oil � Norsk Hydro


Smedvig ASA and Keppel Fels Shipyard in Singapore agreed jointly to build and market an $82.5 million semisubmersible self-erecting tender rig capable of working in 6,000 ft of water. Keppel will build and own the semisubmersible hull, an investment of about $59.5 million, and Stavanger-based Smedvig will own the derrick equipment set, which will cost about $23 million. The rig is expected to be delivered by fourth quarter 2001. For 10 years, Keppel will market, manage, and operate the rig. Smedvig has an option to purchase the hull at any time during that period at a previously agreed price.

Pride Foramer SA, an affiliate of Houston-based Pride International Inc., agreed to manage rigs working off Angola owned by Ocean Rig ASA, Oslo. The agreement also covers management of units as planned by the Sonangol Exploration & Production-Ocean Rig joint venture company under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the companies in February. The objective of the joint venture is to build, own, and market drilling rigs for ultradeepwater operations in Angola and internationally, and it will be owned 51% by Ocean Rig and 49% by Angolan state firm Sonangol. Establishing a "satisfactory" operational set-up in Angola is one of the conditions of the MOU.

Hurricane Hydrocarbons Ltd., Calgary, reports record levels of crude oil production at its Kazakhstan oil fields. The company said it produced more than 90,000 b/d earlier this month, compared with 30,000 b/d at the same time a year ago. Hurricane had serious financial problems in Kazakhstan and operated under court protection for some time. It recently acquired the country's Shymkent refinery, which processes Hurricane's crude. The company is now considering development of additional oil fields in Kazakhstan and is hoping to develop an export market in China. It has signed an agreement with China National Petroleum Co. that could lead to exports of 6,500 b/d of oil by rail by the end of June.

The province of Newfoundland expects to receive about $100 million (Can.) in additional revenues over the next 5 years under a revised royalty agreement covering the Hibernia offshore oil development. The revenue estimate is based on an average price of $25 (US)/bbl. The new agreement with the Hibernia ownership group will give Newfoundland about 50% more than under the original deal. Partners include Mobil Oil Canada, 33%; Chevron Canada Resources, 27%; Petro-Canada, 20%; Canada Hibernia Holding Corp., 8.5%; Murphy Oil Co., 6.5%; and Norsk Hydro AS, 5%. The province recently approved a request from the owners to increase production by one-third to 66 million bbl/year. Newfoundland asked for royalty changes to recognize a reduced payout time on the project. If production decreases, the old royalty rates will apply. Newfoundland Energy Minister Paul Dicks said the province expects to earn $28 million (Can.) in Hibernia royalties this year.

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