Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
August 2007

Vol. 12, No. 34 Week of August 26, 2007

Oil Patch Insider

Boyd joins Norsk Hydro in Alaska; Arctic Energy Summit extends early bird deadline to Sept. 7

Norsk Hydro USA has hired Ken Boyd as a consultant in Alaska. Jim Meek, manager of business development for the Houston-based affiliate of Norway’s mega-major Hydro, said Boyd would be the company’s “man on the ground” in Alaska, assisting the company in its “evaluation” of the state as a place to make oil and gas investments and occasionally representing the company at local meetings and events.

Meek said Norsk Hydro currently has no assets in Alaska, but he did confirm that the company had joined both the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and the Resource Development Council for Alaska.

Boyd holds a Master’s degree in geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y. He was Alaska’s deputy director of the Division of Oil and Gas for five years and director for six years. In both capacities Boyd oversaw many aspects of the state’s oil and gas business; spending a lot of time in Juneau providing legislative testimony and information to government agencies, the media and the public. He left the position in 2001 to become an oil and gas consultant.

Norsk Hydro’s evaluation of Alaska is being run out of Hydro’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway. The parent company Hydro, which until recently was called Norsk Hydro, is both a major oil and gas company and the third largest producer of aluminum in the world. On Oct. 1 it will merge with Norway’s Statoil, another major oil and gas producer, to become Statoil Hydro. The combined company will be the world’s largest offshore operator, followed in order by Royal Dutch-Shell, Petrobras, BP, ExxonMobil, Woodside Energy, Chevron, Total, Eni, Hess and ConocoPhillips.

The deal also will strengthen Statoil’s position in the Norwegian Sea and the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, a frontier area and environmentally harsh deepwater region of the Arctic that carries high hope for large hydrocarbon deposits.

Hydro has the Norwegian continental shelf as its base, but also produces oil and gas in Angola, Canada, Russia and Libya, and participates in investments elsewhere in the world. Combined production of the two companies will be about 1.7 million barrels of oil per day with combined reserves of 6.3 billion barrels of equivalent, per late 2006 numbers.

The Norwegian State will hold about 62.5 percent of the merged entity.

Statoil said the merger was largely motivated by the two companies’ mutual desire to expand outside Norway, where the competition for offshore acreage is intense amid high oil prices.

In 2004, Statoil acquired Hydro’s 10 percent interest in Snohvit, the first major development in the Barents Sea offshore Norway, raising Statoil’s interest in the gas field to 33.53 percent.

Statoil operates the massive Snohvit project in the Barents Sea, which is expected to produce about 706 million to 883 million cubic feet per day for shipment as liquefied natural gas.

In February, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate announced that Hydro had made an oil and gas discovery at a new Arctic prospect in the Barents Sea off Norway’s northern tip.

Norway is the world’s third-largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and sees the Arctic Barents Sea it shares with Russia as a key new frontier for maintaining production as output from its more southern offshore fields decline.

The Snohvit field is due to come on stream in the same area in December as the first offshore field in the Barents Sea.

The Norwegian government has allowed drilling in parts of the Barents Sea under strict environmental controls due to the fragile cold weather ecology of the region.

—Kay Cashman

Arctic Energy Summit extends early bird deadline to Sept. 7

The Arctic Energy Summit’s Technology Conference, hosted by the U.S. State Department and set for Oct. 15-18 at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, has extended its early registration deadline from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7. Ben Ellis, managing director of Anchorage-based Institute of the North, said early registrants will receive a $100 discount off the $950 fee and can register online at www.arcticenergysummit.org.

At the four-day conference experts from Alaska, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland will discuss, debate and collaborate on energy challenges and opportunities in the Arctic.

An Arctic energy action team will be convened with the purpose of cooperatively developing an international vision and programmatic way forward on common problems related to the development of Arctic energy. Members of the team will likely include energy experts from the eight Arctic provinces, including producers, investors, consumers, landowners and governments, as well as experts in the fields of transportation, supply security and climate change.

An Arctic energy industry exhibition highlighting current energy technology will take place during the conference on the second and third days concurrent with the presentations of the technical papers. Exhibitors will be able to register online at the Arctic energy Web site and find details regarding deadlines, booth size, and power requirements. The cost per standard booth is $950 or $1,100 for a premium location booth.

The exhibit hall will be in the Cook and LaPerouse Rooms on the main level of the convention center.

Web site of interest for NPR-A well, seismic data

Ever wanted to look at legacy seismic or well data from the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska? A mass of public-domain data is available on the U.S. Geological Survey Web site at http://nerslweb.cr.usgs.gov/.

In what USGS describes as one of its largest geological and geophysical datasets, the collection consists of data from two exploration programs conducted in the reserve. The first of these programs, conducted by the U.S. Navy between 1944 and 1953, when the reserve was called the Navy Petroleum Reserve No. 4, resulted in 36 wells and 45 core tests.

The second program, operated between 1974 and 1982 first by the navy and then by USGS, resulted in 12,000 line miles of seismic data and 28 wells.

Seismic material includes SEG-Y format data, and image files of documentation and maps. Well information includes location maps, well log data, images of well core slides and well reports.

—Alan Bailey

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