BSEE inspects Hess’ Stampede TLP

offshore engineerOffshore Engineer | February 15, 2017

Hess Corp.’s Stampede tension leg platform moved one step closer to production Wednesday following completion of an initial pre-production inspection of its topsides by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) at the Kiewit shipyard in Ingleside, Texas.

Hess Corp.’s new tension leg platform will operate in 3500ft of water about 115mi south of Port Fourchon, Louisiana with production anticipated to start in 2018.

The Stampede project platform and its expected six subsea wells will be operated by Hess in equal partnership with Chevron, Statoil, and Nexen Petroleum Offshore USA. Once the final inspections are completed and the topsides are commissioned on location, Hess will commence production which could be up to 80,000 b/d.

Before operations can begin on any oil and gas production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, BSEE’s engineers and inspectors conduct a pre-production inspection of the topsides, which is the portion of the platform where numerous production processes take place and workers reside.

“BSEE conducts these inspections because our role is to ensure that energy produced on the Outer Continental Shelf is done safely, responsibly and with the fewest impacts to the environment,” explained Amy Wilson, acting district manager of BSEE’s Houma District. “Our engineers and inspectors spend three to four days verifying that all safety equipment, design specifications and submitted drawings comply with federal regulations.”

Wilson said that companies typically have items that need to be corrected after the initial inspection, similar to any construction punch list, before they can begin production. The inspection process begins at the shipyard, but further inspections occur once the topsides are attached to the production facility structure and the facility is on location in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read the original story here.

Coherent energy policy needed for coming growth

Clarion LedgerThe Clarion-Ledger | February 10, 2017 | Patrick Sullivan

Today’s 24-hour news cycle keeps people in fits over the daily reasons the sky is falling. Stories on trivial matters, while often entertaining, distract from the important issues, mainly the economy. Much needs doing at the federal level, and time and cooperation will be required. Big ships don’t turn on a dime.

Of all the many issues to deal with, perhaps the big ones are getting federal spending under control to whittle down the enormous deficit, finding a far more sensible way to regulate business of all types and sizes, and unleashing the U.S.’s strongest competitive advantage – it’s abundance of energy.

In 2014, we hosted the designated U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry at the Governor’s Energy Summit. In his keynote address, then-Texas Governor Perry said, “It’s not that we need a new energy policy, it’s that we need an energy policy, period.” He’s right. Far too long, through multiple administrations, America’s energy policy has been incoherent.

The policy should be clear, spurring technology development so we can continue to use energy smarter and also encouraging more energy production which will bring more jobs and wealth in time. Why would we not allow a company to spend a billion dollars exploring 100 miles offshore or $5 billion for a pipeline to transport new energy supplies into the U.S.? We will need the energy. Building pipelines has been common practice for decades now, and America’s elaborate energy infrastructure network is a huge competitive advantage. Once again, we will need the energy.

Even in the midst of low-price, over-supplied markets, we must appreciate the energy challenge ahead. World energy demand is expected to increase 30-40 percent by 2040. For perspective, this is the equivalent of adding two United States-sized energy consumers to the globe in twenty years.

Roughly, on top of what the world already consumes, that’s adding a combination like the following: 14.3 billion barrels of oil/year for fuel, 200 new nuclear reactors, 524 new coal power plants, 850 new natural gas power plants, 76 new Hoover-sized Dams, 346,000 acres in solar facilities, 8.9 million acres under wind turbines, an incomprehensible 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas used annually in heating and manufacturing, and the network of ports, rails, pipelines and wires to transport it.

The scale is staggering, making anti-energy movements like “Keep It in the Ground” look utterly absurd. While most of the demand growth will take place outside of the U.S., our country sits on more combined energy reserves than any other country. As Governor Perry told our audience in 2014, “Our arsenal of energy must be part of a national security strategy to stop aggression wherever it threatens our interests…We can make a huge impact across this world, creating jobs and turning the American economy loose to be the most powerful economic power the world has ever seen.”

Read full op-ed here.

Patrick Sullivan is the president of the Mississippi Energy Institute.

Repeal and replace needed for offshore energy too

washington examinerWashington Examiner | February 3, 2017 | Randall Luthi

As the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress work on the list of Obama-era laws, regulations, and executive orders they intend to overturn, let’s hope those that decreased energy security by denying access to offshore energy resources are close to the top.

Two recent decisions are particularly ripe for repeal and replace. In December, President Barack Obama unilaterally and “permanently” withdrew areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans from future oil and natural gas leasing. Then earlier this month, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) denied seismic survey permits that would allow sensible and environmentally safe energy exploration in the Atlantic.

Both of these decisions represent significant steps backwards in terms of U.S. economic growth and energy security. The withdrawal may not even be legal, and would seem to be inconsistent with the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act’s steadfast declaration that the OCS “is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards, in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs.” And the permit denials conflict with BOEM’s own scientific conclusion that seismic surveys are environmentally safe.

Today, energy exploration and production is off limits in nearly 95 percent of federal offshore acreage. According to a 2014 study by Quest Offshore Resources, which my organization commissioned in concert with the American Petroleum Institute, allowing more offshore oil and natural gas production could create more than 800,000 jobs, grow the economy by as much as $70 billion a year and raise cumulative government revenue (at the local, state and federal levels) by more than $200 billion by the year 2035.

Read the full op-ed here.

Randall Luthi is the president of the National Ocean Industries Association.

Opinion: Oil industry is doing its part for the coast

houma-today-houma-laHouma Today | January 29, 2017 | Marc Ehrhardt

The oil and natural gas industry has been an economic partner and steward of Louisiana’s working coast for more than a century. It is providing a significant portion of the funding that will make the Coastal Master Plan a reality. Any honest evaluation of the past, as well as the efforts to protect the future, will conclude that Louisiana’s oil and natural gas industry has always been a partner in building our communities and working together on our coast.

For decades, Louisiana’s leaders and its residents have understood when the oil and natural gas industry thrives the state thrives – with more and better paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of working families.

It is in the best interest of our state’s culture and coast to have a safe, prospering oil and natural gas industry.

A productive oil and natural gas industry creates revenue for Louisiana from royalties and taxes that fill the government coffers and provide the largest stream of consistent funding the state has for working on the coast.

Today, there are dozens of major ongoing conservation projects funded by the industry happening across the coast with business, community, state and federal cooperation. The industry has contributed more than $4 billion to the state’s coastal restoration since 2009, and the oil and natural gas industry will contribute an estimated $200 million a year for the foreseeable future to coastal projects.

Currently, a partnership between the New Orleans Geological Society and five Louisiana universities is using $200 million in industry data to conduct research of seismic faults along the Louisiana coast. Miles of oyster reefs have been created through cooperative programs between the industry and local communities. The largest private wetlands landowner in the U.S. – an energy company – is caring for wetlands extending 120 miles west to east from the Atchafalaya Basin to the Mississippi River. Another energy company planted more than 1 million trees in coastal and marsh lands.

Read the full op-ed here.

Marc Ehrhardt is executive director of the Grow Louisiana Coalition.

Ban on offshore Arctic energy is out-of-step with views of the people who matter most

The Hill-01The Hill | January 23, 2017 | Lucas Frances

A recent opinion submitted by Duane Miller lauded former President Obama’s closure of America’s Arctic to future exploration. The author correctly states that, “As a major economy, we need a strategic, diversified approach to energy development,” but then goes on to reach exactly the wrong conclusion for how we should achieve that goal.  Closing off America’s largest domestic oil and gas resource, not only ignores fundamental questions over our future energy security, but also the wishes of a majority of Alaskans.

Exactly one month before leaving office, the former President invoked an obscure and rarely used provision in a 1953 law, to designate the vast majority of the U.S. Arctic Ocean “indefinitely” off limits to future offshore oil and gas development. For good measure, the Obama administration also removed the planned Arctic lease sales in the existing 5-Year Plan and eliminated future Arctic lease sales in the new Plan. The announcements came as a devastating shock to the diverse set of Alaskan business groups, labor unions, Native organizations, elected officials, and former military leaders who had repeatedly petitioned the Obama administration to do the very opposite.

In newspaper opinions, congressional testimonies, meetings with administration officials, and even a series of advertisements, groups representing wide-ranging interests, came together to advocate for continued offshore oil and gas development and ensure that Alaska’s perspective was heard beyond state lines and especially by decision makers in Washington, D.C.

Considering how frequently Alaskan and Native views have been misrepresented by activist groups, it is no wonder that they felt compelled to tell the rest of the country how they really feel about Arctic drilling: They overwhelmingly support it.

A 2016 poll commissioned by the Arctic Energy Center highlighted this point in the clearest terms, with 76 percent of Alaskans backing offshore resource development. And as a new infographic we have released today shows, two thirds of respondents feel that the opinions of local residents should matter most on the issue, and also believe that banning oil and gas development in Arctic waters is a clear example of federal overreach.

Significantly our poll also canvassed Native groups, including those on Alaska’s North Slope, for the first time. As the communities which would see the most direct impact of development, their opinions have often been misrepresented by environmental groups that have frequently justified a ban in their name. When announcing its moratorium, the White House even cited the need to protect Arctic waters “which many Alaska Native communities rely (on) for subsistence use and cultural traditions”.

Read the full op-ed here.

Lucas Frances is spokesman of the Arctic Energy Center.

Letters: Work to promote offshore energy

the advocateThe Advocate | January 24, 2017 | Dave Welch

Our leaders in Washington will be very busy over the next several months as they seek to implement President Donald Trump’s agenda. High on their list should be actions that will undo some of the damage done to the offshore energy industry during the prior administration.

Most prominently, the prior administration imposed a permanent ban on oil and natural gas leasing in vast areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The law that former President Obama cited in imposing the ban, the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, states in part that the shelf is a “vital national resource reserve … which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards.” We can all agree that we need to proceed safely and with due regard for the environment, but simply banning activity would seem to contradict this very clear language.

Legal or not, the move places the United States at a competitive disadvantage. The American Petroleum Institute has noted that 94 percent of federal offshore acreage is now off limits to energy production. The Institute’s recent State of American Energy report cites a 2014 study by Quest Offshore Resources which estimates that allowing more offshore oil and natural gas production could create more than 800,000 new jobs, grow the economy by up to $70 billion a year and raise more than $200 billion for governments at the local, state and federal levels between 2017 and 2035.

 That same study reported that Louisiana would add 31,000 jobs and receive $2.3 billion in cumulative state revenue by 2035 if oil and natural gas development were allowed in the Eastern Gulf planning area.
Read the full Letter to the Editor here.
Dave Welch is the CEO of Stone Energy Corporation and NOIA Vice Chairman.