Brazil’s Subsalt Estimates Revised

By MarEx 2015-08-11 20:53:34

Brazil’s offshore subsalt fields may hold enough undiscovered oil and gas to supply the world’s current oil needs for over five years.

A new reserve estimate was presented at a conference in Rio de Janeiro by Professor Cleveland Jones and Dr Hernane Chaves of the National Institute of Oil and Gas at Rio de Janeiro State University.

The new estimate of at least 176 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of undiscovered, recoverable resources of oil and natural gas is more than four times the 30 billion to 40 billion boe already discovered in the region.

The estimates supersede earlier ones published by the researchers and are around 50 percent higher.

“Naturally this is a dynamic process, and with more information our estimates can change, although we see that there is a solid foundation for the range mentioned,” says Jones. “We are not likely to see major deviations beyond the extremes of our estimates, above or below, and more likely will see a narrowing of those extremes, as more information is obtained on new discoveries and recent assessments of prior discoveries, as well as about the few dry or uneconomical findings.”

This region has attracted attention since the first major discoveries were confirmed by Petrobras, in 2006. Since then, discoveries in the region have ranked among the largest in the world in the last ten years, including Lula (formerly Tupi), Iara, Libra and others.

The discoveries have led to various estimates, from the Brazilian government and Petrobras, including figures ranging from 50 to over 300 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Picanha Azul region. As none of the estimates were accompanied by supporting technical data, the researchers commenced their analysis in 2010.


Shell Ready to Drill for Oil

By MarEx 2015-08-11 20:13:03

Shell said on Tuesday that it has told the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement it is ready to drill for oil now in the Chukchi Sea.

The Guardian reports that a spokeswoman for the company said: “Fennica is in the Chukchi Sea, drilling continues, and we have requested the permit to drill deeper in this exploration well.”

The Fennica had to return to the U.S. for repairs in July after puncturing its hull on shoals in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor. The vessel carries well blowout equipment required on-site before Shell is allowed to drill into oil-bearing horizons.

Wildlife Disturbance

Polar Pioneer commenced drilling in July and a second rig, Noble Discoverer, is on site but unable to operate. U.S. regulations prevent both rigs drilling at the same time, as it could create undesirable noise disturbance to local walrus populations.

The drilling is strongly opposed by environmental groups that say industrial activity will harm polar bears, walrus, seals and whales already vulnerable from global warming and shrinking summer sea ice.

The second rig is also required nearby in order to sink an emergency relief well to divert pressure from a blowout – a standard Shell has lobbied hard to water down, says The Guardian.

Coast Guard Resources Diverted

The U.S. Coast Guard has sent five ships to the area to ensure Shell meets its environmental and safety commitments. The vessels include the cutter Waesche which would otherwise be operating on drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard has also set up a helicopter base in Deadhorse, Alaska, with two Jayhawk helicopters that would normally be on standby for search and rescue in Kodiak, reports Reuters.

In 2012, the last time Shell explored in the Arctic, Coast Guard helicopters rescued 18 Shell workers from the drilling rig Kulluk when it was out-of-control in stormy seas.

Shell’s drilling program is expected to be completed in October.


1,500 Migrants Rescued in a Day

By MarEx 2015-08-11 19:31:22

The Italian Coast Guard rescued more than 1,500 migrants in seven different operations on August 10. The rescues occurred throughout the day off of the Libyan coast.

Over 200 women and 40 children were among those rescued. Irish and Swedish vessels also aided in the rescues. The rescued migrants were on board four inflatable boats and three barges. Four of the human traffickers involved have been arrested and authorities are searching for more.

Migrant rescues are becoming a near daily occurrence in the Mediterranean. On August 5, a fishing boat carrying about 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. More than 200 of the North African migrants died in the incident.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 2015 has had an inordinate amount of undocumented migration. More than 900,000 people have attempted to travel to Europe and over 2,000 have died.


China Says Work Less, Cruise More

By MarEx 2015-08-11 19:23:43

China plans to build 10 cruise ship terminals and is encouraging workers to take cruises in a bid to boost tourism and consumption within the nation.

Xinhua reports that China’s State Council released a document on Tuesday saying the terminals would be built by 2020.

“Boosting investment and consumption for tourism is of great importance to improving quality of life and developing modern services,” stated the document.

All the country’s important tourist attractions and tourist cities should be staffed with professionals to provide tourism information by 2020, states the Council. Additionally, workers should be given more flexibility in summer so that they can take vacations using Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays.

The news has caused a stir online, reports China Daily, with posts on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like social networking site in China, being read by more than 25 million people.

“Long Live Premier Li. This should be implemented immediately,” said one person.

The State Council has officially promoted paid vacation for employees and is moving ahead with rules to make it mandatory. Currently, only about half of Chinese employees get paid vacation time.

China is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world. From 2012 to 2014, the number of Chinese passengers grew 79 percent per year. In 2014, 697,000 passengers were from mainland China which is almost as many passengers as all other Asian markets combined (701,000).