UK oil major to leave three U.S. trade associations in push for low carbon future

UK oil major BP has said that, following an in-depth review examining the alignment of the climate-related policies and activities of trade associations with BP’s positions, it will leave three U.S.-based organizations in an effort to reach its target of becoming a net-zero company by 2050.

BP CEO Bernard Looney; Source: BP

BP said on Wednesday it would leave American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), and the Western Energy Alliance (WEA).

Earlier this month, BP introduced its ambition to become a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get to net-zero, as well as ten aims that underpin it. These include the aim to set new expectations for relationships with trade associations around the globe – the review published on Wednesday and continuing engagement with these organizations on climate is part of this aim, BP explained.

BP CEO, Bernard Looney, said: “Trade associations have long demonstrated how we can make progress through collaboration, particularly in areas such as safety, standards, and training. This approach should also be brought to bear on the defining challenge that faces us all – supporting the rapid transition to a low carbon future. By working together, we can achieve so much more.

“BP will pursue opportunities to work with organizations who share our ambitious and progressive approach to the energy transition. And when differences arise we will be transparent. But if our views cannot be reconciled, we will be prepared to part company.

“My hope is that in the coming years we can add climate to the long list of areas where, as an industry, we work together for a greater good.”

BP’s review of climate-related activities

Over the past six months, BP has conducted a review of how key trade associations’ climate-related activities and policy positions align with BP’s positions.

Thirty associations – concentrated in North America, Europe, and Australia – were selected for review and their current and recent policy positions, based on publicly available information, were assessed. As a result, they were determined to be aligned, partially aligned or not aligned with BP’s positions.

BP said that, for three organizations, it had found misalignments that could not be reconciled. Due to material differences regarding policy positions on carbon pricing BP will leave American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).

Due to material differences around the federal regulation of methane, as well as asset divestments in the states in which the organization is active, it will not renew its membership with the Western Energy Alliance (WEA).

BP has identified a further five organizations with which it is only partially aligned on climate. BP has communicated these differences to these associations.

BP has also communicated clear expectations with regards to climate positions and transparency to all associations within the scope of the review.

BP concluded that this was an ongoing process and that the company would actively monitor its memberships, participation, and alignment with trade associations to which it belongs and will provide periodic updates, internally to the board of directors and to stakeholders as appropriate. BP plans to undertake another review in around two years’ time.


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Greenpeace blocks BP’s headquarters on Looney’s first day as new boss

Greenpeace activists have delivered hundreds of solar panels and blocked an entrance to BP’s headquarters in London on Bernard Looney’s first day in the office as the company’s new CEO. 

Source: Greenpeace

Greenpeace said on Wednesday that, at 3am this morning, 100 of its activists delivered 500 solar panels with a total area of over 800 square meters to BP’s London headquarters in St James’ Square, London.

According to Greenpeace, all six office doors around the building have been blocked with activists locked to dirty oil barrels to prevent staff from entering.

Police prevented the activists from installing the panels on the pavements and roads surrounding the offices but there are currently 50 activists blocking the road outside the HQ, the organization added.

Source: Greenpeace

It is worth reminding that BP’s Bob Dudley decided to retire from the CEO role and was replaced by Bernard Looney, previously BP’s chief executive, Upstream. Dudley stepped down from the role following delivery of BP’s 2019 full-year results on February 4, 2020, and will retire on March 31, 2020.

Greenpeace said that BP’s new CEO, Bernard Looney, is expected to commission a report on BP’s future direction in a warming world, to be published in the summer.

“But despite the warm words, BP are still intending to spend $71 billion developing new oil and gas fields this decade – £32 for every £1 they invest in renewables – and they are a world leader in lobbying to block legislation which could speed up the decarbonisation of our economy. The Trump administration has given a significant boost to their efforts in recent years, abandoning or weakening environmental regulations at BP’s request,” Greenpeace stated.

Richard George, climate campaigner for greenpeace and one of the activists at BP’s headquarters, said: “This morning police managed to block our solar installation, but BP are trying to block the transition to clean energy on a global scale. Their lobbyists have the ear of governments around the world, they spend millions blocking action to fix the climate emergency and billions on drilling for more oil and gas to make it worse. Floods, droughts, forest fires and hurricanes all over the globe start right here with the plans made in BP’s headquarters.

“Their new CEO needs to accept that if BP wants to keep trading in the twenty-first century, they need to switch to 100% renewable energy. We’re not going to settle for a green-themed rebrand, solar panels on their petrol stations or wind turbines on their oil rigs. The only realistic response to the climate emergency is to cut emissions. BP need to stop wasting billions drilling for more oil and gas that we simply can’t burn, and produce a plan to get out of the oil business entirely.”

The activists will be keeping the offices closed to ensure that Looney’s mind is focussed on the most important part of his new job, how to stop causing the climate crisis, Greenpeace concluded.

In a statement responding to Greenpeace’s protest, BP said that its new CEO Bernard Looney is visiting employees in Germany today, but he understands the frustration and anger of protestors in London.

“He shares their deep concern about climate change and will set out his low carbon ambition for the company next week. He hopes that what he has to say then will give people a sense that we get it and are very serious about working to address the problem,” BP said.

It is also worth mentioning that a UK court on Tuesday granted permission to Greenpeace to challenge the legality of a BP’s North Sea drilling permit.

Greenpeace argued that the government was wrong to award BP a permit to drill in the Vorlich oil field, north of Inverness, because it failed to properly consult the public on its decision.

At a hearing in the High Court, Justice Lang granted Greenpeace permission to proceed with a judicial review case against the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BP was named as an interested party in the case.

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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Petrofac and SOCAR to support BP’s operations in Azerbaijan

Oilfield services provider Petrofac, in a joint venture with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR, has secured a project management services contract to support BP’s operations in Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Source: Petrofac

Petrofac said on Monday that the three-year contract would support both onshore and offshore activity for the BP-operated projects in the Caspian Sea area.

This included Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG), Shah Deniz, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), and Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP).

Mani Rajapathy, Managing Director, Petrofac EPS East, commented: “Petrofac has been active in Azerbaijan for over 15 years, providing skills development opportunities and services across the country’s oil and gas and petrochemical industries, so this award further underpins our international presence. We have worked with BP previously in the region, and we are well-positioned and committed to providing safe, reliable, and efficient support in the delivery of their significant projects moving forwards in Azerbaijan and Georgia.”

Khalik Mammadov, Vice President, SOCAR, said: “We have established a successful partnership with Petrofac that continues to flourish, the Joint Venture combines our respective experience, local knowledge, and depth of capabilities. I am delighted with this latest award to support BP in the Caspian region, which has become one of the major oil and gas producing areas in the world.”


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Oil majors’ West of Shetland assets to overtake North Sea as major producing basin in UK

Over the last four years oil and gas production in the West of Shetlands has risen and with that, a growing relevance for the biggest players still active in the UK continental shelf (UKCS), says GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Clair Ridge platforms; Source: BP

The company’s latest research reveals that the West of Shetland (WoS) area retains the attention of major Exploration and Production (E&P) players in the region; however infrastructure restraints could hinder future growth potential in the basin.

Despite the US-based E&P majors, such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips largely divesting out of the UK’s E&P sector of late, their European peers have not followed suit, according to GlobalData.

Of the highly successful 30th UK Offshore Licensing Round held in 2017, approximately 75% of the licensed WoS blocks had European major participation. Moreover, European majors have stakes in 80% of the planned and announced projects in the area compared to approximately 40% in the North Sea.

Daniel Rogers, Upstream Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “In 2018, Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) and BP Plc (BP)’s hydrocarbon production combined accounted for over half of the WoS total volume. Over recent years both companies have seen North Sea production volumes lose dominance in relation to their UK portfolios. As a result, the WoS is set to overtake the North Sea as Shell’s major producing basin in the UK by 2020, whereas this occurred for BP in 2018”.

The majority of upcoming field developments in the area are oil focused as oil processing capacity at the Sullom Voe terminal is currently around half utilized with expected excess capacity available over the near term. However, the Shetland Gas Plant (SGP), where the areas gas is collected, processed and exported, is currently running at less than 25% spare capacity and newly discovered gas volumes in the basin could push the infrastructure to its limits.

Rogers continued: “Total’s recently discovered Glendronach gas-condensate field is expected to add over 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas supply to the SGP at its peak and could commence production as early as 2021. This, in addition to gas volumes coming from the Cambo and Rosebank oil field developments could further strain the existing infrastructure.

“Operators looking to develop new gas fields in the WoS through the mid-2020s could be challenged by the areas capacity restraints. The investments required for facility expansions may impact project returns and force operators away from marginal gas developments.”


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BP to take up to $3 billion charge as result of divestment program

Oil major BP now expects to deliver divestment proceeds and announced transactions totalling around $10 billion by the end of 2019, comprising the majority of its two-year divestment program planned to complete by the end of 2020.

Illustration; BP’s Na Kika platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Source: BP

Following the $10.25 billion all-cash acquisition of US onshore assets from BHP in 2018, BP announced a $10 billion divestment program over 2019 and 2020.

BP said on Friday that the strong progress in delivering the program had been driven by the agreed sale of BP’s interests in Alaska, as well as progress in divesting assets from its existing, non-BHP US Lower 48 legacy gas business.

The $5.6 billion sale to Hilcorp of BP’s Alaskan business – announced in August and subject to regulatory approval – is the largest single agreed transaction and is expected to complete in 2020. BP has also agreed the sale of four packages of legacy gas assets from its US Lower 48 business.

As a result of the agreed divestments, BP expects to take a non-cash, non-operating, after-tax charge of $2-3 billion in its third quarter 2019 results. BP will also continue to review asset valuations as divestments in the US Lower 48 progress over the fourth quarter 2019.

These impairment charges are expected to increase gearing in the short term, as a result of the impact on equity, with gearing remaining above the top end of the 20-30% range through year end.

However, in line with the expected growth in free cash flow and the receipt of divestment proceeds, BP continues to expect net debt levels to reduce and gearing to move towards the middle of its target range of 20-30% through 2020.

Output disrupted by hurricane 

Across the Upstream, BP said it continued to make strong progress with the delivery of its program of major projects. 23 of the 35 projects expected online by the end of 2021 are now in production, with production ramping up from the four projects that have started up so far in 2019.

In the near term, BP’s third quarter 2019 production was impacted by turnarounds in some of the highest-margin regions, and output in the US Gulf of Mexico was significantly disrupted by Hurricane Barry, with facilities shut down for around 14 days.

Taken together, these factors impacted BP’s third quarter 2019 production by around 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with the overall production mix in the third quarter having a higher proportion of barrels produced from higher tax regions.

As a result, BP’s underlying effective tax rate is expected to be around 50% in the third quarter 2019, significantly higher than in the second quarter. The full year 2019 tax guidance of around 40% remains unchanged.


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Saipem gets three contracts on BP’s Caspian project

Italian oilfield contractor Saipem, in consortium with Bos Shelf and STAR GULF FZCO, has recently been awarded three new contracts by BP for the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) oil and gas field offshore Azerbaijan.

Located in the Caspian Sea at approximately 120 kilometers from the coast of Azerbaijan, the field extends over an area of more than 4,000 square kilometers and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Saipem has been a key contractor in this field since the 1990s.

BP has recently awarded key contracts for the the Azeri-Central-East (ACE) project. Some of the construction activities have already started and will run through mid-2022. The contracts, covering engineering, fabrication and construction, project management, and other services, followed the project final investment decision (FID) announced on April 19, 2019.

The contract for the fabrication of the jacket for the ACE platform and skirt piles has been awarded to the consortium consisting of BOS Shelf and Star Gulf FZCO. The value of this contract is around $260 million. The scope of work of the contract includes shop and erection engineering, rolling of tubulars, fabrication and assembly of the jacket and skirt piles, commissioning of installation systems, load-out and sea-fastening of the facility.

When it comes to Saipem’s share of work, the Italian company said on Friday that two contracts were for pipeline design, pipelay and related activities, while the third was for transportation & installation of four jacket pin piles, subsea structure, and spools.

Saipem’s share of the overall value of the three contracts is approximately $145 million.

Saipem said it had obtained one of these contracts as a result of the FEED phase awarded by BP to Saipem’s XSIGHT Division, in consortium with local partners Bos Shelf and Star Gulf, which were engaged from an early stage and on a fast track basis.

It is also worth mentioning that UK’s Subsea 7 won two contracts on the ACG project in consortium with BOS Shelf. The two contracts together represent a sizable contract award for Subsea 7, which means the value is between $50 million and $150 million.

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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Talos inks Gulf of Mexico exploration deals with BP, ExxonMobil

Talos Energy has entered into two separate U.S. Gulf of Mexico agreements with BP and ExxonMobil related to “new exploration opportunities.”

West Auriga drillship / Source: Seadrill

With regards to the deal with BP, the U.S. company said Thursday it would work with the British oil major to drill and evaluate the Puma West prospect. The prospect is located in Talos-owned Green Canyon Block 821 in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and is located 15 kilometers from BP’s prolific Mad Dog field.

Under the agreement with BP, Talos will keep a 25 percent interest with BP as operator taking the remaining interest.

Talos said that the initial exploration well at the West Puma prospect would be spud by the end of October 2019, using Seadrill’s West Auriga ultra-deepwater drillship.

Talos said:”The [ West Puma ] prospect consists of sub-salt, Miocene target zones believed to be similar to the prolific Mad Dog field located less than 15 miles from the proposed well location. The original Mad Dog spar has produced over 230 MMBoe since inception, and BP is currently constructing the Argos platform for the Mad Dog II project, which will add 140 thousand barrels of oil per day of additional production capacity to the field. The Puma West prospect was identified and permitted by Talos following a significant seismic reprocessing effort in the Company’s Green Canyon core area.”

Talos CEO Timothy Duncan said: “Exploration of the Puma West prospect is a timely and material opportunity for Talos. While not scheduled in our original 2019 drilling program, by moving quickly the company is able to work with a world-class operator in a potentially significant subsea tie-back project located on Talos acreage. We believe that coupling Talos’s initial prospect evaluation with BP’s known expertise in the region provides the best opportunity for success, and we look forward to initiating the project within the next 30 days.”

Buying Hershey from Exxon

Separately, Talos has agreed to by Exxon’s 100% interest in the Hershey prospect located in the Green Canyon Blocks 326, 327, 370 and 371, which constitute approximately 23,000 gross acres.

According to Talos, Hershey is a large, sub-salt Miocene prospect with potential for several stacked horizons.

“Based on preliminary estimates, Talos believes that the prospect may contain oil-weighted, gross unrisked resources of 100 – 300 MMBoe if successful. Hershey could be developed as a subsea tie-back to multiple Talos-controlled Green Canyon facilities or with new, dedicated infrastructure,” Talos said.

Duncan added, “The acquisition of the Hershey prospect, located less than 10 miles from our Phoenix complex, adds another high-impact exploration opportunity to our portfolio that can leverage our nearby infrastructure and operating experience in the area. The transaction structure, which is 100% contingent-based and contains no well commitment, provides Talos with significant financial and commercial optionality in evaluating the potential resource. I applaud both teams for identifying and developing this win-win opportunity following our acquisition of the Antrim prospect from ExxonMobil earlier this year.”


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BP awards ‘key contracts’ for $6 billion worth Caspian Sea project

Oil major BP, as operator of the Azeri-Chirag-Deepwater Gunashli (ACG) field development, has awarded key contracts for the the Azeri-Central-East (ACE) project located in the Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea. Some of the construction activities have already started and will run through mid-2022.

The Central Azeri Platform (ACG). (Photo: Stuart Conway / BP)

BP said on Monday that the contracts, covering engineering, fabrication and construction, project management, and other services, follow the project final investment decision (FID) announced on April 19, 2019.

The $6 billion development includes a new offshore platform and facilities designed to process up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day. The project is expected to achieve first production in 2023 and produce up to 300 million barrels over its lifetime.

The contract awards underpin the schedule for project delivery and complement the progress being made across the multiple areas and fabrication yards involved in this major development project, BP added.

Platform jacket 

The contract for the fabrication of the jacket for the ACE platform and skirt piles has been awarded to the consortium consisting of BOS Shelf LLC and Star Gulf FZCO. The value of this contract is around $260 million.

The scope of work of the contract includes shop and erection engineering, rolling of tubulars, fabrication and assembly of the jacket and skirt piles, commissioning of installation systems, load-out and sea-fastening of the facility.

All construction and fabrication work under this contract will be undertaken at SOCAR’s Baku Deepwater Jacket Factory (BDJF) named after Heydar Aliyev, using local resources including workforce and construction yard facilities.

The construction works have already started and are expected to be completed in 2021.

Topsides fabrication 

The second contract is for the fabrication and integration of the topsides unit for the ACE platform. This contract was awarded to Azfen in July 2019. The value of the contract is more than $486 million.

The scope of work under this contract includes fabrication and erection engineering, and fabrication, assembly and integration of the platform topsides. This also includes the fabrication of a lightweight drilling package (to be designed by National Oilwell Varco), provision of commissioning support services, load-out, hook-up, and offshore commissioning support.

The topsides unit will be built at the fabrication yard in Bibi-Heybat near Baku. The construction works under this contract have already started and are expected to be completed in 2022.

Topsides drilling facility

The topsides drilling facility engineering, procurement, and construction supervision contract has been awarded to National Oilwell Varco (NOV) (USA). The value of this contract is more than $151 million.

The scope of work under this contract includes detailed design, engineering and equipment procurement and shipment of the drilling facility to Baku. The scope also includes construction supervision oversight of the topsides unit and drilling facility fabricator’s activities including rig fabrication, integration, hook-up and commissioning.

Living quarters 

The contract for engineering, procurement and construction of the living quarters for the platform has been awarded to Emtunga Solutions AB (Sweden). The value of this contract is around $34 million. In addition to the engineering, procurement and construction, the scope of work includes provision of integration and commissioning technical support for the living quarters.

The works under this contract have already started with completion expected in 2022. Assembly and commissioning of the living quarters will be carried out at the fabrication yard in Bibi-Heybat near Baku where the topsides unit for the platforms will be constructed using local resources.

Engineering 

The contract for execute engineering has been awarded to the SOCAR-KBR LLC joint venture. The value of this contract is more than $76 million.

The scope of work under this contract includes engineering of the topsides unit, jacket and skirt piles; the ACE project brownfield works; the system design engineering for subsea facilities; project management – materials management, interface management, information management; procurement support; quality management and provision of construction site support. The work for this contract has started and is being performed through SOCAR-KBR’s UK Leatherhead and Baku engineering offices.

Freight management

The contract for the freight management services was awarded to Transglobal Projects (TGP) LLC in August 2019 as part of the Regional Master Agreement.

The scope of work under this contract includes collection of the materials and equipment from the suppliers’ locations and delivery to Baku sites, including customs clearance. The services to be provided under this contract cover all forms of transportation – international and domestic road transport, river ships, barges, sea transportation, air charters, airfreight and railway.

Ewan Drummond, BP vice president for projects, said: “BP as operator is pleased to announce the first package of key contracts awarded to execute the ACE project safely, efficiently and on schedule. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ACG contract it is worth emphasizing that one of the main achievements of ACG is the high level of local content in our projects which the ACE contract awards show clearly.

“These contract awards once again highlight the ACG partnership’s commitment to optimizing the use of Azerbaijan’s local resources. Construction activities, which have commenced this year and will run through mid-2022, are taking place in-country utilizing local resources and it is expected that, at peak, construction works will create up to 8,000 jobs.”


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Worley scores Mad Dog 2 hook-up & commissioning deal with BP

Australian engineering company Worley has been awarded a contract by oil major BP for hook-up and commissioning integration services for the Mad Dog 2 project and the Argos platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mad Dog 2, Argos platform; Source: BP

Worley said on Thursday that it would prepare for the arrival of the Argos FPU in the Gulf of Mexico and complete final systems commissioning in Texas, offshore hook-up at the Mad Dog field, and handover of the platform to BP’s Global Operations Organization.

The Mad Dog 2 project includes the Argos platform, which was named in late November 2018, with the capacity to produce up to 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day. It is planned to be commissioned in 2021.

The project will also have a subsea production system with 14 production wells and eight water injection wells.

Andrew Wood, CEO of Worley, said: “Worley is looking forward to supporting BP’s North American strategy through the integration of this new asset into BP’s production fleet in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Argos platform will be the first new BP-operated production facility in the Gulf of Mexico since 2008 when Thunder Horse came online. It will be BP’s fifth operated platform in the Gulf, and it will help extend the life of the super-giant Mad Dog oil field beyond 2050.

The final investment decision for the $9 billion project was approved by BP (60.5 percent) in late 2016 and in early 2017 by co-owners BHP (23.9 percent) and Union Oil Company of California, an affiliate of Chevron (15.6 percent).

The hull and topsides of the Argos platform are currently under construction in South Korea, with oil production from the facility expected to begin in late 2021.

Mad Dog field

BP discovered the Mad Dog field in 1998 and began production there with its first platform in 2005. Continued appraisal drilling in the field during 2009 and 2011 doubled the resource estimate of the Mad Dog field to more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, spurring the need for another platform at the field.

The second Mad Dog platform will be moored approximately six miles to the southwest of the existing Mad Dog platform, which is located in 4,500 feet of water about 190 miles south of New Orleans. The current Mad Dog platform can produce up to 80,000 gross barrels of oil and 60 million gross cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Offshore Energy Today Staff


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BP inks joint operating agreement for Gambian offshore block

Oil major BP and Gambia National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) on Tuesday, July 23 signed a joint operating agreement for Block A1 License located offshore The Gambia.

Source: GNPC

Announcing the agreement earlier this week, GNPC said that JOA marked the first involvement of the National Oil Company as partner on an oil license in the history of The Gambia. GNPC as government licensee has been assigned a 10% participating interest in the license. The JOA defines the operational boundaries of the BP-GNPC relationship.

The agreement was signed by GNPC Managing Director Yaya F. Barrow and BP Africa New Countries Vice President Jonathan Evans.

According to GNPC, the JOA was reviewed and negotiated by its negotiation team with assistance from the Petroleum Negotiation Committee, Africa Legal Support facility, International Law Firm BCLP, and Senghore Law Firm.

In partnership with GNPC, BP will start the work to explore the potentials of offshore Block A1 in search for oil in Gambian waters.

“The Corporation will continue to work in partnership with Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, stakeholders and all present and future Licensees to maximize the benefits of the oil and gas industry for our people,” GNPC concluded.


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