For the oil and gas industry, the timing of Mariner Energy’s explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday could not be worse. The day before, about 5,000 members of the industry had gathered in a convention center in Houston to call for the lifting of the moratorium on new deepwater drilling in the gulf and to protest against proposed taxes and other measures.
The industry’s point was that deepwater drilling creates jobs and benefits the economy at a time when the country desperately needs more – not less – jobs and economic investment.
Yet the government’s point has been that, above all, the industry must operate safely. The Macondo well incident has raised questions about whether the industry could be operating more safely in the gulf. And while the majors contend that they are safe and would not have had the accident BP had, the Bureau for Ocean Energy Management says it must ensure that is the case. The moratorium is giving the government time to determine what must be done to ensure best practices across the industry.
If you thought a deal worth $39bn would satisfy even the most acquisition-happy chief exec, you’d probably be wrong in the case of Marius Kloppers.
BHP Billiton’s chief exec is thought to be looking at a major oil and gas acquisition while at the same time working on the multi-billion deal to buy Canada’s Potash Corp, according to a story in The Australian on Thursday.
The paper quotes an unnamed “senior figure in the global energy industry” who is “convinced” that Anadarko Petroleum Corp is on BHP’s radar.
The company, with a market capitalisation of $25bn, is an appealing but tricky acquisition target. On the one hand it’s shares have seriously suffered since BP’s Macondo well explosion (Anadarko has a 25 per stake in the project) resulting in a more attractive valuation. But, also due to the Macondo disaster, it is now facing an estimated fine of up to $2bn.
While Iraq is still a difficult place to work, companies continue to persist in getting business there. On Tuesday, Halliburton announced it had been awarded a contract by Eni to provide a range of integrated energy services to help redevelop the Zubair field in southern Iraq.
No details about the value of the countract. Halliburton just said work for the “multi-million dollar contract” is underway. Halliburton is to carry out services such as perforating, acidizing and well-testing on 20 wells for Eni. Halliburton chief executive, Dave Lesar, explains in the news release why Halliburton is interested:
We are committed to providing Eni the critical services required to deliver on its goal of expanding production over the next several years. Halliburton has made a strategic investment in our Iraqi infrastructure, and the award of this contract, coupled with the recent letter of intent awarded by Shell and its partners, demonstrates that we have the technology and people in place to deliver in Iraq.
Elsewhere this Thursday:
- Fresh air for sale in Hong Kong
- Shale’s footprint: Another dead issue?
- Iowa: The Saudi Arabia of ethanol
- Pedal power takes off as exercise produces electricity
- Jatropha: A new form of energy