Rigzone | 25 October 2013

Eni CEO Calls Libyan Situation Very Worrying

Disruptions to oil production in Libya are “very worrying” to Italian oil and gas group Eni, its chief executive said on 23 October, as losses there continue to weigh on its prospects for output and profit.

A combination of strikes, militias, and political activists have disrupted production at the majority of Libya’s oilfields and ports since the end of July.

Eni, the world’s seventh-biggest oil major, is the largest foreign operator in Libya in terms of volume. Production disruptions there prompted the company in August to cut its yearly projections.

“The Wafa field is shut, while gas is only produced for power generation inside the country,” Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni said on the sidelines of a conference.

The Business of Kidnapping

Kidnapping is a serious and real threat when you travel to emerging markets and high-risk parts of the world. Criminals generate large profits and operate like a business. Kidnappers not only target executives for ransom or political gain, but also Western business associates from lucrative industries including oil and gas.

The number of reported kidnapping cases continues to grow each year. According to industry experts, there has been a dramatic increase in reported kidnappings in high-risk countries from 2012 through the first six months of 2013. The current top high-risk countries are Nigeria and Mexico. Mexico had 555 reported kidnappings between January and April 2013 compared with 417 incidents during the same time period last year. Yemen also placed particularly high on the list this year as its government remains unable to enforce its justice system or any authority.

Kidnapping can describe a wide spectrum of scenarios. Aside from the most common form of abduction, kidnap for ransom, criminals also engage in express (lightning) kidnappings where victims are temporarily detained and their bank accounts drained through coerced bank transactions. More disturbingly, kidnappers have begun abducting individuals and selling them to terrorist organizations who use the victims for political gain. Your company cannot afford to put you, the most precious commodity, in a vulnerable position.

Kidnappers look for easy targets. They observe and prey on travelers who create patterns and habits such as taking the same routes to and from work. Cell phone records, travel itineraries, and background information are often collected in dangerous countries with help from telephone service providers and corrupt local law enforcement. Something as simple as a tweet or Facebook post from a corporate employee or family member mentioning your whereabouts can lead to an attack.

The following simple steps can be taken to deter kidnapping while traveling internationally:

  • Establish a crisis-management plan with your company before traveling abroad
  • Learn about the geopolitical situation in the region you are traveling to
  • Employ security professionals who can provide security-risk analysis and country-specific response plans before travel
  • Conduct comprehensive due diligence on the individuals and companies you will be meeting with
  • Arrange for qualified security to pick you up from the airport and provide secure transportation throughout your travels
  • Maintain consistent communication with your colleagues while overseas
  • Remain alert and aware of your surroundings while traveling abroad

It’s no secret the oil and gas industry is high-risk. You must travel to unstable and often third-world regions in order to maintain and expand your business. Talk to experienced professionals and conduct the necessary research and planning before traveling overseas. Safety is your No. 1 priority.

James Reese

James Reese

Offshore Engineer | 5 September 2013

Beating an Advanced Persistent Threat

Make no mistake, APTs are watching, learning, and poised to attack

Globally interconnected digital information and communications infrastructure—better known as “cyberspace”—underpins almost every facet of modern society and provides critical support for the US economy, its civil infrastructure, public safety, and national security.

Security in cyberspace relies on interdependent networks of information technology, national infrastructure, the internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers. Each of these plays a critical part in maintaining intellectual property, the efficient function of the banking and energy industries, and protection of key corporate and national assets.

Yet, it is abundantly clear the activities of hackers or malware can severely impair industrial or government systems and their assets. There is a trend in the oil industry that aims at integrated management of control and safety systems resulting in improved use, efficiency, reduction in personnel, training costs, and cost savings. But industrial systems for the oil industry and offshore platforms remain extremely vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

GlobalData | 13 August 2013

Analyst Says Piracy Spotlight Will Remain Fixed on West African Oil Trade As Long As Naval Presence Remains Low

Pirates will continue to prey on the lucrative west African oil trade, with more piracy and hijacking incidents expected in the Gulf of Guinea, as long as the political complexities surrounding naval presence in territorial waters continue, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to Jeffrey Kerr, GlobalData’s managing analyst covering downstream oil and gas, most of the pirates in the west African region are believed to be part of its countries’ thriving black market for crude oil and refined products.

Kerr said, “The Gulf of Guinea accounts for about 10% of the world’s crude oil exports, as well as many other products such as cocoa and metals, which are highly sought by the generally armed pirates on West African waters.”

Rigzone | 13 August 2013

Oil and Gas Industry’s Top 5 Kidnapping Hotspots

January’s attack and subsequent hostage crisis at the BP and Statoil-run In Amenas gas facility in Algeria by Islamist terrorists brought home just how dangerous some parts of the world can be for the expat oil and gas worker. An inevitable consequence for the oil and gas industry as it moves into frontier areas in its search for reservoirs rich in hydrocarbon resources is the increased security risk of operating in some of the world’s most dangerous countries and regions.

But while the In Amenas incident, which caused the deaths of 39 foreign hostages and an Algerian security guard, might have brought to the fore the threat to the oil and gas sector from Islamism in North Africa, other parts of Africa, and indeed the world, have far more prevalent incidences of hostage taking and kidnappings.

Rigzone has sifted through recent news reports of kidnappings as well as studies by security experts to come up with the five greatest hotspots for the kidnapping of oil and gas workers.


Upstream Online | 5 August 2013

Libya Output “Recovers” Amid Protests

Libya’s oil production has recovered to nearly half its normal level as the government seeks to end worker protests that have cut crude exports, according to a report.

Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi said output had ”improved greatly” to reach around 700,000 B/D, after earlier being cut to 330,000 B/D because of ongoing strike action and is likely to rise to 800,000 B/D after the Muslim Eid holiday, Reuters reported.

However, the figure still remains far short of the 1.4 million B/D rate achieved before the unrest that has resulted in the shutdown of the Zueitina, Es Sider, and Ras Lanuf export terminals, leaving shipments being cut to about 425,000 B/D—less than half normal levels.

Security guards seeking more pay shut down Es Sider and Ras Lanuf after protests by locals demanding more oil jobs closed Zueitina.

London-based research firm Energy Aspects is now predicting Libya’s average production for the year to be at 1.2 million B/D, down around 200,000 B/D on 2012, as it sees a “significant impact” on output figures in the second half.

Rigzone | 1 August 2013

Libyan Oil Sector: Between the Hammer and the Nail

Libya holds the largest oil reserves in Africa, with 47.1 billion bbl, according to a BP statistical review, and 1.5 trillion mof natural gas. Approximately 80% of Libya’s proven oil reserves are located in the eastern Sirte basin, which also accounts for most of the country’s oil output.

Currently, Libya produces 1.6 million B/D of mostly high-quality light, sweet crude oil, following the decrease of production because of the unrest in February 2011, which led to the deposition of Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in October 2011. During the unrest, Libyan oil and natural gas exports suffered a near-total disruption in the months of intense fighting to follow, as the minimal and sporadic oil production that did occur was mostly consumed domestically.

Rigzone | 9 July 2013

BG Group Confirms Withdrawal of Staff From Egypt

BG Group confirmed on 9 July that it has withdrawn expatriate staff from Egypt amid the increasing civil unrest in the country. Recent reports had indicated that the company had withdrawn 100 of its 150 expatriate staff from Egypt.

A BG spokesman said, “Naturally, the safety of our personnel is our first priority, and, fortunately, all our people are safe and accounted for. We have withdrawn some of our people—nonessential staff, contractors, and dependents via scheduled flights—but essential staff remain in the country.”

Upstream | 8 July 2013

BP Plans To Pull Staff From Egypt Amid Turmoil

BP said it will start pulling some staff from Egypt as unrest in the North African nation escalated following the military’s ousting of President Mohammed Mursi.

In a statement, BP said that “as a precautionary measure, we will be withdrawing a number of nonessential expatriate staff, contractors and families on a temporary basis.”

It added that all staff were safe and that its local oil and gas production had not been affected.

“This decision was taken after reviewing guidance from governments and our own monitoring of the situation on the ground,” the statement said.

Upstream | 1 July 2013

Protests Halt Output From Libyan Fields

Protesting workers demanding better work conditions have halted production at a number of oilfields operated by Libyan state operating venture Zuetina Oil Company, reports have said.

Demonstrations have affected output at three fields, an engineer at the Zuetina export terminal in eastern Libya told Reuters.

“The protest started at the 103 D field then spread to 103 A and Zala oilfields, and now the port has been affected, too,” the engineer said.


18 June 2013

SPE Holds First HSE Conference in Latin America

SPE is holding the first Latin American conference on HSE 26–27 June in Lima, Peru. The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Health, Safety, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Conference will bring together experts from two geographic locations to share best practices, technological advances, and new ideas for HSE.

Experts from Latin America and the Caribbean will conduct more than 50 technical and poster presentations that showcase the latest technological advances and innovative applications in HSE. The opening plenary session, “How to Address and Obtain a License To Operate in Sensitive Areas,” features an in‐depth discussion on social and safety risks, control and transportation of hazardous materials, wastewater treatment, and more.

The second day’s plenary session, “Measures and Improvements After Industry Accidents,” addresses the lessons learned from previous accidents and the latest measures and improvements in managing the prevention and response of oil spills.

“This conference is important to the Latin American and Caribbean regions,” said Carlos Arturo Rosas Mota, conference program committee chairman and HSE manager for Schlumberger Peru. “It is a great opportunity to share best practices and case histories and to learn from each other’s experience. Doing so will help us in our efforts to improve HSE performance for the betterment of the entire industry and all its stakeholders.”

Technical sessions, which will have simultaneous translation in English and Spanish, fall into five categories.

  • Environment: Topics include “Designing an Optimal Offshore Pipeline Route To Minimize Impacts on Coastal and Marine Biodiversity,” “The New Structure for International Oil Spill and Preparedness & Response,” and “The Challenges for the Treatment of Drilling Fluid Wastes Generated by E&P Industry in Brazil.”
  • HSE Management: Topics include “The Human Chain—A Different Approach to Behavior Safety Program Through the Use of Social Marketing Concepts,” “Assessing Risks and Regulating Safety Standards in the Oil and Gas Industry: The Peruvian Experience,” and “Building Strong Stakeholder Relations and Minimizing Operational Risks in the Oil and Gas Industry Through Market‐Based Certification.”
  • Social Responsibility: Topics include “The Social Side of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Latin America,” “Innovative Ways to Inspire New Employees to Embrace an HSE Culture,” and “Social Responsibility: A Comparative Study of Oil Majors—Who is the Best?”
  • Safety: Topics include “Integrity Management System Based on Risk Analysis: A Tool to Prevent Failures on Pipelines Which Cross Amazonian Jungles and the Andes,” and “A Study of Rollover Occupant Injury Mitigation Using Dynamic Testing To Evaluate Alternative Protection Systems.”
  • Health: Topics include “Improving the Health of the Workforce May Improve Work Performance,” “Cardiovascular Risk Impact in the Oil Industry,” and “Obesity in the Oil and Gas Industry Population.”

The conference includes an exhibition that will showcase some of the latest developments and trends in HSE.

Rigzone | 13 May 2013

BP Withdraws Staff From Libya

BP is withdrawing some of its staff from Libya amid the potential for violence in the country.

BP said on 12 May that it was withdrawing nonessential overseas staff from Libya “as a precautionary measure” following advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, BP said that its Libyan staff remain in its office in the country.