Oil and Gas Industry’s Top 5 Kidnapping Hotspots

Source: Rigzone | 13 August 2013

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.


Libya Output “Recovers” Amid Protests

Source: Upstream Online | 5 August 2013

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.

Libyan Oil Sector: Between the Hammer and the Nail

Source: Rigzone | 1 August 2013

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.

BG Group Confirms Withdrawal of Staff From Egypt

Source: Rigzone | 9 July 2013

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.”

BP Plans To Pull Staff From Egypt Amid Turmoil

Source: Upstream | 8 July 2013

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.

Protests Halt Output From Libyan Fields

Source: Upstream | 1 July 2013

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.


SPE Holds First HSE Conference in Latin America

Source: 18 June 2013

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.

BP Withdraws Staff From Libya

Source: Rigzone | 13 May 2013

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.

DOE Recognizes WIPP Security Force for Outstanding Safety

Source: US Department of Energy | 10 May 2013

US Department of Energy Carlsbad Field Office Manager Joe Franco (right) presents the Star of Excellence Award to Security Walls Manager Richard De Los Santos.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Security Walls, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s (WIPP) Security Protective Force, with a Star of Excellence Award in the Voluntary Protection Program for the fifth consecutive year.

“I’m very pleased to present this recognition to the WIPP Protective Force, which is the only security force within the DOE complex to receive ‘Legacy Star’ status,” said DOE Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Manager Joe Franco, who presented the award to Security Walls Manager Richard De Los Santos this week. CBFO has responsibility for WIPP and the National Transuranic Program.

“They can be very proud of this accomplishment and the close attention to detail it takes to achieve it,” Franco said. “It shows a strong commitment to safety and security at WIPP.”

To receive a Star of Excellence Award, an organization must achieve an injury rate 75 percent below the industry average.

Algerian Complex Restarts Oil Production After Attack

Source: Rigzone | 9 May 2013

El Merk oil complex in Algeria’s Sahara, in a rare piece of positive news for the country’s hydrocarbons sector after a January terrorist attack, has restarted oil production.

Algerian state news agency APS, citing sources close to the operation, said Anadarko and Sonatrach had started pumping from El Merk’s fields in March but had only delivered its first oil outside the complex on 3 May. The complex, which includes a plant to process the hydrocarbons, will produce 127,000 B/D of crude oil and condensates by the end of this year, according to APS. Anadarko also said late Monday it had started production from El Merk.

Escalating Violence Holds Back Libya’s Oil, Gas Sector

Source: Rigzone | 17 April 2013

Two years on from the revolution that ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his regime, Libya is still suffering from violence that is threatening to hold back the country’s oil and gas sector from returning to prewar levels of production.

Before the 2011 revolution, Libya had been a major oil producer. With Africa’s largest proven reserves of sweet oil (some 40 billion bbl), the country had been producing at a rate of around 1.6 million BOPD, according to the Libyan National Oil Company. Libya’s Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak recently stated that the government plans to increase current production from 1.5 million BOEPD to 1.7 million BOEPD by the end of this year.

But recent violence between various militias, along with less-violent actions such as strikes and protests, could scupper that plan.

Oil Explorers Beware: Hackers Are Eyeing What You Know


While most would think that the risks junior oil and gas companies are taking in exploring new frontiers as far away as the remote reaches of Africa are related to government instability and conflict, another risk they face is right at home and lies right beyond their network firewalls.

Cyber security breaches are becoming more commonplace as the ranks of junior companies swell and take on new exploration venues with a great deal of energy. But, at home, their firewalls are not safe and hackers are being paid to find out what juicy exploration news is being discussed in their boardrooms.