Revolutionary technology nets deal with Statoil for start-up company

An Aberdeen based start-up company has secured a contract with Statoil following a successful trial of its downhole well completions technology.

Steve Bruce and Keith Oddie of Darcy
Sand control engineering specialist, Darcy, has signed a framework agreement with Statoil, to supply its unique hydraulic screen technology to the oil giant’s assets in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The contract, which could have a seven year duration, could be worth millions to Darcy, representing a step-change in the company’s growth.

With 70% of mature and deep water oil and gas wells requiring sand control and experiencing costly challenges, Darcy believes there is a significant global market for the hydraulic screen technology enabling operators to complete sand plagued wells much more efficiently.

Steve Bruce, CEO of Darcy said: “This framework agreement is a major milestone in Darcy’s growth and signals a new trajectory for the company. Having invested considerably in the development of our hydraulic screens, it is fantastic to now have proven technology which we aim to roll out globally at a time when the industry is focused on driving efficiencies and reducing costs.”

Darcy designed and developed the technology in response to industry concerns about the high failure rate and costs of traditional gravel packing methods to control produced sand in well completions operations.

“Our hydraulic system offers a more efficient alternative and enables operators to complete wells which would be difficult or impossible using traditional sand control methods,” explained Mr Bruce.

The agreement comes on the back of a world-first successful installation of Darcy’s technology on Statoil’s Statfjord oil field in the Norwegian North Sea. This field faces challenges with continuous pressure depletion and reduced margins for pumping traditional open hole gravel packs. Integrating with Statoil’s completion equipment suppliers, the activation of the hydraulic screen took less than one hour of rig time.

The hydraulic system provides ‘pump free’ sand control delivering increased operational efficiency and simplifying logistics in drilling and completing wells to reduce time and costs. For the first time in the industry, it uses patented hydraulic technology that is easily activated from the surface to provide an alternative to gravel packing which is more time-consuming and labour intensive.

Mr Bruce added: “Securing field trials of new technology in oil and gas has always been challenging and we are grateful to Statoil for being so receptive to and supportive of our technology.

The hydraulic screen is suited to deepwater regions, mature fields and HPHT wells. The technology eliminates the need for specialist pumping crews or additional downhole tools required for gravel packing. It is easily integrated with standard completions equipment which provides logistical efficiencies on transportation and bed space.

Based in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Darcy launched in 2010 to develop innovative sand control systems. The company also works with operators to develop customised hydraulic screen solutions to meet project specific sand challenges including extreme HPHT environments.

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Africa’s emerging oil and gas industries add to continent’s appeal for international contractors

That’s according to Procorre, a professional services consultancy which manages the life cycle of projects in more than 100 countries worldwide. Procorre expects the strength of emerging oil-producing nations, such as Ghana and South Africa, and rapid advances in Africa’s natural gas industry, to contribute to a boost in demand for specialist contractors from across the globe in 2016.

The African oil market, which collectively produced almost 8 million barrels of crude oil a day last year[1], is expected to vastly increase in the coming years as countries like Ghana respond to rapid growth and the discovery of seven new oil blocks[2].

James Alexander, Director of Global Mobility at Procorre, explains: “In the past five years, Ghana has seen over a 17-fold increase in production as the country ramps up its investment in infrastructure and expertise to boost output. With news that Ghana’s oil output could increase from 100,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) between now and 2024, production looks set to soar. This means the oil-rich country could very soon be offering an array of exciting, well-paid job opportunities for contractors.”

Procorre also adds that leading African oil-producers such as Nigeria, Algeria and Angola continue to offer significant scope for future growth and are likely to remain a strong source of job opportunities.

As well as the burgeoning African oil market, Procorre expects the continent’s gas industry to also see a surge in employment opportunities as it produces increasing amounts of natural gas. In 2013, African nations produced over 195 billion cubic metres of natural gas from proven reserves of 16.8 trillion m3 – underlining the full scale of its potential.

Whilst countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Libya and Equatorial Guinea are all major players in the global natural gas market, new opportunities can quickly gain traction. Procorre points specifically to the boom in exploration and investment in Mozambique as a case in point.

Mr Alexander adds: “The discovery of new reserves in Mozambique puts the country’s proven gas reserves at 98.8 trillion cubic feet in mid-2015 – up from just 4.6 trillion cubic feet in 2013[3]. This means Mozambique is rapidly ramping up its capabilities and investment in infrastructure to enable it to capitalise on the discovery and compete with more mature markets, in turn creating an abundance of job opportunities for contractors.”

Recently announced plans for a new 18,000-hectare port city on the north coast to service growing offshore activity in the Rovuma Basin demonstrate the strength of Mozambique’s ambition and the scope of opportunity for skilled workers in the industry there.

Mr Alexander concludes: “The oil and gas industries are evolving rapidly and offer a diverse range of job prospects where infrastructure and capabilities differ in their levels of maturity, presenting contractors with plenty of exciting challenges. Should further exploration activity in Africa prove fruitful, it is likely that the number of opportunities could grow exponentially, making it a highly attractive destination both for short-term contracts and as a longer-term base.”

Contractors interested in working on oil and gas projects in Africa should visit for more information and to apply to become a Procorre consultant.

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Hydraulics company to launch cost saving innovations to Middle Eastern market

Aberdeenshire company calls on further innovations to support the oil & gas sector

Ian Clark, managing director of ITC Hydraulics
ITC Hydraulics, the hydraulic solutions specialist, showcased two of its newest innovations at ADIPEC.

The Aberdeenshire-based business, which employs 16 staff, introduced its new Casing Jack and Combo Reeler to the Middle Eastern market, for the first time, during one of the world’s key oil and gas exhibition and conferences, which took place from the 9th to the 12th November.

Ian Clark, managing director of ITC Hydraulics, says, “We took two of our latest product offerings to ADIPEC at a time when service companies, like ourselves, need to look at bringing cost and time saving solutions to the market. We need to be providing our clients with groundbreaking products to support the sector during challenging times, and organisations most definitely need to bring something new to the table and innovation is key.”

Ian continues, “Our Combo Reeler was designed with vessel deck space in mind, as it is at such a premium. We have designed a hydraulic umbilical hose reel with integral HPU as one unit, rather than two, for the deployment of hoses/cables for subsea operations.

“This allows the self-propelled hose reeler to be installed on deck without the requirement of connecting hoses between the reeler and the HPU, minimising footprint and deck trip hazards. Our new Casing Jack is operated topside or can be adapted for subsea use with quick mobilisation and demobilisation times, therefore reducing costs.”

Ian concludes, “Deeper cost cutting is a continuing key theme for the oil majors and service companies need to be able to offer and respond to this.”

ITC’s client list includes Subsea 7, Aker Solutions and Oceaneering.

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CGG seeks finance for transformation plan

Planned €350 million share capital increase with preferential subscription rights

After careful review of the different options to address the Company’s financing needs as announced on November 5 2015, CGG intends to launch a capital increase to finance in particular the Group’s Transformation Plan.

CGG announces today the convening of a combined general shareholders’ meeting in order to delegate authority to the board of directors to decide on a capital increase of a maximum amount of €350 million (issue premium included) by issuance of ordinary shares with preferential subscription rights for shareholders.

This strengthening of the Group’s equity would complement its current refinancing transactions. The approximately $126 million of CGG’s $135 million outstanding 2017 bonds that have been tendered for cancellation during the early tender period of CGG Holding (U.S.) Inc.’s ongoing exchange offer and the €84 million Fugro loan will be replaced by a secured term loan due 2019. At the end of this process, most of CGG’s 2016/2018 mid-term debt will have been rescheduled.

Subject to the approval of the general shareholders’ meeting and market conditions, this capital increase will be launched as soon as possible following the general meeting. The final terms of this transaction will be determined by the Company’s board of directors.

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Here’s Why Our New Factory Will Change Everything

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