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piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that the July stock decline at Cushing strengthens WTI.  In the U.S., there was largest weekly stock draw since January.  In Japan, crude runs and stocks rose. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

July Stock Decline at Cushing Strengthens WTI

Stock levels for crude oil at Cushing dropped below 20 million barrels last month, for the first time since 2008. With logistical constraints still in place throughout much of the Midcontinent, most crude grades weakened relative to WTI, and even the Dated Brent premium shrank. However, the LLS premium strengthened, as Gulf Coast crude stocks dropped due to higher refinery runs.

Largest Weekly Stock Draw Since January

Overall U.S. commercial oil inventories fell this past week with a large product stock decline (the first since March) and a crude inventory decline. Crude stocks have fallen for six consecutive weeks. The large product inventory decline was supported by the strongest reported demand of the year. Overall inventories are now back below last year by 1.3 million barrels, with gasoline and distillate down roughly 10 and 2 million barrels, respectively.

Japanese Crude Runs and Crude Stocks Rise

Runs continued to rise in line with declining maintenance activity. Crude imports increased and crude stocks posted a modest build. Finished product stocks rose slightly. Gasoline demand fell back but lower yield allowed for a small stock draw. Gasoil demand was higher, but stocks still built on higher yield. Refining margins remain quite weak with the gasoline crack posting another sharp decline.

A Statistical Analysis of Cushing Crude Stocks and Storage Capacity Utilization

Different expressions of Cushing fundamentals, such a percent of storage capacity utilized, can have better relationships to WTI 1st – 2nd spreads than outright Cushing stocks. Over time, the strength in the correlation between Cushing fundamentals and WTI spreads has changed. Cushing fill ratios at either extreme of the historical range drive non-linear spread behavior.

Aramco Announces Crude Price Differentials for September

Saudi Arabia's formula prices for September were just released. Prices into the U.S. were cut, against the ASCI benchmark, across the board after two straight months at record highs. Pricing into Europe and the Med against the Bwave benchmark was raised. In Asia, not surprisingly, terms were made more generous.

BULLETIN: Market Dynamics Reflecting a New Reality

There is currently a crude surplus in the Atlantic Basin which has weighed on relative prices and narrowed light-sweet crude premiums. The development of this surplus during peak season Atlantic Basin runs and North Sea maintenance has caught a market by surprise typically conditioned for tightness at this time. Many people trade off historical relationships and expect them to continue. But supply/demand changes transform markets, even though it takes time for these markets to fully absorb the new reality.

Mt Belvieu Prices Stay Strong

The U.S. LPG complex remained strong in the face of falling energy prices worldwide. Cash propane at Mt Belvieu strengthened by over 2% to 102.4¢/gal. Propane prices dipped below $1 early in the weak, falling in sympathy with oil prices. Prices have rallied since Wednesday’s stocks report, as inventory increases have been decreasing in size. The prospect of a large crop drying season is also acting as a tailwind for prices.

Ethanol Prices Plunge

U.S. ethanol prices fell sharply the week ending August 1 after the DOE’s latest supply report showed that inventories had risen to a 16-month high the prior week. As a result, ethanol manufacturing margins were slightly lower.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that with both the physical market and financial length bottoming, oil prices are at or near their lows. In the U.S., sharp crude stock reduction is offset by a product build.  In Japan, crude stocks posted a large draw. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

Sharp U.S. Crude Stock Reduction Offset by Product Build

Crude stocks fell for the week ending July 11, 2014 while product inventories built, causing an overall inventory build. This inventory pattern fits with record crude runs. Last year for the same week, inventories were down slightly so the year-on-year inventory excess widened. Crude oil and other products are up on last year while the four major product inventories are down.

Japanese Crude Runs Rise, Crude Stocks Post a Large Draw

Despite typhoon Neoguri hitting Japan the last week, runs still posted a sizable gain, while imports dropped and crude stocks drew. Product balances for gasoline and gasoil were little changed, while kerosene stocks resumed building. Both gasoline and naphtha stocks drew to record lows. Refining margins remained good with cracks little changed.

Freight Market Outlook

Crude markets have been whipsawed recently by the sectarian civil war in Iraq and changing perceptions on the return of Libyan supplies to the market. Dated Brent prices increased by $6/B to $115/B following the June 10th fall of Mosul to ISIS insurgents. But as it became apparent that exports from Basrah were unlikely to be impacted while prospects for the return of Libyan supplies increased, the price of Dated Brent fell by more than $12 per barrel to $103/B with a steep contango structure at the front end of the forward price curve. This has prompted the opportunistic storage of crude on tankers and increased incentives for the movement of additional long-haul volumes out of the Atlantic Basin to Asia, causing a counter-seasonal rise in crude tanker rates in the Atlantic. For tanker operators there are double benefits with higher spot tanker rates and lower bunker prices, at least for the moment.

Strong Week for International LPG

Tightness in LPG supplies in Europe, particularly in butane, had prices bid up this week. European supply has tightened considerably on lower export volumes out of Russia, and refinery maintenance in Antwerp and the UK. Russian maintenance at gas processing plants has lowered prompt Russian output. Coaster sized parcels of butane in NWE ended the week 4% higher at $838/MT. Asian prices were also higher on strong demand -- as soaring VLGC freight rates have industrial consumers worried that supply will be impacted.

Ethanol Prices Decline

U.S. ethanol prices showed some strength early in the week ending July 11, but then resumed their recent descent, weighed down by rising inventories. Ethanol manufacturing cash margins improved for the second consecutive week, largely due to plunging corn costs.

Ethanol Output Up, but Inventories Down

U.S. ethanol output rebounded to 943 MB/D the week ending July 11, up from 927 MB/D during the holiday-shortened week ending July 4. Inventories declined by 341 thousand barrels to a four-week low 17.9 million.

Political Risk Scorecard

Concerns about potential further sanctions on Russia, along with Iraqi instability, will support prices next week.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

douglas-westwoodDeclining North Sea production and increasingly mature assets are expected to drive demand for offshore accommodation support, with the attributed maintenance, refurbishment and shutdown work requiring additional personnel-on-board and workshop capacity. However, the harsh met ocean conditions of the northern North Sea (NNS) ultimately limit Operator choice to two types of accommodation - jackup barges and semisubs – due to the greater stability and safety offered.

Despite growing demand for semisub units, the sector is plagued by constrained global supply and limited availability, placing upward pressure on day rates. This is having a significant impact on contract costs in the NNS, with day rates typically ranging from $200-350k. Additionally, Operators are placing contracts several years in advance to ensure maintenance or construction schedules are satisfied. This is forcing Operators to seek more efficient contracting practices, either through unit sharing agreements or securing units on an annual basis.

Notably; although costs continue to rise, a key emerging trend in the floating accommodation sector is employee welfare. IOCs are using their global footprints to help drive the adoption of the 'quality equals efficiency' concept. This is now being mirrored in the NNS, where several large Operators and service contractors have identified a trend between 'spanner time' – hours worked by offshore personnel – and the quality of worker accommodation. While this may incur greater costs in terms of unit day rates, the cost advantages gained from reduced downtime and improved worker efficiency could make this increased expenditure worthwhile.

The industry is screaming for offshore accommodation capable of working in harsh conditions. Although the market will see 11 new units delivered between 2015-2016, continued growth in demand for accommodation semisubs, intensified by unit retirement, will further constrain supply. We are already seeing the market respond with new orders; however, will this be enough to offset growing demand pressures?

Murray Dormer, Douglas-Westwood London
+44 1795 574736 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that Brent crude prices will move higher after some first half July weakness. In the U.S., there was a crude stock draw and product stock build. In Japan, crude runs begin to rise and stocks draw. Specifically, PIRA's analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

European Oil Market Forecast
Brent crude prices will move higher after some first half July weakness with tighter global crude markets and reduced OPEC spare capacity even as Saudi Arabia makes up for lower Iraqi exports. Urals differentials will firm over the next two months. Gasoline cracks still have a bit of strength for now, but with ample inventories they will narrow next month and especially in September. Distillate inventories, while currently rising, remain low and will tighten in the Atlantic Basin in the third quarter, driving diesel cracks higher.

Crude Stock Draw and Product Stock Build Results in Flat Commercial Stock Profile
With a 14.7 million barrel commercial stocks draw this week last year, it was inevitable that the year-over-year stock deficit would narrow. Last year's commercial draw consisted of a 10.3 million barrel draw in crude, a 5.9 million barrel draw in the four major refined products, and a 1.6 million barrel build in other product stocks. Consequently, even though crude stocks drew last week, crude stocks flipped from a deficit to a surplus versus last year.

Japanese Crude Runs Begin to Rise, Stocks Draw
Crude runs have begun moving higher as turnarounds begin to wind down. Crude stocks drew marginally as imports remained low. Finished product stocks also drew slightly. While refining margins remain soft, they improved slightly due to improved light product cracks overcoming a weaker fuel oil crack.

LPG Scorecard
U.S. stocks of LPG continue to rebuild from low levels at record rates. NGL production rates soared to a record high in April, with significantly more growth expected this year. New fractionation capacity and export infrastructure is being rapidly deployed to meet surging oil production. Propane in Europe and Asia is well supplied, with seasonally low demand inhibiting further price strength. Butane markets are tighter and discounts to naphtha in both regions have the product favored for petrochemical feedstocks use.

U.S. Ethanol Prices Declined During June
Ethanol prices fell during most of June as output reached a record high, stocks built to a yearly peak, and corn costs were the lowest since February. Prices showed some strength late in June as production declined when problems with railcar delays returned.


Ethanol Output Increases

U.S. ethanol production rebounded to 953 MB/D the week ending June 27, up from 938 MB/D during the preceding week. Though last week's output was significantly less than the record 972 MB/D two weeks earlier, it was still the second highest since December 2011.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA's current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

*Increase in Non-OPEC production to exceed growth in Global Oil Demand in 2014, reducing call on OPEC productionGlobaldatabluelogoGlobal oil demand in 2014 is forecast to increase by about 1.2 million barrels per day (mmbd) compared to 2013 levels, while non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members' production will grow by approximately 1.6 mmbd, reducing the call for OPEC production, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company's report* states that a significant increase in non-OPEC production is forecast to occur, particularly in North America, where crude oil and condensate production will increase by about 1.3 mmbd.

Carmine Rositano, GlobalData's Managing Analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, says: "Crude oil production increases are also expected in South America, the Former Soviet Union and from the greater use of biofuels. This will more than offset slightly lower production anticipated in the North Sea and Mexico.

"The growth in US oil production of just over 1 mmbd, combined with the expansion of Canadian production, will continue to reduce imports into North America. These could then flow into Asia, where the rise in oil demand will greatly exceed the slight increase forecast in local production."

Venezuelan crudes are now more likely to end up in Asia than North America, as Asia imported just under 1 mmbd of Venezuelan crudes in 2013. This has increased tonne-mile demand in the tanker industry for Very Large Crude Carriers, while decreasing the need for shorter-haul tanker movements into North America, according to the analyst.

Rositano continues: "Crude oil supply patterns and pricing differentials, along with marine freight rates and refining margins, will continue to be impacted by North America's higher forecast production levels, especially if the current ban on exporting US crude oil remains in place.

"It will be interesting to see which OPEC member will reduce its production should Iraq's output continue to increase and when Libyan production comes back online. It also remains to be seen whether Iran's export level will increase, should it reach an agreement over the nuclear issue with the West.

 *Increase in Non-OPEC production to exceed growth in Global Oil Demand in 2014, reducing call on OPEC production

This report provides a comparison of global oil demand and supply for 2014 versus 2013, detailing the increases in non-OPEC oil production and its effect on the supply of OPEC crude oil. It includes an evaluation of geopolitical risks and details of demand levels by product (gasoline, diesel/gasoil and aviation jet fuel) in both regional and global terms.

This report was built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData's team of industry experts.

oceaneeringlogoOceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII) has reported record quarterly earnings for the second quarter ended June 30, 2014.

On revenue of $927.4 million, Oceaneering generated net income of $110.3 million, or $1.02 per share. During the corresponding period in 2013, Oceaneering reported revenue of $820.4 million and net income of $98.8 million, or $0.91 per share.

Summary of Results
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

                             Three Months Ended                                                   Six Months Ended
                                   June 30,                         March 31,                              June 30,

                           2014             2013                     2014                           2014              2013

Revenue           $ 927,407      $ 820,372             $ 840,201                 $ 1,767,608      $ 1,538,924

Gross Margin       218,215        201,864                 189,491                      407,706           362,239

Income from Ops. 161,311       146,337              132,862                         294,173           254,627

Net Income         $ 110,295     $ 98,811              $ 91,225                     $ 201,520        $ 173,660

Diluted Earnings

Per Share (EPS)         $1.02         $0.91                    $0.84                            $1.86             $1.60


Year over year, quarterly EPS increased on profit improvements from Subsea Products, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), and Subsea Projects. Sequentially, quarterly EPS rose on higher operating income principally from Subsea Products and Subsea Projects.

M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our quarterly EPS was slightly above our guidance, and was up 21% over the first quarter of this year and 12% over the second quarter of 2013. EPS for the first half of 2014 was 16% higher than the first half of 2013. We achieved record quarterly operating income from Subsea Products, and for the first time Subsea Products operating income exceeded that of ROV.

"Our outlook for the second half of this year remains positive and unchanged overall from last quarter. Given this outlook and our year-to-date performance, we are narrowing our 2014 EPS guidance range to $3.95 to $4.05 from $3.90 to $4.10. Relative to the first half of 2014, we expect to generate higher income from each of our operating segments during the second half, led by ROV and Subsea Projects. We continue to forecast year-over-year operating income growth for all of our oilfield segments in 2014.

"Compared to the first quarter, Subsea Products operating income rose on the strength of increased revenue and profitability from tooling and subsea hardware. Subsea Products backlog at quarter end was $850 million, compared to our March 31 backlog of $894 million and $902 million one year ago. During the quarter we announced one large umbilical contract for offshore Indonesia.

"ROV operating income was essentially flat, as operating margin declined due to higher repair and maintenance expenses, unanticipated startup costs associated with placing new systems in service, and lower fleet utilization. Revenue grew on increases in days on hire and revenue per day on hire. During the quarter we put 13 new ROVs into service and retired 4. At the end of June we had 323 vehicles in our fleet, compared to 296 one year ago.
"During the second half of this year, we expect to place at least 13 new ROVs into service, and we have contracts for all of these. When these new vehicles are placed into service depends upon the actual commencement dates of new drilling rig and vessel project work. We now anticipate adding 40 or more new systems to our ROV fleet in 2014.

"Sequentially, Subsea Projects operating income increased largely as a result of adding a vessel, the Bourbon Evolution 803, to our Field Support Vessel Services contract with BP for work offshore Angola and a higher profit contribution from the Ocean Alliance in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Ocean Alliance was out of service for much of the first quarter undergoing a regulatory drydock inspection. Asset Integrity operating income improved slightly due to a seasonal increase in activity in Europe and the Caspian Sea area. Advanced Technologies operating income declined due to execution issues on certain U.S. Navy and industrial projects.

"For the third quarter of 2014, we are projecting EPS of $1.10 to $1.15. We expect sequential improvements in income from all of our operating business segments, led by ROVs.

"Our liquidity and projected cash flow provide us with ample resources to invest in Oceaneering's growth. At the end of the quarter, our balance sheet reflected $103 million of cash, $80 million of debt, and $2.2 billion of equity. During the quarter we generated EBITDA of $217 million, $403 million year to date, and for 2014 we anticipate generating at least $855 million.

"In June we increased our regular quarterly cash dividend by 23% to $0.27 from $0.22 per share. This underscores our continued confidence in Oceaneering's financial strength and future business prospects.

"Looking beyond 2014, we believe that the oil and gas industry will continue its investment in deepwater projects. Deepwater remains one of the best frontiers for adding large hydrocarbon reserves with high production flow rates at relatively low finding and development costs. With our existing assets and opportunities to add new assets, we are well positioned to supply a wide range of services and products to safely support the deepwater efforts of our customers."

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group reports that WTI strengthened in June while other midcontinent differentials weaken. In the U.S., crude stock drew while products built.  In Japan, crude stocks built. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

WTI Strengthens in June, Other Midcontinent Differentials Weaken

With crude bottlenecks redeveloping in Canada and West Texas, differentials generally weakened in June. Rising production, refinery maintenance, and pipeline delays are contributing to relative weakness in Midcontinent markets – except for Cushing, where inventories continue to fall.

DOE Data Shows Crude Stock Draw, Product Build

Overall commercial inventories increased this past week with product inventory increase outpacing a crude stock decline. Last year saw a very large inventory decline for this particular week and, as a result, the inventory comparison to last year swung to positive, albeit just by 1.0 million barrels, for the first time this year.

Japanese Crude Stocks Build

Crude runs were little changed, but a higher import rate built stocks 3.9 MMBbls. Finished product stocks built slightly, but gasoline stocks drew to a record low. Refining margins are good. Gasoline cracks gained on the week, while other cracks eased slightly. The impact of typhoon Neoguri will be seen in the data for next week with refinery and berthing operations curtailed for a time.

LPG Scorecard

U.S. LPG prices have remained remarkably strong despite the large fall in crude oil prices. WTI and Brent crude oil have fallen 5% and 6% over the past two weeks. Mt Belvieu Propane is only 1% lower over the same period despite record increases in inventories and a surplus stock level to the year prior. Increased export capacity and a bumper corn crop (crop drying demand) are supportive for propane prices. Butane prices were flat over the same period and thus butane’s price ratio to WTI strengthened considerably, by 2.7% to 52.8% of WTI, the strongest vs. US benchmark crude since April. Winter gasoline blending season is only a few months away – the high demand period for butane. Ethane prices were the exception – outpacing natural gas' 6% decline by falling 10% in two weeks to 25.9¢/gal, the lowest level since November of last year.

U.S. Ethanol Prices and Manufacturing Margins Advance

The second half of 2014 began with ethanol prices rising in most of the country and corn costs plunging. As a result, manufacturing margins increased for the first time in five weeks.

Ethanol Production Declines

U.S. ethanol output declined to a six-week low 927 MB/D during the holiday-shortened week ending July 4, down from 953 MB/D in the preceding week. Inventories increased by 82 thousand barrels to 18.3 million, inching closer to the annual high of 18.4 million.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

StoneLogoStone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) has announced a definitive agreement to sell its non-core Gulf of Mexico (GOM) conventional shelf properties to Talos Energy Offshore LLC for $200 million in cash and assumed future undiscounted abandonment liabilities estimated at approximately $117 million.

These properties represented production volumes of approximately 57 MMcfe per day for the first quarter of 2014 (58% natural gas). The estimated proved reserves associated with these properties represented approximately 9% of Stone's year end 2013 estimated proved reserves. Stone will retain an option for a 50% working interest in the deep drilling rights on the properties.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer David H. Welch stated, "The sale of our non-core GOM shelf properties will allow us to further focus our efforts on GOM deep water, gulf coast deep gas and Appalachian projects, which we have targeted for our growth. We also retained the right to drill deep gas prospects on the divested properties. Our remaining conventional GOM shelf properties will consist of two core operated fields currently producing approximately 6,000 boe per day (86% oil), which will allow us to better focus our human capital and financial capital. Together with the sale of our two onshore south Louisiana properties in late 2013 and first quarter 2014, we have sold approximately $300 million in non-core GOM shelf properties with over $140 million in future undiscounted abandonment liabilities."

The effective date was April 1, 2014, and the transaction is expected to close by early August 2014, subject to customary closing conditions and adjustments. After the closing of this transaction, Stone will be providing updated 2014 guidance, which will adjust for the proposed divestiture. Scotia Waterous acted as the financial advisor to Stone on this transaction.

Stone Energy is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana with additional offices in New Orleans, Houston, Texas and Morgantown, West Virginia. Stone is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of properties in the Deep Water Gulf of Mexico, Appalachia and the onshore and offshore Gulf Coast. 

douglas-westwoodThe downing of flight MA17 has prompted calls for further sanctions on Russia targeted at its energy sector. Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas and second largest exporter of oil which together account for near 60% of its export earnings. Gazprom supplies 30% of Europe's gas - some 15% via Ukraine - and has warned exports will be affected if sanctions are expanded. But in its payments row with Ukraine Gazprom has already stated that it will "only be supplying the exact amount of gas requested by our European partners to the Russia-Ukraine border". Considering that Ukraine itself needs to draw gas supplies from the same pipelines, Europe is already threatened with gas shortages.

But Russia itself also faces challenges, namely in maintaining – let alone growing – production as existing fields deplete. In 2000, it drilled 3,770 wells and production was some 17 million boe/day. By 2013 it was drilling some 7,500 wells and achieved a production of 23 million boe/day – well numbers up 99% for a production gain of 35%. On this basis at DW we forecast it will need to be drilling over 8,800 wells in 2020 and in increasingly more difficult areas, hence the Exxon rig sailing to location in the Russian arctic (much to the embarrassment of some on Capitol Hill).

The Russian economy is already in a mess and to maintain its oil & gas production it increasingly needs to access western capital markets and advanced oilfield technologies. Sanctions that severely hit its energy production will indeed work and cripple the Russian economy, but could cause oil prices to soar and thereby impact the still fragile global economy.

But the real lesson of this whole affair is for Europe – it is far too reliant on imported energy. No single type of energy source or supplier is immune from problems and Douglas-Westwood have long warned that Europe is sleep walking into an energy crisis due to lack of investment in both 'home grown' base-load energy sources such as nuclear power and shale gas, in energy storage and Europe-wide integrated transmission networks.

Asset-Guardian-Logo-Transparent-Background-Large-PNGAsset Guardian Solutions Ltd (AGSL), which specializes in protecting companies' process critical software assets, announced that it has been awarded a key contract by a major North Sea operator in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The contract requires AGSL to provide Asset Guardian, a process software management tool that helps to secure the integrity of process software and the mission critical processes that it controls.

Protecting integrity of process critical software on North Sea assets

AGSL will install Asset Guardian software on all of the operator's assets in the North Sea. Asset Guardian software provides a multifaceted, single point solution to manage the process control software it uses to operate these assets. It also ensures that the company complies with all relevant regulatory standards and government directives on process critical systems, such as IEC61508, 61511, ISO 9001, CPNI and HSE KP4 among others.

By using Asset Guardian, the operator will operate with a single secure repository in which all software and data for its North Sea assets is stored. By doing so, critical information is centralized, providing authorized personnel – both onshore and offshore - with access to one source of data, dramatically enhancing workflow.

In addition to preventing unauthorized access to process software, Asset Guardian makes it possible to retrieve back-up files and data required to update or replace system software that has been corrupted or failed, quickly and efficiently. As a result, negative impact upon production is dramatically reduced.

Improving communications enhances operations

Because these assets operate in the rugged, often stormy North Sea, communication links between the assets and onshore cannot always be relied upon. "To address this, we are also providing AGSync, a software solution that we developed especially for the oil and gas industry that makes it possible to synchronize data and files between locations," said Sam Mackay, Managing Director of AGSL.

In addition to providing Asset Guardian software, AGSL will also assist this customer with the migration of files and data from existing systems into Asset Guardian and provide full training to both Users and system Administrators using the recently launched Asset Guardian Computer Based Training (CBT) program.

Since 2007, AGSL has been supplying the oil and gas industry with the Asset Guardian toolset. The award of this contract follows on the heels of several others, including those from Woodside, Inpex, Stena Drilling, BP, Marathon, and nuclear energy provider EDF Energy

ParagonlogoParagon Offshore Limited (to be converted to Paragon Offshore plc) ("Paragon"), in preparation for its previously announced spin-off from Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE) ("Noble"), announces that, subject to market and other conditions, it intends to offer for sale $1.185 billion in aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2022 and 2024 in a private offering that is exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), to eligible purchasers.

Paragon intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay a portion of the promissory notes that it expects to issue to Noble as partial consideration for the transfer to Paragon of Noble's standard specification drilling business in connection with the spin-off.

The notes and the related guarantees will be offered only to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on the exemption from registration set forth in Rule 144A under the Securities Act, and outside the United States, to non-U.S. persons in reliance on the exemption from registration set forth in Regulation S under the Securities Act. The notes and the related guarantees have not been registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold in the United States without registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities or blue sky laws.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, nor shall there be any sale of the notes or related guarantees in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such states.

About Paragon Offshore
Paragon Offshore is currently an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Noble Corporation. Paragon is a pure-play global provider of standard specification offshore drilling rigs. Paragon's drilling fleet consists solely of standard specification rigs and includes 34 jackups and eight floaters (five drillships and three semisubmersibles). Paragon's primary business is to contract its rigs, related equipment and work crews to conduct oil and gas drilling and workover operations for its exploration and production customers on a dayrate basis around the world. Paragon's principal executive offices are located in Houston, Texas.

piraYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that Oil demand growth will improve in 2H14 with stronger economic growth. In the U.S., with crude stock draws expected and improving product demand, stock builds will continue to decline and ultimately become stock draws in the weeks ahead.  In Japan, crude runs were marginally changed while crude imports remained low enough to limit the stock build. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

World Oil Market Forecast

Oil demand growth will improve in 2H14 with stronger economic growth. Iraq’s crude production losses in 2H14 will be made up primarily by Saudi Arabia, but global spare capacity will fall to just 1.4 MMB/D August through November. This is expected to support higher crude oil prices. In 2015, lower Iraq production will again require higher output from Saudi Arabia, but much less so because of weaker demand from higher prices and assumed increases elsewhere in OPEC. Refinery margins will be somewhat weaker because of higher crude prices.

U.S. Stock Building to Slow Down

With crude stock draws expected and improving product demand, stock builds will continue to decline and ultimately become stock draws in the weeks ahead. This past week overall U.S. oil inventories increased. This widened the year-on-year inventory deficit to 25 million barrels with all major categories below last year. Even though PIRA is forecasting a stock draw for next week’s DOE data, the year-on-year inventory deficit will narrow because of last year’s very large inventory decline for this particular week.

Japanese Crude Runs Stay Low, Product Demands Rise

Crude runs were marginally changed while crude imports remained low enough to limit the stock build to less than 1 MMBbls. Finished products drew 2.6 MMBbls. Product demands were all higher, leading to broad based stock draws. Refining margins were little changed but remain soft.

Inventory Build Rate Slows, But Climb in Weeks Ahead

U.S. weekly propane prices strengthened 1.3% to 107.8¢/gal this week on a lower-than-expected stock build. For the second week in a row, the total propane/propylene inventory increase was below three million barrels. The latest data from the Department of Energy showed that total C3 (propane + propylene) stocks increased by 2.43 MMB, below the monster 3.4 MMB+ rate of increase observed in late May and early June. Strong inventory builds over the next few weeks, due to dramatically lower exports, should reduce or eliminate the year-on-year stock deficits caused by this winter’s record conditions.

U.S. Ethanol Prices Tumble

Ethanol prices tumbled last week as record production during the week ending June 13 greatly outweighed the robust demand, declining inventories and rising corn costs. Margins for ethanol manufacture were the lowest since February, partly due to plunging co-product DDG values as China stopped buying this animal feed component from the U.S. on concerns it might contain unapproved genetically modified organisms.

Ethanol Production Plummets

U.S. ethanol production plummeted to 938 MB/D the week ending January from an extraordinary 972 MB/D during the previous week as weather-related issues in the Midwest curtailed operations at several plants. This was the largest week-on-week decline since January.

The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.

piraNYC-based PIRA Energy Group believes that the global economy will expand at above trend pace in the second half of 2014. In the U.S., products increased and crude stock declined.  In Japan, crude stocks built as imports rebounded from storm impacts. Specifically, PIRA’s analysis of the oil market fundamentals has revealed the following:

World Oil Market Forecast

After a sub-par first half, the global economy will expand at above trend pace in the second half of 2014, led by manufacturing. First half weakness in the economy undermined global oil balances with inventories building back to year ago levels. The U.S. crude inventory situation is quite tight while Europe is very long, although the worst of the European prompt crude price weakness has likely passed. The sharp decline in financial net length is supportive for nominal oil prices.

Again, a Product Increase and Crude Stock Decline

Overall U.S. commercial oil inventories increased compared to last year’s decline for the same week, expanding the year on year inventory excess. The product stock increase was roughly the same compared to the week earlier, as crude runs, product imports and reported demand did not change much. The crude inventory gap narrowed by 3.5 million barrels - to a still large 4 million barrels.

Japanese Crude Stocks Build as Imports Rebound from Storm Impacts

Runs continued to rise as turnarounds wind down. Crude imports jumped higher following typhoon disruptions and crude stocks built. Gasoline demand was only slightly higher, despite the upcoming holiday and stocks built from record lows. Gasoil demand was higher with a big surge in exports such that stocks drew 1 MMBbls. Kerosene demand remained low and stocks continued building.

Profitability of U.S. Shale Oil Plays: The Paradox of Company vs. Well Results

It is possible that individual shale wells may have breakevens well below current oil prices while the companies that are drilling those wells are struggling against cash flow limitations. The inability of companies to turn cash flows positive has raised the question of whether the shale industry is really viable financially in the long-term, or just supported by cheap money. An in-depth analysis of the play economics shows that negative cash flows are mostly a result of aggressive drilling behavior that should eventually reward investors.

LPG Scorecard

U.S LPG prices remained stable despite large increases in domestic inventories. The promise of increased exports has the bears on the sidelines, for now. Mt Belvieu propane settled at 104¢/gal, up marginally on the week. August/February contango in the propane forward curve increased by 0.6¢ in the week, to 5.2¢. Butane prices were flat. Ethane at Mt Belvieu fell with Henry Hub natural gas. Ethane’s fractionation margin remains negative, albeit by only 1¢/gal, reflecting the lack of outlets and high inventories currently facing the cracker feedstock. High and rising inventories will contain prices while the prospect of higher exports and the nearing end of summer will be supportive for U.S. LPG prices next week.

U.S. Ethanol Manufacturing Margins Lower

Chicago and Gulf Coast ethanol prices were stable the week ending July 18, but values in Southern California rose while prices in New York fell. Ethanol manufacturing cash margins were down slightly, as falling DDG values outweighed lower corn costs.

U.S. Ethanol Output Rises

U.S. ethanol production increased to 959 MB/D the week ending July 18, the second highest output of the year. Inventories were relatively flat, declining by only 5 thousand barrels to a five-week low 17.9 million.


The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap, which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.


logoThe board of directors of Aker Solutions ASA ("Aker Solutions") has in accordance with the strategy disclosed April 30 resolved to propose to the company's shareholders that Aker Solutions be split into two companies. The board has also determined to write down the value of some assets in the Aker Oilfield Services unit of Akastor, one of two companies that will emerge from the separation.

Aker Solutions Holding ASA ("New Aker Solutions") - a subsidiary of Aker Solutions ASA established for the purposes of the demerger and which will apply for listing of its shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange - will through the proposed demerger assume Aker Solutions' activities in the following areas of operation: Subsea (SUB), Umbilicals (UMB), Maintenance, Modifications and Operations (MMO) and Engineering (ENG). New Aker Solutions will operate under the Aker Solutions name from the first day of listing.

From the first day of listing of New Aker Solutions, the existing Aker Solutions ASA will change its name to Akastor ASA to form the Akastor Group together with the other subsidiaries that have not been transferred to New Aker Solutions. The Akastor Group will, among other things, continue Aker Solutions' activities mainly related to Drilling Technologies, Process Systems, Surface Products and Aker Oilfield Services, as well as Business Solutions, some financial assets and real estate.

On completion of the demerger, consideration shares in New Aker Solutions will be issued to the shareholders of Aker Solutions. Each share in Aker Solutions will give the right to one consideration share in New Aker Solutions. The consideration shares will constitute 100 percent of the outstanding shares in New Aker Solutions as of completion of the demerger.

The demerger is subject to approval by the shareholders of Aker Solutions at the Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on August 12, 2014, and depends, among other things, on the approval of the application to list New Aker Solutions shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Based on external and internal valuations, the board of Aker Solutions determined an allocation of Aker Solutions' share capital so that 35.2 percent of the share capital would be allocated to Aker Solutions (to be renamed Akastor) and 64.8 percent to New Aker Solutions. This is in accordance with the allocation of net values between the two companies as a consequence of the demerger. The allocation is mainly based on internal and external evaluations of future cash flow and also takes into account the businesses' risks and prospects. Aker Solutions has as part of the demerger plan adopted an interim balance sheet that is included in the demerger plan.

The board determined to recognize impairments and a provision, which are reflected in the above-mentioned valuation, of about NOK 1.6 billion on some assets and goodwill of the Aker Oilfield Services unit of Akastor. The value of Aker Oilfield Services' investments in the Skandi Aker and Aker Wayfarer vessels will be written down and a provision will be made on future leasing commitments for the Aker Wayfarer vessel. The goodwill value of the business area Oilfield Services and Marine Assets (OMA), which Aker Oilfield Services belongs to, will also be written down.

The impairments and provision are based on revised business cases after the cancelation in June by Total in Angola of a two-year contract for the Skandi Aker vessel, as well as a generally weaker market that has created uncertainty about the value of the vessel and the goodwill value of OMA. An impairment charge of NOK 664 million will be taken on the Skandi Aker and NOK 306 million on the goodwill value of OMA. An impairment charge and onerous lease provision totaling NOK 662 million will also be taken on the Aker Wayfarer as some prior investments in the vessel have little or no value based on recently revised business cases and the current market outlook.

The after-tax effect of the impairments and provision is expected to be about NOK 1.3 billion. Most of the Aker Wayfarer impairment and provision will impact earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). The Skandi Aker and OMA goodwill impairments will impact earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). The impairments and provision, as well as other financial consequences of the demerger, will be incorporated in the second-quarter 2014 results disclosed July 17 by Aker Solutions.

The impairments and provision will have no effect on the new Aker Solutions since OMA will become part of Akastor. There will be no cash effect, no adverse impact on future funding through covenants and no consequences for the separation of Aker Solutions.

Indicative key dates for the demerger and the listing of New Aker Solutions shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange are as follows:

• Extraordinary General Meeting of Aker Solutions where the demerger proposal will be considered: August 12, 2014
• Application for listing of New Aker Solutions' shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange: on or about August 27, 2014
• Last day of trading of the Aker Solutions' share inclusive of the right to consideration shares in New Aker Solutions: on or about September 26, 2014
• Registration of the demerger with the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises: on or about September 26, 2014
• First day of trading in Akastor shares exclusive of the right to consideration shares in New Aker Solutions: on or about September 29, 2014
• First day of trading in New Aker Solutions shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange: on or about September 29, 2014

ABG Sundal Collier, Barclays and Carnegie will act as joint lead managers for the listing process.

As part of the process, a listing prospectus for New Aker Solutions will be prepared and published in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

CfGBridgelogoEntradalogoAberdeen-headquartered Brazilian market specialist EntradaB2B has joined forces with CFG Bridge to facilitate farm-in opportunities for UK companies seeking access to the exciting Brazilian oil sector.

CFG Bridge, based in Rio de Janeiro, Bogota and London, can access a number of farm-in opportunities in both the onshore and offshore sectors in Brazil and Colombia through an extensive contact network built up after many years involvement in the Oil &Gas industry.

Daniela Figueiredo, Director of CFG Bridge, commented "This is a very exciting time for Brazilian oil and gas operations. The high number of prospects identified in recent years through successful E&A drilling points to the potential for early production revenue for overseas investors interested in farm-in opportunities."

"We are delighted to partner with CFG Bridge in this exciting venture", said Jim Cargill, Entrada B2B's local Director, "and look forward to assisting UK companies develop their interests in Brazil."

The Brazilian oil and gas sector has been marked by major finds over the last 20 years with UK companies like BG establishing substantial positions alongside local operators. A number of International Oil Companies (IOCs) are already producing oil in Brazil with many others holding acreage.

Calibre International and Lonsal Representações, a Brazilian company, operate under the “Entrada” banner to help British and Brazilian firms partner on projects in Brazil's booming oil & gas sector.

The full formal name of the jointly held local Brazilian company is “Entrada Consultoria Em Vendas E Marketing E Legalizacao  De Estrangeiro Limitada” and trades under the names “Entrada do Brasil” and “”.

Entrada has offices in both Aberdeen and Rio de Janeiro and is able to offer comprehensive assistance to UK service companies wishing to enter a growing market. features a free database of Brazilian and UK companies willing to offer their resources, exchange skills, expertise and technology to make the most of opportunities in the burgeoning energy market. The new website aims to provide clients with a ‘one stop shop’ of information and services. This is being continually developed with additional information and services.

It already features an Advice Centre, which includes briefings on legal issues from the leading Scottish law firm Brodies and financial and taxation issues from the independent chartered accountant Campbell Dallas and its Brazilian partner UHY Moreira.

CFG Bridge

CFG Bridge Ltd. is a Member of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, the ONIP Brazilian Organization of the Petroleum Industry (ONIP), and the Program for the Mobilization of the National Industry of Oil and Gas (PROMINP). It was created in January 2013 by the Executive Luiz Octavio de Azevedo Costa and the Deputy Manager Daniela Figueiredo, who were the Heads of the International Business Development team of PETROBRAS in London. In April 2013, Marco Hupe joined the Executive Board and also as a Partner.

With operations in Colombia, Brazil and Argentina (expanding to Peru and Mexico), and offering services that deliver business expansion in Latin America, CFG Bridge works alongside European and Latin American companies seeking market penetration and local partners. CFG Bridge’s services range from sales representation to business modelling to total set-up. These services also include the support of a world-class law firm, a specialist in oil and gas with a global reach .

CFG Bridge Ltd. also has an influential array of Associates, experts with solid experience in different aspects of the market, especially in the different sectors of the Oil and Gas Industry.

Datacom, LLC ("Datacom") has secured a capital investment in the Company of $19.2 million led by Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE: MAIN) ("Main Street").

The initial investment proceeds were used to complete a minority recapitalization, refinance existing debt and provide working capital for growth in Datacom.

In addition to the initial investment, Datacom secured an additional tranche of growth capital totaling $13 million through the Main Street-led facility to expand its current business lines and make acquisitions.

Datacom's management team retained majority equity ownership in Datacom. Its leadership consists of veteran energy telecommunications and engineering managers who have a combined 175 years of experience in the field.

CEO and founder, John Poindexter, and COO Walt Messa, said, "We are happy to welcome Main Street as a capital partner in Datacom, and we are eager to pursue the significant growth opportunities that are available to the Company with this large capital pool and major financial partner like Main Street. We believe this will be a period of exciting and exponential growth for Datacom and its employees."

Datacom was assisted in its selection of a capital partner and counseled throughout the transaction by Bruce Bown of Dancing Bear Resources, LLC.

Datacom, LLC
Datacom, LLC is a leading provider of telecommunications, security, surveillance, engineering and data transfer services and products for companies involved in operations in remote and harsh environments. Founded in 2002, Datacom serves the onshore and offshore energy industry from its headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, and offices in Cutoff, Louisiana; Carthage, Texas; Devine, Texas; and Midland, Texas.

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