Grupo Stier recently launched a new Offshore Training Centre in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. You may have seen our blog post about the launch night, if not then click here. Now we are delighted to give you a bird’s eye view of the event as Grupo Stier have kindly provided us with a promo video from the night. You will see the guests arrive, view the new offshore training equipment provided by SEFtec, see the Head of College (NMCI), Conor Mowlds opening the new Offshore Training Centre, and much much more.
As with most of our blog posts lately we like to start with a quote. Just a little something to keep in mind while reading our blogs. So we have decided that for this blog our quote should be “Safety isn’t just a slogan, it’s a way of life”. Those few words explain just how our instructors work. Safety for our instructors is not just a slogan; it really is a way of life.
Who am I?
Before anybody goes offshore there are a number of courses which they must complete, depending on their role in the oil & gas sector, with a MIST, BOSIET and HUET being the basic requirement.
Seen as I’m the new marketing executive for NMCI Services I decided it was time for me to take the plunge and complete one of the many offshore courses we offer through S.N.O (SEFtec NMCI Offshore). When people read blogs they want to read about peoples personal experiences and know what exactly happens when a delegate arrives to do a course. So on Thursday March 12th I had the opportunity to be a delegate on a HUET Course.
My day as a delegate
As I’m an employee things were a little different. I didn’t have to arrive in reception at 8.45 am or I didn’t have to find my way or travel from a neighbouring country. So I was going doing the meet and greet at 1:30pm.
After the theoretical aspects of the course were completed it was time to get into the water. Before a delegate can get into the water you have to don your swimwear and a tracksuit and t-shirt. The instructor will then give you a pair of overalls and a transit suit. I have to admit this is a bit strange because you feel like you’re in a blow up boiler suit. Once the shoes are on then it’s time to put on your life jacket.
After a safety briefing pool side it was time to get into the water in our environmental pool. The temperature is kept at 21 degrees so it wasn’t cold like I had expected. It was hard to stay up in the water as at no point in our pool can you stand up. This is to help simulate the idea of being in the ocean. When you’re in the suit you have to swim backwards to stay afloat and then make your way over to the unit. Out unit is manufactured by SEFtec.
Once in the unit the instructor once again goes through what is going to happen. You are so well briefed that the idea of being underwater without air doesn’t seem so terrifying. There were 2 divers and then 2 instructors pool side. Safety is paramount when it comes to any course but for somebody who wouldn’t exactly be a water baby I definitely felt safe in the hands of all the instructors.
I will admit I was a bit nervous once the 3 safety checks had been done and the briefing had been completed. Before completing the first exercise we once again completed the 3 safety checks and went into the brace position. Once the unit hit the water it was time to pull the emergency strap on the window and once the water reached chest level it was time to take that big breath of air. Depending on which side of the ditcher unit you are in you have one hand on the window and the other on your buckle. This helps ensure that you are in a position to release the buckle and to push the window out so you can easily remove yourself from the unit. The first time the unit was submerged I found I was able to hold my breath but then again I did probably get out too fast. Second time around I was more psyched up to do it and the instructors helped calm me and motivate me to complete the training. Safety checks were completed again, brace position, pull the latch, take a deep breath and then once the unit has stopped moving unbuckle and remove yourself through the window. I didn’t seem to follow the steps and when I went to unbuckle I didn’t fully twist the buckle to unlock it. This meant I was stuck. Like I previously mentioned I’m not exactly a water baby so my immediate response was to panic. The instructors and divers are on high alert and noticed straight away and released me from behind my seat. Once I reached the surface I was perfect but I had gotten a bit of a shock. Third time lucky right? Well that did work. On my third attempt I completed each of the steps. This time I even decided to stay in the unit just a while longer as I wasn’t sure if it had stopped moving. Then once I did get out I was ready to take on the “capsize” aspect of the training.
The adrenaline was obviously present at this stage because I was a nervous wreck the night before thinking about it and then I was all go. I returned to the unit and once again strapped in and completed the safety briefing then the safety checks. I was fortunate enough to do the capsize without the window in the unit, don’t know if I would even have the strength to push out the window. The unit was being submerged in the water, I placed my right hand on the window frame tightly and placed my left hand on my buckle. Once we were completely submerged and the unit began to capsize the force of water wasn’t what I was expected and I lost my grip on the windows edge which did frighten me. I had my eyes open which meant I could see everything moving really fast. I would definitely recommend delegates to keep their eyes closed if possible as it’s hard to adapt to the change in surroundings when you’re capsizing.
The instructors and divers really made me feel comfortable in the water. It’s not an easy task completing any training but knowing you have people, for whom safety is a way of life, by your side definitely helps you relax. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the pool to the moment I got out of the environmental pool I felt like I was in safe hands. Everything is explained numerous times and they ask questions to ensure you are comfortable. For me, even climbing up a ladder is terrifying, so knowing that I was able to complete a HUET, I can safely say it was down to the team of people who were there on the day. For some delegates it can be extremely challenging to complete courses and I can now understand the nerves they develop, but I was the same and the team here at SEFtec NMCI Offshore helped me to face my fears. If I can do it then you can too…
Thanks for an amazing afternoon Joey, Terry, Cillian & Melissa.
Monday, July 29, 2013 by Geoff Percival- Irish Examiner
”The main representative body for Ireland’s exploration industry has called for the Government to hold back on plans to increase the potential tax take from companies drilling for oil and gas in Irish waters.
As it currently stands, the Government stands to receive between 25% and 40% of profits from any commercial field in Irish waters — of which there are currently none (although Barryroe, in the Celtic Sea, is on course to be the first).
However, Natural Resources Minister Pat Rabbitte recently said that he intends to seek independent expert advice, by the end of this year, on what level of fiscal gain should be achieved by Ireland and how the State should go about achieving it.
A recent Joint Oireachtas Committee called for the profit take to be as high as 80%, which would mirror the Norwegian model.
However, while it takes 78% of the profit from any commercial field in its waters, Norway — as well as having a more mature and developed offshore exploration industry than Ireland — also repays the same percentage of drilling costs to companies if said field is found to be dry; something Ireland — in current economic times — could not do.
At the end of a week that has seen international oil giant ExxonMobil put an indefinite pause on its interest in Ireland by finding no sign of any commercial hydrocarbons at initial drill at the highly-anticipated Dunquin field off the south-west coast of the country, the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association has called for a rethink by Government.
“We think the Government should be cautious in its approach,” said Fergus Cahill, chairman of the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association.
“It would be a great mistake to change the fiscal terms at this stage, especially in light of Dunquin, and at a time when we are just beginning to see more activity in Irish waters and more companies come in,” he added.”
Providence Resources’ oil find at Barryroe, off the coast of Cork, could generate taxes of €4.5bn over the life of the well, according to a new report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
This is the equivalent to the entire annual corporate tax take in Ireland for 2011, according to PwC.
The State, it says, would earn money from the corporate tax and from the windfall taxes generated by the huge find off the south coast.
The PwC report suggests that 10 finds equivalent to Barryroe would have the potential to generate 13,500 jobs during the development phase and 11,500 jobs during the production phase of these fields. An entire new specialist oil services industry would need to be developed near the south coast to cater for the oil fields.
The Barryroe find is a game-changer for the Irish oil industry, as it is the first commercial oil field discovered off Ireland.
Recent months have seen massive activity off Ireland’s coast with the arrival of Kosmos, Cairn Energy and other new parties seeking to explore for oil. Fastnet Oil & Gas last week announced surveys had revealed that its Kinsale acreage could potentially contain up to two billion barrels of oil.
The next two months will prove critical for the future of Tony O’Reilly’s Providence Resources. Results of drilling at its Dunquin well may come through in July, while the €400m-listed firm may also ink a deal to farm out a major chunk of its valuable Barryroe oil field off Cork.
Industry sources believe that Providence may be taken over by an oil major such as Petronas or Exxon if the Dunquin results are positive.
However, at the same time as all this exploration is under way, the Government is examining whether to hike taxes levied on oil finds.
Fastnet Oil says independent assessment established presence of significant potential.
An independent assessment of explorer Fastnet Oil and Gas’s Deep Kinsale target off the south coast indicates that it could contain 2.3 billion barrels of oil.
Fastnet said today that an independent assessment of the licence area by SLR Consulting established the presence of a significant potential “unrisked” resource in place of over 2 billion barrels.
The group said that SLR carried out the assessment in accordance with generally accepted international procedures.
In February, Fastnet agreed a deal with Petronas subsidiary Kinsale Energy to farm into the so-called “deep Kinsale prospect”. It lies deep below the existing Kinsale gas field, which has by now given up all but 3 per cent of its reserves.
As part of its deal with Kinsale Energy, Fastnet carried out engineering and geological studies and a wide-ranging, three-dimensional seismic survey.
Fatnet said the independent assessment confirms that oil-bearing sands encountered in the Middle and Lower Wealden wells drilled by Marathon in the early 1970’s occur in the same geological structure that hosts the shallow producing gas sands in the Kinsale gas field.
The Deep Kinsale structure covers an area of up to 162 square km.
“Deep Kinsale is a large anticlinal structure, which has the potential to contain a significant oil accumulation directly beneath the producing Kinsale gas field and the two platforms, in the Celtic Sea,” Fastnet founder shareholder John Craven said.
Earlier this month, the oil and gas company, which is focused on near term exploration acreage in Africa and the Celtic Sea, was awarded a new licensing option in the North Celtic Sea. The option covers blocks in the Mizzen Basin, known as East Mizzen, and the western end of the North Celtic Sea Basin, offshore Ireland.
The Government is set to announce details of a major research contract to assess Ireland’s true oil and gas potential in the coming weeks, with industry rumours suggesting Italian giant Eni could be signed up as project partner.
The project will focus on a seismic survey off the west coast, to judge the oil and gas reserve potential of the under-explored Atlantic Margin area.
While the provision of “relevant depth of seismic data”, formed part of the recommendations from last week’s Providence Resources/PwC study into the potential of the Irish offshore sector, this seismic tender has been in the Government’s plans for nearly a year.
There has been speculation that Eni could be signing up to invest around €70m in carrying out the study, but the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has been tight- lipped over the details.
A department spokesperson said that the procurement process has concluded and project planning is at an “advanced stage”. “It is anticipated that an announcement will be made shortly,” they added.
Minister of State at the Department, Fergus O’Dowd, first announced the intention to tender for a seismic data specialist to undertake the detailed survey last year, when addressing the Atlantic Ireland Conference in Dublin.
Speaking then, he said that such a survey would be “a huge step forward” and would go a long way to revealing the true potential of Ireland’s frontier basins.
The real genesis of the programme was the Government’s 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round, which attracted a positive response from industry but still resulted in large areas on offer receiving no applications, despite being located in basins containing proven petroleum systems.
A lack of available seismic data was viewed as a significant contributing factor that needed to be addressed, according to Government. The small number of exploration wells drilled in Irish waters, over the past decade, has been blamed on low levels of available intelligence, with poor seismic data coverage previously described by Government as “the biggest impediment to exploration”.
Last week’s PwC study into the potential of Ireland’s offshore exploration industry suggested that thousands of jobs could be created per year and the Exchequer could significantly increase its annual corporate tax take if certain existing barriers to entry, for overseas players, are removed.
“The oil and gas industry has the potential to transform local and national economies, but a critical mass of activity is needed before a substantial indigenous supply base can develop,” it said.
“Oil giant ExxonMobil kicks off a $160m-plus (€125m) drilling programme off the west coast of Ireland this weekend with hopes that confirmation of major fossil fuel reserves will transform the country’s economy.
The US company is planning to drill test wells over a four-month period at two prospects at the Dunquin licence area in the Porcupine Basin, 200km off shore.
Previous data has suggested that there could be over 300 million barrels of oil and 8.5 trillion cubic feet of gas between the two Dunquin prospects.
If they could be proven and then extracted, such finds would mark one of the biggest ever global discoveries of oil and gas and be a game-changer for Ireland’s economic fortunes.
But despite the 200 or so wells drilled off Ireland’s shores in the past number of decades, only two have resulted in commercial fields – Kinsale and Corrib.
Both are minnows compared to the prospective resources that could be hidden at Dunquin. Kinsale had about 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Corrib has about one trillion.
Located at a point in the Atlantic where the ocean is 1.6km deep, ExxonMobil’s drilling programme is being eagerly watched by oil companies from abroad and Ireland, including Petrel Resources, which has an exploration block just 35km away from the Dunquin prospect.
ExxonMobil controls 27.5pc of the Dunquin prospect, with Italian firm Eni holding another 27.5pc.
Spanish energy firm Repsol owns 25pc and UK-based Sosina has a 4pc interest. Irish exploration firm Providence Resources has a 16pc interest in the prospect. A major oil or gas find could catapult its shares higher.
The Dunquin prospect – where the reserves are as deep as 3.6km under the seabed – is one of the most important exploration areas for Providence, which is headed by Tony O’Reilly Jnr.
Providence is also betting that it could have a major oil find on its hands at a site called Barryroe, which is close to the Kinsale field. The company reckons that there could be 280 million barrels of recoverable oil at the Barryroe prospect.”
Fastnet Oil & Gas has initiated a farm-out process to help cover the cost of its forthcoming $18m (€14m) surveying activity in the Celtic Sea, which will be the biggest of its kind ever undertaken in the area.
Last month, the exploration firm selected French geophysical specialist, CGG to carry out the 3D seismic survey to cover 2,200sq km of the Celtic Sea.
Fastnet say the 3D survey will last for about 50 days. It is due to begin in April.
The firm had been expected to partially pay CGG from the €18.6m capital it raised late last year, but it has commenced a search for a partner who will stump up most of the cash in return for a stake in one of the licence areas being surveyed.
The survey will cover Fastnet’s ‘Mizzen’ prospect and adjoining areas — where several large structures have been identified — but will begin at the Deep Kinsale Prospect, in which Fastnet purchased a 60% stake last month.
The prospect is a potential oil-bearing reservoir situated underneath the Kinsale Gas Field. The potential to expand the 3D study exists, but depends on interest from potential partners.
Paul Griffiths, Fastnet’s managing director, said that even at this early stage, the company is “very encouraged” by the level of interest being shown, “by a broad spectrum of companies”.
“This is the first large-scale 3D seismic programme to be acquired in this part of offshore Ireland. Whilst we are targeting proven hydrocarbon systems around the Kinsale and Barryroe fields, we are also evaluating a prospective part of the Celtic Sea Basin, covering approximately 4,250 sq km, that has seen only one well drilled, in 1975 by Esso, which encountered oil shows. 3D seismic is the first step to creating material, ‘drill ready’ prospects.”
Australia’s oil and gas workers enjoyed the highest average salaries in the industry in 2012 due to a skills shortage, with expatriates pocketing $171,000 a year, a study said on Friday.
Despite uncertain global economic conditions, wages in the oil and gas industry rose globally by 8.5 percent in 2012 to $87,300, according to Hays Oil and Gas Job Search. That follows an average increase of 6.5 percent in 2011.
“There would be few industries with such a track record of growth over the last few years in what has been, in the most part, an uncertain economic environment,” the report said.
World oil production in 2012 grew by 2 percent from the previous year to 89.17 million barrels per day and is expected to increase 1 percent this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Expatriates in Australia topped the list, and Norway came second, according to the survey, conducted among more than 25,000 employees. Among local hires, Australians workers were also the highest earners, with an average wage of $163,600.
“At the top of this year’s table, we once again see Australia and Norway. Both countries have limited skilled labour pools and significant workloads. The result is very high pay rates, although both would appear to have met some sort of ceiling,” the report said.
Australia is preparing to become one of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporters, with 190 billion Australian dollars ($196.2 billion) worth of projects currently underway, requiring a vast workforce.
The average wage in the United States was significantly lower at $123,800. At the other end of the spectrum were expatriates in Sudan, who according to the survey, earned $59,800 in 2012. Wages tumbled in Iran, whose oil and gas production contracted last year as a result of Western sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme. The average expatriate salary in Iran dropped 27 percent in 2012 to $68,100, while the average for local employees fell 10 percent to $46,900, the study found. “Where imported salaries are concerned, it is once again the frontiers of the industry that are pushing the upper limits of pay. Representing a mix of danger money and hardship allowance in these base salaries, we find Russia’s Arctic exploration driving imported skills, and China’s drive on non-conventional skills also pulling in experts on premium rates,” Hays Oil and Gas Job Search said. The risks involved in some exploration and production regions were laid bare last month in Algeria, where Islamist gunmen attacked a gas plant, which led to the deaths of at least 38 local and foreign workers. Expatriate salaries in Algeria averaged $92,400 last year, according to the survey, which was conducted before the attack. As for areas of expertise, vice presidents and directors of subsea pipeline projects earned the highest average wages at $251,200, up 9 percent from 2011. Graduate salaries increased 12 percent to just under $40,000 in 2012. In an industry counting around 5 million people across the world, 47.4 percent are expatriates, with the remainder employed locally, the report said. ( C) Reuters