2011DC MicrositesMarch/April

People, Companies & Products

Ensco, Pride merger approved by boards, to create world’s second-largest offshore driller

Ensco and Pride International have entered into a definitive merger agreement that has been unanimously approved by each company’s board of directors. The transaction will create the second-largest offshore driller in the world, with 74 rigs.

Ensco chairman, president and CEO Dan Rabun stated, “The combination is an ideal strategic fit, as our rig types, markets, customers and expertise complement each other with minimal overlap. Pride has gained valuable expertise building and operating ultra-deepwater semisubmersibles and drillships and has strong relationships with leading customers in Brazil and West Africa, two of the fastest-growing deepwater markets in the world… Together, we will form an even stronger company that is ideally positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities within our industry.”

Pride president and CEO Louis Raspino added, “The combination of Pride and Ensco creates an offshore contract driller with many of the attributes needed to ensure long-term success in our business. I have always been an advocate of scale, believing that a company with critical mass is afforded numerous benefits, including operational efficiencies, marketing advantages and the ability to attract and retain talented individuals that will help to secure a strong future for our company.”

Mr Rabun will remain chairman, president and CEO of the combined company, and James W. Swent will continue as senior vice president and CFO. The remaining executive management team will be named at a later date and is expected to include executives from both Ensco and Pride.

2011 SPE president Alain Labastie (left) presents the 2011 SPE Drilling Engineering Award to Dr John Thorogood on 2 March in Amsterdam.
2011 SPE president Alain Labastie (left) presents the 2011 SPE Drilling Engineering Award to Dr John Thorogood on 2 March in Amsterdam.

Thorogood receives SPE Drilling Engineering Award

John Thorogood received the 2011 SPE Drilling Engineering Award on 2 March at the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference in Amsterdam. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in, or contributions to, the advancement of the engineering discipline or field.

Dr Thorogood’s early encounters with SPE were slightly rocky, he said. His first abstract for the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference was rejected. “I called (SPE headquarters) and talked to a very nice woman named Janelle Stewart,” Dr Thorogood recalled, adding that he offered to submit as an alternate and present if someone dropped out. “I did, and the rest is history.”

In accepting his award, Dr Thorogood expressed appreciation to SPE and earlier award alumni. “I would not be where I am today had it not been for previous winners of this award, such as Leon Robinson and Keith Milheim,” he said.

Dr Thorogood spent 34 years working for a major oil company, where he was responsible for innovations and applications of new technologies in directional drilling, wellbore surveying, rig design and deepwater drilling. Since retirement, he has acted as technical adviser to a number of operators and service companies.

He served a three-year term as director of SPE, with responsibility for drilling and completions, and was chairman of the 2001 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference.

Polhamus named Atwood vice president operations

Atwood Oceanics has appointed Arthur McGinnis (“Mac”) Polhamus as vice president, operations and principal operating officer. He joins Atwood after 16 years at Transocean, most recently as managing director, West Africa South, with oversight for operations in Angola, Gabon and Congo. Before that, he headed the North America Division and led jackup operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Mr Polhamus holds a petroleum engineering degree from Tulsa University.

Seawell buys Patterson electric wireline business

Patterson-UTI Energy has sold its electric wireline operations to Seawell, which intends to combine the business with the recently acquired Gray Wireline business.

Arnold joins Murchison Drilling Schools

Murchison Drilling Schools has hired Tim Arnold as an instructor. Mr Arnold is retiring from Marathon Oil Company after 30 years working in operations and engineering. He holds a petroleum engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines. Among the classes he will be teaching is the five-day IADC WellCAP Advanced Well Control Course.

Laughton, Gruba join DOYLES, to expand Middle East operations

Houston-based DOYLES has hired Richard Laughton and Joe Gruba to develop business relationships in the Middle East. They will spearhead the company’s new development in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Iraq and establish and maintain regional operations in the area.

Hercules to purchase Seahawk Drilling

Hercules Offshore has entered into an agreement with Seahawk Drilling and its affiliates to purchase 20 jackup rigs and related assets from Seahawk. John T Rynd, president and CEO of Hercules, stated, “We believe that the strategic rationale and value proposition of this transaction are very compelling for our shareholders. This is a unique opportunity to acquire assets at an attractive price, and we expect significant synergies once they are added to our rig fleet. Furthermore, the structure and terms by which we are acquiring these assets will provide benefits to our shareholders, allowing us to fully dedicate our time to operate these assets to their maximum potential.”

GE to acquire Wood Group’s Well Support division

GE Oil & Gas is acquiring the Well Support division of John Wood Group. The transaction is expected to close later in 2011. Wood Group’s Well Support division comprises three business platforms: ESP (electric submersible pumps), Pressure Control (surface wellhead and flow control systems) and Logging Services (wireline logging).

GE also recently announced separate contracts with Maersk Oil and Petrobras, the first valued at $20 million and the latter at $50 million.

For Maersk, GE will supply seven subsea tree and wellhead systems, utilizing the VetcoGray MHXT tree and VetcoGray SG-5 wellhead system, for deployment in the UK North Sea. The subsea trees will be manufactured at the GE Oil & Gas plant in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the SG-5 wellhead systems will be manufactured at the Montrose service facility in Scotland. These systems are set for a phased delivery commencing in September 2011.

In Brazil, GE will supply a total of 171 subsea wellhead and installation tooling systems to Petrobras. The equipment will be deployed in Campos and Santos basins projects.

The new contract awards were negotiated as part of GE’s ongoing three-year frame agreement with Petrobras for the supply of subsea wellhead systems. Under the first contract, GE will supply 40x MS-700 and 16x MS-800 subsea wellhead systems, scheduled for delivery between June 2011 and June 2012. Under the second award, GE will supply 80x MS-700 and 35x MS-800 subsea wellhead tooling systems, scheduled for delivery between September 2011 and November 2012. The equipment will be manufactured at GE’ Jandira facility in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

• Products •

Ergodyne introduces ProFlex 750 At-Heights Construction Glove

Ergodyne has launched the ProFlex 750 At-Heights Construction Glove designed to reduce fatigue and discomfort while climbing. It features strategically placed padding on the upper palm and on the lower two-thirds of the fingers for gripping rungs. The fingertips on the glove are double-layered for durability but remain padding-free for high dexterity. The glove also features a double-layer palm using Rovenica, a flexible yet durable material providing up to four times the strength of goatskin leather.

NOV expands coring offerings

National Oilwell Varco has expanded its coring offerings through a development agreement with Advanced Coring and Drilling Solutions of Canada. This agreement will allow NOV to design, manufacture and globally distribute a full range of wireline and conventional slim-hole coring systems capable of delivering 3 ½-in. core in hole sizes ranging from 5 7/8 in. to 6 ¾ in.

New monorail air hoists have 25-tonne lift capacity

J D Neuhaus has announced a new generation of monorail air hoists. The new EH25 hoist in this range has a lift capacity of 25 tonnes and can be supplied with either air or hydraulic control of the lift and travel movements, as well as optional remote electrical or radio controls.

Red Spider launches reservoir isolation barrier

Red Spider has introduced PowerBall, a reservoir isolation barrier that prevents fluid loss during the upper completion phase of well construction. The technology received £500,000 in funding through ITF (Industry Technology Facilitator) members, including BG Group, Chevron and Maersk Oil. Red Spider has also committed over £700,000 to the project.

The technology moves the mechanical parts of the ball mechanism below the closed ball area of the tool and, as a result, protects them from debris. It can operate in cased- or open-hole wells. It forms part of a suite of technologies called Remote Open Close Technology.

To optimize lower completions, PowerBall uses electronic logic in its primary opening mechanism, providing increased flexibility during the opening sequence. The technology also has separate modules to house the various components of the tool, including the sensors, electronics and secondary backup systems.

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