From the Editor: A New Year

Published Feb 8, 2007
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It feels rather odd to be wishing you a happy new year in mid February. But we’ve had a really busy January, so the time’s just flown by. As the old year faded away and the new year took its place, the oil and gas industry has been much in the popular news. While (as usual) the world marvels over oil prices, we also see headlines in the popular media about national strategies to protect oil interests. Sometimes it’s troubling news from Russia or Venezuela or Iran, but there’s also been some hopeful news from Angola and Nigeria concerning transparency.

Here in Norway, the merger of Hydro gas and oil activities into Statoil has dominated this January’s news. The initial announcement last December fuelled speculation ranging from debt loads to new company names. Our coverage of the merger begins with the recent press conference featuring Hydro’s Eivind Reiten, Statoil’s Helge Lund and Hilde Merete Aasheim, who has left the Hydro Corporate Management Board to concentrate on leading the planning of the two companies’ integration. As this story unfolds over the course of this year, it will be interesting to see how these two corporate entities bring it all together – as well as what it all will mean for everyone working on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

We also include a look at Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who has recently been in the news concerning his actions to nationalise Venezuelan oil activities. Similarly, we take a glimpse at pipelines, including the ease with which Russia’s Transneft was able to turn-off the pipeline supplying Belarus – as well as other cases that deal pipeline interruptions. National energy security takes many forms.

Decommissioning is also a major topic in this issue. We take a look at the Heavy Lifter from MPU (the MPU-HL) – expected to be christened in 2009 – which has been designed to lift off topsides from jacket substructures as well as entire jacket structures – all in one lift. Norse Cutting & Abandonment (NCA) relates their involvement in helping with the removal of Gulf of Mexico platforms damaged during the 2004-05 hurricane seasons. Closer to home, DeepOcean updates us on the Pilot Project Removal of External Steel from the Frigg concrete platforms TP1 and TCP2.

Our focus on drilling should be of interest to many. From Tomax – winner of the ONS 2006 SME Innovation award – we hear about the next generation of downhole anti stall technology. Halliburton explains its contribution to the Latest-Generation Hole Enlargement Technology, and we also have strong articles about Solid Expandable Technology.

Add rigs, digital security, dealing with the approaching North Sea labour shortage, as well as conference reviews from around the world, (and more) and you’re certain to find something of interest in this issue.

All in all, this issue looks across a wide horizon, and we have ambitious plans to do the same in each issue this year.

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