An earthquake centered near Kaki, Iran, about 100 kilometers east of the country's Bushehr nuclear power plant, shook parts of Iran, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait today, but no damage was immediately reported. The magnitude 5.5 quake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.
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Scientists have installed two sub-seafloor earthquake observatories off the coast of Gisborne, New Zealand, to study slow-slip quakes. The equipment will monitor rocks and sediment around the fault for signs of stress buildup or release, and one of the observatories will measure changes in the fault zone.
Repsol has found oil in an exploration well in the Luna Muetse block off the coast of Gabon. The Spain-based company, which has a 60% stake in the block, drilled the well to a depth of about 2,700 meters.
As land acquisition opportunities dry up in the Permian Basin, the land rush may be replaced by a wave of consolidations that will likely force small and mid-sized producers out of the region, according to analysts. Raymond James analyst John Freeman expects the number of Permian producers to drop by 50% in the next five years as big players such as Chevron, Concho Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources could seek to expand their Permian positions by acquiring smaller rivals so they can drill more and longer laterals, increase productivity and become more efficient.
Australia-based Woodside Petroleum started drilling a natural gas exploration well Tuesday off the coast of Western Australia. The well, which will be drilled to a depth of about 1,494 meters, is targeting an area near other gas discoveries.
New drilling activity in the Permian Basin is offsetting the rapid decline in legacy production, but as pipeline capacity becomes constrained, the discount of West Texas crude to WTI at Cushing, Okla., could widen from $3.50 per barrel now to $6 per barrel later this year, according to Lipow Oil Associates President Andy Lipow. Permian drillers added 122 drilled-but-uncompleted wells in March, down from 130 in February, and production in the region is expected to hit an all-time high of 3.18 million barrels per day in May, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The Permian Basin's relentless growth is at risk of slowing as pipeline bottlenecks and shortages of materials and workers drive investors away from the region. The Permian Basin is one of the main drivers of global oil production, with output expected to top 4 million barrels per day within two years, but the play's recent challenges could force Permian producers to sell their oil at significant discounts and contribute to an increase in market volatility.
Norway's oil production in March averaged 1.5 million barrels per day, about 5% lower than the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's forecast. The energy regulator, which said natural gas production in March was 1.1% below expectations, blamed the oil-production decline on technical problems at some oilfields.
Experts warn that San Francisco needs stronger building codes to protect against earthquake damage, particularly with regard to skyscrapers that might not be equipped to withstand powerful seismic activity. A California State Assembly committee last week advanced a bill that would require new buildings to be equipped for "functional recovery" after an earthquake occurs.
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Get up to speed on machine learning in Brazil
The SBGf/SEG Machine Learning workshop, which takes place May 15 to 16 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will discuss the challenges and opportunities related to adopting machine learning in geoscience research and industrial workflows. Professionals from academia, oil and gas companies and technology companies will present applications and case studies, promote discussion and propose practical solutions to take greater advantage of machine learning methods. Register today.