News Archive for Mining News

Rio Tinto says may work together with Chinalco

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Mining group Rio Tinto held out the possibility on Wednesday of working on projects with its new major shareholder, China’s state-owned aluminium giant Chinalco.

Aluminum Corp of China (Chinalco) said on Feb. 1 it had teamed up with U.S. Alcoa to buy a 9 percent stake in Rio for $14 billion.

“Since they took the shareholding, we had one relatively short meeting to clarify intensions. That didn’t go into the detailed discussion of any development projects we might undertake,” Rio Chairman Paul Skinner told a results news conference.

“But it is clear that there are potential opportunities to work together. I’m sure as we construct a relationship with Chinalco it may well be a part of it, but we are still in the foothills of that discussion.”

Chinalco President Xiao Xaqing said last week it was content with its current holding in Rio, which was a strategic investment, and had no plans to interfere in Rio’s management.

He insisted the deal was about extending Chinalco’s reach into diversified markets, such as iron ore and copper, where Rio is strong.

Skinner said Rio and Chinalco were well acquainted with each other since they both operated in the aluminium sector and had held discussions in the past.

“We know Chinalco quite well. We’ve seen quite a lot of them and discussed a number of alternative possibilities over time.”

For more Rio Tinto press releases go to www.yourminingnews.com

Rio Tinto to sell Greens Creek interest

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Rio Tinto has reached agreement on the first sale under its planned program to divest at least US$15b of assets.

The Group has signed an agreement to sell Kennecott Greens Creek Mining Company and Kennecott Juneau Mining Company, the subsidiaries holding its interests in the Greens Creek Mine in Alaska, to an affiliate of Hecla Mining Company.

Greens Creek is a silver, gold, zinc and lead underground mine and concentrator facility on Admiralty Island near Juneau. It is currently a joint venture between a Rio Tinto Kennecott subsidiary (70.3 percent) and a Hecla subsidiary (29.7 percent).

The sale price is US$750m, which comprises a cash component of US$700m and the balance in Hecla common stock. Rio Tinto said that closing was subject to customary conditions, including expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

Rio Tinto Chief Financial Officer, Guy Elliott said: “The sale of our interests in the Greens Creek Mine is a very positive first step towards our target of realising asset sales of US$10b in 2008.”

Rio Tinto’s Copper Product Group Chief Executive, Bret Clayton said: “Hecla Mining has for a long time been our joint venture partner and already has a solid understanding of the mine, the employees, the community and the State. Hecla is well placed to assume operation of the mine.”

In November 2007, Rio Tinto announced the results of its overall strategic review of the company’s asset portfolio following its acquisition of Alcan.

The Group is currently exploring options to divest Rio Tinto Energy America (coal), Rio Tinto Minerals’ talc business, Rio Tinto Alcan Packaging, Rio Tinto Alcan Engineered Products, Rio Tinto’s interest in the Cortez gold mine in Nevada, Rio Tinto’s Northparkes copper mine in Australia and Rio Tinto’s Sweetwater (USA) and Kintyre (Australia) uranium assets.

For more Rio Tinto press releases go to www.yourminingnews.com

Gerdau Ameristeel to pump US$120 million into iron ore ops

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Brazilian long steelmaking group Gerdau (NYSE: GGB) plans to pump US$120mn into its iron ore operations in southeast Brazil’s Minas Gerais state in the 2008-10 period, the company said in a statement.

Disbursements in the next three years will include a treatment plant and logistics infrastructure to transport the steelmaking output, which will feed the steelmaker’s operations within Brazil.

Recent studies point out to the existence of an iron ore reserve of 1.8Bt in Minas Gerais, where Gerdau operates its Açominas mill, the statement continued.

“Our interest is to use the iron ore to enhance our competitiveness,” Gerdau CEO André Gerdau Johannpeter told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. “Our goal is to have our own source of iron ore at a more affordable cost than if bought on the market.”

Despite strong demand, the steel producer has no plans at the moment to ship abroad the input, according to Johannpeter. “But this is something that we could eventually study in the future, but the focus now is to supply the iron ore to our mills.”

Gerdau’s Brazilian steelmaking operations require some 9.4Mt/y of the raw material. In 2008, about 30% of iron ore consumed by the group will come from its own reserves, with the percentage due to increase to 45% by the end of 2009 and to 80% in 2010.

Porto Alegre-based Gerdau is the biggest long steel producer in the Americas and also has operations in Asia and Europe.

For more Gerdau Ameristeel press releases go to www.yourmetalnews.com

Eskom’s power rationing forces ArcelorMittal slowdown

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

ESKOM’s power rationing programme is proving to be a significant constraint on steel making, with ArcelorMittal SA losing 1000 tons of liquid steel production daily as a result.

If rationing continues until the end of the year, as expected, Mittal’s production shortfall for the year would be about 360000 tons, CE Rick Reato said yesterday with the release of group results for the year to December.

The power blow to production comes on top of lower steel volumes last year, when 10% of volume was sacrificed, mainly due to the rebuilding of Blast Furnace D at Mittal’s key Vanderbijlpark Works. With steel inventory levels at their lowest in years and demand of 5,7-million tons last year only slightly below record highs, curbed power supplies could put further strain on an already tight steel supply situation.

Reato said Mittal would have been in a position to import steel to alleviate supply constraints in an import parity pricing environment. But under pressure from the government, the group adopted a weighted basket pricing mechanism, which meant importing steel to bolster supply was simply not viable. “With our current pricing arrangement (importing) is unworkable. Freight costs have more than doubled and that is a cost to the importer. It is not viable. We can only give what we have,” Reato said.

But Mittal undertakings to build a power plant, estimated at a cost of R1,2bn, to feed an extra 110MW into the national grid are being frustrated by delays on Eskom’s side with finalisation of a power-purchase agreement.

The power plant would see Mittal use gas it flares at its Vanderbijlpark plant converted into power as part of Eskom’s co-generation project. The project, which would take two years, could have been at an advanced stage, had the group been given the go-ahead, Reato said.

Despite the dim power supply situation, Reato was confident that output this year would be slightly ahead of the 6,37-million tons produced last year, when Mittal went through a particularly disruptive period of its R9bn capital expansion programme.

While sales volumes were down due to the dip in production, Mittal increased operating profit 27% to R7,7bn, largely on higher international steel prices and a weaker rand-dollar exchange rate . Rising raw materials costs spoiled the party somewhat, with the cash cost per ton of hot rolled coil and billets rising 18% and 16% respectively on the previous year. Headline earnings rose 21% to R5,6bn.

Reato expected demand to stay strong. While higher interest rates have curbed demand from the durable goods, automotive and residential construction industries, demand was now underpinned by expanded public works and infrastructure development. Local users last year consumed 76% of Mittal’s total sales, up from the previous year’s 71%.

Prospects for the first quarter were good, with domestic and international demand expected to remain strong. While sales are expected to be somewhat lower, this is likely to be offset by further price increases.

A final dividend of 196c a share was declared, bringing the total for the year to 429c, which excludes a R14,25 a share windfall when the steel giant announced a capital reduction of R6,35bn in August.

For more ArcelorMittal and Eskom press releases go to www.yourmetalnews.com

Andritz receives further major orders from international stainless steel producers

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

During the last two months, international technology group Andritz received several major orders for stainless steel annealing and pickling lines, rolling mills, and acid regeneration systems from renowned international stainless steel producers. The total value of these orders is approximately EUR 250 million. With the receipt of these orders, Andritz once again strengthened its position as one of the world´s leading suppliers of custom-tailored and technologically advanced manufacturing systems for the stainless steel industry.

To the ThyssenKrupp Stainless Group Andritz will supply two cold-rolling mills, a cold-rolled strip annealing and pickling line, and an acid regeneration system. The two S-6 high rolling mills will be integrated in the newly-built hot-rolled strip annealing and pickling line of ThyssenKrupp´s affiliate AST, Terni mill, Italy. The new ThyssenKrupp stainless steel mill in Alabama, USA, will be equipped with an Andritz annealing and pickling line for cold-rolled strip of up to 1,890 mm in width. To the ThyssenKrupp mill in Krefeld, Germany, Andritz will supply a regeneration plant based on the Andritz Pyromars process for used mixed acids from stainless steel pickling. The plant will be put into operation during the second Quarter of 2009 and will make an essential contribution toward environmental protection.

Salem Steel, a subsidiary of SAIL, India´s largest steel group, awarded Andritz an order to supply a combined annealing and pickling line for hot-rolled and cold-rolled stainless strip including a regeneration plant for used mixed acids. It is the first regeneration system of this kind in India and markedly reduces production effluents, thus significantly contributing to the protection of the environment. The lines are scheduled to start up in December 2009.

Jindal Stainless, India´s largest stainless steel strip producer, ordered annealing and pickling lines for hot-rolled and cold-rolled strip for the new stainless steel mill in Orissa, India. Both lines incorporate special S-6 high cold-rolling mills to enable production of final products in one manufacturing process. The annealing and pickling line for hot-rolled strip with integrated S-6 high cold-rolling mill will have an annual capacity of 850,000 tons and produce strip with a width of up to 1,650 mm in the thickness range 1.4-10 mm. The annealing and pickling line for cold-rolled strip incorporates three S-6 high cold-rolling mills and a skinpass mill; it will have an annual capacity of 450,000 tons and produce strip with a width of up to 1,650 mm in the thickness range 0.3-5 mm. Start-up of the plants will be during the first half of 2010.

For more Andritz press releases go to www.yourmetalnews.com

Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung debut industry’s first solution for seamless WiMAX-GSM/EDGE dual-mode services

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, BARCELONA, February 13/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and Samsung unveiled at Mobile World Congress an optimized device-plus-infrastructure solution that will enable end-users to have seamless access to their voice and data services when switching between GSM/EDGE and WiMAX networks. On the exhibition show floor the two are showcasing live demonstrations of an optimized end-to-end solution for dual-mode, which tightly integrates the dual-mode PDA and network equipment from Alcatel-Lucent.

This first-of-its-kind solution will enable operators to blend GSM/EDGE and WiMAX networks and thus offer their mobile subscribers wireless data and voice service that span an entire nation. Operators will be able to gradually roll out wireless broadband services using the most advanced WiMAX standard, Rev-e (802.16e-2005), because when their subscribers move out of WiMAX range the existing GSM/EDGE network will immediately pick up the connection without disruption in the subscriber’s session or call. This includes international roaming as well as movement from WiMAX-rich urban/suburban settings into rural areas – with the standardized end-to-end solution supporting seamless connections for both voice and data.

As the most widely deployed mobile network technology worldwide with 2.8 billion subscribers, GSM/EDGE is a solid base for deploying next-generation wireless networks. Moreover, because significant numbers of operators in high-growth markets have not yet begun the transition to 3G, this type of solution opens to door, where appropriate, to a potential direct move from GSM/EDGE to 4G, via the WiMAX path.

“The arrival of dual mode in the market place is highly anticipated and represents a significant step for the development of the WiMAX market,” Michael Thelander, CEO Signals Research Group. ” It has the potential to change the market trajectory, and the combination of Samsung’s consumer device technology and brand with Alcatel-Lucent’s WiMAX networks expertise will add confidence to the first steps in this direction.”

Samsung was already a partner in Alcatel-Lucent’s Open CPE Program, established to stimulate the ecosystem to ensure that WiMAX operators and their subscribers have access to the widest possible variety of terminal devices at affordable prices.

‘Thanks to Samsung’s new WiMAX & GSM/EDGE dual-mode device, which works seamlessly with Alcatel-Lucent infrastructure, wireless operators will be able to offer truly ubiquitous mobile data experience even before WiMAX is fully deployed nationwide. Instead of having to invest upfront in a massive rollout, wireless operators will be able to offer superior service in the dense urban environments covered by initial WiMAX deployments, while relying on GSM/EDGE nationwide availability from day one and gradually extend WiMAX coverage nationwide,” said Karim El Naggar, Alcatel-Lucent’s WiMAX Vice President. “The hybrid solution enables them to smoothly transition to next-generation mobile broadband and pursue new business opportunities cost-effectively, leveraging their existing offer.”

Dr. W.P. Hong, Executive Vice President of Samsung Electronics, says: “We welcome Alcatel-Lucent in joining us and helping Samsung expand its Mobile WiMAX expertise. As _a world leader in Mobile WiMAX – the fastest and most efficient wireless broadband technology – Samsung is committed to developing Mobile WiMAX technologies and services to benefit Internet users around the world. Along with Alcatel Lucent and our other partners we will continue to push the boundaries of what Mobile WiMAX can deliver.”

Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung are collaborating on the solution’s specifications, testing and deployment to optimize network and device architectures based on a unified protocol. This will ensure security and mobility-management control for operator customers. As part of the effort, they will contribute to standardization, working with organizations such as the WiMAX Forum(R) and 3GPP.

With more than 70 pilots and deployments across the world and 22 commercial contracts signed since the beginning of 2007, Alcatel-Lucent is a leader in the worldwide WiMAX Rev-e market. The group also counts more than 180 GSM/EDGE customers in over 90 countries, making it a leading provider of mobile communications solutions.

About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2007 consolidated sales of US$103.4 billion. Employing approximately 150,000 people in 134 offices in 62 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, Telecommunication Business and Digital Appliance Business. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit http://www.samsung.com.

About Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprise and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move. With operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The company has the most experienced global services team in the industry, and one of the largest research, technology and innovation organizations in the telecommunications industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 17.8 billion in 2007 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris.

For more Alcatel-Lucent press releases go to www.yourcommunicationnews.com

Ericsson launches new multimedia solution that gives consumers a new communication experience

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) launched the Ericsson Multimedia Communication Suite (MCS) – bringing to consumers popular services they already enjoy on the Internet in a new and enhanced mobile way. The intuitive user interface will be integrated into selected new Sony Ericsson devices such as the W760. 

With the Ericsson MCS, mobile operators will be able to offer their customers a suite of attractive services. Consumers will be able to access new and existing services from the address book – with an interface including rich presence functionality such as avatars, photos and personal free text. The solution also keeps track of friends and their applications so consumers will always see who is available for different applications. The user has full control over what type of information is available.

The Internet has evolved from being mainly information and content oriented to becoming more communication and people related. Through extensive consumer research done by Ericsson ConsumerLab in Europe, Asia and USA, there are clear signs that communication services on the Internet, like communities, blogs, instant messaging etc, are also demanded in a mobile context. Our study shows that enriched communication services like chat, sending files and presence on the mobile phone, are of very great interest to consumers.

The intuitive user interface integrates new MCS applications such as chat and file transfer smoothly with existing voice, video call, SMS and MMS services. Having all contacts and services available through one presence-enabled address book creates a feeling of being closer to friends and family. This stimulates new types of spontaneous communication using both existing and new services. Ericsson has learned from its consumer research that today’s communication is about so much more than just making announcements­­: it has evolved into the sharing of everyday experiences. Presence alone with personal messages and avatars will be of great interest to many consumers supporting everyday sharing of experiences.

Claes Ödman, head of Multimedia Solutions, Business Unit Multimedia at Ericsson, says: “We see from studies that the communication patterns are changing, messaging type of services is dominating and the demand for enriched communication is here. With our Multimedia Communication Suite we can take the consumer experience one step further, making it easier with intuitive interface and allow people to communicate in a richer way.”  

Ericsson MCS will initially be available for selected Sony Ericsson feature phones. In Barcelona the MCS solution will be demonstrated live on popular Sony Ericsson phones. The MCS is built on IMS architecture and is aligned with the industry initiative Rich Communication Suite (RCS) that aims for broad industry interoperability and acceptance by utilizing standardized IMS service features. RCS is a group of key operators, infrastructure and device vendors comprised of Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung, who have joined in an effort to facilitate the evolution of mobile communication toward rich communication.

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 185 million subscribers. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of ‘communication for all’ through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70,000 employees generated revenue of USD 27.9 billion (SEK 188 billion) in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on the Stockholm, London and NASDAQ stock exchanges.

For more information, visit www.ericsson.com or www.ericsson.mobi

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT

Ericsson Media Relations

Phone: +46 8 719 69 92

E-mail: press.relations@ericsson.com

For more Ericsson press releases go to www.yourcommunicationnews.com

ConocoPhillips bags $10 billion sour gas gig with ADNOC

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

US supermajor ConocoPhillips has won the estimated $10 billion job to develop sour gas reserves at the Shah field, off the United Arab Emirates, according to reports.

“ConocoPhillips is the winner of the project,” a source at state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

“The official signing (of the contract) will take place soon.”

A second source at ADNOC also told the news agency ConocoPhillips had won the project.

The company emerged as the front runner for the contract last month, beating competition from ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum and Shell.

ConocoPhillips is expected to take a 40% percent stake in the project, while ADNOC would hold the rest.

Developing the sour gas at the Shah field would cost at least $10 billion, an industry source said.

Costs for the project have escalated, as they have worldwide in the energy sector as producers strain to bring new capacity online to meet rising demand.

Last year, analysts pegged the price of developing Shah and a second sour gas field, Bab, at $10 billion. Now, the cost is as high for just the one field.

The UAE holds the world’s fifth-largest gas reserves at nearly 214 trillion cubic feet, much of it sour.

Record oil revenues have fuelled economic expansion and rapidly rising demand for gas from both the power sector and the Gulf Arab state’s growing heavy industry.

Domestic gas supply has trailed demand, and the UAE is importing around 2 billion cubic feet per day from Qatar to plug the gap.

As it looks to boost supply, the country is planning to develop fields that it may previously have deemed too complex and uneconomic.

Shah’s gas has a hydrogen sulphide content of about 30%, making it harder to produce than conventional gas reserves.

The UAE has indicated it may develop Bab at a later date. France’s Total has alsready indicated an interest in any potential Bab development.

The UAE had initially asked companies to bid to develop both Shah and Bab, but removed Bab from the terms of a revised bid in August. The Bab field was seen as more complicated due to its proximity to inhabited areas.

For more ConocoPhillips and ADNOC press releases go to www.youroilandgasnews.com

Aker Kvaerner acquires 3D drilling simulation and visualisation company

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

14 February 2008 – Aker Kvaerner has acquired a majority shareholding in the Norwegian company First Interactive AS. The agreement includes an option to buy the remaining shares.

“Aker Kvaerner is recognised for its development of innovative deepwater drilling technologies, satisfying the industry’s requirements for efficiency, safety and operability. Acquisition of this technology and competence is a strong strategic lever for us going forward”, says Mads Andersen, executive vice president in Aker Kvaerner.

First Interactive AS is a software company specialising in 3D visualisation and simulation for the oil & gas sector. First Interactive has headquartered in Stavanger, Norway, with a subsidiary in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2007, First Interactive realised revenues in excess of NOK 25 million.

First Interactive and the Aker Kvaerner subsidiary Aker Kvaerner MH, are jointly developing applications for 3D visualisation and simulation of offshore drilling operations. A new generation drilling simulator, enabling realistic 3D visualisation and real-time scenario building, is already launched. The simulator will primarily be used for training of rig operators, but also enables significant reduction in commissioning of drilling rigs currently under construction. The two companies are currently developing solutions for real-time, 3D visualisation of drilling operations which will enable onshore support and control of offshore operations. First Interactive’s technology and competence can also be applied to other parts of Aker Kvaerner’s business such as marine installation, subsea and well services.

“A realistic, real-time visualisation of the drilling operations will enable rig operators to make better and faster decisions. The result is more efficient drilling, and increased rig uptime. In addition this tool enables us to offer superior training facilities for our clients as well as our own employees,” says Roald Amundsen, President of Aker Kvaerner MH.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Media:
Siw Anett Enerud, communications manager, Aker Kvaerner Products & Technologies. Tel.: +47 22 94 71 92, Mob.: 047 95 19 34 15

Investor relations:
Lasse Torkildsen, SVP Investor Relations, Aker Kvaerner. Tel: +47 67 51 30 39, Mob: +47 911 37 194

Suppliers:
For further information about sourcing and potential subcontracts for this project, please contact Richard Reynolds, vice president global supply chain. Tel.: +44 1224 424868

Career opportunities:
Visit http://www.akerkvaerner.com/Internet/CareerCentre

First Interactive AS is a Norwegian software company located in Stavanger, Norway, with a R&D department in Russia and Ukraine. The company was founded in 2000 as a real-time 3D development firm and specializes in software solutions for real-time 3D and multimedia professionals.

AKER KVÆRNER ASA, through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Aker Kvaerner”), is a leading global provider of engineering and construction services, technology products and integrated solutions. The business within Aker Kvaerner comprises several industries, including Oil & Gas, Refining & Chemicals, Mining & Metals and Power Generation. The Aker Kvaerner group is organised in a number of separate legal entities. Aker Kvaerner is used as the common brand/trademark for most of these entities.

The parent company in the group is Aker Kværner ASA. Aker Kvaerner has aggregated annual revenues of approximately NOK 50 billion and employs approximately 24 000 people in about 30 countries.

Aker Kvaerner is part of Aker (www.akerasa.com), a group of premier companies with a focus on energy, maritime and marine-resources industries. The Aker companies share a common set of values and long traditions of industrial innovation. As an industrial owner with a 40.27 percent holding in Aker Kvaerner, Aker ASA takes an active role in the development of its holdings.

Aker Kvaerner MH is a market leader in designing drilling equipment and drilling facilities. The company is recognised for developing new technology for deepwater drilling based on field-proven drilling equipment. Aker Kvaerner MH provides the international onshore and offshore industry with complete drilling equipment packages/modules (drilling and/or mud related systems, RamRig or conventional), full range of itemised drilling equipment, well intervention packages, drilling support modules, drilling control system, and monitoring systems as well as land rigs packages, workover rigs and products. Aker Kvaerner MH’s competitiveness is based on a unique combination of equipment deliveries, project execution capabilities and excellent after sales service.

This press release may include forward-looking information or statements and is subject to our disclaimer, see our web-pages www.akerkvaerner.com

For more Aker Kvaerner press releases go to www.youroilandgasnews.com

Carbon capture and storage in North America enters new phase with Schlumberger Carbon Services

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

The United States Department of Energy recently awarded the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium a contract to begin a large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Decatur, Illinois—the first of its kind in North America wherein an unprecedented amount of “non oil- and gas-related” CO2 will be stored in a saline formation.

CCS is a method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in which CO2 is captured from large stationary sources, compressed into a fluid, transported, and stored underground in depleted reservoirs, deep saline formations, or unminable coal seams.

As a primary partner, Schlumberger Carbon Services will manage the complete design, construction, and operation of the storage portion of this project, using oilfield subsurface evaluation and integrated project management techniques. The Illinois State Geological Survey and Archer Daniels Midland are also major partners.

As a method to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 1 million tons of CO2 currently bound for the atmosphere will be captured from an Archer Daniels Midland ethanol plant and injected into the Mount Simon formation—a geological structure spanning the states of Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio—over a period of three years. The project is designed to test and demonstrate the ability of a geological formation to safely, permanently, and economically store considerable amounts of CO2. It will help to form design and safety regulations for future CCS projects.

Schlumberger Carbon Services was the only oil- and gas-related company selected as a project partner. “We will leverage our expertise and technology in all aspects of the subsurface portion of this project,” says Dwight Peters, Schlumberger Carbon Services business manager for the United States. “To do this, a wide range of Schlumberger technology will be deployed.”

Among the Schlumberger services proposed are

*                               Q technology for simultaneous acquisition of surface and borehole seismic data to be used before, during, and after the injection phases to sharply image the fluid movement in the reservoir

*                               Well Services CO2-resistant cements for long-term hydraulic wellbore isolation during the injection phase and after decommissioning of the site

*                               Water Services “Westbay” modular, multilevel groundwater instrumentation system to allow for more comprehensive CO2 monitoring and protection of drinking waters

*                               Petrel and ECLIPSE software packages to model and simulate scenarios to understand CO2 injection behavior, migration over time, reservoir integrity, and associated risks.

Data & Consulting Services will continue providing geotechnical support in the evaluation of existing data, strategy for new data acquisition, and ongoing interpretation.

Schlumberger Carbon Services President David White explains, “We’ve been entrusted with this project not only because of our oilfield expertise but also our years of investment in CCS research, our global involvement and commitment in CCS projects, and our Carbon Services organization that was put in place to pursue this as a future business.”

For more Schlumberger press releases go to www.youroilandgasnews.com

ConocoPhillips approaching PDVSA differently from ExxonMobil

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

ConocoPhillips (COP) will continue to pursue a dual-track campaign of arbitration and negotiation in its effort to recoup compensation from Petroleos de Venezuela (PVZ.YY) after exiting heavy-oil ventures in 2007, Chief Executive James Mulva said Tuesday.

“We have two routes,” Mulva told reporters on the sidelines of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference. “We do not intend to focus on the same path as ExxonMobil.”

The CERA event comes as the attention of the energy establishment focuses on the recent legal battles between Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and PDVSA after Exxon, like Conoco, exited Venezuela last year due to worsening fiscal terms. In recent weeks, Exxon has obtained court orders freezing more than $12 billion in Venezuelan bank accounts and assets as it pursues international arbitration against PDVSA.

Mulva’s comments about Conoco’s dual-track strategy are a reaffirmation of the company’s approach described previously. His remarks about Exxon suggest Conoco is trying to avoid a public spat akin to Exxon’s, which prompted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to renew threats to cut oil exports to the U.S.

Mulva said he hoped to resolve the dispute in 2008, but that reaching an agreement this year is not a hard goal.

Given that national oil companies from Nigeria and other countries are also trying to revise contract terms to retain a greater share of the upside to high oil prices, analysts have pointed to efforts like the Exxon’s litigation as evidence that the oil industry is trying to send a message that it won’t tolerate contract changes.

But Mulva said Conoco’s approach to Venezuela reflects only its calculus about that country and isn’t intended as a signal to other national oil companies.

“We are not trying to send some message by our actions in one country to the rest of the world,” Mulva said.

ConocoPhillips took a $4.5 billion impairment charge to its earnings last year to reflect the lost value of its assets.

For more ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil press releases go to www.yourpetrochemicalnews.com

Moser Baer to expand thin film production level to 600 megawatts

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Moser Baer India Limited has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, PV Technologies India Limited, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an equipment supplier to secure supply of critical equipment for a 565 megawatt (MW) phased expansion of its thin film photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturing capacity. Combined with the current project capacity of 40 MW, the expansion will take the total manufacturing capacity to over 600 MW by 2010.

According to market estimates, the thin film based solar modules will see large emerging applications and a robust demand that, according to industry estimates is expected to grow ten fold, from 250 MW currently to 2 gigawatts (GW) with a market size of $5 bn by 2010.

“Leaders in the PV industry will continue to emerge on the strengths of rapid scale up and technology differentiation. We see an increasingly significant role for Thin Film technologies in meeting peaking power requirements and now aim to be a significant player in this arena,” said Ravi Khanna, CEO of PV Technologies.

For more Moser Baer press releases go to www.yourrenewablenews.com

Expro takes top award at Subsea 08

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

Expro North Sea Limied last night won the award for Subsea Company of the Year at the Subsea ’08 Business Awards dinner, writes Graeme Smith.

Expro started out as a small Yarmouth-based service company and has developed into a global player with a turnover which increased 73% to £519m in 2006-07.

Best Newcomer to the Subsea Industry was Brinker Technology which was originally a spin-out company from the University of Aberdeen.

Best Young Personality of the Year, an award to recognise the new talent coming into the industry, went to Klaire Evans of Brinker Technology.

Dave Turner, BP’s first subsea operations manager for the Gulf of Mexico deepwater business, won the award for the greatest individual contribution to the subsea industry.

For more Expro Subsea and Subsea 08 press releases go to www.yoursubseanews.com

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