Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transocean Signs Record $650,000 Day Rate

Transocean rig gets record $650,000 dayrate

HOUSTON, July 8 (Reuters) - Transocean Inc (RIG), the world's largest offshore drilling contractor, said on Tuesday one of its deepwater drill ships has been awarded a five-year contract worth a record $650,000 per day.

Shares of Transocean, whose operations are based in Houston, climbed as much as 2.5 percent on the news before retreating to trade slightly lower along with other energy stocks.

Record crude oil prices have stirred booming demand for offshore drilling rigs, which are currently in tight supply worldwide.

The contract for the Deepwater Pathfinder is set to start in March 2010. The agreement with a subsidiary of Eni (ENI) is for drilling primarily in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"The new Eni contract represents a new record day rate for the industry and a meaningfully positive datapoint for Transocean and deepwater peers ... ," Bill Herbert, oilfield services analyst with Simmons & Co Int'l, wrote to clients.


Anaconda said...


Oil is a mineral -- that is, an inorganic structure born of the Earth's mantle crustal interaction.

The proper study of petroleum is the mineralogical perspective.

There are over 4,442 individual mineral species.

There are many possibilities: Twinning, Polymorphism, Polytypism, Pseudomorphism

Ultra-deepwater, deep-drilling is intertwined with the geothermal gradient and the crustal - mantle interaction.

Study of minerals. The classification of minerals is based chiefly on their chemical composition and the kind of chemical bonding that holds their atoms together. The mineralogist also studies their crystallographic and physical characters, occurrence, and mode of formation.

The systematic study of minerals began in the 18th century, with the division of minerals into four classes: earths, metals, salts, and bituminous substances, distinguished by their reactions to heat and water.

Note: The forth class: bituminous substances.


Mantle crust interaction: The formation of magma.

Tulane University Prof. Stephen A. Nelson

Structure of the Earth and the Origin of Magmas

Magmas do not form everywhere beneath the surface of the Earth. This is evident from looking at the world distribution of volcanoes. Thus, magmas must require special circumstances in order to form. Before we talk about how and where magmas form, we first look at the interior structure of the Earth.

The Earth's Internal Structure

Evidence from seismology tells us that the Earth has a layered structure. Seismic waves generated by earthquakes travel through the Earth with velocities that depend on the type of wave and the physical properties of the material through which the waves travel...

Layers of Differing Chemical Composition
Crust - variable thickness and composition

Continental 10 - 70 km thick, underlies all continental areas, has an average composition that is andesitic.

Oceanic 8 - 10 km thick, underlies all ocean basins, has an average composition that is basaltic.

Mantle - 3488 km thick, made up of a rock called peridotite (Olivine + Opx + Cpx). Evidence comes from Seismic wave velocities, experiments, and peridotite xenoliths (foreign rocks) brought to the surface by magmas. Experimental evidence suggests that the mineralogy of peridotite changes with depth (ant thus pressure) in the Earth. At low pressure, the mineral assemblage is Olivine + Cpx + Opx + Plagioclase (plagioclase peridotite). At higher pressure the assemblage changes to Olivine + Cpx + Opx + Spinel [(Mg,Fe+2) (Cr, Al, Fe+3)2O4] (spinel peridotite). At pressures above about 30 kilobars, the assemblage changes to Olivine + Cpx + Opx + garnet (garnet peridotite). This occurs because Al changes its coordination with increasing pressure, and thus new minerals must form to accommodate the Al...

Layers of Differing Physical Properties

Lithosphere - about 100 km thick (up to 200 km thick beneath continents, thinner beneath oceanic ridges and rift valleys), very brittle, easily fractures at low temperature. Note that the lithosphere is comprised of both crust and part of the upper mantle. The plates that we talk about in plate tectonics are made up of the lithosphere, and appear to float on the underlying asthenosphere.

Asthenosphere - about 250 km thick - solid rock, but soft and flows easily (ductile). The top of the asthenosphere is called the Low Velocity Zone (LVZ) because the velocities of both P- and S-waves are lower than the in the lithosphere above. But, not that neither P- nor S-wave velocities go to zero, so the LVZ is not completely liquid.

NOTE: "very brittle, easily fractures at low temperature. Note that the lithosphere is comprised of both crust and part of the upper mantle. The plates that we talk about in plate tectonics are made up of the lithosphere, and appear to float on the underlying asthenosphere."

Specific: "...very brittle, easily fractures at low temperature."

Does this spell "pathways" for hydrocarbons to travel to the surface?

I think we have a winner!

Anaconda said...

Olivine -- Chemical composition

Most of the naturally occurring olivines are intermediate in composition to these two end-members and have the general formula (Mg, Fe)2SiO4.

Garnet -- Chemical composition

Garnet is a family of minerals.

General garnet composition: A3B2(SiO4)3, where Ca, Mg, Fe2+, or Mn2+ occupy the A site, and the B site contains Al, Fe3+ or Cr3+. Hydrous garnets may contain up to 8.5% H2O.

J.F. Kenney, Gas Resources, chemicals used to generate hydrocarbon alkane series under ultra-high pressure and temperature: "Experiments to demonstrate the high-pressure genesis of petroleum hydrocarbons have been carried out using only 99.9% pure, solid iron oxide, FeO, and marble, CaCO3, wet with triple-distilled water."

Temperature and pressure conditions: "[S]pecial high-pressure apparatus has been designed which permits investigations at pressures to 50 kbar and temperatures to 1500°C..."

Combine olivine, garnet, and other known carbon bearing minerals and you have present the minerals necessary for J.F. Kenney's experiment.

Conclusion: The proposition that hydrocarbons can be created in the mantle under mantle conditions of ultra-high pressure and temperature is confirmed.

Patton said...

Nice Day rate. Must be an outstanding crew, because the vessel is not even dual activity.

Anaconda said...


For those that searched the paper on Google, a side note is in order, and for those that didn't Google the paper, the side note will be self explanatory.

Side note: It seems that the paper underestimates the amount of volcanic activity in all its various forms.

Because when you take into consideration the number of extinct volcanic regions, and active volcanic regions, along with an expanded definition of volcanic activity, including solfataric and other manifestations of volcanism, that pushes up the frequency of volcanic activity beyond what this paper suggests in the body of the analysis.

Also, it seems that the paper downplays the chemical complexity of the crust-mantle interface.

Established evidence shows that there is a much greater diversity of chemical elements present, taken up in a myriad of mineral compositions (over 4000 mineral variations).

The paper assumes a monolithic layered pattern, and while I'd agree with the layered pattern, I don't subscribe to the "monolithic" idea.

There is too much evidence that shows a multiplicity of minerals interact from out of the mantle.

As an example is the Travis volcanic mounds that without question reach up from the mantle.

The paper notes that a multiplicity of chemical elements reduces the temperature required for the melting point, but in the body of the paper this fact is not expanded in the paper's analysis.

This multiplicity of minerals and thus elements in the mantle is consistent with a much more active system in the crust-mantle interface.

Mantle plumes are integral part of the crust-mantel interaction. the following provides background (available on direct link at side-bar under Mantle Plumes).

What is a plume?
Don L. Anderson

"The term plume in the Earth sciences is not always consistently used or precisely defined. What a geophysicist means by a plume is not always understood to be the case by a geochemist or a geologist. Nevertheless, the term has been precisely defined in classical fluid dynamics, and it is probably best to provide at least that one description of a plume in the framework of geophysics as an entrée to the many contributions that treat them on this website.

Melting anomalies can result from concentrated hot regions of the shallow mantle – hotspots – or from upwelling jets – plumes. They can also result from fertile patches or regions of shallow mantle with low melting point. Focusing, edge effects (see also EDGE convection page), ponding and interactions of surface features with a partially molten asthenosphere can also create melting anomalies at the surface. Adiabatic decompression melting can be caused by passive upwellings, changes in thickness of the lithosphere, or by recycling of basaltic material with a low melting temperature. The usual explanation for melting anomalies is that they result from active hot upwellings from a deep thermal boundary layer. In the laboratory, upwellings thought to be analogous to these are often created by the injection of hot fluids, not by the free circulation of a fluid."

Plumes are vital to the chemical interaction among the various minerals in the deep crust and shallow mantle.

Due to differing affinities (chemical attraction) among the chemical elements this interaction creates the forces to cause different elements to break apart (break chemical bonds) and reform different chemical bonds, therefor creating different mineral compounds. In simplistic terms, that is how different minerals are formed, including hydrocarbons.

The chemical affinity between carbon and hydrogen is strong. Only slightly less than oxygen and hydrogen.

This affinity between carbon and hydrogen is why both seek the other out (on an atomic attraction level) and will come together to chemically bond in the presence of other elements.

Sometimes these other elements act as catalysts sometimes they are only passive bystanders.

And once hydrogen and carbon chemically bond to form hydrocarbons (petroleum), these hydrocarbons take their turn with the rest of the minerals to rise to the surface by way of fluid dynamics and also because as minerals go -- hydrocarbons are less dense and so are buoyant relative to other minerals -- hydrocarbons tend to "step in front of the line."

(Techncally minerals are supposed to be solid, but as pure mercury is a liquid at room temperature, but still a mineral, so is petroleum a mineral because it has an ordered structure and is inorganic.)

This deep Earth picture of hydrocarbon formation is a final piece in the picture of Abiotic Theory: Formation, transport, travel, and repose, constitute the hydrocarbon cycle.

And the hydrocarbon cycle is a function of the "crust-matntle heat gradient."

Which in turn is has it's surface expression in the Crustal Activity Continuum, which man measures in earthquake and volcanic activity.

It is well established in Earth studies and astrophysics that various system components have cycles of fluctuation, analogous to the Sun Spot cycle.

These cycles are manifested as "pulses" of higher activity. More energy is generated in the system and subsequently expelled from the system, again, analogous to the increase in Solar Wind as a result of increased Sun Spot activity.

I suggest that at present the Earth is in a medium point of activity on the "crust-mantle heat gradient."

There are many pieces of evidence to suggest that the Earth has experienced much greater periods of energy activity, thus hydrocarbon generation and expulsion.

This is a direct function of the "activity level" of the Crust-Mantle Heat Gradient.

In another analogy, to help visualize this "system" there are chemical "weather patterns" of chemical reaction due to the Crust-Mantle Heat Gradient, and as in atmopheric weather, which can have increased winds, due to increased energy in the system, so to is there increased transport velocity of the various minerals including hydrocarbons in the Crust-Mantle Heat Gradient.

As the Sun has periods of increased atomic activity, measured as Sun Spots; so to, the Earth has periods of increased chemical activity measured as earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Hydrocarbons are a result of that activity.