This manuscript is intended to set the stage for a panel discussion, ‘Independent Spirits Driving the Offshore Industry’, scheduled for Tuesday, May 2, 2006. The manuscript includes input from participants of this panel, who are:

  • Brian Reinsborough, VP of Exploration, Nexen Inc.

  • Earl Reynolds, Vice President and General Manager, Devon Energy

  • Gene Van Dyke, Chairman and CEO, Vanco Energy

  • John Simon, VP Development, Amerada Hess Corporation

  • Cory Loegering, VP of Deepwater, Mariner Energy

  • Bertrand VAN DEN BERGHE, Exploration Manager of GEOPETROL International

  • The Moderators

  • Sandeep Khurana, Project Manager - Subsea Systems, JP Kenny, Inc.

  • Greg Carter, President, Nautilus Offshore

In the past 10 years independents have experienced a record-breaking production-replacement ratio of 135 percent, compared to the industry norm of 80 percent. Because of their entrepreneurial sprit, independents have used their small size and flexible approach to design more-efficient development plans and participate alongside majors in high-impact discoveries that include deepwater and ultra-deepwater fields, international activities, and marginal developments.

Independents are now poised to play an important role in growing worldwide energy demand. The panel will discuss some of the strategies independents have adopted to continue this trend. The panelists will address the following:

  • Production growth vs. reserve replacement;

  • Stepping out from mature shelf to deepwater and ultradeepwater regions;

  • Stretching applied technology envelopes;

  • Developing strong relationships with industry and government partners;

  • Building strong technical teams supplemented by global contractors

Defining Independent Oil Companies

Generally speaking, size is taken as prime criteria to broadly classify the oil and gas companies as either major corporations or independent companies. To be classified as a major firm, an oil or gas company must be integrated to a substantial degree; it must be engaged in all phases of the industry. These phases include exploration, production, transportation, manufacturing, refining and retailing.

MMS (Minerals Management Services) tends to define major oil companies, or majors, as companies with largest assets, revenues and reserves. Majors are integrated companies with more than 1 billion BOE in petroleum reserves worldwide. Most of the majors have exploration and development funds in excess of $100 million, going up to 1500 million. Large independent oil companies, or independents, are those firms cited in the Oil and Gas Journal list of largest 100 firms that are not majors, but have assets of at least $500 million, and exploration and development funds of $30 to $300 million. The rest of the oil and gas companies are defined as small independents. Keeping size as the main criteria, MMS sometimes sub-divides independents as integrated or non-integrated. Integrated independents tend to have refining and retailing, although they may not have an extensive pump recognition or overseas coverage as majors.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.