February 2012
Greetings from StratoChem Services!



StratoChem Services has had a strong start to the new year, with a number of developments over the past few weeks. From partnership meetings to new lab equipment to a new family member, we have been keeping ourselves busy with exciting growth on a variety of fronts. We hope that you will read through our newsletter for details about the latest happenings here at StratoChem, as well as the most recent news from within the industry.  


For further information about our services please direct inquiries to: info@stratochemlabs.com

It's a Girl!




     After being in business for more than twenty years, StratoChem Services is more than just a company, it's a family.  Which is why we are delighted to announce the latest addition to our family and SCS's first granddaughter: Lina Amr El-Azhary.  Little Lina, Tarek El-Azhary's first grandchild, was born on 19 February 2012, weighing in at a healthy 6 pounds.  We wish her and her family a hearty congratulations.


StratoChem Service's Relationship with GORE Crosses Continents


      Earlier this month Mohamed Habo, one of our geochemists, visited Munich, Germany for the GORE Surveys partners' meeting.  There, in addition to discussing our latest technologies, Habo talked about his trip to Kenya, undertaken in partnership with GORE.  In the Magadi Basin, Kenya, StratoChem Services participated in the acquisition of GORE Amplified Geochemical Imaging data, carried out for the National Oil Corporation of Kenya.  This technology can be used to detect thermogenic compounds, differentiate petroleum phases, and delineate the charged petroleum reservoir.  StratoChem has a long history of cooperative work with GORE and we were delighted to participate with them in Kenya.


 Mohamed Habo on his trip to Kenya as part of our work with GORE.
StratoChem Seeks New Partnership Opportunities with Rawabi Holding 




    This month we had a productive meeting with Haitham Harfouche from Rawabi Holding.  StratoChem Services has a preexisting, positive relationship with Rawabi Holding which we are looking to develop further.  Until now Rawabi has acted as a crucial contact point between StratoChem and Saudi Aramco, enabling us to provide mud gas and isotope work to Aramco.  The arrangement has been beneficial to all parties, encouraging us to explore further business opportunities.  


        During his visit, Mr. Harfouche toured our labs and facilities, learning about the wide array of services that StratoChem has to offer to the field of geochemistry. StratoChem leaders, in turn, were also able to discuss with Mr. Harfouche Rawabi's extensive capabilities and how we might coordinate our efforts in the future in the interest of reaching an even broader market.  Both parties feel the meeting between Mr. Harfouche and StratoChem was an important one in this ongoing business relationship.


EGPC Unveils a New Bid Round


(http://www.businesstodayegypt.com/ - February 14, 2012)                                                                          

 Egyptian flag small


     Last year was a trying period for Egypt's leading petroleum agency in charge of exploration and development of petroleum resources, Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).


   EGPC's Deputy CEO for Exploration Ahmed Abdel Fattah says all EGPC managers have worked around the clock, sometimes weekends, since the revolution began last year. Abdel Fattah says the petroleum industry has continued its operations as usual and the new bid round is on track with the same procedure as before.


     In November of last year, EGPC has also conducted its first road show laying out new basins for conventional as well as unconventional exploration, the so-called "new play concepts" in the Western Desert, Sinai, Gulf of Suez and the Eastern Desert. 

   While EGPC, the Petroleum Ministry and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) largely succeeded in mitigating disruptions to supply and ensuring the oil and gas sector continues its operations as usual, EGPC continues to face multiple challenges. It is also striving to lure investors for new initiatives as well as securing financing for some of the existing projects.

   "Egypt is going through a transition period, in which we see rapid changes and to some degree uncertainty within state approvals and guidance," says Dirk Warzecha, General Manager of RWE Dea Egypt.

   Over the past year, EGPC has found itself strapped for cash as it sought to meet growing demand for international petroleum products and the costs of subsidizing these. As a result, it struggled to pay its obligations to foreign oil and gas companies, according to analyst reports and industry sources speaking on condition of anonymity. 

     In one case, Dana Gas issued an official request demanding payment from EGPC for supply of natural gas early last year, as reported by Egypt Oil & Gas.

   "It is our understanding that Dana's receivables problem in Egypt is partly a result of EGAS and EGPC holding back payments to Dana Gas," wrote Dubai-based analyst Daniel Abood at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in a note to clients last year. "We believe this is because they are not being paid due to their inability to deliver gas due to pipeline disruptions and their own receivables problems with the electricity sector and the Egyptian public."

    RBS estimated Dana's total outstanding receivables at $207 million (LE 1.25 billion). The outstanding debt is a sign of the ongoing liquidity strain. In a statement issued in January 2012, Dana Gas said it "maintains strong positive relationships with its host governments and is progressing [toward] constructive discussions with the Egyptian government covering the delayed payments due from government-owned entitities owing to the unrest in that country over the past year." In 2011, a total of $177 million (LE 1.07 billion) in cash attributable to its share of receivables was collected from Egypt and Kurdistan, according to Dana Gas. Dana Gas did not respond to a request for comment.

     There are reports that other foreign companies have reached private agreements with EGPC. British Gas has denied issuing stern claims to EGPC, saying other arrangements are in place and declining to elaborate.

     Minister Abdullah Ghorab acknowledged the issue recently, pledging greater fiscal austerity. "I have met with most investors to exchange views concerning this critical problem, and I have already discussed the ministry's plan to solve it," he told Egypt Oil & Gas. "The core problem of the current financial deficiency arose when the petroleum sector used to receive loans from banks and financial institutions for other entities that couldn't commit to the repayment of these loans, which eventually led to this predicament." 

     EGPC declined to comment on the debt issue.  EGPC is also striving to lure new investors amid ongoing political uncertainty and a heightened risk environment.

      "Any investor at this time is facing problems finding the financing, the loans for these projects because they need a big sum, several billion for each one," says Osama Mostafa, Projects General Manager for Investment at EGPC.

      As Egypt's oil consumption has been steadily increasing over the past decade, production has been uneven. 

     In 2010, consumption increased by 5.4% at 757,000 barrels per day compared to a previous year, which surpassed production in 2010 at 736,000 of barrels per day according to BP Statistical Review 2011. The total oil production in 2010 made up 35 million tons, which was a 0.6% decline from the previous year.

   In FY2009/10 the majority of discoveries came from the Western Desert, which contributed 80% of the total added reserves from the new discoveries according to EGPC annual report for FY2009/10.

     Last year, there were a total of 62 discoveries, including oil and gas, which is in line with the number for the previous fiscal year at 64 discoveries. In FY2010/11 the accumulative total oil production was 247 million barrels, according to EGPC data.

    As oil production and reserves decline overtime, Egypt's petroleum industry plans to expand its refining capacity, upgrading existing facilities and establishing new refineries.

     In December 2009, EGPC signed a agreement for an Assiut refinery project during the Joint Egyptian-Libyan Higher Committee held in Tripoli. "This project is affected by the revolution because they need an investor," says Mostafa, acknowledging there is delay in securing financing for the project. 

    In FY2009/10, EGPC launched a hydrocracking project in Mostorod with a capacity of 4.2 million metric tons per year. Egyptian Refining Company signed a $2.5 billion (LE 15.1 billion) loan agreement with EGPC. The project's total investment cost is estimated at $3.5 billion (LE 21.14 billion) and is still expected to commence operations in 2014. 

   Mostafa acknowledges financing of some of the existing and new projects requires more political and financial security. "With the current situation, there is a little bit of a slowdown until the stability [returns] to secure funding from big banks," he says. "These funds need stability."

     The latest bid round, the first since 2009, was originally scheduled to close at the end of January. The delay has been due to technical evaluation and acquiring approvals from different authorities, according to EGPC. "Before acquiring the approvals, we have to evaluate the blocks technically," says Adel Said Kamel, deputy CEO for Agreements at EGPC. The closing date for the bid has been postponed through the end of March at the request of prospective bidders to have more time to evaluate new concessions. 

     The new concession area includes 15 exploration blocks, including three blocks in the Gulf of Suez, three blocks in the Eastern Desert with the rest in the Western Desert. 

    More than 20 companies are expected to participate, according to EGPC. The bulk of the new concessions offer a predominantly conventional exploration potential, as laid out in the roadshow presentation materials. 

    In terms of types of agreements, EGPC has not revised procedures significantly.

    "We are using the same model of production sharing agreements," says Kamel. "The process is the same: after presenting the technical presentation to the management of EGPC and the Petroleum Ministry, we evaluate the financial offers."

      Kamel acknowledges that there is more investor interest in the oil-driven exploration right now because of the costs.

       "The drilling cost in the Western Desert is very cheap if we compare it to the cost of drilling in the Mediterranean," he says. "Some of our blocks are in the Gulf of Suez, which is oil-prone so the potential for oil there is more than the gas potential in the Gulf of Suez. Exploring for gas takes time and also a lot of investment."

      The standard production sharing model is the same model that has been in place since 1973. The model includes a 30% cost recovery, two to three phases for exploration and 25% of the lease taken away after three years if technical or financial commitments are not met.
According to energy analysts and exploration and production companies, the area presented would require a lot of investment in characterization so that exploration companies can determine where high-quality reservoirs are located with economic volumes of oil or gas.

      The exact resource potential then could be technically produced from the source rocks in the region remains unclear since at times existing oil is washed away by underground water inversions, or is dissipated when the formations are brought to the surface during geologic events.

    Egypt's total proven reserves in 2010 were at 4.5 billion barrels or 0.3% of global reserves according to BP Statistical Review 2011.

     According to the Petroleum Ministry, FY2011/12 has already brought in $7 billion (LE 42.28 billion) in committed investments in the upstream sector.

    EGPC aims to boost production by applying new technology on a wider scale. Abdel Fattah sees potential in shale and fracking technology applied widely in the US, Canada and other regions as global oil reserves are depleted.

     The potential reserves of shale gas are estimates and have yet to be proven. EGPC, along with the Petroleum Ministry and private service contractors, is currently undergoing a study to determine the quality of shale resource development in Egypt. "Very soon we will have an idea about the quality of this resource," Abdel Fattah says.

     While many operators see potential in shale and have already been pursuing shale drilling, others remain skeptical about the government's efforts so far to encourage investment in shale resources.

     "Egypt has a lot of investment potential in both, the conventional and the unconventional energy sector. It will be [up to] the new government to lift these opportunities," Warzecha says.

    The so-called fracking process or hydraulic fracturing, which is banned in certain states in the US due to links to drinking water contamination, is also cited by EGPC as having potential to boost production and reserves. "By applying a new technique, we can get what we were not able to recover before," Abdel Fattah says.

     The petroleum agency is also working to lure new players, like China, Malaysia, South Korea, and Russian companies which are not currently operating in Egypt.

    "We tried to attract Chinese investors because they did good work in Sudan," Abdel Fattah says. "So we hope they join this bidding round and offer some blocks." China, which operates in Sudan through China National Petroleum Corporation, has pursued an aggressive oil exploration strategy in the region.

    The existing operators see potential for revising existing concession practices. "I see room for improvement regarding the approval process of concessions and the transfer of concessions," Warzecha says. "Also, the current joint venture system slows gas and oil developments."

   Despite setbacks of the last year, the Petroleum Ministry has an optimistic outlook. "For those publicizing such concerns, I can guarantee that Egypt would be generating more production for longer than they expect," Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab has told Egypt Oil & Gas in a January 2012 interview. "The number of foreign investors that apply in our bid round does reflect the fruitful potential of this industry."

   Ghorab has publicly proposed reform of EGPC and merging the agency with EGAS.

   "In my opinion, the functions and activities of the upstream sector should be gathered under one roof, which is the EGPC, while EGAS should be functional in the gas projects and the downstream only, the dimensions of this view are still being evaluated," he said in the same interview with Egypt Oil & Gas newspaper. Ghorab, who was the head of EGPC prior to his appointment at the ministry, also said EGPC needed 'structural changes'.

      EGPC confirmed the proposed plan, but did not elaborate on the type of structural changes. The Ministry of Petroleum did not respond to an interview request.

    Most operators are optimistic about the proposed changes, even though few of these have yet to materialize.

     "We are working together with EGAS and EGPC for many years as partners," says RWE Dea. "I don't think that this would change if they are united."  

Ukraine to Invest $800M in Developing 3 Iranian Oil Fields


(www.rigzone.com - February 20, 2012) 


Iranian Flag


     Iran has signed a contract with a consortium consisting of Iranian and Ukrainian companies for the development of Kouhmond, Boushkan and Kouhkaki oil fields.


    The contract, valued at about USD 800 million, was signed on Monday between the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company, an affiliate of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and Inter Naft Gas Prom Pars Co., which is a consortium of Iranian and Ukrainian entities.


   NIOC managing director, Ahmad Qalebani, told reporters that the consortium would invest about USD 800 million in the development of the three Iranian oil fields.


      Kouhmond heavy oil field is located 80 km to the east of Bushehr port in southern Iran. Though eight wells have been already drilled in the field, only two wells are meant for heavy oil production. The field's in-place heavy crude reserves have been estimated at about one billion barrels.


     Kouhkaki oil field is located northeast of Kouhmond about 15 km south of the city of Khormoj where only one well was drilled in 1973. The field contains light crude with estimated in-place reserves of about 780 million barrels.


     Boushkan oil field is located 100 km north of Bushehr and 30 km from Dalan gas field. The field's in-place reserves have been estimated at about 340 million barrels with a single well drilled in 1963.


     The fields will be developed in two phases to produce 11,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil after the completion of the first phase, which will hit 22,000 bpd when the second phase is finished.


  A total of 18 heavy and extra heavy oilfields have so far been discovered in Iran, including Ferdowsi oil field in the Persian Gulf, which is one of the country's biggest heavy oil fields with proven reserves of more than 31 billion barrels.


     Iran's total in-place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 billion barrels with about 140 billion barrels of extractable oil. Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70-100 billion barrels of the total reserves.


     Iran holds the world's third largest proven oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves.

US Apache Corp To Expand Egypt Investments By $1 Bln In 2013


(http://www.egyptoil-gas.com/  - February 20, 2012)


  Egyptian flag small  


     U.S. oil and gas producer Apache Corp. (APA) has reached a deal with Egypt to expand its oil and gas investments in the North African country in 2013 by $1 billion, Egypt's Minister of Oil Abdullah Ghorab said, according to the Kuwait state news agency, or Kuna.


     In a joint press conference with Apache Chairman and Chief Executive Officer G. Steven Farris, Ghorab said Sunday that Apache officials have presented to Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri a plan to pump $1 billion into oil and gas exploration and production projects in Egypt in 2013, Kuna reported.


     The minister said the American company has several projects in Egypt's western desert, and is one of the biggest energy companies operating in Egypt, Kuna said.


       The U.S. oil and gas company has operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the U.K.'s North Sea, Australia and Argentina.


         Apache has spent over $1 billion on oil and gas exploration in Egypt over the past decade, Farris said, adding the Egypt government's revenues from Apache projects amounted to $10 million per day.


     The Houston-based company had earlier in the month said it remained bullish on its operations in Egypt and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where it also plans to increase spending this year, despite concerns the company has too much exposure to both areas, which saw significant regulatory changes last year.


Risk & Security Assessment of Libya's Infrastructure Released 


(www.petroleumafrica.com - February 23, 2012)

Libyan flag NEW

      International Risk Mitigation Company AKE has produced the first independent security and risk assessment of Libya's major oil producing and refining facilities.


     Designed to provide accurate and actionable information to those companies looking to enter or re-enter the oil-rich North African state, the project aim was to assess the threat level in the areas most associated with the energy industry and the security situation at major oil facilities.


   Personnel from AKE's operational security and intelligence departments have been in Libya continuously since the commencement of hostilities, successfully evacuating energy workers from the southern desert and working with media crews. 

    The company's work with companies in the energy industry highlighted the need for such a project, as with the media's focus on security in the country's main urban areas, there is a dearth of information on the security situation in the south.

      "There are security challenges that require to be addressed by companies looking towards a future in Libya and we are confident that this report will benefit those organisations, providing them with a cost-effective tool to assist them in their decision making process and planning. It addresses the risk and security concerns and risk specifically for the energy sector" said AKE's regional expert and key driver behind the report, Alan Fraser.

        The report contains a review of security and infrastructure in the Murzuq and Sirte basins; the country's major oil refineries; and the major urban centres associated with the oil industry, or located in major oil producing regions.


Sanctions Force Sonangol to Leave $7.5B Iran Gas Project


(www.rigzone.com/ - February 24, 2012)

Iranian Flag 

     Angola's Sonangol is pulling out of a $7.5 billion natural-gas project in Iran, a top executive with the African state-oil giant said Friday, the most dramatic example so far of sanctions hitting Iranian ties with Africa.


     Speaking at a press conference in Luanda, a Sociedade Nacional de Combustiveis de Angola executive Mateus de Brito said: "Sonangol is out of Iran" due to international sanctions.  The remarks confirmed an article in the Wall Street Journal that Angola was considering leaving the project due to sanctions.


    "Our operations in Iran are unsustainable, especially due to those sanctions, and Sonangol decided to exit and has informed the Iranian government of its decision," he said. The executive added "there are only a few procedures left" before the exit is complete.


        In 2009, Sonangol signed up to a 20% stake in a project that is part of the giant South Pars field after European companies pulled out of Iran due to previous sanctions.


       Top Angolan and Iranian officials had previously said the Southern African nation was backing away from the project after coming under U.S. pressure. The U.S. State Department confirmed last month it had contacted Angola on Iran sanctions without providing more details.

Saudi Maneuver to Contain Iran Oil Market Threat


(www.egyptoil-gas.com  - February 26,  2012)


Saudi Arabian Flag


   Saudi Arabia has raised oil exports and the United States is considering releasing crude from its strategic reserves as oil prices hit nine-month highs on Friday and concerns deepened over Iran's nuclear program.


     Brent crude surged to over $125 a barrel after the United Nation's nuclear watchdog issued a report flagging the potential military nature of Iran's nuclear program, following an aborted U.N. inspection mission to Iran this week. 


     The report heightened fears of a supply disruption and could stoke worries in Israel, which has threatened Iran with pre-emptive strikes on nuclear sites. That would send shockwaves across the region and almost certainly drive oil prices even higher.


      Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia increased exports over in the past week and offered additional crude to its biggest customers to tame runaway prices, industry sources told Reuters on Friday.


    U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil buyers, as well as a European Union oil embargo to begin July 1, have already forced its customers in Europe and Asia to curb purchases from the world's fifth-largest crude exporter.


    The Saudi move comes as the Obama administration studies tapping crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve among possible measures to offset any Iranian supply disruptions, according to sources familiar with the discussions.


     Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNBC on Friday there may be a case for using the reserve.


   "Obviously Iran can do a lot of damage to the global economy," Geithner said. "We are working very carefully to try to minimize that risk."


     The fear of tightening supplies, including a threat from Tehran to close the Strait of Hormuz -- the main Gulf oil shipping lane -- have lifted oil prices 11 percent this year, putting political pressure on President Barack Obama, who is running for re-election in November.


   Prices at the U.S. gasoline pump are the highest on record for February. They hit $3.65 a gallon on Friday, up 13 percent from last year, according to AAA. That has raised concern that any oil market disturbance could hoist them well over $4.00 during the U.S. summer driving season -- when demand in the world's largest oil consumer tends to be highest.


     The International Monetary Fund has also warned higher oil prices are a rising threat to the global economy.


   "It's clear that Washington is holding its regular fire-drill on $4.00 gasoline. This means going through the laundry-list of policies they could use, including an SPR release," said Bob McNally, a former White House energy adviser who now runs energy consultant Rapidan Group.


    "Iran is the added twist. The odds Washington places on an Israeli attack on Iran are higher than the odds given by the oil markets."



    The appetite for a coordinated opening of reserves by the United States and other nations may not be as high as last June, when Western nations which are members of the International Energy Agency agreed to release a total of 60 million barrels of oil in response to supply disruptions from Libya.


      Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said releasing reserves now would not help dampen oil prices driven up by concerns over geopolitical tensions rather than an actual interruption of crude flows.


     "My concern is that the hike in the price today does not derive from a fundamental imbalance of supply and demand," he said at a Group of 20 meeting in Mexico City.


    The comment echoed those of Germany's Economy Ministry earlier this week, which said the government has no plans to release any of its strategic oil reserves.


   "By law, the oil reserves can only be released in the event of a disruption of the oil supplies and there is nothing of the kind at the moment," the spokeswoman said.


      Analysts have noted that the actual supply losses seen this year from Syria, Yemen, Sudan that have heightened market concerns are slight compared to the disruptions from Libya last year that prompted the release of the IEA's reserves.


    While Europe would suffer more directly from the cut off of Iranian crude than the United States, which does not buy oil from Tehran, the knock on effect of a disruption would drive up prices across the globe.


      The U.S. SPR has the capacity to hold 727 million barrels, enough to cover US needs for nearly 40 days. The government has tapped the reserve in the past during times of supply disruptions, most recently after Libya's civil war.


     An SPR release during the 1991 Gulf War coincided with a 12 percent fall in U.S. gasoline prices. One in 2005 was followed by a price-drop of 19 percent, while last year's release coincided with a US pump-price drop of around 6 percent, according to Department of Energy figures.


Factbox on the history of SPR releases:


     Saudi Arabia has repeated publicly it would prime its pumps to meet any shortfall in exports from fellow OPEC member Iran.


    Industry sources told Reuters on Friday the Kingdom had boosted exports to just over 9 million barrels per day last week, compared with an 

average of about 7.5 million bpd in January, although it was not clear if the export numbers were the start of a longer Saudi supply addition or a temporary uptick.


      "Those export numbers are very reliable but they're only for a week so they don't tell you whether or not they're going to sustain these levels," said one industry source.


    If Riyadh were to maintain exports at 9 million bpd it would imply record volumes from OPEC's leading producer of 11 million bpd, up more than a million bpd from last month. Saudi currently is using about 2 million bpd domestically.


      Other sources at oil companies who buy Saudi crude said that Riyadh was offering extra oil both in addition to existing long-term contracts and on a one-off "spot" basis.


     Saudi Arabia earlier this year identified $100 a barrel as a fair price and Riyadh is sensitive to the concerns among consumer countries about high fuel prices slowing economic recovery.


       As well as extra Saudi oil, Iran's top European customers are seeking more from Iraq, Libya and Russia, but Saudi Arabia is the only country that holds significant volumes of spare capacity. European Union countries import about 700,000 bpd of Iranian oil.



       Concerns over Iran's nuclear program reached a fever pitch after the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Friday Iran had sharply stepped up its uranium enrichment drive.


     The IAEA also reported its failed mission to Tehran this week that aimed to get Iran to respond to allegations of research relevant for the development of nuclear weapons -- a serious setback to the possible resumption of diplomatic talks.


      "The Agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," the Vienna-based U.N. body said in a quarterly report about Iran issued to its member states.


     Israel, which has threatened Iran with pre-emptive strikes on its nuclear sites, had no immediate comment on the report. Germany, which has backed tough new sanctions on Iran, said it was further cause for concern.


      Tehran says its nuclear program is exclusively for civilian purposes and denies it aims to make atomic weapons.


Petrofac Wins Gazprom EPC Contract in Iraq 


(www.rigzone.com - February 24, 2012)  


Iraq Flag    


       Petrofac has been awarded a $330 million lump-sum engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by Gazprom Neft Badra B.V. (Gazprom) for the first phase of the Badra Oilfield Development Project in Iraq. The competitively tendered project will commence shortly and be completed in three 18-month phases, with final completion scheduled during the second half of 2015.


    Under the terms of the contract, Petrofac will provide detailed design, engineering, procurement, construction, pre-commissioning, commissioning and start-up work on the Badra development's central processing facility, which comprises three crude oil processing trains. The first phase of the project is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2013.


  Marwan Chedid, chief executive of Petrofac's Engineering, Construction, Operations & Maintenance (ECOM) division, commented, "We are delighted to be working with Gazprom on this important development which holds significant future potential for the progression of Iraq's oil & gas industry. This is Petrofac's third notable project award in Iraq and also marks our first lump-sum EPC project in the country.


     "Iraq represents a sizeable market opportunity for Petrofac and our Basra office is continuing to expand as we develop our presence in the country. In the meantime, our teams are looking forward to delivering a successful outcome on the Badra project in line with our commitment to safety, quality, integrity and corporate social responsibility."


Issue: 2 - 2012

Group photograph of local Kenyans taken by StratoChem's own Mohamed Habo.  Read more about his trip in our article "StratoChem Services' Relationship with GORE Crosses Continents."
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We are happy to announce that we have just recently increased the capacity of our Medium Pressure Liquid Chromatography (MPLC) machine by more than twice as much.  Previously we were able to run six samples at a time, now we are able to run up to fifteen.  This, in turn, should increase the number of samples we are able to run through our Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) machine in any given day.  An increased capacity means that our clients will receive their results even faster.  


The GCMS identifies and quantifies organic components known as biomarkers that are indicative of the original organic source material from which hydrocarbons are derived.  Because these biomarkers are unique, they can be used to determine the maturity and age of oils.  The two main categories for biomarkers are saturates and aromatics.  But as these compounds can overlap the MPLC is necessary to separate the two prior to running the sample in the GCMS.  Since the GCMS runs a sample much more quickly than the MPLC, an increase in the capabilities of the MPLC ultimately means decreasing the time it takes to analyze a sample completely.


Sarah Gorgy MPLC

Chemist Sarah Gorgy loading samples into the MPLC.

In This Issue
It's a Girl! StratoChem Welcomes Its First Granddaughter
StratoChem Services' Relationship with GORE Crosses Continents
StratoChem Seeks New Partnership Opportunities with Rawabi Holding
EGPC Unveils a New Bid Round
Ukraine to Invest $800M in Developing 3 Iranian Oil Fields
US Apache Corp to Expand Egypt Investments by $1 Bln in 2013
Risk & Security Assessment of Libya's Infrastructure Released
Sanctions Force Sonangol to Leave $7.5B Iran Gas Project
Saudi Maneuver to Contain Iran Oil Market Threat
Petrofac Wins Gazprom EPC Contract in Iraq

SCS Building  

Upcoming Events
There are no abstract deadlines occurring in March 2012.  
The following conferences occur in March 2012:
  • Oil Operations and Logistics: Geneva, Switzerland - starting 1 March 2012

  • 3rd Annual MEA Gas Distribution Summit: Abu Dhabi, UAE - starting 5 March 2012 

  • 2nd Annual Shale Gas Conference: Johannesburg, South Africa - starting 5 March 2012  
  • Offshore Pipeline Technology Conference: Amsterdam, The Netherlands - starting 6 March 2012 

  • IADC/SPE Drilling Conference and Exhibition: San Diego, USA - starting 6 March 2012 

  • SPE Field Redevelopment to Maximize Asset Value: Doha, Qatar - starting 19 March 2012 

  • Libya Oil and Gas Summit: Rome, Italy - starting 21 March 2012 

  • Unconventional Gas and Oil Summit: Warsaw, Poland - starting 26 March 2012 

  • Iraq: Field Development, Synergies and Optimization: Istanbul, Turkey - starting 27 March 2012
  • SPE Oil and Gas India Conference and Exhibition: Mumbai, India - starting 28 March 2012  

For more complete conference information, go to the bottom of our home page at:

A lone giraffe spotted on a recent trip to Kenya.
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Local Egyptian camels, on display at the camel market.
For more information please contact us at info@stratochemlabs.com or call us at 202-2516-1075. 
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