August 2013 Final

Above: An aerial view of Tahrir Square on July 26th, 2013.
In This Issue
StratoChem to Exhibit at URTEC Denver
Shell and ENI Under investigation for Nigeria Deal
Hess Signs China's First Shale Oil Deal
Kenya: Africa Oil Spuds Ekales-1 Well
Egypt's New Electricity Minister Announces "New Era"
South Sudan: Africans Bid to Avert Oil Shutdown
New SCS Building Shot
Upcoming Events  
  • August 5th: SPE Nigeria International Conference & Exhibition - Lagos, Nigeria. 
  • August 12th: Unconventional Resources Technology Conference - Denver, USA    
  • August 14th: NAPE Expo - Houston, USA. 
  • August 22nd: PetroWorld India 2013 - Mumbai, India 
  • August 27th: Shale Gas World Argentina 2013 - Buenos Aires, Argentina 
Languages of Egypt      
We think of Egypt as an Arabic-speaking country, but the linguistic influences on contemporary Egyptian speech reflect the country's long and colorful history. Below are a few of the most prominent.
Arabic: The Arabic spoken in Egypt is highly diverse, from the literary Modern Standard based on the language of the Qu'ran to the local accents of Cairo, Alexandria, and Upper Egypt. The Egyptian dialect of Arabic is one of the most widely understood in the Arab world due to the number of movies, songs, and TV shows produced in Egypt.
Turkish: Introduced by the Ottomans during their occupation of Egypt from 1517-1867, the Turkish language originated in Central Asia. Turkish influence in Egyptian Arabic can be seen in words like kobry ("bridge," from Turkish kobru), oda ("room"), and aywa ("yes," from Turkish evet).
French: The French were only present in Egypt briefly, during Napoleon's ill-fated campaign there in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Still, the French language made a great impression on the Egyptian people--especially the educated classes.  Even today, it is common to hear Egyptians use merci for "thank you" rather than the Arabic shukran, and French loanwords like ascenseur ("elevator") and canape ("couch"--pronounced canaba in Arabic) are common. 
Greek: Large populations of Greeks lived in Egypt since the days of Alexander the Great. With the rise of Christianity, Greek began to influence native Egyptian Coptic to an even greater degree, since so many of the early church writings were of Greek origin. But the greatest legacy of the Greek language in Egypt is the name by which the rest of the world knows the country: the Greek word Aegyptos ultimately became "Egypt." 
Nubian: Nubian languages are still spoken in southern Egypt, and have a long history in the country. Dating back to the days of the Pharaohs, Nubian is related to languages spoken in Sudan and was originally written in the Coptic alphabet. Today, most Nubian speakers also speak Arabic, though they retain a great pride in their ancestral language.

Coptic: Still used in some Egyptian churches, Coptic is the closest living language to that of ancient Egypt. The influence of Coptic is vast both inside and outside Egypt, including not only words like temsah ("crocodile," from Coptic emsah) but also tobi ("brick"), which became tub in Arabic and finally adobe in Spanish and English. 
Pharonic: Variants of ancient Egyptian were spoken until the 1700s AD, and its influence on modern Egyptian Arabic can still be felt, even down to such common words as es-sitt ("the woman"), deriving from the goddess Isit--more commonly known by her Greek name, Isis.

Hieroglyphic font by Lene M. Arensdorff Kristiansen. 

A generous Ramadan to you! Already this season, we have found ourselves thankful for the many good friends who contacted us to inquire after our safety following the events of early July. Not only is everybody here at StratoChem safe and sound, but we're continuing to provide the same rapid, world-class scientific analysis and interpretation the industry has come to expect from us without delays, slowdowns, or compromises on quality--and that's something that won't change.


Your Friends at StratoChem Services


August 2013
StratoChem to Exhibit at Unconventional Resources Technology Conference in Denver


URTEC Logo 3  

StratoChem Services will be exhibiting with our partners, Sirius Exploration Geochemistry, at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference from August 12th-14th at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.  Centered on exploration and production of unconventional plays in North America, URTEC will feature a wide variety of technical speakers and presentations, as well as an exhibition featuring companies from around the world.  If you're in Denver, we invite you to stop by Booth 328 to learn about some exciting developments StratoChem and Sirius have planned for the future.
Shell and ENI Under Investigation for Nigeria Deal

nigerian flag July 25th, 2013


Shell and ENI are under investigation in the UK over a money laundering allegation in Nigeria. The police in the UK are investigating a $1.3 billion deal for an offshore block  after allegations were made that the majority of the cash spent on the block, OPL 245,  ended up in a company linked to  

former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete.


The ownership of OPL 245 has been in dispute for over a decade.


A UK spokesman told Reuters a crime unit is investigating a money-laundering allegation in connection with OPL 245 and that the investigation was at an early stage.


The investigation was launched when transparency campaigners asked the UK to look into the deal. The group said that the two major E&P firms used the  Nigerian government as a go-between to obscure the fact that they were dealing with Etete.


Etete had a money laundering conviction in France during 2007 related to bribes he was alleged to have taken when in government. In 1998 Etete awarded OPL 245 for a payment of just $2 million to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company in which he played a prominent role.


A Shell spokesman told Reuters it had purchased the block from the government, making no payment to Malabu, and that it acted transparently and in accordance with Nigerian law.

Hess Signs China's First Shale Oil Deal

Chinese Flag July 24th, 2013  

(Source: ) 


U.S. energy company Hess Corp has signed a production-sharing contract with PetroChina, China's first joint agreement to develop a shale oil block, the companies said on Wednesday. China, believed to hold the world's largest technically recoverable shale gas resource, aims to replicate the production boom seen in the United States, but its exploration for shale gas is at an early stage and for shale oil has barely begun.


Hess Corp, which has experience with shale oil in North Dakota, signed the deal on Tuesday to explore and develop the 800 sq-km Malang block of Santanghu basin in China's northwest region of Xinjiang. The contract follows a joint study by the two firms. 'Shale oil is a tough nut to crack as there are very limited data on it,' an official with a global energy company said. 'There aren't that many opportunities for foreign firms as China has only offered a few blocks (for joint study).' Royal Dutch Shell and U.S. firm EOG Resources were interested in the same basin, but only Hess officially entered a joint-study agreement, industry officials said.


Hu Wenrui, former vice president of PetroChina, said Chinese companies have so far drilled about 20 shale oil exploratory shale oil wells, mostly in northern China's Ordos basin. 'China has done very preliminary evaluations on shale oil resource, much less work compared with shale gas,' Hu said. 'But longer-term, the trend looks fairly clear that wherever the conventional resources are abundant, the unconventional should follow.'


In March 2012 Shell landed the country's first shale gas production-sharing contract, also with PetroChina, to develop a block in Sichuan. The global oil major has said it will step up drilling in China this year and next.


China has not drawn up specific investment policies to guide international energy companies on developing unconventional oil and gas resources..Both the Hess and Shell contracts are expected to follow the existing practice in China for conventional oil and gas development, industry officials say. Those contracts normally last 30 years, with the foreign party bearing all the cost of exploration, and the Chinese firm has the right to back in with a maximum 51 percent interest during the production stage.

Africa Oil Spuds Ekales-1 Well in Kenya
July 24th, 2013
(Source: )

Africa Oil Corp has announced the commencement of drilling operations on its Ekales Prospect located in Block 13T in the Lokichar Basin in Kenya. The well was spud on July 22, 2013 and has a planned total depth of 2500 metres and is expected to take approx. 2 months to drill and evaluate. The primary objectives are the Auwerwer and Lower Lokhone sandstones already established to be highly productive reservoirs at the nearby Ngamia and Twiga discoveries. The prospect is a three way fault closure against the main basin bounding fault and is located directly between, and approx. 15 km northwest of the Ngamia discovery and 7 km south of the Twiga discovery along the 'string of pearls' trend. The well is being drilled by the Weatherford #804 rig. The Company holds a 50% working interest in this prospect along with operator Tullow Oil.


Africa Oil CEO Keith Hill commented, 'The Ekales Prospect is probably one of the lowest risk prospects in our inventory. The proximity and similarity to the existing Ngamia and Twiga discoveries give us a high degree of confidence that we will find oil and continue to build the discovered resources necessary for commercial volume threshold. Our pace of exploration and appraisal continues to accelerate with the anticipated arrival of three additional rigs in Kenya and Ethiopia in the next 60 days for a total of six rigs, four of which will be operated by Tullow Oil. The recently announced Etuko discovery, on the flank of the Lokichar basis has opened a new play fairway and provided further confirmation of the world class potential of the Lokichar Basin.'


In the South Omo block in Ethiopia, mobilization of the OGEC 75 rig to the Tultule location is underway. This prospect is located 4 kms from the Sabisa-1 well which was recently abandoned after proving the existence of the essential hydrocarbon elements of source, seal and reservoir in this frontier basin. It is being drilled on a well-defined horst block feature which should provide good trapping characteristics. The Company holds a 30% working interest in this prospect along with operator Tullow Oil (50%) and Marathon Oil (20%).


The Etuko well in Block 10BB, where an oil discovery was recently announced in shallower reservoirs, has now reached a total depth 3100 metres and log and MDT evaluation have commenced. The rigs for the Ogaden Basin (Block 7&8) El Kuran-3 prospect in Ethiopia (Africa Oil non-operated working interest: 30%) and the Block 9 Bahasi prospect in Kenya (Africa Oil operated working interest: 50%) are in country and spud of El Kuran-3 is expected in August and Bahasi-1 in September. One additional lightweight rig has been contracted for testing and drilling operations in the Lokichar Basin and should also be operational in September.

Egypt's New Electricity Minister Announces "New Era"
Egypt Flag Flat
July 23rd, 2013

With Egypt's interim cabinet announced, the new Minister of Electricity has promised to usher in a new era in the country's power sector. Ahmed Imam was sworn into office on July 15, stating after taking his oath that he will restructure Egypt's power sector. The restructuring will include the areas of finance, construction of new power generation plants, and  an increase in private sector participation. The new phase does not only pertain to the country's oil and gas sectors, but also renewable energy - particularly solar and wind power plants.


Imam was an engineer at the Aswan High Dam power plant, later moving to the West Delta Electricity Production Co. He was appointed head of the Cairo Electricity Production Co. until 2011, and after the revolution, was appointed as deputy to the minister of electricity.

South Sudan: Africans Bid to Avert Oil Shutdown
July 22nd, 2013
(Source: )

African goverments stepped up their efforts to prevent a shutdown of oil production in South Sudan on Monday, agreeing to send three generals to investigate Sudanese allegations that Juba is supporting anti-Khartoum rebels. Sudan, the sole conduit for South Sudan's oil exports, said last month it would close two cross-border oil pipelines within 60 days and insisted output be shut by August 7 unless Juba gave up its support for the rebels. Juba denies backing them. The two sides fought one of Africa's longest civil wars before the south won independence in 2011.


Analysts say South Sudan might collapse without oil, the main source for the budget apart from foreign grants. They point to recent looting of aid agencies by soldiers as a sign that Juba is struggling to pay salaries. Closing the wells is also bad news for Sudan, which has been struggling with turmoil since losing most oil reserves with South Sudan's secession. Oil fees from Juba are essential to bringing down soaring inflation.

A team of three generals from the African Union and East African bloc IGAD will travel on Tuesday to Khartoum before heading to Juba on a six-week mission, said Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner of the AU's Peace and Security Council. 'The decision by Sudan to shut down oil exports until and unless this issue is properly handled...has brought President Mbeki to propose to the two countries the formation of this investigation team,' Lamamra told a news conference.


Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is the bloc's chief mediator for Sudan and South Sudan.


'We hope this mechanism will resolve that longstanding problem, the allegation by both parties of hosting rebels against the other,' said Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, current chair of the Horn of Africa grouping IGAD.


Khartoum accuses Juba of supporting the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance, which complains of neglect at the hands of the wealthy Khartoum elites. The SRF in April staged an attack on central Sudan. South Sudan in turn accuses Sudan of backing rebels in its eastern Jonglei state, where fighting is making it impossible to realise government plans to search for oil with the help of France's Total and U.S. ExxonMobil.


South Sudan plans to sell 6.4 million barrels of oil worth $300 million before shutting down its entire production by the end of July due to the row. It had only resumed oil production in April, after turning off wells pumping around 300,000 barrels per day in January 2012 when both sides failed to agree on pipeline fees. Oil industry insiders say once the pipelines are closed it will take several months to restart production as they would have to be flushed of water and cleaned first.