Hall It used to be that if you wanted to find out who owned your mortgage, you could go to the office of your local register of deeds, the final authority on questions of property ownership. But when banks set up their own private registration system to help them bundle and resell mortgages in a whirlwind of securities exchanges, the land offices of record had no hope of keeping up. And when some banks later foreclosed on many of those properties, often cutting corners or worse - creating phony documents - it left register of deeds offices across Wisconsin awash in forged and fraudulent documents. That's a "serious problem" for registrars charged with maintaining property records, said Brown County Register of Deeds Cathy Williquette Lindsay, who heads a committee studying foreclosure fraud on behalf of the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association.
While these stand-alone acquisition players have no other choice than to stay in and fight on to avoid bankruptcy while hoping for a better future, we at Schlumberger do have a choice and we chose to exit the commoditized land and marine acquisition business.
I was lured by the 6-week rotation schedule that, I hoped, would allow me to travel and see the world. I saw the Gulf of Mexico with Western Atlas, but the industry has taken me around the globe. I worked for Western Atlas, an offspring of Western Geophysical. WG was subsequently absorbed by Schlumberger.
The marine seismic business has always been tumultuous. WG was the arm of Schlumberger mostly identified with the marine and onshore seismic acquisition business, where they have occupied a forefront position. Thus, in many ways, WG has left an indelible impression on the marine seismic acquisition market, regardless.
It will be interesting to learn how their resources and technology will be dispersed into the new market reality that will follow their exit.
In many ways, it is hard to conceive of such a market without WGs presence in acquisition. The recent Q4 vessel utilization numbers were published at the start of for two pure play marine seismic streamer vessel operators. WG had operated several marine seismic streamer vessels prior to the mid crash in oil prices, but stacked many of them.
WG no longer publishes vessel utilization numbers, since WG is a relatively small component of Schlumberger. CGG also reduced their fleet to become more diversified geoscience company.
CGG filed for bankruptcy and reorganized and now has much less presence in the marine seismic streamer acquisition market, as well. Many of my blog article posts, which began inhave concentrated on pure play marine seismic streamer company performance to understand the health of the deep water exploration and development sector.
Seismic streamer vessels are the data acquisition platforms and therefore the main revenue generators, or the revenue losers, for marine seismic exploration companies. So, while we all must await the Q4 and full year financials to be released, Q4 cannot be a banner quarter for either of them, based on these already released vessel allocation numbers.
This generated some excitement, but this news was obviously not viewed as a life-line for marine seismic service companies. Therefore, every dollar above that threshold would represent an opportunity for revenue generation. However, marine seismic exploration players know that oil eking over such an arbitrary economic threshold is not going to create a bonanza of deep water exploration.
Every dollar over that arbitrary price may open up more money making opportunities for both license operators and exploration companies. At the same time, every company has their own unique cost base dependent on their business model and objectives which dictates how their resources are managed.
This enterprise specific cost base is much different than any project related cost adjustments related to a seismic survey areas geology and geopolitics. The problem is that minimal revenue generating opportunities are not necessarily enough to pay off debt generated from new build programs and past lean quarters.
When businesses are growing, new assets and improvements are paid for not only by the revenue they generate, but also through the revenue generation of the older assets.
With so many vessels stacked, revenue has to now be generated through fewer opportunities. At the same time, this reduced revenue flow has to pay for the fewer newer and more expensive vessels working for minimal profit.
You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data. For example, several operators would not allow a survey vessel older than twenty 20 years to be tendered in any data acquisition proposal unless such vessels were specially built for marine seismic streamer surveys.
These requirements recognized the underlying health and safety, as well as operational efficiency benefits delivered by purpose-built vessels. However, such requirements are also indicative of operators having the ability to require high standards while also being able to reach their exploration objectives and seize opportunities with a sufficient number of vessels which could efficiently complete surveys affordably.
More in-sea instruments being deployed prompted development of improved streamer and source positioning control technologies, which also soon became a requirement for several tenders.
As was also mentioned in previous posts, marine seismic streamer service companies having the ability to complete surveys in less time mostly benefits the operators of the survey area more than the seismic service provider.
Vessels sometimes need to re-survey areas for a variety of reasons related to unpredictable weather and currents. When streamers and sources are not positioned correctly, the subsurface cannot be imaged correctly. Data imaging is dependent on correctly discerning the position and geometry between the seismic source air guns and the receivers held within the streamer cables.
Wide-tow capable vessels towing more streamers sensors created new issues in terms of acquiring the correct data. A certain amount of in-fill, as it is referred to, was always anticipated and calculated into the bid tenders. Of course, eliminating in-fill was beneficial to the service provider and operators in terms of time-savings in operating the survey vessel.
Especially, in a highly competitive vessel over-capacity market with low profit margins, the use of such technologies became imperative to be commercially successful. It was recently broadcast 12 January that the US Supreme Court will consider the issue and ramifications of the unfair global use of intellectual property.
This will be an interesting decision and there are obviously certain merits to both sides, otherwise it would not be heard by the US Supreme Court. I prepared marine seismic acquisition proposals for projects offshore the continent of Africa for a UK affiliate of a Norway based company.
This company developed a proprietary dual-sensor broadband capable streamer technology.• For all loans submitted to the 7(a) Loan Guaranty Processing Center (“LGPC”), by Delegated and Non-Delegated Lenders: This form is to be completed, in its entirety, signed and dated prior to electronic submission to the LGPC.
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