For those less familiar with Venari, can you give us an insight into your history in the Gulf of Mexico?
Venari was founded in 2012 as a pure-play E&P company focused on high-potential subsalt oil plays in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Backed by $2.4 billion in private equity investments, Venari participated in 10 exploration wells during its first five years discovering more than 100MMBOE net resources. Included in those discoveries are the Anchor project (operated by Chevron) and the Shenandoah project (operated by LLOG) which are in the early stages of development. The Company has a significant position in the Lower Tertiary and still has a large inventory of prospects. Venari is focused on development of its discovered resources and exploitation of prospects around the future infrastructure associated with those discoveries.
What game-changing discovery/ project/ technology is currently making waves in the industry?
Development of the HPHT (High Pressure High Temperature; often called “20K”) technologies necessary for the development of the high-pressured Wilcox formations in the deepwater lower tertiary plays has been one of the more significant activities in recent years. Hundreds of millions of dollars and significant human resources have been spent to ensure that safe and efficient equipment will be available in the next couple of years to produce from the billions of barrels of discovered high-pressure oil in the lower tertiary. As these technologies mature they will allow future production of large quantities of oil known to exist in the prolific lower tertiary.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for growth within the deep-water industry in the GOM over the next 5 years?
Infrastructure will play a key role in shaping which opportunities see the greatest growth. The recent downturn has once again highlighted the importance of the contractor and supplier community in helping Producers to develop safe solutions at the lowest cost. Those Producers who can effectively use Supplier-Led-Solutions will prevail in the future as they can implement development solutions faster and at lower cost than the “old-school” E&P companies of the past who tend to over-manage their suppliers. This has already started to change the complexion of E&P communities as smaller independents and private-equity funded companies are taking more significant positions in the deepwater GOM.
Five years down the line what does the Oil and Gas industry look like?
Although many had predicted the demise of our industry, I believe that significant volumes of hydrocarbons will still be required for several decades as we transition to a world dominated by renewable energy systems. The recent downturn has forced both producers and contractors/suppliers to be more efficient and therefore I predict that five years from now the Oil and Gas industry will be a thriving, more efficient industry with a size similar to or slightly smaller than its current size.
What insights are you most looking forward to debating and discussing at the 10th North America Assembly?
I believe that offshore deepwater developments can compete economically with most onshore plays when long-term economics are considered.
About Cory Weinbel
Cory Weinbel joined Venari in October 2015. He has more than 30 years of broad industry experience focused primarily on Project Development and Project Execution. The past ten years have been spent in the leadership of teams in execution of diverse oil & gas development activities including the Mozambique Offshore Gas and LNG Mega Project, the Jubilee (Ghana) Offshore Oil Production megaproject, and onshore EOR Development Projects for Anadarko Petroleum and Denbury Resources. Mr. Weinbel spent over seven years working for Helix Energy Solutions Group as Deepwater Project Manager and General Manager of Production Facilities where he spearheaded the development of the first ship-shaped disconnectable oil production unit in the Gulf of Mexico at the Phoenix Development.
His work has allowed him to work on multiple types of deepwater floating production units including Spars (Gunnison), TLP’s (Marco Polo), Semisubmersibles (Independence Hub), and Ships/FPSOs (Phoenix, Jubilee.) Earlier in his career, Mr. Weinbel worked as a project engineer/project manager for Kvaerner Oil & Gas, Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas, and Kerr-McGee Chemical.
Cory holds a Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering and Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering from Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.