Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Obama’s dishonest energy promise

imageDespite pledge, government hasn’t allowed drilling on 97 percent of coast

President Obama’s ambiguous call to “open” 75 percent of the country’s potential offshore oil and natural gas resources to exploration may sound generous, but the truth is, the areas containing those resources are technically already included in the upcoming 2012 to 2017 offshore leasing plan, and they are virtually the same areas where exploration and production have been allowed for decades.

Look beyond the president’s rhetoric to his record and it becomes clear that jobs and energy security are not high priorities for this administration. The shortsighted decision to deny the Keystone XL pipeline and the unnecessarily long moratorium on drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico are but two examples.

Political uprisings and social unrest over the past year have highlighted the instability of oil-producing regions in the Middle East and North Africa, and the situation shows no signs of improvement. Just a few weeks ago, Iran threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a critical transport route for 40 percent of the world’s oil. A robust domestic oil and natural gas industry can shield the U.S. market from such events and protect the American consumer. Unfortunately, our current policies have failed.

Around the same time as the Iranian announcement, the American Petroleum Institute unveiled a Quest Offshore Resources study showing that the deep-water drilling moratorium and subsequent permit slowdown forced 11 deep-water rigs to leave the Gulf of Mexico since 2010, taking their jobs and investments to the shores of Brazil, Africa and elsewhere. Those moves translated to a loss of $21.4 billion for our economy and an estimated 72,000 jobs in 2010 and 90,000 jobs in 2011, according to the study. We must do better.

An earlier Quest study rolled out by the National Ocean Industries Association showed that if permitting rates surpassed pre-2010 levels, 190,000 offshore industry-supported jobs could be created nationwide within the next two years without a single dime of government stimulus. The positive benefits of returning the Gulf-permitting rates to higher, more consistent levels are clear. But the Gulf represents only a portion of our nation’s offshore resources. Alaska’s outer continental shelf holds immense potential, with almost 10 billion barrels of oil and 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lying untapped beneath the ocean floor. Approval of exploration permits would mean 55,000 new jobs and $145 billion in new wages. The federal government would also see a significant amount of new revenue – approximately $193 billion.

There are also considerable resources off the coast of Virginia, where residents and state leadership support exploration. Unfortunately, the Department of the Interior has yet to allow the industry to move forward there. In addition to denying Virginia’s desire for an offshore lease sale, the department’s 2012 to 2017 proposed oil and gas leasing program keeps the eastern Gulf and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts off-limits to exploration and delays development in Alaska. This sends job creation elsewhere, and closes the door on economic growth.

Despite the vital revenue generated, jobs created, wages paid and increased energy security, less than 3 percent of the federal outer continental shelf is leased, leaving more than 97 percent of these resource-rich areas devoid of any permits. I cannot think of a more glaring, missed opportunity. We simply cannot continually place our nation at the mercy of hostile nations while we ignore our own energy potential. Significant oil and natural gas resources lie off our coasts and across our northern border, waiting to enhance our energy security and help stabilize fuel prices. We need to go get them. The time has come for Congress and the president to put aside rhetoric and ideological debates, pass meaningful legislation that will open our offshore domestic resources for exploration and development, stop sending our hard-earned dollars to hostile and unfriendly nations, and invest in America’s future.

Randall Luthi is president of the National Ocean Industry Association

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Norway: Statoil Orders Subsea Structures for Asgard

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Bergen Group Offshore has, through its subsidiary Bergen Group Rosenberg AS, been awarded a contract by Statoil for fabrication of subsea structures for the Åsgard Subsea Compression Project with an estimated value of 50 MNOK.

The project involves delivery of 12 off PLEM structures (Pipeline End Manifold) and one riser base with a total estimated weight of 850 tonnes. The contract includes project management, shop engineering, planning and work preparation,  procurement, fabrication and testing of the structures. The work will commence immediately and final delivery shall take place in May 2013.

The project organization will be mobilized at Buøy, Stavanger where all project activities will be undertaken.

“Bergen Group Rosenberg very pleased to be awarded this contract. We are well positioned for the growing subsea market with our excellent track record for quality deliveries. Through recent investments in fabrication facilities and equipment we shall achieve further improvements in productivity and quality.” says Kristin Færøvik, Executive Vice President of Bergen Group Offshore and CEO of Bergen Group Rosenberg.

Statoil and its partners on Åsgard field have opted for subsea gas compression to help recover the big remaining reserves in this Norwegian Sea field. Subsea compression is expected to increase the recovery factor and producing life of Åsgard. By carrying out compression on the seabed, Asgard partners will achieve benefits in the form of improved energy efficiency and lower costs compared with carrying out compression on platforms or on land.

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South Korea: Pacific Drilling Extends Option for its 7th Drillship

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Pacific Drilling S.A.  has reached an agreement with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries to extend until February 17, 2012 an option to construct a seventh ultra-deepwater drillship.

Under the revised terms of the option agreement, the delivery of the drillship will be no later than May 17, 2014. The commercial terms of the option agreement are unchanged.

Pacific Drilling is  a growing offshore drilling company that provides global drilling services to the oil and natural gas industry through the use of ultra-deepwater drillships. Pacific Drilling’s fleet of six ultra-deepwater drillships will represent one of the youngest and most technologically advanced fleets in the world. The company currently operates four recently delivered drillships and has two additional drillships on order at Samsung.

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Edison Chouest Orders PSV in Poland

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REMONTOWA SHIPBUILDING S.A has signed a contract for building of a Platform Supply Vessel for Edison Chouest Offshore from Louisiana, USA.

New building vessel is continuation of the series of four units of the same type which has been started last year. She will be built according to the project elaborated by polish design office MMC Ship Design & Marine Consulting Ltd from Gdynia. The vessel will be equipped with Diesel – Electric propulsion system allowing most cost efficient exploitation, reduction of fuel consumption and lower emission of NOx and SOx to the atmosphere.

Working deck of 1000 m2 will enable to carry high-volume goods, which makes that vessel the biggest one in her class. Technically advanced vessel will operate the complex deep-water operations in the region of South America and Africa.

The vessel will be equipped with Class 2 dynamic positioning system and fitted to operations in world – wide sea areas, in each weather conditions. After completion of the construction and carriage of complex sea trials, the vessel will be delivered to the Owner in the fourth quarter of 2013. The contract includes an option to build another, sister vessel.

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UK: Subsea 7 Bags Claire Ridge Project Contract

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Subsea 7 S.A. has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $100 million from BP Exploration Operating Company Limited for the Clair Ridge Project, West of Shetland.

The Clair Ridge development will comprise two new, bridge-linked platforms to be located to the North-East of Clair Phase 1.

The contract scope includes the project management, engineering, procurement, fabrication and installation of a 6km 22” oil export pipeline and a 14km 6” gas export pipeline connected to the new production facilities and existing Clair Phase 1 export systems. The pipeline systems will allow product to be transported from Clair Ridge to Sullom Voe Terminal (SVT) via a dedicated gas export pipeline spur tied into the Clair Phase 1 pipeline, and the associated gas will again be tied  into West of Shetland Pipeline System via the gas export pipeline.

The 22” oil export pipeline bundle will be fabricated at Subsea 7’s Wester site facility in Wick, Scotland and will be installed using the Controlled Depth Tow Method. The 6” gas export pipeline will be fabricated at Subsea 7’s Vigra spoolbase. The scope also includes tie-ins of integrated subsea towhead structures, field testing and pre-commissioning activities.

Engineering and project management will commence from our Aberdeen office in early 2012, with offshore operations due to commence in 2013.

Steph McNeill, Subsea 7′s Vice President, UK said: “We are pleased to be awarded this major pipeline project by BP, which builds upon our unique bundle technology. Fabrication will take place at our Wick facility in Scotland, which has a  proven track record of successful bundle design, fabrication and installation, securing work for approximately 100 people. We look forward to helping bring on-stream the Clair Ridge Project in an efficient, timely and safe manner.”

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