Daily Archives: May 21, 2012

Chevron Canada Charters Magne Viking AHTS

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Viking Supply Ships, one of TransAtlantic’s two business areas, has with the AHTS-vessel Magne Viking been awarded a term contract by Chevron Canada Ltd for operations on one well.

The contract is on subject and is not yet fully signed by the parties. The well support operations are estimated to last between 150 and 180 days and the charter will commence during the third quarter 2012. The vessel is going to support the drill ship Stena Carron with supply duties, anchor handling, towing, stand-by and rescue services, passenger movement and ice berg management.

Magne Viking is especially designed for subarctic operations and harsh weather conditions. The crew on board is especially trained for working in cold environments and has extensive experience from iceberg management from Greenland. The vessel is ice classed, which is a requirement for operating in Canadian waters, and will be upgraded to a full stand-by class in accordance with Canadian regulations. Magne Viking is furthermore equipped with de-icing systems, fire-fighting, oil recovery, large accommodation and safe deck handling.

The total contract value is estimated at about CAD 11.1 million.

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European bank runs and failure of Credit-Anstalt in 1931

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21 May, 2012, 14:52
Posted by Zarathustra

The events in Europe right now is essentially a slow-motion bank run (or “bank jog”) on various European banks in the periphery.   Greece, for instance, have been losing deposits in their banks, while Spanish bank Bankia was rumoured to have massive among of deposits being withdrawn.  And of course, in the days of modern banking with internet and other stuff, you don’t even need to see a massive queue outside a bank to know that there’s a bank run.

Disturbingly, what’s happening today in Europe reminds me of something happening more than 80 years ago, when bank failures triggered bank runs virtually in the whole of Europe, later bank holidays in hope to stop bank runs, capital control, and countries going off gold standard.  Sure enough, by thinking about the event in 1931 by no means suggest that I think what happened then will surely happen in 2012.  It is always, however, good to look at the history and see what we can learn from it.

We all knew that the Great Depression started in 1929.  Perhaps lesser known is that one of the more dangerous legs of the slump during the the Great Depression did not start until 1931 when an Austrian Bank Credit Anstalt went bust.

At the time, it was the biggest bank of Austria.  Its failure triggered a European banking crisis, with bank runs started first with Austrian banks, then with German banks.

In Liaquat Ahamed’s wonderful book Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, he wrote that while Austria was a small country with the GDP about one tenth of Germany’s, remarkably the failing on its biggest bank sent a massive shockwave to the whole of Europe, an ultimately to the world economy.  While the big central bankers were trying to come up with rescue packages, without the experience of modern central banking, they came in too late, with too little money.

During the time of the Great Depression, it was the French which had the biggest gold reserve after the United States.  At the time of Credit Anstalt’s failure, the French was apparently faring relatively well among European countries.  And not surprisingly, politics was in play in their attempt to save themselves.  France, although financially stronger among European great powers, they were not keen at all to save the Germans and Austrians (perhaps still quite keen to punish them for starting World War One).  When the United States unilaterally forgo war debts from Europe for a year, which included German’s reparation, France was furious.  Liaquat Ahamed quoted that the British Prime Minister at the time Ramsay MacDonald saying that “France has been playing its usual small minded and selfish fame over Hoover proposal…”, while the Bank of England Governor’s Montagu Norman said, according to Ahamed, that “Berlin was being ‘bled to death’ while the French and the Americans were busy arguing” (p. 413).  And sure enough, when the German’s central bank Reichsbank asked Banque de France and the French government for help, that didn’t work. The French government offered some loan with conditions, which the Germans thought of that as “political blackmail”.

As the crisis worsened, Danatbank, at the time the second biggest bank in Germany, went bust some two months later after Credit Anstalt failed.  On 13 July, it failed to open for business, triggering yet another wave of massive bank runs on every other German banks.  With the banking crisis at its worst, a two-day bank holiday was imposed in German to prevent further drain in deposits.  Later, banks in virtually the whole of Europe are closed.

Meanwhile, in London, the government is considering measures to reduce budget deficits even as the banking crisis hit Britain, partly because of UK’s banks exposure to Germany and other countries in the continental Europe, and the Bank of England was losing gold reserve, forcing the Bank to raise interest rate when it should not.  The military’s salary would be cut in hope to plug the budget gap, but the some sailors in the Royal Navy became (predictably) very angry and essentially went on strike, an event which is now known as the Invergordon Mutiny.  Not a particularly huge event, but enough to send a shockwave to the City of London with stock market crashed and a sterling crisis.  In about a week after the Mutiny, Britain was forced out of the gold standard.

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Chesapeake turns to Jefferies’ Eads in $28 billion deals

Workers join sections of pipe on a Trinidad Drilling rig leased by Chesapeake Energy north of Douglas, Wyo. Photo: Alan Rogers / Copyright 2012 CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 7:01 am
by Bloomberg

When Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon went on an oil and natural gas buying spree, Ralph Eads was the banker who found the money to fund it.

The vice chairman at Jefferies Group Inc. and former fraternity brother of McClendon helped his firm win work advising Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake on more than $28 billion of transactions since 2007. He assisted Chesapeake in asset sales to raise cash the company then plowed back into locking up new prospects across the U.S., what Chesapeake often calls a “land grab.”

McClendon is depending now on his Jefferies confidant at an even more crucial moment. Falling gas prices, combined with the buying binge, is forcing Chesapeake to unload assets to keep the company afloat. Along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jefferies bankers are seeking buyers for oil-rich prospects and lending Chesapeake $4 billion in the meantime.

“Without Wall Street, Chesapeake wouldn’t be able to do what it has done,” said Phil Weiss, an analyst at Argus Research in New York who rates the shares “sell.”

Read more: Fuel Fix » Chesapeake turns to Jefferies’ Eads in $28 billion deals.

UK: Subsea 7 Orders OCTOPUS for Seven Borealis

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London-based Subsea 7, the seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services contractor to the offshore energy industry, has ordered the OCTOPUS suite of products for the recently delivered Pipelay/Heavy Lift vessel Seven Borealis.

This latest addition to the Subsea 7 fleet is a state-of-the-art vessel that shall be involved in ultra-deep and deepwater projects in the world’s deepest and harshest environments.

Amarcon is appointed to deliver a motion monitoring and ship response forecast system, known in the industry as OCTOPUS-Onboard. The order for Subsea 7 is a very extensive one. One of the functionalities is a crane monitoring system. The motions of the heave compensated 5,000t crane are monitored and displayed real-time within OCTOPUS-Onboard. In addition to the onboard motion monitoring & forecast functionality, the Seven Borealis shall also be equipped with a DP Capability Forecast. This enables the production of DP (Dynamic Positioning) -plots based on forecast thruster utilization. As a result of that, a forecast is given within OCTOPUS-Onboard if the vessel is capable of maintaining her position and heading in changing environmental and weather conditions, hours and days ahead. By using OCTOPUS-Online all the collected motions and accelerations from the Seven Borealis are sent to a central database server so authorized users at the Subsea 7 office can view and analyze the recorded motion and acceleration data. Subsea 7 also ordered Amarcon’s hydrodynamic analysis software OCTOPUS-Office for calculations of sea keeping characteristics of the Seven Borealis prior to new pipe lay projects.

In 2011 Seaway Heavy Lifting ordered OCTOPUS-Onboard for her Oleg Strashnov, which is operated under a Joint Venture together with Subsea 7.

Amarcon’s Managing Director Leon Adegeest shows his appreciation: “It is great to see that these unique vessels, involved in very complex and sophisticated offshore projects, have chosen OCTOPUS-Onboard to assist them in their everyday operations.”

OCTOPUS can be installed on newbuild vessels and on ships already in operation.

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Repsol Drills Duster Offshore Cuba

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Spanish oil titan Repsol on Friday announced it would plug and abandon an exploration well offshore Cuba.

Repsol’s well in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was drilled by the Scarabeo 9, a 6th generation semi submersible drilling rig.

The Saipem-owned rig failed to find hydrocarbons, and Repsol’s spokesman told BusinesWeek that the result is disappointing but not unusual saying that every four of five offshore wells turn out to be a dry hole.

He said that the Spanish company was analyzing the data collected before making any further decisions.

Scarabeo 9, capable of operating in water depths of up to 3,600 meters, was built by Singapore’s Keppel specifically for this campaign.

Due to the United States trading embargo against Cuba, Repsol had to come up with a rig with almost no U.S. made parts in it, and according to Reuters, the only U.S. manufactured part on the Scarabeo 9 rig is a blowout preventer, a part that malfunctioned and caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Ocean Rig Drillship to Drill for Chariot Offshore Namibia

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Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Africa focused independent oil and gas exploration company, has, together with its partner Enigma Oil & Gas (Pty) Limited, reached an agreement with Ocean Rig UDW Inc. to use the Ocean Rig Poseidon drillship for drilling of the Kabeljou (2714/6-1) well on the Nimrod prospect, offshore Namibia.

The drillship is expected to arrive on location in July 2012, after its current contract expires. The drilling operations will commence shortly after the arrival.

The Nimrod prospect is located in the Orange Basin in Southern Block 2714A where Chariot has a 25% equity interest. The Kabeljou well is expected to take approximately 2 months to drill. The drilling location is 77 km offshore Namibia in 360 metres of water with an estimated total drilling depth of 3,100 metres true vertical depth subsea (“TVDss”).

This is the second well to be drilled in Chariot’s 4 to 5 exploration well programme offshore Namibia.

Paul Welch, CEO of Chariot, commented:

“We are very pleased to be advancing with our drilling programme and eagerly anticipate the spud of the Kabeljou well with our partners. Nimrod is one of the biggest prospects due to be drilled worldwide this year and we look forward to being able to update the market with further news on this hugely significant well in due course.”

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