Blowback! U.S. trained ISIS at secret Jordan base

by Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials.

The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.

In February 2012, WND was first to report the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.

That report has since been corroborated by numerous other media accounts.

Last March, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms. The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported last March that U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.

Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the German magazine’s report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.

The Jordanian officials spoke to WND amid concern the sectarian violence in Iraq will spill over into their own country as well as into Syria.

ISIS previously posted a video on YouTube threatening to move on Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah, whom they view as an enemy of Islam.

WND reported last week that, according to Jordanian and Syrian regime sources, Saudi Arabia has been arming the ISIS and that the Saudis are a driving force in supporting the al-Qaida-linked group.

WND further reported that, according to a Shiite source in contact with a high official in the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Obama administration has been aware for two months that the al-Qaida-inspired group that has taken over two Iraqi cities and now is threatening Baghdad also was training fighters in Turkey.

The source told WND that at least one of the training camps of the group Iraq of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria, the ISIS, is in the vicinity of Incirlik Air Base near Adana, Turkey, where American personnel and equipment are located.

He called Obama “an accomplice” in the attacks that are threatening the Maliki government the U.S. helped establish through the Iraq war.

The source said that after training in Turkey, thousands of ISIS fighters went to Iraq by way of Syria to join the effort to establish an Islamic caliphate subject to strict Islamic law, or Shariah.

Source

GustoMSC Introduces Its Largest Magellan-Class Drillship

GustoMSC presented the Magellan-class drillship, the next step in deep-water drillship design.

Named after Ferdinand Magellan who was the first sea explorer to circumnavigate the earth, GustoMSC developed the Magellan-class drillship in the explorer’s own tradition of endurance, perseverance and determination. The Magellan is outperforming the current generation fleet with respect to redundancy, autonomy, safety and load carrying capacity.

Advanced new drilling techniques and developments in drilling equipment, together with the growing interest in units that could drill in deeper water and have more operational flexibility and capability, prompted thinking about a new class of drilling vessel. “The design is the result of a specific focus on operators’ requirements. We also received feedback on our existing products and, of course, learn from the industry in general. After the Macondo incident in 2010, for example, there were many recommendations concerning operational procedures and rig design – with an emphasis on safety. We naturally wanted to incorporate that information into the new design,” says Sjoerd Hendriks, Design Manager of the Magellan project.

The Magellan is the largest drillship that GustoMSC has designed to date. The design backbone of the ship consists of the well-established and field-proven principles of its predecessors. The most important step forward is that the Magellan design is equipped for 20,000 psi well-control systems, including the associated increases in capacity, such as high hook loads and setback capacities. Magellan’s ability to accommodate higher pressure, high variable loads, mud volumes and setback capacities and incorporate any type of advanced drilling techniques – such as managed pressure drilling and dual gradient systems, means it is equipped to drill well beyond the current market limit of 12,000 feet.

Press Release, June 16, 2014

Source

Meet Directive 3025.18 Granting Obama Authority To Use Military Force Against Civilians

05/29/2014
by Tyler Durden

While the “use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,The Washington Times uncovering of a 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans. As one defense official proclaimed, “this appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens.” Meet Directive 3025.18 and all its “quelling civil disturbances” totalitarianism…

As The Washington Times reports,

Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec. 29, 2010, and states that U.S. commanders “are provided emergency authority under this directive.”

“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.

“In these circumstances, those federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the president is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances” under two conditions.

The conditions include military support needed “to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order.” A second use is when federal, state and local authorities “are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for federal property or federal governmental functions.”

A U.S. official said the Obama administration considered but rejected deploying military force under the directive during the recent standoff with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters.

“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions,” the directive states.

Military assistance can include loans of arms, ammunition, vessels and aircraft. The directive states clearly that it is for engaging civilians during times of unrest.

There is one silver lining (for now)…

“Use of armed [unmanned aircraft systems] is not authorized,” the directive says.

And the full Directive is below…

DoD

Source

Russia And China Finally Sign Historic $400 Billion “Holy Grail” Gas Deal

 

05/21/2014
by Tyler Durden

There was some trepidation yesterday when after the first day of Putin’s visit to China the two countries did not announce the completion of the long-awaited “holy grail” gas dead, and fears that it may get scuttled over price negotiations. It wasn’t: moments ago Russia’s Gazprom and China’s CNPC announced, that after a decade of negotiations, the two nations signed a 30 year gas contract amounting to around $400 billion. And with the west doing all it can to alienate Russia and to force it into China’s embrace, this is merely the beginning of what will be a far closer commercial (and political) relationship between China and Russia.

So far there have been no public pricing details on the deal which accrording to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller is a “commercial secret”, and which is believed to involve Russia supplying 38 billion cubic metres of gas per year to China via a new eastern pipeline linking the countries.

According to Itar-Tass, the compromise between Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on Russian gas price is estimated at $75 billion, citing the Deputy Head of the National Energy Security Fund Alexei Grivach. The differences on the price for 38 and 60 billion cubic meters supplies a year were $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion, he added, so the subject of the negotiations is quite a significant one.

Gazprom expected a base price of $400 for 1,000 cubic meters, an expert of the Eurasian Development Research Center of the Chinese State Council said in April, whereas the CNPC’s proposal was $350-360 for 1,000 cubic meters.

More details from RT:

A memorandum of understanding was signed in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping on the second day of Putin’s two-day state visit to Shanghai. The price China will pay for Russian gas remains a “commercial secret” according to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller. Gas will be delivered to China’s via the eastern ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline.

RT producers were informed of the landmark energy deal prior to its signing after a conversation with Miller.

Under the long-term deal, Gazprom will begin providing China’s growing economy with 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year for the next 30 years, beginning in 2018. The details of the deal were discussed for more than 10 years, with Moscow and Beijing negotiating over gas prices and the pipeline route, as well as possible Chinese stakes in Russian projects.

Just ahead of Putin’s visit to Shanghai, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave reassurance that the agreed price would be fair.

“One side always wants to sell for a higher price, while the other wants to buy for a lower price,” Medvedev said. “I believe that in the long run, the price will be fair and totally comparable to the price of European supplies.”

A major breakthrough in negotiations came on Sunday as Gazprom chief Aleksey Miller sat down with his CNPC counterpart, Zhou Jiping, in Beijing to discuss final details, including price formulas.

Although Europe is still Russia’s largest energy market – buying more than 160 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas in 2013 – Moscow will use every opportunity to diversify gas deliveries and boost its presence in Asian markets.

“I wouldn’t look for politics behind this, but I have no doubt that supplying energy to the Asia Pacific Region holds out a great promise in the future,” Medvedev said.

In October 2009, Gazprom and CNPC inked a framework agreement for the Altai project which envisions building a pipeline to supply natural gas from fields in Siberia via the western part of the Russia-China border.

In March 2013, Gazprom and CNPC signed a memorandum of understanding on Russian gas supplies to China along the so-called eastern ‘Power of Siberia’ route. When both pipelines are activated, Russia can supply Asia with 68 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Last year, China consumed about 170 billion cubic meters of natural gas and is expected to consume 420 billion cubic meters per year by 2020.

Regardless of what the final price ended up being, and whether or not China got the upper hand in the negotiations, the final outcome is there and it is real: as a result of his disastrous foreign policy in the past two months, Barack Obama finally pushed Russia into China’s hands, culminating with a deal that was ten years in the making and was never certain, until the Ukraine crisis.

And yes, this was all predictable from day one. Here is what we said precisely two months ago:

If it was the intent of the West to bring Russia and China together – one a natural resource (if “somewhat” corrupt) superpower and the other a fixed capital / labor output (if “somewhat” capital misallocating and credit bubbleicious) powerhouse – in the process marginalizing the dollar and encouraging Ruble and Renminbi bilateral trade, then things are surely “going according to plan.”

For now there have been no major developments as a result of the shift in the geopolitical axis that has seen global US influence, away from the Group of 7 (most insolvent nations) of course, decline precipitously in the aftermath of the bungled Syrian intervention attempt and the bloodless Russian annexation of Crimea, but that will soon change. Because while the west is focused on day to day developments in Ukraine, and how to halt Russian expansion through appeasement (hardly a winning tactic as events in the 1930s demonstrated), Russia is once again thinking 3 steps ahead… and quite a few steps east.

While Europe is furiously scrambling to find alternative sources of energy should Gazprom pull the plug on natgas exports to Germany and Europe (the imminent surge in Ukraine gas prices by 40% is probably the best indication of what the outcome would be), Russia is preparing the announcement of the “Holy Grail” energy deal with none other than China, a move which would send geopolitical shockwaves around the world and bind the two nations in a commodity-backed axis. One which, as some especially on these pages, have suggested would lay the groundwork for a new joint, commodity-backed reserve currency that bypasses the dollar, something which Russia implied moments ago when its finance minister Siluanov said that Russia may refrain from foreign borrowing this year. Translated: bypass western purchases of Russian debt, funded by Chinese purchases of US Treasurys, and go straight to the source.

Here is what will likely happen next, as explained by Reuters:

Igor Sechin gathered media in Tokyo the next day to warn Western governments that more sanctions over Moscow’s seizure of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine would be counter-productive.

The underlying message from the head of Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft, was clear: If Europe and the United States isolate Russia, Moscow will look East for new business, energy deals, military contracts and political alliances.

The Holy Grail for Moscow is a natural gas supply deal with China that is apparently now close after years of negotiations. If it can be signed when Putin visits China in May, he will be able to hold it up to show that global power has shifted eastwards and he does not need the West.

* * *

To summarize: while the biggest geopolitical tectonic shift since the cold war accelerates with the inevitable firming of the “Asian axis”, the west monetizes its debt, revels in the paper wealth created from an all time high manipulated stock market while at the same time trying to explain why 6.5% unemployment is really indicative of a weak economy, blames the weather for every disappointing economic data point, and every single person is transfixed with finding a missing airplane.

To conclude with the traditional geopolitical balance of power summary: Putin wins (again), Obama loses (again), and the monument to the dollar’s status as world’s reserve currency gets yet another tarnishing blow.

Source

Worldwide Field Development News May 3 – May 9, 2014

This week the SubseaIQ team added 6 new projects and updated 29 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Africa – West
Cajun Express Drilling FAN-1 and SNE-1 Top Holes Offshore Senegal
May 8, 2014 – Top hole drilling at the Cairn-operated FAN-1 well offshore Senegal has been completed and the Cajun Express (UDW semisub) has moved to spud the SNE-1 top hole. Once the top hole is complete, the rig will move back to FAN-1 and drill the well total depth. Both wells are located in the Sangomar Offshore license and are being drilled to test the North Fan and Lupalupa prospects respectively. Cairn operates the license with 40% interest. Its partners include ConocoPhillips (35%), FAR (15%) and Petrosen (10%).
Project Details: North Fan
CAMAC Ready to Kick-Off Oyo Development Activities
May 8, 2014 – CAMAC Energy reports the arrival of the Energy Searcher (mid-water drillship) in Nigerian waters. After taking on personnel, equipment and supplies, the rig will sail to the Oyo field in OML 120 to begin a development drilling program starting with the spud of Oyo-8. Upon the completion and tie-in of Oyo-8, the rig will relocate within the field to re-enter and tie-in Oyo-7. Both wells are expected to be producing at a rate of 14,000 bopd by November. Additionally, the company says the rig could drill one or more high-impact exploration wells in OML 120 and OML 121.
Project Details: Oyo
N. America – US GOM
Apache Divests Lucius, Heidelberg and Other GOM Interests
May 8, 2014 – Apache’s U.S. Gulf of Mexico subsidiary elected to sell off its minority interest in the Lucius and Heidelberg developments to a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. for $1.4 billion. The deal also includes 11 primary term deepwater exploration blocks. Apache combined its deepwater and shelf technical teams in an effort to focus on subsalt and exploration opportunities in water less than 1,000 feet deep. Apache is divesting an 11.7% interest in Lucius and a 12.5% interest in Heidelberg. Its interest in the 11 primary term blocks range from 16.67% to 60%. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by June 30. None of Apache’s producing operations are involved in the sale.
Project Details: Lucius
Maersk Developer Spuds Martin in Mississippi Canyon 718
May 8, 2014 – Exploratory drilling is underway at Statoil’s Martin prospect in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Martin is located in 2,916 feet of water in Mississippi Canyon Block 718. Statoil acquired the block for $157.1 million in October 2012 which was the highest bid received during the Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 216/222. The company considers Martin to be one of the top components of its global portfolio; it took only 20 months from acquisition of the acreage to advance the prospect to drillable status. Well #1 is expected to take around 150 days to complete and is the first of 4 possible wells that will be drilled in the area. Statoil, the sole participant in the well, contracted the Maersk Developer (UDW semisub) to carry out drilling operations.
Project Details: Martin (GOM)
Mediterranean
Kosmos Comes Up Dry with First Well Offshore Morocco
May 8, 2014 – Kosmos Energy failed to find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons at its FA-1 well in the Foum Assaka license offshore Morocco. FA-1 was drilled by the Maersk Discoverer (UDW semisub) to a total depth of 12,656 feet and is being plugged and abandoned. The well was designed to test the salt diapir play concept, which is one of several in the Agadir Basin. Oil and gas shows were seen in drill cuttings and in sidewall cores which suggests a working petroleum system in the area. Additionally, the well provided key information to calibrate seismic data that will further the geologic understanding of the license.
Project Details: FA-1 (Eagle)
Tamar Partners Sign LOI with Union Fenosa Gas
May 8, 2014 – A non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) was recently executed between the Tamar field partners and Union Fenosa Gas SA (UFG) regarding the supply of Tamar gas to UFG’s gas liquefaction facilities in Egypt. Terms of the LOI propose a 15-year contract term and total gross sales totaling roughly 440 MMcfd over the period. The LOI follows recent agreements with Palestine Power Generation Company, Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine Companies. A binding agreement with UFG is expected to be reached within the next 6 months pending Israeli and Egyptian regulatory approvals. Tamar has been estimated to hold 10 Tcf of discovered gas resources.
Project Details: Tamar
Australia
AWE Finally Reaches TD at Pateke-4H
May 8, 2014 – After several setbacks that necessitated two sidetracks, drilling operations at the AWE-operated Pateke-4H development well have come to an end. Target depth of the well was 17,654 feet but that was eventually revised to 15,656 feet. The decision to adjust the TD was made due to the 2,457-foot horizontal leg being drilled through a very high quality reservoir and to ensure a stable well bore necessary for completion and production. A 6 5/8″ slotted production liner has been installed and preparations are being made to run the completion. Pateke-4H is expected to begin production in 1Q 2015 following the installation of subsea infrastructure and tie-back to the Tui FPSO. Completion operations are expected to take about 10 days after which the Kan Tan IV (mid-water semisub) will relocate within the license to drill the Oi prospect.
Project Details: Tui Area Development Project
Asia – SouthEast
Norshore Wins Top Hole Drilling Contract for Shell’s Malikai Development
May 9, 2014 – Norshore, owner of the new Norshore Atlantic multipurpose drilling vessel, was awarded a contract by Shell’s Malaysian subsidiary to provide top hole drilling services at the Malikai field in Block G offshore Malaysia. The vessel was primarily designed for riser-less operations, making it well suited to drill top hole sections for developments such as Malikai. The contract will commence in April 2014 and should keep the vessel working through the end of the year. Shell and its partners discovered the field in 2004 and made the decision to proceed with development in early 2013. The development concept envisions 17 subsea wells tied back to the Malikai Tension Leg Platform (TLP). The Malikai joint venture includes Shell (35%), ConocoPhillips (35%) and Petronas (30%). Startup of the $775 million project is scheduled for late 2015.
Project Details: Malikai
KrisEnergy Improves Position in the Gulf of Thailand with G6/48 Acquisition
May 9, 2014 – Thai regulatory approval was recently granted for a March 2013 farm-out agreement between KrisEnergy and Mubadala Petroleum concerning the G6/48 block in the Gulf of Thailand. KrisEnergy now serves as the block operator with a 30% stake and its partners include Mubadala (30%) and Northern Gulf Petroleum (40%). Although it has been very active in the Gulf of Thailand, G6/48 will be the company’s first operated asset in the region. Contained within the block in the 2009 Rossukon oil discovery, an extensive 3D seismic survey was carried out over Rossukon in August 2013 and an appraisal drilling program is planned for later this year in an effort to delineate the discovery.
Project Details: Rossukon
Nido Reports Naga 5 Mobilizing to Baragatan
May 8, 2014 – The newly constructed UMW Naga 5 (400′ ILC) left the Keppel FELS yard at Singapore and is mobilizing to the Philippines to drill an exploratory well in Service Contract 63 (SC63). The well, expected to spud mid-May, will test the Baragatan prospect for the possibility of 676 million barrels in estimated gross unrisked resources.
Project Details: Baragatan
Otto Secures 14 Month Extension to SC55 Work Program
May 8, 2014 – Otto Energy received approval from the Philippines Department of Energy (DOE) for a 14-month extension to the work program regarding Service Contract 55 (SC55). The extension was granted after a lengthy delay in the approval process by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development for the SC55 Strategic Environmental Plan and the sudden departure of BHP Billiton from the license. Otto is well into a farm-out process to seek a participant in the Hawkeye-1 exploration well and is hopeful that the process will be completed shortly after the June 2014 deadline.
Project Details: Hawkeye
Europe – North Sea
Drivis Discovery Caps Off Mediocre Johan Castberg Drilling Campaign
May 8, 2014 – Statoil recently announced an oil and gas discovery at its Drivis prospect in Norwegian License PL532. Well 7220/7-3S was drilled by the West Hercules (UDW semisub) to a depth of 6,879 feet. A 223-foot gas column was encountered followed by a 282-foot oil column in the Sto and Nordmela formations. Recoverable volumes are estimated to range between 44 and 63 MMboe. Drivis was the last of a 5-well campaign aimed at proving additional resources around the Johan Castberg discovery. Of the 5 wells drilled, only 2 resulted in discoveries. License participants include Statoil (50%), Eni (30%) and Petoro (20%).
Project Details: Drivis
Lundin Proves Additional Oil Pay at Geitungen
May 8, 2014 – Lundin Petroleum recently finished drilling two appraisal wells at its 2012 Geitungen discovery in Norwegian license PL265. Wells 16/2-19 and 16/2-19A were drilled by the Ocean Vanguard (mid-water semisub) in 380 feet of water. Data indicates 20 feet of oil pay was encountered in good quality lower Jurassic and upper Triassic sands in well bore 16/2-19. Well 16/2-19A, drilled as a sidetrack to the southwest, yielded 33 feet of low to medium quality oil-filled upper Jurassic reservoir above 10 feet of excellent quality upper Jurassic sands that are likely part of the Draupne formation. The license is operated by Statoil (40%) on behalf of its partners Petoro (30%), Det norske (20%) and Lundin Petroleum (10%).
Project Details: Geitungen

Ocean Installer wins subsea installation job in GoM

Ocean Installer has been awarded a subsea installation job in the Gulf of Mexico with one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies on its largest deepwater producing field which sits in over 1800m water depth.

This is Ocean Installer’s first SURF contract in the GoM and marks a milestone for the company in the region.

The project, which involves the installation and testing of umbilicals and associated equipment, will be managed from the Ocean Installer Houston office with onshore preparations starting immediately. Offshore work will take place this summer and Ocean Installer will be utilising the Subsea Construction Vessel (CSV) the Normand Clipper, which is on a long-term charter from Solstad Offshore.

“This is our first SURF job in the GoM and we are very pleased to have secured this work only a year after we established our Houston office and less than four months after introducing our first vessel in the region. We are now looking forward to working closely with our client to execute the project in a safe, high quality and efficient manner,” says Mike Newbury, President of Ocean Installer in the US.

Ocean Installer opened its Houston office in April 2013 and the Normand Clipper arrived in Houston in January. The vessel has been well-received in the market and has since its arrival experienced good utilisation executing several jobs in the regional spot market.

Press Release, May 02, 2014

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