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Reef Subsea Secures Offshore Operations Contracts in West Africa

Reef Subsea has secured two contracts for offshore operations in the West Africa region with a combined value of more than US$15M (£9.8 Million).

The firm’s IMR and Construction division, based in Bergen, Norway, is working with two major oil and gas companies on the projects in The Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.

For both projects, Reef Subsea, which also has a presence in Aberdeen, Houston, Mandal in Norway and Surrey and Stockton-on-Tees in England, is providing operational support using one of its subsea construction support vessel’s, Reef Larissa, which will perform structure installations, ROV & survey operations and commissioning support in water depths down to 1400 metres. In addition, onshore engineering will be delivered from Reef Subsea’s Bergen office. Reef Subsea will add to the operational competence and experience involved in the projects while ensuring the scope of work is carried out in a safe and efficient manner.

Tim Sheehan, Executive VP Commercial of Reef Subsea, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded these two contracts, which confirm our teams and assets are well adapted to subsea construction operations in deepwater worldwide. We have already worked in West Africa over the past few years, and are pleased to be operating in this region again to strengthen our reputation further.”

Ørjan Lunde, Managing Director of Reef Subsea IRM & Construction, said: “We are pleased to have secured these two projects in West Africa with blue chip operating companies. West Africa will be a key region for us in the future to meet our strategy to become a leader in field of life IRM & Construction services.”

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Ezra Secures USD 65 Million Contracts in GoM and West Africa

Ezra Holdings Limited (Ezra, the Group), a leading global offshore contractor and provider of integrated offshore solutions to the oil and gas (O&G) industry, today announced that its subsea construction division, EMAS AMC, has secured contracts worth more than US$65 million, including options, for projects in the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa.

The Gulf of Mexico work will see EMAS AMC introduce the Lewek Falcon, a versatile subsea construction vessel, into the Gulf of Mexico for a long-term campaign on the Walker Ridge Gathering System (WRGS), which is an ultra-deep (2500 metres) setup to provide natural gas gathering services. The scope of work will consist of the transportation and installation of suction piles, manifolds and jumpers along with pipeline pre-commissioning support, and work is expected to commence first half of 2013.

The West Africa-Equatorial Guinea contract extends an existing general service agreement with ExxonMobil for subsea engineering, subsea construction and ROV support activities in West Africa through mid-2014.

Mr Lionel Lee, Managing Director of Ezra Holdings, said: “These project wins demonstrate that our subsea focus is paying off. We have been building a strong track record for our subsea construction division the past year, with past and recent project awards in remote areas and ultra-deep waters. Our continuous investment in people and key assets will reinforce our ability to efficiently and reliably support our growing global client base.”

Project management and engineering will begin immediately from EMAS AMC’s Houston office.

Subsea World News – Ezra Secures USD 65 Million Contracts in GoM and West Africa.

Few to Take On Mali Militants

October 17, 2012

By DREW HINSHAW

BAMAKO, Mali—A prospective military campaign against al Qaeda and its allies in the vast desert of this West African country has hit an obstacle: Neither Mali nor its neighbors appear ready to send soldiers into a land war, against war-hardened militants, in the world’s largest desert.

Late last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution giving West African states 45 days to plan to retake Mali’s north, now held by Islamic fundamentalist rebels allied to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The resolution has taken on urgency after AQIM, as the Saharan offshoot is known, was linked to last month’s attack on U.S. consulate sites in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans.

AQIM militants roam the Sahara from Mauritania to Libya, a swath larger than India. After Mali’s democratically elected government collapsed earlier this year, they have taken over Mali’s France-sized north and begun to enforce Islamic law with public amputations and executions.

Now, foreign governments want to borrow a page from Somalia, where African Union peacekeepers recently routed al Qaeda-allied militants, a crucial step in stabilizing the strife-torn East African country. On Friday, dignitaries from the U.N., France, the U.S. and across Africa are set to assemble in Bamako, the country’s unassuming capital, for the largest meeting to date on the crisis.

But confusion in Bamako—along with the challenges such a military action could pose—have delayed the campaign, ceding Mali’s north to an al Qaeda affiliate eager to strike Western targets.

Mali’s own army lacks training, equipment and arms. In an indication of the general confusion there, officials in Guinea recently intercepted a shipment of weapons destined for Bamako because they weren’t sure who would end up with the arms. On Wednesday, Guinean officials agreed on plans to return it, the Associated Press reported.

The Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, has proposed sending 3,300 personnel from Mali and its neighbors to battle in the north. But even some Ecowas member countries are hesitant to dispatch combat troops, and there is no indication that international forces would join in.

At the U.N., Security Council diplomats have said the Ecowas mission isn’t properly organized and that it won’t authorize any force until it is. The Pentagon is willing to send advisers to help with Ecowas force-deployment—once Ecowas has a plan for Mali—but won’t send forces, U.S. defense officials say. A U.S. appropriations act blocks Washington from providing direct military aid to a non-democratic state such as Mali. The U.S. is considering unilateral strikes in the region, officials have said, and the White House’s National Security Council has asked civilian experts to put together a list of potential air strike targets there, according to one of the analysts asked.

French President François Hollande, too, has said France would provide logistical and training assistance to an Ecowas-led military intervention but wouldn’t send soldiers. The EU was expected earlier this week to announce a training program for Malian and African troops, but instead said Monday it would propose the program by mid-November.

Mali defense officials say such shortages won’t stop their campaign.

“We’re going to start the mission without Ecowas and they can come find us along the road,” said Mali defense ministry spokesman Nouhoum Togo.

On a recent afternoon outside the capital, in Mali’s south, a group of Malian soldiers rehearsed for war by practicing driving flatbed trucks over scrubland, the closest thing at hand to a desert. For years, the U.S. held annual exercises with Malian soldiers on a nearby plot of land. But when al Qaeda rebels ambushed Mali’s military outposts in the north, many of those same soldiers fled.

“Before, we weren’t ready to die,” said Mr. Togo, the defense ministry spokesman. “Now, for our dignity and our country, we’re ready to die.”

The same month Mali’s army abandoned the north, frustrated army officers staged a coup, toppling the democratically elected government in Bamako. Heavily armed Islamic fundamentalists now rule the north.

Of the 3,300 personnel West Africa nations have tentatively offered to send, the bulk would come from Nigeria. Many of the rest include non-combat personnel: police officers, engineers, doctors. Tiny Togo is likely to send about 100 troops, its prime minister said. Guinea-Bissau is sending personnel, but its army is preoccupied governing a country. Cape Verde has committed five doctors.

Aside from Nigeria, the Ivory Coast is a big backer of military intervention in its northern neighbor. Yet both the Ivory Coast and Liberia are hosting U.N. peacekeeping missions after their own recent civil conflicts.

West Africa’s hawks are making slow progress persuading leaders from nearby North African countries. In particular, Algeria has expressed concerns that Mali’s rebels could retreat across their shared 855-mile desert border. Even 3,300 battle-equipped soldiers from West Africa would be too few, say many analysts, to secure a sweep of dune, boulders and mountains that the French themselves failed to thoroughly colonize. Nigeria is pushing Ecowas to raise its troop commitments to 5,000 troops, according to one of the country’s senior security officials. Nigeria is lobbying Senegal to provide much of that margin.

Mali’s Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra, one of the top leaders of the transitional government, is a former scientist who worked at NASA during the 1990s and 2000s. Today, he has the formidable task of convincing other African countries to help clear the country’s north of militants. The prime minister has been to Niger, Algeria, Morocco, Chad and South Africa seeking support.

South Africa and Chad have voiced willingness to participate. But it isn’t yet clear what such troops would be doing in Mali. Ecowas plans to invade the cities of the north, according to its Special Representative to Mali Aboudou Touré Cheaka. These would include the historic and vulnerable trading town of Timbuktu, where 14th-century clay monuments have been smashed by Islamists who view them as sacrilegious.

Mali’s army has asked that Ecowas soldiers stay behind and guard Mali’s middle belt. Many observers expect foreign troops will end up in the south, patrolling the capital, providing a sense of security to civilian leaders like the president. President Dioncounda Traoré spent May and June convalescing after pro-coup protestors broke into his office and beat him with the helmet of a palace guard.

—Julian E. Barnes, Joe Lauria and David Gauthier-Villars contributed to this article.

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The Un-American Vision of Barack Obama – Thomas Sowell

Years, and sometimes decades, pass between my visits to movie theaters. But I drove 30 miles to see the movie 2016: Obama’s America, based on Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. Where I live is so politically correct that such a movie would not even be mentioned, much less shown.

Every seat in the theater was filled, even though there had been an earlier showing that day, and more showings were scheduled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I had to sit on a staircase in the balcony, but it was worth it.

The audience was riveted. You could barely hear a sound from them, or detect a movement, and you certainly could not smell popcorn. Yet the movie had no bombast, no violence, no sex, and no spectacular visual effects.

The documentary itself was fascinating, as D’Souza presented the story of Barack Obama’s life and view of the world in a very conversational sort of way, illustrating it with visits to people and places around the world that played a role in the way Obama’s ideas and beliefs evolved.

It was refreshing to see how addressing adults as adults could be effective, in an age when so many parts of the media address the public as if they were children who need a constant whirlwind of sounds and movements to keep them interested.Dinesh D’Souza’s own perspective, as someone born in India who came to America and became an American, provided a special insight into the way people from the Third World often perceive or misperceive the United States and the Western world.

That Third World perspective is Obama’s perspective, D’Souza demonstrates in this documentary, as in his book — and it is a perspective that is very foreign to that of most Americans, which may be why some believe that Obama was born elsewhere.

D’Souza is convinced that the president was born in Hawaii, as Obama claims, and argues that it was not only Obama’s time living in Indonesia and his emotionally charged visits to his father’s home in Africa that have had a deep and impassioned effect on his thinking.

The story of Barack Obama, however, is not just the story of how one man came to be the way he is. It is a much larger story about how millions of Americans came to vote for, and some to idolize, a man whose fundamental beliefs and values are so different from their own.

For every person who sees Obama as somehow foreign, there are many others who see him as a mainstream American political figure — and an inspiring one.

This D’Souza attributes to Barack Obama’s great talents in rhetoric, and his ability to project an image that resonates with most Americans, however much that image may differ from, or even flatly contradict, the reality of Obama’s own ideological view of the world.

What is that ideological view?

The Third World, or anti-colonial, view is that the rich nations have gotten rich by taking wealth from the poor nations. It is part of a much larger vision, in which the rich in general have gotten rich by taking from the poor, whether in their own country or elsewhere.

Whatever its factual weaknesses, it is an emotionally powerful vision, to which many people have dedicated their lives and for which some have even risked their lives. Some of these people appear in this documentary, as they have appeared throughout the formative phases of Barack Obama’s life.

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is just the most visible and vocal of a long line of people who played crucial roles in Obama’s evolution. When Wright thundered about how “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” he captured the essence of the anti-colonial vision.

But many of the other mentors, allies, family members, and friends of Barack Obama over the years were of the same mind-set, as this documentary demonstrates.

More important, the movie 2016 demonstrates how so many of Obama’s actions as president of the United States, which D’Souza had predicted on the basis of his study of Obama’s background, are perfectly consistent with that ideology, however inconsistent they might be with the rhetoric that gained him the highest office in the land.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at theHoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

The Un-American Vision of Barack Obama – Thomas Sowell – National Review Online.

Wood Mackenzie: East Africa’s Yet-to-Find Reserves Hold 95 tcf of Gas

Wood Mackenzie: East Africa’s Yet-to-Find Reserves Hold 95 tcf of Gas| Offshore Energy Today

Wood Mackenzie estimates that 100 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas has been discovered in Mozambique and Tanzania to date, ranking the Rovuma Basin as one of the most prolific conventional gas plays in the world.

However, there are significant technical and commercial challenges to be overcome in order to bring the gas to market by the end of this decade. These include: addressing issues around infrastructure, government capacity, financing and reaching a positive outcome to unitisation negotiations in Mozambique.

Recent discoveries and high profile M&A activity in Mozambique and Tanzania are attracting attention and Martin Kelly, Wood Mackenzie’s Head of Sub-Sahara Upstream Research, says the interest is justified: “100 tcf of gas has been discovered to date in East Africa and we estimate yet-to-find reserves could be as much as 80 tcf in Mozambique and 15 tcf in Tanzania. There is clearly plenty of gas to supply the likely commercialisation route of LNG – theoretically enough to support up to 16 LNG trains.

“The Rovuma basin is the most prolific in the region, and one of the hottest conventional gas plays in the world, with 85 tcf discovered so far. Globally in 2011, it yielded the third most hydrocarbons, and we expect it to top the list in 2012 if the first half of the year is anything to go by,” Kelly continues.

In neighbouring Tanzania, the targets are the northern extension of the Rovuma Basin and the Mafia Basin. Kelly says: “Tanzania has enjoyed considerable exploration success as well, but hasn’t discovered the same scale of reserves. The average discovery size is much smaller at around 2 tcf, compared to Mozambique which is over 7 tcf. Discoveries in Tanzania are also more spread out, so developing them will be more expensive than those in Mozambique because additional infrastructure will be required.”

One of the most immediate challenges for Mozambique, is the unitisation discussions which Wood Mackenzie understands have already begun. Kelly explains; “Of the 85 tcf of gas discovered to date in Mozambique, around half of it is thought to be one enormous field which is in communication across the block. Under Mozambican law, a unitisation agreement between the operating parties will be required.”

Although there is a risk that unitisation discussions could delay Final Investment Decision (FID) – the crucial last step before commercial development – and therefore LNG production, there are other discoveries which are wholly contained in Area 1 and Area 4 and therefore gas could come from these first.

Giles Farrer, Senior LNG research analyst for Wood Mackenzie comments: “Many challenges will need to be overcome prior to LNG project sanction. The region’s remoteness and lack of development present serious technical obstacles. There is virtually no existing skilled workforce and both Mozambique and Tanzania will have to build and establish deepwater ports capable of servicing the needs of the petroleum sector. On the commercial side, there is the question of government capacity – whether there is sufficient impetus and capability within the governments and national oil companies to advance the huge legislative, bureaucratic, customs and financial challenges that such a development would bring.

“The major outstanding milestone for Mozambique is the conclusion of a commercial framework agreement, which is in the process of being negotiated. It will determine how the LNG facility or facilities will be structured for the purpose of taxation and whether the Joint Ventures (JVs) will co-operate in the construction of a single, mega LNG facility, or pursue individual developments. One crucial advantage that the Tanzanian projects enjoy is that they have already negotiated commercial terms, prior to the announcement of their projects.”

Farrer continues: “Lastly there is the question of finance, we estimate that a two train greenfield development in the region is going to cost at least US$25 billion, and for some of the players involved financing their share of this sort of development cost will certainly prove challenging and could delay development.”

The joint analysis by Wood Mackenzie’s upstream and LNG research teams stresses that these challenges are not insurmountable. “They have been encountered and overcome in several countries before. The risk is that delays could lengthen development schedules and add to costs,” Farrer says in closing.

Wood Mackenzie: East Africa’s Yet-to-Find Reserves Hold 95 tcf of Gas| Offshore Energy Today.

Rialto Energy: Encouraging Oil Shows at Gazelle-P4 Well (Ivory Coast)

Rialto Energy: Encouraging Oil Shows at Gazelle-P4 Well (Ivory Coast)| Offshore Energy Today

Rialto Energy Limited, an international exploration and production company has drilled the Gazelle-P4 Development Well, offshore Côte D’Ivoire to the the planned final depth of 3522m MDRT (2720m TVDSS).

This has taken 28 days from spud to TD. According to the company’s report the well has encountered encouraging oil and gas shows through the Upper Cenomanian and gas shows through the Lower Cenomanian reservoir intervals.  These will now be evaluated by wire line logging, fluid and pressure sampling to properly evaluate the shows, and identify potential test intervals.

Rialto will now release the Transocean GSF Monitor jack-up rig to focus on the FEED for the Gazelle field development and to further refine exploration options for its Cote d’Ivoire acreage.

Rialto is the Operator (85% working interest) of the CI-202 block offshore Côte d’Ivoire. The CI-202 block contains the Gazelle Field, which is the current focus of development, with first production expected by early 2014.

A Competent Person’s Report completed in September 2011 by RPS Energy Services in relation to CI-202 certified Total Mean Contingent Resources of 50 MMbbls of liquids and 396 Bcf of gas, in addition to Total Mean Prospective Resources of 511 MMbbls of liquids and 1,785 Bcf of gas.

Rialto Energy: Encouraging Oil Shows at Gazelle-P4 Well (Ivory Coast)| Offshore Energy Today.

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