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USA: Weight Key Issue for LNG Trucks, Conference Concludes

With fuel savings between $1.50 and $2.00 per diesel gallon equivalent (dge), LNG-fueled trucks are being used by fleets for their most demanding routes: heavy haul, double-shift operations where truckers can consume 200 gallons per day, the World LNG Fuels conference concluded in January.

By using domestic LNG, operators can save as much as $75,000 annually in fuel costs, enough to pay for the cost of LNG equipment in 18 months.

Hindering this, however, is the higher weight of the LNG-fueled trucks, which weigh between 1,800 and 2,000 pounds (820 and 910 kg) more than their diesel counterparts. By law, most tractor-trailer combinations are limited to 80,000 pounds. Once the weight of the truck and trailer are deducted, payload capacity can be as little as 35,000 pounds. Thus, an increase in truck weight of 1,800 to 2,000 pounds can wipe away profits.

Truckers like Hoopes Transport President Preston Hoopes would like the U.S. DOT to consider waivers for the extra weight, given the benefits of the cleaner, domestic fuel.

“We need the government to allow extra weight. If the government wants us to use domestic LNG and CNG, they’ve got to give us weight help on our trucks,” Hoopes told World LNG Fuels 2013, held in Houston.

“We’re trying to get another trucking company in Pennsylvania to use LNG. They said ‘we can’t afford the extra weight, 2,000 extra pounds, which over a year’s time costs $20,000 in lost revenue,’” he said.

Hoopes operates some 50 trucks, 16 of which are LNG fueled, for a variety of cargos. In recent months, management has assigned their LNG units to their most fuel-intensive routes. They would like to move into the LNG-fuel supply business if the issue of weight can be resolved.

USA: Weight Key Issue for LNG Trucks, Conference Concludes LNG World News.

USA: Subsea 7 to Exhibit at Offshore Technology Conference

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Subsea 7, a global leader in seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services to the offshore energy industry, will be exhibiting the wealth of its expertise and some of its new groundbreaking technology at this year’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, USA, from 30 April to 3 May.

Subsea 7 will deliver seven conference papers and, among the range of new technology the company will be exhibiting at its booth 1641, will be its new flagship pipelay / heavylift vessel, the Seven Borealis, its pioneering Autonomous Inspection Vehicle (AIV), and its award winning Mechanically Lined Pipe technology. Also high on Subsea 7’s agenda at OTC 2012 will be the recruitment of talented engineers, project managers and support function personnel for its expanding work programme following the successful award of a number contracts.

Steve Wisely, Subsea 7’s Executive Vice-President – Commercial, said: “We will have a bigger presence than ever at OTC this year. This reflects the successful year we have had, the great strides that we have made in technology solutions and our service offering to clients. Subsea projects are getting more complex and challenging, in deeper waters and more harsh environments. We want to show clients the full range of our capabilities, including a large and modern fleet, our expertise and our ability to deliver their projects. And for people looking for new employment challenges with a rewarding company, we have a number of opportunities available.”

Subsea 7 has been investing in renewing its fleet in the last year, including its new flagship vessel, the Seven Borealis, which is due to go on its first project later this year. With its combined S-lay and J-lay pipelay and 5,000t heavylift capabilities, the Seven Borealis is one of the most versatile subsea construction vessels in the industry, ideally suited to meet the exacting requirements of ultra-deep and deepwater projects.

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In the area of Life-of-Field support, Subsea 7 will showcase its revolutionary AIV, which is now commercially available. A differentiating element of the AIV is its ability to recognise and respond to its surroundings, being able to correct its trajectory in real time, based on information it gathers from its onboard sensors. The AIV, which can operate directly from a host facility, such as an FPSO or Platform, or from infield support vessels or mobile rigs, will transform Life-of-Field projects. It can provide cost-effective, low-risk inspection to aid field survey and integrity management and intervention activities.

The full range of Subsea 7’s capabilities in riser technology, pipe-in-pipe and pipeline welding will be on show at OTC. The company’s technological expertise was recently recognised by the industry’s prestigious Pipeline Industries Guild giving Subsea 7 the Subsea Pipeline Technology Award for the installation of Mechanically Lined Pipe by reel–lay, which will be on display at the show. The technology, independently qualified by DNV, has demonstrated its market potential and been adopted for the first major pre-salt project, Guará-Lula NE, in Brazil by Petrobras.

Seven technical papers will be delivered by Subsea 7 at this year’s OTC, showcasing its experience and capabilities to deliver innovative solutions for clients’ projects. These are:

• Accounting for Vortex Induced Vibration (VIV) in wake induced motion of risers in tandem at high reynolds number

• A giant step and innovative subsea project – Pazflor

• Innovation in ROV/AUV technology – Autonomous Inspection Vehicle: A new dimension in Life-of-Field operations

• Design consideration and equipment details of the 5,000t mast crane of the deepwater pipelay and heavylift vessel Seven Borealis

• Improved pile driving prediction in carbonate soil and rock

• Mechanically Lined Bubi® Pipe – installation by reel-lay

• GIS support for field development project: A contractor experience and perspective.

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The tab for U.N.’s Rio summit: Trillions per year in taxes, transfers and price hikes

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By George Russell
Published April 20, 2012
FoxNews.com

The upcoming United Nations environmental conference on sustainable development will consider  a breathtaking array of carbon taxes, transfers of trillions of dollars from wealthy countries to poor ones, and new spending programs to guarantee that populations around the world are protected from the effects of the very programs the world organization wants to implement, according to stunning U.N. documents examined  by Fox News.

The main goal of the much-touted, Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, scheduled to be held in Brazil from June 20-23, and which Obama Administration officials have supported,  is to make dramatic and enormously expensive changes  in the way that the world does nearly everything—or, as one of the documents puts it, “a fundamental shift in the way we think and act.”

Among the proposals on how the “challenges can and must be addressed,” according to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

–More than $2.1 trillion a year in wealth transfers from rich countries to poorer ones, in the name of fostering “green infrastructure, ”  “climate adaptation” and other “green economy” measures.

–New carbon taxes for industrialized countries that could cost about $250 billion a year, or 0.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product, by 2020. Other environmental taxes are mentioned, but not specified.

–Further unspecified price hikes that extend beyond fossil fuels to anything derived from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, or other kinds of land and water use, all of which would be radically reorganized. These cost changes would “contribute to a more level playing field between established, ‘brown’ technologies and newer, greener ones.”

– Major global social spending programs, including a “social protection floor” and “social safety nets” for the world’s most vulnerable social groups  for reasons of “equity.”

–Even more social benefits for those displaced by the green economy revolution—including those put out of work in undesirable fossil fuel industries. The benefits, called “investments,”  would include “access to nutritious food, health services, education, training and retraining, and unemployment benefits.”

–A guarantee that if those sweeping benefits weren’t enough, more would be granted. As one of the U.N. documents puts it:  “Any adverse effects of changes in prices of goods and services vital to the welfare of vulnerable groups must be compensated for and new livelihood opportunities provided.”

Click here for the Executive Summary Report.

That  huge catalogue of taxes and spending is described optimistically as “targeted investments  in human and social capital on top of investments in natural capital and green physical capital,” and is accompanied by the claim that it will all, in the long run, more than pay for itself.

But the whopping green “investment” list  barely scratches the surface of the mammoth exercise in global social engineering that is envisaged in the U.N. documents, prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Environmental Management Group (UNEMG), a consortium of 36 U.N. agencies, development banks  and environmental bureaucracies, in advance of the Rio session.

An earlier version of the report was presented  at a closed door session of the U.N.’s top bureaucrats during a Long Island retreat last October, where Rio was discussed as a “unique opportunity” to drive an expanding U.N. agenda for years ahead.

Click here for more on this story from Fox News.

Under the ungainly title of Working Towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy, A United Nations System-Wide Perspective,  the  final version of the 204-page report is intended to “contribute” to preparations for the Rio + 20 summit, where one of the two themes is “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. ”  (The other theme is “the institutional framework for sustainable development” –sometimes known as global environmental governance.)

But in fact, it also lays out new roles for private enterprise, national governments, and a bevy of socialist-style worker, trade and citizens’ organizations in creating a sweeping international social reorganization, all closely monitored by regulators and governments to maintain environmental “sustainability” and “human equity.”

“Transforming the global economy will require action locally (e.g., through land use planning), at the national level (e.g., through energy-use regulations) and at the international level (e.g., through technology diffusion),” the document says. It involves “profound changes in economic systems, in resource efficiency, in the composition of global demand, in production and consumption patterns and a major transformation in public policy-making.”  It will also require “a serious rethinking of lifestyles in developed countries.”

As the report puts it, even though “the bulk of green investments will come from the private sector,” the “role of the public sector… is indispensable for influencing the flow of private financing.”  It adds that the green economy model “recognizes the value of markets, but is not tied to markets as the sole or best solution to all problems.”

Among other countries, the report particularly lauds China as “a good example of combining investments and public policy incentives to encourage major advances in the development of cleaner technologies.”

Along those lines, it says, national governments need to reorganize themselves to ” collectively design fiscal and tax policies as well as policies on how to use the newly generated revenue”  from their levies. There,  “U.N. entities can help governments and others to find the most appropriate ways of phasing out harmful subsidies while combining that with the introduction of new incentive schemes to encourage positive steps forward.”

U.N. organizations can also “encourage the ratification of relevant international agreements, assist the Parties to implement and comply with related obligations…and build capacity, including that of legislators at national and sub-national levels to prepare and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.”

The report declares that “scaled-up and accelerated international cooperation” is required, with new coordination at “the international, sub-regional, and regional levels.”  Stronger regulation is needed, and “to avoid the proliferation of national regulations and standards, the use of relevant international standards is essential” — an area where the U.N. can be very helpful, the report indicates.

The U.N. is also ready to supply new kinds of statistics to bolster and measure the changes that the organization foresees—including indicators that do away with old notions of economic growth and progress and replace them with new statistics. One example: “the U.N. System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), which will become an internationally agreed statistical framework in 2012.” 

These changes, the authors reassure readers, will  only be done in line with the “domestic development agendas” of the countries involved.

“A green economy is not a one-size-fits-all path towards sustainable development,” an executive summary of the report declares.   Instead it is a “dynamic policy toolbox” for local decision-makers, who can decide to use it optionally.

But even so, the  tools are intended for only one final aim. And they have the full endorsement  of U.N. Secretary General Ban, who declares in a forward to the document that “only such integrated approach will lay lasting foundations for peace and sustainable development,” and calls the upcoming Rio conclave a “generational opportunity” to act.

Click here for the full report.

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found on Twitter @GeorgeRussell

Click here for more stories by George Russell.

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Obama administration sees Rio + 20 Summit in June as Festival of Global Greenness

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By George Russell
Published February 24, 2012
FoxNews.com

With gasoline prices spiking, a presidential election looming in the fall, and recent failures at reaching sweeping global agreements on environmental policy, the Obama Administration is heading into this summer’s Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development with modest goals, looking for areas of broad agreement and civic engagement that can be touted as populist environmental progress.

“We consider it an aspirational meeting,” a U.S. State Department spokesman told Fox News.

“This is a good, positive meeting,” in which “we go forward in as pragmatic a way as possible.”
The apparent aim is to turn the June Rio + 20 Conference –a nostalgic reference to the last environmental summit Rio de Janeiro hosted in 1992– into a festival of global greenness, in order to create the widest possible sense of participation around the planet. In short, something like a global Green Woodstock, this time enhanced on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Nevertheless, the long-term goal of Rio + 20 remains the same: to push the world as fast as possible toward a drastic reordering of social, economic and industrial policies, reorganize global distribution of food and water supplies, and engage in mammoth international financing exercises and new exercises in “global governance” to make the whole scheme work.

Click here to read more on that story from Foxnews.com.

Only now, the emphasis is on cooperation rather than hard bargaining—especially in the wake of the failure last December of another U.N. effort in Durban, South Africa, to create a new global environmental deal to replace the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gas suppression, which expires at the end of 2012. The Durban failure followed the even more highly publicized failure to achieve the same thing at a summit in Copenhagen in December, 2009.

Yet another reason for soft-pedaling the discussion is the U.S. presidential elections in November. A happy-face summit in Rio that mobilizes environmental enthusiasm around the world is definitely more to the advantage of the incumbent Obama Administration than a strident meeting that ends in failure or fizzle. The recent spike in gasoline prices in the U.S. is also likely to dampen domestic enthusiasm for environmental mandates that would likely make carbon-based energy even more expensive.

Hence the need for a new strategy. Or, as a U.S. diplomat put it at a U.N. session last month to begin considering the “zero draft” of a communiqué put it: “We should focus on partnership, inclusion, and cooperation rather than false distinctions between countries.”

A first round of “informal-formal” negotiations on the draft is slated to begin in New York City in mid-March, immediately after a major preparatory meeting for the Rio conference that starts on March 4. Negotiations over the outcome document will like continue through the Rio summit itself, which is scheduled for June 20-22.

Conciliatory themes very much lie at the center of U.S. notions concerning the Rio communiqué, chief among them being to keep any broad, sweeping statements about the summit aims short and sweet, and concentrate as much as possible on engaging a global audience.

Indeed, at a preliminary meeting on the draft in December, the U.S. declared that the zero draft “should provide a political statement no more than five pages long. We do not see the need for chapters in a concise political document.”

So far, the zero draft, entitled “The Future We Want,” isn’t there: it is 19 pages long, and broken into five chapters.

One approach for Rio that the U.S. government is strongly backing is to engage as many people, institutions, businesses and governments as possible around the world to sign onto a “Compendium of Commitments” –in effect, a set of green goals of their own devising—that will create a groundswell of activity in line with the conference’s aims.

“These are voluntary, non-regulatory commitments that any party is willing to put forward,” a State Department spokesman who is knowledgeable about the process told Fox News. “It would not require a negotiated resolution on behalf of the U.N. community. “ It could be, say, a beverage company that promises to cut water usage over the next ten years.”

“This is what we really see as valuable.”

To that end, a flotilla of senior Obama Administration officials descended earlier this month on Stanford University, for a two-day conference entitled US Rio + 2.0, on using “connection technologies,” meaning social media, “to advance sustainable development solutions in the fields of health, the environment, agriculture, and sustainable economic growth.” The conference aimed at highlighting a fast-mutating array of high-tech opportunities to create new solutions to social and economic problems—akin to the Compendium approach that the U.N. is now advocating for Rio + 20.

At the Stanford session, Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson declared that “The Internet and social networks give citizens from across the globe the ability to participate in the push towards sustainability in their own communities. We should challenge ourselves to find creative new ways to apply existing technologies, and look ahead to emerging technologies and their potential impacts.”

Jackson’s statement is now linked prominently on the State Department’s own Rio + 20 website page.

But even while discussion of the Rio + 20 outcome is being framed in feel-good, futuristic terms, the old, tough issues of the global green economy debate linger in the bureaucratic langue of the middle passages of the zero draft document.

Among other things, the document as written includes an agreement to “provide new, additional and scaled up sources of financing to developing countries,” without going into details. It also includes a need to “gradually eliminate subsidies that have considerable negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development”—rhetoric that could justify such controversial measures as the Obama Administration’s new, proposed tax bias against oil and gas companies.

Moreover, the document contains a time line that, in veiled terms, continues to call for more efforts to overcome the failure to produce a comprehensive global agreement on “sustainable” development by 2015 that would take increasing effect over the following 15 years.

It also argues that “strong governance at local, national, regional and global levels is critical for advancing sustainable development,” and says strengthening this “institutional framework” should involve identifying “specific actions in order to fulfill the sustainable development agenda through the promotion of integrated decision making at all levels.”

Click here to read the Zero Draft document.

When it comes to what specifics the U.S. delegation favors, a State Department spokesman told Fox News that “what happens will be coming into focus in the next few months.”
In the meantime, he said, “we are listening to a lot of views.”

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found at Twitter@GeorgeRussell
Click here for more stories by George Russell

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