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Two Pre-Season Storms Eyed in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, Could Cause Damages to Gas, Oil Projects in Gulf of Mexico

(Photo: NOAA/NHC)
The new NASA satellite is meant to assist weather analysts to predict typhoons and provide experts with an enhanced outlook of climate change

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa:
May 15, 2012 5:39 AM GMT

Natural gas and oil development projects near the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, could be facing potential damages in the coming months with the onset of the rainy season.

This early, two pre-season storms have been spotted in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the National Hurricane Center, Bloomberg News reported.

Storms that enter the Gulf of Mexico could damage and halt both operations and production of natural gas and oil development projects in the area. Just this March, according to a one-year progress report on the Obama administration’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Policy, it said that the Gulf of Mexico is safely back to strong production after the much celebrated 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, otherwise known as the BP oil disaster or the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Of the two pre-season storms spotted by the National Hurricane Center, the stronger one was found in the Pacific about 550 miles or 885 kilometers south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. In a weather bulletin, the center said it has a 50 per cent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next day or two.

The one in the Atlantic, meanwhile, was 460 miles west-southwest of the Azores, with a 20 per cent probability of becoming a sub-tropical storm in the next two days.

The eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons officially start on May 15 and June 1, respectively.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico flowed for three months in 2010. It is recorded as the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. The spill, which stemmed from a sea-floor oil that resulted from the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men and injured 17 others, including massive damage to marine and wildlife habitats and to the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries.

Two Pre-Season Storms Eyed in Atlantic, Pacific oceans, Could Cause Damages to Gas, Oil Projects in Gulf of Mexico – International Business Times.

Keep off beaches, Peru warns after mass pelican deaths

http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120505&t=2&i=603448050&w=&fh=&fw=&ll=700&pl=300&r=CBRE8441TAJ00

LIMA | Sat May 5, 2012 7:30pm EDT

(Reuters) – Peru‘s government declared a health alert along its northern coastline on Saturday and urged residents and tourists alike to stay away from long stretches of beach, as it investigates the unexplained deaths of hundreds of dolphins and pelicans.

At least 1,200 birds, mostly pelicans, washed up dead along a stretch of Peru’s northern Pacific coastline in recent weeks, health officials said, after an estimated 800 dolphins died in the same area in recent months.

The Health Ministry recommended staying away from beaches, though stopped short of a ban, and called on health officials to use gloves, masks and other protective gear when collecting dead birds.

The peak tourism season around Lima‘s beaches is over, though many surfers are still venturing into the waters near the capital.

The Agriculture Ministry said preliminary tests on some dead pelicans pointed to malnourishment. Oscar Dominguez, head of the ministry’s health department, said experts had ruled out bird flu.

“The Health Ministry … calls on the population to abstain from going to the beaches until the health alert is lifted,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website, along with a photograph of a dead pelican.

The ministry said officials had so far checked 18 beaches in and around Lima for dead birds, but gave no details on any findings.

A mass pelican death along Peru’s northern coast in 1997 was blamed at the time on a shortage of feeder anchovies due to the El Nino phenomenon.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Caroline Stauffer; Writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Sandra Maler)

The Lone Icebreaker: U.S. Sovereignty in the Arctic

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Tyler Davis

The United States Coast Guard is being left behind in the Arctic. While countries such as Russia are building up their icebreaker fleet and actively increasing their presence in the Arctic, the United States is losing its only form of sovereignty in the region.

On December 1, Rear Admiral Jeffrey M. Garrett, U.S. Coast Guard, testified before Congress on protecting U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic. He stated in Second Line of Defense that “the Icebreaker fleet represents the main surface presence that the U.S. can exert in what is essentially a maritime domain in the Arctic Ocean.” Yet today, the Coast Guard has an icebreaker fleet of only three ships. Worse yet, two of these ships are out of commission due to maintenance work and will not be available for at least seven more years.

The lone icebreaker in commission is the USCGC Healy, which conducts all types of missions from search and rescue to navigational aid to scientific research. Though the ship has been effective at its job in the Arctic, it is designed to break through ice of only medium thickness; for ice of heavy thickness, the Healy is absolutely useless. And like the other two icebreakers, it is quickly aging.

Without efforts to modernize the fleet, the future of the U.S. national maritime interest and security in the Arctic is looking pretty bleak. Icebreakers are a necessity in the region, and without them the U.S. might as well throw in the towel. These ships are key to year-round access to the Arctic and are the only U.S. insurance policy for future hazardous events. If something happens to the Healy, then the United States would not only lose access to the region but would not be able to react to potential oil spills and would become less effective in search-and-rescue missions.

Complicating matters even further, ice in the Arctic is melting, producing more ocean area for the transportation of goods and services in the region. Essentially, whoever best utilizes this route will control trade and transportation of goods and materials in the upper hemisphere. With all other nations around the Arctic building their icebreaker fleets and exploiting the key transportation route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the United States is falling behind.

In order to create an icebreaking fleet to maintain U.S. presence in the region, the Administration should look toward privatizing the fleet. Allowing private companies to own and operate the U.S. icebreaking fleet and perform national security functions would not only allow for crucial modernization but also save federal dollars and expand U.S. capabilities in the Arctic. This is particularly important at a time when the government is looking to cut corners in federal spending.

Ultimately, something must be done. If the U.S. does not act fast, it will come in last in the race for the Arctic.

Tyler Davis is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

Posted in American Leadership

Regional disputes delay large-scale drilling of oil in South China Sea

Oil rig under tow, South China Sea-photo: Peter Bowater

Posted by thủy tinh vỡ

HANO: To China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, another Saudi Arabia of oil may lie beneath the ocean to its south. Escalating regional tensions mean large-scale drilling may be slipping further into the future.

The South China Sea may hold 213 billion barrels of oil, or 80 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s reserves, according to Chinese studies cited in 2008 by the United States Energy Information Agency. The world’s second-largest economy claims ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over most of the sea, including blocks off Vietnam that Exxon Mobil and Russia’s Gazprom are exploring.

Disputes have strained China’s ties with its neighbors and tensions rose this year as Vietnam said oil survey boats were harassed by Chinese vessels. The friction threatens maritime security in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and may be discussed at a two-day summit of Asia-Pacific leaders hosted by US President Barack Obama in Honolulu starting today.

“China is the elephant in the room at the moment, so like it or not, you cannot ignore it,” said Lin Boqiang, director of the independent China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University in Fujian province. “Countries at the rim of the South China Sea are under pressure to find a practical way to deal with its presence — not to anger or challenge it.”

The sea lies south of mainland China at the western extreme of the Pacific Ocean, and while it borders several nations China claims a huge expanse. That’s based largely on a historical map that predates the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. There are hundreds of islands, many disputed.

China-Vietnam clash
Chinese and Vietnamese military forces clashed in the Paracel Islands in 1974 and the Spratly Islands in 1988. The region, marked by China’s ‘nine-dotted line’ to delineate its territorial claims, extends hundreds of miles south from its Hainan Island to equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo, and overlaps with areas claimed by Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The Philippines will propose a new initiative to settle disputes in the South China Sea at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said October 26. President Benigno Aquino will also meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Manila this month and discuss maritime security with Obama at the East Asia summit in Bali on Novembesr 18, del Rosario said.

The US set off China’s ire in 2010 when Hillary, speaking at a regional summit in Hanoi, called resolving the competing claims to the sea ‘a leading diplomatic priority’. That drew a rebuke from Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who said internationalising the incident with US involvement ‘can only make matters worse and more difficult to solve’.

“There are challenges facing the Asia-Pacific that demand America’s leadership, from ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea to countering North Korea’s provocations and proliferation activities to promoting balanced and inclusive economic growth,” Hillary said in Honolulu on Thursday.

The US has longstanding security alliances with countries including Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, which it aims to enhance, and faces a balancing act as it seeks to deepen regional integration.

Nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam are simultaneously attracted by Chinese commerce and concerned by what they consider Chinese belligerence.

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DOF Subsea’s Skandi Singapore Bags Gig Offshore New Zealand

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DOF Subsea​, a subsidiary of DOF ASA​ advises that it has secured a campaign of work in the New Zealand Taranaki Basin for the new build DSV Skandi Singapore for an undisclosed sum. The vessel will mobilize for New Zealand on completion of the current work program in Indonesia for Conoco Philips.

Work in the Taranaki Basin involves diving and ROV operations for for AWE Limited, Shell Todd Oil Services Limited and Origin Energy. The program of work will be completed in February 2012.

Steve Brown, EVP, Asia Pacific said

“The Skandi Singapore is an ideal vessel for the work in the Taranaki Basin. The vessel is the newest DSV in the DOF Subsea fleet and is equipped for extreme weather operation in environmentally sensitive areas. Since delivery, the Skandi Singapore has proven to be a highly capable vessel and is building an excellent reputation with our regional clients.

With the delivery of new vessels into the region, DOF Subsea continues to build a strong project focused organization based in Perth, Australia and Singapore. With a regional project management and engineering capability based around 220 permanently employed engineers and support staff and the highest quality vessels in the region DOF Subsea continues to pursue growth across all subsea market sectors”

Mons Aase, CEO said that the contract awards in Asia Pacific are great news and that the investment in new assets is positive for further growth in the region.

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