Monthly Archives: April 2011
Ed Lasky January 11, 2011
America’s huge reserves of natural gas-bearing shale offer lower energy prices, and the hope of increasing our energy independence. George Soros is determined to use his wiles and network of grant recipients to hobble development of America’s energy ace in the hole.
The movie Gasland came out of nowhere to slam the shale gas industry — an industry that has already substantially brought down the price of natural gas throughout the nation, saving consumers and business untold billions of dollars in energy costs. The natural gas boom spawned by technologies such as horizontal drilling and fracking have also enriched citizens and states that have reaped part of the bounty brought to the surface by these technologies. Gasland casts aspersions regarding the safety of these technologies, especially to the water tables.
The film’s charges have been rebutted . State departments that regulate energy development have praised energy companies for their environmentally sensitive practices.
Nevertheless, Gasland has provided fuel for critics of shale gas development. I have speculated, with good reason, that Democrats are trying to stop the tapping of this vast resource and that major Democratic donor George Soros would be a beneficiary if shale gas were stopped in its tracks. His bought and paid for group, MoveOn.Org, has diverted from its typical topics of interest and has thrown itself into the battle over shale gas.
This brings me back to Gasland, a documentary that was run on the HBO network and that also may have prompted a 60 Minutes report on shale gas. Did Gasland really come out of nowhere, or did it benefit from the helping hands of George Soros?
Gasland was shown at the Sundance Film Festival — that was the first step in its journey to make the bigtime (including the HBO screenings). Gasland got a major boost in prominence when it landed a coveted spot at Sundance.
This was quite an accomplishment since most entries are rejected. Yet Gasland survived the winnowing process.
Did it have friends in powerful places who helped?
The Sundance Institute receives funding from George Soros; furthermore, the Sundance Documentary Film Fund was formerly known as the Soros Documentary Fund. Soros and his Open Society Institute have given many millions of dollars to the Sundance Institute. The officials who run Sundance know their donors and their special interests.
According to the Capital Research Institute, Sundance founder Robert Redford “genuflected” before Soros when Open Society gave the Institute 5 million dollars in its latest “gift”:
Sundance Institute has supported documentary storytellers since its beginning. The recognition of that history by George Soros and the Open Society Institute, and the continuation of our relationship over time, speaks to our shared belief that culture-in this case documentary film-is having a profound impact in shaping progressive change.
Soros responded that he is interested in such moves because “documentary films raise awareness and inspire action.”
That presumably includes action that help prevent us freeing ourselves from being dependent for our energy supplies on unfriendly nations. These nations suck hundreds of billions of dollars from our coffers and use some of that to spread hatred of America around the world. Those are the types of actions that Soros likes-and that Sundance helps him accomplish.
By Maggie M. Thornton 04/30/2011 – 9:23 am PDT
Barack Obama’s recent lauding of Brazil’s oil industry and their “technology” while bringing U.S. exploration, research and drilling to a stop, has turned and churned the stomachs of many of us. In this video, Steven Crowded expresses our angst in his own creative way, and say “America has over 163 BILLION barrels in untapped oil reserves, enough to replace our imports from the Persian Gulf for over 50 years.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, Brazil is the second largest CONSUMER of cocaine in the world. The economy of Brazil is the healthiest of all South American countries and expanding rapidly. They are the seventh largest economy by GDP and purchasing power, in the world.
The state-owned Petrobras Oil and Gas is their largest company. In 2009 Obama loaned the company BILLIONS of dollars – but no easing on regulations to stop the exploration and drilling in the U.S. During the Obama family 2011 Spring Break, Obama defended our loan to Brazil, saying:
Brazil is a poor country,” Obama observed. “They need the money more than we do. By letting them get the oil we can become their customers and help them create jobs and build up their economy.
It [Brazil] is also one of the few countries that have successfully managed to reduce economic inequality at a time when everywhere else inequities are deepening. Successive Brazilian governments, of rival political parties, have succeeded in improving education, health and the living standards of millions of impoverished citizens who have now joined a growing middle class. Brazil has an energy policy that has spawned the world’s most vibrant biofuels industry. In 1995, 15 percent of Brazilian school-age children did not go to school. In 2005, this fell to 3 percent, and today Brazil has practically achieved universal basic education.”
OGJ Washington Pulse Blog by Nick Snow
NICK SNOW has covered oil and gas in Washington for more than 30 years. He worked in several capacities for The Oil Daily and was founding editor of Petroleum Finance Week before joining OGJ as its Washington correspondent in September 2005 and becoming its full-time Washington editor in October 2007. He began writing about energy in 1975 at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, where he worked for seven years. He was a Professional Journalism Fellow specializing in energy at Stanford University in 1977, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah in 1971.
Posted on 4/29/2011
US Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has raised questions about the Export-Import Bank of the United States making loans totaling billions of dollars to Brazil and Colombia’s national oil companies while the Obama administration seemingly discourages access to and development of domestic resources.
“Domestic energy policy cannot be based on crippling access, stifling permitting, and increasing taxes on production – as [US President Barack] Obama has recently proposed – while at the same time loaning billions to foreign government-owned entities to produce abroad,” Vitter said on Apr. 30. “These loans may well create numerous jobs domestically for US businesses to sell product overseas. However, there is no doubt that domestic production creates domestic jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”
Vitter first mentioned this to Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg in a Mar. 17 letter when he referred to an August 2009 letter he wrote Obama about a $2 billion loan to Petrobras which produced a response from the Ex-Im Bank suggesting there would be a significant return on the investment from interest on the loan as well as an increase in the growth of US manufactured products used by Brazil’s offshore industry.
Noting in his Apr. 29 letter to Hochberg that the bank subsequently approved a $1 billion loan to Ecopetrol, Colombia’s national oil company, Vitter said: “I was very specific about the information I requested from Ex-Im more than a month ago. I requested the particulars of the return on investment the American taxpayer can expect from these loans as well as the US businesses intended to benefit from the financing arrangements. Is it safe to assume that Ex-Im does preliminary analysis before issuing loans that evaluates the return on these loans to the US government and US businesses? Is it also safe to assume that Ex-Im should readily be able to provide that information to Congress upon request?”
The senator noted that while the Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency, it also is congressionally authorized and responsible to the US taxpayer. “I would appreciate a full accounting of the return on these ‘investments’ Ex-Im has been making as we develop domestic energy policy in a period when [gasoline] prices are above $4/gal and American families and businesses suffer,” he said. “These loans may well create numerous jobs domestically for US businesses to sell product overseas. However, there is no doubt that domestic production creates domestic jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”
The Ruche Marin-A well will be drilled in a water depth of 380 feet to test multiple stacked pre-salt targets to a planned total measured depth of approximately 10,100 feet. Drilling is anticipated to require approximately 28 days. In the event of success, additional time will be required to test and evaluate the well.
About Harvest Natural Resources
Harvest Natural Resources, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is an independent energy company with principal operations in Venezuela, producing and exploration assets in the United States, exploration assets in Indonesia, West Africa, China and Oman and business development offices in Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Ulstein Design & Solutions has signed two ship design contracts with the Brazilian Shipyard Alianca S.A for the building of two ULSTEIN PX105 platform supply vessels with the X-BOW® hull line design for the Brazilian shipowner CBO.
The contracts are worth approximately NOK 150 million. The contracts are for the delivery of design, engineering, main equipment and building follow-up for two large platform supply vessels of the ULSTEIN PX105 design type.
“These contracts are of great importance to ULSTEIN. There are major investment activities on the Brazilian continental shelf and there are wide-reaching plans for the area. It is important to position ourselves in this market”, says COO in Design & Solutions, Tore Ulstein, and continues: “We are very happy that a trendsetting company like CBO once again has chosen ULSTEIN and the PX105 design for its fleet development.”
“CBO is the first to build X-BOW® vessels in Brazil, which proves that we are an innovative company constantly looking for new solutions”, says CBO director Alfredo Naslausky. The company currently has four ULSTEIN-designed PSVs under construction at the Alianca yard in Rio de Janeiro. The contracts for two more PX105 vessels bring this number up to six.
With the current trend of oil and gas production taking place ever further from land, the demand for large platform supply vessels (PSVs) is increasing. The P105 and PX105 designs, both large PSVs with a conventional bow and an X-BOW® respectively, have become leading designs since introduced to the market. “The size and versatility of these vessels make them suitable for many markets and operations. This has given ULSTEIN a leading position in the market for this type of vessel”, concludes Tore Ulstein.
“The vessels will go into eight-year contracts, with options for extension, for the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras. The vessels will be number five and six built for CBO with the X-BOW® hull line design to be constructed and permanently stationed in Brazil, which is also exciting”, says sales manager for OSV designs at ULSTEIN, Lars Ståle Skoge.
On the morning of 29 April, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, China’s leading private shipbuilding enterprise held the ship naming ceremony at its Zhejiang Shipyard for GPA696, the global first fabricated model of Offshore Support Vessel(OSV) built for France’s Bourbon Company. Afterwards, a sea trial event was also held for another global first fabricated OSV, the SX130. Attending this event were Ningbo Mayor Liu Qi, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang, Sinopacific Executive Manager Lin Bo, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CFO Jeff Zhang, Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group CAO Cathy Jin and representatives from the bank, the shipowner, and the ship inspection department, who all witnessed the GPA696 officially being named the “Ungundja”. The successful production of global first fabricated high-end OSVs such as the GPA696 and the SX130 by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard marks the entry of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group into the ranks of manufacturers of top-grade OSV. This shows that the group has the technical capability to build OSVs that can operate in deep water, thereby establishing the group’s leading position in the field of OSV manufacturing.
The two models of the GPA696 and the SX130 are all IMR vessels, the typical class of high-end OSV. They are used for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of offshore equipment in order to support its normal and safe operation. The IMR products manufactured by Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are not only equipped with today’s most advanced equipment and systems, but the design standards followed were the highest specifications and most rigorous standards from Europe or North America, while the technologies used are all at the world-class level of science and technology. The GPA696 was researched and developed by the U.S.A.’s GPA design firm to be able to adapt to deep water operations, and it uses the most advanced all-electric propulsion system and the DPIII system. It is also equipped powerful active heave compensated cranes, with lift/reach capabilities up to 150 t and 3000 m water depth reach. The SX130 was designed by the world-renowned Norwegian design firm Ulstein, and its bow uses the unique X-Bow design, making it the first Chinese-made ship to use this type of bow. This design can guarantee level navigation and operations in adverse marine environments, providing higher safety. It can also lower ship resistance and reduce fuel consumption, thereby reaching the goal of energy conservation. The SX130 is also equipped with ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to bring about remote control of underwater robots from the ship. It can inspect, repair, and install equipment at depths of 4,000 meters. The SX130 not only can adapt to deep water operations, but it can even operate in the North Sea. In the offshore industry, the operations environment of the North Sea is usually more adverse, and the environmental protection requirements of the European Union are very high as well, so ships that are able to operate in the North Sea are considered to be of a higher class.
Previously, the design and construction of this kind of high-end OSV was basically only done in Europe and North America. It is the first time in this industry for a global first fabricated ship like this to be built in a shipyard in China. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has an OSV global market share of one-third, which makes it the world’s largest OSV manufacturer. The successful construction of these high-end first fabricated ships proves that the OSV manufacturing capacity of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group has been ungraded to a new level and that its product line is constantly extending toward high-end products.
Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Executive Manager Lin Bo gave the following reasons for why the group is able to obtain orders for high-end OSV products from European and North American companies. First is Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s technical capability. They started to organize their own design team seven years ago, and this team has accumulated a great deal of experience in OSV design. They not only fully understand the needs of clients, but they can also do localized optimized integration for foreign-made design plans according to the actual situations of Chinese shipyards. Sinopacific currently has developed four OSVs of their own design, including the SPA80 AHTS ,the SPP17 PSV , the SPP35 PSV and SPU1000 and has already received dozens of orders. Second is its world-class OSV construction facilities and modern shipbuilding style. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group’s Zhejiang Shipyard has three world-class OSV production lines, of which two are indoor slipways. The lifting capacity, ground area, and comprehensive capabilities were specially designed for OSV construction. Sinopacific’s modern product-oriented shipbuilding style of the organic integration of design, production, information, and logistics into one greatly improves OSV construction efficiency. Third is the integration of the capabilities of world-class designers and suppliers, which is the key for success in the field of OSV product manufacturing. Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group excels at cooperation with well-known foreign design firms like Ulstein and GPA and can transform their detailed designs into production designs that meet the local manufacturing conditions. Sinopacific also fully understands the performance levels of marine auxiliary equipment products of all world-class suppliers and can find the optimal combination for selecting parts when constructing OSV products.
Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group Chairman and CEO Simon Liang explained the group’s secret of success on a more strategic level. After doing market research, the group set the product development strategy of “Leadership in Niche Markets” a few years ago when they saw that the bulk cargo ship market was full of competition but the offshore vessel market was relatively open. When the global ship market declined due to the financial crisis, many shipyards lost orders or even went out of business, but Sinopacific relied on its forward-looking strategy to calmly pass through the crisis and even received its largest OSV order of one billion U.S. dollars in 2010 after the financial crisis.
As the progress of global offshore oil and gas exploration and development speeds up and matures, the demand for OSVs is now constantly increasing around the world. As part of the offshore economic and industrial policies of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, offshore engineering equipment has been included as a key industry to receive strong support from the national government during this period. This will undoubtedly bring opportunities for new development for Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, which already has a presence in the OSV market and has accumulated a great deal of experience. The OSVs of Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group are essential auxiliary ships for large-scale offshore engineering equipment such as drilling platforms and floating production storage and offloading ships and can provide complementary functionality for large-scale equipment in the processes of developing, producing, and storing oil and gas. “It is like the commercial ship of offshore engineering because every project exploring for offshore oil and gas needs it. It has a wide range of purposes, and more than one type of ship will be needed, so I am very optimistic about the prospects of the OSV market,” said Simon Liang. With the other high end offshore vessel PX105 under construction, he is confident to speak so.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) of India has awarded Baker Hughes a five-year contract to provide drilling and evaluation services and to manage third-party services for the Platinum Explorer drillship.
Under the terms of the contract, Baker Hughes will supply directional drilling, measurement-while-drilling, logging-while-drilling, surface logging services, drilling fluids, liner hangers, cementing and coring services. Baker Hughes also will manage third-party services for air and sea logistics, the onshore base, and wellheads. Vantage Drilling’s Platinum Explorer drillship is capable of drilling high-pressure, high- temperature (HP/HT) wells in water depths up to 10,000 feet.
ONGC currently contributes approximately 75 percent of India’s oil production and 54 percent of the country’s gas production.
“We are extremely pleased to be bringing our wealth of experience in deepwater well construction to ONGC’s operations in India’s deep waters,” notes Richard Ward, president of Asia Pacific for Baker Hughes. “The size and scope of this project provide Baker Hughes a strong foundation from which to grow our operations in India’s deepwater province. We look forward to further strengthening the relationship with ONGC by delivering increased value to their operations from our technology and service portfolio.”
Baker Hughes provides reservoir consulting, drilling, formation evaluation, completions, pressure pumping and production products and services to the worldwide oil and gas industry.