Daily Archives: February 9, 2012

Recap: Worldwide Field Development News Feb 3 – Feb 9, 2012

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This week the SubseaIQ team added 3 new projects and updated 30 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field development news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Europe – North Sea
Providence Encounters Hydrocarbons at Barryroe Appraisal Well
Feb 9, 2012 – Providence Resources announced that the Barryroe appraisal well has encountered hydrocarbon shows in its secondary objective. The original drilling timeline was initially set back by weather and later by rig performance issues which significantly delayed the drilling of the 12.25-inch section. Drilling of this section recommenced on Feb. 2, when the necessary rig repairs and maintenance programs were completed by the rig owner. Hydrocarbon shows were encountered during the drilling of the 12.25-inch section, which contains a number of potential secondary reservoir units. Preliminary real time LWD data demonstrates excellent sandstone package correlation with the nearby 48/24-3 well. The forward program includes a comprehensive wire-line data acquisition program of this drilled 12.25-inch section, utilizing modern ‘state of the art’ down-hole tools, after which the section will be cased. Subsequent operations will include coring of the underlying primary reservoir zone, which is the main focus of this drilling program. Following this, the operator plans to perform drill stem testing of the primary basal sands target in order to ascertain flow rates and productivity. The 48/24-10z Barryroe appraisal well is located in approximately 328 feet (100 meters) of water, around 31 miles (50 kilometers) offshore Ireland in Standard Exploration License (SEL) 1/11 in the North Celtic Sea Basin.
Project Details: Barryroe
North Energy Divests Interest in Fogelberg Gas Discovery
Feb 9, 2012 – North Energy will sell its 12 percent stake in the Fogelberg gas discovery (License 433) for $12.2 million to Centrica Resources. This will increase Centrica’s stake to 40 percent. Production license 433 contains the Fogelberg gas/discovery, which was proven in 2010. A preliminary estimate of the find indicates the discovery is about 3 and 15 million standard cubic meters of recoverable oil equivalent. In 2011, the consortium finalized possible development solutions, which are expected to lead to a plan for development and operation within a few years.
Project Details: Fogelberg
Premier, Antrim Abandon East Fyne Well
Feb 7, 2012 – Premier Oil has abandoned the East Fyne appraisal well in the UK sector of the North Sea. The well reached a total depth of 5,020 feet (1,530 meters) and encountered 11 feet (3 meters) of gas-bearing sand within the Upper Tay formation and eight feet (two meters) of oil-bearing sand within the Middle Main Tay formation. Premier said that because the thickness of the oil-bearing sand is at the lower end of the pre-drill estimate, the firms have decided to plug and abandon the well. The Sedco 704 (mid-water semisub) will now be moved to drill the Bluebell prospect on license P1466, UK Block 15/24c, also in the Central North Sea. Furthermore, the operator will use the Borgsten Dolphin (mid-water semisub) to complete existing production and water-injection wells on the Fyne field. First oil is expected during the third quarter of 2012.
Project Details: Fyne
Lundin Spuds Johan Sverdup Appraisal Well
Feb 3, 2012 – Lundin Petroleum has commenced appraisal drilling at well 16/2-11 on the Johan Sverdup discovery located in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The planned total depth is 7,136 feet (2,175 meters) and the well will be drilled by the Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub). Drilling operations are estimated to take 40 days. The objective of the well is to determine the thickness and quality of an oil bearing Jurassic sequence at the appraisal well location. The well is located 1.3 miles (2,2 kilometers) south east from the Johan Sverdrup PL265 discovery well 16/2-8.
Project Details: Johan Sverdrup
N. America – US GOM
Foster Wheeler Awarded Contract for Services in GOM
Feb 9, 2012 – Discovery Gas Transmission awarded Foster Wheeler a contract to provide design, engineering and technical services for a junction platform, facilities and associated pipelines within the Discovery System at South Timbalier Block 283 in the GOM. The platform, located in about 350 feet of water, will be a four-pile structure with a two-level deck. It will be designed as an unmanned structure with a control system designed to shut down the facility in the event of an upset condition. The new infrastructure will enable the existing Discovery pipeline to operate at a higher pressure, both before and after the connection of the new Keathley Canyon pipeline. Discovery will construct the Keathley Canyon Connector, a 20-inch diameter, 215-mile subsea natural gas gathering pipeline for production from the Keathley Canyon, Walker Ridge and Green Canyon areas in the central deepwater GOM. Discovery has signed long-term agreements with Lucius and Hadrian South owners for natural gas gathering and processing services for production from those fields. The Keathley Canyon Connector will originate in the southeast portion of the Keathley Canyon area and terminate into Discovery’s 30-inch diameter mainline near South Timbalier Block 283.
Project Details: Lucius
Australia
Woodside Prepping to Drill Alaric in 2012
Feb 3, 2012 – Woodside is planning to appraise the Alaric deepwater discovery in 2012. The gas field is located in 6,430 feet (1,960 meters) of water offshore Australia.
Project Details: Alaric
SBM to Supply Turret, Mooring System for Ichthys FLNG
Feb 3, 2012 – INPEX awarded SBM Offshore a contract to engineer, procure, fabricate and supply a turret and mooring system. This system will be integrated by the client into the Ichthys FPSO and installed offshore NW Australia. The contract also includes assistance during the integration of the turret into the FPSO as well as during installation on the field. Installation is slated to commence in mid-2015.
Project Details: Ichthys
NZOG Eying Late 2012 Drill Date for Kakapo Prospect
Feb 3, 2012 – NZOG reported it is investigating possible rig options for drilling the Kakapo oil prospect in late 2012.The prospect is a stacked series of Miocene coastal sands, which are laterally truncated and prognosed to be sealed by deep canyons. Estimates of mean prospective resources are 200+ million barrels. Seismic modeling has upgraded the chance of success through indications of a small gas cap on the main postulated oil column.
Project Details: Kakapo
Kupe to Undergo 2nd Stage of Development
Feb 3, 2012 – The consortium of PML 38146 is conducting further geological and geophysical assessment of potential structures in the permit, with the possibility of drilling additional prospects in conjunction with the scheduled second stage development drilling within the Kupe central field. The Kupe field commenced production in 2009.
Project Details: Kupe
Africa – West
Chariot Moves Forward Offshore Namibia
Feb 9, 2012 – Chariot Oil & Gas has completed an 864,869-acre (3,500-square kilometer) 3D seismic acquisition program across its Central Blocks (2312 A&B and Northern halves of 2412 A&B) offshore Namibia. The survey targeted an area in the northeast section of the license that contains 11 leads with a combined prospective resource potential of 3.972 billion barrels of oil. Processing and interpretation of the data collected has commenced with results slated for the second half of this year.
Total Starts Second Phase of Ofon Development in Nigeria
Feb 7, 2012 – Total has commenced the second phase of the Ofon field development offshore Nigeria. Construction and installation contracts were awarded for Ofon Phase 2, which is scheduled to come on stream in 2014. The Ofon field is located in OML 102, 40 miles (65 kilometers) off the Nigerian shores in a water depth of 130 feet (40 meters). Total said that this phase of development will unlock the field’s undeveloped reserves and increase production to 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 30,000 barrels, by installing four new platforms: two production platforms, a processing platform and an accommodation platform. Most of the development is dedicated to recovering natural gas, which will be compressed and evacuated to shore. The partners in OML 102 are Total (40 percent, operator) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (60 percent).
Technip to Supply Equipment for Jubilee Phase 1A Development
Feb 7, 2012 – Technip received two contracts by Tullow Ghana for Phase 1A of development on Tullow’s Jubilee project. The awarded contracts cover full project management, engineering, fabrication and installation of a new flexible riser, two rigid flowlines and 11 spools/jumpers, as well as the installation of two manifolds and 3.1 miles (five kilometers) of umbilicals. Offshore installation is scheduled to occur in the second half of 2012.
Project Details: Jubilee
Eni Ghana Spuds Nunya-1X Well Offshore Ghana
Feb 7, 2012 – Eni Ghana has spud the Nunya-1X well, formerly called Cuda-2, using the Transocean Marianas (DW semisub) offshore Ghana. The Nunya prospect is a four-way dip closed structure with a primary reservoir target comprising Upper Cretaceous deep-marine fan sandstones that are analogous to those that have already yielded significant discoveries elsewhere along the West Africa Transform Margin, said Afren.
Project Details: Nunya
Aker to Provide Well Intervention Services for Jubilee Field
Feb 3, 2012 – Aker Solutions has signed an agreement with Tullow for the provision of well intervention services for Tullow’s Jubilee and Tano deepwater fields offshore Ghana. The initial contract period is for three years, with two additional one-year options. Under the agreement, Aker will provide slickline and colied tubing services, which are conducted with the objective of maximizing production of oil and gas.
Project Details: Jubilee
Asia – SouthEast
Inpex Prepping to Commence FEED Work on Abadi Development
Feb 7, 2012 – Inpex Masela is currently preparing to commence Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) work on the Abadi FLNG project in the Masela block in the Arafura Sea, Indonesia. The operator will develop the Abadi gas field in phases with an annual LNG production of 2.5 million tons estimated for the first phase of development.
Project Details: Abadi
Mediterranean
Noble Strikes Gas Offshore Israel
Feb 7, 2012 – Noble Energy has made a natural gas discovery at the Tanin prospect offshore Israel. The discovery well, drilled by the ENSCO 5006 (DW semisub), reached a depth of 18,212 feet (5,551 meters) and encountered about 130 feet (40 meters) of gross natural gas pay in high-quality lower Miocene sands. Gross resources are estimated at .9 and 1.4 Tcf with a gross mean of 1.2 Tcf. Noble said this discovery de-risks other prospects located in the vicinity of Tanin. The Tanin well is located in the Alon A license, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) northwest of the Tamar field, in 5,100 feet (1,555 meters) of water.
Project Details: Tanin

SubseaIQ

Iran evades US sanctions by paying with gold

Iran bought 200,000 tons of Australian, and possibly US, wheat last week with gold. Commodities traders say Iran is also pitching oil barter deals for grains

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Mature wheat grows in a field near Chinchilla, Australia. Iran is buying wheat with gold and oil, say commodities traders. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

By Valerie Parent and Michael Hogan, Reuters / February 9, 2012

Iran is seeking to close grain purchases using gold and oil as payment, and has paid in yen for a large volume of wheat in its first deal since Western sanctions against Tehran started choking imports of food staples, European wheat exporters said.

Iran bought at least 200,000 tonnes of soft wheat on the world market last week for prompt delivery from private sellers – mostly of Australian origin – but some traders said the United States could possibly account for part of the volume.

New financial sanctions imposed since the beginning of this year to punish Tehran over its nuclear program have ended up playing havoc with Iran’s ability to buy imports and receive payment for key food items.

The sanctions have drastically cut its ability to obtain euro and dollar denominated financing, forcing Tehran to find alternative ways to pay for its imports.

Traders believed the Iranian government had used companies based in Switzerland capable of financing themselves in Asia, and used yen-based contracts to finance the 200,000-tonne deal.

A fall in maize supplies from major exporter Ukraine due to sanction-related payment problems prompted Iranian animal feed makers to turn to wheat, reducing volume for food and compelling the Islamic Republic to turn to the world market.

“The Iranians have just purchased about 200,000 tonnes of wheat from multi-national trading houses,” one European trader said. “There is market talk of up to 400,000 tonnes.”

In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, U.S. agri-giant Cargill’s vice chairman said shipments were still possible with Iran, notably through payments in currencies other than the dollar.

Iranian Trade Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters on Thursday that one private Iranian buyer was interested in importing “a very large quantity” of wheat from India.

Iran, which may not be self-sufficient in wheat this season due to an expected lower harvest, usually favous Australian, Canadian and even in some years U.S. wheat when it imports due to their high protein levels, as opposed to Argentine, Black Sea or European wheat origins.

GOLD, OIL

Iran, which is still in the market to buy additional wheat supplies, is also considering barter deals to feed its 74 million people weeks before a presidential election, they said.

Grain ships are stuck outside Iranian ports and exports of staples to Iran such as maize, sugar, palm oil and rice are being hindered as collecting payment from buyers gets harder.

“Grain deals are being paid for in gold bullion and barter deals involving oil are being offered,” one trader said. “Some of the major trading houses are involved,” he added.

Traders said details of how barter deals work were still unclear as the problem had developed so quickly.

Iranian buyers have in the past side-stepped sanctions by booking business through third countries, especially Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, traders said. But this option had been suddenly closed as the UAE was not allowing sanction-breaking finance, they said.

“As the shipments of grain are so large, barter or gold payments are the quickest option,” another trader said.

One European grains trader also said a project for preferential supplies between Iran and Kazakhstan for 2 million tonnes might be reactivated.

“One of the closest (supply) sources is Kazakhstan because the Iranians have solid links with this country but also because the two governments are centralised and deals can me made between states,” Michel Ferret, head of the markets division at French farm office FranceAgriMer, said.

This would make even more sense if Iran went ahead with its threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Gulf oil shipping route, traders also said.

Data from the International Grains Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate that Iran should import around 500,000 tonnes of wheat in the 2011/2012 season up to the end of June but the sanctions and the lower maize supplies could lead to an increase in wheat needs.

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U.S. pro-democracy groups find shrinking global welcome mat

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By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON | Thu Feb 9, 2012 1:22am EST

(Reuters) – Michael McFaul was in the second day of his new job as U.S. ambassador to Russia last month when Russian state television charged he was on a mission to stir up revolution.

The evidence? Among the reasons cited was McFaul’s work in Russia in 1992 for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a U.S. pro-democracy organization the Russian television commentator alleged was “close” to U.S. intelligence agencies.

In another part of the world, Egypt recently took its long-term hostility to the NDI and other U.S. government-funded democracy-building groups to a whole new level.

Egyptian authorities raided the groups’ offices and placed travel bans on at least 19 U.S. citizens. The cases have been referred to criminal court.

For decades, U.S. organizations like the NDI, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House have promoted democracy and human rights around the world, from Russia and other former Soviet states to the nations swept by the “Arab spring” upheavals of the past year.

But some of their activities, such as monitoring elections and helping to develop political parties, are not universally appreciated in host countries. In nations where the transition to democracy is incomplete, the welcome mat can be quite small.

Governments in places like Egypt, which is still run by military rulers, and Russia, which has been dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for over a decade, often see democracy-building activities as a threat to their grip on power.

“Authoritarian regimes don’t like sharing power with their people – and they look for any excuse to distract from their problems at home,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress think tank who worked for NDI in the West Bank, Gaza and Cairo from 1995 to 1998.

And the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, which sparked deadly sectarian warfare and messy American attempts to build an Iraqi democracy, sparked a decline in global trust in U.S. pro-democracy efforts, experts said.

LESS TRUSTED

“In the best circumstances – think sub-Saharan Africa – the U.S. used to be relatively trusted for its far-sighted engagement on all three development fronts – economics, politics and security,” said Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy at Oxfam America, an international relief organization.

“As our overall global development agenda has become more short-term and politicized to achieve narrower national interests – think Iraq and Afghanistan – our pro-democracy agenda is less trusted too,” he said.

Some critics of U.S. democracy-building groups say hostility can extend beyond autocrats to average people who don’t want foreigners telling them how to run their lives.

“Egyptians have always been suspicious of outsiders meddling. In Egypt, such meddling is called the ‘invisible hand’ or ‘foreign fingers’,” said Paul Sullivan, a professor and Middle East expert at Georgetown University.

“Any organization that is there to work on the development of voting and political parties is leaving itself open to those suspicions and considerable risk – and not just from the courts and the police,” Sullivan said.

NDI president Ken Wollack denies his organization is meddling, or trying to foment revolution or regime change in any country. “We don’t support revolution” he said. NDI’s programs have always been intended “to support a democratic elections process that reflected the will of the people.”

“People can claim that it’s meddling, but it’s based on certain fundamental principles,” he said, including a universal declaration of human rights adopted by the United Nations.

In Egypt, he said, “Obviously it’s a delicate time, but I think that we’re hoping that through this challenging period that it ultimately will lead to a constructive dialogue between the authorities and groups like ours.”

“These (pro-democracy) organizations do not dictate what kind of leadership, or what kind of elections or the results of the elections,” said Senator John McCain, chairman of the board of IRI. “But they help with voter registration, with campaigning, with constitutions, with all the things that are the fundamentals of democracy,” McCain said in a Senate hallway.

BACKLASH DATING TO AROUND 2005

Since their founding under President Ronald Reagan, the NDI and IRI have worked in more than 100 countries around the world. They have loose ties with the two major American political parties, but are not funded by them. Freedom House is older, dating back to the 1940s.

The groups are known as “non-governmental organizations,” but get most of their funding from the U.S. government – largely from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The government funding has sometimes fueled the charge that they are an arm of the U.S. government, or stooges of its intelligence agencies.

Starting around 2005, a backlash emerged in some countries, especially Russia, but also in Central Asia, China and parts of Africa and Latin America, said Thomas Carothers, a leading authority on democracy promotion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“The backlash seems to have been at least in part a response to a new harsher perception of democracy promotion due to its close association with the war in Iraq,” Carothers said.

He cited former President George W. Bush saying the Iraq war “was all about democracy promotion – as well as the belief by some governments that the ‘color’ revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine were caused by U.S. assistance to political and civic actors in those countries,” he said.

However, he added, the U.S. efforts in Georgia and Ukraine “were at most a modest helping hand to domestic political actors who did the hard work and took the risks themselves.” Political tumult in Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade became known as the “Rose” and “Orange” revolutions, respectively.

AID, TIES WITH EGYPT THREATENED

The U.S. confrontation with Egypt over its treatment of pro-democracy groups is threatening longstanding U.S. ties with that country.

U.S. military aid to Egypt, about $1.3 billion annually in recent years, is in jeopardy, Congress and the Obama administration say. Lawmakers are furious with the Egyptians; Senator John Kerry called the idea that Americans would be prosecuted there a “slap in the face.”

A solution has not yet been found. But in the longer term, after the crisis with Egypt, the United States may want to re-examine how it funds pro-democracy groups, perhaps channeling more money to local ones in the countries concerned, suggested Julie Taylor, a political scientist focusing on Middle East at Rand Corporation.

“Egypt has its own civil society and human rights organizations that are very effective and they work on these same issues and they have greater legitimacy than the U.S. organizations. The presence of U.S. organizations ends up undermining the activities and security of domestic human rights and democracy promotion organizations in Egypt,” she said.

Carothers said U.S. pro-democracy groups can alleviate some of the concern in host countries by being as transparent as possible about their work and by being nonpartisan when they work with political parties competing in an electoral process.

“But given the inherent tensions between an authoritarian or semi-authoritarian government and the goals of outside democracy supporters, there will likely continue to be conflicts over such work,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Warren Strobel and Todd Eastham)

Koch Supply & Trading Launches Global LNG Trading Business

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Koch Supply & Trading Sárl said that it has launched a global gas trading business.

Stephen Cornish has joined Koch Supply & Trading Sárl to build the global trading and marketing business for liquefied natural gas, natural gas and related commodities.

Koch companies have a long track record of excellence in the natural gas markets,” Cornish said. “This venture into the international gas markets is a way to link its global portfolio to benefit its suppliers and customers. We believe this step into the international gas markets provides a strong counterparty for producers and customers alike.

We will build out our operations in Asia, Europe and the Americas to the high standard that Koch Supply & Trading has set and look forward to working with our counterparts. This is a very exciting venture for us.”

Koch Supply & Trading also said that  it plans to build a Europe-wide natural gas business from Geneva and an LNG trading business from offices in Houston, London, and Singapore. Origination and marketing support locations are also planned for the near future in East Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Articles

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USA: Quantum Forms Renaissance. Buys Offshore Field

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Quantum Energy Partners , has announced the formation of Renaissance Offshore (“Renaissance”) with offshore industry veteran Jeffrey Soine. Supported by a $300 million equity commitment from Quantum, Renaissance will primarily engage in acquiring and redeveloping legacy oil producing properties in the shallow water Gulf of Mexico.

The Renaissance team is led by seasoned Gulf of Mexico executive Jeffrey Soine who will serve as Chief Executive Officer and President. Soine previously served as Executive Vice President of the International Business Unit for Woodside Energy, as well as President of Woodside Energy (USA). Prior to Woodside, Soine was Acquisitions Manager for W&T Offshore where he successfully acquired assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Joining Soine, as Chief Financial Officer and co-founder, is Brian Romere. Romere previously served in the same capacity at Anglo Suisse Offshore Partners and King Ranch Oil & Gas.

Immediately after formation, Renaissance closed on an acquisition of the Ship Shoal 266 field located approximately 75 miles off the coast of Louisiana with an average water depth of 180 feet, from Union Oil Company of California, a Chevron subsidiary. The Ship Shoal acquisition provides Renaissance with a solid production base for the new company, and offers numerous opportunities to increase production over the near term.

Soine commented, “With the recent shift in focus of the majors and large independents to unconventional resources, and continued oil price strength, market conditions are ripe for a well funded, focused acquirer to pursue opportunities on the Gulf of Mexico shelf. Quantum’s strong financial sponsorship and energy industry expertise provides a great complement to our team’s proven Gulf track record.”

“We are excited to be in partnership with such an experienced team focused on the Gulf of Mexico shelf where we see tremendous opportunity to build an acquisition and exploitation platform that we believe will expose Quantum and its investors to superior returns,” said Garry Tanner, Managing Director at Quantum Energy Partners.

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Foster Wheeler Enters U.S. Gulf of Mexico Junction Platform Project

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Foster Wheeler AG, has been awarded a contract by Discovery Gas Transmission, LLC to provide design, engineering and technical services for a junction platform, facilities and associated pipelines within the Discovery System at South Timbalier 283, in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Foster Wheeler contract value, which was not disclosed, will be included in the company’s fourth-quarter 2011 bookings.

The platform, located in approximately 350 feet of water, will be a four-pile structure with a two-level deck. It will be designed as an unmanned structure with a control system designed to shut down the facility in the event of an upset condition. The new infrastructure will enable the existing Discovery pipeline to operate at a higher pressure, both before and after the connection of the new Keathley Canyon pipeline.

“This project gives us an opportunity to fully showcase our wide range of capabilities and will build on our track record for delivering complex offshore projects in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Clive Vaughan, Chief Executive Officer, Foster Wheeler Upstream.

Williams Partners L.P. owns 60 percent of the Discovery system and operates it. DCP Midstream Partners, LP owns 40 percent of the system.

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EXCLUSIVE: UN chief, aides plot ‘green economy’ agenda at upcoming summit

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By George Russell
Published February 09, 2012
FoxNews.com

At a closed-door retreat in a Long Island mansion late last October, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his topmost aides brainstormed about how the global organization could benefit from a “unique opportunity” to reshape the world, starting with the Rio + 20 Summit on Sustainable Development, which takes place in Brazil in June.

A copy of the confidential minutes of the meeting was obtained by Fox News. According to that document, the 29-member group, known as the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), discussed bold ambitions that stretch for years beyond the Rio conclave to consolidate a radical new global green economy, promote a spectrum of sweeping new social policies and build an even more important role for U.N. institutions “ to manage the process of globalization better.”

At the same time, the gathering acknowledged that their ambitions were on extremely shaky ground, starting with the fact that, as Ban’s chief organizer for the Rio gathering put it, “there was still no agreement on the definition of the green economy, the main theme of the [Rio] conference.”

But according to the minutes, that did not seem to restrain the group’s ambitions.

Its members see Rio as the springboard for consolidation of an expanding U.N. agenda for years ahead, driven by still more U.N.-sponsored global summits that would, as one participant put it, “ensure that the U.N. connected with the roots of the current level of global discontent.”

Click here for the minutes of the retreat.

Among other things, the CEB heard Ban’s top organizer, a U.N. Under Secretary General from China named Sha Zukang, declare that the wish list for the Rio + 20 meeting, already being touted as a landmark environmental conclave on the issue of “global environmental governance,” included making it:

  •   “the catalyst” for solidifying a global economic, social and political agenda, built around “green economy” goals
  •   a means to “reorient public and private decision-making” to make the world’s poorest people the new economy’s “main beneficiaries,”
  •   a method of also reorienting national decision-making in countries around the world to put the new agenda “at the heart of national ministries,”
  •   the occasion to create new bodies, like a U.N. Sustainable Development Council, similar to the U.N. Human Rights Council, to help guide the global process further in the years ahead, or give additional responsibilities to the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), the world body’s chief environmental agency..

Other participants chimed in with additional ideas, including the notion from one key organizer that “the U.N. in Rio should be the voice of the planet and its people.”

At the same time, conference organizer Sha noted, “2012 was not the best year” for driving new environmental bargains, due to the global financial crisis walloping the world’s rich economies, a prevalent “atmosphere of general trust deficit” between the world’s rich and developing countries and that many countries (notably including the U.S.) were holding national elections that left their future policies up in the air.

Those realities had already stymied the latest attempt to forge a multi-trillion-dollar bargain to transfer wealth from rich nations to poor ones in the name of controlling “climate change,” at a meeting last December in Durban, South Africa.

As one of the participants, Achim Steiner, head of the UNEP, put it, according to the minutes: “In framing its role and mission, the U.N. not only had the preoccupations of the financial and economic crisis, but also had to grapple with the phenomenon of a geo-economically transformed world that was not yet geopolitically articulated.”

Translation: One of the U.N.’s challenges is that the world had not been globally reorganized in political terms — yet — to the same extent that it had been globally reorganized in economic terms.

But in general, the members of the CEB saw that as an opportunity for the world organization, which they clearly hoped to make central to that global re-articulation.

Citing a CEB high-level committee report entitled Moving towards a fairer, greener, and more sustainable globalization, a top CEB staffer, Elliot Harris, told the gathering that the issue was not to reverse globalization, “but rather to harness it to generate better outcomes.”

Among other things, the clearly left-leaning report underlined that “inequity” was the “single greatest challenge and threat” to the world, and that “any new approach needed to address the root causes of the imbalances,” which the report associated with the “liberalization of trade and finance.”

Among the “opportunities” that the current global crisis had provided, Harris said, was “a renewed recognition of the role of the State,” and “an appreciation of the value of collective and coordinated action at the global level.”

When it came to global issues, the U.N. chieftains were encouraged to think well beyond the environment and the international economy into a wide variety of social spheres, from human rights to health and education, where there was a “need for a global framework and national frameworks” for the development of new policies. The national policies “should be derived from the core values and norms that the U.N. system embodied, to ensure coherence between national level and global goals and aspirations”

For some of those present at the gathering, those values seemed to include a heavy reliance on populist methods to push the U.N.’s Rio message to a global audience, bypassing member governments along the way.

Rio conference coordinator Brice Lalonde (a onetime Green Party candidate for the French presidency), according to the minutes “stressed that Rio + 20 was not a routine conference but one of few opportunities to hold a real People’s Conference.” He informed Board members, intriguingly, that “the U.S. Government was working on the virtual conference angle,” the document reported.

(In fact, on Feb. 2-4, 2012, U.S. State Department, EPA and other officials took part in a conference at Stanford University, entitled Rio + 2.0, which examined, among other things, ways that the latest “connection technology”—from Facebook to mobile phones—could be used in furthering global sustainable development.)

Lalonde added that “a conceptual move was also needed toward much more redistribution and much more equity around the world,,i.e., One Planet,” the minutes said.

But whatever other values the CEB’s internal report, and its deliberations, were supposed to embody, transparency was apparently not one of them. According to the confidential minutes, UNEP head Steiner said that the high-level committee report, and the CEB’s feedback about it, are never supposed to become public.

Instead, they are apparently to circulate within the CEB and its high-level program committee, “and help the system rally around an agenda that guaranteed the future of the U.N.”

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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Sagres Prepares for Drilling Offshore Jamaica

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Sagres Energy Inc., an international oil and gas company with an exploration portfolio in Colombia, Guyana and Jamaica, provides an update on its activities in Jamaica.

The company’s subsidiary, Rainville Energy Corporation (“Rainville”), is a party to three production sharing agreements with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (the “PCJ”) covering the right to explore and develop Blocks 9, 13 and 14 covering approximately 8,864 km² located offshore Jamaica (the “Blocks”).

The minimum exploration work commitments under each of the production sharing agreements are divided into two phases. The PCJ has granted Rainville an extension to the first phase until April 30, 2012 to allow potential joint venture partners sufficient time to complete their evaluation of the Blocks. Concurrently, the Company is in discussions with several parties with regards to a potential farm-in on these properties.

Mr. Gary Wine, President and CEO of Sagres stated that “we continue to be excited by the potential of the La Concepcion prospect, a prospect mapped straddling Blocks 9 and 13, with an independent evaluation establishing a gross mean prospective resource estimate of 3.0 billion barrels. We look forward to advancing this project to the drilling stage and we are holding discussions with potential partners”. Resources estimates are pursuant to the Company’s NI 51-101 Report prepared by Chapman described in a press release of the Company dated August 27, 2010.

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