Daily Archives: March 26, 2012

MILLER: Obamacare’s hefty tax bill

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By Emily Miller
The Washington Times

President Obama promised to make health care more affordable, but instead he’s done the opposite. The White House and congressional Democrats slipped 20 new taxes into the Obamacare legislation to raise $500 billion to help pay for the new entitlement’s $2.6 trillion cost. It’s now up to the Supreme Court to provide relief.

Mr. Obama claims to want to raise taxes only on “millionaires and billionaires,” but his signature health care law hits the middle class hard. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) analyzed the 2,700-page bill and came up with a comprehensive list of its levies.

“Obama promised no taxes of any kind for those who earn less than $250,000. Obamacare broke that pledge repeatedly,” ATR President Grover Norquist told The Washington Times. “They deliberately hid the taxes and wisely understood that delaying the pain by making the effective date after the election, maybe you could get through the election.”

Until last year, people could pay for over-the-counter medications with tax-free Flexible Savings Accounts and Health Savings Accounts. No more, thanks to Obamacare’s medicine cabinet tax. Starting on Jan. 1, these tax-free accounts will be capped at $2,500, punishing families who face higher than normal medical expenses. The threshold for deducting those costs will also go up from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income in 2013.

The left mistakenly thinks companies will just absorb the extra charges from Uncle Sam and not pass them along to consumers. Medical-device manufacturers will be smacked with a 2.3 percent tax in the new year, driving up the costs of things like wheelchairs, stents and pacemakers. Innovative drug companies already are sending Washington $2.3 billion in taxes for a surcharge on their share of sales, which helps explain why prescription-drug spending will see a projected 10.7 percent increase in 2014.

That’s also when health-insurance companies face a new surcharge on sales that will result in an estimated $350 to $400 increase in annual premiums. So much for the president’s promise to reduce the cost of insurance by $2,500.

Americans who refuse to go along with Obamacare by buying a policy not approved by the government will be charged 1 percent of their income in 2014, rising to 2.5 percent in 2016. Employers with more than 50 employees who don’t offer health coverage and have at least one employee who qualifies for a health tax credit will be penalized $2,000 per person. If the employee receives coverage through this exchange, the penalty goes up to $3,000. An employer with a 30- to 60-day enrollment waiting period will have to pay $400 per person.

These new penalties on employers who don’t provide the health coverage dictated by bureaucrats will amount to $113 billion. Expect companies to pay less and lay off more. Growth will be further stunted when January brings a new levy on investment income for those who earn more than $200,000, making the tax on capital gains 23.8 percent and dividends a staggering 43.4 percent.

This monster law already has created 159 new programs and boards in Washington. As Mr. Norquist explained, “It’s a huge increase in the size and scope of government because the government is getting control of 15 percent of the economy.” The Supreme Court needs to reject this unconstitutional power grab and return the money to the people who actually earned it.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.

USA: Jordan Cove Submits Non-FTA LNG Export Application

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Jordan Cove Energy Project on Friday told the U.S. Department of Energy that it is seeking long-term authorization to export LNG to any nation with which the United States does not have a Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted in December a 30-year license for Jordan Cove Energy to export LNG to countries that hold free trade agreements with the United States.

Jordan Cove plans to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the north spit of Coos Bay to export LNG.

The LNG export terminal would include a berth for LNG carriers, cryogenic pipelines, four liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, and a non-jurisdictional power plant.

The terminal would have the capacity to produce about six million metric tons of LNG per year, which is equivalent to the liquefaction of about 0.9 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Source

President Obama Asks Medvedev for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense — ‘After My Election I Have More Flexibility’

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SEOUL, South Korea — At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.image

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama:  This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what President Obama meant, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue — there always is — in both countries.

A senior administration official tells ABC News: “this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”

Jake Tapper

Source

BG Group makes fourth gas discovery in Tanzania

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by  BG Group
Press Release
Monday, March 26, 2012

BG Group announced Monday a fourth Tanzanian gas discovery from the Jodari-1 exploration well located in Block 1 offshore southern Tanzania. Preliminary evaluation of the well results indicates gross recoverable resources are in the range of 2.5 to 4.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.

The partnership of BG Group (60 percent and operator) and Ophir Energy (40 percent) have had exploration successes in all four wells so far drilled in Tanzania, with mean total gross recoverable resources currently estimated to be approaching some 7 tcf of gas.

Jodari-1 is located approximately 24 miles (39 kilometers) offshore southern Tanzania and in a water depth of 3,770 feet (1,150 meters). It is part of the current three-to-four well exploration program, which also includes the acquisition of 965 square miles (2,500 square kilometers) of 3D seismic data in Block 1.

The next target for drilling is the Mzia-1 location in Block 1, some 14 miles (23 kilometers) to the north of Jodari-1. The discoveries announced previously are Chaza-1 in Block 1, and the Chewa-1 and Pweza-1 discoveries in Block 4.

Source

Swiber Lands Offshore Construction Job in Gulf of Mexico

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Swiber Holdings Limited, a world class integrated construction and support services provider to the offshore industry, announced that it has secured another sizeable contract through a local collaboration with Dragados Offshore (“Dragados”), totaling approximately US$273 million for offshore construction work in the Gulf of Mexico.

This latest contract win awarded by an oil major from the Gulf of Mexico, entails offshore construction works for the procurement, transportation, and installation of pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico. Work for this project will commence  immediately this year and will carry on into 2013.

Commented Mr. Francis Wong, Group Chief Executive Officer and President of Swiber, “Our strategic collaboration with Dragados enables both companies to provide a consolidated source of expertise and offer turnkey solutions to the offshore oil and gas industry. This puts us in a strong position to bank on the vast opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico region.”

With this third consecutive contract announcement in less than three months of 2012, Swiber’s order backlog continues to strengthen with steady growth.

This has come in quick succession to the recent US$36 million worth of vessel charter contract wins in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast Asia. Prior to that, the Group has secured a US$216 million contract early last month, for offshore construction projects and vessel chartering services in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Mr. Wong said, “This is indeed a winning season for us as we continue to secure contracts of larger values, which is a strong reflection of the confidence and trust that major oil companies have on Swiber’s ability in handling complex projects.

“Geographical diversification will remain the cornerstone of our growth path as we further strengthen our foothold in the offshore oil and gas industry in the region. This, coupled with our vessel fleet enhancements carried out in the past few years will enable us to concurrently manage our offshore projects while securing more contract wins.

“We have continued to break into new frontiers – new markets, new customers, new records in terms of size of contracts, revenue and order book. We have a strong order book visibility with offshore projects spread out over the next couple of years. This will clearly give us a solid footing to navigate forward in the exciting offshore oil and gas construction industry.”

Infield Systems has forecasted upstream capex in the Gulf of Mexico to increase by as much as 38% year-on-year in 2012 as operators push forward with development plans and execute offshore projects. Offshore capex is forecasted to increase from $9 billion in 2011 to over $12.5 billion per annum by 2015.

Concluded Mr. Wong, “Tendering activities in the offshore oil and gas industry is gaining traction, with vast opportunities appearing in the Gulf of Mexico. As an internationally recognised, world class company, with proven track record of delivering consistent and superior quality of products and services, Swiber is ready to support the region’s growing offshore exploration and field development market.”

With a slew of new contract wins, key strategies in place, strong order book visibility, and robust opportunities in the Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Gulf of Mexico regions, Swiber has firmly entrenched its position in the big league and is set to take on bigger ventures and capture fresh and exciting opportunities in the offshore oil and gas arena.

Source

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MODU Market Spending to Reach USD 48.1bn in 2012

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A large amount of undeveloped offshore oil and gas fields as well as new offshore discoveries will help drive the Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) market, especially in deepwater.

With strong oil prices persisting, major energy companies are increasingly reinvesting their earnings in exploration and development of offshore oil and gas basins. Visiongain calculates capital expenditure in the MODU market will total $48.1bn in 2012.

According to the International Energy Agency, global oil demand will rise from 88 million barrels today to around 99 million barrels in 25 years time. Over this period the cost of extracting oil will be higher and production from offshore resources will not be as expensive as it was relative to development of onshore hydrocarbons.

Although new technological improvements mean fewer people will be needed on offshore oil and gas drilling rigs, the construction industry behind MODUs and assembly of related technologies is providing employment for thousands of people. For example, the Brazilian marine construction industry has emerged on a vast scale to enable its offshore industry to provide MODUs and technologies for Petrobras to meet its vast oil production targets from its offshore resources.

Most super-major oil and gas companies as well as independent oil and gas companies have each secured a share in the hydrocarbon-rich offshore regions across the globe and demand for MODUs is strong. Meanwhile, health and safety standards and technology have both improved across the industry, leading to a backlog of orders for new-build MODU.

The Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) Market 2012-2022 report includes 144 tables, charts and graphs that analyse quantify and forecast the MODU market in detail from 2012-2022 at the global level, four submarkets and for 7 regional markets. The analysis and forecasting ahs been reinforced by extensive consultation with industry experts. Two full transcripts of exclusive interviews are included from Friede & Goldman and Maxeler Technologies. The report also profiles 55 leading companies involved in the MODU market.

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These Are The Companies That Will Make A Killing Off Of The Coming ‘Industrial Revolution’ In America

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Simone Foxman

Last week, Citi analysts argued that technological breakthroughs—particularly in shale oil extraction—that will allow energy companies to exploit petroleum resources that were formerly inaccessible could spark an “industrial revolution” across the North American continent.

In fact, they think that oil production could almost double—in just the next 8 years!

A follow-up report from Citi’s equities team highlights the companies that are already in position to take advantage of this energy boom. While analysts argue that the effect of an energy boom would be transformative and extend far beyond the oil industry, these are the companies that will be directly and locally impacted by the technological breakthroughs in resource extraction.

Click to see the companies >

Read more: BI

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