Monthly Archives: April 2012
Strong Demand for UDW Drillships Spurs Seadrill to Order One More from SHI (South Korea)
Seadrill continues to see strong demand for modern ultra-deepwater (UDW) drilling rigs driven by high oil prices and large deep-water discoveries and increased development drilling. Specific interest, mainly from operators in West Africa and the Americas, demonstrate a trend towards higher day rates and longer term contracts.
With yard costs at very attractive levels and Seadrill’s proven track record with respect to successful new build construction the Company today announced the order of a sixth drillship from Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) with delivery in the second quarter of 2014. The expected total project cost is less than USD600 million, in line with the 5 units under construction and with delivery in 2013 and 2014. The yard contract was originally between a party related to Seadrill’s major shareholder Hemen Holding and Samsung, as part of a larger shipyard deal, but Seadrill has been given the right to take over the contract at original terms.
Seadrill’s current new build program now includes 17 units: 6 ultra deep-water drillships, 1 harsh environment semi submersible, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups, all to be delivered in the period from Q4 2012 to Q1 2015. In addition, Seadrill has received a fixed price option for a further ultra deep-water drillship. The six drillships under construction are of the same design and will have a hook load capability of 1,250 tons and a water depth capacity of up to 12,000 feet targeting operations in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West and East Africa. Also, these units will be outfitted with seven ram configuration of the Blow out Preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.
CEO of Seadrill Alf Thorkildsen says:
“With the available capacity in 2013 and 2014 Seadrill is uniquely positioned among its peers to take advantage of strong demand for drilling services with high dayrates and longer charter contracts. We will continue to aggressively build Seadrill’s earnings and further expansion of the building program is expected in the months to come. Together, these developments provide for continued value creation and an increased dividend capacity.”
- South Korea: Seadrill Confirms Samsung Drillships Contracts (mb50.wordpress.com)
- South Korea: SHI to Build Seventh UDW Drillship for Pacific Drilling (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Cyprus: Ocean Rig Receives LoA for its UDW Drillship (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Ensco in $645m drillship buy (mb50.wordpress.com)
- ENSCO Orders Drillship with Retractable Thrusters!? (mb50.wordpress.com)
- South Korea: Stena Drilling Wins 5 Year Contract for Its Newbuild Stena IceMAX Drillship (mb50.wordpress.com)
USA: Technip Wins FEED Contract for Mad Dog Phase 2 Project
Technip was awarded a front end engineering design (FEED) contract by BP Exploration & Production Inc. This contract covers the design of a Spar hull and mooring systems for the Mad Dog Phase 2 Project, located near Green Canyon Block 825 in the Gulf of Mexico.
This first award comes under the framework of the 10-year Spar platform master services agreement signed in 2011.
The Mad Dog Phase 2 Spar will be located near the first Mad Dog Spar delivered by Technip for BP in 2004, and installed on Green Canyon 782. Detailed engineering for the new Spar is scheduled to start during the second half of 2012.
Technip’s operating center in Houston, Texas, will execute the contract with support from the center in Pori, Finland.
- Technip Wins Lucius Field Contract from Anadarko (mb50.wordpress.com)
- ExxonMobil Awards Technip GoM Subsea Contract (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Huisman to Build 500mt Yard Crane and 150mt Flexlay System for Technip (France) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: Technip Rings Tubular Bells (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Australia: Technip Wins Wheatstone Platform Design Contract from DSME (mb50.wordpress.com)
‘US imposed media ban on Balikatan to avoid riling China’
Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:37 am | Sunday, April 29th, 2012
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The American side in the just-concluded Balikatan 2012 joint military exercise changed rules unilaterally and imposed a media blackout on major live-fire exercises between the Philippines and United States military.
Live fire exercises were held at Crow Valley in Tarlac and at El Nido in Palawan.
The United States, according to a Philippine military source, made “several changes in the program of activities” apparently to avoid irritating China amid the standoff in the Scarborough Shoal that started on April 10.
“They made many changes to the plans and disallowed media coverage for Crow Valley and El Nido,” said the source, who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak on the matter.
The Crow Valley maneuvers, held on April 26, involved live-fire air and ground maneuvers and should have been open to media coverage as in past exercises, while the oil-rig takeover drill, which took place on April 20, was the first time such a scenario was introduced, a scenario which anticipated a counterattack on an oil facility taken over by hostile forces in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“When the Scarborough standoff happened, they (US Forces) suddenly became very cautious about how media was going to play up those stories.
“Ingat na ingat sila (They were very careful) and they wanted to forgo some of the activities,” the source said.
Western Command spokesperson Maj. Neil Estrella, contacted by phone Saturday, was asked if the El Nido oil-rig takeover exercise was supposed to be open to media coverage. He said the decision to make it off limits was “reached by both sides.”
“There were several considerations why it was not made open to the media. One was safety,” Estrella said.
The source, however, insisted that it was the American side that decided “unilaterally” that the media could not cover the oil-rig event.
“It was obvious the Americans did not want the military maneuvers to hog the limelight as the Philippines and China were in a standoff at Scarborough,” the source said.
- US envoy mum on Philippine-China standoff (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- Manila stuns the world by standing up to Beijing (chinadailymail.com)
- PH, US push to protect ‘mutual interests’ as ‘Balikatan’ ends (globalnation.inquirer.net)
Corpus Christi, Texas: Predator drones (el Mosco) have yet to prove their worth on border
The nine unmanned aircraft are expensive to operate but their results are unimpressive, critics say. But one official says the criticism is shortsighted.
By Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau April 28, 2012, 9:16 p.m
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The drug runners call it “el mosco,” the mosquito, and one recent evening on the southern tip of Texas, a Predator B drone armed with cameras buzzed softly over the beach on South Padre Island and headed inland.
“We’re going to get some bad guys tonight, I’ve got a feeling,” said Scott Peterson, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory air interdiction agent. He watched the drone’s live video feed in the Predator Ops room at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, about 50 miles away.
As the unmanned plane flew up the winding Rio Grande, which forms the border with Mexico, Peterson fielded excited phone calls. One agent had seen known scouts for a Mexican cartel at a Dairy Queen, suggesting a load of drugs was coming through. Another called in the precise spot where the shipment would land.
Soon the drone’s infrared camera picked up a man hauling bales of marijuana from an inflatable rubber boat into a minivan on the Texas side of the river. Then it spotted a second boat. Agents readied for a major bust.
But the April 18 raid was not the success Peterson had envisioned. He wanted the drone to track the smugglers to a stash house, and perhaps to ranking cartel members. Instead, Border Patrol agents rushed to the riverbank, sirens blaring. They seized half a ton of pot, a 1996 Plymouth Voyager van and a boat. The smugglers escaped and no one was arrested.
The mixed results highlight a glaring problem for Homeland Security officials who have spent six years and more than $250 million building the nation’s largest fleet of domestic surveillance drones: The nine Predators that help police America‘s borders have yet to prove very useful in stopping contraband or illegal immigrants.
The border drones require an hour of maintenance for every hour they fly, cost more to operate than anticipated, and are frequently grounded by rain or other bad weather, according to a draft audit of the program last month by the Homeland Security Department‘s inspector general.
Last year, the unmanned fleet flew barely half the number of flight hours that Customs and Border Protection had scheduled on the northern or southern borders, or over the Caribbean, according to the audit.
And the drones often are unavailable to assist border agents because Homeland Security officials have lent the aircraft to the FBI, Texas Rangers and other government agencies for law enforcement, disaster relief and other uses.
The audit slammed Homeland Security for buying two drones last year and ordering an additional $20.5-million Predator B system in Cocoa Beach, Fla., this year, saying it already owns more drones than it can utilize. Each drone costs about $3,000 an hour to fly.
“The big problem is that they are more expensive than traditional methods” of patrolling, said T.J. Bonner, former president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union of border agents.
To help pay for the drones, Customs and Border Protection has raided budgets of its manned aircraft. One result: Flight hours were cut by 10% for the P-3 Orion maritime surveillance planes that hunt smuggling ships on the West Coast and in the Caribbean.
The amount of illicit drugs seized in Predator raids is “not impressive,” acknowledged Michael Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who heads the office that supervises the drones.
Last year, the nine border drones helped find 7,600 pounds of marijuana, valued at $19.3 million. The 14 manned P-3 Orions helped intercept 148,000 pounds of cocaine valued at $2.8 billion.
In an interview, Kostelnik dismissed criticism of the border drones as shortsighted. He sketched out scenarios, such as a nuclear plant meltdown or detonation of a dirty bomb, where the drones could help assess damage without endangering a pilot.
If a major terrorist attack occurred in Washington or New York City, Kostelnik said, he could put drones overhead in five hours, assuming they could be flown up from Florida or carried on a cargo plane, to help first responders and policymakers.
“It is not about the things we are doing today,” Kostelnik said. “It is about the things we might be able to do.”
The recent raid on the Rio Grande showed some of the pros and cons of the border drones.
Inside the Predator Ops center, the crew watched as the minivan filled with marijuana drove away on a dirt road. The Predator’s camera followed. Suddenly, a figure raced in front of the minivan, waving his hands for the driver to turn back.
“He’s spooked!” said Lyle Belew, the mission commander. “Stay on him!” he ordered the camera operator as the van did a quick U-turn.
Instead of risking a potentially violent standoff in a nearby residential neighborhood, the agents on the ground decided to cut the operation short and try to seize the drugs at the river.
A Border Patrol SUV suddenly appeared on screen, chasing the minivan back to the riverbank. Then six figures jumped out of the minivan and into the water, taking one of the two rubber boats. Several Border Patrol agents ran down the beach in pursuit.
In the Ops Center, Border Patrol liaison Hector Black worried that cartel gunmen might open fire on his agents from the far side of the river.
“Ask them to pan [the drone camera] to Mexico to make sure nobody starts shooting at our guys,” Black said. “See if there are guys with long arms,” meaning rifles.
The banks looked empty, but the camera clearly showed six figures and a rubber boat drifting down the dark river and back into Mexico.
Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times
- Drones and the Dream of Remote Control in the Borderlands (counterpunch.org)
- Gov’t Spies in our Skies. FAA Issues Drone Permits. (freedombytheway.com)
- Are there drones in your town? Check the map to see — Rise of spy planes exposed after FAA is forced to reveal 63 launch sites across U.S. (12160.info)
- Senate told drones now patrolling U.S.-Canada border (ctv.ca)
- Is there a drone in your neighbourhood? Rise of spy planes exposed after FAA is forced to reveal 63 launch sites across U.S. (vaticproject.blogspot.com)
- Alarming List of Drones for Universities, Police Released (commondreams.org)
- Predators (socialnomicsingularity.wordpress.com)
- Attorney: ‘Guerilla-Like Police Tactics’ Used in First American Drone Arrest (usnews.com)
- Unmanned drones making U.S. a Predator nation (cbsnews.com)
Obama Busted: Admits He Shares Values With Communist Congressman
By Cindi on Apr 27, 2012
U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis with communist ties sits on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.
Barack Obama a close friend of Danny Davis admits to sharing his values and considers him one of the best Congressman in the country.
- Was the Communist Party USA behind Obama?
- Obama is a Communist: His Actions speak louder than His Words
- It’s Not About Their Vision Or Values
- Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) Retiring
- The Radical History of Rush
- Obama Pal Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) Gets Award at Communist Party U.S.A.’s Chicago Headquarters (sfcmac.wordpress.com)
- How many Communists can you put in one closet? (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- Communists and Progressive Liberals: Comrades for Life (thecollegeconservative.com)
- Film: President’s father not Barack Obama (wnd.com)
- Valerie Jarrett’s Father-in-Law Was a Communist – Worked With Obama Mentor Frank Marshall Davis (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Let the Organized Left’s Charges of “McCarthyism” Deter You – Allen West Is Right (nicedeb.wordpress.com)