Daily Archives: May 2, 2012

USA: ConocoPhillips Completes Spinoff of Its Downstream Business

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ConocoPhillips announced that it has completed the spinoff of its downstream businesses to its stockholders. With the completion of this transaction, ConocoPhillips is the world’s largest independent exploration and production (E&P) company, based on proved reserves and production of liquids and natural gas.

“ConocoPhillips will truly be unique as an independent E&P company. Our unmatched size, scope and capability position us to compete successfully in this business,” said Ryan Lance, chairman and chief executive officer. “With an exclusive focus on exploration and production, we will pursue opportunities and take actions to create value for all our stakeholders. We will emphasize execution and operations excellence, the principles that made us what we are today and that will shape the ConocoPhillips of tomorrow.”

ConocoPhillips benefits from more than a century of experience and success achieved by its predecessor companies. The company has a presence and capability in key technology-driven resource opportunities globally. Among these are conventional and unconventional reservoirs, oil sands and heavy-oil deposits, liquefied natural gas, and deepwater and Arctic operations.

“As we move forward with today’s strong base, our vision is to pioneer a new standard of E&P excellence,” Lance said. “ConocoPhillips has always placed safety, health and environmental stewardship first, and this will not change. In addition, we have an unprecedented opportunity to unlock potential by combining the legacy of our world-class workforce, asset base, technical capability and financial capacity with the focus and culture of an independent company. We believe this will allow us to create value for all our stakeholders and deliver a compelling formula of profitable growth, strong financial returns and a sector-leading dividend.”

To effect the spinoff, ConocoPhillips stockholders received one share of Phillips 66 common stock for every two shares of ConocoPhillips common stock held on the record date of April 16, 2012. Phillips 66 is now an independent, publicly traded company in which ConocoPhillips retains no ownership interest.

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USA: BP Awards Mad Dog Topsides FEED to AMEC

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AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, has been awarded a contract from BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BP) to provide Front End Engineering Design services (FEED) for the topsides facilities for the second phase of the Mad Dog field development. The new facility will be of one of the largest floating production systems to be installed in the Gulf of Mexico.

The contract value has not been disclosed.

“This award is the latest in our on-going global engineering and project management services agreement with BP and continues our long-term collaboration with the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Simon Naylor, President of AMEC’s Natural Resources Americas business. “The contract further strengthens AMEC’s track record in the development of global deepwater facilities, building on current offshore projects in Brazil and Angola.”

The new facility will produce oil and gas from the Phase 2 development area within the existing Mad Dog field in the Green Canyon region of the Gulf of Mexico, about 200 miles (320 kilometres) south of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Deepwater projects are increasingly important in helping to meet rising demand for oil and gas around the world.

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Bolivian Soldiers Walked Into This Spanish Power Company, Hung A Flag And Seized Control

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AP

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — President Evo Morales announced Tuesday that his government is completing the nationalization of Bolivia’s electricity sector by seizing control of its main power grid from a Spanish-owned company.

Morales took advantage of the symbolism of May Day, the international day of the worker, to order troops to occupy installations of the company, a subsidiary of Red Electrica Corporacion SA.

The president’s placing of another of what he deems basic services under state control comes as neighboring Argentina moves to take control of the country’s oil company, YPF, from the Spanish energy company Repsol SA, which had held a majority interest.

Spain‘s ambassador to Bolivia, Ramon Santos, told reporters the electric grid takeover “is sending a negative message that generates distrust.”

Red Electrica is the sole operator of the transmission grid in Spain, and the Spanish government holds a 20 percent stake in the company.

Morales did not say how much the company would be compensated, but the nationalization decree says the state would negotiate an indemnization fee.

Morales said only $81 million had been invested in Bolivia’s power grid since it was privatized in 1997.

The government, meanwhile, “invested $220 million in generation and others profited. For that reason, brothers and sisters, we have decided to nationalize electricity transmission,” he said.

Bolivian soldiers peacefully took over the company’s offices in the central city of Cochabamba, hanging Bolivia’s flag across its entry.

Red Electrica had no immediate comment. A security guard reached at its headquarters in Spain said a statement was expected later.

The company owned 74 percent of Bolivia’s electrical transmission network, or 1,720 miles (2,772 kilometers) of high voltage lines.

Two years ago, on May Day, Morales’ government took control of most of Bolivia’s electrical generation, nationalizing its main hydroelectric plants.

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, has moved to put energy, water and telecommunications under state control.

But analyst Joao de Castro Neves of the Eurasia Group said the president has been far more pragmatic and less radical than the leftist leaders of Venezuela or Argentina.

“He knows his limits,” Castro Neves said. “The Bolivian state doesn’t have the capacity to take over all these sectors (including mining) and maintain the high levels of investment they need.”

He noted that Morales still hasn’t come to terms for taking over several small mines whose nationalization he announced last May Day.

Bolivia’s government also has not been able to negotiate compensation for the power plants taken from GDF Suez of France and Rurelec PLC of Britain.

Morales continues to deal with multinational companies such as Brazil’s oil company, Petrobras, and Repsol, whose president, Antonio Brufau, he met with on Tuesday after announcing the power grid takeover.

The two men inaugurated a $528 million natural gas plant in eastern Bolivia that represents the single biggest foreign investment in the country under Morales. It is designed to triple the amount of gas sent to Argentina and the local market to 9 million cubic meters a day, said Carlos Villegas, president of Bolivia’s state energy company, YPFB.

In the case of electricity, the government is following a policy of returning to the public domain a sector privatized during the 1990s.

“Just to make it clear to national and international public opinion, we are nationalizing a company that previously was ours,” Morales said.

The 20 percent of the industry the government does not own is in the hands of small companies serving cities in the eastern lowlands that are not connected to the national grid.

In his first year in office in 2006, Morales announced he was “nationalizing” the oil and gas sector. He began extracting concessions from multinational energy companies, renegotiating contracts to give Bolivians greater control of and a bigger share of profits from the natural gas industry, the country’s biggest ahead of mining.

In 2008, he used May Day to announce the completion of the nationalization of Bolivia’s leading telecommunications company, Entel, from Telecom Italia SpA

The nationalizations have not saved Morales from widespread criticism by Bolivians upset over rising consumer prices, lower domestic oil production and discontent over government plans to build a highway through a lowlands nature preserve inhabited by Indians.

Morales’ approval rating is down to about 40 percent from 69 percent when he began his second term in January 2010.

Read more: BI

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