Daily Archives: May 21, 2012

Chevron Canada Charters Magne Viking AHTS

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Viking Supply Ships, one of TransAtlantic’s two business areas, has with the AHTS-vessel Magne Viking been awarded a term contract by Chevron Canada Ltd for operations on one well.

The contract is on subject and is not yet fully signed by the parties. The well support operations are estimated to last between 150 and 180 days and the charter will commence during the third quarter 2012. The vessel is going to support the drill ship Stena Carron with supply duties, anchor handling, towing, stand-by and rescue services, passenger movement and ice berg management.

Magne Viking is especially designed for subarctic operations and harsh weather conditions. The crew on board is especially trained for working in cold environments and has extensive experience from iceberg management from Greenland. The vessel is ice classed, which is a requirement for operating in Canadian waters, and will be upgraded to a full stand-by class in accordance with Canadian regulations. Magne Viking is furthermore equipped with de-icing systems, fire-fighting, oil recovery, large accommodation and safe deck handling.

The total contract value is estimated at about CAD 11.1 million.

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European bank runs and failure of Credit-Anstalt in 1931

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21 May, 2012, 14:52
Posted by Zarathustra

The events in Europe right now is essentially a slow-motion bank run (or “bank jog”) on various European banks in the periphery.   Greece, for instance, have been losing deposits in their banks, while Spanish bank Bankia was rumoured to have massive among of deposits being withdrawn.  And of course, in the days of modern banking with internet and other stuff, you don’t even need to see a massive queue outside a bank to know that there’s a bank run.

Disturbingly, what’s happening today in Europe reminds me of something happening more than 80 years ago, when bank failures triggered bank runs virtually in the whole of Europe, later bank holidays in hope to stop bank runs, capital control, and countries going off gold standard.  Sure enough, by thinking about the event in 1931 by no means suggest that I think what happened then will surely happen in 2012.  It is always, however, good to look at the history and see what we can learn from it.

We all knew that the Great Depression started in 1929.  Perhaps lesser known is that one of the more dangerous legs of the slump during the the Great Depression did not start until 1931 when an Austrian Bank Credit Anstalt went bust.

At the time, it was the biggest bank of Austria.  Its failure triggered a European banking crisis, with bank runs started first with Austrian banks, then with German banks.

In Liaquat Ahamed’s wonderful book Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, he wrote that while Austria was a small country with the GDP about one tenth of Germany’s, remarkably the failing on its biggest bank sent a massive shockwave to the whole of Europe, an ultimately to the world economy.  While the big central bankers were trying to come up with rescue packages, without the experience of modern central banking, they came in too late, with too little money.

During the time of the Great Depression, it was the French which had the biggest gold reserve after the United States.  At the time of Credit Anstalt’s failure, the French was apparently faring relatively well among European countries.  And not surprisingly, politics was in play in their attempt to save themselves.  France, although financially stronger among European great powers, they were not keen at all to save the Germans and Austrians (perhaps still quite keen to punish them for starting World War One).  When the United States unilaterally forgo war debts from Europe for a year, which included German’s reparation, France was furious.  Liaquat Ahamed quoted that the British Prime Minister at the time Ramsay MacDonald saying that “France has been playing its usual small minded and selfish fame over Hoover proposal…”, while the Bank of England Governor’s Montagu Norman said, according to Ahamed, that “Berlin was being ‘bled to death’ while the French and the Americans were busy arguing” (p. 413).  And sure enough, when the German’s central bank Reichsbank asked Banque de France and the French government for help, that didn’t work. The French government offered some loan with conditions, which the Germans thought of that as “political blackmail”.

As the crisis worsened, Danatbank, at the time the second biggest bank in Germany, went bust some two months later after Credit Anstalt failed.  On 13 July, it failed to open for business, triggering yet another wave of massive bank runs on every other German banks.  With the banking crisis at its worst, a two-day bank holiday was imposed in German to prevent further drain in deposits.  Later, banks in virtually the whole of Europe are closed.

Meanwhile, in London, the government is considering measures to reduce budget deficits even as the banking crisis hit Britain, partly because of UK’s banks exposure to Germany and other countries in the continental Europe, and the Bank of England was losing gold reserve, forcing the Bank to raise interest rate when it should not.  The military’s salary would be cut in hope to plug the budget gap, but the some sailors in the Royal Navy became (predictably) very angry and essentially went on strike, an event which is now known as the Invergordon Mutiny.  Not a particularly huge event, but enough to send a shockwave to the City of London with stock market crashed and a sterling crisis.  In about a week after the Mutiny, Britain was forced out of the gold standard.

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Chesapeake turns to Jefferies’ Eads in $28 billion deals

Workers join sections of pipe on a Trinidad Drilling rig leased by Chesapeake Energy north of Douglas, Wyo. Photo: Alan Rogers / Copyright 2012 CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE

Posted on May 21, 2012 at 7:01 am
by Bloomberg

When Chesapeake Energy Corp. Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon went on an oil and natural gas buying spree, Ralph Eads was the banker who found the money to fund it.

The vice chairman at Jefferies Group Inc. and former fraternity brother of McClendon helped his firm win work advising Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake on more than $28 billion of transactions since 2007. He assisted Chesapeake in asset sales to raise cash the company then plowed back into locking up new prospects across the U.S., what Chesapeake often calls a “land grab.”

McClendon is depending now on his Jefferies confidant at an even more crucial moment. Falling gas prices, combined with the buying binge, is forcing Chesapeake to unload assets to keep the company afloat. Along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jefferies bankers are seeking buyers for oil-rich prospects and lending Chesapeake $4 billion in the meantime.

“Without Wall Street, Chesapeake wouldn’t be able to do what it has done,” said Phil Weiss, an analyst at Argus Research in New York who rates the shares “sell.”

Read more: Fuel Fix » Chesapeake turns to Jefferies’ Eads in $28 billion deals.

UK: Subsea 7 Orders OCTOPUS for Seven Borealis

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London-based Subsea 7, the seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services contractor to the offshore energy industry, has ordered the OCTOPUS suite of products for the recently delivered Pipelay/Heavy Lift vessel Seven Borealis.

This latest addition to the Subsea 7 fleet is a state-of-the-art vessel that shall be involved in ultra-deep and deepwater projects in the world’s deepest and harshest environments.

Amarcon is appointed to deliver a motion monitoring and ship response forecast system, known in the industry as OCTOPUS-Onboard. The order for Subsea 7 is a very extensive one. One of the functionalities is a crane monitoring system. The motions of the heave compensated 5,000t crane are monitored and displayed real-time within OCTOPUS-Onboard. In addition to the onboard motion monitoring & forecast functionality, the Seven Borealis shall also be equipped with a DP Capability Forecast. This enables the production of DP (Dynamic Positioning) -plots based on forecast thruster utilization. As a result of that, a forecast is given within OCTOPUS-Onboard if the vessel is capable of maintaining her position and heading in changing environmental and weather conditions, hours and days ahead. By using OCTOPUS-Online all the collected motions and accelerations from the Seven Borealis are sent to a central database server so authorized users at the Subsea 7 office can view and analyze the recorded motion and acceleration data. Subsea 7 also ordered Amarcon’s hydrodynamic analysis software OCTOPUS-Office for calculations of sea keeping characteristics of the Seven Borealis prior to new pipe lay projects.

In 2011 Seaway Heavy Lifting ordered OCTOPUS-Onboard for her Oleg Strashnov, which is operated under a Joint Venture together with Subsea 7.

Amarcon’s Managing Director Leon Adegeest shows his appreciation: “It is great to see that these unique vessels, involved in very complex and sophisticated offshore projects, have chosen OCTOPUS-Onboard to assist them in their everyday operations.”

OCTOPUS can be installed on newbuild vessels and on ships already in operation.

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Repsol Drills Duster Offshore Cuba

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Spanish oil titan Repsol on Friday announced it would plug and abandon an exploration well offshore Cuba.

Repsol’s well in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was drilled by the Scarabeo 9, a 6th generation semi submersible drilling rig.

The Saipem-owned rig failed to find hydrocarbons, and Repsol’s spokesman told BusinesWeek that the result is disappointing but not unusual saying that every four of five offshore wells turn out to be a dry hole.

He said that the Spanish company was analyzing the data collected before making any further decisions.

Scarabeo 9, capable of operating in water depths of up to 3,600 meters, was built by Singapore’s Keppel specifically for this campaign.

Due to the United States trading embargo against Cuba, Repsol had to come up with a rig with almost no U.S. made parts in it, and according to Reuters, the only U.S. manufactured part on the Scarabeo 9 rig is a blowout preventer, a part that malfunctioned and caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Ocean Rig Drillship to Drill for Chariot Offshore Namibia

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Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Africa focused independent oil and gas exploration company, has, together with its partner Enigma Oil & Gas (Pty) Limited, reached an agreement with Ocean Rig UDW Inc. to use the Ocean Rig Poseidon drillship for drilling of the Kabeljou (2714/6-1) well on the Nimrod prospect, offshore Namibia.

The drillship is expected to arrive on location in July 2012, after its current contract expires. The drilling operations will commence shortly after the arrival.

The Nimrod prospect is located in the Orange Basin in Southern Block 2714A where Chariot has a 25% equity interest. The Kabeljou well is expected to take approximately 2 months to drill. The drilling location is 77 km offshore Namibia in 360 metres of water with an estimated total drilling depth of 3,100 metres true vertical depth subsea (“TVDss”).

This is the second well to be drilled in Chariot’s 4 to 5 exploration well programme offshore Namibia.

Paul Welch, CEO of Chariot, commented:

“We are very pleased to be advancing with our drilling programme and eagerly anticipate the spud of the Kabeljou well with our partners. Nimrod is one of the biggest prospects due to be drilled worldwide this year and we look forward to being able to update the market with further news on this hugely significant well in due course.”

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Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty

By Ed Feulner
The Washington Times
Monday, May 21, 2012

Want the United States to gain legal access to the vast amount of oil and natural gas in the underwater extended continental shelf? Get LOST – specifically, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).

The Obama administration wants the Senate to act on the treaty, which has been around since 1982. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, will be holding a series of hearings, beginning Wednesday, to make the case for LOST.

According to its advocates, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. One of them concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our continental shelf. The treaty’s proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty.

“If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended continental shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded,” said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican.

Without LOST, we are told, we will not be able to develop the hydrocarbon resources beneath the extended continental shelf in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean.

Sounds pretty dire and, at a time of fluctuating prices for gasoline and other forms of energy, alarming. Fortunately, it’s not true.

Under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas. Presidents dating back to Harry Truman have issued proclamations – and Congress has passed laws – establishing America’s maritime laws and boundaries. And no one has challenged them.

Perhaps LOST’s proponents would like this to change. They tend to be fans of superfluous international agreements and frequently back policies that would tie the hands of the U.S. and prevent us from acting in our own interests. But the fact remains that their claim about LOST being necessary to obtain legal title to the oil and gas under the extended continental shelf is pure fiction.

A big part of the reason this matters is that a lot of money is at stake. It is hard to say exactly how much hydrocarbon deposits there are beneath the extended continental shelf, but according to the ECS Task Force, “Given the size of the U.S. continental shelf, the resources we find there may be worth many billions, if not trillions, of dollars.”

Forgoing such a treasure is not the only way that the United States could lose out financially under LOST. Environmental activists are high on the treaty, too. That is because they anticipate suing the U.S., if it joins LOST, to force America to adopt the radical climate-change agenda they have been unsuccessful at imposing. So far, at least.

Climate-change alarmists have tried again and again in recent years to secure an international agreement. In Denmark, Mexico and South Africa, they have tried to come up with a legally binding climate-change pact. Considering what an economic wrecking ball such an agreement would represent to the U.S. and its allies, we can be glad they failed. But now they think they have found a solution: LOST.

Groups such as Greenpeace would love a chance to make the U.S. pay in international court. And that is just what we would do under the U.S. Convention on the Law of the Sea – pay.

“In addition to needlessly exposing itself to baseless environmental lawsuits,” writes The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Groves, an expert on LOST, “the United States would be required to transfer billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties … to the International Seabed Authority for redistribution to the developing world.”

What does this mean? In short, it means that the United Nations will have an independent source of income, courtesy of the United States.

So who has Sen. Kerry invited to testify at his hearings? Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. All of them are proponents of the treaty. So do not expect to hear a word about any of its many drawbacks.

LOST amounts to little more than an expensive power grab by America’s detractors worldwide. President Reagan was right to reject it 30 years ago. The U.S. Senate should do the same thing today.

Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).

Source

FEULNER: Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty – Washington Times.

Successful final commissioning of Expro’s AX-S subsea well intervention innovation

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Published: May 21, 2012

Leading international oilfield services company Expro is celebrating the successful commissioning of its ground-breaking AX-S™ well intervention system.

The AX-S system, on board the Havila Phoenix vessel, completed its final commissioning successfully on a subsea well in a fjord (Onarheimsfjorden), in Norway, in April. Many major milestones were achieved and preparations are now under way for its first commercial well intervention job in the North Sea.

All operations during the commissioning were carried out safely without any incidents. All the subsea packages were fully deployed twice in a complete stack-up and 34 tools runs were performed on the well deploying a variety of down hole equipment including callipers, production logging, CCL, gamma ray, deep set plug, crown plugs and wireline tractor.

More than 40 potential customers attended the commissioning and witnessed the successful demonstrations.

Dave Shand, AX-S Managing Director, said: “After more than seven years of development and innovation and $200million investment in technology, it is testament to the hard work of our AX-S team and the backing of Expro that the AX-S system is now ready for business.

“The final commissioning of this innovative well intervention system is an epic milestone and we are delighted that we have delivered a leading edge solution to the oil and gas industry which will significantly change how operators approach well intervention globally.

“The feedback we have received from this major milestone shows that AX-S has been recognised as a novel, safe, cost efficient and efficient way of performing well intervention.”

With its industry experience and innovative technology, Expro offers tailor-made solutions for its customers across the lifecycle of their wells.

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