Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chart Of The Day: Entitlements Or Growth

09/25/2012
Submitted by Tyler Durden

From Bloomberg Briefs:

“Policy choices made in the near-term will affect the economy for years to come. If not addressed, current debt and spending dynamics will probably lead to a reduced growth path, placing at risk expenditures on vital social programs and, over time, crowding out private sector borrowing that funds the gross private domestic investment necessary to boost productivity and living standards. Dollars spent on entitlements dwarf those spent on discretionary items such as education, and tower over net fixed business investment, which is partially responsible for greater productivity, business expansion and rising living standards. Periods with greater investment as a share of GDP are highly correlated with both faster economic growth and rising living standards. One risk to the U.S. economy is that rising entitlement spending will require the government to borrow from the finite amount of capital held by private savers, thus squeezing out private firms that need the capital to expand businesses and increase productivity.”

Who needs private business when you have infinite toner cartridge and politicians who need to be reelected with promises of, well, everything.

Source

INFLATION On The Way

J. D. Longstreet

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

Let me be clear. I am not an economist. Heck, I’m not even a CPA. Frankly, I know squat about finance short of running a business and having the good sense to hire someone to handle the financial end of the business — extremely well.

Here, at the Longstreet Manor, my lovely and gracious (and long-suffering!) spouse is the financier. She is my “Personal Banker.” No, I MEAN IT! She has kept me out of jail, debtor’s prison, or wherever they place men like me (who spend all the money they can lay their hands on.)

See, I view money as having been made for one purpose — to spend! And yes, I have been told all my life that one cannot take it with them when one departs this world. Although, I did meet a hearse once, out on the interstate, towing a U-Haul trailer behind it. I remarked to my wife at the time, that, perhaps, someone HAD figured out a way to take it with them, after all!

I distinctly remember a member of my board of directors insisting once, many years ago, that if he couldn’t take it with him, the he wasn’t going! Today’s he’s gone — and so is his money. Oh, he didn’t take it with him. No, after he passed from the scene, the family spent the heck out of it until, it, too, was gone!

This may seem strange and even alien to some of you, but I never sought wealth. It was never important to me. Having ample funds to stay fed, clothed, housed, and out of jail was sufficient. So far, I have managed to do that.

I think an aunt made such an impression on me, as a child, that it bent me in a way one might even describe as fear of wealth.

See, my aunt ,was the daughter of a share cropper. (I’m the first generation off the farm, myself.) She was fortunate. She married a man on the way up in one of the most powerful labor unions in the country at the time. They became wealthy. But it affected my aunt in a strange way. She was always afraid — afraid of losing her wealth and returning, I suppose, to the poverty she knew growing up as a hard scrabble sharecropper. She invested wisely, had plenty of money, real estate, stocks, bonds, all of it. But what she lacked was happiness.

I decided then and there, I did not want that. I chose an occupation that I loved, was, indeed, suited for and I stayed with it for thirty years.

Now that I have established my bona fides — which is to say that I am dumb as a post when it comes to high finance, I am about to tell you why Ben Bernanke blew the US economy to hell recently with QE-3.

In a word: INFLATION.

The money you had before QE-3 is now worth less — and the more money Ben and his cronies order printed — the less your money will be worth.

Bernanke, a Jew and a Republican, was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised just thirty miles, or so, from where I sit as I write this piece. It’s a small country town in the coastal plain of South Carolina. So, we are both “Sandlappers.” And as much as I would like to agree with, and support, a fellow son of the Palmetto State, and a fellow Republican, I cannot. He’s wrong on this and, unfortunately, all Americans are going to pay for it, dearly, in the not too distant future.

Ben Bernanke

It pains me to say this, but I am of the mind that Ben really wants Obama to win the coming election. See, Mr. Romney has already said he intends to replace Mr. Bernanke if he is elected. So, it stands to reason that if Bernanke can make the President look good, or even better, in the few weeks left ’til election day, Obama may be reelected and — guess what — Ben gets to keep his cushy job!

See? Politics ain’t all that hard, now, is it?

Seriously, inflation brings the mighty low… quickly! To get a better understanding of what inflation, especially hyperinflation can do to a country just Google “Weimar Republic” or “Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.”

During the Gerald Ford Administration the US had a fight with inflation. I can still see, in my mind’s eye, those big red WIN buttons — Whip Inflation Now!” It took a toll on the country that lasted the remainder of Ford’s Administration, through the Carter Administration, and right up until Ronald Reagan came into office. It was an anvil around the neck of the US economy.

As I said, I don’t know diddly-squat about high finance so I can’t dazzle you with great gobs of numbers with dollar signs and percentage signs, etc., but take it from a guy who was trying to run a business during those years and believe me when I tell you it was “hunker down” and “tread water” time during those years. Reagan tossed the country a life-preserver and we got through it — vowing never to make the same mistake again.

But Americans have extremely short memories. As a result, we are making the same mistakes over and we are inflicting unnecessary pain on ourselves.

The MSM was touting the skyrocket in the stock markets after Bernanke made the announcement. And, yes, it DID look good. But, believe me — it is a bubble and IT WILL BURST — and we will be far worse for it in the end.

J. D. Longstreet

INFLATION On The Way … J. D. Longstreet.

USA: Western States Lawmakers Call for Quicker Approval of LNG Export Applications

The Center for LNG praised a bipartisan group of 16 House Members who called for an expedited review process for applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The legislators – all representing districts in the western region of the United States – sent the letter to Steven Chu, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where all LNG export applications must be reviewed.

Led by Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah), the lawmakers noted that “Creating more opportunities to sell natural gas into global markets and access overseas customers could help the goals of increasing natural gas use and smooth out historical boom-bust cycles. Realizing sustainable natural gas prices will continue to stimulate the resurgence of U.S. manufacturing, power generation, chemical and agriculture sectors, as well as continue to keep costs low to heat our homes and fuel our nation’s transportation needs.”

The Center for LNG, a trade group representing the LNG industry, agreed with the lawmakers.

“Restarting the permitting process for LNG facilities would give the United States a unique opportunity to generate more public revenues, increase investment in the U.S. economy, create new jobs, and reduce our trade deficit,” said Center for LNG president Bill Cooper. “Promoting exports is a longstanding policy in the United States, including the President’s National Export Initiative, which is designed to create jobs by doubling U.S. exports by 2015.”

Yesterday’s letter follows a similar effort from earlier this summer, when a bipartisan group of 44 House lawmakers from Texas and Louisiana also wrote to DOE to encourage an expedited review of LNG facilities, bringing the total number of House Members supporting expedited approval to 82.

“This is yet another indication that Americans are ready to get back to work. Approving LNG export facilities would be a significant source of new jobs and will help re-grow our struggling economy,” Cooper added.

Three Democrats and 13 Republicans representing the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming all signed the letter.

Western States Lawmakers Call for Quicker Approval of LNG Export Applications, USA LNG World News.

TDW Completes Subsea Pipeline Pressure Isolation in the Gulf of Mexico

TDW Offshore Services (TDW), a leading supplier of pipeline services and equipment, has successfully completed a subsea pipeline pressure isolation operation in the Gulf of Mexico. Carried out at a depth of 370 ft (113 m) against 870 psig, this isolation enabled the safe and effective tie-in of a piggable wye to the Mississippi Canyon Gas Pipeline, a 30-inch natural gas line running between the West Delta 143 platform – a hub facility for deepwater oil and gas production – and the Venice Gas Plant in Louisiana.

The isolation project utilized two remote-controlled 30-inch SmartPlug® dual module pressure isolation tools to isolate 45 miles of pipeline.

“The SmartPlug® isolation tool is certified to ‘Safety Class High’ in accordance with OS-F101 for Submarine Pipeline Systems and is uniquely suited for use in connection with diving operations,” says Bjørn-Olav Gilje, project manager for TDW.

Each tool was composed of two plug modules and two pigging modules. One of the tools provided double block isolation on the high pressure side of the tie-in location. The first module on the second tool provided a hydraulic locked barrier of the high pressure side for the divers installing the wye. The second module on the second tool was used to perform a leak test to verify integrity of the new wye after installation.

Following launch, TDW technicians aboard dive support vessel Norman Commander used the remotely-operated SmartTrack™ tracking and pressure monitoring system to continuously monitor the locations of the SmartPlug® tools as they traveled to their subsea set destinations. The SmartTrack™ system uses two-way, through-wall, electromagnetic communication between a transponder and a receiver to track tool progress. Once the tools were set, the isolation period was approximately two and a half weeks.

“TDW worked with the client and their contractors over several months to ensure that associated risks were evaluated and mitigated,” Gilje adds. “This thorough up-front planning resulted in a successful tie-in operation for our client. Working together achieved a result that we are proud to have been part of.”

Subsea World News – TDW Completes Subsea Pipeline Pressure Isolation in the Gulf of Mexico.

South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order

Seadrill has entered into a turnkey contract to build a new ultra-deepwater drillship at the Samsung yard in South Korea. The project value price is estimated to be around US$600 million (including project management, drilling and handling tools, spares, capitalized interest and operations preparations) with tail-heavy payment terms payable upon delivery, which is scheduled within the fourth quarter 2014.

Delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter 2014. In addition, Seadrill has agreed a fixed price option to build a further drillship at the yard, with delivery in the first quarter 2015. With the current strong demand there is limited availability of rigs in 2014 and Seadrill believes it is likely that the option will be exercised and is currently discussing details of upgrades of that unit.

The drillship will be of the same design as the existing six drillships under construction at Samsung 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 blowout preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.

Yard costs are currently at very attractive levels. This together with the delivery time in 2014, the strength of the ultra-deepwater market and Seadrill’s proven track-record of taking delivery on time and on budget makes this into an investment which is likely to deliver an excellent return to our shareholders.

Seadrill’s construction program now totals 19 units, including 7 drillships, 2 harsh environment semi-submersibles, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups. In addition the Company has fixed priced options for three ultra-deepwater/harsh environment units.

The initial installments for the new drillship will be funded by liquidity from the recent US$1 billion bond offering.

Chairman of Seadrill Limited John Fredriksen says, “We have a unique environment where both daily rates and contract duration are increasing to new highs, while yard prices remain low due to the overcapacity in the shipyard industry. This presents an excellent investment opportunity under which we can continue to aggressively grow Seadrill. The new ordering has been evaluated up against several M&A and asset proposals but the Board has concluded that organic growth through contracting new buildings at attractive prices is likely to give higher long-term return to shareholders. The deepwater drilling industry is transforming from an exploration to a development industry. Such a transformation will trigger a significant increase in the need for the drilling of production wells in order to connect the fields that have been successfully explored in the recent years.”

Fredriksen continued: “Seadrill is best positioned within the drilling industry to meet this tightness. We have in total nine ultra-deep/ harsh environment units for delivery in 2013 – 2015 plus options for an additional three. Two of these units have already been employed on long-term contracts. We are currently in specific discussions regarding attractive long-term employment opportunities for a majority of the remaining firm units. Clarification around these fixtures should be expected in the months to come. The Board has in recent press releases expressed that they are confident that an attractive financing package can be arranged for the new building program. This situation has further improved in the recent months, driven by a well oversubscribed bank financing, good progress on the export financing side as well as the successful trading of the new US$1 billion five-year unsecured note. With a total order backlog in excess of US$20 billion which is likely to increase further in the months to come the Board is confident that the new ordering can be financed without raising additional equity and will contribute positively to future valuation as well as dividend capacity. Seadrill will continue to monitor opportunities in the new building market including the possibilities to declare the existing three options. The target is to continue to grow Seadrills organization, fleet and earnings potential in an optimal and dynamic way. The Board is increasingly excited about the strength of the market and the way Seadrill is exposed to this operationally and financially.”

Shipbuilding Tribune – South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order.

Worldwide Field Development News Sep 14 – Sep 20, 2012

This week the SubseaIQ team added 4 new projects and updated 25 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

N. America – US Alaska

Another Setback for Shell in the Arctic

Sep 17, 2012 – After battling through federal regulatory issues and environmental lawsuits, Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploration drilling program has gotten off to a rocky start. Soon after spudding the first well, the Noble Discoverer (mid-water drillship) was forced to move off location for a short time due to an encroaching ice floe. The latest setback occurred when the containment dome – used to contain uncontrolled oil flowing from a subsea wellhead – was damaged during testing. Without an operational containment dome, the company will not be able drill into oil-bearing zones. However, Shell will still be able to drill the shallow top-hole sections of several exploration wells before the short drilling season comes to an end.

Project Details: Burger, SW Shoebill, Cracker Jack

Europe – North Sea

Xcite is Excited about Bentley Pre-Production Test

Sep 20, 2012 – Xcite Energy has successfully concluded the pre-production well test in the Bentley Phase 1A work program. The test was built around two horizontal well sections (9/3b-7 and 9/3b-7Z) that represented an excess of 4,200 feet of net reservoir. Approximately 147,000 barrels of Bentley crude were produced. Results confirmed the existence of a large aquifer that should provide long term pressure support during production. Even with the aquifer in place, the oil-water ratio was far better than expected and provides important information for modeling long term oil recovery from the field. Both well bores will be suspended and kept available for use in the next phase of development. Drilling and testing were carried out by the Rowan Norway (400′ ILC). Once the test equipment on the rig has been decommissioned the rig be demobilized from the field and released back to Rowan.

Project Details: Bentley

Draupne Gets a New Name

Sep 19, 2012 – The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy introduced a policy of naming fields and discoveries after prominent individuals or events of national significance. The re-naming policy is an effort to parallel the importance of Norway’s offshore energy reserves with the contributions of people and events that shaped the nation. In this instance, the Draupne field is now the Ivar Aasen field. Aasen was a poet and linguist in the 1800s. He is credited with developing the Nynorsk (New Norwegian) language which aided in the modernization of the country.

Project Details: Edvard Grieg (Luno, Ivar Aasen) Project

Premier Awards Contract to ADIL

Sep 19, 2012 – Premier Oil awarded a contract worth $24.3 million to Aberdeen-based energy consulting firm ADIL to provide people and systems for the execution phase of the Solan field in the UK North Sea. ADIL spent the previous two years providing similar services to the field’s former operator, Chrysaor, during the development phase. The contract will conclude once the field is brought into production, currently scheduled for 4Q 2014. ADIL personnel will oversee construction of the jacket and topsides as well as a 300,000 barrel subsea storage tank. Once brought online, Solan is expected to produce 40 million barrels of oil at an initial rate of 24,000 barrels per day.

Project Details: Solan

JX Nippon Farms Into UK North Sea Block

Sep 18, 2012 – Serica Energy announced a farm-out agreement has been reached with JX Nippon for UK North Sea Block 22/19c. At present, Serica holds a 100% interest in the block. Once the UK government signs off on the transaction, JX Nippon will be the operating partner with an 85% stake. As part of the agreement, JX Nippon will pay $250,000 to Serica and bear all future costs associated with the license.

Project Details: Oates

Ithaca Announces Athena Intervention

Sep 17, 2012 – Ithaca Energy announced that a hydraulic intervention to correct a production tubing blockage in well P1 has been performed with minor success. Gross production from the well is now between 700 and 800 bopd. P1, drilled in 2006, is the original appraisal well and was completed as a development well in 2011. A workover was contemplated by the Athena partners but it was determined that more value would be gained from producing the well in its current condition. The company did indicate that future attempts to further clear the blockage using facilities on the FPSO may be undertaken.

Project Details: Athena

EnQuest Formally Takes Over as Kraken Operator

Sep 14, 2012 – EnQuest will formally become operator of Blocks 9/2b and 9/2c with the completion of its acquisition of an additional 15 percent from First Oil. EnQuest’s total stake in Kraken is now 60 percent.

Project Details: Kraken

Wintershall Receives Noor Permit Approval

Sep 14, 2012 – The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has approved Wintershall’s permit to drill exploration well 16/1-16 using the Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub). The well is located in 370 feet of water in PL457.

Project Details: Noor

Australia

Another Discovery at Gorgon

Sep 19, 2012 – Chevron continues a successful run in the Greater Gorgon area offshore Western Australia with the announcement of positive results from the Satyr-2 exploration well. The company has confirmed that the well intercepted a net gas column of 128 feet. Satyr-2 was drilled to a depth of 12,454 feet by the Atwood Eagle (DW semisub) in permit WA-374-P. This marks Chevron’s fifteenth discovery in Australia since mid-2009. Chevron’s Gorgon natural gas project is the largest of almost a dozen terminals planned or under construction along the country’s coast.

Project Details: Greater Gorgon

Technip Wins Another Contract for Ichthys

Sep 18, 2012 – INPEX awarded a contract worth $273 million to Technip for work related to the Ichthys LNG Project in the Browse Basin, Western Australia. Starting immediately, Technip will provide services concerning the preparation and execution of offshore commissioning of the FPSO and central processing facility. Completion of the contract is expected in 4Q 2016 when first gas is scheduled to be delivered. This is the third Ichthys contract awarded to Technip this year. The other two include agreements for engineering and procurement services and for the supply of flexible piping.

Project Details: Ichthys

S. America – Other & Carib.

FOGL Announces Loligo Gas Discovery

Sep 17, 2012 – Falkland Oil and Gas confirmed that their Loligo exploration well is a gas discovery. Drilling operations were carried out by the Leiv Eiriksson (UDW semisub). The well was drilled to a measured depth of 13,264 feet and intersected six-gas bearing Tertiary aged targets. Information obtained from the well will be used with existing seismic data to gain a better understanding of reservoir potential and distribution. The well will be plugged and abandoned but it is important to note that Loligo has proven a working hydrocarbon system in the northern part of the East Falkland Basin.

Project Details: Loligo

Africa – West

Eni Successful With Latest Sankofa Well

Sep 20, 2012 – Eni reports promising test results from the Sankofa East-1X well drilled off Ghana in the Offshore Cape Three Points block. The well was drilled to a total depth of 11,975 feet in 2,706 feet of water by the Transocean Marianas (DW semisub). Testing revealed 91 feet of gas and condensate pay as well as a gross oil column of 249 feet in Cretaceous sandstones. A production test of the oil-bearing zone delivered roughly 5,000 bopd; however, flow rates were constrained by surface infrastructure limitations. It is possible that the well will be suspended for future use in development operations. Eni plans to immediately drill other wells in the area to determine the size of the discovery and further evaluate the potential for commercial development.

Project Details: Sankofa

Bowleven Updates Etinde

Sep 19, 2012 – Bowleven’s latest Etinde appraisal and development well offshore Cameroon is now underway. The IM-5 well is being drilled by the Atwood Aurora (350′ ILC) in block MLHP-7. The primary objective of the operation is to establish reservoir and fluid properties in the Middle Isongo sands. An extensive logging, testing and coring suite will be performed as well. The well has been designed in a manner that will allow for use as a future producer. A second well will be drilled on the permit, the location of which will be determined by results of the IM-5.

Project Details: Etinde

Ophir Continues EG Success

Sep 17, 2012 – Ophir Energy wrapped up a successful 2012 drilling campaign with a gas discovery in the Fortuna West-1 exploration well on Block R offshore Equatorial Guinea. The well was drilled to a measured depth of 10,426 feet by the Eirik Raude (UDW semisub). Gas was encountered in the primary and secondary targets. The Felix Prospect was also intercepted and testing indicated promising results for future appraisal. Fortuna West-1 is the last of three wells in the company’s 2012 Block R drilling program. Combined results of these wells have increased estimates of in-place contingent resources from 116 MMboe to 500 MMboe.

Asia – SouthEast

Clough Wins Manora Platform Work

Sep 14, 2012 – The Pearl Energy-led joint venture has awarded Clough and TL Offshore the platform procurement construction installation and commissioning contract. Clough will be responsible for the procurement, construction and commissioning portion of the work while TL Offshore will be responsible for offshore transporation and installation. Work is expected to commence in September 2012. Completion is anticipated in early 2014.

Project Details: Manora

Tanker Pacific Wins FSO Conversion Contract

Sep 14, 2012 – The Pearl Energy-led joint venture has awarded Tanker Pacific Offshore Terminals the contract to carry out the conversion of the FSO to be used on the Manora field with work taking place in Singapore. Installation of the FSO is scheduled or early 2014.

Project Details: Manora

Video: United States Budget Dilemma

Published on Mar 14, 2012 by Hal Mason

ALARMING! Washington’s Dilemma!. Soaring debt and a budget Congress can’t balance. This VIDEO explains WHY. Every person in AMERICA should watch this video! Over 2.7 million VIEWS! http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget

SDLP – Seadrill Partners files plans for $225 mln IPO

Sept. 21, 2012, 1:04 p.m. EDT
By Melodie Warner

Seadrill Partners LLC filed plans for an initial public offering estimated at up to $225 million.

The limited liability company was formed by Norwegian oil-services company Seadrill Ltd. (SDRL, SDRL.OS) to own, operate and acquire offshore drilling rigs.

Seadrill Partners said it will use the proceeds to buy from Seadrill Ltd. interests in Seadrill Operating LP and Seadrill Capricorn Holdings LLC, which own and operate Seadrill Partners’s offshore drilling rigs.

After the planned offering, Seadrill Partners said it will own a 30% stake in Seadrill Operating and a 51% stake in Seadrill Capricorn Holdings.

The company said its drilling rigs are under long-term contracts with major oil companies, such as Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total S.A. (TOT, FP.FR), BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), with an average remaining term of 3.1 years as of June 30, according to its regulatory filing.

Seadrill Partners said its profit rose 5.6% to $93.9 million as revenue increased 11% to $275.2 million for the six months ended June 30.

The company has applied to list its common units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SDLP.

Seadrill Ltd. reported last month its second-quarter earnings fell 14% as higher operating expenses masked the company’s 13% rise in revenue.

Source

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