Monthly Archives: October 2012
Under the Technology License Agreement, BP will make available technical information that PEMEX E&P, one of four subsidiaries of PEMEX, can use, in addition to PEMEX E&P initiatives already in place, if it decides to build and maintain its own well capping system for use in Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition, BP has agreed to conduct workshops in Houston to brief PEMEX E&P on the technical information and operational aspects of the system, as well as to introduce PEMEX E&P specialists to key vendors and fabricators that BP used to develop its global deepwater well cap and tooling package.
“The agreement marks another step forward in PEMEX E&P’s ongoing efforts to help protect the rich Gulf of Mexico environment in which we operate, as well as to apply state-of-the-art technology as we develop Mexico’s deepwater oil and natural gas resources,” said Carlos Morales, president of PEMEX Exploration and Production.
Richard Morrison, BP’s Head of Global Deepwater Response, said the agreement underscores BP’s commitment to sharing lessons learned during and following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and response.
“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment and the work we have done — and continue to do — to help advance global deepwater response capabilities around the world,” he said.
“We are pleased to provide PEMEX E&P with access to our recent technological innovation and information so that operators in both the USA and Mexico areas of the Gulf of Mexico can be equipped to respond to a subsea well control incident in the Gulf of Mexico.”
BP’s global deepwater well cap is a 100-ton stack of valves that can be lowered onto a leaking well to halt the flow. The system can operate in 10,000 feet of water and is rated to pressures of 15,000 pounds per square inch. Stored in Houston, it can be sent by heavy-lift aircraft to any country where BP operates in a matter of days.
Under the Technology License Agreement, BP will share at no cost to PEMEX E&P technical information on BP’s capping stack, and PEMEX E&P has agreed to make any future advancements to this well-capping technology available at no cost to BP. BP will retain intellectual property rights, so it can continue to share the plans with others.
BP, which has had a presence in Mexico for around 50 years, has collaborated with PEMEX E&P through a variety of non-commercial technology, scientific and training mutual cooperation agreements over the last decade. Those have resulted in hundreds of workshops, seminars and exchanges to share best practices and technological expertise.
- Pemex Signs Deal to Use BP’s Well-Capping Technology in Gulf (ibtimes.com)
- Mexico Announces New Significant Crude Oil Discovery in Gulf of Mexico (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON | Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:11pm EDT
(Reuters) – Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.
While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.
There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.
U.S. intelligence officials have emphasized since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.
Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests for comments on the emails.
MISSIVES FROM LIBYA
The records obtained by Reuters consist of three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time – or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began – carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” and timed 4:54 p.m. Washington time, said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email, also marked SBU and sent at 6:07 p.m. Washington time, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained by Reuters, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.
Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source said.
It was not known what other messages were received by agencies in Washington from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.
Intelligence experts caution that initial reports from the scene of any attack or disaster are often inaccurate.
By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.
One U.S. intelligence official said that during the first classified briefing about Benghazi given to members of Congress, officials “carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, relying on the best analysis available at the time.”
The official added, however, that the initial analysis of the attack that was presented to legislators was mixed.
“Briefers said extremists were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous, there may have been a variety of motivating factors, and possible links to groups such as (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia) were being looked at closely,” the official said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jim Loney)
- White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails | Reuters (reuters.com)
- Emails: White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack (dailystar.com.lb)
- Reuters: White House, State Dep’t received e-mails within two hours of Benghazi attack about jihadi group taking credit (hotair.com)
- White House Was Told Benghazi was a Terrorist Attack Two Hours Into the Battle (pjmedia.com)
- White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
With the signing of a contract for the newbuild drillship Deepwater Advanced 2 Maersk Drilling adds USD 694 million to its contract backlog. Five out of seven newbuild drilling units have now secured contracts..
Maersk Drilling has signed a contract with ConocoPhillips Company a wholly owned subsidiary of ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Company a wholly owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation for the second ultra deepwater drillship in a series of four identical drillships currently under construction.
The estimated total contract value is USD 694 million including mobilization, but excluding cost escalation compensation. The contract duration is three years, with options for up to an additional two years and commencement of operations is expected by mid-2014 upon delivery from Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, mobilization to the US Gulf of Mexico and acceptance testing. The drillship will be equipped with two Blow-Out-Preventers (BOPs).
The drillship will be employed by ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil for their respective drilling programs in the US Gulf of Mexico.
“We are pleased to having been able to customize a drilling contract with ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil combining their respective drilling programmes into a three year drilling contract providing security of deepwater rig availability for the two companies while leaving some flexibility in regards to the timing of their drilling programmes. In addition, merging the two programmes provides us with a contract with an attractive duration,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group.
Strong demand for advanced drilling rigs
Since 2011 Maersk Drilling has invested USD 4.5 billion in seven new drilling units currently under construction; three ultra harsh environment jack-ups at KeppelFELS in Singapore and four ultra deepwater drillships at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. With the latest contract for the second drillship five out of the seven newbuild rigs have now secured contracts.
“We are pleased to see continued strong demand for our advanced drilling rigs. This contract brings further evidence to our strategic focus on ultra harsh and deepwater drilling and provides firm ground for our ambitious growth plans,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board of the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group.
Maersk Drilling has performed deepwater operations in the US Gulf of Mexico since 2009 with the ultra deepwater semi-submersible Mærsk Developer. In June 2012, Maersk Drilling secured a contract for the first drillship under construction with commencement in the US Gulf of Mexico expected by end 2013.
“The US Gulf of Mexico remains a focus area of Maersk Drilling, and we are pleased to further expand our presence in this attractive market positioning us with three ultra deepwater rigs by 2014,” says CEO Claus V. Hemmingsen.
- Maersk Drilling has hit the ground running in Angola (maerskpress.com)
- South Korea: Samsung Yard Bags $ 600 Mln UDW Drillship Order (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Sonardyne Supplies BOP Control System to Noble’s Drillship (USA) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Shell Gives Transocean a Huge Shot in the Arm with 40 Years of Drilling Contracts (gcaptain.com)
- Atwood Oceanics Orders Third Ultra-Deepwater Drillship (gcaptain.com)
The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) announced the launch of a new initiative and dedicated website focused on America’s newfound opportunity to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to grow America’s economy, create jobs and improve America’s environment.
The CLNG exports website will provide the public with up-to-date information and expert analyses on the benefits of selling some of our abundant supply of natural gas outside the U.S.
“A revolution in American energy has unlocked a vast supply of natural gas, more than enough to meet the needs of our country for generations to come,” said CLNG President Bill Cooper. “We can continue to harness this important resource for our domestic needs while also selling some to our trading partners. This will grow our economy, revitalize our manufacturing sector, and create tens of thousands of American jobs.”
These benefits have been confirmed by experts and energy analysts. In fact, a report released earlier this year from the Brookings Institution concluded that selling natural gas would represent a “net benefit” to the American economy, and that U.S. policy should allow development to move forward.
“It’s not a question of if this will benefit the United States; it’s a question of whether we will embrace a truly transformational opportunity,” Cooper added. “By recognizing the value of selling natural gas to our trading partners, the United States can ensure the continued utilization of our domestic natural gas supplies while simultaneously reaping the economic benefits of expanded trade. And to build the necessary equipment and infrastructure, billions of dollars will be invested in manufactured goods like steel, turbines and pipeline equipment that are all made here in the United States.”
Each liquefaction plant represents a multi-billion dollar investment in the United States and can support as many as 9,000 American jobs in construction and facility operations. In addition, tens of thousands of jobs can be supported in a variety of sectors supporting increased natural gas production, including manufacturing, field services, pipeline construction, transportation, and many other related industries throughout the country.
Visit the website today to learn more about the benefits of selling LNG.
FMC Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has formed a joint venture with Edison Chouest Offshore LLC. The new company will be based in Houston.
Utilizing the subsea technologies, tooling and expertise of FMC Technologies, and the vessel, port logistics and ROV operations of Edison Chouest Offshore, the new company intends to provide integrated vessel-based subsea services for offshore oil and gas fields globally. Services to be offered by the joint venture include equipment intervention, riserless light well intervention, plug and abandonment and other services. The company’s objective is to provide cost-effective solutions to enhance the customer’s ability to initiate, maintain, and increase production from subsea field developments through efficient operations, innovative technologies and a broad inventory of vessels and tools.
”We are pleased to be working with Edison Chouest Offshore to expand the portfolio of subsea services offered by FMC Technologies,” said Tore Halvorsen, FMC Technologies’ Senior Vice President, Subsea Technologies. “This joint venture will provide integrated subsea solutions to address the growing needs of our customers to increase production and improve field recovery rates.”
”We look forward to working with FMC Technologies on this new venture,” said Dino Chouest, Vice President of Operations, Edison Chouest Offshore. “Their leadership in the subsea market combined with our expertise in marine transportation will bring new integrated technologies and operations to the development of subsea fields.”
Leading international oilfield services company Expro is celebrating two significant contract wins with Murphy Exploration and Production and BP Americas Inc in the US offshore region.
The Murphy award is for a three-year campaign offshore Gulf of Mexico, while the BP win will see Expro working on a significant campaign in the same region.
Expro will provide tubing conveyed perforating (TCP) services and its drill stem testing (DST) packages for both projects.
Expro is one of the largest global providers of perforating services, providing slickline, e-line and tubing conveyed explosives services. It employs an operational workforce of highly trained and qualified DST and TCP personnel across the global bases. Expro personnel is backed up by perforation experts onshore. DST offers the fastest and safest method of evaluating the potential of a newly-discovered hydrocarbon-bearing formation.
Expro has been offering both services globally for more than 25 years.
Expro’s North America offshore vice president Geoff Magie, said: “These are significant wins for Expro as Murphy is a new customer for us and BP has never used our TCP services before. Murphy is pressing ahead with major development plans in the Gulf of Mexico and this award provides a platform for us to showcase our products and services and provide a quality service.”
BAMAKO: Hundreds of jihadist fighters poured into Mali over the weekend to support the Islamists who have controlled the north for seven months, ahead of a threatened regional intervention to seize back power.
Residents of the cities of Timbuktu and Gao, Malian security officials and Islamist commanders all confirmed on Sunday that there had been a huge influx of foreign fighters over the past two days.
It comes as the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional bloc of 15 countries including Mali, prepares for military action in the north.
“In the Timbuktu region and around Gao, hundreds of jihadists, mostly Sudanese and Sahrawis, have arrived as reinforcements to face an offensive by Malian forces and their allies,” a Malian security official said on condition of anonymity.
One resident of Timbuktu said “more than 150 Sudanese Islamists arrived in 48 hours”.
“They are armed and explained that they had come to help their Muslim brothers against the infidels,” he said.
A source close to a local aid group also said that many Sudanese had arrived but added there were also fighters from other countries.
Timbuktu is one of the main cities in northern Mali, which Islamist groups have controlled since overpowering a secular Tuareg rebellion that seized the area in March.
The desert city is now under the control of Ansar Dine, a group led by a former Tuareg rebel leader, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
‘They want war, we’ll give them war’
In Gao, further east, a similar influx of foreign fighters was reported by residents.
Since Friday, Islamists have been arriving and reporting to the Islamic police of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), the Aqim offshoot that controls the city, said one resident.
He said he had seen around 10 pick-up trucks packed with armed fighters driving up to Mujao’s main office in Gao.
The Islamist group itself confirmed it was receiving the support of foreigners as Ecowas was finalising its plans for a military intervention.
“They want war, we’ll give them war. This is why our brothers are joining us from all over,” Habib Ould Issouf, one of Mujao’s top leaders in Gao, told AFP.
“They are coming from the camps of Tindouf in Algeria, from Senegal, from Ivory Coast, from everywhere,” he said.
Led by former colonial power France, the international community has urged Mali and its regional allies to speed up preparations for a military offensive.
Ecowas has a 3,000-strong force ready to deploy but its funding and exact make-up remain unclear.
Malian troops could start training immediately for their operation, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told French television on Sunday.
France has offered logistical support but no troops on the ground.
On March 22, army officers toppled the government in protest at what they said was its failure to equip them to counter a burgeoning rebellion by Tuareg separatists and Islamists in the north.
But that only accelerated the uprising. The ensuing power vacuum in the capital Bamako allowed the rebel forces to quickly seize the north, virtually unopposed.
The Islamist forces quickly sidelined their former Tuareg allies and now control a territory in the north which is larger than France. In the south, the officers who led the coup handed over to an interim administration, but retain considerable influence.
Ansar Dine and Mujao have since implemented an extreme form of Islamic law in the north, amputating the hands and feet of thieves, stoning unwed couples and ordering women to wear full veils.
Western powers have expressed fears that al Qaeda and its affiliates could turn northern Mali into the same type of haven that Afghanistan was a decade ago.
Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore flew to Qatar on Sunday for a three-day visit. Some Malian media outlets have accused the oil-rich emirate of supporting the Islamists, but Doha has denied the allegations.
- Analysis: Towards intervention in Mali (EndtheLie.com)
We can and must rejuvenate our economy by developing America’s resource bounties
by Paul Driessen
Governor Mitt Romney strongly supports North American energy independence as the foundation of renewed US employment and prosperity. President Obama is waging war on fossil fuels, job creation, and efforts to end our economic recession and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian oil.
Romney’s emphasis on careful analysis and due diligence brought him and Bain Capital notable winners like AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Staples. Obama’s focus on ideology, political calculation, cronyism and campaign contributors produced scandalous losers like A123, Abound Solar, Crescent Dunes, Ener1, Fisker, Mountain Plaza, Solyndra, Tesla, and a host of wind and biofuel projects that would collapse if their taxpayer subsidies were cut off.
Not surprisingly, US gasoline prices are double what they were the day Obama took office. Some 25 million Americans are without full-time jobs – leaving 23% of the workforce unemployed, involuntarily working part-time or at jobs where they are overqualified, making far less money than they did previously, or no longer looking for a job. Our 64% “labor participation rate” is at a 30-year low.
There are still 4.5 million fewer jobs than in 2007, even though our population has grown; the hourly wage of college-educated Americans age 23 to 29 fell 4.7% between 2007 and 2011; median household income plummeted $3,040 since the recession (supposedly, officially) ended in June 2009; and a record 45 million Americans are on food stamps.
Meanwhile, the ever-unstable Middle East is even more unstable. Terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya. A pitiful anti-Islamist video excused riots in Egypt, where a Muslim Brotherhood leader is now president. More than 33,000 have died in a nasty Syrian civil war. Internecine conflicts continue in Iraq and elsewhere. The seemingly perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains poised to intensify. the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to build power and launch vicious attacks, such as gunning down the US embassy’s Yemeni security chief in Sana’a. And we are importing oil from brutal human rights violators.
Outside the Middle East, the Putin government is using energy to pressure and blackmail European nations dependent on Russian oil and gas, while orchestrating anti-fracking campaigns to keep EU countries from tapping their abundant shale gas supplies. Politics, events and human rights violations raise further questions about Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria and Sudan. And many of these countries are among our most important oil suppliers – because we refuse to develop our own deposits.
Since oil is sold in a world market, producing more in the United States means we could import less from abroad, free up more oil for other nations, and push prices down. Exporting US natural gas and drilling, fracking and production expertise would make other nations less dependent on the Middle East and Russia, bring natural gas prices down further, turbo-charge economies, and encourage African countries to use gas to generate electricity, rather than “flaring” it as an unwanted byproduct of oil production.
Romney understands this. He is calling for more oil and natural gas production here in the United States, changes to excessive and counterproductive federal regulations that raise energy costs and kill jobs, and increased use of friendly Canadian oil to serve America’s consumers. He knows this will protect us against disruptions in Middle East oil supplies, reduce the flow of American dollars to totalitarian human rights violators, create American jobs, increase tax revenues, and jumpstart our sluggish economy.
President Obama, by contrast, continues to ignore reality and embrace policies based on hope, green dreams, and a determination to “fundamentally transform” America’s Constitution, economy, society and business system. He continues to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize unreliable, unsustainable, inefficient, insufficient energy forms that are at best decades from competing in the free market – even as 80% of Department of Energy grants and loans went to companies owned or controlled by Obama contributors; DOE restructured its $465 million loan to Tesla, to make sure the electric-car company doesn’t run out of cash right before the election; and President Obama says malnourished, energy-deprived Africans should avoid fossil fuels and rely instead on wind, solar and biofuel power.
Many recipients of involuntary taxpayer largesse are donors to Obama and Democrat re-election campaigns; have electoral clout in crucial swing states, where corn growers and others benefit from ethanol, wind and solar schemes; or provide crucial propaganda and campaign services via government employee and labor unions and tax-exempt radical environmentalist organizations.
While Obama turns his back on the reliable fossil fuels that power America’s economic engine, he denounces and demonizes companies that produce this hydrocarbon energy, pay billions of dollars in taxes and support millions of American jobs. He singles out America’s oil and natural gas sector for discriminatory tax increases and excessive regulations, and makes more and more federal lands, waters and resources off limits to responsible exploration and development.
Environmental activists and the Obama Administration express outrage about subsidies for traditional, efficient means of generating electricity, which amount to $0.25-$0.44 (25-44 cents) per megawatt-hour for coal and natural gas and $1.59 per MWH for nuclear. But they are eerily silent about enormous subsidies for wind ($23.37 per MWH) and solar electricity ($24.34 per MWH).
They express equal outrage about importing petroleum from Canada’s oil sands via the Keystone Pipeline – but are silent about imports of thick, gooey crude from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. They brag about increased US oil and gas production on private lands, but insist that there be little or no drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountains or even National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, which Congress set aside decades ago specifically to safeguard our national security by increasing exploration in areas with the best potential for oil and gas.
Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency is imposing draconian restrictions on power plants and other CO2 sources, as another way of “skinning the cat” and hyper-regulating coal out of the US energy picture, after Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade legislation. Meantime, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the Managed Carbon Price Act, which analysts say will impose regressive taxes that will rise to $5.20 per gallon of gasoline by 2024 and equally hefty surcharges on other hydrocarbon use.
The impact on transportation, shipping, commuting, manufacturing, jobs and families is frightening to contemplate. So is the fact that these actions are coming even as Britain’s Meteorological Office released data showing that the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago – and that average global temperatures rose an impossible-to-measure and statistically insignificant 0.03 degrees C per decade.
Meanwhile, Germany, Italy and Japan plan to phase out nuclear power, thereby increasing their use of natural gas and coal for electricity – while China and India plan to build 900 new coal-fired power plants to electrify their growing economies. All will pump millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – dwarfing any reductions the USA might achieve by closing more power plants and further shackling our economy.
The Administration’s actions have been arrogant, irresponsible and autocratic. Win or lose in November, the White House, EPA, DOE and Interior Department will impose boxcars of punitive new regulations that have been put on hold until November 7.
We can dig ourselves out of this hole. We can and must rejuvenate and reinvigorate our economy, by developing America’s resource bounties.
We don’t need to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy, society and free enterprise system. We need to fundamentally transform the anti-hydrocarbon culture that pervades the Congress, White House, Executive Branch and radical environmental groups that have brought us to where we are today.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. 10/15/12