Category Archives: Houston

America’s Crisis of Character :: Is something more required to ‘Make America Great Again’?

Submitted by: SL @SLandinSoCal

The MSM continues to disgust me. The MAJORITY of people affected by the disaster in Texas have NOT complained. They have been thankful and even smiling. Yet as I watch MSM, I see them repeatedly playing clips of 3 ungrateful women complaining about the conditions at the George R Brown shelter. ‘It stinks in here’, ‘I didn’t have a cot for me or my kids last night’, ‘the mayor said we didn’t have to evacuate, but he LIED’.

These people disgust me, but MSM disgusts me even more. As they have covered this catastrophic event, most likely the biggest disaster our country has experienced, they have made every attempt to politicize it and criticize the response. A challenging thing, since the response has been amazing.

The impact of this disaster is FAR greater than that of Katrina but there are very DRAMATIC contrasts both in handling the response/rescue and in the reaction of the victims.

I would love to see someone put together a video that highlights some of these differences because I think it reveals both a core strength and a core weakness that exists in our country.

The issue is that of PERSONAL CHARACTER! I believe that the majority of Americans have good character, if not great character, but there is a subset of Americans who lack good character and some who have a very poor character. My concern is that America is facing a CRISIS OF CHARACTER!

When you see neighbor helping neighbor, gratefulness in times of crisis, respect for others & others property which includes cleanliness so you don’t leave a mess for someone else, these are the results of GOOD CHARACTER.

When you see people taking advantage of others by looting, or lack of respect for others in they way they talk or by vandalizing property or leaving a mess for others to clean up, when you see ungratefulness, people expecting others to do something for them but not being willing to help others, you are seeing the results of POOR CHARACTER.

The character of the people of our country is being undermined. Good character development is no longer being taught, exampled or encourage for many. We see dramatic displays of deplorable character in the Alt Left groups of BLM and ANTIFA. They have no respect for for their fellow man. They have many negative character traits. To make matters worse, many including MSM and prominent politicians are condoning and encouraging that character. There is no positive future for a society built on poor character.

If we are truly going to “Make America Great Again”, it will take more than jobs, tax cuts and a thriving economy. It will require programs and commitment to teach and build GOOD CHARACTER in the people of our country. Each of us should strive to build the elements of good character within ourselves everyday and also to encourage others to strive for those characters within themselves.

Here’s a link to a list of good character traits to strive for: http://www.character-training.com/blog/list-of-character-traits/ …

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Q7000: Helix Orders Semi-Submersible Rig from Sembcorp Marine

Sembcorp Marine’s subsidiary Jurong Shipyard has secured a US$346 million contract to build a second semi-submersible well intervention rig for Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. (Helix), a market leader in subsea well intervention services.

Scheduled for delivery in mid-2016, the semi-submersible light well intervention rig will be built based on a design jointly developed by Sembcorp Marine Technology Pte Ltd (SMTP), a fully-owned Research & Development subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine, and Helix. Featuring the latest technology, the rig – named Q7000 by Helix – is an efficient purpose-designed platform with capabilities to perform a wide variety of tasks, including conventional and extended top hole drilling, subsea construction, decommissioning well intervention, coiled tubing operations and twin ROV deployment.

The Dynamic Positioning (DP) class 3 unit has the ability to operate in deepwater operations worldwide, including the North Sea and West of Africa.

William Gu, General Manager of Offshore Division said: “We are honoured that Helix has chosen to build their second semi-submersible well intervention rig with us. This repeat order is significant as it testifies as to their trust and confidence in our design and building capabilities in rigs with well intervention and subsea capabilities that are customised to meet this new growth segment of the market. We are committed to build on our partnership with Helix and to meet their stringent standards of quality, safety and reliability.”

Owen Kratz, Helix’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to work with our trusted partner Jurong Shipyard on this second unit of the semisubmersible well intervention rig, to be named Q7000.”

The above is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of Sembcorp Marine for the year ending December 31, 2013.

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Houston TX: Chevron to Build Office Building in the World’s Energy Capital

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. announced plans to construct an office building in downtown Houston to accommodate its business growth and expanding workforce in the world’s energy capital.

The 50-story, 1.7 million-square-foot building will be located at 1600 Louisiana Street at Pease. Together with Chevron’s existing properties at 1500 Louisiana and 1400 Smith, the buildings will comprise an urban campus with indoor and outdoor common areas, enhanced dining facilities, a fitness center, training and conference facilities, and additional parking.

“This announcement underscores Chevron’s long-term commitment to Houston and its role as the epicenter of the global energy industry,” said Bereket Haregot, president of Chevron’s Business and Real Estate Services division. “Houston plays a vital and growing role in Chevron’s global business. The new building and expanded urban campus will provide a first-rate work environment for our employees and help us remain the employer of choice.”

The headquarters of Chevron Corporation, the parent company of Chevron U.S.A., will remain in California, where they have been located for more than 130 years.

Final investment decision for the project, designed by HOK, is expected in the second quarter of 2014. Groundbreaking will follow final investment decision, and occupancy is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Press Release, July 4, 2013

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Scientists make supermaterial a reality

Published on Jan 10, 2013 Scientists have created the first pure carbon nanotube fibers that combine many of the best features of highly conductive metal wires, strong carbon fibers and pliable textile thread. In a Jan. 11 paper in the journal Science, researchers from Rice University, the Dutch firm Teijin Aramid, the U.S. Air Force and Israel’s Technion Institute describe an industrially scalable process for making the threadlike fibers, which outperform commercially available products in a number of ways.

 

Friday, January 11, 2013

t’s been a long time coming, but scientists are at the cusp of realizing the dream of carbon nanotubes.

What’s the dream?

A low-weight material that’s as strong as steel, as electrically conductive as copper and conducts heat like metal. It’s like Spidey silk, only better.

Such a material would open up a new realm of engineering properties, for everything from common wiring to spacecraft hulls.

Scientists have long recognized the potential in single-walled carbon nanotubes —  but they’ve been expensive to make in quantity and quality, and it’s been difficult to connect the tiny, micron-long tubes into longer, useful fibers.

Now, in a new paper in the journal Science (see abstract), Rice scientists say they’ve devised a new carbon nanotube fiber that looks and acts like textile thread and conducts electricity and heat like a metal wire. The process of creating these fibers also appears to be scalable, which means it shouldn’t be too difficult for industry to make them.

“It’s a known technology to scale this,” Matteo Pasquali, a Rice professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, told me.

The feedstock and chemicals used to make these fibers are also relatively common, meaning that once a manufacturing process is put in place, the carbon-base materials and catalysts aren’t expensive. Pasquali is working with the Dutch firm Teijin Aramid to make this happen.

The new material is not quite the perfect carbon nanotube fiber: it’s stronger than steel; it’s thermal conductivity is much better than aluminum or copper, but it’s not quite as electrically conductive as aluminum or copper. But he said there’s still room for improvement.

The bottom line is that it’s resilient, conducts electricity and dissipates heat. Yeah, I think in the 21st century, a world of iPhones and Dreamliners, we might have use for a material like that.

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Helix disposals create deep-water operator takeover bait

Wade Youngblood, a production team leader, walks up a set of steps on the Helix Producer 1 in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011(Photo: Rusty Costanza/ The Times-Picayune)

Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. (HLX) is turning into a takeover target after streamlining the company to focus on its expanding operations for offshore oil-well support.

The Houston-based company agreed last month to sell its oil-and-gas unit and earlier exited a pipe-laying business, helping Helix reduce debt and center its operations on deepwater vessels and robotics for well maintenance. The divestments make the $2.2 billion company more appealing to a potential suitor such as Aker Solutions ASA (AKSO) or Technip SA (TEC) that may want to expand in marine contracting, said Capital One Financial Corp.

Helix also may attract other oilfield-services providers, according to Stephens Inc., while Iberia Capital Partners LLC says a rig owner such as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO) could be interested. Even after Helix’s moves led to a 31 percent gain in 2012 that beat U.S. energy equipment and services stocks, the company trades at a 23 percent discount to its closest competitor Oceaneering International Inc. based on this year’s estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It’s a cleaned-up company,” Trey Stolz, an analyst at Iberia Capital in New Orleans, said in a telephone interview. “Helix would be attractive as an add-on for existing offshore service providers to immediately get a head start on the well intervention side. It’s the next step forward in further specialization of the offshore equipment.”

Terrence Jamerson, director of investor relations at Helix, didn’t return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.

Oilfield Divers

Helix, which traces its roots to a group of oilfield divers in the 1960s, evolved into an offshore energy company with operations spanning deepwater construction, oil-and-gas production and well maintenance and repair.

The company in October said it sold off its pipe-laying vessels and in December announced that it had agreed to sell its oil-and-gas unit as part of a plan to shift its focus toward so- called well-intervention services. This business, which encompasses undersea well maintenance, salvage and repair using floating vessels and robotics, is more profitable than pipe- laying while requiring less capital outlays than are needed for exploration and production, Chief Financial Officer Anthony Tripodo told investors during a presentation in November.

The asset sales spurred gains in Helix shares that contributed to the biggest advance last year among the 11 members in the Standard & Poor’s Midcap Energy Equipment & Services Index. The stock closed yesterday at $20.86.

‘Simpler Package’

By helping to center Helix’s operations on a single, growing business, the disposals also have bolstered the company’s allure as a potential takeover target, said David Streit, an Appleton, Wisconsin-based equity analyst at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The firm oversees about $76 billion in assets, including Helix shares.

“This focuses the company and provides potential acquirers with a much more focused and simpler package of assets,” Streit said in a phone interview. The sale of the oil-and-gas unit “removed the last major impediment to an acquisition. The balance sheet will be net cash positive after the divestiture of the business is complete. And beyond that it’s a very straightforward and clean business.”

Including its current net debt of $589 million, Helix’s enterprise value as of yesterday was 6.64 times its 2013 estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The multiple for its Houston-based rival Oceaneering International (OII) was higher at 8.64 times this year’s estimated Ebitda, the data show.

Deepwater Appeal

“It’s trading at a multiple out of whack with other offshore asset-based service companies,” Iberia Capital’s Stolz said.

In its streamlined form, Helix may appeal to some contractors already operating in deepwater oil fields, Stolz said. The addition would give them a leg up as demand grows for well-intervention services, which use equipment sent down from vessels on the water’s surface to tap into aging wells on the sea floor and boost production.

Well-intervention vessels are in demand because they’re a cheaper alternative to drilling rigs, which have long been the standard and are now able to charge near-record leasing rates due to higher oil prices, Stolz said. The market for well intervention could experience growth similar to the past five years, when the number of aging wells nearly doubled to 3,500, he said.

Aker, Technip

Aker Solutions, a Lysaker, Norway-based oil-services company with well-intervention operations, could be a potential suitor for Helix, said Joseph Gibney, a Houston-based analyst with Capital One. The $5.8 billion company has a fleet of three deepwater well-intervention vessels, according to its website.

Paris-based Technip, with a market value of $13 billion, also could be a logical buyer because of its experience working in deep waters offering construction and engineering services for oil fields, Gibney said.

Ivar Simensen, a spokesman at Aker Solutions, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix. Christophe Belorgeot, a spokesman for Technip, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Other oilfield-services companies may want to buy Helix to augment their businesses and gain technical expertise, said Michael Marino, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in Houston. Rig contractors such as Diamond Offshore may be interested in Helix as a way to recapture some of the work lost to lower-priced well-intervention vessels, Gibney and Stolz said.

Going Alone

Darren Daugherty, a spokesman for Diamond Offshore, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix.

With Helix now focused on well intervention, the company could look to stay independent or even seek out acquisitions itself, said Todd Smurl, president and chief investment officer of Houston-based Ascendant Advisors.

“It might put them in play down the road but now they might actually be strong enough to be an acquirer as opposed to being acquired,” Smurl said in a phone interview. What’s more, after the stock rose 19 percent in the past month alone, “it’s not the screaming bargain it was,” he said.

Still, Stephens’s Marino estimates the company could fetch $25 in a takeover, a 20 percent premium to yesterday’s close.

“A takeout at those levels doesn’t seem crazy,” said Marino, who recommended that investors buy the stock after Helix announced plans to sell its oil-and-gas unit. “It makes a lot of sense for someone who wants to increase their presence internationally and offshore.”

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