DURBAN | Sat Dec 10, 2011 6:11pm EST
(Reuters) – The chairwoman of U.N. climate talks urged delegates to approve a compromise deal on fighting global warming in the interests of the planet, but an accord remained elusive on Sunday and rich and poor states traded barbs over the limited scope of the package.
“I think we all realize they are not perfect. But we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good and the possible,” she told the conference.
Much of the discussion has focused on an EU plan designed to push major polluters — from developed and fast-growing emerging economies like China and India — to accept legally binding cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.
EU negotiators had accepted “legal instrument” in one draft as a phrase implying a more binding commitment. But the latest version spoke of a “protocol, another legal instrument or a legal outcome,” the sort of weak phrasing that almost collapsed the talks on Friday.
Asked if the latest language was acceptable, Karl Hood, who represents an alliance of 43 small island states, said: “No it’s not. Never was and never will be. It’s too broad a statement.”
His alliance colleague MJ Mace, added: “You need a legally binding instrument. You have legal outcomes all the time. A decision is an outcome. You need something treaty like.”
The discussions took an increasingly bitter turn as they headed into Sunday, a second extra day that made the negotiations the longest in two decades of U.N. climate talks.
Venezuela’s climate envoy Claudia Salerno said she had received threats because of her objections to the draft texts.
“In the corridor, I have received two threats. One, that if Venezuela do not adopt the text, they will not give us the second commitment period,” she said, referring to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact enforcing carbon cuts.
“The most pathetic and the most lowest threat… we are not going to have the Green Climate Fund,” which is designed to help poor nations tackle global warming and nudge them towards a new global effort to fight climate change.
She did not say who had made the threat and delegates heard her allegation in silence.
Among the sticking points holding up a deal were an extension of the Kyoto Protocol. The draft text says the second Kyoto phase should end in 2017, but that clashes with the EU’s own binding goal to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
U.S. VS CHINA AND INDIA
But behind the back and forth over language and technical details, the talks have boiled down to a tussle between the United States, which wants all polluters to be held to the same legal standard on emissions cuts, and China and India who want to ensure their fast growing economies are not shackled.
The fractious late night exchanges punctured the earlier mood of cautious optimism which had suggested agreement on the four separate accord in the package was possible.
Should the talks collapse on Sunday, that would represent a major setback for host South Africa and raise the prospect that the Kyoto Protocol could expire at the end of 2012 with no successor treaty in place.
Scientists warn that time is running out to close the gap between current pledges on cutting greenhouse gases and avoiding a catastrophic rise in average global temperatures.
U.N. reports released in the last month warned delays on a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions will make it harder to keep the average temperature rise to within 2 Celsius over the next century.
A warming planet has already intensified droughts and floods, increased crop failures and sea levels could rise to levels that would submerge several small island nations, who are holding out for more ambitious targets in emissions cuts.
- UN climate talk delegates urged to approve draft accords (news.nationalpost.com)
- States imperiled by warming rebel at climate talks – Reuters (reuters.com)
- As Durban Deadline Draws Near, the Big Carbon Emitters Should Cut a Deal (thinkprogress.org)
- UN Envoys Debate Climate Pact Amid Divisions on Legal Outcome (businessweek.com)
- U.N. climate talks near collapse over gulf between rich and poor nations (news.nationalpost.com)
- Climate talks near end as draft deal printed (cbc.ca)
- Durban climate conference stalemate pushes talks into extra time (guardian.co.uk)
- Climate deal up for approval at U.N. conference (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- UN Climate Conference In Overtime On Future Of Talks – Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com)
By Rob Almeida On November 4, 2011
It’s about a two and a half hour helicopter flight from Louisiana to get to this lonely patch of ocean far out in the Gulf of Mexico, but the Geoscientists at Statoil said that’s where the oil would be. They called the spot Logan and was located at block 969 in Walker Ridge.
Looking at a chart of the Gulf of Mexico, that’s way the heck out there.
For the past 6 months, the Discoverer Americas, a 6th-generation drillship owned by Transocean, has been sitting out there, precisely on station in around 7800 feet of seawater… slowly turning a drill string dangling far beneath the ship.
This rig is one of the newest in Transocean’s fleet, and her dual activity derrick and highly experienced personnel made her certainly one of the most capable. Built at DSME in Okpo, Korea, her Commissioning Manager, a former US Marine officer and Citadel grad, did an impeccable job in making sure she was ready to go to work as soon as the time came to leave the shipyard back in 2009.
Over the past two years, she covered a lot of ground crossing the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, and then the Gulf of Mexico before starting on her first well in Mississippi Canyon at a well site called Krakatoa.
It was a heck of a well to start with, and at times her name seemed to be a good fit. After many months on the ocean, while enduring a frigid winter on the Gulf, and countless drilling challenges, the Deepwater Horizon exploded, bringing Gulf of Mexico drilling operations to a screeching halt.
Discoverer Americas off Durban, South Africa, Image (c) Robert Almeida
A few months later, Statoil decided it was time to cram as much gear on board as possible and point the Americas’ bow east, and head back across the Atlantic. Next stop Egypt.
Drilling operations began in a pretty straightforward manner, not many issues. It was deep water, but a relatively shallow well. Or so they thought.
Thousands upon thousands of feet down they drilled, but still nothing. No signs of hydrocarbons, but soon the question of what to do next was once again answered for them.
Egypt erupted in a revolution, ending all possible support from shore. Cairo-based personnel from Statoil and Transocean left town as fast as they could, and soon thereafter, the Discoverer Americas pulled their riser and followed suit, back across the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
This was her forth major ocean crossing in 3 years, and she had yet to hit paydirt. Logan had been on the plans ever since she arrived in the Gulf of Mexico a year earlier, and now was the time to earn their paycheck, and hopefully give Statoil the return on investment they were looking for.
This past April, the Logan well was “spud-in” with 36-in casing, officially starting the top section of what would end up being an enormous steel and concrete structure extending miles down below the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the next few months as they drilled through dozens of different sediment layers such as shale, sand, and thousands of feet of salt while carefully shoring up the well from the internal pressures of the earth with strings of steel pipe.
The geologists on board carefully analyzed the drill cuttings entrapped in mud that was returning back to the surface. They were looking for the dead remnants of ancient organisms deposited long ago. Finding the right type of organism would be a clue that hydrocarbon-rich sands were close by.
After 6 months of drilling, with their drill string extended nearly 5 miles into the earth, they found what they were looking for. Their polycrystalline, diamond-studded drill bit had finally cut through a formation that was saturated with oil. It was the Americas’ and Statoil’s first find in nearly two years of drilling. Very little public information about how much oil was found and its properties is available however outside of the inner circles at Statoil.
Even Transocean has no idea how much, or exactly what was found, but at the end of the day, none of that matters.
As an offshore drilling contractor, they safely executed an incredibly complex drilling program in waters over a mile and a half deep, allowing their client to gain incredibly detailed and valuable information about the geology present in the Gulf of Mexico.
Next up for the Discoverer Americas is a few month drilling contract for Anadarko at the Heidelberg Prospect in Green Canyon. Sitting below 5,000 feet of seawater, this well will reach over 30,000 feet below the wave tops to an area that has already proven to hold a significant amount of high quality oil-bearing sands.
Congrats to Transocean and the crew of the Discoverer Americas for a job well done.
- Statoil and Transocean pull out of Egypt
- Transocean to Buy Norwegian Firm Aker Drilling
- Transocean CEO on new contracts, speculative shipbuilding, and the Deepwater Horizon [WEBCAST BREAKDOWN]
- Gulf of Mexico: Vector Lands Cascade Chinook Field Job (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Hess to spend $2.3 billion to develop Gulf of Mexico oil field (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: Statoil Signs Energy Partneship Agreement with UT (mb50.wordpress.com)
Fairmount Marine was contracted in July by Diamond Offshore, a leading deepwater drilling contractor headquartered in Houston, to tow the semi submersible drilling rig Ocean Yorktown to the Mexican Gulf region. At that moment Fairmount Alpine just finished a special survey in Durban, South Africa.
The tug was instructed to mobilize towards Ro de Janeiro. Upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro Fairmount Alpine assisted the Ocean Yorktown in the field until the rig was ready in each and every aspect to commence the voyage towards Brownsville. Fairmount Alpine successfully towed the Ocean Yorktown over a distance of 5,400 miles in just 34 days with a general average speed of 6.6 knots, including a two day bunker stop.
The tow of the Ocean Yorktown was the fifth operation for Diamond Offshore Drilling performed by Fairmount Marine. In 2010 Fairmount’s super tugs were involved in four operations for Diamond Offshore.
- Push for permits in Gulf of Mexico (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: Harvey Gulf BOD Approves Construction of LNG-Fueled Offshore Supply Vessels (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Family firm still struggling, 18 months after Gulf oil spill (mb50.wordpress.com)
- High-Spec Jackup Market: Hercules Offshore increases stake in Discovery Offshore (mb50.wordpress.com)
- BP Plans Full Return to Gulf Drilling This Year (europebiz.wordpress.com)