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India: GAIL to Finalize USD 12 Billion Gas Deal

State-run gas company GAIL is just steps away from signing a 20-year contract for shipping two million tonnes of LNG a year from US east coast, The Times of India said, citing sources close to the development.

Value of this contract would be approximately $12 billion.

GAIL executives were in the US last week in order to give final touches to the deal, the newspaper said.

In December 2011, GAIL inked a $20 billion contract with Sabine Pass Liquefaction for 3.5 million tonnes of LNG annually.

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UK: Cove Encourages Shareholders to Accept Shell’s Takeover Bid

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Cove Energy, a UK oil and gas company with primary assets in East Africa, yesterday urged its shareholders to accept the $1.8 billion takeover bid from Shell before May 23, the first closing date for the offer from Shell.

The board of Cove, having already endorsed the offer, has said it continues to believe that it is in the best interests of Cove shareholders to accept the offer.

Despite also receiving a similar offer from Thailand’s PTTEP, and the rumors that a consortium from India is preparing a $2 billion offer, the board of Cove has said that, to date, Shell Bidco is the only firm bidder and has strongly recommended its shareholders to accept the offer as soon as possible.

To support the recommendation, the board has highlighted the fact that Shell has already secured the consent of the Government of Mozambique to the indirect acquisition of Cove’s interest in Rovuma Offshore Area 1 which would arise on the takeover of the company.

An 8.5% interest in Mozambique Rovuma Offshore Area 1 is Cove Energy’s primary asset. Anadarko, the operator of the area, last week announced it had made another major discovery in the field. The discovery well, named Golfinho, encountered more than 193 net feet (59 net meters) of natural gas pay. The well was drilled using the Belford Dolphin drillship.

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Directed History of Coming Depression Grinds On

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012 – by Staff Report

Never Mind Europe. Worry About India …The economic slowdown in India is one of the world’s biggest economic stories, but it is commanding only a modicum of attention in the United States … It may not even look like a slowdown because by developed standards, India’s growth — estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 6.9 percent for 2012 — is still strong. But a slowdown it is: the economy has decelerated from projected rates of more than 8 percent, and negative momentum may bring a further decline. The government reported year-over-year growth in the October-through-December quarter of only 6.1 percent. What is disturbing is that much of the decline in the growth rate is distributed unevenly, with the greatest burden falling on the poor. If the slower rate continues or worsens, many millions of Indians, for another generation, will fail to rise above extreme penury and want. The problems of the euro zone are a pittance by comparison. – New York Times

Dominant Social Theme: Hmm, it seems the BRICs are having problems.

Free-Market Analysis: We’ve been banging on about a worldwide slump for years now, ever since it occurred to us that once Europe and the US “went out” in 2008, from an economic standpoint, the BRICs were all that was left.

And the BRICs are more like the proverbial straw hut these days.

China, of course, has certain problems but it’s Brazil and India that are the countries attracting the most attention.

Brazil is in the news (from our standpoint) because of a coming devaluation in Argentina that may have a significant impact on the dollar economy of both Brazil and the “Switzerland of South America,” Uruguay.

Now India is beginning to receive mainstream news coverage as well. This is only to be expected.

The elites that want to run the world are seemingly building a worldwide economic depression – a fact that cannot be gainsaid if one understands that the world’s economy is an entirely artificial one these days.

There are now, after about 100 years, perhaps 150 central banks in existence – and this gives the tiny handful of dynastic elites that control them tremendous power.

Such monopoly central banking – printing money from nothing – allows the elites that control these banks to create tremendous booms and then busts that centralize more and more power in fewer and fewer hands.

That seems to be what’s going on now. It suits the purpose of the power elite to create a further global slump that will then result in further global governance and even a single worldwide currency (now apparently being planned).

The world is basically a three-legged stool, supported by Europe, the US and the BRICs at this point. The world’s economy will stumble and fail along with the BRICs, if that’s what is happening. And it seems to be.

Of course, the elites work quietly in the background. They naturally don’t want to admit to an engineered takedown of the world.

But their bought-and-paid-for media can be plenty vocal when given the opportunity. Perhaps that’s what is going on now.

We noticed it a while ago regarding China, and now both Brazil and India are getting press about domestic economic troubles.

When the mainstream media is recruited to this sort of reporting, you can bet the elites WANT it publicized.

The narrative seems to us neatly laid out. The initial bubble-and-bust in 2008 provoked a good deal of controversy. But it is likely that the crumbling of the BRICs, coming some four years later, will not look to most like a connivance.

Of course, it must be. The degradation of the world’s economy should be laid at the feet of the system that is currently empowered: Monopoly/mercantilist fiat-paper central banking.

We’re not supposed to notice, of course. But we DO notice. It’s not OUR world. It’s not OUR economy. It’s theirs.

But so long as we borrow this world, we’ll do our best. We’ll downsize, try not to borrow. Maybe buy more gold and silver. Try to drop out of the consumerist society as much as possible. Buy some farmland.

Store some food.

All prudent moves. We can’t control the larger confluence of forces that are driving the world’s economy down. We can’t work on that scale, of course. Only a handful can and apparently do.

But we can arm ourselves with knowledge. We can appreciate this weary world’s directed history.

We can educate others. Above all, we can control our own psychology and desires. We can refuse to give in to pessimism.

Conclusion: We can take what Ludwig von Mises famously called human action to better our own lifestyles and those of our loved ones. We can protect ourselves. And we should.

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Exclusive: China ship insurer deals new blow to Iran oil exports

imageBy Randy Fabi
SINGAPORE | Thu Apr 5, 2012 10:50am EDT

(Reuters) – A major Chinese ship insurer will halt indemnity cover for tankers carrying Iranian oil from July, dealing a blow that narrows the insurance options for Tehran’s main export already constricted by payment barriers caused by Western sanctions.

With Western sanctions on Tehran increasing, sources at the China P&I Club told Reuters on Thursday it did not want to stand alone in the market, especially after insurers in Japan and Europe plan to either limit or ban their own coverage for tankers operating in Iran.

This is the first sign that refiners in China, Iran’s top crude buyer, may struggle to obtain the shipping and insurance to keep importing from the Middle Eastern country. Iran’s other top customers — India, Japan and South Korea — are running into similar problems, raising questions on how Tehran will be able to continue to export the bulk of its oil.

Crude oil prices are up nearly 14 percent since the start of this year on concerns that Iranian supplies may be disrupted due to Western sanctions. Brent crude traded above $123 a barrel on Thursday. <O/R>

The China P&I Club, whose members include major Chinese shipping firms Sinotrans (0368.HK) and COSCO Group COSCO.UL (600428.SS), is the first Chinese maritime insurer to confirm it will halt business with tankers operating in Iran.

“Many ship owners want to join our club and want our club to cover this risk, but considering all these regulations from the United States and the EU, I know the China P&I club will not do that,” said a Hong Kong-based official with the insurer, which provides coverage to more than 1,000 vessels.

“The China P&I club will not take the risk. We have asked our members not to go there, if they go there, they take their own risk,” the official added, who wished not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Starting in July, European insurers and reinsurers will be barred from indemnifying ships carrying Iranian crude and oil products anywhere in the world, in line with sanctions on Tehran.

Iran sells most of its 2.2 million barrels per day of oil exports in Asia, where China, India, Japan and South Korea are the four biggest buyers.

Growing pressure by the West has led some Iranian oil buyers to cut imports, but the problem over obtaining maritime insurance could altogether halt shipments to Asian customers. Chinese imports from Iran are already down more than 21 percent in the first two months of 2012 to around 395,000 barrels per day compared to the same period last year.

FEW ALTERNATIVES

Along with Russia and the Middle East, China is one of the few remaining alternatives for Asian ship owners to replace European-based coverage. It is not clear if other Chinese ship insurers also planned to follow China P&I Club and cut coverage.

“I really don’t know what will happen,” said a Beijing-based Chinese industry official. “We are talking about $1 billion in coverage (per tanker). No single insurance company can handle that.”

European insurers provide cover for the majority of the world’s oil tanker fleet. Industry officials say ship owners who still legally trade with Iran will be pressed to find sufficient, or comprehensive, alternative insurance.

“Western insurance companies, taking advantage of their market dominance, have been raising insurance costs gradually for ship owners,” said a Chinese shipping executive.

“Now they say they don’t want to provide cover to those disputed regions. China should really make its own comprehensive considerations (on this issue).”

An official with the China P&I club held out hope the European Union would decide on a last-minute easing of the sanctions. European nations are divided over the sanctions, while oil refiners, insurers and tanker owners face lost business opportunities with OPEC’s second-largest producer.

“As far as I’ve seen with these new published sanctions, it seems to us that there might be some room for compromise,” said a Beijing-based club official, who wished not to be named.

China P&I Club is not a member of the Group of International P&I Clubs, an association of customer-owned ship insurers which cover 95 percent of the world’s tankers against pollution and personal injury claims. The Chinese insurer has applied to join the club and could be taking the action on Iranian coverage to ensure it becomes a member, industry sources said.

The Japan P&I club, the only Asian-based member of the Group of International P&I Clubs, said last month it would only be able to provide a fraction of cover for tankers operating in Iran.

“It’s now non-life (insurers) and shippers who can tell us how many cargoes we will be able to ship from Iran,” said a manager from a Japanese firm that buys Iranian crude, adding that importing cargoes without insurance was unthinkable.

(Additional reporting by Aizhu Chen in Beijing, Risa Maeda in Tokyo and Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; Editing by Ed Lane)

India: Cochin Shipyard Delivers New AHTS to SCI

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Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) delivered a 120T Bollard pull Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS), “SCI Kundan”, to M/s Shipping Corporation of India, Mumbai (SCI). This is the Second of the series of 4 Nos of 120T Bollard pull AHTS being built by CSL for M/s Shipping Corporation of India.

The vessel is of AH03 type, designed by STX OSV, Norway (ex- Aker Yards) and is certified under dual class by the Rules and Regulations of American Bureau of Shipping & Indian Register of Shipping and is registered under Indian flag.

This 65.2 x 16.0 Meter vessel is a high end Anchor handler with a capacity of 120 T Bollard pull which is equipped with 2 Nos of 4000 KW Diesel Engines  and 2 Nos of Controlled pitch propeller in Kort Nozzles. The vessel is having Grade I Dynamic Positioning feature along with compliance to ERRV class ‘C’ and also having capability of Fire Fighting class I.

The vessel is built to accommodate 29 persons with all the capabilities of a Platform Supply Vessel in addition to the Anchor Handling facility. These vessels are used as support platforms to Rigs/Oil platforms. The shipyard is presently constructing another 4 nos of offshore vessels for M/s Shipping Corporation of India which are all in advanced stages of construction.

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