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Wisdom From Steve Jobs On The Coming System Reset

April 30, 2014
Santiago, Chile

by Simon Black via Sovereign Man blog,

Steve Jobs used to tell a very inspiring story about an article he read in Scientific American when he was a boy:

Published on Apr 26, 2012 Steve Jobs: “I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not — not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts. And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds”.

He said that the article measured the ‘efficiency of locomotion’ of various species– essentially how many calories different animals spend getting from Point A to Point B.

The most efficient of all? Not human beings. Not by a long shot. It was the condor. The condor expended the least amount of energy per meter or kilometer traveled. Human beings were pretty far down the list.

But as Jobs recounts, the authors had the foresight to also test the efficiency of a human being on a bicycle. And this absolutely blew all the other species away.

Jobs later said that this was incredibly influential on his thinking because he realized that human beings were fundamentally tool creators. We take our situation, however grim or rudimentary, and we make it better.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of bad news in the world these days. Some people realize it. Others refuse to believe it and stick their heads in the sand.

Our century-old monetary system is unraveling before our very eyes.

This absurd structure in which we award a tiny central banking elite with the dictatorial power to control the money supply in their sole discretion is now drowning the world in paper currency.

ALL financial markets are manipulated by central banks, predominantly the Federal Reserve. One woman– Janet Yellen– has the power to affect the prices of nearly everything on the planet, from the wholesale price of coffee in Colombia to the cost of a luxury flat in Hong Kong.

Moreover, politicians in some of the most ‘advanced’ economies in the world (Japan, the US, France, the UK, etc.) have accumulated so much debt that they have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they have already borrowed.

They have indebted generations who will not even be born for decades.

They wage endless, costly wars. They spy on their citizens. They tell people what they can and cannot put in their bodies. They confiscate private property and wages at the point of a gun.

They abuse the population with legions of heavily armed government agents. They conjure so many codes, rules, regulations, laws, and executive orders that it becomes nearly impossible for an individual to exist without being guilty of some innocuous, victimless crime.

And they arrogantly masquerade the entire ruse as a free society.

This system is on the way out. It will reset.

Like feudalism before, our system will go the way of the historical dust bin. And future historians will look back (just as we view feudalism) and say “why did they put up with that nonsense…?

This reset is nothing to fear. Human beings are incredible creatures who have a long-term track record of growth. We rise. We progress.

Source

A spectacle to behold: Markets usurp central banks

Thu, Jun 13 2013, 09:04 GMT
by Peter Baxter Jr. | Kondratieffwinter.com

K Winter Endgame now playing out in Japan

Mark May 23rd of 2013 as a potential key date in the unfolding of this fourth Kondratieff Winter of the modern era. In the afternoon session of trading in Tokyo that night, at approximately 7:30 PM EST, everything suddenly changed. The juggernaut that had propelled the Nikkei average up almost 90% since early November took a bit of a breather by plunging almost 10% from its peak hours earlier, settling down over 1140 points from the previous close. As of yesterday it had declined 2343 points (15%) in just one week. With one more day like Thursday the Nikkei would have achieved the impossible- a 90% gain in six months that turned into a bear market (20% down) in just one week. Ho, hum, just another day in the life of a world distorted with tens of trillions of central bank intervention.

I suspect this will become the new normal going forward in the next few years that will mark the twilight of the winter cycle phase of this present Kondratieff cycle that began in 1949. Our theory holds that paper assets have never been more overpriced because there’s too much unpayable global debt that will default. Is there a day in our future when our Dow will also plunge over 1000 points in a grand mal seizure from too much debt?

What was so transformative that occurred in that Thursday session in Japan, one that was preceded hours earlier by a sudden whipsaw in US markets? Simple- too much volatility. This grand experiment by central banks is much like a ponzi scheme because it has absolutely no room for error that could undermine confidence. Yet that is what is occurring right before us. Could this be the beginning of the endgame scenario I have promised here for over two years- a dreaded deflationary bust caused not by an economic slowdown but instead by rising yields?

It’s very possible this may be the case given the scale and speed of the move higher in yields all across the globe. Don’t forget here that the entire premise of these massive QE programs by all the global central banks is to keep rates DOWN, not up. They are failing miserably in their primary objective and I implore our readers and all investors to sit up and take notice. It seems the bond vigilantes have now finally emerged from many years of hibernation.

Remember the Apple bonds floated a few weeks ago in the biggest corporate offering in world history? It was way oversubscribed as everyone wanted them so badly. They are now down over 4% in a matter of days losing investors around $700 million in no time on this “safe” investment. Given that global bond markets are 4-5 times larger than stocks the potential for even a small rise in rates would be very devastating. Few may appreciate that nothing could cause more wealth destruction than a large and sustained rise in interest rates.

It seems that peak euphoria was being tested in the US last Wednesday as unfettered exuberance mid-morning gave way in the afternoon to discontent and outright scorn over Fed policy by the end of the session, one that saw the indexes plunge more than 2% on a single day after making an intra-day all-time high that same day. That has only happened twice before and both times (2000 and 2007) marked major cycle peaks in the markets. Could this be true again?

Cycle theory and common sense both say yes in prohibitive terms. Why can we advance this notion? Because if one were to peel back the layers of what has been unfolding recently in many other financial markets you could only come to one conclusion: global central banks have lost control of their mandates. The end must be near when the confusion over the meaning of one or two words from Chief Bernanke could cause such an uproar in the financial markets. Has it really come to this? Valuations are determined through hyper-parsing of nuanced words that are so carefully prescribed as to not achieve that effect?

The unintended consequences caused by policy decisions that could be called quite extraordinary has caused many individual asset classes to have a mid life crisis recently. They have seen explosive moves in all directions in degrees several standard deviations removed from their historic benchmarks. In other words, all hell is breaking loose just about everywhere. Everywhere except in the US, of course, where investors from Japan to Timbuktu have blindly reallocated so much capital since last November.

The action resulting from these audacious central bank moves has been dramatic across the board. The third largest stock market in the world (Nikkei in Japan) has rallied almost 90% in just over six months while their currency has declined against the USD by over 25% in the same period. Both of these moves are so enormous they can hardly be explained in a cogent manner without an overload of superlatives that would understate their true meaning. In the month of May we saw many strange events- gold plunging over $200 in a matter of hours, no fewer than 17 mini flash crashes in five NYSE stocks and silver halted four times in one session due to a lack of bids in a disorderly marketplace to say the least. And as of Thursday the Nikkei had plunged over 15% in just one week. Just another day in the parallel universe created by the global central banks.

These moves are alarming at best and who knows at worst. They are the best evidence yet of true parabolic moves one could expect to see at the end of grand super-cycles of credit such as the tail end of a Kondratieff Winter. And much like the geometric explosion of global debt, they are just not sustainable. My gut tells me two things- 1) markets are out of control,; and 2) very few investors agree these markets are out of control. This can be seen by tame levels of the VIX index and the release this week showing that margin debt had reached an all-time high. It all sounds a bit frothy to me and could signal the end of an era.

But the ludicrous nature of the these awesome moves in certain paper assets just keeps coming. Greek bonds sure to default have tripled in the past year. The Dow Industrials as of the end of May 2013 will not have seen a three day decline for the longest period since 1900 and that defies all sensibilities. It seems to many that there is some force or entity out there (the Fed ?) that’s not willing to allow such an event to occur, perhaps to create a myth that the markets will nudge ever higher. Incredibly, many now think that is the case as they believe the Federal Reserve and other central banks are in complete control. Or so it seems.

Our theme here today is that there is abundant exculpatory evidence hiding in plain sight that indicates the opposite- that central banks are losing control of the markets. In last month’s comments I noted the disturbing explosion of yields in the JGB’s (long term Japan bonds) that sent their prices crashing overnight, beginning a period extreme apprehension over a more serious bond crash could be looming. That worry has only worsened since then as the yield on 10 year JGB is now a whisker away from the 1 % level that is seen as crucial to hold to maintain the appearance that the world’s second largest bond market is not spinning out of control.

One thing that bulls and bears and nearly everyone can agree on this this- bad consequences will occur if global bond yields rise fast and far worse will happen if they rise too fast. The reason for this is that when volatility spikes and endures, leverage is taken off the table and that means lots of securities will be sold. So what are the chances yields could spike higher (making bonds plunge) given this universal belief of the consequences of such an outcome?

I believe the chances of such an outcome are quite underappreciated by investors today all along the the spectrum. This would include brokers, money managers, hedge fund managers, CFO’s managing billions of corporate cash coffers, pension fund managers, individual retail investors, sovereign wealth fund managers, and so many more. Their worldview could be soon shattered if global bond markets usurp the collective actions of global central banks. It would only take one of these markets to crash to induce a large global sell-off. Such an event would finally showcase the folly that rampant global central bank printing is beneficial to modern industrial economies. The central theme of Kondratieff Wave theory holds that the long term credit cycle cannot continue unabated and the excesses of this cycle must be removed. Clearly this is not the case.

Most investors and investment pros are still beholden to a worldview that puts no premium on long wave credit cycles. They insist on owning paper assets such as stock, bonds, and derivatives,etc. These instruments have on balance have been performing well since 1982 but not so well for the past 13 years. They subscribe to the same worldview that emphasizes yesterday’s metrics- PE multiples, PE expansion, cash on the sidelines, nowhere else to put your money other than stocks, and this chase for yield has pushed them into more risk and leverage than they otherwise would have deployed. Such an approach did not work too well in 2000 or 2007 when yields were still historically very low, so this mindset makes even less sense today now given the tens of trillions in global debt that has been added in the past few years.

But a closer look at the performance of money managers over that period since 1982 clearly shows a persistent underperformance by them over time even in bull markets? How can this be? Even in 2013 it is all too clear that hedge funds and professional money managers on balance are prohibitively underperforming the S&P index. Such statistics are meaningful in gleaning what could be missing from their equations. I advance that a coherent appreciation of the existence and the significance of long wave super-cycles would be a good place to start.

If they had an appreciation of the higher truths offered by the K-Wave theory perhaps they would be more likely to realize compounded gains over time from their acumen in the day to day, month to month decisions on asset allocation they are well suited to execute. Typically their lack of performance over the years can be attributed to poor decisions made during those critical inflection points in the the markets that seem to always occur when there is universal agreement upon the near term direction of the market (up in 2000, down in 2002, up in 2007, down in 2009 as recent examples). If they could only avoid the pitfalls at these junctures then I suspect most fund managers would instead outperform the broad market averages. Bubbles are not black swans, they hide in plain sight and lend themselves to distinct patterns that can be useful in making decisions.

Many are bewildered that the market has surged so much higher despite any meaningful help from retail investors. It is worth noting that a key element in the overperformance of the US market in recent years has been the collective impact of corporate stock buybacks by the healthiest US corporations. These buybacks have served to satisfy shareholders over employees or their local or national communities. The end result has been a historic drop-off in cap-ex and R&D and a dramatic increase in layoffs for even the best companies. The mandate of the modern corporation has never been more evident- making profits at any cost. Yet empirical evidence suggest these buybacks occur when stocks are relatively expensive. You wanna bet that some of them may regret this down the road? But why have they been so prevalent lately despite price levels that are so rich?

Large corporations have been for many years enduring the pitfalls of this deflationary Kondratieff winter that assures very low or negative growth rates globally that make it very difficult to grow the top line. So what to do if you are a CFO? Just resort to financial gimmicks such as stock buybacks so that your reduced operating profits during this winter period can be better cloaked with higher EPS through reduced shares outstanding. This behavior, much like the hoarding of cash by commercial banks unwilling to lend but dying to speculate in paper assets tells me the recent new highs in the S&P do not reflect a new bull market, only desperation to please investors at any price. They are creating less and less and investing less and less. Several studies have concluded that perhaps as high as 40% of the rally in recent years can be attributed to these buybacks. At any rate these buybacks I believe have cloaked more serious problems in the financial performance of corporations and their stocks. Global aggregate demand is slowing despite central banks accommodation and exponential increases in the population base. You just can’t hide from deflation.

The gains in stocks have diverged from the macroeconomic landscape for many years now and that trend has really accelerated this year. And we all know why- controversial central bank policies that range from keeping rates too low for too long during the mid- 2000’s to outright destructive ones such as printing several trillions to create a wealth effect whose benefits do not trickle down to the middle class and serves in effect to cushion political leaders from making unpopular structural reforms that are sorely needed. Today developed countries in the western world are staring down the barrel of a gun of their own making that can still be dismantled.

But sadly we have not taken the necessary steps to deconstruct our debt warheads to prevent the collateral damage they could cause. I suspect soon we will reach the brink, stare into the abyss, and determine once and for all if we can thrive in a world dominated by debt. I hope that our financial. corporate, and political leaders can find the will to reign in the central bankers before it’s too late. They may have good intentions but their approach has proven to be a failure and they should be called out on this at once. But time is running out, and several key market metrics described above are now flashing red lights. And remember the long wave chart of the US market still sports and ending diagonal bearish wedge that implies a severe plunge once key support is broken.

Source

After Hegemony: America’s Global Exit Strategy

http://socioecohistory.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/dollar-is-toast.png?w=400&h=290

14 Dec 2012
By Kenneth Weisbrode

What will America look like in a post-American world? The National Intelligence Council, with its just-released Global 2030 forecast, has become the latest voice to join the chorus of those who see U.S. hegemony giving way to a leading but less-dominant position. It is worth considering what the loss of hegemony is likely to mean for America in terms of its trade, influence, reach and voice in international forums. What impact will these and any other consequences have on the way America engages with the world, as well as on its ability to provide the kinds of leadership that make it a hegemon? And how will all this affect the ways Americans live?

Examinations of hegemonic decline have historically focused on the world beyond the imperial center. The barbarian invaders get most of the glory and attention, with the subjects of historical empires who lived in what is called the “metropole,” that is, the imperial center or “homeland,” as understudied as the nature of these places following a hegemonic collapse. In fact, the fate of some more-recent metropoles has been relatively positive over the long run. Austria, Turkey, Britain and even Russia continue to survive as viable countries. Some of them even thrive and may offer useful lessons. Austria, for example, is a small, prosperous, secure and mainly conservative imperial successor state. So is Japan. The question is how Americans will cope with such a changed condition.

A loss of hegemony generally means a loss of access to markets and resources. In the case of the U.S., that would include the loss of global reserve status for the dollar, with implications for trade, government borrowing and interest rates. It will cost Americans more to get what they want, and, at the same time, they will have less to spend. As a result, they will have to do much more to live within their means.

This will make it more difficult to influence or even inspire other societies to follow America’s lead, but it won’t be impossible. Elements of the American character — creativity, pragmatism, adaptability — may continue to serve the country and other nations well, if under different circumstances. Adjusting to those changed circumstances will require a more collaborative and empathetic approach to the way Americans interact with the world.

Speculating about the American future in these circumstances requires a more precise understanding of the effect that global hegemony has already had on the United States and the global system. From the country’s founding to the peak of the industrial era,  some Americans went out of their way to abjure the idea and the reality of hegemony, deliberately eschewing international engagement in the name of what was later called exceptionalism. In the 20th century others did the reverse, also in the name of exceptionalism. Now, in the 21st century,  Americans seem to be doing both at the same time, while coping with ever more serious challenges at home and abroad.

These challenges will likely be exacerbated by a loss of hegemony. At home, it is likely to be accompanied by a decline in prosperity, with potential implications for domestic civility. The proportion of Americans who now live in poverty, currently at 15 percent, will probably increase. National cohesiveness may deteriorate when Americans realize that the cultural, ideological and economic foundations of national “success” are actually much weaker than they imagined.

Abroad, it will further constrain the effectiveness of America’s military as a tool for advancing American interests. America’s relative decline has already nurtured the increasingly widespread perception that the use of American military power limits American influence over the long term. Whereas hard power underwrote soft power — and sometimes vice versa — during America’s hegemonic rise, during its fall the two appear to be at cross-purposes. This reversal is consistent with much of the history of imperial decline.

How will Americans respond to such a world, in which U.S. influence, already limited, is no longer advanced by its military dominance? And if it is true that, as Henry Kissinger said recently, America will remain powerful but not hegemonic, how do you preserve one while losing the other? Will Americans, and the rest of the world, be content with an Austrian or Japanese future for the U.S.? That is hard to imagine. But the alternatives, perpetual empire and national disintegration, are too awful to contemplate.

If today’s preoccupation with decline is any indication, some Americans are in search of something like a grand global exit strategy. It may be better to imagine instead a post-hegemonic condition that retains some of the fruits of American exceptionalism — namely the exportability of its culture and technology — while multiplying the incentives, both domestic and foreign, against the frequent use of military power and other heavy forms of coercion. Time may be running out to shape these two goals in unison.

It is difficult to say what this will mean in practice. Making the world safe for a hegemonic retreat has always been, to some extent, a fantasy: a pre-emptive concession that is too clever by half. Even America cannot dictate the world’s reaction, least of all that of its adversaries and challengers. There also is no fixed or predictable pattern of retreat. Sometimes imperial states, even hegemons, simply just disappear, leaving only the successor states behind.

Kenneth Weisbrode is a diplomatic historian at the European University Institute and author of “The Atlantic Century” (Da Capo).

Source

TEPCO Eyes North America LNG

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) of Japan is in advanced negotiations to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from North America, Reuters reported, citing Toshiaki Koizumi, the general manager of TEPCO’s fuel department.

We have been in negotiations with several projects,” he said.

We want to procure LNG from the United States and Canada where prices are linked to Henry Hub. The talks have made progress, but I cannot say when they will be finalized,” he added.

Japan’s imports of LNG surged in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake. Power companies account for two-thirds of total Japanese LNG imports.

TEPCO Eyes North America LNG LNG World News.

U.S. Expected to Approve Expanded LNG Exports to Japan

The US policy of LNG exports to Japan is expected to see a significant change in near future as more export approvals are considered.

A report published by Baker & McKenzie has said that last year the US government approved exports from a second terminal, and decisions on eight other applications for export approval are expected later this year.

Implications for Japanese LNG buyers and investors

The report stressed that expanded U.S. LNG exports represents an opportunity not only for Japanese LNG buyers to diversify their supply sources with shale gas but also at more competitive pricing linked to Henry Hub prices rather than oil prices.  Japanese companies also could establish value chains in the U.S. by investing in projects to build export facilities and by acquiring interests in shale gas fields.

Since 1967 the Kenai LNG Plant in Alaska, which produced all eight of the LNG cargoes shipped from the U.S. to Japan in 2011, had been the only LNG plant with export approval.  This changed last year when the Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana obtained export approval.  Eight other applications for export approval are now pending.

Export approval process and outlook

Under the Natural Gas Act gas exports require permission from the federal government.  Such permission is only granted if the Department of Energy (DOE) determines that the proposed exports are consistent with the public interest.  Exports to 17 countries which have free trade agreements (FTAs) with the U.S. are deemed consistent with the public interest and the DOE must approve exports to these countries “without modification or delay”.  In contrast, approvals for exports to non-FTA countries, including Japan, are subject to a lengthy public interest finding process which allows for comments, protests, and motions to intervene from interested parties.

The applicable legislation does not require the DOE to take action on applications within a certain timeframe.  After Sabine Pass received approval for exports to non-FTA countries in May last year, the DOE suspended consideration of all applications pending the results of a study on the impact of exports on the domestic energy market.  This followed complaints from some U.S. lawmakers who were concerned that exports might increase domestic prices.  The domestic market impact study was initially scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of this year, but it is still pending and is now expected to be completed later this summer.  Accordingly, none of the pending applications are likely to be approved until the fourth quarter of this year at the earliest.

There are, however, some reasons to believe there is political support for expanding LNG exports to non-FTA countries such as Japan.  For example, on July 2, 2012, a bipartisan group of 21 members of Congress from states with shale gas deposits sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging the DOE to expedite the pending LNG export applications.  In February, Secretary Chu said he supports LNG exports, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also said he discussed expanding LNG exports when he met with President Barack Obama on April 30, 2012.

Actions to consider 

• Conduct preliminary due diligence on LNG projects with pending non-FTA export approval applications, as these projects are likely to be now seeking LNG buyers and equity investors.

• Monitor the DOE’s non-FTA export approval process.

• Investigate the compatibility of LNG produced from U.S. shale gas with regasification facilities and pipeline networks in Japan

Conclusion

Given the currently wide differential between the Henry Hub spot price used for trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and JCC pricing, expanded LNG exports produced from U.S. shale gas fields is a potential game changer for the gas market in Northeast Asia, and Japan in particular.  From the Japanese buyer’s perspective, it is clear that approvals for further export terminals is an important development to monitor in order to position themselves as potential buyers and equity investors.  For more information, please contact Colin Cook or Hiromitsu Kato.

Source: Baker & McKenzie via: Source

Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Jun 15 – Jun 21, 2012)

This week the SubseaIQ team added 3 new projects and updated 30 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.

Africa – West

Rialto Recovers Oil, Gas in Gazelle-P3 Well

Jun 21, 2012 – Rialto Energy reported that it has encountered high gas readings and recovered oil and gas samples from the sidetrack of its Gazelle-P3 well. Wireline logs have been taken while further logging with vertical seismic profile and sidewall coring are continuing with completion expected in the next three days. Rialto said the oil and gas samples were recovered from the Upper Cenomanian sands as expected while the gas readings were noted in the Lower Cenomanian. The samples will also be used to assist in the design of the Gazelle field development processing facilities.

Project Details: Gazelle

S. America – Other & Carib.

Chevron Enters Suriname Acreage

Jun 20, 2012 – Kosmos Energy has entered into an agreement with Chevron under which Kosmos will assign half of its interest in Blocks 42 and 45, offshore Suriname, to Chevron. Under the agreement, Kosmos will have a 50 percent working interest and remain operator of both blocks until the end of the exploration phase. Chevron will assume the remaining 50 percent working interest and will become development operator of any commercial discoveries. Blocks 42 and 45 cover an area of about 2.8 million gross acres in water depths ranging between 650 to 8,500 feet (200 and 2,600 meters). First drilling is targeted for 2014.

Asia – SouthEast

Salamander Spuds Bualuang Far East-1 Well

Jun 18, 2012 – Salamander Energy has spud the Bualuang Far East-1 exploration well in Block B8/38, Gulf of Thailand. The Bualuang Far East prospect is located approximately four miles (six kilometers) to the northeast of the Bualuang oil field. The Far East-1 well will be drilled to a total vertical depth of 4,765 feet (1,452 meters) subsea. The primary target is the T5 Miocene sandstones with secondary targets comprising an underlying Permian-age Ratburi carbonate and a T4 Miocene sandstone stratigraphic trap. The main T5 objective has potential mean recoverable resources of 20 million barrels of oil. The well will be drilled by the ENSCO 53 (300??? ILC) jackup and is expected to take about 20 days to complete.

Project Details: Bualuang

Australia

Chevron Sells Interest in Wheatstone to Pan Pacific Energy

Jun 19, 2012 – Chevron has agreed to sell 10-percent participating interest of its Wheatstone field licenses and 8-percent participating interest of its Wheatstone natural gas processing facilities to Japan’s Pan Pacific Energy. Chevron added that Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), one of the stakeholders in Japan’s Pan Pacific Energy K.K, has agreed to purchase an additional 0.4 million tons per annum (MTPA) of liquefied natural gas from the Wheatstone Project for up to 20 years. This new agreement brings Tepco’s total LNG offtake to 4.2 MTPA.

Project Details: Wheatstone

Mediterranean

Noble Suspends Pinnacles Gas Flow

Jun 18, 2012 – Noble Energy has suspended gas flow from the Pinnacles No. 1 well offshore Israel. According to partner Delek Group, this is due to an indication of a gas composition that does not match the specification for flow. The operator plans to examine alternative options including gas treatment to allow the resumption of gas flow.

N. America – US GOM

Cobalt Comes Up Dry iat Ligurian

Jun 15, 2012 – The Ligurian No. 2 well has failed to encounter commercial hydrocarbons and will now be plugged and abandoned after reaching a final depth of more than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). The ENSCO 8503 (UDW semisub) drilled the well to a total depth of 31,800 feet (9,693 meters).

Project Details: Ligurian

Anadarko Gets Nod to Drill in GOM

Jun 15, 2012 – The BOEM recently approved Anadarko’s permit to drill at its Shenandoah prospect in Walker Ridge Block 51. The permit lists the ENSCO 8505 (UDW semisub) as the rig that will perform drilling operations. The Shenandoah well has a proposed depth of 32,000 feet (9,754 meters) and is located in approximately 5,800 feet (1,768 meters) of water.

Project Details: Shenandoah

Europe – North Sea

Ocean Installer Completes Survey, Intervention Work at Balder

Jun 21, 2012 – Ocean Installer has completed a survey and intervention work at the Balder field. The conducted work encompassed inspection and maintenance of the subsea control system at the field. Balder is located on Blocks 25/10 and 25/11 in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea about 118 miles (190 kilometers) west of Stavanger, Norway at a water depth of 410 feet (125 meters).

Project Details: Balder

Providence Pleased with Barryroe’s Core Analysis

Jun 21, 2012 – Providence Resources has completed the core analysis of the reservoir at its Barryroe discovery. The firm said that permeabilities in the basal oil-bearing reservoir interval have exceeded expectations, while good permeabilities have also been confirmed in secondary logged hydrocarbon-bearing sand. The permeabilities in the basal oil-bearing interval confirm the high-productivity nature of this reservoir as observed during well-testing operations, said Providence. The company will provide a revised resource update for Barryroe later this summer.

Project Details: Barryroe

Technip to Construct Subsea System for Boyla Development

Jun 20, 2012 – Technip won a contract for the development of the Boyla field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The $381 million deal with Marathon covers all activities necessary to complete the construction of the subsea system for the field development and connect it to the existing Alvheim subsea facilities. Offshore construction will take place in 2014. The field is to be developed as a subsea tie-back to the Alvheim FPSO, with two production wells and a water injection well. The Boyla field is estimated to hold reserves of 23 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Project Details: Alvheim

Valemon Jacket Delivered and Installed

Jun 19, 2012 – Statoil reported that the Valemon jacket was successfully delivered and installed on the field, which lies in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The 9,000-ton steel jacket was carried out as planned and the project remains on schedule. The jacket, which was built by Heerema Fabrication Group in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, was transported from the shipyard and out to the field by the crane barge Thialf. Development of Valemon involves a fixed platform with a steel jacket for the separation of gas, condensate and water. The rich gas will be transported via a new pipeline to the existing pipeline from Huldra to Heimdal for further processing. The condensate will be piped to the Kvitebj??rn platform for stabilization and further transport via the Troll oil pipeline to the Mongstad refinery. At peak production, Valemon is expected to deliver roughly 86,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The field is expected to come on stream in the fourth quarter of 2014 and has a life expectancy of 11 years.

Project Details: Valemon

North Sea Buzzard Oil Field to Shut Down for 4 Weeks

Jun 15, 2012 – Nexen reported that the Buzzard oil field will have an extended four-week shutdown in the third quarter for the field’s five-year regulatory inspection. The company did not specify when the shut-down will likely occur. Buzzard produces about 200,000 bopd and is the largest oil field that contributes to Forties crude.

Project Details: Buzzard

Statoil Submits PDO for Svalin

Jun 15, 2012 – Statoil has submitted a plan for development and operation for the Svalin field to the Norwegian government and reported it expects to bring the field online in 2013. Recoverable reserves at the field are estimated at around 75 million barrels of oil equivalent, with two structures Svalin C and Svalin M containing similar quantities. The Svalin C and Svalin M discoveries will be developed through a ‘fast-track’ method that uses a standard solution involving processing by existing infrastructure. The Svalin development will be tied-back to the Grane platform. Svalin M will be produced by a well drilled from the Grane platform, while Svalin C will be a subsea development connected via a four-mile long flowline to the Grane platform. The hydrocarbons will utilize shared processing and export facilities. The gas compression facility at the Grane platform will be modified to handle gas from Svalin. Oil from the Svalin development will be transported, along with production from the Grane field, through the existing pipelines for storage and shipment from the oil terminal at Sture.

Project Details: Svalin

Shell Contracts FPSO for Fram Field

Jun 15, 2012 – Shell sent SBM Offshore a letter of interim award (LOIA) for the supply, lease and operation of a FPSO for the Fram field in the UK sector of the North Sea. The LOIA allows SBM Offshore to commence engineering and procurement of long lead items to ensure timely completion of the planned Fram FPSO project, which is subject to a Final Investment Decision. In March 2012, Shell and SBM Offshore signed an Enterprise Framework Agreement (EFA) covering a term of five years, with an option to extend for another five years. The Fram FPSO, subject to a Final Investment Decision, will be the first project to be developed under the terms of the EFA. The hull of the FPSO will be based on a converted Aframax tanker and will incorporate an internal turret permanent mooring system. The crude will be offloaded to shuttle tankers and the gas exported via the existing Fulmar pipeline.

Project Details: Troll Area

N. America – Canadian Atlantic

Statoil Confirms Mizzen Discovery Holds Large Amounts of Oil

Jun 21, 2012 – Statoil has confirmed that it has found between 100 and 200 million barrels of recoverable oil at its Mizzen deepwater prospect offshore Newfoundland. The company stated it is now assessing the discovery to determine how and when it can be economically developed. Statoil discovered oil in 2009 while drilling Mizzen O-16 and appraised the find in late 2011. Statoil plans to drill two new wildcat wells in the area by the end of next year, and potentially additional wells in 2014 and beyond. Mizzen is situated roughly 311 miles (500 kilometers) east of St. John’s in 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) of water.

Project Details: Mizzen

LNG EXPORT: U.S. Gas Exports Put on Back Burner

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By TENNILLE TRACY

The Obama administration is telling Japan and other allied countries they will have to wait before moving forward on plans to buy American natural gas, people involved in the talks said.

A dramatic increase in U.S. natural-gas production has led several U.S. companies, including Sempra Energy SRE +0.23% and Dominion Resources Inc., D +0.15% to seek permits from the Department of Energy to export gas to countries that lack free-trade agreements with the U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM -0.73% Chief Executive Rex Tillerson said Wednesday his company was looking at exporting from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada.

Sempra and Dominion are working with Japanese partners that want to import the gas as their country looks for new power sources. The U.S. currently exports relatively small amounts of natural gas via pipelines to Canada and Mexico, but a wave of recent export proposals marks the first time in decades that companies have sought to liquefy U.S. gas and transport it overseas.

But exports have become a hot-button topic for some lawmakers in Washington and have highlighted uncertainty about what kind of energy power the U.S. wants to become as companies unearth huge supplies of natural gas in shale rock.

“We are going to have to answer some basic questions about our role as a producer,” Michael Levi, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said. “The fact that some of these debates have been so difficult stems from their novelty.”

Japan’s prime minister raised the gas-export issue with President Barack Obama at an April 30 meeting, one of several occasions on which Tokyo has pushed the administration.

But the U.S. has told Japan, a leading military ally in the Pacific, it will have to wait, in large part because of the political sensitivities, participants in the talks said.

“I think it’s going to require more people taking a look at it,” an administration official said, adding, “We’re very sympathetic to Japan. They’re in a very difficult situation.”

Following the disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant last year, Japan pulled the plug on all of its nuclear reactors, forcing it to replace a power source that generated about 30% of its electricity. The government is studying whether to restart some of the reactors, but nuclear power is likely to play a smaller role in five or 10 years.

That is when the U.S. natural gas could start arriving, but only if the U.S. grants permits to export terminals that would liquefy the gas for shipping across the Pacific.

Japan isn’t the only country waiting. “The requests come from everywhere,” the administration official said. Natural gas is much cheaper in the U.S. than in Europe and Asia, where the fuel’s value is often tied to the price of oil. Companies importing American gas would be able to reduce costs with contracts tied to the lower U.S. prices.

Mr. Tillerson laid out the case for exports at Exxon’s shareholder meeting Wednesday, saying they would create jobs and help the U.S. trade balance. Sen. Lisa Murkowksi, a Republican from Alaska, asked President Obama in April to expedite permits for natural-gas exports. She said exports could give Alaska a market for gas from its North Slope, which lacks a gas pipeline to the lower 48 states.

Opponents, including Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and some other congressional Democrats, say the U.S. could boost its energy security by keeping its natural gas at home. Oil-and-gas entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, in an interview, objected to the idea of selling the gas at a discount to global prices. “You’re kind of giving your own stuff away, and it’s stupid to do that,” said Mr. Pickens, who wants U.S. trucks to use natural gas.

Japanese officials said they recognized the Obama administration’s political challenges.

“It is difficult for the U.S. to say yes [to exports] because of the presidential election,” said Hirohide Hirai, director of the petroleum and natural-gas division of Japan’s economy ministry. “There won’t be any deal with any country before November.”

U.S. officials say they are weighing how exports would affect job creation, trade and the domestic price of natural gas. A price spike would hurt consumers and weaken a competitive advantage enjoyed by U.S. manufacturers that use natural gas as a raw material. An Energy Department assessment is due later this year, and an administration official said decisions will follow in a “timely manner.”

—Mitsuru Obe and Isabel Ordonez contributed to this article.

Write to Tennille Tracy at tennille.tracy@dowjones.com

Source

USA: Sumitomo, Tokyo Gas in Cove Point LNG Talks with Dominion

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Following the signing by Sumitomo Corporation of a precedent agreement with respect to the bi-directional liquefied natural gas processing services with Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP, the body implementing the Cove Point LNG Project in the State of Maryland, the United States, Sumitomo Corporation has started negotiation with Dominion to conclude a final terminal service agreement. In this context, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. have agreed to jointly work as a team to negotiate with Dominion.

The Project is envisaged to build a new LNG liquefaction plant in the existing Cove Point LNG import terminal owned and operated by Dominion (in Maryland, the United States), enabling Dominion to provide natural gas liquefaction service for export in the form of LNG. This means tolling customers concluding TSA with Dominion will be able to liquefy natural gas procured by themselves in the United States through the relevant LNG liquefaction plant. Upon obtaining the approval from the U.S. Department of Energy to export LNG to Japan or other nations that have not yet ratified a free-trade agreement (FTA) and also the approval for plant construction from the authorities, in addition to other processes required including but not limited to the final investment decision on the Project, Dominion plans to commence construction of a new LNG liquefaction plant to start-up the Project operation by sometime in 2017.

Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas have so far conducted a comprehensive deliberation on potential cooperation regarding the natural gas business in the United States and the import of LNG to Japan. Following the conclusion of the PA between Sumitomo Corporation and Dominion, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas have decided to work together as a team to negotiate the TSA with Dominion.

In addition, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Gas contemplate that the natural gas liquefied for import to Japan should be procured from the Marcellus shale gas field, etc. where located adjacent to the Project and in which Sumitomo Corporation has an interest. If the Project is realized, it would be a LNG of its kind in the US derived from shale gas destine to Japan.

Sumitomo Corporation is the first Japanese company to participate in the development of a shale gas field in the United States and currently holds two interests, including one in the Marcellus shale gas field. In addition, Pacific Summit Energy LLC, a fully owned subsidiary, is engaged in the gas trading business in the United States. Therefore, if the Project is finally agreed, Sumitomo Corporation will be able to establish a natural gas and LNG value chain in the United States across natural gas upstream development, through distribution and liquefaction, to LNG export.

Tokyo Gas is seeking to increase its procurement of LNG from un-conventional natural gas resources across the globe in order to diversify its portfolio, and to expand its global LNG value chain with the aim of reducing the costs of raw materials pursuant to its “Challenge 2020 Vision.” If the Project is finally agreed, these goals will be realized.

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