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Corpus Christi, TX: Tamar Platform En Route to Israel

Tamar production platform has left the Keiwit Shipyards in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, and is now on the way to its location offshore Israel, according to Globes, the Israeli financial newspaper.

It took 18 months for the 280 m platform to be completed, and the project has been described as “the largest infrastructure project in Israeli history.”

Noble Energy, operator of the Tamar field, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Tamar platform will be located in approximately 800 feet of water and will be able to process 1.2 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day. The Tamar field is estimated to contain 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas and will be produced through several subsea wells connected to the platform by 150 km long flow lines. The single-lift topsides facility has four deck levels and weighs nearly 10,000 tons.

Globes further reports that the platform is expected to reach its destination during the fourth quarter this year. First production is scheduled for March 2013.

Noble Energy operates Tamar with a 36 percent working interest. Other owners are Isramco Negev 2 with 28.75 percent, Delek Drilling with 15.625 percent, Avner Oil Exploration with 15.625 percent, and Dor Gas Exploration with the remaining four percent.

Tamar Platform En Route to Israel| Offshore Energy Today.

A Map of Muslim Protests Around the World

John Hudson 10:11 AM ET

Analysis: Some Gulf rulers wary of U.S. shifts on Islamists, Iran

By Andrew Hammond and Rania El Gamal
DUBAI | Wed Sep 5, 2012 10:35am EDT

(Reuters) – The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological affiliates in the Arab Spring uprisings has stoked fears among Gulf Arab governments that the United States may one day abandon its traditional allies as it warms up to Islamists.

While the ruling families in the Gulf are currently vital U.S. allies who buy large amounts of American military hardware and facilitate a significant U.S. military presence, some are apprehensive Washington may apply pressure on them to accommodate Islamists who could end up challenging their exclusive rule.

In a number of colorful online outbursts, Dubai’s outspoken police chief Dhahi Khalfan has warned of an “international plot” to overthrow Gulf systems of government with Western complicity. The Brotherhood, manipulated by the United States, is working to take over the Gulf by 2016, he said.

“Today the Americans are mobilizing the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab nation, for the benefit of America, not the Arabs,” he wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday. “There is an American plan that has been drawn up for the region.”

Though Khalfan insists his tweets are his personal views, analysts and diplomats say they reflect largely unspoken concerns among the United Arab Emirates’ ruling elite about the regional popularity of the Islamists and the possibility that the West will sympathize with them as political underdogs.

They also reflect fears among the region’s Sunni Muslim rulers that, despite being Sunni itself, the Brotherhood is soft on their arch enemy Shi’ite Iran. Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Mursi tried to dissipate such fears at a Tehran conference last week by condemning Iran’s ally Syria and urging attendees to back rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Despite pockets of Western-style liberalism in cities like Dubai, most Gulf ruling elites seek to project an image of Islamic conservatism.

So the threat they see is not religious or social but political: the Brotherhood advocates playing by the rules of parliamentary politics as a path to government, threatening inherited rights to rule and state-backed clerical establishments.

An opposition movement that gains ground in Gulf states could perhaps find the U.S. administration newly disposed to speak out in its favor.

Such an opposition has already emerged in the UAE, where more than 50 Islamists linked to Brotherhood thinking have been arrested since late last year. So far Washington has kept mum.

“While the U.S. security umbrella protects the UAE against threats from Iran, Washington would be much more reluctant to support a widespread crackdown against a local opposition movement,” said analyst Ayham Kamel of the Eurasia Group.

“This is making the political leadership in the UAE much more nervous about domestic threats,” he said.

The Brotherhood also has potential to draw support from Gulf Arabs who may see their countries’ foreign policies as overly pro-Western and are concerned about the social influence of their large Asian and Western expatriate communities.

SEEKING U.S. REASSURANCE

Washington was initially hesitant to openly support the uprisings that toppled Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, partly because of concerns they could bring Islamists to power.

President Barack Obama’s administration has since overcome its reluctance, and has made extensive efforts to engage Egypt’s Brotherhood over the past year.

Analysts say Washington is simply pursuing realpolitik given the new power centers in the region.

“I don’t think the West is keen on having a bunch of Islamists coming to power in the Gulf anytime soon,” said Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute based in Doha. “It’s more the case that Washington is working with who they can work with, because Islamists are in power and they have to be dealt with.”

U.S. officials said privately that they addressed the Gulf’s concerns last year after Mubarak fell and that subsequent conversations have not focused on the issue. They declined to go into specifics.

“Gulf governments realize both the United States and Iran will want to have relations with the new regimes,” said Ghanem Nuseibeh, senior analyst with Cornerstone Global. They just needed to be reassured that those regimes’ gain was not their loss, he said.

Diplomats said they were confident that building good ties with the Brotherhood was unlikely to strain the long-term strategic relationship between the U.S. and Gulf states.

“They (the Gulf states) need the Americans to protect them against Iran. Iran is the biggest worry for them in the whole region right now,” one Gulf-based Western diplomat said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

YES, BUT …

Still, rumblings persist.

Saudi Arabia, which has long seen itself as insulated from political Islam because of its promotion of more conservative Salafi Islam, is feeling less secure these days, said Abdulaziz Alkhamis, a London-based Saudi analyst.

“After the Arab Spring they (the Islamists) are rising again. They start to use Islamist political rhetoric to gain publicity in the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Prominent clerics such as Awadh al-Garni and Salman al-Odah, viewed as sympathetic to the Brotherhood, have become more outspoken, cheering Islamist gains in social media.

Brotherhood-linked Islamists are well-established in Kuwait, where parliamentary politics is most advanced in the Gulf. And in Bahrain the government has drawn closer to the Minbar party, another group inspired by the Brotherhood, as it shores itself up against a protest movement dominated by Shi’ite Islamists.

The angst over what the United States plans for the region is at its most public and visceral in Bahrain, whose government Obama has urged to enter dialogue with leading Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq, citing the group by name.

Sunni clerics and commentators in official media regularly raise the fear that Washington, currently at odds with Tehran over its nuclear program, is plotting to create a Wefaq-led government in a regional reordering of power that would open a new page of cozy ties with Iran.

TV presenter Sawsan al-Shaer denounced a “Satanic alliance” between Tehran and Washington in an article in the al-Watan daily last month, claiming Wefaq was a “Trojan horse, used by the U.S. administration and Iranian regime to redraw the region.”

The wild card in the region is Qatar. It has actively promoted the Brotherhood and its affiliates, giving them coverage widely seen as positive on its satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera.

At an early stage in the uprisings Doha stuck its neck out much further than other Gulf states in its support for protests in Egypt and Tunisia, and then rebel movements in Libya and Syria, supporting those among them close the Brotherhood.

Earlier this year the Dubai police chief railed against Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a popular Brotherhood-linked Egyptian cleric based in Doha who criticized UAE policy towards Islamists on Al Jazeera. Khalfan threatened to arrest the cleric if he ever entered the country.

Alkhamis said opinion in Saudi Arabia was split over whether Qatar’s close links to the Islamists was a smart move to keep a close eye on a rising movement whose historical time has come, or a ruse to sow discord for its neighbor and sometime rival.

“The Qataris say that if we don’t have the Brotherhood (operating) openly then they will go underground and that it’s not against Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are not happy with this,” Alkhamis said pointing to Qatar-backed Islamist seminars. “Some think the Qataris are not an honest friend, but have an agenda.”

(Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn in Washington and Raissa Kasolowsky in Abu Dhabi; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Sonya Hepinstall)

Reuters

Iran says it treats Israeli military threats as American

DUBAI | Wed Sep 5, 2012 7:01am EDT

(Reuters) – Iran makes no distinction between U.S. and Israeli interests and will retaliate against both countries if attacked, an Iranian military commander said on Wednesday.

The comments came after the White House denied an Israeli news report that it was negotiating with Tehran to keep out of a future Israel-Iran war and as U.S. President Barack Obama fends off accusations from his election rival that he is too soft on Tehran.

“The Zionist regime separated from America has no meaning, and we must not recognize Israel as separate from America,” Ali Fadavi, naval commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

“On this basis, today only the Americans have taken a threatening stance towards the Islamic Republic,” Fadavi said. “If the Americans commit the smallest folly they will not leave the region safely.”

Iran – which has missiles that could reach Israel and U.S. targets in the region – has conducted military exercises and unveiled upgraded weapons in recent months, aiming to show it can defend itself against any strike against its nuclear sites.

Israel – thought to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons – says the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran would pose a threat to its existence. Tehran denies it is developing weapons and says its nuclear program is peaceful.

With the approach of U.S. elections in November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a tougher stance against Iran – implicitly knocking Obama’s emphasis on diplomatic and sanctions pressure to halt Iranian nuclear work.

While Israel would expect U.S. backing if it decided to strike Iran, the top U.S. general has suggested Washington would not be drawn into a conflict.

“I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it,” Britain’s Guardian newspaper quoted Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey as saying.

Netanyahu abruptly ended a meeting of Israel’s security cabinet on Wednesday, saying someone in the forum had leaked details of its discussions on Iran.

Any decision to go to war against Iran would, by Israeli law, require the approval of the security cabinet. One government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no such decisions had been on the table at Tuesday’s meeting.

(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Reuters

Iran increases underground nuclear capacity sharply: diplomats

VIENNA | Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:04am EDT

(Reuters) – A U.N. watchdog report is expected to show that Iran has expanded its potential capacity to refine uranium in an underground site by at least 30 percent since May, diplomats say, adding to Western worries over Tehran‘s nuclear aims.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due this week to issue its latest quarterly report on Iran’s disputed nuclear program, which the West and Israel suspect is aimed at developing bombs. Tehran denies this.

Language used by some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation that Israel might hit Iran’s nuclear sites before the November U.S. presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it could be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes.

The Vienna-based diplomats, giving details on what they believe the IAEA report will show, said Iran had completed installation of two more cascades – interlinked networks of 174 centrifuges each – since the previous IAEA report in May.

They said Iran may also have added centrifuges in another part of the fortified Fordow facility, buried deep inside a mountain to better protect it against any enemy strikes, but they gave no details.

Fordow, where Iran is refining uranium to a level that takes it significantly closer to weapons-grade material, is built to house roughly 3,000 centrifuges – machines that spin at supersonic speed to increase the fissile concentration.

The May report said Iran had installed a total of 1,064 centrifuges, of which 696 were operating, in some six cascades. The diplomats said Iran has since added at least another 328, a jump of about 30 percent from the May figure, and perhaps more.

Iran says it needs this higher-grade uranium for a medical research reactor in Tehran. It is enriching uranium to lower levels at its main such plant in Natanz, where diplomats say it is also installing more centrifuges.

While the newly added centrifuges at Fordow are not yet operating, the expansion reaffirmed Iranian defiance of international demands to suspend enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses depending on refinement level.

“There is reason to be concerned by increased tempo of enrichment, the larger stockpile of enriched uranium and, most importantly, the additional centrifuges installed in the deeply-buried facility at Fordow,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute of Strategic Studies think-tank.

It may reinforce the belief in Israel that diplomatic and economic pressure is failing to make the Islamic Republic curb its uranium enrichment program.

Iran denies allegations it seeks a nuclear weapons capability and says all its atom work is for peaceful purposes. It has threatened wide-ranging reprisals if attacked.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday told heads of state from developing countries at a meeting in Tehran that the country has no interest in nuclear weapons but will keep pursuing peaceful nuclear energy.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

Polarcus’ 2Q Revenues Up 74 Pct (UAE)

Polarcus’ 2Q Revenues Up 74 Pct (UAE)| Offshore Energy Today

Polarcus Limited, a UAE-based owner of hi-tech seismic fleet has announced second quarter 2012 financial results.

The second quarter 2012 was characterized by improved market conditions. This was reflected in the high utilization of 89% in the quarter. Revenues increased largely due to having two more vessels in operation and profitability rose as a function of improved utilization.

Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus, commented on the results: “The second quarter has seen the start of another very active North West Europe season giving rise to a healthy improvement in market conditions, with further stimulus expected to come from major license rounds in both the UK and Norway. Coupled with our continuing focus on operational performance and the efficient and timely delivery of Polarcus Amani and Polarcus Adira, Polarcus has delivered a record utilization in the quarter of 89%, up from 72% in the same quarter last year.”

 Looking ahead, Ronningen continued: “We continue to see tangible evidence of a globally developing market underscored by exceptionally high tender activity by the oil companies in the second quarter across all regions, including new exploration frontiers. We expect these tenders on award will contribute to maintaining a robust market outlook through the fourth quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013, effectively reducing some of the market’s traditional cyclicality.”

Highlights in the second quarter 2012:

Revenues of USD 114.3 million, up 74% from Q2 11

EBITDA of USD 42.9 million, up 157% from Q2 11

EBIT of USD 21.9 million, up 657% from Q2 11

Net Cash Flow from operating activities of USD 48.1 million

Polarcus Adira delivered on time and on budget

Fleet backlog extended to an estimated total value of USD 325 million

Vessel utilization at 89%, comprising Contract 81% and Multi-Client 8%

Repaid USD 55 million 13% bond and partly replaced by a USD 410 million fleet bank facility

Successful transfer of shares to the Oslo Stock exchange main list

Polarcus’ 2Q Revenues Up 74 Pct (UAE)| Offshore Energy Today.

Visiongain: Spending on Subsea Production Systems to Reach USD 8.89 Bln in 2012

The world has finite hydrocarbon resources and conventional oil reserves are particularly in short supply. Furthermore, conventional oil resources from the Middle East are very much under threat of disruption as embargoes on Iranian oil exports come into full effect at the end of June 2012.

However, new reservoirs of oil are increasingly being discovered in deep waters and ultra deep waters across the world. These new discoveries are providing a respite to declining production from conventional sources of oil and gas, and reducing risks in upstream oil production from the Middle East. Visiongain calculated that capital expenditure in the subsea production & processing systems infrastructure will total $8.89bn in 2012.

Exploration and production companies are investing heavily in offshore development projects. Most offshore projects in water depths beyond 200-300 metres benefit from subsea production and processing systems to lift hydrocarbons to the surface. As a greater share of oil and gas is supplied from deeper water depths, investment in subsea production and processing systems will inevitably grow larger over the next ten years.

Subsea systems not only enable operating companies to optimize production from offshore fields, they also increase the total amount of recoverable hydrocarbons over the life of the well. For example, with pressure boosting systems, total oil recovery rates are significantly increased. Some deepwater oil and gas reservoirs would not have been fully exploited without the aid of subsea systems.

By the early 1970s the world had few commercial oil and gas facilities producing from deepwater reservoirs because challenges such as high temperature and high pressure were too restrictive. Over the years, however, more advanced multiphase pumps, subsea oil/gas/water/sand separation units and wellhead systems have evolved to overcome the difficulties, enabling companies to produce hydrocarbons from the most challenging environments.

Subsea production and processing systems are advancing further to enable companies to produce from very sensitive and harsh environments such as the Arctic and high temperature, high pressure (HTHP) reservoirs. Subsea systems will not be affected by surface ice formations unlike floating platforms and can provide more controlled production from HTHP wells. Therefore, subsea systems minimize environmental risks associated with production from the Arctic region and in deepwater offshore areas.

The Subsea Production & Processing Systems Market 2012-2022 report provides valuable insight into the future developments of this growing market and will benefit those already in the subsea production & processing market as well as those looking to enter this market.

Source

Israel: Pinnacles Delivers First Gas

Israel’s  Delek Group has been informed by the operator, Noble Energy Mediterranean Ltd., that on June 12, 2012, development of Pinnacles #1 was completed and gas began to flow from it.

Pinnacles offshore well was recently linked by a subsea pipeline to the nearby Mari B production platform. Helix ESG’s reeled pipelay vessel, Express, which in April arrived at the port city of Haifa, Israel, completed the SURF (Subsea Umbilicals, Risers and Flowlines) work.

According to the Israel-based financial newspaper The Globes, Pinnacles well will produce 150 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Noble Energy Mediterranean Vice President Lawson Freeman told The Globes that the company was excited to bring the Pinnacles well on stream. He also added that the company was pushing hard to accelerate the Noa development in the same way.

Development of the Noa field is geared to allow for additional supplies of natural gas to the Israeli market, until the start of natural gas supplies from the Tamar project in early 2013.

Source

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