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Mississippi River Barge Operators: Economy at Risk (USA)

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The American Waterways Operators, National Waterways Conference, Waterways Council, Inc., and 15 other national organizations submitted a letter to President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting a presidential declaration of emergency and seeking “immediate assistance in averting an economic catastrophe in the heartland of the United States.”

The request was made pursuant to section 501(b) of the Stafford Act.

The letter calls attention to the worsening situation on the Mississippi River which has already seen near historic low water levels that have restricted barge traffic on the nation’s critical water transportation artery since this summer. The existing crisis has been heightened even further as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun the reduction of water to the Mississippi River from dams on the upper Missouri River.

Alarmed that as the effects of reduced flows from the Missouri River are felt downstream and rock pinnacles are exposed near Thebes and Grand Tower, Illinois, significantly impairing the flow of commerce by mid-December, the groups are requesting that the President declare an emergency and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately remove the rock pinnacles and release such water from the Missouri River reservoirs as is necessary to preserve a nine-foot channel on the Mississippi River to sustain commercial navigation.

The groups warn that the economic impacts of a Mississippi River closure would be dire, placing $7 billion in key products such as corn, grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals and other products at risk in December and January alone, including:

– Over 7 million tons of agricultural products worth $2.3 billion;

– Over 1.7 million tons of chemical products worth $1.8 billion;

– 1.3 million tons of petroleum products worth over $1.3 billion;

– Over 700,000 tons of crude oil worth $534 million; and

– 3.8 million tons of coal worth $192 million.

Recognizing the importance of the Mississippi River as a critical national transportation artery and economic cornerstone, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, as well as 15 U.S. Senators and 62 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, have written the Administration calling attention to the severity of the situation and urging action to keep the river open to navigation.

The time for action is now, because once the water levels on the Mississippi drop, this will be an even harder problem to solve,” said Tom Allegretti, AWO’s President & CEO. “An emergency declaration is needed now to allow the swift removal of the rock pinnacles and assurance of sufficient flows from the Missouri River while the rock removal work is taking place, both needed measures to ensure the Mississippi River can remain open at a sufficient depth to keep waterborne commerce flowing.”

“Understanding the consequences of further impairment, or certainly cessation of Mississippi River navigation during the critical winter months, this situation necessitates immediate action,” said Amy Larson, NWC President & CEO. “This can be done in a balanced and measured manner respecting other river interests, but it simply must be done.”

The ripple effect of failing to efficiently move $7 billion in key commodities would be staggering,” said Mike Toohey, President and CEO of WCI. “The most immediate effects would be felt up and down the river, but would spread quickly from those that work on the river to those that ship on the river to manufacturing workers and eventually to all of us as consumers. This is an economic disaster in the making and the Administration needs to act now to stop it.”

Dredging Today – Mississippi River Barge Operators: Economy at Risk (USA).

Norway: PSA Conducts Audit of Major Accident Risk in Connection with Light Well Intervention

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In December 2011 and January 2012, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Statoil Petroleum AS (Statoil) and Island Offshore Subsea AS (Island Offshore). The audit was aimed at management of major accident risk and the barrier management system in connection with light well intervention on Island Constructor.

Each year, more than 500 well interventions are carried out on the Norwegian shelf, and this number is expected to grow.

There is a high level of risk associated with work on live wells (major accident potential) and many interfaces (multiple alliance partners).

A survey of well intervention activities carried out during the period 2003 – 2008 concluded that there was a significant need for well interventions on subsea installations. Verification on one of the facilities that carries out light well intervention was implemented to investigate HSE challenges linked with this type of operation.

Island Offshore Management and Island Offshore Subsea have an alliance with FMC and Aker Well Service for operation of the Island Constructor which carries out light well intervention on subsea wells for Statoil.

Objective

* Evaluate the companies’ understanding, knowledge and expertise as relates to major accident risk and managing barriers, on the part of both company management and among the employees.

* Evaluate strategies and principles which are to form the basis for design, use and maintenance of barriers so that the barriers’ function will be safeguarded throughout the entire facility lifetime.

* Verify that performance requirements are established and implemented.

* Develop the PSA’s expertise in following up management’s work to reduce major accident risk, and clarify the need to develop a framework and supervision methods.

* Contribute to the PSA developing its own methods that will form the basis for more effective barrier supervision.

Result

The audit activity uncovered three nonconformities and four improvement items as regards Island Offshore.

The nonconformities related to deficient analysis of defined hazard and accident situations, layout of kill and stimulation lines, and deficient basis for and documentation of maintenance.

Source

UK: Red Spider Reduces Risk

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Red Spider, the Remote Open Close Technology specialist delivering multi-million pound savings and reduced risk to the oil & gas industry, has completed its biggest-ever deal with work valued at £1.5million to supply new products for well completion operations.

The agreement involves Red Spider supplying eRED-FB products, with deployment scheduled for this Summer in the UK North Sea.

The eRED-FBs will be used for a series of subsea dual ESP (Electric Submersible Pump) wells and will allow the removal of all wireline runs from the completions operations.

Red Spider’s UK sales manager Andy Skinner said: “We are very excited about the technology and believe it takes our ROCT products to the next level, offering unparalleled savings and risk reduction.’’

eRED, Red Spider’s first tool to use its patented ROCT for remotely operating downhole valves, has been used by more than 20 operators resulting in significant risk reduction and maximising production time by removing wireline runs from operations. The technology is on its way to becoming the industry standard solution for various downhole applications.

The valve has allowed major operators to save more than £300,000 during a single subsea completion operation, typically reducing slickline runs from 8 to 1. In deepwater workover operations, savings of up to 36 hours and £500,000 have also been recorded in a single job, as well as major reductions in risk.

It quickly became apparent from the eRED’s continuing success that there were other potential applications for ROCT in the completion of wells. Further customer requests led to nearly £2million of investment and over two years of extensive research and development work, which has resulted in products including the eRED-FB.

eRED-FB valves provide a downhole barrier that can be opened and closed by remote command, allowing the tubing integrity to be tested without using conventional plug and prong equipment. This eliminates the need to deploy traditional wireline methods which results in the following benefits:

• removing the requirement for rigging-up and rigging-down wireline units

• speeding up operations

• reducing risk to personnel and equipment

• reducing the risk of exposure to bad weather

• delivering savings of between 32 to 38 hours (£400,000 to £500,000)

Source

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