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Strong Demand for UDW Drillships Spurs Seadrill to Order One More from SHI (South Korea)

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Seadrill continues to see strong demand for modern ultra-deepwater (UDW) drilling rigs driven by high oil prices and large deep-water discoveries and increased development drilling. Specific interest, mainly from operators in West Africa and the Americas, demonstrate a trend towards higher day rates and longer term contracts.

With yard costs at very attractive levels and Seadrill’s proven track record with respect to successful new build construction the Company today announced the order of a sixth drillship from Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) with delivery in the second quarter of 2014. The expected total project cost is less than USD600 million, in line with the 5 units under construction and with delivery in 2013 and 2014. The yard contract was originally between a party related to Seadrill’s major shareholder Hemen Holding and Samsung, as part of a larger shipyard deal, but Seadrill has been given the right to take over the contract at original terms.

Seadrill’s current new build program now includes 17 units: 6 ultra deep-water drillships, 1 harsh environment semi submersible, 5 tender rigs and 5 jack ups, all to be delivered in the period from Q4 2012 to Q1 2015. In addition, Seadrill has received a fixed price option for a further ultra deep-water drillship. The six drillships under construction are of the same design and will have a hook load capability of 1,250 tons and a water depth capacity of up to 12,000 feet targeting operations in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and West and East Africa. Also, these units will be outfitted with seven ram configuration of the Blow out Preventer (BOP) stack and with storing and handling capacity for a second BOP.

CEO of Seadrill Alf Thorkildsen says:

“With the available capacity in 2013 and 2014 Seadrill is uniquely positioned among its peers to take advantage of strong demand for drilling services with high dayrates and longer charter contracts. We will continue to aggressively build Seadrill’s earnings and further expansion of the building program is expected in the months to come. Together, these developments provide for continued value creation and an increased dividend capacity.”

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Bernanke Knows Europe Is Out Of Options And On The Verge Of Collapse

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By Phoenix Capital Research  
 Market Overview 
Apr 08, 2012 09:22AM GMT

Having finished his “damage control” PR campaign (for now) Ben Bernanke decided to discuss… Europe, urging the Big Banks to help prop up the system over there.

Exclusive: Bernanke breaks bread with top bankers
After completing a series of public lectures in Washington, D.C. last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke quietly slipped into New York City for a private luncheon on Friday with Wall Street executives.

Fortune has learned that attendees included Jamie Dimon (J.P. Morgan), Bob Diamond (Barclays), Brady Dougan (Credit Suisse), Larry Fink (Blackrock), Gerald Hassell (Bank of New York Mellon), Glenn Hutchins (Silver Lake), Colm Kelleher (Morgan Stanley), Brian Moynihan (Bank of America), Steve Schwarzman (Blackstone Group) and David Vinar (Goldman Sachs).

Sources say Bernanke spoke at length about monetary policy, in an apparent effort to persuade attendees that they needed to take a more active role in helping to deal with the European debt crisis. He spent virtually no time discussing regulation, although that mantle got taken up by both Dimon (domestic regulation) and Schwarzman (global regulation).

The lunch was held at the New York Fed, and hosted by NY Fed president William Dudley. Before leaving New York, Bernanke separately addressed NY Fed staffers.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/04/04/exclusive-bernanke-breaks-bread-with-top-bankers/

This is an interesting progression from the last time Fed officials went to New York:

Fed met with major financial firms to discuss Volcker Rule impact

Documents released by the Federal Reserve on Monday show that its officials met with some of Wall Street’s major financial firms earlier this month to discuss Volcker Rule implications.

The Fed met with representatives from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley on Nov. 8, according to Bloomberg.com. Bank lawyers H. Rodgin Cohen and Michael Wiseman from Sullivan & Cromwell were also present during the meeting.

According to the documents, the meeting entailed a discussion on “possible unintended consequences of the rule.”

http://bankcreditnews.com/news/fed-met-with-major-financial-firms-to-discuss-volcker-rule-impact/2773/

Notice that during discussions of regulations, it was “Fed officials” who attended these meetings, NOT Bernanke himself (at least he’s not mentioned anywhere). So why is Bernanke, the head of the Fed wanting to meet with bankers to discuss Europe instead of Regulation?

You guessed it: Bernanke realizes Europe is totally and completely bust… and that the coming fall-out will be disastrous for the global banking system.

After all, the ECB spent over $1 trillion trying to prop up the system over there. And already the effects of LTRO 2 (which was worth $712 billion) have been wiped out. If you don’t think this sent a chill up Bernanke’s spine, you’re not thinking clearly.

Consider the following facts which I guarantee you Bernanke is well aware of:

  • 1) According to the IMF, European banks as a whole are leveraged at 26 to 1 (this data point is based on reported loans… the real leverage levels are likely much, much higher.) These are a Lehman Brothers leverage levels.
  • 2) The European Banking system is over $46 trillion in size (nearly 3X total EU GDP).
  • 3) The European Central Bank’s (ECB) balance sheet is now nearly $4 trillion in size (larger than Germany’s economy and roughly 1/3 the size of the ENTIRE EU’s GDP). Aside from the inflationary and systemic risks this poses (the ECB is now leveraged at over 36 to 1).
  • 4) Over a quarter of the ECB’s balance sheet is PIIGS debt which the ECB will dump any and all losses from onto national Central Banks (read: Germany)

So we’re talking about a banking system that is nearly four times that of the US ($46 trillion vs. $12 trillion) with at least twice the amount of leverage (26 to 1 for the EU vs. 13 to 1 for the US), and a Central Bank (the ECB) that has stuffed its balance sheet with loads of garbage debts, giving it a leverage level of 36 to 1.

I guarantee you Bernanke knows about all of the above. He also knows the ECB’s used up all of its ammunition fighting the Crisis over there. And lastly, he knows that the Fed cannot move to help Europe without risking his job. After all, even the Dollar swap move the Fed made in November 2011 saw severe public outrage and that didn’t even include actual money printing or more QE!

Moreover, Bernanke knows that the IMF can’t step up to help Europe. The IMF is, after all, a US-backed entity. How many times has it requested more money to help Europe? Maybe a dozen? And the answer from the US has always been the same: “No.”

Finally, the G20 countries have made it clear they don’t want to spend more money on Europe either. They keep dangling a bailout carrot in front of the EU claiming they’ll cough up more dough if the EU can get its monetary house in order… knowing full well that they actually cannot provide more funds (otherwise they’d have already done it).

This leaves the private banks as Bernanke’s last resort for a “backdoor” prop for Europe. If private meeting with the TBTFs that focuses on Europe doesn’t scream of desperation, I don’t know what does.

And do you think the big banks, which have all depleted their capital to make their earnings look better, actually have the money to help Europe? No chance.

Which means that Europe is going to collapse. Literally no one has the firepower or the political support to stop it.

Remember, we’re talking about banking system that’s a $46 trillion sewer of toxic PIIGS debt that is leveraged at more than 26 to 1 (Lehman was leveraged at 30 to 1 when it went under).

Again, NO ONE has the capital to prop the EU up much longer. And the collapse is coming.

If you’re not already taking steps to prepare for the coming collapse, you need to do so now.

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USA: Keppel to Turn Ocean Voyager into Ocean Onyx

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Keppel AmFELS, a shipyard strategically located at the gateway of the Gulf of Mexico, Brownswille, Texas has secured a contract from Diamond Offshore to construct and upgrade a moored semisubmersible rig with delivery scheduled for 3Q 2013. The estimated shipyard contract price is approximately US$150 million.

The rig, to be named Ocean Onyx, will be constructed from an existing hull from a Diamond Offshore cold stacked unit, which previously operated as the Ocean Voyager.

Keppel AmFELS’ scope of work on the Ocean Onyx includes the reconstruction of the rig, installation of advanced equipment such as a modern drilling package, and installation of sponsons to the pontoons to enhance the stability of the rig in deepwater. The rig will be designed to operate in water depths of up to 6,000 feet and will have a variable deck load of 5,000 long tonnes, a five-ram blowout preventer, and quarters capacity for 140 personnel.

Mr Larry Dickerson, President and CEO of Diamond Offshore, said, “We have worked with Keppel for more than a decade, and our rigs have consistently been delivered on time and within budget, whether in the US or Singapore. With Keppel’s track record as a leading offshore yard, we are confident that this project will also be a success.”

Keppel O&M has previously built four similar semisubmersible rigs for Diamond Offshore: the Ocean Baroness, Ocean Rover, Ocean Endeavour and Ocean Monarch.

Mr Tan Geok Seng, President of Keppel AmFELS, said, “We are pleased to be able to embark on another major rig project for Diamond Offshore, who has worked with Keppel on more than 20 projects since 1996. Diamond’s rigs are sent regularly to our yards around the world for maintenance, repair and upgrade, and Keppel AmFELS has proven to be their choice yard in the US Gulf of Mexico. Having built a long-term partnership with Diamond, we understand the company’s needs and are confident of delivering another high quality rig to their satisfaction.”

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USA: Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound Releases Statement Regarding Cape Wind Energy Deal

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Yesterday, Audra Parker, President & CEO of Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound released a statement regarding SJC uphold of Cape Wind energy deal.

“Today’s ruling is a blow to ratepayers, businesses, and municipalities who are being asked to bear billions of dollars in new electricity costs when other green energy alternatives are available at a fraction of the cost.

The good news is the increasingly clear reality that Cape Wind will never be built. Cape Wind has been denied FAA approval, has been denied critical Federal loan guarantees, has no utility willing to buy half its power, and cannot find investors. Those facts alone render this decision moot.”

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