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VIDEO: Vigor Offshore Patrol Cutter Featuring Ulstein X-BOW

In response to the U.S. Coast Guard’s demanding Offshore Patrol Cutter requirements, Vigor Industrial looked beyond the conventional. With the Ulstein X-BOW®, Vigor delivers unmatched seakeeping and endurance in a capable offshore workhorse.

Shipbuilding Tribune – VIDEO: Vigor Offshore Patrol Cutter Featuring Ulstein X-BOW.

Vigor Announces ULSTEIN’s SX151 Design in the United States

ULSTEIN has over time been cooperating with the American shipbuilding group Vigor Industrial in the development of the conceptual design for a coastguard vessel (OPC – Offshore Patrol Cutter). Vigor is now announcing ULSTEIN’s SX151 design in the United States as part of a campaign aimed at the U.S. Coast Guard, that plans to renew its fleet with up to 25 new ships.

In response to the U.S. Coast Guard’s demanding Offshore Patrol Cutter requirements, Vigor Industrial looked beyond the conventional. With the Ulstein X-BOW®, Vigor delivers unmatched seakeeping and endurance in a capable offshore workhorse”, states Vigor in their campaign «Affordable Innovation. Proven performance.»

We have worked together with Vigor for two years, and have developed a concept we have great faith in. The ship is 100 metres long and 16.4 metres wide and has a top speed of 22 knots. A typical operating speed can vary from 5 to 22 knots, and the ship is therefore equipped with a combined diesel mechanic / diesel electric propulsion system. The ship accommodates 124 persons, is equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar, and a hangar for three rescue boats,” says Deputy CEO, Tore Ulstein, responsible for Market and Innovation in Ulstein Group.

This is a long-term project: “Several yards are currently sending their prospects to the Coast Guard. Towards the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015, the Coast Guard will award the contract”, says Ulstein.

Shipbuilding Tribune – Vigor Announces ULSTEIN’s SX151 Design in the United States.

Fight for Mississippi River Underway (USA)

Dredging Today – Fight for Mississippi River Underway (USA)

After the U.S. Coast Guard closed an 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River for dredging and to replace missing navigation buoys, hundreds of barges are today stranded by low water.

On Monday, dredging operations near St Louis were halting river traffic for 12 hours at a time, according to the Mail Online.

There are currently several dredgers working to clear a channel from St. Louis to Vicksburg.

Dredging Today – Fight for Mississippi River Underway (USA).

Lift-boat crash holds up Mustang production

http://www.upstreamonline.com/migration_catalog/article1196077.ece/ALTERNATES/article_main/mustang+818-l+field

03 May 2012 10:40 GMT
Bill Lehane

Preparations to bring the Mustang Island 818-L field back into production have been thrown off course after a lift-boat due to work on the project crashed during another job.

Silvermere Energy chief executive Andy Morrison admitted the delay was “unfortunate and frustrating” for the US-focused junior, which is partnered with operator Dominion Production in the development.

Morrison stressed the incident did not directly impact the AIM-listed outfit or its Kleberg County partner financially, since the boat was not on contract to Dominion at the time of the accident.

Last Saturday, the lift-boat struck an unmarked obstruction while en route to Galveston to take on supplies before heading on to Corpus Christi to commence the Mustang Island 818 pile-driving.

The collision tore a three-foot hole in the vessel’s hull, causing it to take on large amounts of water and lose engine power.

It is thought the boat will now be out of action for at least two months.

The incident is now under investigation by the US Coast Guard, with the vessel having been towed to Cameron, Louisiana for inspection.

Laredo, the contractor to Dominion, is attempting to source an alternative vessel.

The field’s I-1 well, which was acquired by Silvermere Energy from Core Oil & Gas, previously enjoyed 15 years of production between 1980 and 1995 before being shut down for economic reasons.

The junior had initially hoped to restart production by the end of last year.

Source

APNewsBreak: US oil spill plan prepares for Cuba >>> “show me the Plan”

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By JENNIFER KAY, Associated Press – 2 days ago

MIAMI (AP) — If a future oil spill in the Caribbean Sea threatens American shores, a new federal plan obtained by The Associated Press would hinge on cooperation from neighboring foreign governments. Now that Cuba is the neighbor drilling for oil, cooperation is hard to guarantee.

The International Offshore Response Plan draws on lessons from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and was created to stop offshore oil spills as close to their source as possible, even in foreign waters. The plan dated Jan. 30 has not been released publicly. The AP obtained a copy through a Freedom of Information Act request.

After crude oil stained Gulf Coast beaches, state and federal officials are eager to head off even the perception of oil spreading toward the coral reefs, beaches and fishing that generate tens of billions of tourist dollars for Florida alone.

The plan comes as Spanish oil company Repsol YPF conducts exploratory drilling in Cuban waters and the Bahamas considers similar development for next year. Complicating any oil spill response in the Florida Straits, though, is the half-century of tension between the U.S. and its communist neighbor 90 miles south of Florida.

Under the plan dated Jan. 30, the Coast Guard’s Miami-based 7th District would take the lead in responding to a spill affecting U.S. waters, which includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The district’s operations cover 15,000 miles of coastline and share borders with 34 foreign countries and territories.

Repsol’s operations in Cuban waters are not subject to U.S. authority, but the company allowed U.S. officials to inspect its rig and review its own oil spill response plan.

“We’ve demonstrated already and we continue to demonstrate that we’re a safe, responsible operator doing all in its power to carry out a transparent and safe operation,” Respol spokesman Kristian Rix said Thursday.

Rix declined to elaborate on the company’s response plans, but he did say two minor recommendations made by U.S. officials inspecting the rig were immediately put in place.

If an oil spill began in Cuban waters, Cuba would be responsible for any spill cleanup and efforts to prevent damage to the U.S., but the Coast Guard would respond as close as possible.

Though a 50-year-old embargo bars most American companies from conducting business with Cuba and limits communication between the two governments, the Coast Guard and private response teams have licenses from the U.S. government to work with Cuba and its partners if a disaster arises.

The U.S. and Cuba have joined Mexico, the Bahamas and Jamaica since November in multilateral discussions about how the countries would notify each other about offshore drilling problems, said Capt. John Slaughter, chief of planning, readiness, and response for the 7th District.

He said channels do exist for U.S. and Cuban officials to communicate about spills, including the Caribbean Island Oil Pollution Response and Cooperation Plan. That’s a nonbinding agreement, though, so the Coast Guard has begun training crews already monitoring the Cuban coastline for drug and migrant smuggling to keep an eye out for problems on the Repsol rig.

William Reilly, co-chairman of the national commission on the Deepwater Horizon spill and head of the EPA during President George H.W. Bush, said the Coast Guard generated goodwill in Cuba by notifying its government of potential risks to the island during the 2010 spill.

It would be hard for the Cuban government to keep any spill secret if Repsol and other private companies were responding, Slaughter said.

“Even if we assume the darkest of dark and that the Cuban government wouldn’t notify us, we’d hear through industry chatter and talk. If the companies were notified, I’m quite confident we would get a phone call before they fly out their assets,” he said.

Funding for a U.S. response to a foreign spill would come from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund managed by the Coast Guard. As of Feb. 29, that fund contained $2.4 billion.

The plan covers many lessons learned from the 2010 spill, like maintaining a roster of “vessels of opportunity” for hire and making sure the ships that are skimming and burning oil offshore can store or treat oily water for extended periods of time. Other tactics, like laying boom, have been adapted for the strong Gulf Stream current flowing through the Florida Straits.

What the plan doesn’t cover is the research on how an oil spill might behave in the straits, said Florida International University professor John Proni, who’s leading a group of university and federal researchers studying U.S. readiness for oil spills.

Among the unknowns are the effect of dispersants on corals and mangroves, how oil travels in the major currents, the toxicity of Cuban and how to determine whether oil washing ashore in the U.S. came from Cuba.

“My view is that the Coast Guard has developed a good plan but it’s based on existing information,” so it’s incomplete, he said.

Former Amoco Oil Latin America president Jorge Pinon, now an oil expert at the University of Texas, said the Coast Guard had a solid plan.

He cautioned against recent congressional legislation introduced by one of South Florida’s three Cuban-American representatives to curtail drilling off Cuba by sanctioning those who help them do it. The bill is sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami.

Instead, Pinon said the U.S. needs to formalize agreements with Cuba about who would be in command if an oil well blew, because the U.S. has more resources available.

“The issue is not to stop the spill from reaching Florida waters, the issue is capping the well and shutting it down,” Pinon said. “We can play defense all we want, but we don’t want to play defense, we want to play offense, we want to cap the well.”

Reilly said the U.S. still needs to issue permits for equipment in the U.S. that would be needed if a Cuban well blew, Reilly said. For example, if a blowout occurred, the company would have to get a capping stack from Scotland, which could take up to a week.

“We know from Macondo that a great deal can happen in a week,” Reilly said. “I’ve been very concerned about getting the sanctions interpreted in a way that permits us to exercise some common sense.”

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Source

USA: Cobalt Excited About Return to Gulf Drilling

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Cobalt International Energy, Inc. announced today that the Ensco 8503 drilling rig, contracted to Cobalt, has returned to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico following a sublet of the rig to drill a well in French Guiana. Cobalt received the required U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Compliance and has subsequently received APD approval from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) for the Ligurian #2 exploratory well.

The company expects to spud Ligurian #2 by year end. Ligurian is located in the Southern Green Canyon Area immediately adjacent to the 2009 Heidelberg discovery in which Cobalt is a part owner. After drilling Ligurian #2, Cobalt plans to move the rig to the North Platte #1 well location in the Garden Banks Area to drill that prospect. Cobalt anticipates that each of the Ligurian #2 and North Platte #1 exploratory wells will take approximately six months to drill.

“Obtaining the approved APD for Ligurian #2 represents another significant milestone for Cobalt”, said Van P. Whitfield, Cobalt’s Chief Operating Officer. “Ligurian #2 will be our first company-operated well drilled in the Gulf of Mexico since the deepwater drilling moratorium was enforced in May 2010. We are definitely excited about our return to drilling and are confident in our ability to drill this well safely. Additionally, we look forward to obtaining the additional permits required to drill and evaluate the multiple other significant world class prospects we have in our Gulf of Mexico portfolio.”

Cobalt is the operator of the Ligurian #2 well located in Green Canyon Block 814, with a 45% working interest. Other working interest owners include TOTAL E&P USA, INC. with a 30% working interest and Sonangol Exploration & Production International, Ltd. with a 25% working interest.

2012 Cash Expenditure Forecast

Cobalt also announced that its 2012 cash expenditures will be $500-$550 million. This range is consistent with previous guidance for 2011-13 cash expenditures of $1.3-$1.4 billion and compares with $170-$190 million recently estimated for 2011. The increased cash expenditures for 2012 relative to 2011 anticipates increased U.S. Gulf of Mexico and offshore Angola drilling activity and the payment of the first social bonus contribution associated with Angola Block 20. Cobalt’s net expenditures for 2012 exploration and appraisal drilling are forecasted at $250-$300 million. Each range of cash expenditures excludes changes to restricted cash items such as escrow agreements and collateralized letters of credit.

Source

The Lone Icebreaker: U.S. Sovereignty in the Arctic

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Tyler Davis

The United States Coast Guard is being left behind in the Arctic. While countries such as Russia are building up their icebreaker fleet and actively increasing their presence in the Arctic, the United States is losing its only form of sovereignty in the region.

On December 1, Rear Admiral Jeffrey M. Garrett, U.S. Coast Guard, testified before Congress on protecting U.S. sovereignty in the Arctic. He stated in Second Line of Defense that “the Icebreaker fleet represents the main surface presence that the U.S. can exert in what is essentially a maritime domain in the Arctic Ocean.” Yet today, the Coast Guard has an icebreaker fleet of only three ships. Worse yet, two of these ships are out of commission due to maintenance work and will not be available for at least seven more years.

The lone icebreaker in commission is the USCGC Healy, which conducts all types of missions from search and rescue to navigational aid to scientific research. Though the ship has been effective at its job in the Arctic, it is designed to break through ice of only medium thickness; for ice of heavy thickness, the Healy is absolutely useless. And like the other two icebreakers, it is quickly aging.

Without efforts to modernize the fleet, the future of the U.S. national maritime interest and security in the Arctic is looking pretty bleak. Icebreakers are a necessity in the region, and without them the U.S. might as well throw in the towel. These ships are key to year-round access to the Arctic and are the only U.S. insurance policy for future hazardous events. If something happens to the Healy, then the United States would not only lose access to the region but would not be able to react to potential oil spills and would become less effective in search-and-rescue missions.

Complicating matters even further, ice in the Arctic is melting, producing more ocean area for the transportation of goods and services in the region. Essentially, whoever best utilizes this route will control trade and transportation of goods and materials in the upper hemisphere. With all other nations around the Arctic building their icebreaker fleets and exploiting the key transportation route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the United States is falling behind.

In order to create an icebreaking fleet to maintain U.S. presence in the region, the Administration should look toward privatizing the fleet. Allowing private companies to own and operate the U.S. icebreaking fleet and perform national security functions would not only allow for crucial modernization but also save federal dollars and expand U.S. capabilities in the Arctic. This is particularly important at a time when the government is looking to cut corners in federal spending.

Ultimately, something must be done. If the U.S. does not act fast, it will come in last in the race for the Arctic.

Tyler Davis is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm

Posted in American Leadership

Contractors in BOEMRE’s sights

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Eoin O'Cinneide & news wires  
25 April 2011 22:44 GMT

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is looking to be able to bypass Congress in order to bring contractors under more control, Reuters reported on Monday.

The move follows the publication on Friday by the US Coast Guard of volume one of a report into the Macondo blowout disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last April which laid much of the blame at the doorstep of contractors such as Transocean.

“There is no…credible reason why you shouldn’t at least have the ability to proceed against contractors, without in any way having that detract from your ability to hold the operator liable,” BOEMRE’s director Michael Bromwich told the newswire at a conference.

“You can hold multiple entities liable,” he continued.

While the Bureau checks if it can press ahead in this regard without congressional action, it will not yet be taking any action against contractors involved in the Macondo disaster.

“It is actually looking more like we may not need additional authority and that we may have authority under current law,” Bromwich commented.

US player Transocean was the focus of much of the USCG’s attention in Friday’s report into the disaster which also pointed the finger of blame at crew of the ill-fated rig Deepwater Horizon, its flag state Marshall Islands, supermajor BP and even the USCG itself.

Original Article

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