EMAS, a leading global offshore contractor and provider of integrated offshore solutions to the oil and gas (O&G) industry and operating brand for Ezra Holdings Limited announces two further contract awards worth a total of approximately US$131.5 million.
EMAS’s fabrication division, recently rebranded as TRIYARDS, has been awarded a US$76.5 million contract to fabricate and deliver a self-elevating mobile offshore platform/unit for a client based in Asia Pacific. The unit will be manufactured by the Group’s fabrication division’s yard in Vung Tau, Vietnam, the Group’s second yard facility in country. The fabrication division provides fabrication and vessel design as well as engineering services and has previously built one of the world’s largest self propelled jack-up rigs of its kind.
In a separate announcement EMAS reported its subsea division, EMAS AMC, has been awarded a US$55 million contract for SURF (subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines) installation and pipe lay from Statoil for work in the North Sea.
Mr Lionel Lee, EMAS’s Managing Director, said: “Our continued stream of new contract wins across the globe by our various divisions validates our internationalisation strategy. We had identified subsea services for our next phase of growth, and since our strategic acquisition of Aker Marine Contractors last year to form EMAS AMC, we have been able to push our Group orderbook to almost US$2 billion in a short span of a year.
“The offshore energy industry is increasingly recognising EMAS as a trusted global player. Our contracts now come from beyond Asia Pacific, and include the challenging environments of the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. I am extremely delighted with the momentum and track record we have achieved, and I am confident we will be able to sustain this growth with all our divisions competing for projects around the world.”
EMAS recently announced the award of a US$70 million contract (with options valued at US$30 million) from Apache Energy Limited, allowing EMAS AMC to achieve its US$1 billion subsea orderbook target ahead of time.
- Norway: EMAS AMC Wins Fram SURF Deal from Statoil (mb50.wordpress.com)
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To resist Beijing’s maritime claims, Asean members will have to compromise and form a common front.
Ownership of the islands, seabed resources and navigation rights in the South China Sea is now very much on the international agenda. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is more united on this issue than it has been for about a decade, and the U.S. is turning more attention diplomatically and militarily to the Pacific. Nevertheless, sustaining the coalition of interests disputing China’s claimed hegemony over the sea will not be easy.
In fact, the wonder is that the Chinese leadership managed to get itself into this predicament by so clumsily arousing neighboring countries’ fears. Having suffered constant Chinese provocations over the preceding few years, Hanoi used its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2010 to first bring the issue of Chinese aggression to the table. Vietnam and the Philippines encouraged the U.S. to make clear its own interest in freedom of navigation and settlement of territorial disputes according to international principles.
At that point Beijing could have backed off and allowed the subject to fade from view. Instead, the People’s Liberation Army tried to punish Vietnam and the Philippines by harassing their exploration ships. Under the confident new administration of President Benigno Aquino, Manila responded with unprecedented vigor, carrying on exploration and offering new blocks for drilling.
Even this has not given China’s nationalists second thoughts. Recently the Global Times newspaper, owned by the People’s Daily, warned those who dispute Chinese claims to be “mentally prepared for the sound of cannons,” a threat that was noted around the world.
There is a sense that China’s provocations have been driven by the military, probably against the advice of its diplomats. If wiser heads among Beijing’s civilian leadership can reassert control, they will re-adopt Deng Xiaoping‘s maxim about keeping a low profile. If so, China will tone down its rhetoric and offer economic benefits on a larger scale to increase its neighbors’ dependence. It will likely quietly offer bilateral exploration deals which would divide the Asean claimants who are just starting to work together.
China has tried this before and nearly succeeded with Manila. Although the Philippines has relatively little reliance on China trade, its need for investment and pervasive corruption are vulnerabilities. The preoccupation of its armed forces—who are anyway poorly equipped—with insurgencies at home limits its ability to police the seas and protect exploration.
However, democracy can be a powerful force when it comes to protecting national interests. The Philippine public’s determination to stand up to bullying can be stronger than that of elites with business deals with China or autocracies reliant on good relations.
Vietnam’s nationalistic instincts are sure enough but Vietnam is still a relatively small and weak nation quite dependent on trade with China and likely to become more so. Good ties with India, Japan and Russia and emerging ones with the U.S. are an offset but China’s threats have already deterred some exploration on the continental shelf.
China’s efforts to divide the littoral states by pressing for bilateral negotiations have so far not met with success. But they could do so if Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei do not resolve their own differences. Significantly, China has refrained from overt threats against Malaysia even though oil and gas wells off Borneo are within its claimed territory. Malaysia in return has urged caution and cooperation with China. If Vietnam and the wider Malay world do not hang together they will surely be hung separately.
The difficulty lies in sacrificing some overlapping claims to form a united front. Vietnam claims all the Spratlys, the Philippines most but not all of them, Malaysia just a few, and Brunei only a couple of banks. Many of the islets, rocks and reefs lie outside their 200-mile exclusive economic zones and none qualifies for its own EEZ as none is capable of independently supporting permanent habitation.
Vietnam’s claim is as successor to its French colonial rulers as well as Vietnamese imperial assertions and the legacy of the Cham trading kingdom which flourished in central Vietnam until about 1500. The U.S. never claimed the Spratlys but an independent Philippines did so on the basis of proximity and as part of the Philippine archipelago. Malaysia and Brunei make claims based on rights to the continental shelf off Borneo.
Compromise among these four countries, who together own two-thirds of the coastline, is essential to prevent China from establishing hegemony over Southeast Asia. If the Asean nations cannot agree among themselves they could ask the International Court of Justice for a ruling, as did Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in previous island disputes. The court could also be asked to adjudicate the EEZ boundaries. China would object, but that would only underline its unwillingness to agree to arbitration based on the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention.
In the end, only leadership from Indonesia, the largest Malay state and the cornerstone of Asean, can resolve this conflict. It can do more to refute China’s history-based claims, which ignore centuries of Malay trading across the sea a thousand years before the Chinese. And Jakarta can be the honest broker in finding a compromise to share resources that lie outside the EEZs of the claimants.
Vietnam, the Philippines and the other smaller states are never going to be able to remove China from the Spratly Islands that it now occupies, let alone the Paracels that it seized from Vietnam in 1974. But if they can maintain a common front with backing from Indonesia, they should be able to defend their interests in the South China Sea and their future sovereignty.
- Tensions rise on South China Sea dispute (mb50.wordpress.com)
- The disputes over the Spratly Islands (louisadheen.wordpress.com)
- Showdown in the South China Sea (gulfnews) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- China Rejects U.S. Bid for Sea Dispute Talks in East Asia Summit (International Business Times) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
Oil rig under tow, South China Sea-photo: Peter Bowater
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HANO: To China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, another Saudi Arabia of oil may lie beneath the ocean to its south. Escalating regional tensions mean large-scale drilling may be slipping further into the future.
The South China Sea may hold 213 billion barrels of oil, or 80 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s reserves, according to Chinese studies cited in 2008 by the United States Energy Information Agency. The world’s second-largest economy claims ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over most of the sea, including blocks off Vietnam that Exxon Mobil and Russia’s Gazprom are exploring.
Disputes have strained China’s ties with its neighbors and tensions rose this year as Vietnam said oil survey boats were harassed by Chinese vessels. The friction threatens maritime security in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and may be discussed at a two-day summit of Asia-Pacific leaders hosted by US President Barack Obama in Honolulu starting today.
“China is the elephant in the room at the moment, so like it or not, you cannot ignore it,” said Lin Boqiang, director of the independent China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University in Fujian province. “Countries at the rim of the South China Sea are under pressure to find a practical way to deal with its presence — not to anger or challenge it.”
The sea lies south of mainland China at the western extreme of the Pacific Ocean, and while it borders several nations China claims a huge expanse. That’s based largely on a historical map that predates the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. There are hundreds of islands, many disputed.
Chinese and Vietnamese military forces clashed in the Paracel Islands in 1974 and the Spratly Islands in 1988. The region, marked by China’s ‘nine-dotted line’ to delineate its territorial claims, extends hundreds of miles south from its Hainan Island to equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo, and overlaps with areas claimed by Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.
The Philippines will propose a new initiative to settle disputes in the South China Sea at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said October 26. President Benigno Aquino will also meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Manila this month and discuss maritime security with Obama at the East Asia summit in Bali on Novembesr 18, del Rosario said.
The US set off China’s ire in 2010 when Hillary, speaking at a regional summit in Hanoi, called resolving the competing claims to the sea ‘a leading diplomatic priority’. That drew a rebuke from Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who said internationalising the incident with US involvement ‘can only make matters worse and more difficult to solve’.
“There are challenges facing the Asia-Pacific that demand America’s leadership, from ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea to countering North Korea’s provocations and proliferation activities to promoting balanced and inclusive economic growth,” Hillary said in Honolulu on Thursday.
The US has longstanding security alliances with countries including Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, which it aims to enhance, and faces a balancing act as it seeks to deepen regional integration.
Nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam are simultaneously attracted by Chinese commerce and concerned by what they consider Chinese belligerence.
- Regional disputes delay large-scale drilling of oil in South China Sea (Oman Time) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- Philippines seeks summit on sea row; China cool (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- South China Sea may hold 213 billion barrels of oil (nextbigfuture.com)
- Cambodia: Dispute in South China Sea should be solved between China, concerned countries (xinhua) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- Vietnam diplomat warns of war in South China Sea (ABS-CBN) (thuytinhvo.wordpress.com)
- US, Asia deepen security ties amid China challenge (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Vietnam diplomat warns of war in South China Sea (buletinterkini.wordpress.com)
PlanetSolar‘s TÛRANOR is currently on its way to becoming the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the globe. Driven by a silent, pollution-free electrical engine that is powered exclusively by solar energy, the PlanetSolar team has two goals in mind. The first objective is to show that current technologies aimed at improving energy efficiency are reliable and effective. The second is to advance scientific research in the field of renewable energy.
The world’s largest solar-powered boat has already been to Miami, Cancun, Brisbane, Hong Kong and just made its way to Vietnam. Measuring around 101 feet long and 49 feet wide, the $26 million TÛRANOR can comfortably transport 50 passengers.
The Swiss-designed, German-built ship is powered by over 5,380 square feet of solar paneling. The panels power two electric motors, which can reach 15 miles per hour. The panels can also soak up enough stored energy to power the boat in cloudy weather for three days. The excess energy is stored in a giant lithium-ion battery.
And, in case you were wondering how PlanetSolar came up the ship’s name, TÛRANOR is derived from the “Lord of the Rings” saga by J.R.R. Tolkien and translates to: “the power of the sun” and “victory.”
- Pictures: World’s largest solar yacht, the Tûranor PlanetSolar (digitaltrends.com)
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The Company has been informed by the Hoang Long Joint Operating Company, the Operator of Block 16-1 in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam, that PetroVietnam has relayed the Government of Vietnam’s agreement to the extension period for the Te Giac Den Appraisal area.
The extension period is for 15 months (from 1st January 2011 to 30th April 2012) or 21 months (from 1st January 2011 to 31st October 2012) in the event that the Company elects to drill a well.
Several 3D seismic acquisition options are currently being reviewed and it is anticipated that acquisition of the 150 square kilometre 3D programme will commence in late June to early July 2011.
PetroVietnam has also informed the Company that the Government of Vietnam has approved the Full Development Plan for the Te Giac Trang Field, incorporating the second phase development. Installation activities in the field are ongoing and the H4 jacket for second phase drilling and production has been installed. The project remains on target for Phase I production start in August 2011.