Headlines Friday 17th May 2019
Singapore Classifies Scrubber Residues as Toxic Industrial Waste
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has classified residues arising from exhaust gas cleaning systems as toxic industrial waste (TIW).  Therefore, the authority said that ships planning to dispose of these residues, classified as TIW under Singapore’s environmental public health regulations, need to engage toxic industrial waste collectors (TIWCs).
Under the rules, TIW must be collected and managed by licensed toxic industrial waste collectors.
“Ships that wish to dispose of exhaust gas cleaning residues in Singapore are required to engage a licensed TIWC for the collection and disposal of such residues,” MPA said.
TIWCs can arrange for the residues to be offloaded in packaged form or in intermediate bulk container tanks directly to trucks and MPA licensed harbour craft for ships at berth and at anchorages, respectively.
  • World Maritime News
Klaveness Combination Carriers Orders Two More CLEANBUs
Norwegian shipping company Klaveness Combination Carriers has declared options for the construction of two new combination carriers in China.  The company decided to order its seventh and eighth CLEANBU combination carriers with Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding.  The CLEANBU newbuilds, that would secure a 30-40% reduction in CO2, SOx and NOx emissions compared to standard tankers, are scheduled for delivery in January and February 2021.
Following the declaration, the company’s fleet will grow to 17 vessels within the first quarter of 2021. Klaveness Combination Carriers holds options for further vessels.
“We are pleased to grow the CLEANBU fleet further to eight vessels by early 2021 which will strengthen KCC’s service offering to the oil and petrochemical industry and enable the further expansion of the climate friendly CLEANBU service to new geographical markets,” Engebret Dahm, CEO of Klaveness Combination Carriers, said.
The new ships were ordered after the completion of a private placement with gross proceeds of NOK 350 million (USD 39.9 million) on May 15.
KCC will apply for listing at the Oslo Stock Exchange/Oslo Axess, with the first day of trading expected to be on or about May 22, 2019.
  • World Maritime News
DEME Wins Hornsea Two Jackpot
DEME Offshore has won contracts to transport and install foundations and wind turbines on Ørsted’s 1.4GW Hornsea Two offshore wind farm in the UK.  The Hornsea Two offshore wind farm is located approximately 89 kilometres off the Yorkshire coast and will comprise 165 Siemens Gamesa 8.4MW wind turbines installed on monopile foundations.
DEME Offshore will transport and install the 165 foundations and carry out scour protection. The monopiles and transition pieces will be installed by the company’s new DP3 offshore installation vessel Orion which will enter the fleet by the end of the year.
Turbine installation will be carried out with offshore installation vessels Sea Challenger and Sea Installer. The installation should be completed in early 2022.  The total contract value is approximately over EUR 200 million, DEME said.
Bart De Poorter, General Manager at DEME Offshore, said: “We are delighted with this major contract award from Ørsted, which once again highlights our vast track record and technical expertise in providing innovative solutions for the offshore wind industry. We look forward to working with Ørsted and to leverage our joint expertise to successfully and safely deliver this major project.”
  • Offshorewind.biz
Brexit: Talks between Tories and Labour set to close with no deal
Talks between the Conservatives and Labour to find a compromise over Brexit are set to end without agreement.  The parties' negotiating teams have been meeting for six weeks to break the deadlock, but will now have to discuss options to put to Parliament instead.
On Thursday the PM promised to set a timetable for leaving Downing Street following the next Brexit vote in June.  Ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the latest MP to say he will run in the Tory leadership election to follow.
The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March but the deadline was pushed back to 31 October after MPs rejected Theresa May's proposed deal - the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU - three times.
That prompted attempts to find a way to end the impasse through cross-party talks between Labour and the Conservatives.  But BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said Tory whips had given up hope of finding agreement with the Labour leader on a Brexit deal.  He said on the other side of the negotiating table "Labour has fears about the durability of a deal agreed with a weak prime minister".
At a shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday, some Labour frontbenchers called for an immediate halt to the talks, raising questions over whether Mr Corbyn could win approval from his party for any deal.  Labour negotiators have been seeking a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit, meaning that there would be no internal tariffs (taxes) on goods sold between the UK and the rest of the bloc.
But many Brexit-supporting Tory MPs want the UK to negotiate its own trade deals on goods with other countries around the world, which would be impossible with a customs union in place.  The prospect of compromising on issues such as this in the prime minister's talks with Labour has provoked anger in the Conservative parliamentary party.
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 16th May 2019
Pacific Basin, MAN Energy Solutions Ink Service Contract for 111 Bulkers
Hong Kong-based dry bulk shipping company Pacific Basin Shipping has signed a service agreement with engine maker MAN Energy Solutions covering a fleet of 111 bulkers.  All of the vessels involved are owned by Pacific Basin and managed by its in-house technical-management team.
As informed, the contract includes field, workshop and technical services on MAN main engines, generators and turbochargers aboard the bulkers.  MAN PrimeServ will manage the contract from Hong Kong in close cooperation with the PrimeServ global network.
“We expect this service agreement will help to maximise further our operational and cost efficiencies, while also enhancing the long-standing partnership between MAN and Pacific Basin,” Jay K Pillai, Fleet Director at Pacific Basin, commented.
“We believe that this agreement will improve the predictability of Pacific Basin’s operational costs, minimize maintenance costs as well as optimize the planning of services and spare-part deliveries,” Sarath Prasannan, Managing Director at MAN Energy Solutions Hong Kong, said.
As of January 31, 2019, Pacific Basin operated over 200 dry bulk ships of which it owns 111 with the remainder chartered.
  • World Maritime News
Icebreaker Moves Closer to Construction
The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) has reached an agreement with the staff of the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) regarding the construction and operation of its Icebreaker Wind energy project.
Now that LEEDCo has reached an agreement with staff, the next step is to seek approval from the Siting Board. The agreement has been filed with the Siting Board. LEEDCo officials expect the permit to be issued later this year.
The six-turbine Icebreaker, which would be the first freshwater offshore wind energy installation in North America, would be located eight miles off the coast of downtown Cleveland. The project has already earned approvals from 13 local, state and federal regulatory agencies on a number of environmental and other requirements.
Construction could begin as early as 2021 although Icebreaker must first receive the permit from the Siting Board to move forward with installation.
“While there is more work to be done before we can formally proceed, this is a significant milestone for us,” said LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner.
“This new agreement details the extensive regulations that will govern this project and confirms the Ohio Department of Natural Resources important, ongoing oversight role. We appreciate the agency’s mission to protect wildlife and we look forward to winning approval of the final permit we need in order to construct Icebreaker and thus position Cleveland to becoming a leader in the booming clean energy economy.”
The 20.7MW Icebreaker will comprise six MHI Vestas turbines with a nameplate capacity rating of 3.45MW.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Maersk Drilling keeping its rig fleet busy as more work comes in
Danish offshore drilling contractor Maersk Drilling is keeping its drilling rig fleet busy as new contracts and extensions pour in for the driller.  In its fleet status report published on Thursday Maersk Drilling said that several new contracts and extensions were signed during the first quarter of the year as well as after the end of the quarter.
In 1Q 2019, Eni has exercised a 35-day option for the Maersk Voyager drillship in direct continuation of the rig’s contract in Ghana. The contract with Eni is set to end in June 2019.
It is worth reminding that the Voyager drillship has recently drilled a well for Eni on the Akoma exploration prospect located offshore Ghana. The well was drilled in a water depth of 350 meters and reached a total depth of 3790 meters. It proved an estimated volume between 550 and 650 bcf of gas and 18-20 mmbbl of condensate.
In addition, Maersk Voyager has been awarded a 70-day contract with Noble Energy in Equatorial Guinea. The contract is expected to start in 2Q 2019 and end in July 2019. The contract also includes one one-well option.
In Equatorial Guinea, Noble Energy is working on making a Final Investment Decision for the Alen gas project in 2019.  During the first quarter of 2019, the Maersk Viking drillship has been awarded more time with its current client. Namely, Aker Energy exercised two options of 41 days and 49 days respectively on direct continuation of the rig’s contract in Ghana. This contract with Aker Energy ends in May.
To remind, Aker Energy in April concluded the appraisal drilling campaign at its operated Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block offshore Ghana for which it used the Maersk Viking drillship.
In addition, Maersk Viking has won a one-well contract with three additional one-well options with AGM Petroleum Ghana. One of the three options has been exercised. The contract is set to start this month and end in August 2019.
The jack-up rig Maersk Resolve has been awarded a a 60-day contract with Wintershall Noordzee in the Netherlands. This deal started in March and will last until August 2019.
The rig has been also been awarded a 180-day contract, plus two one-well options, with Wintershall Noordzee in the Netherlands from August 2019 until February 2020.  Furthermore, CNOOC has exercised the first of nine one-well options for the Maersk Innovator jack-up rig in the UK, which expires in October 2019. Expected duration is 75 days. The company now has eight one-well options remaining under the contract.
The jack-up Maersk Resolute has been awarded a 49-day extension by Petrogas, which will keep the rig working in the Netherlands until the end of September 2019.
At the end of the first quarter 2019, Maersk Drilling’s backlog was $2.2 billion.  As previously reported, after the end of the first quarter 2019, the Maersk Deliverer semi-submersible has been awarded a three-year contract with Inpex for drilling at the Ichthys gas and condensate field in the Browse Basin offshore Western Australia. The estimated value (revenue) of the three-year contract is $300 million, including mobilization. The rig’s current contract with Eni in Timor Leste is set to end this month.
Finally, the Maersk Discoverer semi-submersible drilling rig has been awarded a 100-day extension of its current contract with BP in Egypt, which will keep the rig working until the end of October 2019.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Hunterston port 'masterplan' revealed promising £140m boost
A "masterplan" for the Hunterston industrial complex in North Ayrshire has been revealed by its owners.  Peel Ports claims the transformation of the former coal-handling port will support more than 1,700 jobs and add £140m to Scotland's economy.
It has launched a public consultation on creating a new industrial centre on the site.  But local campaigners say heavy industry will affect tourism and the environment.
The Hunterston Port and Resource Centre (Parc) site comprises a 300-acre brownfield footprint, deepwater dock, and rail connections.
Potential uses suggested for the site include;
  • a liquid natural gas terminal
  • combined cycle gas turbine power station
  • a train manufacturing plant
  • facilities for marine construction and decommissioning
  • and a location for plastics recycling and storage.
  • The terminal was established on the Firth of Clyde in the mid-1970s, first servicing Scotland's steel industry and later importing coal for power stations but closed in 2016 with the loss of 120 jobs.
Peel, which acquired it along with many other assets on the Clyde coast when it bought Clydeport in 2003, sees a future for it in oil and gas structure decommissioning and as a renewables hub.
After revealing its plans, it has invited North Ayrshire residents and businesses to share their opinions about potential uses of the site in a six-week consultation.
  • BBC News


Headlines Wednesday 15th May 2019

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Christens New LNG Carrier for JERA
Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has named the latest Sayaringo STaGE LNG carrier being built for Trans Pacific Shipping 6 Ltd, a joint venture of JERA and NYK Line.  The new 80,300 dwt ship was named Bushu Maru in a christening ceremony held at the Koyagi Plant of the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works on May 14.
Completion and delivery is scheduled for June 2019, after which the unit would be put into service transporting LNG for the Freeport LNG Project in the U.S. state of Texas, in which JERA is participating, among other ventures.
The Bushu Maru features improvements in both LNG carrying capacity and fuel performance, due to the adoption of a more efficient hull structure and an innovative hybrid propulsion system. It has a length of 297.5 meters, a width of 48.9 meters and a total tank holding capacity of 180,000 m3.
This is the second vessels being constructed for JERA’s Freeport LNG Project.
In January 2019, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding christened JERA’s first carrier for the LNG project in Texas. Named Nohshu Maru, the vessel was delivered to Trans Pacific Shipping 5 Ltd, a joint venture of JERA and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, in February.
  • World Maritime News
Heerema Scoops Hollandse Kust Zuid Deal
Heerema Marine Contractors has won a contract by Petrofac for the transport and installation of the Alpha platform at the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm zone.  Heerema will perform the installation by one of its newest vessels, the semi-submersible crane vessel Sleipnir.
According to the company, during the tender preparations the feasibility of the jacket and topside installation by Sleipnir in the shallow water location close to shore was explored.
The 2,800t jacket for the Alpha substation is expected to be installed in the second quarter of 2020, with the 3,800t topside following in the fourth quarter of next year. The platform will go into service in 2021.
"Heerema is very excited to support Petrofac and TenneT in the development of this project in the North Sea. It also gives us the opportunity to contribute to the realization of the Dutch government's clean energy targets," said CEO Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven.
Heerema said it is also running for the installation of the Beta platform, the second substation at Hollandse Kust (Zuid), with the contract expected to be awarded later this year.
The 1.4GW Hollandse Kust (Zuid) zone comprises four offshore wind farms that will be connected to the two offshore substations.  Vattenfall's Hollandse Kust Zuid 1 & 2 wind farms will be connected to the Alpha substation.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Mozambique approves Rovuma LNG development plan
The government of Mozambique has approved the development plan for the Rovuma LNG project led by Exxon and Eni. Two liquefied natural gas trains are planned with a combined annual capacity of over 15 million tons.
The project is designed to produce, liquefy and market natural gas from three reservoirs of the Mamba complex located in the Area 4 block offshore Mozambique, two of which straddle the boundary with neighboring Area 1.
Area 4 is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture S.p.A. (MRV), an incorporated joint venture owned by Eni, ExxonMobil, and CNPC, which holds a 70 percent interest in the Area 4 exploration and production concession contract. Galp, KOGAS and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos E.P. each hold a 10 percent interest.
“The development plan approval marks another significant step toward a final investment decision later this year,” said Liam Mallon, president of ExxonMobil Upstream Oil & Gas Company. “We will continue to work with the government to maximize the long-term benefits this project will bring to the people of Mozambique.”
The Rovuma LNG partners have said they have developed a series of plans to support community development in line with the government’s priorities. During the production phase, the Rovuma LNG project expects to provide up to 17,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per annum in Mozambique from Area 4 resources, which is currently about 50 percent of the country’s LPG imports, and will dramatically improve access to energy, the partners said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to Eni, the Area 4 partners also plan to distribute up to 5,000 LPG burners and cooking stoves in the Afungi area to replace the burning of wood.
“The expected production from the Area 4 block will generate substantial benefits for Mozambique and the Area 4 partners,” said Alessandro Puliti, Eni’s Chief Development, Operations & Technology Officer. “The development plan details our commitment to train, build and employ a local workforce and make gas available in support of Mozambique’s industrialization.”
LNG production from the project is expected to begin in 2024.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Brexit: MPs to vote on implementation bill in early June
Theresa May is giving MPs another chance to vote on Brexit in early June - whether or not the government and Labour have reached a deal by then.  A vote on the bill that would pave the way for Brexit was "imperative" if the UK was to leave the EU before MPs' summer recess, Downing Street said.  Labour sources say they will not back the bill without a cross-party deal.
If Mrs May's deal is defeated, Number 10 said the UK is set for no deal or for Article 50 to be revoked.  That is because the EU will not grant a further extension beyond 31 October, says BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith.  Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after the PM's Brexit deal was previously rejected three times by MPs.  But government sources have told the BBC that there would not be a fifth attempt if Mrs May's deal is voted down for a fourth time.
The prime minister and Mr Corbyn met on Tuesday evening to discuss the ongoing talks.  Number 10 described the discussions as "both useful and constructive".
A spokesman said Theresa May had made clear the government's "determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU".
A Labour party spokesman said Mr Corbyn had "raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers seeking to replace the prime minister".
He also said the Labour leader had called for "further movement" from the government and that the prime minister's team had agreed to bring back "further proposals tomorrow".
Bringing the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill forward would allow the prime minister to push ahead with her ambition of delivering Brexit before the summer - despite the lack of agreement so far in the cross-party talks, said BBC political correspondent Iain Watson.  He added that the proposed timetable nevertheless would allow "more space and more time" for the talks to continue.
'What has changed?'
However, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said: "It is now time for Parliament to make a decision, reflecting the manifestos of both the Conservative and Labour parties at the last general election and to deliver Brexit in the way that the public were promised."
In the 2017 general election, the two main parties promised in their manifestos to respect the result of the Brexit referendum.  Brexiteer and Conservative MP Steve Baker said bringing the bill forward "over the heads" of DUP MPs - on whom the government relies for a majority - would "eradicate the government's majority".
"What is the government thinking?" he asked.
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 14th May 2019
Five More Ocean Carriers Join Digital Container Shipping Association
One month since it was created, the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) has welcomed five more members with the aim of enabling digital standardization in the container shipping industry.  Shipping giants CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation and ZIM Integrated Shipping Services have now become members of DCSA.
They are joining the association’s four founding members — A.P. Moller – Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Ocean Network Express (ONE).  It has been confirmed that CMA CGM would become a founding member of the association and hence, part of the supervisory board.  The four remaining container shipping companies are joining DCSA as members, subject to regulatory approval.
With nine of the largest container shipping lines in the world, both from Asia and EMEA, DCSA now represents a substantial part of the industry. Specifically, members represent 70% of the market once regulatory approval is obtained.
“We are thrilled to have additional members joining the DCSA on our journey to drive standardization and interoperability in the industry, with CMA CGM joining as a founding member,” Thomas Bagge, CEO of DCSA, commented.
 “It is critical for our success that the standards developed will be implemented, and the commitment and engagement of many container shipping lines is therefore crucial,” he pointed out.
DCSA gets Chief Operating Officer
As of July 1, 2019, Henning Schleyerbach takes on the role of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of DCSA.  Schleyerbach comes from the position of Senior Director Customer Relationship Management at Hapag-Lloyd and will together with Bagge form the leadership team of DCSA, working on the development of standards for the industry.
“In Henning Schleyerbach we have won another strong industry profile, who as COO will drive DCSA’s operational activities,” Andre Simha, Chairman of DCSA supervisory board and Chief Information Officer of MSC, said.
“With Henning Schleyerbach and Thomas Bagge, DCSA has a strong leadership team in place which is supported by all founding members and represents container shipping at its best across all aspects,” Simha continued.
  • World Maritime News
DNV GL Certifies SeeOs Offshore Substation Concept
Atlantique Offshore Energy, part of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, has secured certification from DNV GL for its SeeOs modular electrical substation concept for offshore wind farms.  According to the company, the Certification Report and Statement of Compliance is a crucial step in approving the design of electrical offshore substations, validating the underlying assumptions and the studies executed so far which will benefit future projects.
The Scalable Efficient Evolutive Offshore Station (SeeOs) can accommodate any power requirement, from 200MW up to 1GW+, and can be installed on monopile, jacket or floating foundations depending on the offshore site.  It decreases delivery time and project CAPEX costs by 20%, as well as optimizes O&M costs up to 20%, Atlantique Offshore Energy stated.
Specific requirements, such as shunt reactors, harmonic filters, back-up generators, living quarters, enclosed structure or external gangways, workshops or warehouses, can be implemented as add-ons to the base module, the company added.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Eni makes light oil discovery offshore Angola
Italian oil company Eni has made a new light oil discovery in Block 15/06, in Angola’s deep offshore. The well was drilled on the Ndungu exploration prospect.  According to Eni’s statement on Tuesday, the new discovery is estimated to contain up to 250 million barrels of light oil in place, with further upside.
The Ndungu-1 NFW well is located a few kilometers from Eni’s West Hub facilities, and has been drilled by the Poseidon drillship in a water depth of 1076 meters and reached a total depth of 4050 meters.
The Poseidon drillship was previously owned by Ocean Rig until the driller was acquired by Transocean in December 2018. The drillship started working for Eni in Angola in November last year following a drilling campaign in Namibia where it had drilled for Chariot and Tullow. Eni hired the Poseidon for a firm four-well program.
Eni said that the Ndungu-1 NFW proved a single oil column of about 65 meters with 45 meters of net pay of high quality oil (35° API) contained in Oligocene sandstones with excellent petrophysical properties. The result of the intensive data collection indicates a production capacity in excess of 10,000 barrels of oil per day.
Ndungu is the first significant oil discovery in Angola inside an already existing Development Area. It certifies the concrete validity of the recent legislation, promoted through the Presidential Legislative Decree No. 5/18 of 18 May 2018, which defines a favorable legal framework on additional exploration activities within existing Development Areas.
Being located about 2 km from the Mpungi field, the new discovery can be fast-tracked to production due to the proximity to the subsea production system. Production will be routed to the N’goma FPSO, therefore extending the West Hub’s production plateau, Eni explained.
Ndungu is the fourth discovery of commercial nature since the Block 15/06 Joint Venture re-launched its exploration campaign in mid-2018. It follows the discoveries of Kalimba, Afoxé and Agogo; the four discoveries altogether already estimated to contain up to 1.4 Billion barrels of light oil in place. The appraisal phase of these discoveries will target their additional upside.
To remind, Eni announced “a major oil discovery” in Block 15/06, in the Agogo exploration prospect, in Angola’s deep water in March 2019.
Eni said that these important discoveries further demonstrate the upside potential of the block and the effectiveness of the proprietary technologies that Eni used and will use to explore Block 15/06.  The Block 15/06 Joint Venture, composed by Eni (operator, 36.8421%), Sonangol P&P (36.8421%) and SSI Fifteen Limited (26.3158%), will work to fast track its development.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Brexit: PM's negotiator to explore changes to future EU relations
Theresa May's Brexit negotiator is on his way to Brussels to explore the scope for changes to the agreement on the UK's future relations with the EU.  Olly Robbins is looking to see whether a key demand being made by Labour in cross-party talks can be satisfied.  But as cabinet discusses the state of the talks, Theresa May is facing calls from senior Conservative MPs not to agree a compromise with Jeremy Corbyn.  Ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the process was a "blind alley".
The Labour leader is also facing demands from his MPs to abandon the talks, which have been going on for more than a month with little apparent progress.  Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after Theresa May's Brexit deal was rejected three times by MPs.  The inability to agree on a way forward led the UK to miss its 29 March deadline for leaving the EU - the current date for departure is 31 October.  Labour negotiators want any deal they strike with minister to be reflected in changes to the political declaration made with Brussels.
This 27-page document was published alongside Mrs May's withdrawal agreement and sets out the parameters for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, but is not legally binding.  In Brussels, Mr Robbins will explore how quickly changes could be made to the declaration if the government and Labour can come to an agreement.  The BBC's Norman Smith says he understands he will have face-to-face meetings with EU officials on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in Westminster, the cabinet is taking stock of progress so far in the talks, while Labour's shadow cabinet will meet later to discuss the state of play.  Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, and 13 former cabinet ministers have written to Mrs May to warn her not to agree a compromise with Labour that includes a customs union with the EU.
Inside a customs union there would be no internal tariffs (taxes) on goods transported between the UK and other EU nations - something that is seen as advantageous for business.  But it would mean the UK cannot negotiate its own trade deals on goods with other countries around the world, and for some, that fails to satisfy the desire for a clean break with Brussels after Brexit.
Among the former cabinet ministers are Brexiteers Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson, as well as Maria Miller and Sir Michael Fallon, who supported Remain in the 2016 referendum.
According to the Times, the letter said such a compromise would lose the support of Conservatives who previously backed the prime minister's deal, and would be unlikely to gain enough Labour votes to pass.
It said: "More fundamentally, you would have lost the loyal middle of the Conservative Party, split our party and with likely nothing positive to show for it. No leader can [bind] his or her successor, so the deal would likely be at best temporary, at worst illusory."
'Stepping stone'
Sir Michael said the government's focus should be on addressing Conservative and Democratic Unionist Party concerns over the Northern Irish border and finding alternative arrangements to the backstop, not doing a deal with Labour.  He told BBC Radio 4's Today: "The talks are clearly not going anywhere.  "If they are going to include permanent membership of a customs union then frankly we would be better off staying in the EU then we would have a voice in the trade arrangements that are being negotiated.
"We can't say we are leaving the EU then half stay in it."
A Downing Street source told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg that a compromise was being sought with Labour on customs "as an interim position or a stepping stone".
"We will not sign up to a permanent customs union," the source said.
"Both sides agree that no Parliament can bind a future government and most EU trade deals have a six to 12-month exit clause."
At a meeting of Labour MPs on Monday night, Jeremy Corbyn faced repeated demands to abandon the talks with the prime minister. MPs fear that they are costing Labour support ahead of the European elections on 23 May.
But speaking after Monday's discussions with the government, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said they had been "constructive as always".
Ex-Tory MP Anna Soubry accused the opposition of being "all over the place", telling BBC Breakfast she feared Labour would "bail out this Conservative government to deliver Brexit".
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 10th May 2019
Ørsted Issues Green Bonds, Secures GBP 900 Million
Ørsted has secured nominal GBP 900 million through the issuance of green senior bonds, to finance its green growth ambition towards 2025 including the investment in the 1,386MW Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom.
Ørsted has completed the pricing of new unsecured green senior bonds comprising a GBP 350 million fixed-rate tranche with maturity in 2027, a GBP 300 million fixed-rate tranche with maturity in 2033 and a GBP 250 million inflation-linked tranche (CPI) with maturity in 2034. All tranches have settlement on 16 May 2019.
Hornsea Project Two is located 89km north-east of Grimsby and will comprise 165 Siemens Gamesa 8MW wind turbines.
Once operational in 2022, Hornsea Two will surpass the 1.2GW Hornsea Project One, currently under construction offshore Yorkshire, to become the world's largest wind farm.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Cruise Vessel Orders Push Fincantieri’s Revenue Up
Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri has once again reported a record quarter in terms of total backlog and the number of orders in the cruise business.  During the first quarter of 2019, the shipbuilder’s order intake was at EUR 6.5 billion with contracts signed for a total of 11 cruise ships for 5 different brands, including Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Viking, MSC, Princess.
Total backlog reached EUR 34.3 billion, covering approximately 6.3 times the 2018 revenues. Backlog for the same period last year stood at EUR 21.8 billion with 104 ships in the order book.
Revenues increased by 13% to EUR 1.38 billion, compared to EUR 1.22 billion reported in the same period a year earlier, in line with the growth expectations for 2019.
“The orders for the 11 cruise vessels signed in these three months translate into almost 27 billion euro generated to the benefit of the territories where we are located: this figure speaks for itself,” Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, said.
“This is the first glimpse of a challenging year ahead of us, which will allow us to show our excellent production and system integration capabilities,” he added.
Revenues in the shipbuilding segment for the quarter reached EUR 1.11 billion, increasing by 8.8% when compared to the EUR 1.02 billion reported in the first quarter of 2018. The increase in revenues was linked to the higher volumes generated by the construction of cruise vessels, that recorded an increase of 13.1% if compared to the same period of 2018.
Fincantieri expects 2019 results to be in line with 2018 and consistent with the economic and financial forecast announced within the 2018-2022 Business Plan. In particular, for FY 2019 the revenue growth trend is confirmed, with an EBITDA margin in line with 2018.
In the shipbuilding segment, in the next quarters of 2019 the shipbuilder expects to deliver 8 ships, 6 cruise units and 2 naval vessels.
  • World Maritime News
New post-Brexit immigration plan 'needed for Scotland'
Plans for the immigration system after Brexit would cause particular problems for Scotland, the director general of the CBI has said.  A UK government consultation includes a minimum £30,000 salary for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas.  The Home Office has said its plans would allow the UK to attract talented workers and deliver on the Brexit vote.
But Carolyn Fairbairn told BBC Scotland she believed skilled workers would have to be recruited at lower pay levels.  Scotland has a particular problem with an ageing workforce, she said.  Ms Fairbairn said: "The trouble with the current immigration plan the government has put forward is it doesn't work for the whole country, and it certainly doesn't work for Scotland."
In 20 years time, the CBI expects only one third of the Scottish population to be of working age, causing "profound implications for Scotland, its tax base and public services".  "We need the flexibility that allows Scotland to have the people it needs to grow," Ms Fairbairn said.
"Scotland has particularly unusual problem in terms of a falling working age population.
"For many people wanting to come and work in Scotland the salaries are well below that, so we are looking for change and we are looking for a new immigration model that works for the whole country."
The Scottish median salary is less than £24,000.
Ms Fairbairn, who met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday ahead of the employers organisation's annual lunch in Edinburgh, has been working with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) on plans to tackle automation and the future of work.
The two organisations have written to the Scottish government with proposals that they hope could increase "both the number and quality of jobs".
"If we get this right, automation and digitisation can be as important an economic leap forward as the industrial revolution," Ms Fairbairn said.  "We can build a society in Scotland that cherishes the fundamentally human skills, such as communication, empathy, innovation, and leadership."
The CBI has also called for politicians to set clear timetable for resolving the "paralysing" Brexit deadlock.  "Three years on, the landing zone for a workable deal still feels worrying small, " she said. "And let me be crystal clear. Scottish firms, and firms across the UK, want a deal."
She added: "Firms desperately need a timetable for these next few months. They need to have some idea of process, of timing, to enable them to plan, invest and prepare."
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 9th May 2019
DFDS Buying Ferry Duo to Service New Sweden-Belgium Route
Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS has reached an agreement to purchase two freight ferries that will service its new route between Gothenburg, Sweden, and Zeebrugge, Belgium.  The company said that the ferries in question are the 2000-built Slingeborg and Schieborg, featuring around 12,500 dwt. The units would be acquired from third party owners for DKK 270 million (USD 40.5 million).  VesselsValue data shows that the vessels are operated by the Netherlands-based Wagenborg Shipping.
In addition to the two newly-acquired units, DFDS will transferred one freight ferry to the new route from its existing route between Gothenburg and Ghent that currently deploys four freight ferries.  The connection between Gothenburg, Sweden, and Zeebrugge, Belgium is expected to begin operating mid June, 2019 and reach revenue in excess of DKK 300 million in 2020, according to the company.
DFDS will open the route on the back of a 5-year agreement with the provider of renewable solutions Stora Enso to annually carry around 700,000 tons of paper and board products between Gothenburg and Zeebrugge. Stora Enso has the option to extend the agreement by three years.
Separately, DFDS released its first quarter of 2019 financial report, in which it said its revenue and EBITDA increased, while outlook for 2019 remains unchanged with regard to revenue and earnings.  Revenue was up by 11% to DKK 3.9 billion driven by the expansion in the Mediterranean and stockpiling in UK ahead of the initial Brexit-date end of March. EBITDA before special items rose by 13% to DKK 677 million driven by the Mediterranean expansion and strong performance in North Sea.  Profit for the period dropped to to DKK 120 million, compared to DKK 157 million reported in the same quarter a year earlier.
“The continued expansion of our network drives DFDS’ growth in 2019 and beyond. Despite current headwinds in some markets, we are on track to deliver on our outlook for the year,” Torben Carlsen, CEO, said.
  • World Maritime News
Semco Maritime to equip Energean Power FPSO with telecommunication and firefighting systems
TechnipFMC has chosen Semco Maritime to deliver telecommunication systems, topside firefighting equipment and safety equipment for the Energean Power FPSO for the Energean-operated Karish & Tanin fields, offshore Israel.
As a total systems integrator Semco Maritime will be delivering more than 20 telecommunication systems including detailed engineering, procurement, construction, integrated in-house system testing, installation supervision and commissioning, Semco Maritime said in a statement on Thursday.  The telecommunication systems include PAGA system, access control, CCTV and entertainment, Trunked Radio systems, telephone communication and data networks.
The customized fire protection package consists of several water/foam deluge skids, hydrants including cabinets with foam, hoses and handheld nozzles, oscillating foam monitors and mixed ancillary firefighting and suppression equipment for the topside of the vessel.  Semco Maritime’s subsidiary in Singapore handles the project with support from in-house telecommunication and firefighting experts in Denmark and Norway.
“We are pleased that TechnipFMC has chosen us to equip the ‘Energean Power’ FPSO with telecommunication and firefighting systems. Our global presence enables us to work closely with the front-end engineering and design contractor as well as the Sembcorp Marine yard in Singapore. This saves time and minimizes risks which have been of paramount importance in this project,” says Martin Just, Vice President at Semco Maritime Pte Ltd. in Singapore.
The FAT-tested equipment will be delivered and installed during 2019, the company said.  The Karish & Tanin natural gas fields are located in the Levant Basin of the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 90 km offshore Israel. Both fields are leased and operated by Energean Israel. First gas from this deep-water gas development project is expected in 2021.
The Karish and Tanin development was sanctioned in March 2018. Energean has contracted TechnipFMC under a turnkey, lump sum EPCIC contract to provide the full suite of FPSO and SURF services during the construction phase and TechnipFMC has subcontracted COSCO to provide the FPSO hull.
The first steel was cut at the COSCO yard in Zhoushan, China, on November 26, 2018. Hull completion is expected to take 12 months. The hull will then travel to the Sembcorp Admiralty Yard in Singapore for installation of the Siemens-built topsides. Energean expects the FPSO to sail away from Singapore in late 2020 ahead of first gas in 2021.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Grenfell Tower: Government to pay £200m for safer cladding
The government is to cover the £200m bill of replacing Grenfell Tower-type cladding on about 150 private blocks in England with a safer alternative.
Housing Secretary James Brokenshire had previously said the bill should be footed by the owners, not the taxpayer.  But he acknowledged the long wait for remedial work to be carried out had caused anxiety and strain for people living in those high rises.  He said owners had been trying to offload the costs on to leaseholders.
Seventy-two people died when a fire destroyed Grenfell Tower, in west London, in June 2017, in one of the UK's worst modern disasters.  It took minutes for the fire to race up the exterior of the building, and spread to all four sides.  A public inquiry into the fire heard evidence to support the theory that the highly combustible material in the cladding was the primary cause of the fire's spread.
Latest government figures show that 166 private residential buildings out of the 176 identified with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding - the same type used on Grenfell Tower - are yet to start works on removing and replacing it.
Mr Brokenshire admitted he had changed his mind on demanding freeholders pay up for safety work.  He said some building owners had tried to pass on the costs to residents by threatening them with bills running to thousands of pounds.
"What has been striking to me over recent weeks is just the time it is taking and my concern over the leaseholders themselves - that anxiety, that stress, that strain, and seeing that we are getting on and making these buildings safe."  He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We've seen a number of building owners and developers coming forward and doing the right thing."
Pemberstone, Aberdeen Asset Management, Barratt Developments, Fraser Properties, Legal & General and Mace and Peabody were named as having fully borne the costs for their buildings.  Prime Minister Theresa May said: "It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes."
Grenfell United, a group of survivors and the bereaved, said the news offered hope to people feeling at risk at home.
"This result is a testament to residents themselves, in social and private blocks, who refused to be ignored. The truth is we should never have had to fight for it," the group said.  It asked the government to consider financial support for residents as they continue night watches and wait for the remediation work to begin.
Last year, Stormzy and Adele joined Grenfell survivors in an emotional video calling on the government to remove dangerous cladding from buildings.
The government has already committed to funding replacement cladding in the social sector. There are currently 23 blocks still covered in it.
Owners of private buildings will have three months to claim the funds, with one condition being that they take "reasonable steps" to recover the costs from those responsible for the use of the cladding.
  • BBC News
Headlines Wednesday 8th May 2019
Total ‘weeks away’ from start-up of one of UK’s largest gas fields
Energy giant Total has said it is just weeks away from starting up production at one of the UK’s largest offshore gas fields.  Total has been working towards first production from the Culzean “mega-project” in the central North Sea, which is expected to produce 5% of the UK’s total gas demand at its peak.
UK managing director Jean-Luc Guiziou gave an update at the Devex conference in Aberdeen yesterday, stating it will be “put into production in the coming weeks”.  Mr Guiziou discussed the progress of the company in the North Sea, including the recent Glendronach discovery in the West of Shetland, and last year’s £5.8bn takeover of Maersk Oil.
He said: “We have a lot to do and one of our first milestones to celebrate through the value created by merging Total and Maersk will be the Culzean development project, which will produce 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day – mainly gas.  “We are just a few weeks away from this great milestone for our company and we will continue developing the basin.”
Culzean is estimated to hold between 250millon and 300million barrels of oil equivalent and is expected to continue producing for at least 13 years.  It was the largest UK gas field to be given the go-ahead in 25 years when it was sanctioned in 2015.  A series of milestones have been reached in the build-up, including the arrival of the Ailsa floating production and storage vessel to the field in September after a 12,000 nautical mile journey from Singapore.
BP (32%) and JX Nippon (18.01%) are co-ventures in the project, which is expected to reach peak production in 2020.  Total is currently the largest producer in the UK North Sea.  Mr Guiziou also highlighted the Glendronach discovery made in September, thought to hold 175million barrels of oil equivalent, and further exploration prospects this year.
Total is planning to drill new wells at the Isabella prospect in the Central North Sea, Aspen in the southern sector and a new well in its Alwyn area in the Northern North Sea.
Mr Guiziou added: “We’ve been part of two large discoveries in the last year, I mentioned Glendronach in the west of Shetland, we’re also a partner of Cnooc who made the great discovery of Glengorm in the central North Sea.
“On the back of those two discoveries we maintain a steady and fairly high investment level in exploration.
“It is an exciting time to be working in the UK and I’m proud to lead our company here.”
  • Energy Voice
Norway Sets Aside USD 165.5 Mn for Teekay Offshore’s Tankers
Teekay Offshore Partners has secured long-term financing from the Norwegian Government for four new shuttle tankers being built at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).  The new ECO-friendly vessels, scheduled for delivery in 2019/20, are all equipped with a technology developed by the maritime supplier Wärtsilä in cooperation with Teekay, resulting in zero volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions from the tankers.
Export Credit Norway and GIEK have provided loan and guarantee of USD 165.5 million on behalf of the Norwegian Government.  The financing is part of a larger syndicate involving several commercial banks and a foreign export credit agency. In addition, Enova, which contributes to Norway’s transition towards a low emission society, has granted subsidies of NOK 133 million (USD 15.2 million) to these four shuttle tankers.
“We are excited to have received long-term financing from the Norwegian Government for our latest generation of shuttle tankers. These vessels will be the most environmentally friendly shuttle tankers ever built,” Ingvild Saether, President & Chief Executive Officer, Teekay Offshore Group Ltd, said.
“What makes me particularly proud is that bunkering requirements and CO2 emissions will be reduced by approx. 50%, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of our operations significantly,” Saether added.
In April 2019, Teekay Offshore Partners said it secured USD 414 million long-term debt facility, funded and guaranteed by both Canadian and Norwegian export credit agencies and commercial banks, to finance the four LNG-fueled newbuildings.  Following delivery in 2019 and 2020, two of the Suezmax DP2 vessels would start working for Norwegian energy company Equinor, while the remaining two units would join Teekay Offshore’s contract of affreightment (CoA) shuttle tanker portfolio in the North Sea.
  • World Maritime News
Diageo submits plans to revive Port Ellen Distillery
Whisky production could be revived at an iconic distillery on Islay for the first time in more than 35 years, under plans put forward by Diageo.  The drinks giant has submitted a planning application to overhaul the Port Ellen Distillery, which closed in 1983. 
The proposals include restoring the distillery's original kiln building and traditional sea-front warehouses.  There are also plans for a new stillhouse.  The move is part of a £35m investment programme by Diageo to reopen Port Ellen Distillery and Brora Distillery in Sutherland, both of which closed in 1983.  The buildings at Port Ellen Distillery have undergone many changes since it first opened in 1824.  In the 1930s the distillery was closed and largely demolished, before being rebuilt in the 1960s.  Following its most recent closure in 1983, only a handful of the original buildings remained.
Georgie Crawford, master distiller leading the Port Ellen project, said: "This is another hugely significant milestone on our journey to bring Port Ellen Distillery back to life.
"This is no ordinary distillery project - we are bringing a true whisky legend back to life and we believe our plans do justice to the iconic status of Port Ellen and will capture the imagination of whisky fans from all over the world."
Last month, Diageo submitted plans to overhaul visitor facilities at two distilleries in the north of Scotland.  It said planning applications had been filed for Cardhu in Speyside and Clynelish in Sutherland, after public consultation.
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 7th May 2019
How offshore wind power is re-energising Great Yarmouth
In the past decade the UK has emerged as a world leader in offshore wind energy. And some of the biggest winners from the multi-billion pound investment look set to be coastal towns searching for their industries of the future.  
On a clear day, the tourists walking Great Yarmouth's beachfront Golden Mile can see the turbines of the Scroby Sands wind farm spinning in the distance.  Onshore are the attractions and arcades that have sustained this Norfolk seaside resort for the past half-century; far offshore stand the huge structures on which rest its hopes for the next.  Twice the height of Big Ben and with blades longer than a jumbo jet wingspan, the new turbines being built many miles into the North Sea will dwarf the 15-year-old wind farm visible from the beach.  At full capacity, the planned projects could power the equivalent of 4.5 million homes, but the multi-billion pound investments are already having an energising effect on the local economy.
Having seen the decline of its fishing industry and ridden the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry, Great Yarmouth and its neighbouring port Lowestoft find themselves at the centre of the UK's renewables boom.  The UK already has offshore wind turbine infrastructure that could provide a capacity of 7.5GW - more than any other country in the world - and more than half of it is off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk.  A combination of shallow waters, consistent wind and good access to the energy-hungry south-east England have already attracted projects costing £11bn, with projects worth £22bn - and more than 6,000 jobs - planned by developers into the next decade.
In March, the government laid out in an industry sector deal its ambition for 30% of electricity to come from offshore wind by 2030, and the falling cost of renewables has fuelled ambitions of the UK being carbon zero by 2050.  It all adds up to an unmissable opportunity, says Simon Gray of industry body the East of England Energy Group.
"The great thing about this is that the wind farms are set to last 20, 30, 40 years. It means two generations of a workforce that will be operating and maintaining these turbines," he said.  "We are developing these skills and will be exporting them around the world," he says.
While much of the manufacturing is done further up the east coast or abroad - which has drawn criticism - construction and maintenance is creating work for local companies.  Great Yarmouth's port is being used as the construction base for ScottishPower Renewables' £2.5bn East Anglia One wind farm, due for completion next year.
But an even bigger prize is the operations and maintenance deal it has secured for Swedish energy firm Vattenfall's two wind farms, which will be the biggest in the world.  They will bring up to 150 jobs for 25 years, and create hundreds more in the supply chain.  Yarmouth firm Subsea Protection Systems makes protection for undersea cables, and says it could double its 50-strong workforce if it wins a contract on the projects.  And Peel Ports has invested £12m in Great Yarmouth port to attract bases for future wind farms. It has been working with local councils and the region's local enterprise partnership.
"This is our opportunity," says port director Richard Goffin. "We've been saying this for two years but the government have now put their flag in the ground and said they want us to do it."  
The sector deal "felt like firing a starting gun" says chief executive Stuart Rimmer. He believes the prospect of well-paid, long-term jobs on their doorstep is creating real excitement among students.  "Aspiration follows opportunity," he says. "We have to explain they are not just getting a qualification, they are getting a future."
  • BBC News
Port of Seattle: Trio Shortlisted for New Cruise Terminal Project
The US Port of Seattle has unveiled three shortlisted teams to proceed in the process towards selecting a partner in the development and operation of a new cruise facility at the north end of Terminal 46.  The first team is Cruise Industry Leaders Group, a partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruise, MSC Cruises, Carnival Corporation and SSA Marine, a subsidiary of Carrix.  The second shortlisted team is Global Ports Holding and Civil & Building North America and the third one Ports America, teaming with Jacobs Engineering Group.
“We are delighted about the prospect of partnering with each of these highly qualified teams,” Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director of the port’s Maritime Division and leader of the selection team, commented.  The three teams responded to the port’s request for qualifications (RFQ) issued in March this year and will now be invited to respond to a request for proposals, expected to be released in June.
The Port of Seattle is targeting delivery of the new cruise terminal for the 2022 cruise season.  Early estimates are that a cruise terminal could be constructed for around USD 200 million. A public-private-partnership approach to build the terminal will have the port contributing half that cost.
  • World Maritime News
Universal basic income: Plan to give all citizens money should be piloted in UK, report says
‘We have to lead in developing a radical mechanism aimed at eradicating poverty,’ says Labour's John McDonnell
Pilot schemes examining how a universal basic income system would work in the UK should be set up, a new report has said.  Guy Standing, a member of the Progressive Economy Forum (PEF) and an economic adviser to shadow chancellor John McDonnell, will submit his findings to the Labour Party.  Praising the findings, the veteran politician said: “This report is an important contribution to the debate around inequality, austerity, poverty and how we establish a fair and just economic system.
“There have been pilots of ‘basic income’ elsewhere and Guy Standing has looked at them and come forward with proposals. Whatever mechanism we use, whether ‘basic income’ or another, we have to lead in developing a radical mechanism aimed at eradicating poverty but also means testing.”
Mr McDonnell said that Mr Standing’s work was shining a light on the problems, which had been exacerbated by almost a decade of austerity.  “We will be studying the contents and recommendations of this report carefully as we put together our reform policies for the next Labour government,” he said.  The Labour Party might promise a universal basic income, a radical policy, in its next manifesto for a general election, the shadow chancellor told The Independent last year.  “It’s one of those things I think we can get into the next manifesto and see, it’s worth a try,” he said in the July 2018 interview.
In 2017 Mr McDonnell told The Independent that Labour had also set up a working group to investigate the feasibility of a basic income, led by Mr Standing.
“Basic income would be a weekly or monthly payment to every person lawfully resident in the UK, paid without conditions or means tests,” the PEF said in a statement. “It could dramatically reduce poverty, insecurity and the use of food banks while saving on the bureaucracy of current social welfare administration.
“The cost could be met by adaptation or abolition of the current personal tax allowance so that higher earners do not gain or lose from the scheme.”
Mr Standing said that while US pilot schemes had focused on labour supply, UK schemes should be centred on basic income’s impact on stress, insecurity and debt.
He has suggested a number of pilot scheme scenarios, including providing an economically deprived community with a basic weekly income instead of existing means-tested benefits, with the exception of housing benefit.
“Provisionally, it is proposed that every adult in a selected community would be provided with £100, with £50 for each child and with additional separate benefits for those with disabilities,” the report says.  Another suggested option is the government giving every adult in a community £50 per week for a year, which would not be taken into account when means-testing for benefits.
A 2017 poll by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath suggested that 49 per cent of all Britons would support a universal basic income scheme.  Other supporters of the policy also included billionaires such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Sir Richard Branson.
“Basic income style pilots have been proven to have beneficial effects on health, well-being and trust, while giving people more freedom to decide for themselves how to manage their lives,” said Anthony Painter, director of action and research at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce,.
“All parties aspiring to be progressive must take notice and back basic income experiments.”
  • Independent
Headlines Thursday 2nd May 2019
Pavilion Energy Conducts Singapore’s First STS LNG Bunkering
Pavilion Energy said it has performed the first commercial ship-to-ship LNG bunkering in the Port of Singapore.  The operation comprised a reload of 2,000 m3 of LNG onto a small-scale tanker at the newly-modified Secondary Jetty of the Singapore LNG (SLNG) Terminal, followed by a ship-to-ship transfer to the receiving heavy-lift commercial vessel.
“Pavilion Energy’s first commercial ship-to-ship LNG bunkering operations in Singapore demonstrates our strong commitment and capability to deliver a comprehensive suite of LNG bunker supply solutions to Singapore and the region,” Frédéric H. Barnaud, Group CEO of Pavilion Energy, said.  “As the world’s largest bunkering port, Singapore is committed to provide a range of bunkering solutions to meet the future energy needs of the global shipping industry,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of MPA, said.
Pavilion Energy demonstrated its truck-to-ship bunkering capabilities in 2017, and further expanded its bunker logistics with the charter of its first LNG bunker vessel newbuild in February 2019.
The 12,000 m3 GTT Mark III Flex membrane LNG bunker vessel is set for delivery by 2021, and is the largest of its kind set for use in the Port of Singapore to date, the company concluded.
  • World Maritime News
Fred. Olsen Windcarrier Seals Moray East Deal
Fred. Olsen Windcarrier has secured a contract for the transport and installation of turbines at the Moray East offshore wind project in Scotland.  Fred. Olsen Windcarrier is in charge of transporting and installing 100 MHI Vestas V164-9.5MW turbines at the 950MW wind farm located off the East coast of Scotland.
The company will deploy one of the Tern Class vessels for the work and will use the Port of Invergordon as the pre-assembly harbor. Turbine installation is set to commence at the beginning of 2021.
“We have been working with MHI Vestas Offshore Wind on various offshore wind projects over the last years and
during 2018, we installed more than 100 V164 turbines in the North Sea,” said Casper Toft, CCO at Fred.Olsen Windcarrier.
“However, the Moray East contract award is the first installation contract where Fred. Olsen Windcarrier is contracted directly by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind.”
Moray East is located some 22km off the Aberdeenshire coast. Project developer Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Ltd plans to have the 950MW wind farm fully operational in 2022.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Borr’s talks for two rig contracts come to naught
Offshore drilling contractor Borr Drilling has received cancellations of two letters of intent for a pair of jack-up rigs, which are currently warm-stacked in Singapore.  Back in March 2019 Borr Drilling said it was in advanced negotiations with undisclosed operators for multi-year contracts for four newbuild rigs – Grid, Gersemi, Saga, and Skald, all warm-stacked in Singapore.
Come April and Borr was awarded new contracts with Pemex in Mexico for both the Grid and Gersemi jack-up rigs. The duration of the contracts is from June 2019 to December 2020.
Negotiations for the other two rigs – Saga and Skald – continued. It was expected that the multi-year contracts for both of the rigs would start in the first quarter of 2020.  However, in its latest fleet status report – issued on Thursday, May 2 – Borr said that the letters of intent for the Saga and Skald rigs were cancelled. This means that both of the rigs will remain stacked in Singapore.
Both rigs are of a KFELS Super B Bigfoot Class design built by Keppel. The Saga rig was the first of five jack-up rigs that Keppel built for Borr Drilling and Skald was the second of five. They were delivered in January and June 2018, respectively.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions 'to be net-zero by 2045'
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) urged that Scotland set the target five years ahead of the UK as a whole.  The panel says Scotland has more potential sites for carbon capture and a greater landmass for tree planting.
It came after a report to the UN last year urged the world to go "further and faster" in tackling climate change.  And on Sunday First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a "climate emergency" in her speech to the SNP party conference.
Net-zero is the point where the same volume of greenhouse gases is being emitted as is being absorbed through offsetting techniques like forestry.  Despite being low-tech, trees are still the most powerful tool in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis which turns the gas into oxygen.
Committee chairman Lord Deben said: "Scotland has been a leader within the UK with many of its policies to tackle climate change.
"By setting a strong net-zero target for 2045 it can continue that leadership on the world stage.
"It will be tough, but it can be done and Scotland's strong track record positions it well to succeed."
What does net-zero mean?
The terms carbon neutral and net-zero are often used interchangeably but there are differences.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant greenhouse gas but there are others which the Scottish government counts and they are not all carbon-based.
Therefore, some climate change campaigners prefer the term net-zero as it includes not just CO2 and methane but also nitrous oxide, which is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities as well as from fossil fuels.
Simply being carbon neutral would not stop global warming because these other gases are also harmful to the atmosphere.
Perhaps an even better term would be "climate neutral".
Scotland's current target, set in the Climate Change Act, is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 compared with benchmark levels from 1990.  A new bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament aims to increase that target to 90%.  It will now be amended so MSPs can vote on the new target of net-zero by 2045.
Ministers have said they would aim for net-zero when there is a "credible pathway to achieve it".
'Just and fair'
Scotland's environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations.
"Having received independent, expert advice that even higher targets are now possible, and given the urgency required on this issue, I have acted immediately to set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for 2045 which will see Scotland become carbon neutral by 2040."
She called on the UK government to follow Scotland's lead and warned that everyone needs to take action, including businesses, schools and communities.  She added: "We can, and we must, end our contribution to climate change. I invite everyone to accept the advice we've received and work with us in a just and fair transition to a net-zero economy."  The CCC advice recommends a net-zero target of 2050 for the UK as a whole, with Wales urged to reduce emissions by 95% in the same time-frame.
To achieve it, the report says a fifth of agricultural land needs to shift to alternative uses that support emissions reductions such as forestry or biomass production.  It adds that carbon capture and storage would be crucial.  As well as the 2045 aim, the committee advises interim targets of a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030 and a 90% drop by 2040.
In the most recent audit, for 2016, Scottish emissions were 49% below 1990 levels.  The CCC calculates that the new target can be achieved at an annual cost of around 1-2% of GDP.
A drop in the cost of technologies like offshore wind and batteries for electric vehicles means that is a similar price tag as the one previously attached to the 80% target.  The UK government's energy minister Greg Clark said the CCC report "recognises the work we've done to lay the foundations to build a net-zero economy".  He added: "Few subjects unite people across generations and borders like climate change and I share the passion of those wanting to halt its catastrophic effects.
"One of our proudest achievements as a country is our position as a world-leader in tackling this global challenge - being the first country to raise the issue on the international stage, introduce long-term legally-binding climate reduction targets and cutting emissions further than all other G20 countries."
The industry body Oil & Gas UK said it was committed to working with both governments on a practical response to the report.
Chief executive Deirdre Michie said the reductions must be achieved "without sacrificing security and affordability of energy supply for consumers" and in ways which "do not disadvantage UK industries against their international competitors".
Mike Robinson from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said the CCC report was "hugely welcome advice".
"The growing climate movement, from NGOs, youth strikes to Extinction Rebellion, is sending a strong message to our political leaders that rhetoric just isn't good enough," he added.
"It's now up to MSPs to show they are listening to public concern and reflect the ambition of this exciting report in the Climate Change Bill currently going through parliament."
The CCC calls for the new targets to be achieved purely through domestic efforts.  Some countries, like Norway and Sweden, fund international offsetting schemes which count towards their measurements.  It also says the target can only be achieved if policy delivery is ramped up significantly, including an earlier deadline than 2040 - as the UK government has proposed - for the phase-out of fossil fuel cars.
Creating new forests through afforestation also needs to increase to 20,000 hectares a year across the UK, increasing to 27,000 by 2027.
  • BBC News


Headlines Wednesday 1st May 2019
Pasha Hawaii Lays Keel and Cuts Steel for LNG-Fueled ‘Ohana Class Ships
Honolulu-based shipping company Pasha Hawaii reached milestones on the construction of two of its LNG-fueled containerships at Keppel AmFELS.  The company held the ceremonial keel laying for its first of two ‘Ohana class unit, the George III, and started the construction on the second containership, to be named Janet Marie, with a steel cutting ceremony.
Scheduled for delivery in 2020, the two LNG-fueled vessels are being built at the shipyard in Brownsville, Texas. Upon completion, both 774-foot U.S. Jones Act vessels will join Pasha Hawaii’s fleet, serving the Hawaii/Mainland trade lane.
“These LNG-powered containerships were designed to support the needs of shippers in the Hawaii trade lane, while minimizing environmental impact in the communities we serve. Adding George III and Janet Marie to our existing fleet will greatly enhance our service capabilities and on-time delivery, marking three generations of service to Hawaii,” George Pasha, IV, the Pasha Group President and CEO, said.
The new vessels will operate fully on LNG from day one in service, substantially improving the vessels’ environmental footprint, according to Pasha Hawaii. Energy savings will also be achieved with a state-of-the-art engine, an optimized hull form, and an underwater propulsion system with a high-efficiency rudder and propeller.
  • World Maritime News
FutureOn launches offshore oilfield digital twin platform
Oilfield software specialist FutureOn has launched a cloud-based platform which enables the digital twin of an offshore field from the first concept to first oil and beyond.  Oslo-based company has said that its digital twin solution – named FieldTwin – can, among other things, lower risk, improve collaboration, integrate IoT sensor data into a visual context dashboard for real-time monitoring of equipment statuses, well flow-rates, production values, vessel locations, and engineer tasks, and reduce installation times.
Furthermore, FutureOn says its FieldTwin solution Connects artificial intelligence and historical data to well-planning, drilling, installation, and operations to improve field layouts and concept selection.
“Forward-thinking companies understand the tremendous opportunity of Big Data analytics to gain a competitive advantage and deliver greater value from their significant investments offshore,” said Paal Roppen, chief executive officer of FutureOn. “FieldTwin visualizes and centralizes data into a single source to increase collaboration, increase transparency, reduce costs, speed timelines and improve operations.”
Roppen says FutureOn’s customers eventually want to de-man their platforms and remotely monitor and maintain their offshore operations and assets.
“FutureOn’s FieldTwin allows all stakeholders to now see more than ever before — the same information, at the same time to make more impact on a project’s outcome and make more efficient decisions that save time, reduce errors and mitigate risk,” Roppen said.  While the digital twin concept – a replica of a physical asset – is relatively new, there have been concrete examples of it being used in the offshore oil and gas industry.
Offshore industry adopting digital twin solutions.  Back in February, Norway’s Aker Solutions was appointed by Wintershall to build a complete digital replica of the North Sea Nova field production system to enable data driven engineering, production and maintenance decisions.
Aker in December 2018 signed a strategic collaboration agreement to further develop digital offerings in engineering, operations, and services with Siemens.
Elsewhere in the industry, GE has developed a solution that provides health and performance monitoring of rig equipment via a digital twin—enabling condition-based maintenance. GE has said that its Digital Rig solution tested on a Noble drillship, has produced alerts to inform potential failures up to two months before they would occur.
Offshore vessel builder Sembcorp is also testing the digital twin waters. The company in 2017 entered into a collaboration deal with DNV GL to investigate the digital twin tech “to create a digital replica of an actual ship, and through simulation determine the ship’s specific design and operational requirements for attaining optimal performance.”
Sembcorp said that the Digital Twin imaging could be is useful in the pre-commissioning of ships.
The usual commissioning procedure is for the vessel to be built and then commissioned during sea trial. With the Digital Twin, it is possible to pre-commission the vessel prior to actual construction by integrating vendor data into a single consolidated virtual ship for testing, Sembcorp Marine said.
Maersk Drilling has also tested the “digital twin” model using hi-tech glasses are for interactive cooperation with the company’s clients.  “By developing a virtual model of each drilling rig and connecting it with a feed of live data from the rig, Maersk Drilling can provide clients with a much more detailed overview of the drilling operation,” Maersk Drilling said.
  • Offshore Tnergy Today
US renewables production outstrips coal for first time ever
In April 2019, the US renewables sector generated more electricity than the country's coal power plants for the first time, according to analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics.  April 2019 looks set to have been a momentous month for the US energy industry, with the renewable sector projected to generate more electricity than coal for the first time ever.
The prediction was made earlier this week by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which hailed the shift as the beginning of a "tipping point" which will see "renewable output begin outpacing coal more and more frequently."
"According to data published this month in the Energy Information Administration (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook, renewables may even trump coal through the month of May as well," IEEFA analyst Dennis Wamsted added in a recent report.
EIA estimates show renewable energy - classified as hydro, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal power - generating 2,322 and 2,271 thousand MWh/day in April and May respectively, topping coal's projected output of 1,997 and 2.239 thousand MWh/day over the same two months.  For the time being, Wamsted only expects to observe the switch during certain months with annual coal production continuing to outstrip renewables "for several years" to come. April's results are partly seasonal, with coal stations often closing during parts of the spring for maintenance, in preparation for demand spikes through the summer and winter.
However, Wamsted also draws a parallel with natural gas, which is currently the US's number one power source. The first instance of natural gas-fired generation exceeding coal's output occurred just three years ago, in April 2015. By January 2018, it had overtaken coal production altogether.  "On an annual basis, the two fuels each accounted for about 33 per cent of the electricity market in 2015," Wamsted writes. "By 2018, natural gas's share had climbed to 35 per cent while coal's had dropped to 27 per cent. The trends for both are expected to continue."
The report anticipates a continued decline for the US coal industry, despite vocal support from President Donald Trump. With a remaining capacity of 240GW, the coal industry's energy generation is at its lowest level since 1979, according to EIA figures.
According to the clean energy think tank Energy Innovation, the US has already entered what it terms the "coal cost crossover", where existing coal plants are increasingly more expensive than cleaner alternatives. It estimates that wind and solar could replace 74 per cent of the US coal fleet at an immediate saving to customers. By 2025, it projects this figure to rise to 86 per cent.
The tipping point for renewable energy may already have been reached in Texas, the IEEFA adds. Data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) suggests wind and solar generation topped coal's output for the first quarter of 2019 - the first time this has happened on a quarterly basis.  "The shift in Texas will not end overnight, as the state's coal plants are used heavily during the hot summer months, but the gap is closing," Wamsted writes. "In 2018, solar and wind output totaled 78 per cent of coal's generation and, as the first-quarter data indicate, the race is narrowing."
It is this backdrop against which the upcoming presidential race is expected to ensure climate change and clean energy play a critical role. New polling this week revealed that climate change is the top issue Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents want to see candidates address with fully 82 per cent describing it as a "very important" issue. Meanwhile, a series of polls have revealed burgeoning support for clean energy, even among Republican voters.
Consequently, while President Trump continues to disparage attempts to curb emissions and question the science on climate change, his prospective challengers are lining up to burnish their green credentials.
Beto O'Rourke this week became the latest candidate to unveil plans for a sweeping decarbonisation programme, pledging to invest $5tr in new low carbon infrastructure as part of a plan to halve emissions by 2030 and turn the US into a net zero emission economy by mid-century.  With renewables providing further evidence they can play a central role in a cost effective, reliable, and decarbonised electricity system, hopes are growing that plenty more clean energy energy milestones are in the pipeline.
  • Business Green
Trelleborg shields WindFloat Atlantic cables
JDR Cable Systems awarded the contract for the Portuguese floater that will be installed this year  Trelleborg will provide cable protection for the 25MW WindFloat Atlantic project off the coast of Portugal.  The contract with JDR Cable Systems is for the design, manufacture and delivery of dynamic cable protection products, including distributed buoyancy modules (DBM).
Developer WindPlus is installing the project, comprising three MHI Vestas V164-8.4 MW turbines installed on ballasted, triangular, semi-submersible foundations, supplied by Principle Power.  The floating wind farm will be situated in water depths of 100m off the coast of Viana do Castelo. Installation will take place later this year.
JDR Renewables is supplying the 66kV inter-array cables for the project.  JDR renewables project manager Paul van Es said: “The harsh environment of the Atlantic is a perfect proving ground for floating offshore wind and our technology.  “We believe engineering innovations such as these are essential to make a success of floating offshore wind and to enable the sector to make the most of its global potential.”
Trelleborg’s UK offshore operation supplied cable protection products for JDR’s WindFloat 1 prototype in 2011.  In floating production environments, subsea electrical power cables are used to inter-connect floating structures on offshore wind farms and run between the substation and the shore.  Trelleborg’s DBMs and bend limitation products are designed to secure, guide and protect power cables from excessive movement and bending that cause fatigue damage.
The WindFloat platform is connected to the seabed by a catenary mooring system, avoiding offshore operations associated with installing traditional fixed structures, reducing potential impact on the environment.
In March JDR chose Nexans to provide the connectors that terminate the inter-array cables, as well as a flexible connection inside the turbine between the transformer and switchgear.
  • Renews.biz


Headlines Tuesday 30th April 2019
Exmar Signs Shipbuilding Deals for Two LPG Carriers in China
Belgian owner and operator of gas carriers Exmar has signed shipbuilding agreements for the construction of two LPG carriers in China.  The 86,000 m³ gas carriers, to be fuelled by LPG, would be constructed by Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard.  Both vessels are to be delivered ex yard respectively within the second and third quarter of 2021, according to the company.
The new units would serve Exmar’s long-term commitments towards Norway-based energy group Equinor for worldwide LPG transportation under a contract signed in December 2017.
  • World Maritime News
Worley to Design Revolution Wind Substations
Ørsted has awarded Worley with a contract to engineer and design two offshore wind topside substations for the 700MW Revolution Wind project off the Rhode Island coast, US.  The project started in March 2019, with the installation expected in 2022, Worley said.
“This project is directly aligned to our strategic priority of supporting our customers through the energy transition, as the world moves from traditional fossil power generation to renewable power generation,” said Eoghan Quinn, Global Wind Lead, Worley.
“This project award builds on a previous Orsted Framework Agreement win, further solidifying our strong and ongoing partnership with this customer and our presence in the US market.”
There is a strong focus by the customer on the utilization of Worley’s US-based resources for this project, the company said.
Revolution Wind has secured a total of 700MW offshore wind capacity, with the capacity awarded in Rhode Island and Connecticut, which Ørsted will build as one joint project. The wind farm is located some 15 kilometres south of the Rhode Island coast.
Revolution Wind is part of the Deepwater Wind portfolio which Ørsted acquired in October 2018.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Teekay selling remaining stake in Teekay Offshore to Brookfield
Oil and gas shipping firm Teekay has agreed to sell all of its remaining interest in Teekay Offshore, a provider of marine services and solutions to the offshore oil industry, to Brookfield for $100 million.  To remind, Canada’s Brookfield had in 2017 completed the acquisition a 60 percent stake in Teekay Offshore Partners with the total investment at around $750 million.
Teekay on Tuesday said it had agreed to sell to Brookfield, all of its remaining interests in Teekay Offshore Partners, “which includes the Company’s 49% general partner interest, common units, warrants, and an outstanding $25 million loan from the Company to Teekay Offshore, for total proceeds of $100 million in cash.”
The transaction is expected to be completed in early to mid-May 2019.
“The divestment of our remaining interests in Teekay Offshore is aligned with Teekay’s current strategy to simplify and focus on our core gas and tanker businesses,” commented Kenneth Hvid, Teekay’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The proceeds from this transaction allow us to further strengthen Teekay Corporation’s balance sheet and credit profile, while significantly enhancing our near-term financial flexibility and range of options to address our near-term bond maturity.”
Teekay Offshore, which owns FPSO, FSO, and Shuttle Tanker units, among others, on Tuesday reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2019 of $2.6 million, on revenues of $336.6 million. For comparison, in the first quarter of 2018, Teekay reported a net income of $16 million, on revenues of $323 million.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Scotch whisky ‘more productive’ than energy sector
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has released figures suggesting whisky workers are worth more to the economy than those in the energy sector.  It calculated that each employee in the whisky industry generates £210,505 of activity.  The equivalent for the energy industry was said to be £173,511.  The research, based on work by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, found whisky to be worth a total of £5.5bn to the UK economy.  
Between 2016 and 2018, the value of the whisky industry increased by 10%.  SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: "Despite the challenges of Brexit, this investment continues to flow, with further projects planned and more distilleries set to open - a sign that the Scotch Whisky industry remains confident about the future.
"This is great news for our many employees, our investors, our supply chain and, of course, for consumers all over the world who love Scotch."
The industry continues to lobby for lower tax rates on whisky in the UK.  Ms Betts added: "In the US, Scotch and other whiskies are taxed at just 27% of the rate that HM Treasury taxes us here at home.
"We will continue to press the chancellor for fairer treatment for Scotch whisky in our domestic market, which reflects the vital economic contribution the industry makes to the UK economy every day."
Key findings in the SWA research - based on the year 2018 - include:
Scotch whisky contributed 21% to the value of all UK food and drink exports
Exports were worth £3.8bn
The industry supports 42,000 jobs, including 10,500 directly employed in Scotland and 7,000 in rural areas
UK spirits excise duty receipts accounted for £3.8bn
Scotland's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "I welcome the contribution that the Scotch whisky industry makes to the Scottish economy.
"The industry's performance is testament to the hard work of those who work in this important sector, making Scotch whisky one of Scotland's greatest global exports."
The UK's exchequer secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick MP said the government had already eased the tax burden on the industry.
"I'm delighted to see how this important sector is thriving," he added.
"We are supporting the Scotch whisky success story by freezing duty on spirits again this year.
"Our record of reductions and freezes to alcohol duties have provided more than £4bn of support to the drinks sector here in the UK."
  • BBC News


Headlines Monday 29th April 2019
Six New LNG Carriers Become Part of BP Shipping’s Fleet
BP Shipping, the maritime arm of UK-based oil major BP, has added six new LNG vessels to its fleet.
On April 23, the company said that British Partner, British Achiever, British Contributor, British Listener, British Mentor and British Sponsor all joined its fleet. Ordered in 2014, the 173,400 cbm LNG tankers were built for BP at South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
“It’s been a busy few years in BP Shipping and after approximately 4.6 – 5 million hours worked on our USD 1.3 billion ship build project, we are the proud operators of six new state-of-the-art LNG vessels,” the company added.
Each of the new vessels is fitted with two, next-generation M-type, electronically-controlled, gas-injection (ME-GI) propulsion systems and a proprietary full reliquefaction system (FRS) designed by DSME.
In October 2017, BP joined forces with KMarin and ICBC Leasing on the fleet expansion plan. The two firms invested over USD 1 billion in the six tankers.
At the time, the company said that the units would be employed on a 20-year liquefaction contract with the Freeport LNG facility in Texas, as well as other international LNG projects in BP’s global portfolio.
The vessels can carry a cargo of LNG equivalent in volume to 69 Olympic sized swimming pools and they deliver the low carbon energy to customers with 20% less CO2 emissions when compared to industry benchmarks, according to BP Shipping.
The company explained that fuel consumption is a major contributor to running costs and, with the latest fleet additions, it expects to save around USD 2 million per ship per year.
  • Worldmaritimenews
Boskalis Inks Hornsea Two Cable Deal
Boskalis has won a contract for the offshore export cable installation at Ørsted’s Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm in the UK.  Under the contract worth more than EUR 100 million, Boskalis will install three export cable circuits with a total length of approximately 380km.
The project scope includes the preparation of the offshore export cable route, comprising geophysical survey, boulder clearance and seabed leveling through dredging, as well as cable installation and protection.  The three 130km long export cables will connect the offshore substation to the onshore substation by means of a 300m long horizontal directional drilling, crossing the sea defense of Horseshoe Point, Boskalis said.
According to the company, a variety of in-house specialist services and assets including a trailing suction hopper dredger, a geophysical survey vessel and multiple cable-laying vessels will be deployed.  Boskalis has also invested in a new multi-mode plough for the pre-lay trenching and backfilling. It will be pulled by the recently added construction vessel Boka Falcon.
The project is expected to commence later this year with completion scheduled for late 2021.
French cable maker Nexans will provide 200km of a 245kV subsea export cable system for the nearshore section of Hornsea Project Two.  The 1.4GW project will comprise up to 165 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines located approximately 89km from the Yorkshire coast. It will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm once commissioned in 2022.
  • Offshorewind.biz
OKEA secures newbuild Odfjell rig for Draugen wells
Oil and gas company OKEA has secured the Odfjell Drilling-owned semi-submersible rig Deepsea Nordkapp to drill for upside opportunities within and surrounding the Draugen field offshore Norway.  OKEA secured the newbuild semi-sub drilling rig Deepsea Nordkapp – which was delivered to its owner in January 2019 – on behalf of PL093 license partners. The drilling operation is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2019, the oil company said on Monday.
Deepsea Nordkapp will drill one infill pilot well in the Draugen field and one exploration well in the “Skumnisse” prospect, north-east of Draugen, both within the OKEA-operated PL093 license.
Deepsea Nordkapp is a 6th generation dynamically positioned harsh environment and winterized semi-submersible drilling rig on a two-year lease to Aker BP. The rig is expected to start drilling for Aker BP in May. OKEA is subleasing the rig from Aker BP.
The CEO of OKEA, Erik Haugane, commented: “OKEA is very pleased that we will be drilling the company’s first wells as an operator on the NCS already in 2019. This is an important milestone for us. The planned drilling program is a vital step in realizing the ambition of enhanced oil recovery from the Draugen field and prolonged production from the Draugen platform.”  OKEA as operator of PL 093, together with the license partners Petoro and Neptune, has the ambition to substantially extend the life of the Draugen oil field into the 2040s through continued focus on cost efficient operations, additional resources within the license and near field exploration.
According to OKEA, there are several potential follow-up targets identified in the area that might be drilled over the next years to further increase the volume in the Draugen area.
It is worth reminding that the Deepsea Nordkapp rig will also be used by Polish oil company PGNiG to drill its first operated exploration well on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Namely, PGNi in March signed an agreement with Aker BP for the lease of the Odfjell Deepsea Norkapp for the drilling on the Shrek prospect within the PGNiG operated PL838 license in the Norwegian Sea.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Radical blueprint calls for Glasgow metro
Glasgow needs a city-wide metro system to reconnect left-behind areas and boost the economy, according to a radical new blueprint.  The Glasgow Connectivity Commission wants about £10bn to be spent over the next 20 years on a range of measures to upgrade the city's transport capacity.  It said the first new link should be to Glasgow Airport via Renfrew, Braehead and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Other tram or light rail lines should then be spread out across the city.  The commission, which was set up by Glasgow City Council 18 months ago, wants the metro network to revive abandoned rail routes, convert heavy rail to light rail and develop on-street trams.
The commission proposed:
Developing a Glasgow Metro to connect areas of the city poorly served by rail
Connecting Glasgow Central and Queen Street stations by a tunnel to increase capacity
Extend Glasgow Central station to the south of the Clyde to prepare for HS2 services
Developing plans for bus priority on Glasgow's motorway network
Preparing for the shift to electric vehicles by considering new methods of road charging
Transport expert Prof David Begg, who chaired the commission, told BBC Scotland that Glasgow's economy was "punching below its weight" and too many people were cut off by poor transport links.
He said: "It really surprised me how close the link is between deprivation, low income, lack of employment opportunities in Glasgow and access to the fixed rail network."
Prof Begg said the city had a high percentage of households that did not own a car and the bus network was "not really serving them as well as it should".
"The city is not working as effectively and efficiently as it should and the solution is a metro system," he said.
The commission called for Glasgow Airport to be linked to the rail network by 2025.  It recommended building a link between the airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station as the first leg of a metro line that would then be extended to connect Renfrew - the largest town in Scotland without a rail station - Braehead Shopping Centre and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to the city centre.
It said that over the next two decades the metro routes should be increased.  Some parts of the current heavy rail network, such as the Cathcart Circle and the Glasgow Central Low level, could be converted to a high-density metro service and new stations could be added, the report said.
Other routes could be created from "dormant" rail lines such as the former Central Low Level Line via the Botanics to Maryhill and the London Road tunnel to Parkhead and Tollcross.
It also proposes sections that run along wide boulevard-type roads such as Edinburgh Road in the north east of the city and Great Western Road.  The report says: "Too many Glaswegians, particularly in the north and east of the city and the postwar housing estates, do not have the kind of reliable, quick, turn-up-and-go service that rapid transit offers."
Prof Begg said the report's recommendations were "ambitious and achievable" and that its proposals had previously been studied at length and found to have positive business cases.
He said it would take about £500m a year for the next 20 years to deliver the schemes.  The transport expert said large amounts of money had been found for other vital infrastructure projects such as dualling the A9, the Queensferry Crossing and Borders Rail.  "We actually think these Glasgow schemes compare more favourably with a lot of that other spend," he said.
Prof Begg argued that the funding should be split equally between the UK government, the Scottish government and a private gain fund.  He said the money being spent on HS2 in England would result in an uplift in the money that would be given to Scotland over the next decades.
Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: "These proposals are worthy of detailed consideration. This is the kind of thinking which Glasgow has needed and it's clear that the Connectivity Commission has benefited from a very high calibre of evidence and expertise."
Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the proposals would be consider as part of the National Transport Strategy.
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 26th April 2019
UK extends immigration ruling for non-EEA nationals in offshore wind sector
The government in the UK is extending a ruling regarding non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals working in the offshore wind sector, but only for 12 months.
Extending the immigration ruling will allow non-EEA workers to enter the UK until 21 April 2020 for the purpose of joining a vessel engaged in the construction and maintenance of an offshore windfarm in UK territorial waters. However, the concession will not be extended further than 21 April 2020.
The Home Secretary first introduced a concession to the UK immigration rules to allow the employment of non-EEA nationals joining vessels engaged in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in UK territorial waters in 2017.
“Leave to enter under the terms of the concession will not be granted beyond 21 April 2020,” said the government. “During this period, firms involved in the construction or maintenance of windfarms within territorial waters should look to regularise the position of their workers. Those who require leave to enter the UK should have the appropriate permission to do so under the immigration rules.”
In order to qualify for entry under this concession and maintain border security, a person seeking entry for this purpose should produce a valid passport; a visa issued for this purpose, if needed, or a seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 108 and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention or ILO Convention 185 and issued by a country which has ratified that Convention having previously ratified ILO108; and a letter from their employer stating that the worker is employed in the construction or maintenance of a windfarm project within territorial waters.
Non-EEA nationals seeking entry to the UK under the terms of this concession are subject to a visa requirement only if they are a visa national; and do not hold a seaman’s book compliant with ILO Convention 108.
  • OWJ Online
Ulstein Launches World’s Largest Battery-Hybrid Ship
Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein has launched the world’s largest plug-in hybrid ship at its Ulstein Verft.  Color Hybrid, being built for cruiseferry company Color Line, was launched on April 14, 2019, and will undergo further outfitting before its delivery this summer.
The ship’s assembly started in April 2018 in Gdynia, Poland. After seven months of construction, the hull was towed to Ulsteinvik, Norway, for detail work.
The 160-meter roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) vessel will be put to service between Sandefjord, Norway, and Strömstad, Sweden. It will be capable of carrying 2,000 passengers and 500 cars.
Color Hybrid will almost double the capacity of M/S Bohus, which is scheduled to be phased out when the new ferry launches into operation.  Being a plug-in hybrid, Color Hybrid will be able to switch to batteries on parts of its journey. Ulstein says that the vessel would have very low noise levels in this mode and no local harmful emissions. The batteries will be recharged via shore connection in Sandefjord.
  • World Maritime News
University of Glasgow to build hi-tech Govan campus
The University of Glasgow has unveiled plans to build a new high-tech campus in Govan on the banks of the Clyde.  It is hoped the site, once synonymous with shipbuilding, could now become a world-renowned centre for nanotechnology and precision medicine.  The university has put up £28m for the project and a further £27.5m will come from the Glasgow City region deal.  The university is currently bidding for a further £63m in funding. It is hoped work can begin within two years.
The site for the new campus is currently a disused car park at the southern end of the Clyde tunnel, near the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH).  The proposed centre will be comprised of two main parts - an enhanced James Watt Nanofabrication Centre which will focus on industries like nanofabrication and photonics and a Precision Medicine Living Lab, which will flow into the existing innovation zone at the QEUH.
The new site will allow space for academics to work alongside industry partners.  University of Glasgow principal Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli said the new innovation campus could create "Scotland's Silicon Valley on the Clyde".  He said it could be a key step in ensuring the city "retakes its place at the forefront of international innovation and industrial excellence".
Sir Anton said: "I have no doubt that the innovation agenda and industries like quantum technology, nanofabrication and precision medicine can be to the 21st century Glasgow economy, what shipbuilding was in the past."  He said the campus could bring hundreds of high-end jobs to the area.
However, it is hoped it will be part of a wider regeneration of Govan.  Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: "It isn't just about those high-tech academic jobs, it's about all the other things that come with it.
"We are building homes, there will be new commercial and retail units, all sorts of new opportunities are being created."  There are also plans to establish Invention Rooms for use by local school pupils.  The new campus move comes as Glasgow University has outgrown its clean room facilities on Gilmorehill in the west end, where researchers are leading the way in nanotechnology.
Dr Sara Diegoli, strategic projects manager, said: "It is one of the leading nanofabrication centres in Europe.  "The clean room is in a Victorian building so we have some constraints when it comes to expansion."
Meanwhile, companies come from all over the world come to collaborate with precision medicine experts in Glasgow but they too need room to grow.
Prof Dame Anna Dominiczak, head of the College of Medicine, said: "Our current clinical innovation zone will be soon full.
"Bringing industry, NHS and academia together could put Scotland on the map. We could be the best in the world."  The university already has plans in place for huge expansion on the former Western Infirmary site.
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 25th April 2019
Royal Caribbean Cuts Steel for 5th Oasis Cruise Ship
Royal Caribbean International has celebrated the start of construction of its fifth Oasis class ship at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
The first steel plate of the new unit (hull 34) was cut on April 24. The latest Oasis class ship is scheduled to be delivered in spring 2021.  This is the third unit to be built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for the company. The shipbuilder said that the hull of the new cruise ship will be composed of about 400,000 machined steel parts, just like its sister ships Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, which were delivered in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
“The fifth Oasis Class ship will combine the iconic seven-neighborhood concept that its sister ships feature with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences, imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology,” Royal Caribbean International said.
The cruise line ordered the vessel from the French shipyard in May 2016.  In February this year, the company entered into an agreement with Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order the sixth Oasis ship for delivery in the fall of 2023. The order is contingent upon financing, which is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2019, the company earlier said.
  • World Maritime News
Royal Bank of Scotland CEO McEwan resigns after more than five years
Royal Bank of Scotland plc is searching for a new chief executive after Ross McEwan resigned, signaling a fresh start as it heads for full private ownership after a state bailout.  New Zealand-born McEwan, who has led RBS since October 2013, has a 12-month notice period and will remain in his position until a successor has been appointed and an orderly handover has taken place, the bank said on Thursday.
It is the second change in RBS’s senior executive team in fewer than six months following the appointment of Katie Murray as the bank’s chief financial officer in December last year.  The date of McEwan’s departure will be confirmed in due course and Alison Rose, the bank’s CEO of Commercial & Private Banking, is seen as one of the favorites to succeed him.  Rose’s accession would make RBS the first bank in Britain to have two women in its most senior positions at the same time.
“After over five and a half very rewarding years, and with the bank in a much stronger financial position it is time for me to step down as CEO,” McEwan said in a statement.
Some analysts suggested his departure was well timed, just months before Brexit and with dark clouds looming over the UK housing market.  While broadly liked and respected among RBS’s institutional investors, McEwan’s tenure has not been without drama.
Despite being one of the lowest in Britain’s banking sector, salary and bonus payments earned by the 61-year old have attracted considerable scrutiny, particularly in the years before RBS returned to profit.  Under his watch, the bank also shelled out $4.9 billion to settle its largest-ever regulatory penalty for misselling of high-risk mortgage backed securities between 2005 and 2008, when it was one of the world’s biggest banks by assets.
But a tight rein on costs has seen the lender swing back to the black and restore dividends to investors. RBS has also managed to amass hundreds of millions of pounds in excess capital it hopes to deploy in buying back shares from the UK government this year.  RBS, currently more than 62 percent owned by the UK taxpayer, is hosting its annual meeting on Thursday, where it is expected to field fresh questions over its controversial Global Restructuring Group, which ensnared hundreds of troubled borrowers in the financial crisis.
RBS itself was bailed out by the UK government to the tune of 45 billion pounds ($58 billion) in 2008 and has spent the last decade cutting costs, restructuring its balance sheet, and refocusing on core domestic UK business and consumer lending.
  • Reuters
Coffee waste 'could replace palm oil'
A pair of Scottish entrepreneurs are aiming to go global with their hope to replace palm oil using coffee waste.  Scott Kennedy and Fergus Moore said they came up with a unique way to extract oil from used coffee grounds which had a wide range of uses.  Palm oil is found in many household products, but environmentalists say demand for it is devastating rainforests in Asia.  Manufacturers are now under pressure to find an alternative.
Mr Kennedy and Mr Moore came up with their idea while working in coffee shops during their time studying business at Glasgow's Strathclyde university, and saw first-hand the amount of food waste in the hospitality industry.  Mr Moore told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme:
"About 60% of a cafe's waste is about coffee grounds.
"In Scotland, that amounts to about 40,000 tonnes a year - across the UK, more than half a million tonnes.
"And coffee grounds are so heavy that it takes their waste bill through the roof."
Explaining the idea behind his Revive Eco company, Mr Moore said: "There are oils in coffee with a wide range of uses in different industries - cosmetics pharmaceuticals, food and drink, household products - you name it, there's probably a use there.
"We're developing a process to extract and purify these oils."
Mr Moore added: "The most exciting part for us is that they have all the same components as palm.
"Palm oil's in the news for all the wrong reasons. It's really exciting for us that we could potentially provide a local and more sustainable alternative to all the industries that are currently using palm oil."
Mr Moore said it had been difficult setting up the company because he and his business partner were not from an engineering background, but added: "We've surrounded ourselves with incredible advisors and mentors that have made the process easier."
Revive Eco has already secured £235,000 of funding from the Zero Waste Scotland agency.  And now they are in the running for a share of a £776,000 funding pot, after it was announced Revive Eco would be representing Scotland and Northern Ireland in the Chivas Venture competition.
Twenty global companies are competing for the prize, being announced in Amsterdam in May, after an online public vote.
Mr Moore said of the company's ambition: "We want to have the process up and running in Glasgow by next summer.
Longer term, we want to build the business to a place where we can franchise into different countries and replicate the business model elsewhere.
"We'd rather build a new process in Rome, Paris, Berlin - any other big coffee-drinking cities round the world."
  • BBC News


Headlines Wednesday 24th April 2019
Young Professionals Green Energy Awards Finalists Announced
Almost 40 candidates have been shortlisted for the Scottish Renewables Young Professionals Green Energy Awards 2019.
More than 100 nominees who’ve worked in Scotland’s renewable energy industry for five years or less were narrowed down to a 39-strong shortlist.  The Young Professionals Green Energy Awards recognises those who have achieved beyond all expectations, those who are pioneering new ideas and have the drive and ambition to change the renewable energy industry for the better.
The event, which will welcome around 250 guests to Glasgow Grand Central Hotel on Thursday May 30, was launched in 2015 to showcase the range of bright and innovative talent in the sector.
Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Once again I’m hugely impressed with the standard of nominations submitted for the awards. 2019’s nominees really do showcase the skill and innovation which exists among the young professionals within our sector.
“Those shortlisted should be extremely proud of their achievements, and we hope that being a finalist in the Young Professionals Green Energy Awards will encourage them to further grow and develop in their careers and continue to shape the future of renewable energy.”
  • Marine Energy.biz
Topaz Newbuild Finishes First Offshore Wind Gig
Topaz Energy and Marine’s newbuild subsea vessel Topaz Tangaroa has arrived in Eemshaven, the Netherlands, after completing its first offshore wind work.  According to DHSS, the vessel has just finished work on the 370MW Norther project in Belgium and is preparing for deployment on the next offshore wind farm.
At the beginning of the year, Topaz Energy and Marine signed an agreement with an unnamed north European contractor to charter Topaz Tangaroa for work on renewable energy projects, primarily in support of offshore wind farms in the southern North Sea.
The charter contract took effect from February for a firm duration of seven months, with options to extend to late 2020.
Topaz Tangaroa is a 1,000m², diesel-electric light subsea construction vessel with 82 pax accommodation in comfort class 3, equipped with an AHC 120-tonne subsea construction crane.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Nicola Sturgeon to update MSPs on indyref2 plans
Nicola Sturgeon is to update MSPs on Brexit and her plans for a possible Scottish independence referendum in a long-awaited speech at Holyrood.  The Scottish first minister will make a statement on "Brexit and Scotland's future" at Holyrood from 13:30.
BBC Scotland understands that she will not announce a specific date for a further vote on independence.  Her spokesman said she would "strike an inclusive tone" while "setting out a path forward for Scotland".
But the Scottish Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon was "obsessed" by independence and was neglecting other issues.  Labour and the Lib Dems also hit out in advance of the statement, while the Greens urged Ms Sturgeon to "fire the starting gun" on a new independence vote as an "escape route from Brexit".
The statement comes days before the SNP conference, which is set to be dominated by discussion of the party's "growth commission" paper of plans for independence.  Ms Sturgeon called for a second referendum on Scotland's relationship with the EU immediately after the Brexit vote in 2016, but put her plans on hold after the snap general election the following year.
At that point, she said she would come back and update MSPs on the "precise timescale" for the new vote - known as "indyref2" - once there was more clarity about the outcome of Brexit negotiations.  But BBC Scotland's political editor Brian Taylor understands she will not set out a specific referendum date in her latest statement.
"Instead, she'll set out steps to protect her existing referendum mandate, leaving open the prospect of a ballot before the next Holyrood elections in 2021," he said.  "The first minister hopes her statement will content SNP activists ahead of the party conference this coming weekend."  The first minister's official spokesman said Wednesday's 30 minute statement would "explore some of the issues that have arisen as a result of the ongoing Brexit situation and Scotland's constitutional future".
He said: "It will be a detailed and substantive statement setting out a path forward for Scotland amid the ongoing Brexit confusion at Westminster.  "The first minister will take time to set out her thoughts on that front and in doing so she will seek to strike an inclusive tone."
There is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, between the Greens and the SNP, which saw the parliament back calls for a new referendum in March 2017.  Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said it would be "hugely disappointing" if the SNP let the mandate to hold a second referendum within the current Holyrood term expire "in the face of Tory obstructionism".
He added: "Scotland needs an escape route from a Brexit it didn't vote for and the Scottish Greens stand ready to campaign hard for an independent Scotland in the EU."
The UK government has said it would not give its backing to a new referendum via a "section 30 order" like the one which underpinned the 2014 vote.  Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in March that "the legal basis of any future referendum should be the same as the referendum in 2014, which is the transfer of power under a section 30 order", but said the "anti-democratic" Conservatives were "running scared of the will of the Scottish people".  Holyrood's other parties all oppose independence, and spoke out ahead of the first minister's statement.
Scottish Conservative interim leader Jackson Carlaw said Ms Sturgeon was "passing up the opportunity" to talk about topics such as education to instead focus on "her real priority - her plan for a divisive second referendum on independence".  He said: "The only reason this statement is happening at all is because Nicola Sturgeon put a second independence referendum back on the table following the EU vote - and she has obsessed about it ever since.  "All this keeps open the divisions from the 2014 referendum - and leaves us with less time spent focusing on getting Scotland's economy growing again."
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said there was "no evidence that the people of Scotland want another independence referendum".  He added: "The mess of Brexit throws into sharp relief the challenges of leaving a political and economic union. The answer to challenges of the UK leaving the EU is not and never will be Scotland leaving the UK."  And Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie urged Ms Sturgeon to "tell parliament she has learned the lesson of Brexit, that breaking up long-term economic partnerships is damaging and divisive and that she does not want to inflict that on Scotland with independence".
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 23rd April 2019
Norwegian and UK North Sea markets gradually merging
The head of a Norwegian inspection, maintenance and repair group believes that the traditionally separate markets on either side of the North Sea are gradually merging.
Rune Haddeland is chief executive officer of WellConnection Group which recently took a major step into the UK market with the purchase of Peterhead-based Independent Oilfield Services (IOS).  The strategic investment is to give the company a strong foothold in the UK and is a first step in the Group’s strategy to become a major international player.
Mr Haddeland said he believed that the major slump in oil price in 2013, which saw exploration drilling activity in the North Sea fall to its lowest for several decades, had changed the operational landscape.
“In the past the UK and Norwegian markets have, to a very large extent been separated,” he said. “If you drilled in Norway, you used a Norwegian service provider and if you drilled in the UK, you used a UK service provider. There was a very limited flow of drilling rigs from Norway to the UK and back.
“Now that has changed, probably because of the tougher market and capacity factors, and we see shorter contracts and rigs shuttling back and forth drilling a small number of wells in the UK sector and then a small number of wells in the Norwegian sector.
“Some of our clients are spending more time in the UK and now have a much stronger interest in being supplied with these services from both sides of the North Sea.
“Digitalisation is already beginning to drive the merging of the Norwegian and UK markets and I believe it is going to have a major impact.
“Inspection, maintenance and repair data must become location independent and immediately available because the same equipment will be used, inspected and repaired at multiple locations in Norway and the UK.
“WellConnection Group is already able to support this using our advanced digital inspection and repair management system.  “Increasing number of operators are focussing on ‘total cost of operations.’ As a result, they are turning to those contractors who are able to demonstrate added value by smart and effective adjustments to current business structures. They are also looking for digitalised operations which can easily be integrated into the operators’ digital platforms.”
According to Rune, one of the primary benefits of the acquisition of IOS (now WellConnection IOS) was the sharing of knowledge from integrated technology, systems and processes which would benefit all clients, but particularly those with operations on both the UK Continental Shelf and the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
“We believe this will be one of our strengths now and we have been heartened by the fact that several Norwegian clients have requested visits to visit our WellConnection IOS site in Peterhead because of their interest.
“We do believe that there will be many more commonalities between Norway and the UK in future and a significantly increased shared market in the drilling segment.”
  • Energy Voice
New subsea construction support vessel delivered to Oceaneering
Houston-based subsea company Oceaneering International has taken delivery of a subsea construction support vessel, Ocean Evolution.  The vessel has completed sea trials and received all necessary ABS and U.S. Coast Guard certifications and is currently in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, completing final outfitting and preparing for project work scheduled to begin in June, Oceaneering said on Monday.
The Ocean Evolution is a U.S.-flagged, Jones Act-compliant, multi-service vessel (MSV) in the market. Its capabilities are headlined by its 250 mT active heave compensated (AHC) crane, two work-class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with AHC launch systems, survey systems and subsea tooling all built for work in up to 4,000 m water depths.
According to the company, the vessel serves the deepwater stimulation and intervention needs with its well stimulation and well intervention design, ABS Well Stimulation and Well Intervention (WS/WI) ready notation and under deck capacity to store special products.
Mike Ellis, Vice President, Subsea Projects, said, “The Ocean Evolution is a world class vessel ready to service the construction and intervention needs of our customers in deepwater. We are excited about the upcoming integrated services that will be provided with this vessel when combined with Oceaneering’s portfolio of subsea products and services.”
Measuring 353 ft (108 m) long, 72 ft (22 m) wide and Light Ship weight 6,900 T, Ocean Evolution is an ABS class DP2 subsea multi-service vessel built in the US under Jones Act requirements for coast-wise trade of personnel and equipment. The vessel has accommodations for 110 persons, helideck and a working moonpool measuring  23 ft x 23 ft (7 m x 7 m).
The vessel’s 12,595 ft2 (1170 m2) steel-constructed deck is designed to carry heavy loads and equipment. The deck is rated to support 10 mT/m2 with a total cargo carrying capacity of 1,900 mT.  The vessel is equipped with a 250 mT AHC main crane with a 13,000 ft (4,000 m) working depth capacity. A second auxiliary crane on deck adjacent to the working moonpool is capable of 40 mT for lifting and handling of equipment on deck and to water depths of 600 ft (180 m).
Ocean Evolution features a unique layout bridge, configured with port and starboard redundant control stations. It is built with five low-emission EPA Tier 4 diesel engines with a combined generating capacity of 16 MW on a three-bus system.  Oceaneering emphasized that Ocean Evolution features enhanced station keeping capabilities, which allows it to maintain position even during extreme weather conditions. The vessel’s position is held using two tunnel thrusters and a drop down thruster in the bow along with two Azipull thrusters in the stern.
The vessel’s design and construction was done with well stimulation and light well intervention in mind as a key capability. The underdeck storage capacity of up to 109,000 gal (413 m3) of special products maximizes use of the critical deck space for pumping and intervention equipment.  The vessel is equipped with two Oceaneering work class ROV systems. One 220 hp Millennium Plus and one 250 hp NEXXUS systems are onboard each with active heave compensated launch and recovery systems installed in a custom indoor hanger for port and starboard launch.
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  • Offshore Energy Today
Brexit: Cross-party talks to resume
Talks between the government and Labour on Brexit will resume later as MPs return to Westminster following the Easter break.  Cabinet ministers will meet senior opposition figures in an attempt to solve the impasse by finding a deal that could win the support of MPs.  But some Tory MPs are angry the talks with Labour are even taking place.
Leading backbencher Nigel Evans called on Theresa May to step down as prime minister "as soon as possible".  The joint executive secretary of the back bench 1922 Committee and MP for Ribble Valley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The only way we're going to break this impasse properly is if we have fresh leadership of the Conservative Party...
"If there was an announcement today by the prime minister then of course we could start the process straight away."
He said Mrs May "had been reaching out to the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, when she should have been reaching out to the people".  But Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said Theresa May was doing a "good job" and deserved "praise not blame".  "The idea somehow that some new fresh leader with extraordinary charm and nimble feet would be able to suddenly get the deal across the line is mistaken," he told the BBC.  "It's nothing to do with the individual, it's that people disagree deeply about Brexit."  Mr Evans's comments came after it emerged that Mrs May faces a no-confidence challenge from Tory campaigners.
More than 70 local association chiefs have called for an extraordinary general meeting to discuss her leadership and a non-binding vote is to be held at the National Conservative Convention EGM in May.  If the grass-roots Tory vote showed a lack of confidence - it could put greater pressure on the 1922 Committee to find some way of forcibly removing the PM from office.
That pressure could increase further if the Tories poll badly in local elections on 2 May.  Under current party rules, MPs cannot call another no-confidence vote until December 2019 - but when senior members of the 1922 meet on Tuesday afternoon, they will discuss whether steps should be taken to try to change them.
Mrs May is due to chair a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, and her de facto deputy, David Lidington, will attend the talks with Labour later.
Cross-party meetings have been going on for a number of weeks after Mrs May's EU withdrawal deal was rejected for a third time by MPs.  But BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said most people at Westminster seem to take the view that the prime minister is clutching at straws by pinning her hopes on those talks.  He said Labour's position has not changed and Mrs May will have take a political decision to accept a customs union with the EU if she is to get Jeremy Corbyn to sign off her plans.  If she does that, our correspondent added, it would almost certainly provoke a cabinet walkout and open warfare on the backbenches.
In separate news, Change UK will launch its European election campaign in Bristol, while Nigel Farage's Brexit Party will unveil more of its candidates in London.  Change UK is made up of 11 former Labour and Tory MPs who quit their parties in February.  
The UK has been given an extension to the Brexit process until 31 October.  This means the UK is likely to hold European Parliament elections on 23 May.
  • BBC News

Headlines Thursday 18th April 2019

Icelandic Competition Authority Okays Eimskip-Royal Arctic Line Cooperation

The Icelandic Competition Authority has approved exemption for the cooperation between Iceland’s shipping company Eimskip and Greenland-based carrier Royal Arctic Line A/S.

Unveiled in 2016, the cooperation is built on a vessel sharing agreement (VSA), where capacity is shared between carriers.

With the new cooperation approved on April 17, 2019, Royal Arctic Line will be able to offer transportation services to the Icelandic market. Greenland will be connected to Eimskip‘s international sailing system with its weekly services that create opportunities for direct connections for Greenland to international markets.

“We are pleased to have the formal approval from the Icelandic Competition Authority for the cooperation between Eimskip and Royal Arctic Line after several years of preparation,” Vilhelm Þorsteinsson, CEO of Eimskip, said.

“The cooperation creates opportunities for a more efficient sailing system for Eimskip as well as opening new sailing routes to and from Greenland,” he added.

As part of the cooperation, three 2,150 TEU container vessels are under construction in China with expected delivery in late 2019. Two vessels are being built for Eimskip — the largest in the company’s fleet — and one for Royal Arctic Line. The vessels will be used in weekly services between Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Island and Scandinavia.

The newbuilds are designed for the conditions in the North Atlantic, in accordance with the Polar Code.

As explained by Eimskip, the new cooperation and larger, environmentally-friendly vessels will enable the company to achieve economies of scale and increase fuel efficiency.

Once the new ships are delivered, Eimskip plans to dispose of its older vessels, Goðafoss and Laxfoss.

In a separate statement, Verner Hammeken, CEO of Royal Arctic Line, said that the competition authority’s decision is historic for Greenland as it would improve the efficiency of the West-Nordic sea freight.

The VSA has been an important part of Royal Arctic Line’s transformation and would enable the company to lower both costs and environmental impact, according to Hammeken.

The cooperation is subject to certain conditions made by the Icelandic Competition Authority.

  • WorldmaritimeNews


Keppel nets nearly $120 million in new contracts

Keppel Offshore & Marine has secured integration and upgrading contracts worth a combined value of about S$160 million ($118.3M).

Keppel said on Wednesday that the contracts were secured through its subsidiaries, Keppel Shipyard and Keppel FELS.

The first contract is between Keppel Shipyard and an unnamed operator of oil and gas production vessels for fabrication and integration work on a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.

The shipyard’s work scope includes the fabrication of several topside modules, the riser balcony, the spread-mooring and the umbilical support structures as well as installation and integration of associated equipment and all topside modules onto the FPSO.

Work is expected to start in 3Q 2019, and delivery is scheduled for 2021.

The second contract is between Keppel FELS and Diamond Offshore for the upgrade of the drilling semi-submersible rig Ocean Onyx. Diamond Offshore and Keppel FELS have collaborated on more than 12 projects since 2005.

Keppel FELS’ scope of work on the semi-sub rig includes the engineering, fabrication and installation of new pontoons, columns, bracings and a wing deck. The Ocean Onyx was first upgraded in 2012 by Keppel AmFELS, Keppel O&M’s yard in the U.S., from an old semi-submersible rig.

Scheduled for delivery in 2H 2019, Ocean Onyx will initially be deployed offshore Australia. As previously reported, Ocean Onyx has been hired by Beach Energy for drilling in the Otway Basin offshore Victoria. The first well expected to be drilled in Beach’s Otway program will be the Artisan gas exploration well, which is located in the VIC/P43 permit.

Karl Sellers, Senior Vice President – Technical Services of Diamond Offshore said, “Keppel FELS has proven to be a reliable partner for our rig repairs and upgrades over the years and we are pleased to work with them again on the upgrade of Ocean Onyx.”

  • Offshorenergytoday


Senvion Secures EUR 100 Million Loan

German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion, its lenders, and main bond holders have signed a binding loan agreement, setting forth terms for a EUR 100 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) facility.

According to Senvion, the DIP facility enables the company to continue its business operations following last week’s self-administration filing.

The loan has received Board approvals and allows substantial drawings already this week, thus enabling the company to stabilize its business operations and provide funds to its non-insolvent subsidiaries, Senvion said.

“We would like to thank both our lenders and main bond holders for their support in agreeing to provide us with a DIP facility that will enable us to continue our operations,” Yves Rannou, CEO of Senvion, said.

”This is particularly helpful since we managed to significantly ramp up our installations in Q1. So, this is encouraging news for all of us and of course for our transformation process. We have received a multitude of supportive reactions from our customers and suppliers and continue our close dialogue with them. We also deeply appreciate the support of our teams on the ground and their continuous commitment to support Senvion on this journey back to health.”

The super-senior secured DIP facility with a tenure of 12 months will provide Senvion the financial means to proceed with the transformation process initiated at the beginning of this year. Senvion’s management led by CEO Yves Rannou, has implemented measures to strengthen the company, refocus operations, concentrate on the most attractive markets, streamline the product portfolio, improve installation execution and realize efficiency gains in the service business, Senvion said.

Senvion installed 366MW worldwide in Q1 2019, more than twice as much as in Q1 2018. At the end of Q1 2019, the company’s total installed capacity under service amounted to 14.1GW, and the order book stood at around EUR 2.8 billion.

  • Offshorewind.biz


Brexit: No deal means hard Irish border, says Selmayr

One of the European Commission's most powerful officials has said that a no-deal Brexit would mean a hard Irish border.

The comments from Martin Selmayr feature in a documentary made by ARTE, the Franco-German broadcaster.

The secretary-general of the European Commission was filmed in a meeting with senior MEPs in late 2018.

"Let's be very clear - if there is no withdrawal agreement there will be a hard border," he told them.

"This is the worst of all scenarios.

"So for Ireland this situation would be very tough and that's why we need to do everything to prevent that."

Mr Selmayr was previously chief of staff to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission.

He served in the position from 2014 to 2018.

The ARTE documentary The Clock Is Ticking had extensive behind the scenes access to the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and other senior EU figures.

In January, the European Commission's chief spokesman said it was "obvious" there would be a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

At that time the Irish government had repeated its stance that it would "not accept a hard border on this island".

Since Mr Selmayr's comments the EU has intensified its no deal planning.

Officials have made clear that no deal would mean checks on goods moving from NI to the Republic.

However the question of where and how those checks would take place remains open.

The Taoiseach has said customs processes could take place away from the border but animals and food products present a more difficult challenge.

The EU has strict rules for these products meaning they must be physically checked at a border inspection post.

  • BBC News
Headlines Wednesday 17th April 2019
SunStone Orders 6th Expedition Cruise Ship, Eyes More Vessels
Miami-based SunStone Ships has decided to order another Infinity class expedition cruise vessel.  The company recently signed an agreement with China Merchants Heavy Industries (CMHI) for the sixth newbuilding.
As informed, the cruise ship now ordered has a long-term charter agreement in place and is expected to be delivered in September 2021.  “We have worked diligently in obtaining the long term charters and shipbuilding orders for the Infinity class vessels and we continue to move forward with the contracts and building,” Niels-Erik Lund, SunStone President and CEO, commented.
Infinity class vessels are 104 meters long and 18 meters wide, with a draft of 5.1 meters. They feature a passenger capacity between 130-200 and a crew capacity between 85 and 115. The Vessels are Ice Class 1A, Polar Code 6 and are being built with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning and Zero Speed Stabilizers.
Current Infinity class newbuilds include the Greg Mortimer, the Ocean Victory, the Ocean Explorer, the Ocean Odyssey and the Ocean Discoverer, scheduled for delivery in August 2019, in September 2020, in February 2021, in March 2022 and in September 2022, respectively.
In addition to the six vessels already ordered, SunStone is in negotiations for four additional vessels. It is expected that the seventh Infinity vessel will be signed within May and the remaining three options within 2019, according to the company.
In addition to the Infinity series of newbuildings, SunStone has commercial management of a fleet of nine vessels on long-term charter, mainly for the small-ship/expedition ship market.
  • WorldmaritimeNews
DPU Okays Vineyard Wind Energy Contracts
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved long-term contracts for 800MW of offshore wind between Vineyard Wind and the Commonwealth’s electric distribution companies.
“The approval of these contracts is an important step toward the completion of the largest offshore wind project in the country, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide Massachusetts residents and businesses with cost-effective clean energy and promote economic development,” said Charlie Baker, the Governor of Massachusetts.
Vineyard Wind has also committed in these contracts to contribute USD 15 million to a fund that will invest in projects designed to promote the use of battery storage in low-income communities and support the Commonwealth’s goal to further the development of energy storage systems across the state.
Vineyard Wind’s bid was selected for contract negotiation in May 2018 based on criteria established under a Request for Proposals (RFP), and submitted to the DPU for review and approval on 31 July 2018.
Criteria used in the evaluation of the bids included an economic evaluation of the benefits for ratepayers, the project’s ability to foster employment and economic development in the Commonwealth, and the project’s environmental impacts and the extent to which a project demonstrates that it avoids or mitigates impacts to natural resources and tourism.
As a result of a review, Vineyard Wind was determined to provide the greatest overall value to Massachusetts customers by delivering approximately 800MW of offshore wind capacity per year while providing substantial ratepayer benefits, DPU said.  The DPU’s Order approved the selection and found that these contracts are cost-effective as well as in the public interest.
Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, will be built some 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard on a lease area covering some 160,000 acres. The wind farm, which will feature MHI Vestas 9.5MW turbines, is expected to enter the construction phase in 2019 and be operational by 2021.
Back in March, the Commonwealth’s electric distribution companies submitted their second RFP to the DPU for up to 800MW of additional offshore wind.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Keppel gets approval to begin Gimi FLNG conversion
Keppel Offshore & Marine’s subsidiary, Keppel Shipyard, has received the Final Notice to Proceed (FNTP) from Gimi MS Corporation, a subsidiary of Golar LNG, to start full conversion works for the Gimi Floating Liquefaction Vessel (FLNG) project.
Keppel said on Wednesday that the total contract is worth $947 million. Keppel Shipyard’s scope of work in the conversion of a Moss Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carrier into an FLNG vessel includes the design, detailed engineering and procurement of the marine systems as well as conversion-related construction services.
Keppel noted it will be similar to the work done on the first FLNG vessel, Hilli Episeyo, which Keppel undertook for Golar, but will be customized for the 20-year BP’s Greater Tortue Ahmeyim contract offshore West Africa. Delivery of the vessel is expected in 1H 2022.
To remind, BP in late February awarded Golar LNG a contract for an FLNG unit to be deployed at the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project offshore Senegal and Mauritania. Golar LNG had previously been given Limited Notice to Proceed with Tortue FLNG ahead of the Final Investment Decision which was made on December 21, 2018.
Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel O&M, said, “We are glad to continue this strong partnership with Golar on such a successful FLNG solution. The success of the Hilli Episeyo has provided the industry with strong proof of the attractiveness of Golar and Keppel’s conversion solution. This has further strengthened our offerings along the gas value chain.”
Hilli Episeyo, the world’s first converted FLNG vessel, was delivered to Golar LNG for work offshore Kribi, Cameroon.
Iain Ross, CEO of Golar LNG, said, “Golar looks forward to working closely with Keppel on another Mark I FLNG and has a high degree of confidence in Keppel’s ability to safely deliver FLNG Gimi on time and within budget.”
Keppel Shipyard will once again engage Black & Veatch, its partner for the conversion of the Hilli Episeyo, to provide design, procurement and commissioning support services for the topsides, as well as the liquefaction process, utilizing its PRICO technology.
When completed, the Gimi FLNG will be stationed at a nearshore hub located on the Mauritania and Senegal maritime border, and is expected to begin production in 2022 as part of the first phase of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project. The Gimi FLNG is designed to produce an average of approximately 2.5 million tonnes of LNG per annum.
  • Offshoreenergytoday
Scotland could face 'deep recession' in disorderly Brexit
A disorderly Brexit risks a deep recession in Scotland, according to researchers.  The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI), part of the University of Strathclyde, predicts a loss of more than one £1 in every £20 of output from the economy.  It suggests the fall from peak to trough in the economy could be around 5.5% of total output, contracting for two whole years.  This is in line with forecasts made by the Bank of England for the UK economy.
The FAI modelled several possible Brexit outcomes and the impact in its latest economic commentary. This included scenarios of a no-deal Brexit with and without policy response.
Despite the potential for loss, researchers expect the damage to be offset by action taken by governments and the Bank of England.
And the FAI has set out a possible growth path for the Scottish economy which could see it outperform current estimates if Brexit is well-managed, business confidence returns and investment picks up.  The central forecast for the economy is slightly weaker than the last such report from the economics institute.  It predicts only 1.1% growth this year, followed by 1.4% next year and 1.5% the year after.
While much economic attention has been focused on Brexit in recent months, the economists warn that major questions are being ignored or avoided by governments in Edinburgh and London.
Reflecting on the difference made by the Scottish parliament 20 years after it was first elected, Wednesday's report says the weakest part of its performance has been "the lack of evaluation and scrutiny of the effectiveness and value of policy initiatives".
It questions whether there has been any progress on a Whitehall initiative to find ways for governments and their agencies to work better together in the interests of the Scottish economy.
'Scale back oil'
It says there should be a renewed focus on sustainable growth, after most targets set by the incoming Scottish government in 2007 have been missed.
The report says there is a need to address big structural changes coming to the economy, including demographic change, the scaling back of the oil and gas sector, automation and emerging economies around the world.
At the same time, it says there should be an assumption that government budgets will remain tight, demand for the health service continues to grow, and little discussion takes place of the squeeze on public services that are not protected by having the high priority for the NHS and schools.
The report calls for stronger cross-party co-operation in the Scottish Parliament, pointing to the impasse on Brexit in Westminster as the outcome of consensus policy-making breaking down.
The first minister will focus on Brexit when she speaks at the STUC conference in Dundee later.  She is expected to say nobody should pretend that the damage of Brexit can be fully mitigated,  Nicola Sturgeon will warn that Brexit, in any form, will harm living standards and risk jobs.
An extension to Article 50 was granted earlier this month, meaning the UK will not leave the EU until 31 October, unless a deal can be agreed in Parliament sooner.  Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, commented that last week's delay in the deadline for Brexit only "kicked the can down the road", with little evidence so far of UK policy makers being able to agree a compromise approach. The risks to the economy therefore remain high.
He went on: "Brexit should not be the only focus of attention. One consequence of the Brexit debate is that it has left little room for discussion of the emerging structural challenges and opportunities our economy is facing."
John Macintosh, tax partner at Deloitte, the accountancy firm that sponsors the regular Allander economic commentary, said the latest report underlined strong employment figures, but there is a pressing need to encourage investment and to improve productivity".
He called on business to "think differently, adopting a more ambitious and medium-term outlook by investing in innovative and collaborative strategies as well as talent".
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 16th April 2019
Austal Cuts Steel for Second Fred Olsen Trimaran Ferry
Australian shipbuilder Austal held a steel-cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction on the second 118-meter trimaran ferries for Spanish shipping firm Fred. Olsen Express.
The ceremony for the future Bañaderos Express was held at Austal’s Philippines shipyard. The ferry is due to be delivered by the end of 2020 as part of an AUD 190 million (USD 135.7 million) shipbuilding contract with Fred. Olsen Express for two trimarans, which was awarded to Austal in October 2017.
The Bañaderos Express, and its sister ship, the Bajamar Express, were developed at Austal’s maritime design center in Henderson, Western Australia.
“The Austal-designed and built 127-metre trimaran, the Benchijigua Express, has become the benchmark for blue-water commercial ferry operations since it entered service in 2005, exceeding expectations for performance, speed and customer experience in the Canary Islands,” David Singleton, Austal CEO, said.
“These new 118-metre trimaran vessels will continue to be a game-changer in the international high-speed ferry market when these vessels enter service for Fred. Olsen.”
  • World Maritime News
Santos confirms significant offshore gas find at Corvus area, W. Australia
Australian oil and gas company has said it has successfully drilled the Corvus-2 appraisal well confirming “a significant gas resource” in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia.  The well, located in petroleum permit WA-45-R, in which Santos has a 100 percent interest, is approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Dampier.
The Corvus-2 well intersected a gross interval of 638 meters, one of the largest columns ever discovered across the North West Shelf, Santos said. The well reached a total depth of 3,998 meters.
Wireline logging to date has confirmed 245 meters of net hydrocarbon pay across the target reservoirs in the North Rankin and Mungaroo formations, between 3,360 and 3,998 meters.
Higher permeability zones than encountered in Corvus-1 have been observed from initial pressure sampling completed in the well. Compared to Corvus-1, initial samples acquired from Corvus-2 indicate a significantly higher Condensate Gas Ratio of up to 10 bbl/mmscf and a similar CO2 content of 7 percent, Santos added.
Corvus-2 is approximately three kilometers southwest of Corvus-1, which was drilled in 2000. The water depth at the location is 63 meters. The field is approximately 28 kilometers from the Reindeer platform, which delivers gas to the Devil Creek domestic gas plant near Karratha, and about 62 kilometers to a Varanus Island tie-in point. Santos has a 100 percent interest in all these facilities.
The well was drilled using the jack-up drilling rig, Noble Tom Prosser, and will be plugged and abandoned as planned once logging operations are completed.
Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said: “Corvus-2 has delivered a fantastic result and has opened up a number of additional exploration opportunities in the region. It is particularly exciting to have realized higher liquids content and significantly bigger resource volume than we expected.”
“Corvus could be tied back to either our Devil Creek or Varanus Island gas plants, where it has the potential to increase the utilization of our existing facilities as well as provide backfill and extend plateau well into the 2030s.”
“It’s a great start to our 2019 offshore drilling campaign, and it also highlights the value of the Quadrant acquisition and our strategy of pursuing upstream brownfield growth opportunities around existing infrastructure. The rig will now move north to commence the Dorado appraisal program,” Gallagher said.
Commenting on Santos’ announcement on Tuesday, Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Daniel Toleman said: “Based on limited information, our initial estimate is a 2.5 tcf gas and 25 mmbbl condensate resource. This will be the largest gas discovery in the Carnarvon basin since the Satyr-4 exploration well drilled by Chevron in 2009.
“Santos’ stated 254m net pay is indicative of a very large gas resource in place, but recoverable volumes will be dependant on the size of the structure, area extent and sand thickness.
“Santos suggested that Corvus will supply the domestic market. The field is near to Santos’ Reindeer development and if the resource comes in over 2 tcf, we believe Santos will explore opportunities to export the gas as LNG. This is due to Corvus’ proximity to the Burrup Peninsula, and a well-supplied domestic market in the short-to-medium term.
“The North West Shelf has LNG production capacity available from 2021. The Corvus discovery could fill this ullage. If an LNG backfill development is to progress, we expect Santos will look to sell down, as it currently holds 100% in the find. One of the North West Shelf partners would be a logical entrant.
“Quadrant’s exploration portfolio is shaping up to be a good buy for Santos. Dorado was the third largest oil discovery in Western Australia’s history and Corvus is likely to be Santos’ largest offshore gas discovery ever.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
Vattenfall Picks Siemens Gamesa 10MW Turbines for Dutch Offshore Wind Farms
Vattenfall and Siemens Gamesa have joined forces to deploy the new SG 10.0-193 DD turbines at the Hollandse Kust Zuid 1&2 offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea.  Siemens Gamesa said it is in final negotiations to secure the contract for the supply of 76 of its 10MW turbines for the Hollandse Kust Zuid 1&2 project.
In case Vattenfall wins the tender for Hollandse Kust Zuid 3&4, Siemens Gamesa would also be selected to provide the 10MW turbines, subject to the final investment decision. The wind farm would include 152 units in total.
“Due to the increased capacity, we require fewer turbines to be placed at Hollandse Kust Zuid which clearly reduces the environmental impact of this wind farm compared to earlier ones,” said Gunnar Groebler, Vice President and Head of Business Area Wind at Vattenfall.
“Larger turbines and greater availability also lead to major advantages in terms of electricity generation, which is particularly important in a subsidy free environment. Having fewer turbines to install also means lower costs and fewer risks during the installation process”. 
The turbines are the latest generation on the market and will increase the efficiency by 30%, Siemens Gamesa said, adding that they are fitted with 94m long blades capable of generating more capacity per rotor lap than older, smaller turbines.
Last year, Vattenfall won the tender to build Hollandse Kust Zuid 1&2, the first non-subsidised wind farm in the Netherlands. Initial preparations are now underway, with project completion expected in 2023.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Brexit: Tusk says UK MEPs could sit for 'months or longer'
The UK will take part in May's European elections and British MEPs could sit for "months or even longer", European Council President Donald Tusk has said.
Mr Tusk said the decision to delay Brexit to 31 October meant British voters will be going to the polls.  But Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said the six-month extension was too short for change and too far away to prompt action.  The UK PM has said she wants to leave the EU before 22 May to avoid the poll.  But Theresa May needs to get her withdrawal deal - which has been rejected three times by Parliament - approved by MPs.  Cross-party talks between the government and the Labour Party are set to resume this week to find a way through the impasse.
Meanwhile, US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said there would be no chance whatsoever" of a post-Brexit trade deal between the US and UK if there was any weakening of the Good Friday Agreement.  The 1998 peace deal led to the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Mr Tusk insisted that if British MEPs were elected in May, they should be treated as "full members".
"One of the consequences of our decision is that the UK will hold European elections next month," he said.
"We should approach this seriously as UK members of the European Parliament will be there for several months - maybe longer."  He said they will have "all the rights and obligations" of full members.  "I have strongly opposed the idea that during this further extension the UK should be treated as a second category member state. No, it cannot," he said.
He said the EU had not given into "fear and scaremongering" that the UK would act in an obstructive way, saying the UK had been a "responsible and constructive member state".
BBC Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming said this was a "clear swipe" at French President Emmanuel Macron and others who had warned the UK could disrupt the functioning of the EU during a long extension.
'Brexit exhaustion'
The extension of Article 50 - the process by which the UK leaves the EU - gave the UK time to cancel its departure if that was what the British people wanted, Mr Tusk said.
He said he knew both sides of the Channel were "exhausted with Brexit" and this should not be "an excuse to say 'let's get it over with' just because we are tired".
"We must continue to deal with Brexit with an open mind and in a civilised manner," he said.  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated that there will be no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement.  "Brexit is not the future of the EU," he said. "The future of the union will go well beyond Brexit."
The European Parliament's Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt said the extension risked importing the "Brexit mess into the EU" and "poisoning" the European Parliament elections.  He urged the UK government and the Labour Party to reach a cross-party consensus in the "coming days".
On Sunday, cabinet minister David Lidington said the government and Labour were "testing out" each other's ideas as they tried to resolve the Brexit deadlock.  He told the BBC they had a "fair bit in common" over future customs objectives but further compromise was needed.
  • BBC News


Headlines Monday 15th April 2019
Hyundai Heavy Wins USD 600 Mn Worth of Gas, Tanker Orders
South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries has secured orders for five new gas and crude carriers, with a value of around USD 600 million, in recent weeks.  The shipbuilder said that the units were ordered by European and Asian ship owners and include three gas carriers and two crude oil carriers.
An undisclosed Greek shipping company recently signed a contract for the construction of a 174,000 cbm LNG carrier. At the end of March, Hyundai Heavy reached agreements to build one LNG carrier for a Japanese owner, one LPG carrier for a compatriot company, and two crude oil carriers for Greek shipping firms.
Furthermore, Hyundai Heavy said it expects to receive additional orders for large-scale LNG carriers during 2019 on the back of an increasing LNG orderbook amid recent tightening of environmental regulations.
Worldwide orders reached 32.2 million CGT last year, up 14 percent from 28.1 million CGT recorded in 2017, HHI cited data from Clarksons.
This trend is expected to continue in the future, and the global order volume in 2023 is expected to reach 44.6 million CGT, the company continued. In 2019, the development of LNG projects in Russia and Qatar is expected to be will be full-fledged.
  • Worldmaritimenews
Energean hits ‘significant gas discovery’ with Karish North well
Energean Oil and Gas has made a significant gas discovery in the Karish North exploration well located offshore Israel.  Energean started drilling the Karish North well on March 15, 2019, using the Stena DrillMAX drillship, a sixth generation drillship capable of drilling in water depth of up to 10,000 feet.
On Monday, April 15 Energean announced the discovery and said that preliminary analysis indicates initial gas in place estimates of between 1 Tcf (28 Bcm) and 1.5 Tcf (42 Bcm) and high quality reservoir in the B and C sands.
The well reached an intermediate TD of 4,880 meters approximately seven days ahead of schedule. A gross hydrocarbon column of up to 249 meters was encountered and a 27 meter core was recovered to surface. Further evaluation will now be undertaken to further refine resource potential and determine the liquids content of the discovery.
Drilling of the initial phase of the Karish North well is now complete. As planned, Energean will now deepen the well to evaluate hydrocarbon potential at the D4 horizon.
Once operations are completed on Karish North, the Stena DrillMAX will return to drilling the three Karish Main development wells. Following this four-well program, Energean has six drilling options remaining on its contract with Stena Drilling.
The Karish North discovery will be commercialized via a tie-back to the Energean Power FPSO, which is located 5.4km from the Karish North well. The FPSO is being built with total processing and export capacity of 8 Bcm/yr (775 mmcf/d), which will enable Karish North, and future discoveries, to be monetized.
In December 2018, Energean signed a contract with I.P.M Beer Tuvia (I.P.M.) to supply an estimated 5.5 Bcm (0.2 Tcf) of gas over the life of the contract. The contract is contingent, inter alia, on the results of Energean’s 2019 drilling program and the discovery announcement significantly increases the likelihood of its conversion into a firm contract, the company said.
Inclusive of the I.P.M. contract, Energean has contracted 4.6 Bcm/yr (445 mmcf/d) of gas sales, leaving a further 3.4 Bcm/yr (330 mmcf/d) of spare capacity in its FPSO for additional sales of discovered gas at Karish and the tie back of future discoveries.
Mathios Rigas, CEO of Energean said: “We are delighted to be announcing this significant new gas discovery at Karish North, which further demonstrates the attractiveness of our acreage offshore Israel.
“We are building the Energean Power FPSO with spare capacity, which will enable us to quickly, safely and economically develop both Karish North and future discoveries. We have already signed a contingent contract to sell 5.5 bcm (0.2 Tcf) of this new resource, and our strategy is now to secure the offtake for remaining volumes. We continue to see strong demand for our gas, which we believe will be supported by today’s announcement.”
  • Offshoreenergytoday
RODA Launches Offshore Wind and Fisheries Research Alliance
The U.S. Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) has formed an alliance dedicated to advancing regional research on fisheries and offshore wind.  The Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA) is expected to provide for and advance regional research and monitoring of fisheries and offshore wind interactions in federal waters.  The group represents a collaborative effort of fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developers, and state and federal government agencies.
According to RODA, the goals of the alliance are to collect and disseminate data on fisheries and wind development and increase understanding of the effects and potential impacts of wind energy on fisheries and the ocean ecosystems on which they depend.
It will seek to address broader aspects of the ocean environment that offshore fisheries and wind energy activities occupy, including pre-facility baseline activity and resource status, ecosystem-based fishery management, socioeconomic effects, and cumulative impacts, RODA added.
“So much is poorly understood regarding the impacts of large-scale offshore wind energy development to fisheries and fish stocks, and studies that have been performed lack regional coordination,” said Annie Hawkins, Executive Director of RODA.
“This forum will be immensely helpful to the fishing industry so that it may provide leadership in study prioritization, methodology, and execution through cooperative research.”
ROSA has received support from NOAA Fisheries, EDF Renewables, Ørsted, Shell New Energies, and Equinor Wind US, RODA said, adding that its funding is derived from annual contributors, including wind energy leaseholders, with support from federal and state partners and other contributors.
  • Offshorewind.biz
MHWirth Bags Keppel FELS Contract
MHWirth, a company owned by Akastor, has signed a contract with Keppel FELS for delivery of one drilling equipment package for a new mid-water semi-submersible drilling rig.  This is the first out of three options that were given when Keppel FELS and MHWirth signed a contract in April 2018 for a similar drilling equipment package, said the supplier of drilling equipment and facilities for the offshore industry.
Reference is made to stock exchange release dated 5 April 2018, it said.  The rig will be built for Awilco Drilling PLC by Keppel FELS Limited in Singapore. Delivery is planned for Q1 2022.
The contract value for the drilling equipment package, including a mid-water riser package, is approximately USD 100 million. This will be included in the order intake in Q2 2019.
Mhwirth AS supplies drilling equipment and facilities for the offshore industry that includes components, drilling modules, and rig packages.
Akastor is a Norway-based oil-services investment company with a portfolio of industrial holdings and other investments.
  • OEDigital


Headlines Friday 12th April 2019

Study: Using LNG as Fuel Would Cut GHG Emissions by Up to 21%
Using LNG as marine fuel would reduce the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21%, according to a study conducted by SEA\LNG and Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel Limited (SGMF).  The percentage of GHG reduction is compared with current oil-based marine fuels over the entire life cycle from Well-to-Wake (WtW). The parties said that the benefit is highly dependent on the engine technology installed and, to a certain extent, on the type of reference fuel (distillate or residual).
The study also confirms that emissions of other local pollutants, such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), are close to zero when using LNG compared with current conventional oil-based marine fuels.  “The Life Cycle GHG Emission Study is a long-awaited piece of the ‘LNG as a marine fuel’ puzzle.  It not only confirms what we already knew in terms of LNG’s immediate impact on air quality, human health and its cleanliness, but clearly highlights the genuine, substantiated GHG benefits of using today’s marine engines capable of burning natural gas,” Peter Keller, SEA\LNG Chairman, said.
A large number of SEA\LNG and SGMF member companies submitted up-to-date, technical data providing the basis for a complete and accurate life cycle analysis of the GHG intensity expressed in terms of CO2-equivalents.  On an engine technology basis, the study showed that absolute WtW emissions reduction benefits for LNG-fuelled engines compared with HF-fuelled ships today are between 14% to 21% for 2-stroke slow speed engines and between 7% to 15% for 4-stroke medium speed engines. 72% of the marine fuel consumed today is by 2-stroke engines with a further 18% used by 4-stroke medium speed engines.
The study showed that LNG provides a significant advantage in terms of improving air quality which is particularly important in ports and coastal areas.  Beyond the benefits associated with reducing air pollutants, the parties noted that LNG is a viable solution to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and to contribute to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) GHG reduction targets.  Ongoing optimisation in supply chain and engine technology developments will further enhance the benefits of LNG as a marine fuel, the parties noted. Additionally, bioLNG and Synthetic LNG, both fully interchangeable with LNG derived from fossil feedstock, offer the potential for significant additional GHG emissions reductions. For example, a blend of 20% bioLNG as a drop-in fuel can reduce GHG emissions by a further 13% when compared to 100% fossil fuel LNG.
The international shipping industry is under pressure to cut emissions on the back of the IMO’s ambition to reduce the GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared with 2008. More stringent air quality regulations, such as the IMO 2020 global sulphur cap, are also approaching. In the light of the IMO 2020 global sulphur cap, conventional oil-based residual marine fuels will need to either change in their specification or be replaced by alternative fuels like LNG, the parties concluded.
  • World Maritime News
Maersk Supply to install energy advisory system on its vessels in a bid to save fuel
Danish offshore shipping company Maersk Supply Service (MSS) has signed a contract with Eniram, a Wärtsilä company, to install an Energy Advisory System on its vessels.  Announcing the introduction of this system on its vessels, MSS said on Friday that the system will use high quality data to optimize operations and save fuel in real time, lowering the company’s carbon footprint and fuel costs for customers.
Proof of concept will be carried out on two of Maersk Supply Service’s vessels: one M-class Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS) and one I-class Subsea Support Vessel (SSV).  After initial testing, the company plans to roll out the Energy Advisory System to four additional vessels, with the long-term goal of installation across the entire fleet.
The company noted that the installation of the Energy Advisory System is just one of several initiatives it has undertaken in an effort to reach its initial target of 5% reduction in fuel consumption by 2020.  Chief Operating Officer, Claus Bachmann, said: “As a responsible vessel operator with an obligation to our customers and the environment, energy efficiency is at the top of our agenda. We are excited to officially enter this partnership with Wärtsilä to begin the pilot of the Energy Advisory System. This advanced technology will enable us to be smarter and more agile in our fuel reduction efforts.”
Testing of the Energy Advisory System on the first two vessels is expected to start during summer 2019.
In related news, Danish shipping giant Maersk, which has been contemplating options for its offshore support vessel subsidiary Maersk Supply Service – including a potential sale – for two years, has recently decided to retain full ownership of Maersk Supply Service.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Brexit uncertainty affecting mental health of 1 in 3 UK adults, study shows
Only 20 per cent of Conservative voters reported Brexit negatively impacted their mental health, compared with 43 per cent of Labour voters.  Uncertainty about the future of Brexit is affecting the mental health of a third of UK adults, a new survey has found.
Around 33 per cent of people said Britain's departure from the European Union has had a negative effect on their wellbeing, according to a poll by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  Older people were more likely to be affected by anxieties over Brexit with 37 per cent of over-65s saying it had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, compared with just 28 per cent of 16-24 year-olds. 
Louise Taylor, a counsellor based in Cheshire, said the UK's uncertain future had left people feeling powerless, which was directly impacting their mental health.  “While some people may be genuinely worried about their job, some people may have uncertainty in life anyway,” Ms Taylor said. “Brexit just adds to it by making the stress in their lives worse.”  She added that almost a quarter of her clients mention Brexit as a “contributory factor” to a decline in their mental wellbeing.  “People do feel stuck and powerless. We’ve had our say in the referendum, and yet we still don’t have any power over the events. Those are the two main emotions; uncertainty and a sense of powerlessness to change anything.”
Kate, 33, suffers from anxiety and depression. She says her symptoms have worsened since the results of the 2016 referendum, and she now experiences regular panic attacks and has trouble sleeping.  “It really started to affect my mental health in the last few months after Meaningful Vote 1. I remember feeling really sick and anxious. It’s got worse from there. A lot of it is all the lingering going backwards and forwards,” she said.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was watching BBC News and I just lay on the floor and curled up into a ball until my partner came home. My other stresses and worries were involved in that too, but Brexit really heightened it. I felt awful,” she added. While only 20 per cent of Conservative voters reported Brexit negatively impacted their mental health, this figure doubled to 43 per cent for people who backed Labour, and 47 per cent for those who voted for the Liberal Democrats.
Kate, who voted for the Liberal Democrats in the 2017 election, said that all her family are “pro EU.”  “My aunt lives in France, and my dad’s a dairy farmer,” said Kate. “He’s very reliant on the single farm payment – that’s a worry.”
Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist and couples counsellor, said she frequently sees a “learned helplessness” around Brexit.  “This is a state which develops when a person has accepted that they have lost control over a situation and thus give up trying,” said Ms Burke. “It can stem from one particular situation – Brexit in this case – but can spiral into a sense of being out of control in all aspects of one’s life. In my clients, Brexit is often twinned with anxieties such as climate change or race/gender inequality. Often the client expressing such anxiety feels helpless and disempowered.”
In treating her clients, Ms Burke tries to explore ways to make them “feel more engaged and empowered".
“Often taking steps - however small - to affect change can help to ease their anxiety and sense of helplessness,” she said.
  • Independent


Headlines Thursday 11th April 2019
MSC Cruises Gets Approval for New PortMiami Cruise Terminal
MSC Cruises has received approval for its new cruise terminal at PortMiami from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners on April 9.  The company would design, construct, operate and maintain a large building that hosts two cruise terminals (AA and AAA) as well as two berths. The terminal would support the company’s expanding presence in North America, and particularly in the Caribbean, according to MSC Cruises.
The new PortMiami terminals will be capable of hosting two mega cruise ships at the same time, allowing the company to conduct two turnaround operations simultaneously, handling up to 28,000 passenger movements per day.  “With another 13 cruise vessels due to join our fleet in the next eight years, our ambition is to have our most innovative ship classes represented at PortMiami,” Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, said.
MSC Cruises currently operates four vessels out of PortMiami, MSC Seaside and MSC Armonia year-round, MSC Divina seasonally, and MSC Meraviglia, which will join the ships sailing from Miami this fall, seasonally. With the new cruise facilities, the company will bring a total 1 million guests through PortMiami each year.
Work on the new terminals is scheduled to commence in early 2020. MSC Cruises estimates that the construction would be completed by late 2022, at which time the company would transfer all its PortMiami operations to the new terminal.
  • World Maritime News
Planning Inspectorate Wraps Up Hornsea Three EIA Examination
The UK Planning Inspectorate has completed the examination of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Ørsted’s Hornsea Project Three offshore wind farm.  The Examining Authority will now compile a report comprising conclusions and recommendations in respect of the application.  The report is then sent to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who will decide whether to grant the development consent.
RPS Group said its technical specialists worked closely with Ørsted’s Environment and Consents team throughout the examination, providing input to the documents which have been produced and submitted since October last year.
“RPS have played a central role in preparing the Hornsea Three application and providing technical advice through the testing examination phase,” said Stuart Livesey, Ørsted’s Hornsea Project Three Development Manager.
“Their multi discipline team has been instrumental in preparing a robust evidence led assessment and have played a central role in responding to stakeholder and Examiners questions and concerns. They are a dedicated team and became trusted advisors on complex matters.”
RPS was also the lead EIA consultant for Hornsea Project One, consented in December 2014, and Hornsea Project Two, consented in August 2016.  The 2.4GW Hornsea Project Three will be constructed more than 120km off the north Norfolk coast. It will comprise up to 300 turbines and if built to full capacity could power the average daily needs of over 2 million UK homes.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Brexit delay could extend term of Juncker Commission - EU official
European Union officials are considering an extension of the EU commission’s mandate should Britain be granted a long delay to its planned exit date, a senior official said on Wednesday.  European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker takes part in the European Commission's weekly college meeting in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
It was a further sign of how Brexit delays could upset the functioning of the European Union.  EU leaders were set to grant Prime Minister Theresa May a second postponement to Britain’s fraught exit at an emergency summit on Wednesday but were expected to argue over how long and on what terms.
A Brexit delay beyond EU Parliament elections scheduled on May 23-26 would force Britain to participate in the vote and elect representatives to the EU assembly - an option May wants to avoid but which could become inevitable if the British parliament fails to ratify a withdrawal deal in coming weeks.  British participation could change the political balance in the next European legislature, EU officials fear, as Britons are seen electing strongly eurosceptic lawmakers, boosting already growing numbers of nationalists who seek to weaken the bloc.
Yet Britain’s Labour Party, if it fields candidates, could boost the weight of the socialist grouping in the EU assembly, potentially allowing the centre-left to gain a majority.  Polls in the remaining 27 EU countries currently predict the centre-right will win most seats in the next EU parliament - so when Britain and its deputies leave the EU, the majority in the European assembly could change.
That raises uncertainty over the next executive commission, which must be approved by European lawmakers. As a result, EU officials are considering extending the mandate of the existing executive led by Jean-Claude Juncker beyond its term which expires at end of October, the senior official said.  This extension, which would be limited to a few months, would avoid the risk that a changed power balance in the EU parliament after Brexit could raise doubt about the legitimacy of the new executive, the official said.
Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said on Wednesday he saw no reason to extend its mandate. He is the candidate for the socialist grouping for the presidency of the new commission.  Britain’s May has asked for a delay of Brexit until June 30. EU summit chair Donald Tusk favoured a longer, flexible extension of up to 12 months. France and Germany supported a shorter extension.
Conditions to limit Britain’s role in the EU during any Brexit extension period in the coming months were expected to be agreed at Wednesday’s EU summit.
  • Reuters
Headlines Wednesday 10th April 2019
NYK to Build New LNG Carrier for 20-Year Edison Charter
Japanese shipping major NYK Line has placed an order for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier after signing a charter contract with Italy-based energy company Edison.  The 174,000 cubic meter vessel was ordered from South Korea’s Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries. Featuring an X-DF fuel-efficient, dual-fuel engine, the new ship is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
The LNG carrier will have a length of 297 meters and a width of 46.4 meters.
On April 10, NYK revealed the newbuilding order as part of the long-term LNG carrier charter agreement signed with Edison. The company said that the deal was signed for a period of up to 20 years and includes an extension option.
In accordance with its new medium-term management plan, NYK is looking to secure stable freight rates through long-term contracts, provide flexible and optimal LNG transport options, and continue its efforts to contribute to a stable supply of LNG.
  • World Maritime News
Aker Solutions and FSubsea to create new firm for boosting oil recovery
Norway’s Aker Solutions and its compatriot FSubsea have agreed to create FASTSubsea to help operators increase oil recovery in “a faster, simpler and more environmentally friendly way.”
Aker Solutions said on Wednesday that multiphase subsea pumping technology has the potential to increase oil recovery rates by more than 20 percent, but cost, space limitations and sometimes complex solutions mean multiphase pumps are installed in fewer than 30 of the world’s 1,500+ offshore fields.
With FASTSubsea, this is about to change, according to the two companies.  Aker Solutions said  that the new company combines its multiphase hydraulic technology with FSubsea’s Hydromag technology to create the world’s first “topside-less” multiphase boosting system.
The pump-module solution being developed by FASTSubsea can cut capex by half and enable subsea boosting at fields where there is no available topside space. Getting more out of existing wells reduces CO2-emissions per barrel.
“Creating FASTSubsea enables us to increase our speed to the market, reduce risk and reduce investment in multiphase test facilities,” said Alexander Fuglesang, CEO of FSubsea, who will take on the role of Managing Director of FASTSubsea.  “Combining Aker Solutions’ subsea systems expertise and multiphase test facility with FSubsea’s Hydromag technology and lean mindset will benefit both companies, said John Macleod, Aker Solutions’ Chief Technology Officer.
“FASTSubsea has the potential to become a valuable addition to our portfolio of boosting recovery solutions.”
The agreement is subject to approval from the Norwegian competition authorities.  The spread of subsea boosting technology has been hampered by cost and complexity. Conventional systems require a large amount of topside equipment on a platform or FPSO, including electric variable speed drives and supply systems for barrier fluid hydraulic oils. They also typically require several kilometers of hydraulic umbilicals between the pumps and the platform. This increases cost in the form of engineering and hardware spend.
Aker Solutions stated that the pump-module solution from FASTSubsea leverages FSubsea’s Hydromag technology, which is a unique combination of the world’s most powerful Permanent Magnetic coupling with an embedded hydrodynamic variable speed function, and Aker Solutions’ MultiBooster semi-axial impeller design, which has proven best-in-class pressure generation capabilities.
This system has built-in variable speed function and is barrier-fluid-less, which reduces capex cost with up to 50 percent. It unlocks opportunities with platforms that have no additional topside space but still can reap the economic benefits of increased recovery with subsea boosting system, Aker Solutions explained.
Aker Solutions and FSubsea will each hold a 50 percent of the outstanding shares in FASTSubsea and the board of directors will consist of an equal number of Aker Solutions and FSubsea representatives.  Alexander Fuglesang acts as Managing Director of FASTSubsea and Bastiaen van der Rest as Technology and Operations Manager.
The company’s “topside-less” multiphase pump will be marketed towards subsea integrators and operators directly, as well as through Aker Solutions.  FSubsea will continue to market Omnirise product range directly to the marketplace and Aker Solutions will continue to market LiquidBooster and MultiBooster product ranges directly to the marketplace.
Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by over 10,000 industry professionals daily. We had nearly 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas and allows our partners to get maximum exposure for their online campaigns.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Is Scotland ready for EU elections?
If Brexit is not resolved soon, the UK could have to take part in European Parliament elections  It is the election that was not (and is still not) supposed to happen. Brexit was to exempt Scotland and the rest of the UK from taking part.  But delays to our EU departure mean the 2019 European Parliament elections are still in the diary for 23 May. Scottish parties are busy preparing for the contest knowing that it could still be cancelled.
It is, therefore, the mibbes aye, mibbes naw election.  Whether or not it goes ahead depends, in part, on how Theresa May gets on at the special EU summit on Brexit in Brussels.  The prime minister's asking to delay Brexit until 30 June, with the option of pulling out earlier if a deal and the necessary legislation is approved by MPs.  If that happens by 22 May, Mrs May has said the European elections would not go ahead in the UK.  The terms of any Brexit extension must first be agreed by all 28 EU countries.
The SNP was first among the Scottish parties to seek candidates for EU elections back in January, just in case they might be required.  Sitting MEPs Ian Hudghton - the party president - and Alyn Smith are both standing for re-election.  They hope to be among the three men and three women chosen by electronic ballot around the time of the SNP conference.
It's thought the former MSP and minister Aileen MacLeod and Mr Smith's chief of staff, Laura Rayner, have also put their names forward.  Four of the group of Scottish MEPs elected in 2014 are seeking to be on the ballot paper again in 2019
The UK's longest serving MEP, David Martin, with 35 years experience, has agreed to stand again for Scottish Labour.  He will top the party's list. Other potential candidates have until 10 April to put their names forward. A special panel of Scottish and UK party bosses will then interview and select five more hopefuls.  The second placed candidate will be a woman, replacing Catherine Stihler who stood down as an MEP last month.  Scotland's newest MEP, Nosheena Mobarik, is expected to be the main candidate for the Scottish Conservatives.  She replaced Ian Duncan in the European Parliament in 2017 when he quit to take up a seat in the Lords and become a Scotland office minister.
The Tories second placed candidate is likely to be Iain McGill, who campaigned for Vote Leave in 2016. Others will be invited to put their names forward this week for consideration by the party's management board.  The former leader of UKIP Scotland, David Coburn, is one of Scotland's six MEPs. He is expected to stand for Nigel Farage's Brexit party this time.
The Scottish Greens, who have never had an MEP, have made it their goal to replace him. Their members will whittle down a list of seventeen potential candidates over the next two weeks.  Scottish Liberal Democrat members are currently ranking twelve potential candidates, with party convenor, Sheila Ritchie, considered the favourite.
The UK government has formally tabled the legal order to allow European elections to go ahead on 23 May.  It has also written to returning officers offering to reimburse "reasonable and appropriate spending on contingency preparations".
The Scottish government has raised concerns that EU nationals from outside the UK might not have enough time to complete the appropriate paperwork to take part in the poll.  Scotland has six of the UK's 73 seats in the European Parliament.  These seats are to be shared between the EU's 27 remaining states if and when the UK leaves.
The EU has made clear that the UK must take part in this year's elections if Brexit has not happened by the time they take place.
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 9th April 2019
HydraWell bags P&A job in UK North Sea
Norwegian well integrity specialist HydraWell has signed a contract with an undisclosed UK-based supermajor to provide equipment and personnel for plug and abandonment (P&A) services in the UK North Sea.
The contract is valid for five years and is expected to be utilized for operations on a non-producing field in the UK sector of the North Sea, which ceased production in 2015, HydraWell said on Tuesday.  HydraWell will provide support out of its office and operational hub in Aberdeen, UK. The contract value and the identity of the client have not been disclosed.
“The supermajor in question is one of the operators that have been instrumental in accessing the significant operational benefits of the PWC technology, particularly on the Norwegian continental shelf. We look forward to supporting the company again on the UKCS,” said Tom Leeson, chief commercial officer of HydraWell.
To support the operator, HydraWell said it would apply its HydraHemeraTM PWC (perforate, wash and cement) system that perforates the well before washing behind the casing and then setting the cement plug in the well. The high pressure PWC jetting system can be utilized for plug & abandonment (P&A), slot recovery and well repair operations of single and dual casing offshore and onshore wells.
“The key benefit of the PWC jetting system is that it can install a rock-to-rock barrier, in line with UK regulatory requirements, in less than two days. In comparison, traditional methods such as section milling takes significantly longer to complete, driving up the associated rig costs,” said Tom Leeson.
HydraWell invented the PWC technology and has installed more than 280 plugs. The technology was first applied on the Norwegian continental shelf.
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Offshore Energy Today, established in 2010, is read by over 10,000 industry professionals daily. We had nearly 9 million page views in 2018, with 2.4 million new users. This makes us one of the world’s most attractive online platforms in the space of offshore oil and gas and allows our partners to get maximum exposure for their online campaigns.
  • Offshore Energy Today
‘Shortage of women’ blamed for North Sea gender pay gap
Energy chiefs have insisted a shortage of women looking to join the sector is partly to blame for the gender pay gap in the north-east.  New figures have revealed nine of the 10 companies in the north-east with a discernible gap are oil and gas firms.  Companies across the UK have been reporting numbers examining male and female pay in comparable job roles.
The results found a significant number of firms in the north-east energy sector are paying men considerably more than women or lack enough females in senior positions.
Two companies returning a widening gap in gender pay were Inverness-based Global Energy and Cape Industrial Services in Aberdeen.  Global Energy reported a 69% gap for 2018/19 compared to the previous year (19%), while Cape Industrial Services noted a 35.1% pay gap open up.  A spokesman for Cape insisted the figures did not “represent inequality” within the firm and that it pays people fairly “regardless of gender”.  He added: “In the past year we’ve had more males employed in technical roles, which accounts for the larger year on year gap.  “We’re working hard to promote diversity and inclusivity, and are working hard to attract and recruit a workforce reflective of the available talent pool.”
North Sea operator Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) International showed a stark improvement on the previous year, but was still among the top ten worst firms on gender pay overall.  The firm said it had engaged with employees “to identify specific focus areas, including promoting this through our recruitment, development and training, and through our community investment programmes.”  And Jim Bruce, training executive for Tullos Training in Aberdeen, said that the industry as a whole is suffering from a shortage of women looking to join the sector or take up energy apprenticeships.  He claimed there had been significant drop in female apprentices since the oil downturn in 2014.  
He said: “At the moment, we just can’t seem to get young women to see oil and gas as a place to begin their career. 
“The sector was once somewhere where young people saw a future in terms of good pay and a job for life, but that really dropped off after the downturn.  
“We’ve got a number of companies who would love to have a female engineer, but we just can’t get them.  
“It’s a real shame, as women often make better engineers.”
Alix Thom, Oil and Gas UK’s workforce engagement and skills manager, agreed there was a shortage of women in the sector and that gender pay gap reporting should be seen as an opportunity to “develop plans to close the gap”.  She added that the industry “must work together to encourage more women into those jobs”.
Aberdeen-headquartered firm Enermech reported the greatest narrowing of the pay difference, dropping from a 33.5% gap in 2017/18 to 3.1% in 2018/19.  The company revealed that in recent months it had appointed a number of females to senior positions, which had impacted positively on the hourly wage pay gap.  EnerMech chief executive Doug Duguid said: “While our results have improved since last year’s submission, we recognise a gap remains and this requires further effort.
“In common with many other businesses in the oil and gas sector, we also have fewer women working offshore or in other technical roles such as engineering or project management which attract higher levels of pay.
“We are working hard to bring gender balance to our workforce and the percentage of females currently working in upper and middle quartile roles within EnerMech have increased since the previous year.”
Kathryn Hardacre, analytics lead for the gender focused group Aberdeen X-Industry Support Network (AXIS) and lead production geologist at oil and gas firm Chrysaor, added that, as a consequence of gender pay reporting, the issue has “come to the attention of boards in the sector and is now seen as a business imperative.
She added: “In this first year, the data show more operators than not have narrowed their gap and increased the percentage of women in the top pay quartile. We think this is good news.
“However, we also think there is still much to be done, and this will need sustained focus for years to come – there is no quick fix.”
  • Energy Voice
EU open to Brexit extension but PM May needs clear plan
European Union ministers said on Tuesday the bloc was ready to grant Britain a second Brexit delay but that British Prime Minister Theresa May must come up with a clear plan of how to ratify the stalled divorce deal in the overtime.  EU ministers are meeting in Luxembourg a day before 27 national leaders of the bloc will decide during afternoon talks in Brussels on whether to allow Britain another extension to try to break the deadlock in London over Brexit.
Without an extension, Britain is due to leave the EU at 2200 GMT on Friday, without a deal to cushion the economic shock.  German, Dutch, Irish and Luxembourg ministers made clear in comments on arriving to the meeting that a no-deal Brexit must be avoided.
“Everybody this week are open to an extension but they certainly want to see a plan attached to that extension,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters.  His Dutch colleague Stef Blok echoed: “It’s in the Dutch interest to avoid hard Brexit and if more time is needed to avoid no-deal Brexit, we should provide more time.”
“I really hope the UK will find a solution to avoid this no-deal Brexit. We are hoping for a specific plan from the UK side on how to avoid this no-deal Brexit.”
Luxembourg’s Jean Asselborn said the EU side would do “everything we can” to avoid a no-deal Brexit.  But the German Minister Michael Roth made clear that May must come up with a clear plan to convince EU leaders on Wednesday to postpone Brexit beyond the current cliff-edge date of Apr.12.
“I must unfortunately note that the conditions set... have not been met,” he said.
“We are of course thinking about an appropriate extension of the deadline and also about a longer extension. They must, however, come with very strict conditions,” Roth said, citing British participation in May’s EU parliament election as one such condition.  George Ciamba of Romania, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said the EU welcomed Britain’s readiness to organise European Parliament elections in May, but made clear that was not enough.
“It is important for us to understand why the UK wants to stay (longer), you have to stay with a view to something,” he said.
“We have been in the same situation just a couple of weeks ago, we cannot afford to be discussing the same issue every two weeks without a plan,” he said.
  • Reuters
Headlines Monday 8th April 2019
DFDS Chooses DESMI Ocean Guard BWMS for Entire Fleet
Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS has contracted compatriot company DESMI Ocean Guard A/S to install ballast water management systems (BWMS) on DFDS’ existing fleet of vessels.
As informed, DFDS and the BWMS manufacturer recently signed a framework agreement for the supply of CompactClean BWMSs.  The agreement covers more than 40 ferries to be retrofitted in the period from early 2020 until end 2024, according to DESMI Ocean Guard.  
The majority of the vessels will be retrofitted with either a CompactClean-340 or a CompactClean-500 system, with max flow capacities of 340 m3/h and 500 m3/h respectively. A few vessels will be retrofitted with CompactClean BWMS with 750 m3/h or 1000 m3/h capacity.
“We are … proud that after a very careful evaluation and selection process DFDS decided for installation of the CompactClean BWMS on its entire existing fleet,” Rasmus Folsø, CEO of DESMI Ocean Guard A/S, adding that the company is looking forward to beginning the implementation across the DFDS’ fleet.
Founded by A. P. Moller – Maersk A/S, Skjølstrup & Grønborg ApS and DESMI A/S in 2009, DESMI Ocean Guard is today wholly owned by DESMI.  The manufacturer has so far developed three type approved BWMSs, with the most recent one being the CompactClean BWMS.
At the end of 2018, DFDS had 42 owned and 11 chartered in ferries deployed on the company’s ferry routes.
  • World Maritime News
Zennor Petroleum: Finlaggan ‘firmly on track’
Oil and gas company Zennor, developing the Finlaggan field in the UK North Sea, is making progress at the project as offtake deals have been confirmed and production wells have been successfully drilled.  The Finlaggan development targeting 30mmboe of gas condensate reserves from two subsea production wells tied back 20km to the Britannia platform, which is operated by ConocoPhillips.
In an update on Monday, Zennor said that both Finlaggan production wells (F1 and F2) have now been successfully drilled and cased to their target depths with long and highly productive lateral sections through the Lower Cretaceous reservoirs. The wells were drilled by Transocean’s Paul B Loyd Junior drilling rig.
“The results from both wells have been very encouraging with F1 demonstrating high quality hydrocarbon bearing sands in the northern extension of Finlaggan as prognosed, and F2 proving sand continuity over the previously interpreted fault between the southern two segments of the field. Zennor is delighted with the results achieved and the positive implications for reserves and productivity. Completion and clean-up operations across both wells are now underway and are expected to be finished during the current quarter,” the company added.
Apart from the operational update, Zennor said it had on March 28 2019, executed all major Finlaggan offtake agreements in line with previously agreed commercial terms.
“These agreements provide for the export of Finlaggan production through the Britannia facilities, the Forties Pipeline System, the SAGE Terminal and the SEGAL System,” Zennor said.
Martin Rowe, Zennor’s Managing Director, said: “The team has worked exceptionally hard over recent months and I am delighted to see those efforts come to fruition in achieving significant commercial and operational milestones. All aspects of the Finlaggan development project are firmly on track to deliver first production in Q4 2020 as planned and we greatly appreciate the support we continue to receive from our key contractors, partners, banking syndicate, the OGA and our shareholders.”
As previously reported, the subsea construction contract has been awarded to TechnipFMC, with the main installation works planned for 2019. This includes the laying of a 10” pipe-in-pipe production flowline and electrohydraulic control umbilical back to ConocoPhillips’ Britannia platform.  
  • Offshore Energy Today
Scottish economy 'moving closer to EU'
Scotland's economy has been growing more interlinked with that of the European Union as a whole since the Brexit referendum.  That's according to a report by the Fraser of Allander Institute, which updates an analysis carried out for the GMB union and published in November 2017.
That previous report showed 135,000 jobs were linked to demand from the European Union for Scottish exports.  That relates to £14.9bn-worth of goods and services sold to the other 27 member states.  The update, published by GMB on Monday, shows a further 9,000 jobs are tied to that trade, taking it to 144,000.  The biggest growth sectors for EU exports have been in petroleum and in food and drink.  The report also emphasises how much more exports of services have grown, up 98% since 2002.
By contrast, manufacturing exports are nearly 80% more valuable than services (£8.9bn, to £5bn), but only 3% higher than they were 17 years ago.  Exports were given a fillip after the June 2016 vote, when the value of sterling fell.  The price of oil has also risen significantly since 2016. At the time of the referendum, a barrel of Brent crude oil was trading below $50. After a surge in price last year, it fell during winter, and ended last week above $70 for the first time since November.
In other work carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University, Brexit could have the effect of reducing employment by between 30,000 and 80,000 jobs in Scotland over the next decade.  Gary Smith, Scotland secretary of GMB, commented on the most recent report: "Let's be clear that for Scotland, the best Brexit would be no Brexit at all, but in the absence of that, there needs to be an honest analysis of our future prospects."  He said the report's findings "are the hard facts facing Scotland, so this week we should not entertain any nonsense from Brexit cheerleaders about 'taking back control' or a 'jobs first Brexit' - even at the eleventh hour, the very least those driving us over the cliff-edge can do is tell the truth".
The "jobs first Brexit" is the slogan used by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Smith has been critical of the leadership's approach to Brexit and its potential economic effect.  The union secretary said the "price of political failure will likely be measured in divestment, redundancies and closures across Scotland - a new era of economic and industrial decline that will take hold over the next few years and take a generation from which to recover".
Other findings in the update from the Fraser of Allander Institute are that there remain few overall, significant differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK in its exposure to the effects of Brexit - except that some sectors have a bigger role in the Scottish economy, including drinks manufacturing and fisheries.
The authors of the report say the eventual outcome of Brexit will depend on future policy responses of government, and the opportunities that may arise to export to non-EU markets.  They advise government, trade unions and businesses to develop contingency plans for different outcomes.
"At the same time, it is important that our economy has come through upheaval before and there will be economic opportunities in the months and years ahead. Identifying such opportunities and being flexible enough to respond as they emerge will be just as important".
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 5th April 2019
Tufton Oceanic Invests in Two More Vessels
UK’s fund management company Tufton Oceanic Assets Limited has further expanded its fleet with two general cargo vessels.
The company reached an agreement to invest USD 13.1 million into the two units, which will be bareboat chartered to an unnamed general cargo shipping operator.
These are Tufton Oceanic’s first investments made from the proceeds of the placing announced on March 11, 2019. The additions will take the company’s fleet to fourteen vessels.
According to Tufton Oceanic, the average tenor is 5.5 years. The yield on these vessels exceeds the targets expressed in the company’s prospectus dated September 25, 2018.
  • WorldmaritimeNews
Saipem nets over $200 million in new offshore drilling contracts
Italian offshore contractor Saipem has been awarded new contracts in offshore drilling in Norway and Middle East totaling over $200 million.  Saipem said on Friday that one contract was signed with the German company Wintershall for the drilling of two wells plus two optional ones in continuity with previous engagements for operations offshore Norway.
The contract will be executed by the sixth-generation semi-submersible rig Scarabeo 8, a drilling unit capable of operations in harsh environments.  The rig is expected to be under operation until approximately the second quarter of 2020.
“With this contract, Saipem consolidates its presence in the North Sea-Norwegian Sector and extends its client base in offshore drilling to a new important player,” Saipem said.
Furthermore, Saipem has been awarded one contract in Middle East, which involves a four-year extension of the use of the high specs jack-up Perro Negro 7.  Perro Negro 7 is a self-elevating drilling unit capable of operating in water depths of up to 375 feet. Work started at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
“With this long-term commitment, Saipem strengthens and confirms its presence in a key area of shallow water operations and in a strategic market for the company overall,” Saipem concluded.  In related news, Saipem was recently reported by Bloomberg to be in talks for the sale of its drilling businesses, both onshore and offshore.
According to the financial news giant, the Italian oilfield services provider is in discussions with interested parties to divest its drilling units in two separate transactions.  Bloomberg based its report on information provided by unnamed sources familiar with the matter, who also said that Saipem, also involved in engineering and construction business, might elect not to sell the drilling business.
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Saipem, seeking confirmation of the report. A Saipem spokesperson declined to comment.
  • Offshoreenergytoday
Madrid opera greens under Acciona direction
Teatro Real will receive 100% renewable energy under a five-year deal.  Acciona Energy is to supply 100% renewable electricity to the Teatro Real opera house in Madrid, Spain, under a five-year deal.  The €3.78m supply contract will run from now until February 2024 and will result in the delivery of about 7 gigawatt-hours of electricity.
The deal is also certified by the Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission.  Acciona has also renewed its contract to supply clean power to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid from February to December 2019.
The contract will result in approximately 10.9GWh a year of renewable energy being delivered to the museum.
Acciona Energy management director Santiago Gomez Ramos said: “We are pleased to work with such emblematic entities as the Teatro Real and the Reina Sofia to contribute to the decarbonisation of the culture sector through clean and competitive energy supplies, which will undoubtedly please the thousands of people that visit their facilities.”
The company also supplies renewable electricity to other major cultural institutions in Spain, such as the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
It has also marketed clean energy to the National Library and eighteen museums that come under the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
  • Renews.biz
Brexit: UK asks EU for further extension until 30 June
Theresa May has written to the EU to request a further delay to Brexit until 30 June.  The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 12 April and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs.  Mrs May has proposed, if UK MPs agree a withdrawal deal in time, the UK should be able to leave before European Parliamentary elections on 23 May.  But she said the UK would prepare to field candidates in those elections, in case they do not reach agreement.
The prime minister wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk to request the extension ahead of a summit of EU leaders next Wednesday.  She requested an extension to the end of June at the last summit, which took place shortly before 29 March - the date the UK was originally meant to have left the EU.  But she was offered a short delay to 12 April - the date by which the UK must say whether it intends to take part in the European Parliamentary elections - or until 22 May if UK MPs had approved the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU. They voted it down for a third time last week.
In her letter, she says the "impasse cannot be allowed to continue", as it was "creating uncertainty and doing damage to faith in politics" in the UK.  She said if cross-party talks with the Labour Party could not establish "a single unified approach" in the UK Parliament - MPs would be asked to vote on a series of options instead which the government "stands ready to abide by".  She wrote that the UK proposed an extension to the process until 30 June and "accepts the European Council's view that if the United Kingdom were still a member state of the European Union on 23 May 2019, it would be under a legal obligation to hold the elections".
But it said if a withdrawal agreement could be ratified by Parliament before then "the government proposes that the period should be terminated early" so the UK can leave the EU before then, and cancel preparations for the European Parliamentary elections.
  • BBC News


Headlines Thursday 4th April 2019
Drewry: Routing Options to Ease Dover Congestion Post-Brexit
Short-sea container services could provide alternative capacity between the UK and EU to alleviate possible congestion at the Port of Dover post-Brexit, a study by shipping consultancy Drewry showed.
These latest findings follow an earlier Brexit briefing and resilience study by Drewry which concluded that the Port of Dover had the capacity to cope with moderate Brexit disruption.
Using this ‘alternative mode’ assumption, Drewry sought to understand the current container services available at UK Ports, their connectivity with EU Ports and to examine what container shipping lines could do to accommodate additional volumes by understanding current service capacity levels and how easily additional capacity, if required, might be deployed.
“In this second phase of our short-sea analysis we have turned our attention to alternative capacity and congestion mitigation,” said Tim Power, head of Drewry Maritime Advisors.
Powel explained that container shipping line services not only have the capacity, options and flexibility to handle additional container volumes in the event of disruption to cross-Channel freight services but also container terminals in the UK have the capacity to meet the additional throughput demands.
The study highlighted that of the 2.5 million trailers going via Dover up to 20% could possibly shift to another mode of transport. Also, the study showed that there are four ways that container shipping lines could cater for this demand, namely, making use of spare capacity on existing services; increasing frequency on existing services; increasing vessel sizes on existing services; and launching new services.
Furthermore, the study noted that UK container terminals in 11 ports have a combined spare capacity of 5.9 million TEUs, sufficient to handle this additional volume and provide wide geographical coverage.
  • WorldmaritimeNews
Triton Knoll Homeports at Grimsby’s Royal Dock
Grimsby’s Royal Dock has been confirmed as the home for Triton Knoll’s offshore construction and operations and maintenance facility after the project signed a port lease with ABP in Grimsby.
A new construction and longer-term Operations and Maintenance base will be constructed across nearly four acres. Tendering for a contractor to build the facility is also underway, and due to be concluded later this Summer.  Triton Knoll also aims to recruit new and existing technicians to its team, with the first up to 20 roles expected to be recruited and in place by the end of the year.
Julian Garnsey, project director for Triton Knoll and innogy, said: “We are very pleased to be establishing our long term home in what could be considered to be the hub of the offshore wind industry. The recent Offshore Sector Deal sets out the huge potential of offshore wind to create up to 27,000 high skilled jobs in UK coastal communities. Continued commitment to new and expanding facilities such as ours with ABP, means we can deliver even greater investment into coastal communities and businesses, where jobs and economic regeneration are most needed.”
New facilities to be constructed at ABP’s Royal Dock will provide the base from which Triton Knoll will manage the construction and 20-25 year operations and maintenance activities of its offshore site, which is over 145km2 in size.
As a result, the port will support regular, long-term vessel movements, including service operations vessels and crew transfer vessels, during both the construction and operations phases.
“This new lease further underlines Grimsby’s place as the world’s largest offshore wind O&M port,” Simon Bird, Regional Director for ABP Humber, said.
”The Port of Grimsby has seen exceptional growth in terms of supporting the renewable sector in recent years and already supports almost 1.5GW of installed capacity. It is through this collaborative approach that ABP can proclaim we are at the centre of driving the green supply of energy for the nation. “
The 857MW Triton Knoll offshore wind farm will consist of 90 of MHI Vestas 9.5MW turbines, two substations and over 100km of cabling. The wind farm is jointly owned by innogy (59%), J-power (24%) and Kansai Electric Power (16%), with innogy managing the construction of the wind farm on behalf of the partnership.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Welsh wave sails into floating wind
Marine Power Systems to develop concepts derived from WaveSub device.  UK wave developer Marine Power Systems has taken the wraps off two floating wind concepts designed to be installed in deep water locations.
Research and development of its megawatt-scale WaveSub device has led the Swansea outfit to progress two derivative devices, the DualSub (pictured) that captures both wave and wind energy and WindSub that captures only wind energy.
The two floater concepts have undergone prototype stability tests, detailed computational simulation and cost of energy modelling.
Positive results have encouraged the Welsh developer to step up development of WindSub and DualSub to a scaled-up prototype, said MPS chief technical officer Graham Foster.
“Initial tests revealed that WaveSub offered a strong, stable platform on which a turbine could be installed, enabling the simultaneous capture of wave and wind energy from the ocean – essentially the WaveSub can be adapted to be a floating wind turbine and wave energy device in one,” he added.
“We look forward to further developing our offshore wind technologies alongside our WaveSub device during 2019.”
  • ReNews.biz
Brexit: MPs back delay bill by one vote
MPs have voted by a majority of one to force the prime minister to ask for an extension to the Brexit process, in a bid to avoid any no-deal scenario.  Labour's Yvette Cooper led the move, which the Commons passed in one day.
The bill is due to be considered by the Lords later and will need its approval to become law, but it is the EU which decides whether to grant an extension.
It comes as talks between Conservative and Labour teams to end the Brexit deadlock are set to continue.  Discussions between the two leaders on Wednesday were described as "constructive", but were criticised by MPs in both parties.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has suggested that he expects Brussels to insist on a lengthy delay to Brexit and described a public vote to approve any final deal as "a perfectly credible proposition".
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4 Today he was "very strongly against" a public vote and he would not want to see a long extension to the Brexit process.
'Constitutional outrage'
Ms Cooper's attempts to prevent a no-deal departure from the EU passed by 313 votes to 312.
The draft legislation by the former Labour minister would force the prime minister to ask the EU for an extension to the Article 50 process beyond 12 April and would give Parliament the power to decide the length of this delay.  Tory Brexiteers expressed frustration at the unusual process of a backbench bill clearing all stages in the Commons in a matter of hours, rather than months.
Mark Francois said: "It's difficult to argue that you've had an extremely considered debate when you've rammed the bill through the House of Commons in barely four hours. That is not a considered debate, that is a constitutional outrage."
The government's attempt to limit the bill's powers resulted in a 180-vote defeat - the second biggest defeat for a government in modern times.  Responding to the Commons vote, the government said the bill would place a "severe constraint" on its ability to negotiate an extension to the Brexit deadline before 12 April, the date the UK is due to exit.
'Useful but inconclusive'
It comes as talks between government negotiators and Labour are set to continue throughout Thursday after Mrs May and Mr Corbyn agreed a "programme of work".
A No 10 spokesman said on Wednesday that both parties showed "flexibility" and "a commitment to bring the... uncertainty to a close".  Mr Corbyn said the meeting was "useful, but inconclusive", adding there had not been "as much change as [he] had expected" in the PM's position.
The prime minister wants to agree a policy with the Labour leader for MPs to vote on before 10 April - when the EU will hold an emergency summit on Brexit.
But if they cannot reach a consensus, she has pledged to allow MPs to vote on a number of options, including the deal she has negotiated with the EU, which has already been rejected twice by MPs.
In either event, Mrs May said she would ask the EU for a further short extension to Brexit in the hope of getting an agreement passed by Parliament before 22 May, so that the UK does not have to take part in European elections.  The cross-party talks have provoked strong criticism from MPs in both parties, with two ministers resigning on Wednesday.
Chris Heaton-Harris quit on Wednesday afternoon, claiming his job at the Department for Exiting the European Union had become "irrelevant" if the government is not prepared to leave without a deal.  Wales Minister Nigel Adams also resigned, saying the government was at risk of failing to deliver "the Brexit people voted for".
Reports in papers including the Sun suggest as many as 15 more - including several cabinet ministers - could follow if Mrs May strayed too far from previous commitments.  Among her "red lines" was leaving the EU's customs union, which allows goods to move between member states without undergoing checks or being subject to tariff payments.
Labour wants a new permanent customs union with the EU, while Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party - which has propped up Mrs May's government - indicated on Wednesday that it could support the idea.
In an interview on ITV's Peston programme, Mr Hammond said that - while the Conservative manifesto had pledged to leave the EU customs union - "some kind of customs arrangement" was always going to be part of the future structure.
Asked about a public vote to confirm approval of the final Brexit deal, Mr Hammond said: "Many people will disagree with it. I'm not sure there's a majority in Parliament for it, but it's a perfectly credible proposition and it deserves to be tested in Parliament."
Second referendum
Mr Corbyn is coming under pressure from senior colleagues in his party to make a further referendum a condition of signing up to any agreement.
Demanding the shadow cabinet hold a vote on the issue, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said not backing a confirmatory vote would be a "breach" of the policy agreed by party members at its last conference.
The party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, told Peston that Labour members would "find it unforgiveable" for "us to sign off on Theresa May's deal without a concession that involves the people".
However, party chairman Ian Lavery is reported to have warned against the idea, arguing that it could split the party.  European leaders will continue deciding how to respond to Brexit, with Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Dublin later.
The UK has until 12 April to propose a plan to the EU - which must be accepted by the bloc - or it will leave without a deal on that date.
  • BBC News


Headlines Wednesday 3rd April 2019


Northwest Seaport Alliance OKs Container Terminal Upgrade

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) has moved a step closer to welcoming containership giants as it authorized Terminal 5 construction and lease agreements on April 2.

The deal, including future Phase II commitment, represents approximately a half-billion dollars in private and public investment in the region’s economy, according to NWSA.

In addition, an interlocal agreement was approved, allowing the Port of Seattle to use a portion of Terminal 46 for a cruise berth.

The modernization of Terminal 5 “will ensure robust and competitive marine cargo and maritime industrial activities in our harbor for the next 30 years, sustaining and creating family-wage jobs and economic opportunity for the region,” Stephanie Bowman, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of the NWSA, said.

“Terminal 5 will be able to handle the largest marine cargo vessels now being deployed in the Asia-Pacific trade route quickly and efficiently, providing a critical link for Washington state exports to Asian markets,” said Clare Petrich, Port of Tacoma commission president and co-chair of the NWSA.

Vessels regularly visiting the gateway have grown in capacity from 4,800 TEUs in 1997 to 14,000 TEUs today.

The lease package approved by NWSA would see SSA Terminals (Seattle Terminals) start operating the Terminal 5 once phase one construction is complete in 2021. The current lease at Terminal 18 would be amended to introduce conditional consent for the lease to be assigned to the new joint venture (SSA Terminals and TIL) and waive a rail yard fee.

The current Terminal 46 lease with TTI will terminate early, allowing international container cargo to be realigned to Terminal 18. This presents the opportunity for Port of Seattle to operate a cruise berth on a portion of the property with breakbulk or project cargo on the remaining, larger section of property.

Matson’s Hawaii service will relocate to the south berth at Terminal 5 while the north berth is under construction, creating additional room at Terminal 30 for international container cargo.

  • Worldmaritime News


Norwegian OSV owners win work with Total, Ocean Installer

Norwegian offshore vessel owners Eidesvik and Havila have this week secured work for two of their vessels.

Eidesvik on Tuesday said it had won a contract for the subsea construction vessel Viking Neptun with Ocean Installer for a period exceeding two months with further options to extend. The contract will start in Q3 2019. This contract is in addition to the one already announced in December 2018.

Offshore Energy Today in December 2018 reported that Ocean Installer would hire the 145 meters long Viking Neptun on a term contract, with Eidesvik saying the startup was scheduled for “early 2020 and 2021.”

Also worth noting, another Norwegian offshore vessel operator Havila Shipping, on Wednesday said it had won term work for one of its platform supply vessels.

Havila said that the oil company Total had extended the contract for PSV Havila Commander for one year.

“The contract is in direct continuation of the existing contract and will keep the vessel working for Total until mid April 2020,” Havila added.

  • Offshoreenergytoday


Banks pops Kype Muir cork

Banks Renewables has officially opened the Contract for Difference-backed 88.4MW Kype Muir wind farm in Scotland.

The South Lanarkshire project (pictured) consists of 26 Senvion 3.4M104 turbines each with a tip height of 132 metres.

The wind farm is close to Banks’ 51MW Middle Muir that reached full operations in January.

RJ McLeod tackled civil engineering on both projects located near Strathaven. Kype Muir was inaugurated by Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse.

“Onshore wind continues to be the lowest form of energy at scale and remains vitally important to our decarbonisation ambitions,” he said.

Banks Renewables director Richard Dunkley added: “We look forward to working with the Scottish government, and others, to ensure that onshore wind – the cheapest form of renewable energy – has a route to market in the coming years.”

The Hamilton developer will make annual contributions of £442,000 into a fund flowing from the communities’ share of wind farm revenues.

Half of that money will be ring fenced for the Connect2Renewables employability fund focused on increasing access for local people to employment opportunities.

  • Renews.biz


Brexit: May expected to meet Corbyn to tackle deadlock

Theresa May is expected to meet Jeremy Corbyn later after she said she wanted to work with the Labour leader to break the Brexit deadlock.

The prime minister hopes the two of them can come up with a modified version of her deal with the EU that can secure the backing of MPs.

Mr Corbyn says he wants a customs union and workers' rights to be priorities.

But Tory Brexiteer Boris Johnson has accused Mrs May of "entrusting the final handling of Brexit to Labour".

Jacob Rees-Mogg, another prominent Brexiteer, described the offer as "deeply unsatisfactory" and accused Mrs May of planning to collaborate with "a known Marxist".

Mrs May announced her plan to meet Mr Corbyn - as well as her intention to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline - after more than seven hours of talks with her cabinet on Tuesday.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says the latest move means the prime minister is likely to adopt a closer relationship with the EU - a softer Brexit - than she has agreed so far.

Mr Corbyn said he was "very happy" to meet Mrs May and recognised his own "responsibility" to try to break the deadlock.

But the meeting is not expected to take place before this afternoon, at the earliest, says our political editor, who was told by Mr Corbyn's team that he was not available on Wednesday morning for talks with the PM.

Meanwhile, a cross-party group of MPs will attempt to push through legislation to stop a no-deal Brexit.

If passed into law, the bill - presented by Labour MP Yvette Cooper - would require the PM to ask for an extension of Article 50 beyond that deadline.

The UK was supposed to leave the EU on 29 March, but Mrs May agreed a short extension after MPs refused to endorse her withdrawal deal.

Attempts by MPs to find an alternative way out of the impasse also failed for the second time this week.

The UK now has until 12 April to propose a plan to the EU - which must be accepted by the bloc - or it will leave without a deal on that date.

Mrs May said she wanted to agree a new plan with Mr Corbyn on the future relationship with the EU and put it to a vote in the Commons before 10 April - when the EU will hold an emergency summit on Brexit.

She insisted her withdrawal agreement - which was voted down last week - would remain part of the deal.

If the two leaders do not agree a single way forward, Mrs May said a number of options would be put to MPs "to determine which course to pursue".

In either event, she said she would ask the EU for a further short extension to the Brexit date to hopefully get an agreement passed by Parliament before 22 May so the UK does not have to take part in European elections.

The final decision on a delay rests with the EU. The BBC's Europe editor Katya Adler said that its demands had not changed and it was "likely to put strict conditions on any further extension".

European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt, who has previously said he thought a no-deal Brexit was "nearly inevitable", welcomed Mrs May's offer of talks with Mr Corbyn.

"Good that PM Theresa may is looking for a cross-party compromise. Better late than never," he tweeted.

  • BBC News


Headlines Tuesday 2nd April 2019


Sempra Energy Unit Gets US Non-FTA Approval for Liquefaction-Export Project In Mexico

Sempra Energy’s subsidiary Energía Costa Azul (ECA) LNG received two authorizations from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to export US produced natural gas to Mexico and to re-export LNG to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement (non-FTA) with the US.

Natural gas will be sourced from the company’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 liquefaction-export facilities in development in Baja California, Mexico.

“ECA LNG will source natural gas from some of the fastest-growing production regions in the U.S. and provide our customers with a competitive advantage in accessing world markets, especially Asia,” Joseph A. Householder, president and chief operating officer for Sempra Energy, commented.


“The authorizations are another step forward in the development of this project that could bring many benefits for Mexico, U.S. natural gas producers and our customers and partners in greater Asia,” Carlos Ruiz Sacristán, chairman and CEO of Sempra North American Infrastructure, said.

“We are pleased to continue to advance the development of ECA LNG, which can … meet the energy needs of isolated markets in Mexico and customers in Asia,” he added.

ECA LNG Phase 1 is a single train LNG facility to be located adjacent to the existing LNG receipt terminal. It is expected to utilize current LNG storage tanks, marine berth and associated facilities. Phase 2 of the project will include the addition of two trains and one LNG storage tank.

The DOE authorizations allow the export of 636 billion cubic feet (Bcf) a year of US-sourced LNG from these infrastructure projects. Phase 2 of the project will require additional DOE approval in order to export its full expected capacity.

The existing ECA receipt terminal was the first LNG receipt terminal constructed on North America’s West Coast. Located about 15 miles north of Ensenada, Baja California, it began commercial operations in 2008 and is capable of processing up to 1 Bcf of natural gas per day.

Last November, Sempra Energy announced that its subsidiaries IEnova and Sempra LNG had signed Heads of Agreements (HOAs) with affiliates of Total, Mitsui & Co., and Tokyo Gas for Phase 1 of the ECA LNG project, subject to reaching definitive agreements. TechnipFMC and Kiewit were selected as the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) contractors for the project, subject to reaching a definitive agreement on the EPC contract.

Development of the ECA LNG liquefaction project is subject to relevant conditions and financing agreements.

  • WorldMaritimeNews


Deals signed for E. Guinea ‘Gas Mega Hub’

Noble Energy, as operator of Alen gas project offshore Equatorial Guinea has signed definitive agreements with Marathon Oil and Equatorial Guinea government to develop the fields gas resources via through Alba Plant LLC’s LPG processing plant and EG LNG’s LNG production facility, both located in Punta Europa island.

Marathon Oil is the majority shareholder in both Alba Plant LLC and EG LNG. This agreement will see Sonagas GE, the National Gas Company of Equatorial Guinea stake increased from 25% to 30%.

Existing production and processing facilities are already in place at the Alen Platform and in Punta Europa. According to a statement by the E. Guinea government, the Alen offshore platform will undergo minor modifications to export gas while primary condensate will continue to be produced and lifted offshore via the Aseng FPSO.

The Alen Unit joint venture will install and operate a 70-kilometer pipeline to transport gas from the Alen Platform to Punta Europa, where it will be processed and transported for sales on the global market.

The pipeline will be capable of transporting approximately 950 MMscfd of gas. First gas is expected in 1Q 2021.

“The Alen Unit gas monetization project will leverage the capacity of the world-class Punta Europa facilities. Modifications are already underway at Alba Plant in order to receive Alen Unit gas. No process modifications are expected at EG LNG in order to process Alen Unit gas,” the government said.

“This agreement is a significant step toward solidifying Punta Europa as a cornerstone component of the EG Gas Mega Hub for the potential development of local and regional natural gas,” said Mitch Little, Marathon Oil executive vice president, Operations.

“With tie-ins available and minor modifications under way at the Alba Plant, capital requirements are minimal. Importantly, the project leverages existing capacity of the world-class Alba Gas Plant and EG LNG facilities, and all parties benefit from exposure to global LNG prices.”

The project will provide an additional source of gas for the Punta Europa facilities and will transform the Alen platform into an Offshore Gas Hub for development of both Alen Unit gas, other Block O and I discoveries and potentially additional Gulf of Guinea gas fields, the government said.

The government said that the Alen Gas Offshore Hub will be the first hub in the Government’s vision of developing Equatorial Guinea as a Gas Mega Hub, comprising of additional offshore gas hubs, all feeding gas into the Punta Europa facilities.

“This is the kick off of our Gas Mega Hub and we will do more deals on other gas assets in the country that must be developed. Development of the Gas Mega Hub will ensure a thriving Equatorial Guinea gas industry into the future. It is my firm belief that it will create opportunities for development of our citizens in the Upstream and Downstream segments of the country’s oil and natural gas industry” said the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima.

“Monetization of Alen Unit gas could deliver around $1.5-2 billion dollars in additional State revenues over the life of the project, including revenues from Alen Unit and respective Punta Europa plants. Local content is going to play an integral part in the implementation of the project when it comes to contracting and jobs for our citizens. I am happy this project will support the employment of Equatoguineans employed by the Punta Europa plants and Alen platform, which currently stands at approximately 1,400 employees in total,” the minister said.

  • OffshoreEnergyToday


Nordex strikes 157MW gold in Australia

Acciona Energy orders 35 N149/4.0-4.5 machines for the Mortlake South wind farm

Nordex has secured a turbine order of over 157MW from Acciona Energy Australia for the Mortlake South wind farm in the state of Victoria.

The deal is for the installation of 35 N149/4.0-4.5 machines rated at 4.5MW from the Delta 4000 series.

Infrastructure works has already started and completion of the 157.5MW wind farm is expected in mid-2020

Nordex said the turbine is ideal for the site which has average wind speeds of 7.7 metres a second.

Nordex chief sales officer Patxi Landa said: "In addition to our successful sales in Europe, we are now increasingly meeting with significant interest in the N149 turbine in other international sales regions, like recently in Argentina and now in Australia. This order is yet another indication of the confidence placed in our state-of-the-art technology."

The German manufacturer has installed 370MW of hardware in Australia.

  • Renews.biz


No-deal Brexit 'more likely by the day' says Michel Barnier

‘Positive vote’ by MPs needed to avoid cliff-edge Brexit on 12 April, says EU negotiator

Michel Barnier has warned that a no-deal Brexit is becoming more likely by the day in the wake of the Commons’ rejection of all of the alternative solutions to Theresa May’s deal.

Speaking in Brussels, the EU’s chief negotiator said there had to be a “positive vote” by the Commons in order to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit on 12 April.

“No deal was never our desired or intended scenario,” Barnier told an audience at a thinktank event. “But the EU27 is now prepared. It becomes day after day more likely.”

Three scenarios were set out by the EU official: agreement this week on the prime minister’s deal or a variant of it, no deal, or a long extension to article 50 requiring “a strong justification”.

Such is the frustration in EU capitals at the failure of Westminster to coalesce around a vision of its post-Brexit future that it increasingly appears that a lengthy delay beyond 22 May can only be guaranteed in the event of a general election or second referendum.

Barnier said that an extension of article 50 beyond the end of May, requiring the UK to elect MEPs, “would carry significant risks for EU and therefore strong justification would be needed”.

He added that businesses in the EU had warned Brussels “against the cost of extending uncertainty”. The UK prolonging its status as a member state while still seeking to leave with a negotiated deal “could pose a risk on our decision-making autonomy”, Barnier said.

On Monday night, all four options put to the Commons to break the Brexit impasse were rejected by MPs, although by small margins, raising some hope that a solution might be found later in the week.

“Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday the patience of the EU is at the limit”, Barnier said. “Personally as the negotiator I have some patience left.”

The customs union motion tabled by the former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke was rejected by a margin of only three votes, by 273 to 276, while a second Brexit referendum fell short of a majority by 12 votes.

The Norway-style “common market 2.0” Brexit deal championed by Nick Boles, who later dramatically resigned the Conservative party whip, was also rejected, by 261 votes to 282, despite Labour frontbench and SNP support. Just 33 Conservative MPs backed it.

MPs are expected to try again at holding indicative votes on Wednesday, with the options likely to have been narrowed further. Should parliament back a customs union, swift changes to the political declaration on the future could be made.

But during a marathon five-hour session of the cabinet on Tuesday, the prime minister is also likely to suggest her deal is put in a run-off against an agreement backing a customs union, in an attempt to finally secure ratification for the current agreement.

In either case, Barnier suggested the UK could still leave the EU by 22 May to avoid having to hold European elections.

“The House of Commons did not manage to find a majority again last night”, Barnier said. “We’ve always said we can accept a customs union or our relationship along the style of the Norway model. The political declaration can accommodate this today.”

Barnier said that in the event of a long extension of article 50, the EU would not countenance opening negotiations on the future trade deal.

He said he would expect the UK to try and come back to the negotiating table “a few months after” a cliff-edge Brexit but that “in that case the withdrawal agreement we put on the table at the beginning of this negotiation will be still here: citizens rights, Ireland, financial obligations”.

“During any long extension there will be no renegotiation of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, no, never”, Barnier told an audience at the European Policy Centre event. “There will be no negotiation about the future relations we cannot legally speaking negotiate with a Member State about the future relations. It’s as simple as that.”

Barnier also lamented the lack of debate in the UK about its post-Brexit relationship with the EU either during the referendum or in the months after it. “There’s no obligation in leaving the EU to leave the customs union, no obligation to leave the single market. I didn’t see the debate about what are the national interests of the UK.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit negotiator tweeted on Monday evening: “The House of Commons again votes against all options. A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable. On Wednesday, the UK has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss.”

  • The Guardian


Headlines Monday 1st April 2019


Nordic American Tankers Signs At-The-Market Issuance Agreement

Bermuda-based tanker shipping company Nordic American Tankers (NAT) has inked a new agreement that allows the company to sell up to USD 40 million worth of its common shares.

On March 29, 2019, NAT entered into an At-The-Market Issuance Agreement (ATM) with B. Riley FBR, an investment banking firm headquartered in Los Angeles, Califonia, as the sales agent.

Under the new agreement and over a period of about three years, the shipping company may, at its discretion during the term of the ATM, sell up to a maximum of USD 40 million of common shares.

The ATM sales, if any, will be made at market prices, according to NAT.

As explained, the establishment of the ATM arrangement is in harmony with the conservative financial policy of NAT and the company is not obliged to dispose of its shares under the agreement.

“The ATM arrangement is a tool for NAT to ascertain that we have financial flexibility at all times,” the company said in a statement.

NAT’s fleet currently comprises 23 Suezmax tankers with an aggregate cargo capacity of 23 million barrels of crude oil and an average age of 10.8 years.

  • WorldMaritimeNews


Ørsted Picks G-tec for Geotechnical Work Offshore Germany

Ørsted has awarded Belgium’s G-tec with contracts to provide geotechnical engineering services on two offshore wind farms in the German Bight.

Under the two individual contracts, G-tec will in 2019 carry out geotechnical investigations and laboratory analysis of samples taken from the seabed in various depths within the Gode Wind offshore wind farm 03 and 04 and the German Cluster offshore wind farm 01.

For Gode Wind offshore wind farm 03 and 04, the contract includes a detailed geotechnical site investigation on all turbine locations including in-situ tests and sampling, and subsequent onshore laboratory testing. The contract also includes an option for in-situ stiffness measurements.

On German Cluster offshore wind farm 01, G-tec will carry out a preliminary geotechnical site investigation on selected positions of geological interest including in-situ tests and sampling, and subsequent onshore laboratory testing.

Gode Wind 3 and 4 projects have a total capacity of 241.75MW. Gode Wind 3 was selected in the first German offshore wind auction, and Gode Wind 4 in the second auction. The two wind farms are scheduled to be commissioned by 2024/2025, subject to a final investment decision.

The capacity and the potential timeline for the German Cluster offshore wind farm 01 is unknown.

  • Offshorewind.biz


Ocean LNG to offtake & market Golden Pass LNG

DOHA:  Qatar Petroleum announced yesterday that Ocean LNG Limited (Ocean LNG) will be responsible for the offtake and marketing of all LNG volumes to be produced and exported from the Golden Pass LNG Export Project (Golden Pass LNG) located in Sabine Pass, Texas.

Ocean LNG is an international joint venture marketing company, owned by affiliates of Qatar Petroleum (70 percent) and ExxonMobil (30 percent). Earlier this year, Ocean LNG entered into a binding LNG Sales and Purchase Agreement with Golden Pass Products LLC to purchase and offtake all the LNG volumes to be produced by Golden Pass LNG.

Since its establishment, Ocean LNG has been active mainly in South America and Europe. Following a successful Final Investment Decision of Golden Pass LNG on 5 February 2019, Ocean LNG will now focus its efforts on marketing its US LNG volumes in the Asia Pacific region through further extensive engagements. It will alsoexpand its relations and networks with both established customers as well as emerging and prospective LNG buyers, while at the same time maintaining a strong footprint across South America and Europe.

Commenting on this occasion, H E Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, and President & CEO of Qatar Petroleum, said: “The FID of Golden Pass LNG earlier this year underpins Ocean LNG’s marketing efforts to deliver US LNG to customers across the globe. This is a further testament of Qatar Petroleum’s position as a global LNG leader with a large portfolio capable of offering tailored LNG supply structures and commercial terms in an evolving global LNG environment.”

Ocean LNG will be prominently featured for the first time as part of the Qatar Petroleum pavilion at the upcoming global industry event, LNG 19, which will be held in Shanghai, China between 1–5 April, 2019.

Golden Pass LNG is situated in a prime location with well-established connectivity to extensive natural gas resources in the United States, and has shipping access to both the Atlantic and Pacific basin markets. Golden Pass LNG, which received all necessary regulatory approvals for the export of LNG from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the US Department of Energy, was sanctioned in early February of this year by its shareholders, and construction activities at its site are expected to commence imminently.

  • The Peninsula


Sign of the times: from Holyhead to Hollywood

Holyhead could soon have its own version of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks if ambitious plans by leading ferry company Stena Line get the go ahead.

Stena Line, which owns and operates Holyhead Port, wants to erect a 100 ft ‘HOLYHEAD’ sign near the lighthouse at South Stack, similar to the world-famous HOLLYWOOD sign.

Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line’s Travel Commercial Manager (Irish Sea South) said everyone is familiar with the cultural icon and landmark HOLLYWOOD sign which was erected in 1923 in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking Hollywood.

“We thought that a similar sign on the approach to Holyhead Harbour would provide a real tourism talking point for the hundreds of thousands of ferry travellers who travel in and out of Holyhead each year,” she said.

Diane added: “Apart from the sign having a different name, another key difference with this proposal is that when wind speeds reach over 60 mph, a hydraulic mechanism will be triggered to allow the sign to safely ‘fold’ to ground level to prevent it from being damaged during severe weather conditions.

“We believe the new sign will provide a real stand out talking point for the region and help Holyhead raise its profile as a key tourism and freight gateway.”


Brexit: Chief whip attacks cabinet's post-election strategy

The government should have made clear after the 2017 election that it would "inevitably" have to accept a softer Brexit, the Tory chief whip has said.

In a BBC documentary, Julian Smith - whose role is to maintain discipline among Tory MPs - is also strongly critical of the cabinet's behaviour.

The unprecedented attack comes as the cabinet is deeply split over whether to move to a softer deal.

MPs will hold further votes later on Brexit options to resolve the deadlock.

A customs union with the EU is thought to be the most popular of the ideas under consideration.

Other options include leaving the EU without a deal on 12 April, a referendum to rule out no deal and a confirmatory referendum on Prime Minister Theresa May's deal.

In interviews for The Brexit Storm: Laura Kuenssberg's Inside Story, Mr Smith accused ministers of trying to undermine the prime minister.

He said he witnessed ministers "sitting around the cabinet table... trying to destabilise her [Mrs May]" and described their behaviour as the "worst example of ill-discipline in cabinet in British political history".

Mr Smith said that when it failed to get a majority in the 2017 election, "the government as a whole probably should have just been clearer on the consequences of that".

The parliamentary arithmetic after the poll, he added, "would mean that this would be inevitably a kind of softer type of Brexit".

But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's not clear to me that going softer is the way to command support.

"If you look at the parliamentary arithmetic now, it's not clear that something like a customs union actually commands support."

She said MPs, so far, had not been in favour of a customs union and the "answer lies in modifications to the prime minister's deal".

Ms Truss added: "It is an incredibly testing time, it's a time when we have got a minority government and there are differences of opinions."

  • BBC News



Headlines Monday 25th March 2019


OGA launches data resource to make North Sea ‘world leader’

The National Data Repository holds a wealth of information aimed at bringing in fresh exploration. Pic: The Bruce field has recently changed hands from BP to Serica Energy

A new resource has been launched to help usher in a new era of North Sea oil and gas exploration.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has launched the National Data Repository (NDR), a free online platform placing the UK sector as a “world leader” on subsurface petroleum information.

Its launch is thought to be one of the largest ever single releases of data, comprising 130 terabytes of information on wells, fields and pipelines – the equivalent of eight years’ worth of HD movies.

The information is being made freely available in the hopes of attracting new investment into the North Sea, helping recover the 20billion barrels of oil estimated to be remaining in the region.

Launched by the OGA, the repository will be managed by Common Data Access, a subsidiary of trade body Oil and Gas UK, who said it puts the region top of the world rankings on low-cost access to oil and gas information.

The OGA, the industry regulator, said the NDR is an opportunity for firms to use historical data to inform artificial intelligence technology and uncover previously overlooked oil and gas prospects.

It also ensures that the UK’s petroleum-related information is maintained and enhanced in a sustainable collection.

The NDR is funded through taxes paid by all petroleum licence holders in the North Sea.

Nic Granger, director of Corporate at the OGA, said: “The world is arguably entering a ‘fourth industrial revolution’, with data at its heart.

“The National Data Repository is a UK first and is an important milestone in our vision to enable open, transparent data.

“The platform makes data available for machine learning and artificial intelligence and offers the opportunity to uncover new prospects and previously overlooked plays.”

The NDR will also be used to aid the energy transition, with information on potential carbon capture, utilisation and storage projects (CCUS), for example.

CCUS is a means of storing carbon emissions underground, or in this case the North Sea.

Energy  and clean growth minister Claire Perry said: “The National Data Repository will help position the sector at the front of the data revolution and enable industry to unlock the full potential of the UK Continental Shelf, delivering further energy security, tax revenues and the high paid jobs that are at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

The NDR’s launch has been hailed by energy “supermajors” Chevron and BP.

Ariel Flores, BP’s North Sea regional president, believes it could bring a “step change” to oil recovery in the UK sector.

He said: “Sharing data and information to build knowledge across the basin is key to maximising economic recovery from the UK.

“BP welcomes the launch of the NDR and, through active cooperation with the OGA and our industry colleagues, looks forward to fully realising the value that open data access can bring to the UKCS.”

Meanwhile, Greta Lydecker, managing director of Chevron Upstream Europe, said it could help attract the next generation of workers to the sector.

The NDR also offers opportunities for academics researching the subsurface of the North Sea.

John Underhil, chief scientist and chairman of exploration geoscience at Heriot-Watt University said: “The OGA’s efforts in releasing and providing public access to data via the new National Data Repository will be a game-changer for academics undertaking subsurface research that benefits geoscience in general and the wider academic community.”

  • Energy Voice


BDO: Shipping Confidence Rises Despite Geopolitical Uncertainty

Shipping confidence has increased in the last three months despite ongoing geopolitical uncertainty, shipping adviser and accountant BDO said.

“It is encouraging to begin the year with a small uptick in confidence,” Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping & Transport at BDO, commented.

“Despite continuing doubts and fears about trade wars, China’s GDP, uncertainty over exchange rates, President Trump’s decision-making, Brexit and general political instability in many parts of the world, shipping can still find reasons to be cheerful,” he added.

The average confidence level rose to 6.2 out of a maximum score of 10 this quarter compared to 6 in Q4 2018.

Confidence was up in Europe, from 6.1 to 6.3, and in North America, from 5.2 to 5.6. In Asia, meanwhile, there was a drop in overall confidence levels to 5.8 from the 12-month high of 6.3 recorded in the previous quarter.

According to BDO, brokers were behind much of the increase in confidence. Their score was up from 5.2 to 5.9. On the other hand, the rating for owners and managers was down slightly from 6.4 to 6.3 and from 6.0 to 5.8 respectively. Charterers’ confidence was also down, from 6.8 to 6, although this still compared favourably with the rating of 5 returned 12 months ago.

The survey was launched in May 2008 with an overall rating for all respondents of 6.8 out of 10.

The BDO quarterly survey found that the likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was down from 5.5 to 5.3 out of 10.

What is more, charterers’ confidence in this regard reached a record high of 7.3. Brokers’ confidence was also up, from 4.1 to 4.9. However, owners recorded a fall from 6.3 to 5.4 while managers’ ratings were unchanged at 5.6.

Expectations were up in Europe from 5.2 to 5.3, but down in Asia from 6.2 to 5.2.

The number of respondents who expected finance costs to increase over the coming year was down from 67% to 48%, the lowest figure since August 2016. The figures for all categories of respondent were down, in the case of charterers from 80% to 33%.

Demand trends were cited by 26% of respondents as the factor most likely to influence performance over the next 12 months. Competition and finance costs featured in second and third place respectively in this context.

Net freight rate sentiment was positive in all three main tonnage categories identified in the BDO survey, with 51% of respondents expecting higher rates over the next 12 months in the tanker market. Respondents expecting lower tanker rates fell from 9% to 6% this quarter.

In the dry bulk sector, expectations of rate increases were up strongly from 38% to 52%, while the numbers anticipating lower rates climbed slightly to 13% from 11%.

The numbers expecting higher container ship rates rose by one percentage point to 26%, whilst those expecting lower container ship rates increased to 25% from 23%.

“Net freight rate sentiment remains positive in all three main tonnage categories, and there is a growing recognition that shipping is emerging from an extremely difficult period as a leaner and greener industry,” Greiner continued.

“A number of respondents noted that the financial difficulties faced by many companies in recent years have changed the dynamics of the industry, with an increase in consolidation, restructuring and mergers & acquisitions.”

“At the same time, there appears to be general recognition that the likes of the IMO 2020 and Ballast Water Management regulations will help rid the industry of poorly maintained tonnage and increase both the viability and the pedigree of the world fleet.”

“This will also appeal to potential investors looking to back environmentally compliant and technologically savvy industries. It seems that the shipping industry must prioritise achieving the benefits of regulatory compliance and technological innovation over the coming years,” he concluded.

  • World Maritime News


'Time's up, Theresa'? PM urged to set her own exit date to get Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure on Monday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 EU membership referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.

With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting at 1000 GMT on Monday.

“Time’s up, Theresa,” Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial. It said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

“I hope that the cabinet will tell the prime minister the game is up,” Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative lawmaker who supports Brexit, told Sky News.

“The prime minister does not have the confidence of the parliamentary party. She clearly doesn’t have the confidence of the cabinet and she certainly doesn’t have the confidence of our members out there in the country,” he said.

Ministers will discuss at 0900 GMT how to address parliament’s attempts to take control of Brexit before a meeting of May’s cabinet team, a government source said.

The United Kingdom, which voted 52-48 percent to leave the EU in the referendum, remains deeply divided over Brexit.

Just 24 hours after hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday to demand another referendum, May called rebel lawmakers to her Chequers residence on Sunday in an attempt to find a way to break the deadlock.

“The meeting discussed a range of issues, including whether there is sufficient support in the Commons to bring back a meaningful vote (for her deal) this week,” a spokesman for May’s Downing Street office said.

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker attended along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove who had been reportedly lined up as caretaker prime ministers. They were forced on Sunday to deny they wanted May’s job.

May was told by Brexiteers at the meeting she must set out a timetable to leave office if she wants to get her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.

May told the lawmakers she would quit if they voted for her twice-defeated European Union divorce deal, ITV news said.

The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers were urging May to pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.

The deal May negotiated with the EU was defeated in parliament by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs - dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some opposition Labour Party MPs and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The Sunday Times reported 11 unidentified ministers agreed May should stand down, warning she has become a toxic and erratic figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.

Brexit had been due to happen on March 29 before May secured a delay in talks with the EU. Now a departure date of May 22 will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. If she fails, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty to smooth the transition and avoid an economic shock.

Lawmakers are due on Monday to debate the government’s next steps on Brexit, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes, or amendments, including one which seeks to wrest control of the process from the government in order to hold votes on alternative ways forward.

Amendments are not legally binding, but do exert political pressure on May to change course.

  • Reuters


Headlines Friday 22nd March 2019


GE, Nedstack Partner Up on Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Zero Emission Cruise Ships

General Electric’s (GE) Power Conversion business and Nedstack, a fuel cell manufacturer, have entered into a partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell systems for powering zero-emission cruise vessels.

The ultimate goal of GE and Nedstack is creating a truly zero-emission system that will enable the world’s first sustainable, clean cruise ships.

As explained, the cruise industry shares a joint responsibility to eliminate the possible negative impacts it might have on port communities, the health of passengers and staff, and on the environment as a whole.

Responsible zero-emission shipping is not only environmentally needed but will greatly contribute to the quality of the cruise experience itself, the two companies believe.

Shipowners are already under pressure to comply with the reduced sulfur limit regulations coming into force next year. Both global International Maritime Organization (IMO) and regional regulations require marine vessels to reduce emissions or eliminate them altogether.

“Existing clean power solutions are focused on reducing emissions. Eliminating emissions altogether demands a paradigm shift,” Arnoud van de Bree, CEO of Nedstack, said.

“Hence why GE and Nedstack have been working extensively on the ‘marinization’ of fuel cell technology to create a total zero-emission alternative that truly meets the needs of tomorrow’s cruise industry,” he added.

“We’re proud to be working with Nedstack on what we believe will be a game changer for the cruise industry,” Ed Torres, CEO of Marine and O&G, GE’s Power Conversion business, pointed out.

“This partnership brings together a rich pool of expertise that’s spearheading much needed innovation. Given the marine transport and shipping sector’s changing regulatory landscape, this innovation could not be more timely,” he further said.

The duo envisages using this technology on passenger ships, replacing traditional diesel engines with fuel cells, and heavy fuel oil (HFO) with hydrogen. So far, Nedstack and GE have designed the concept for a two-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell power plant on an expedition vessel. The review result has been positive, according to the companies.

“Ships are increasingly being required to shut down their engines in port. We’ve seen this in California, for example, and China has introduced an emission control area in the Yangtse delta. However, the trend is shifting from emissions reduction to total elimination,” Azeez Mohammed, President and CEO, GE’s Power Conversion business, noted.

  • Worldmaritimenews


GROW Signs Innovation Deal with Dutch Ministry

GROW, a consortium of Dutch offshore wind industry and research partners, and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy have signed a collaboration agreement to strengthen innovation in offshore wind.

According to the ministry’s Director General Climate & Energy Sandor Gaastra, successful innovations can be realized relatively fast due to the intensive cooperation and knowledge sharing within GROW.

“The Dutch offshore wind sector represented in GROW is leading the way,” said Gaastra. “That is why my ministry signed a collaboration agreement with GROW. With this agreement we will further strengthen the position of offshore wind energy and of the Dutch wind sector.”

GROW is a consortium of 20 Dutch companies and knowledge institutes that have agreed on knowledge exchange and cooperation to reduce the costs of offshore wind and to increase the value in the energy system and in the ecosystem.

The consortium carries out a Research, Development & Demonstration (RD&D) program, ranging from more fundamental research to the demonstration or rollout of offshore wind energy innovations.

“To achieve the energy and climate goals, the government, industry, knowledge institutions and civil society organizations must work together even more. That starts with innovation. This agreement helps us to keep up the pace of innovation,” said GROW Chairman Peter Terium.

  • Offshorewind.biz


Oil lingers slightly under 2019 highs on OPEC's supply cuts, U.S. sanctions


SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil hovered slightly below 2019 peaks on Friday, propped up by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Concerns that an economic slowdown might soon impact fuel consumption are preventing crude prices from rising further, analysts said.

Brent crude oil futures were at $67.92 per barrel at 0643 GMT, 6 cents above their last close. Brent hit a four-month high of $68.69 per barrel on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $60.04 per barrel, up 5 cents from their last settlement. WTI marked a 2019 peak in the previous session at $60.39.

“Global economic growth still remains a concern,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

Economic growth has slowed across Asia, Europe and North America, potentially denting fuel consumption.

Still, oil prices this year have been propped up by supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia.

Investment bank RBC Capital Markets said oil was “still below the fiscal breakeven level in a number of OPEC countries”, meaning that many producers have an interest in further propping up the market.

“We believe that OPEC is likely to extend the deal for the duration of 2019 when they next assemble in Vienna in June,” RBC said.

RBC said Russia was only a reluctant partner in the supply cuts,but would “ultimately opt to preserve the arrangement and retain a leadership role of a 21-nation group that accounts for around 45 percent of global oil output”.

  • Reuters


Brexit: Theresa May to urge MPs to back deal as delay agreed


Theresa May will return to the UK later to try to convince MPs to support her withdrawal deal after the EU agreed to postpone Brexit beyond 29 March. On Thursday night, after eight hours of talks, EU leaders offered to delay Brexit until 22 May if MPs approve Mrs May's deal next week.

If they do not approve it, the delay will be shorter - until 12 April - at which point the UK must set out its next steps or leave without a deal.

Mrs May said MPs had a "clear choice".

Speaking on Thursday, after waiting for the 27 other EU countries to make their decision at a summit in Brussels, the prime minister said she would now be "working hard to build support for getting the deal through".

MPs are expected to vote for a third time on the Brexit withdrawal deal next week, despite speaker John Bercow saying what is put forward must be substantially different to be voted on.

Thursday night's agreement reduces the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March - but the UK could still leave without a deal if Mrs May's deal is not approved by MPs by 12 April.

Giving a news conference, Mrs May also referred to her speech from Downing Street the previous evening, which had sparked an angry reaction from MPs after she blamed them for the Brexit deadlock.

"Last night I expressed my frustration and I know that MPs are frustrated too," she said. "They have difficult jobs to do.

"I hope that we can all agree we are now at the moment of decision. And I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward."

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Mrs May, although she did not apologise, had shown a "very different tone to MPs".

But she added that the PM was not drawn on what she would do if her deal fails again in a vote next week.

A debate on the deal has been scheduled for Monday but Downing Street said no date has yet been fixed for a vote.

  • BBC News


Headlines Thursday 21st March 2019


Damen Shipyards Enters Cruise Market with SeaDream Order

Damen Shipyards Group has signed its first contract for the construction of a cruise ship for Norway-based SeaDream Yacht Club. The contract is for the 155-metre mega yacht, that will be deployed on voyages all over the world. The purpose-built ship will be prepared to operate in various destinations, including polar and tropical. As such, it will boast ice class Polar Code 6 credentials.

“We are delighted to sign this historic contract with which the Damen Shipyards Group enters the cruise market,” Andrea Trevisan, SVP Sales and Marketing Damen Cruise, said.

SeaDream’s vessel will be completely constructed and outfitted, including the interior, at the Mangalia yard by Damen. The construction is scheduled to start in October this year, with a scheduled delivery date of September 2021.

  • Worldmaritime News


TUS-ORE Catapult Research Center Opens Its Doors

UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and China’s Tus-Wind have officially opened the TUS-ORE Catapult Research Centre (TORC) for offshore wind in China.The GBP 2 million center opened today, 21 March, in Yantai City following a trade mission of 11 UK companies eager to explore offshore wind opportunities.

TORC will act as a renewable energy technology research and development center with links into both the UK and China to support the growth of their respective offshore wind industries. The center will develop collaborative research programs, support market entry and incubation for UK businesses in China, provide commercial support for Chinese developers and support the demonstration of new technologies on a 300MW offshore wind farm in the Shandong Province.

“Our new Research Centre, in partnership with TUS, will support UK businesses as they take advantage of a new wave of opportunities to engage with one of the fastest-growing offshore wind markets in the world – and present a fantastic opportunity to develop a supply chain that can compete on a global scale,” said ORE Catapult’s Chief Executive, Andrew Jamieson.

“With more than a decade of experience and expertise in this sector, and global exports expected to be worth £2.6bn a year by 2030 for UK companies, now is the time for innovative companies to act and establish themselves at the heart of the Chinese market.”

The Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme offshore wind mission was set up to provide UK companies with an opportunity to both engage with potential Chinese technology partners in the sector and gain insight in how their technology development programs can be adapted for offshore wind.

“Following the development of TORC, I believe the government will provide more favourable policies to UK companies seeking to enter China to create real benefit to both sides, furthering the technological cooperation between China and UK and creating significant opportunities and reliable incubation service for UK companies,” said Tus Clean Energy’s Senior Vice president, Charlie Du.

  • Offshorewind.biz


Alphaliner: Carriers to Increase Asia-Europe Transit Times

Carriers on the Asia – North Europe route will implement major changes to their networks from the end of March, resulting in longer average transit times as vessel sailing speeds are further reduced. According to Alphaliner, the average duration of services on the corridor will reach a record high of 11.3 weeks as a result of these changes. Asia – North Europe round trip durations have increased steadily from an average of eight weeks in 2007 to the current average of over eleven weeks, mainly due to slower sailing speeds to mitigate rising bunker prices.

The use of larger ships on this route has also resulted in longer port stays, as the average size of vessels deployed in this trade has more than doubled from 7,000 TEU in 2007 to above 15,000 TEU currently, Alphaliner noted.

The 2M carriers, Maersk and MSC, will extend the duration of two of their six Asia – North Europe services to 13 weeks, making the AE-5/Albatross and AE10/Silk services the longest strings on this route. The extended 91-day rotations for both services includes planned diversions for bunkering calls at the Russian Baltic port of Kaliningrad, which add more than four days to the loops’ total rotations.


Apart from the extension of the two 2M services, THE Alliance has also stretched the rotation of its FE5 from nine to ten weeks, while HMM extended its standalone AEX service from ten to eleven weeks.

In contrast, the OCEAN Alliance will shorten the rotation of its ‘NEU3’ from eleven to ten weeks, while calls at Shanghai and Ningbo will be removed, leaving overall transit times largely unchanged.

  • Worldmaritimenews


May in Brussels to urge short Brexit Delay

Theresa May will make a direct plea to EU leaders later asking to postpone Brexit for three months, hours after telling the British public a delay was "a matter of great personal regret". At an EU summit in Brussels, she will try to persuade the other 27 countries to delay the UK's exit beyond 29 March.

On Wednesday, the PM made a speech blaming the delay on MPs and telling the nation she was "on their side".

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn is also due in Brussels for separate Brexit talks. The Labour leader will meet the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the leaders of seven European countries to discuss alternatives to Mrs May's Brexit plan. He said Mrs May was "in complete denial about the scale of the crisis" facing the country and was "unable to offer the leadership the country needs". Her speech also sparked an angry response from MPs across the House of Commons, with some calling her comments "toxic" and "reckless". The UK is set to leave the EU next Friday unless the law is changed. The current default position for leaving is without a withdrawal agreement. Mrs May agreed a deal with the EU, but MPs have rejected it twice. She has asked the EU for a short extension of the two-year Brexit process until 30 June, but any extension needs to be agreed to by all EU members. European Council President Donald Tusk said he believed the EU would agree to a short extension, but this would only be if Mrs May's deal is signed off by MPs next week. Another EU summit next week could be called in an emergency if needed, he said.

Mr Tusk said the "question remains open" as to how long a delay the other EU leaders would support.

But, in her speech from Number 10, Mrs May insisted she would not be willing to postpone Brexit any further than 30 June, despite appeals from some MPs.

She added: "Of this I am absolutely sure. You, the public, have had enough.

"You are tired of the infighting, tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children's schools, our National Health Service, knife crime.

"You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side."

She said it was now up to MPs to decide whether they wanted to leave with her deal, no deal or not to leave at all. But she warned that the latter option could cause "irreparable damage to public trust" in politicians.

  • BBC News
Headlines Wednesday 20th March 2019
NYK Agrees USD 80.6 Mn Syndicated Loan for Scrubbers
Japanese shipowner NYK Line has signed a JPY 9 billion (USD 80.6 million) syndicated loan agreement to finance the purchase and installation of scrubbers.  This is Japan’s first syndicated loan to be certified by Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) with its highest ranking of Green 1, demonstrating the loan to be aligned with the core components of the Green Loan Principles.
NYK’s medium- to long-term environmental targets include a 30% per ton-kilometer reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 compared with a 2015 base year, and 50% per ton-kilometer by 2050 compared with the same base year.
“NYK will promote green finance and continue its efforts to keep a wide range of stakeholders involved in the company’s proactive approach to environmental investment as the company makes efforts to contribute to realizing a sustainable society with technology that lessens environmental burdens,” the company explained.
NYK’s medium-term management plan includes the group’s intent to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives into management strategy by establishing new medium- to long-term environmental targets.
To achieve these goals, NYK was the first company in the global shipping industry to issue labelled green bonds, and after that achievement in March 2018 the company received a green loan from Taiyo Life Insurance Company in December 2018. This new syndicated loan agreement is the third form of green financing for NYK for a total of over JPY 20 billion.
  • World Maritime News
Manora partners approve budget for 2019 drilling program
UAE-based oil company Mubadala Petroleum has approved a 2019 work program and budget for four firm wells and one contingent well at the Manora oil field in G1/48 located in the Gulf of Thailand.  Mubadala Petroleum is the operator of the field and Tap Oil is its partner with a 30% interest.  Tap Oil said on Wednesday that the joint venture had approved three Manora oil field development wells, scheduled to start drilling in July 2019 and one firm exploration well, scheduled for November 2019, and one further exploration well contingent upon rig slot availability.
The 2018 investments in the Manora oil field confirmed the hypothesis that shareholder value could be delivered from disciplined development, appraisal and near field exploration drilling investment. Accordingly, Tap and Mubadala Petroleum have approved further drilling in 2019.
In late 2018, Tap and Mubadala Petroleum reviewed insights and opportunities from production operations plus successful 2018 drilling, geological and geophysical activities. A portfolio of incremental Reserves and production enhancement opportunities was inventoried, analysed, highgraded and eventually budgeted for 2019. Investments prioritized include workovers, development drilling and exploration drilling which are all designed to add to Reserves, production, cash flow and extend the economic life of the Manora oil field.
Budgeted opportunities to develop undeveloped Reserves include two development wells in the Manora 300 series sands discovered in 2018, a further development well in the 490-60 reservoir delineated in late 2017 by the MNA-18 well. Other budgeted workover opportunities will optimize production. Further investment in the de-bottlenecking of facilities, including water injection capacity enhancement, is also budgeted.
Tap said that the final investment decisions on the precise location of these development drilling opportunities will be made in 2Q 2019, with the three well development drilling program scheduled to start in July 2019.
A portfolio of nearfield exploration drilling opportunities has been evaluated, with three prospect clusters high-graded that could be tested with a combination of exploration wells and associated side-tracks. This drilling and side-track strategy was successfully used in 2018 at Manora 8 and the Manora 8 side-track and is a very cost-effective strategy to test multiple objectives from one surface location, Tap said.
The firm 2019 budget includes one exploration well and a side-track. A further exploration well and side track is also budgeted, contingent upon rig slot availability. Detailed well engineering and design is ongoing towards a final investment decision on the number and location / trajectory of exploration wells and sidetracks to be made in May 2019, with drilling scheduled to start in 4Q 2019.
Potential exploration targets include further structures along the southern extension of the Manora East bounding fault which delivered recent success at Manora 8 side-track and at Manora 18 plus exploration and new field opportunities around the proven oil generation depocenter east of the Manora East fault block. Investment priorities are opportunities that can be developed quickly through existing Manora facilities.
The Manora oil field was discovered in November 2009 and produced first oil in November 2014. At the end of 2018, Manora had produced 14.36 million barrels of oil gross from 14 wells averaging 6,397 bopd gross in 2018. The field produced with a 77.5% water cut in 2018 and currently has five water injection wells to dispose of produced water and provide reservoir pressure support in the deeper reservoirs.
In March 2019, an application was made the Thailand Department of Mineral Fuels to extend the Manora Production Area by 13.73 Km2 to include the Malida oil discovery which is being evaluated as a Manora oil field tie back development opportunity.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Kocalar starts turning in Turkey
Akfen's 26MW wind farm first of four to come online backed by EBRD financing.  A 26MW wind farm in Turkey built by Turkish conglomerate Akfen and financed by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has started commercial operations.
The Kocalar wind farm is the first of four developed by Akfen and supported by the bank to start production.
The EBRD is supporting Akfen Renewables with loans and equity.
The bank, which became an Akfen shareholder in 2015, provided a financing package of $102m in September 2018 for the construction of the four wind farms and nine solar projects.
The remaining three wind farms – 99MW Ucpinar, 51MW Hasanoba in the north-western province of Canakkale and the 66MW Denizli site in the south-west – are due online between June and October 2019.
Akfen Renewables general manager Kayril Karabeyoglu said: “Canakkale is one of the highest wind potential areas in Turkey.”
In Turkey the EBRD has provided – directly and through local banks – loans of nearly €2bn for projects with value of €9bn and 2.9GW of installed capacity.
  • Renews.biz
Brexit: Theresa May will not ask EU for long extension
Theresa May will not be asking the EU for a long delay when she formally requests that Brexit is postponed.  Downing Street said the PM shared the public's "frustration" at Parliament's "failure to take a decision".  BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said the delay would not be beyond the end of June.
A cabinet minister has told the BBC this would be the "wrong choice" and a "craven surrender to hardliners" within the Conservative Party.  Under current law, the UK will leave the EU - with or without a deal - in nine days.  The PM is due to send a letter requesting a delay to Brexit later, ahead of a EU summit on Thursday at which she will discuss the matter with fellow leaders.
Any delay will have to be agreed by all 27 EU member states and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said the EU will not grant it without a "concrete plan" from the UK about what they would do with it.
Explaining that Mrs May "won't be asking for a long extension" when she writes to the EU, Number 10 said: "There is a case for giving Parliament a bit more time to agree a way forward, but the people of this country have been waiting nearly three years now.
"They are fed up with Parliament's failure to take a decision and the PM shares their frustration."
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker indicated there could be an extra Brexit summit next week.  But a tweet from his spokeswoman said his patience was "wearing thin" and that the withdrawal agreement would not be negotiated.
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 19th March 2019
Panama Canal Joins GIA for Low Carbon Shipping
The Panama Canal has joined the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) in an effort to support low carbon shipping.  The signing ceremony inducting the waterway into the GIA took place at the Panama Maritime World Conference and Exhibition. The move was made after the Panama Canal signed a letter of agreement on March 15 officially joining this group of industry players.
“Today’s announcement marks a proud milestone for the Panama Canal and its long legacy as the Green Route of world maritime trade,” Jorge L. Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, said.  “Given our roots in sustainability and innovation, this partnership reaffirms the canal’s commitment to leading our industry to a cleaner and more efficient future.”
Launched in June 2017, the GIA is a partnership of 18 maritime organizations working together to share their expertise and provide technical input towards the implementation of concrete activities that can support the shipping industry’s transition to a low carbon future.
The GIA members aim to do so by identifying and developing innovative solutions that address common barriers to the uptake and implementation of energy efficient technologies and operational measures. The Panama Canal will become the first Latin American organization to join the GIA.
  • World maritime News
JDR Scoops Kriegers Flak Deal
JDR Cables has secured an inter-array cable contract by Vattenfall for the Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm in Denmark.  Under the deal, JDR will manufacture more than 170km of aluminium core inter-array cables and a range of termination accessories.  According to the UK-based company, the cable will be assembled at JDR’s Hartlepool facility, while the project completion is expected in 2021.
“We are extremely proud to be awarded this landmark contract, which highlights our world-leading expertise in the supply of specialist subsea power cables to the offshore energy industry,” said Mike Lovell, Sales Director Renewables at JDR.
“JDR’s track record for innovation cemented the deal and will help to drive cheaper energy for consumers. We are looking forward to the development of Danish Kriegers Flak and continuing our collaboration with Vattenfall in the future.”
In November 2016, Vattenfall won the tender to build the Kriegers Flak project with the lowest ever bid of EUR 49.9 per MWh, 58% below the original cap of EUR 120 per MWh.
The 605MW offshore wind project will comprise 72 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines scheduled to be in full operation before the end of 2021.
  • Offshorewind.biz
Aker BP hits pay in North Sea well
Norwegian oil company Aker BP has made an oil and gas discovery northwest of the Bøyla field in the North Sea offshore Norway.  Aker BP, the operator of production license 869, has concluded the drilling of wildcat well 24/9-14 S and a horizontal appraisal well, 24/9-14 A in the Froskelår Main prospect, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) said on Tuesday.
Appraisal well 24/9-14 A was drilled 2650 meters northeast of wildcat well 24/9-14 S. The wells were drilled about 4 kilometers northwest of the Bøyla field and 225 kilometers west of Stavanger.
The objective of wildcat well 24/9-14 S was to prove petroleum and the reservoir potential in reservoir rocks (injectites) in the Eocene (Intra Hordaland group sandstones). The objective of well 24/9-14 A was to investigate the lateral extent, as well as the reservoir potential of the injectites.
Wildcat well 24/9-14 S encountered a total gas column of 30 meters, and a total oil column of 38 meters in the Hordaland group in sandstone layers (injectites) totaling 35 meters, mainly with very good to excellent reservoir properties. The sandstones are interpreted as being remobilised sand from the Heimdal and Hermod formations in the Palaeocene which are injected into the overlying Hordaland group. The gas/oil contact was observed in the well. The oil/water contact was not observed, as the logs showed oil down to the situation.
Appraisal well 24/9-14 A, which was drilled horizontally, encountered several gas-bearing and oil-bearing injectite zones totalling 540 meters, with many sandstone layers with variable reservoir properties, mainly from good up to excellent. Here too, the sandstone layers are interpreted as being injected sands in the Hordaland group with variable quality and thickness. The gas/oil and oil/water contacts are as in the wildcat well.
Tying into existing infrastructure
According to the NPD, preliminary estimates place the size of the discovery between 10 and 21 million standard cubic meters (Sm3) of recoverable oil equivalents. The nearby 24/9-3 (Gamma) oil discovery can be viewed as being a part of this discovery. Part of the discovery may extend over to the UK sector. The licensees will consider tying the discovery into existing infrastructure in the Alvheim area.
The wells were not formation-tested, but extensive volumes of data have been acquired and samples have been taken. These are the first and second exploration wells in production license 869, which was awarded in APA 2016.
The 24/9-14 S well was drilled to respective vertical and measured depths of 2097 and 2252 meters below sea level, and was terminated in the Sele formation in the Palaeocene. The 24/9-14 A well was drilled horizontally in the Hordaland group in the Eocene to respective vertical and measured depths of 1847 and 4398 meters below sea level.
Water depth at the site is 120 meters. The wells have been permanently plugged and abandoned.  The wells 24/9-14 S and 24/9-14 A were drilled by the Saipem-owned Scarabeo 8 drilling rig, which will now drill a combined wildcat and test production well, 24/9-15 S, in production license 340, where Aker BP is the operator.
Evy Glørstad-Clark, SVP Exploration in Aker BP, commented: “The exploration success at Froskelår Main is an encouraging result of a long -term strategy to unlock the exploration potential in the Alvheim area. This strategy has involved extensive data acquisition and detailed technical analysis.
“In parallel, we have been expanding our acreage position in the area through licensing rounds and business development activities. The Froskelår Main discovery represents a significant addition to the resource base in the Alvheim area. The discovery also illustrates the significant resource potential yet to be uncovered on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.”
  • Offshore energy today
Brexit: Theresa May to press on with deal despite Bercow ruling
The government says it is pressing ahead with Theresa May's Brexit deal despite Commons Speaker John Bercow throwing the process into doubt.  Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay suggested a vote could take place next week - after Mrs May has sought a delay to Brexit from the EU.  Mr Bercow has ruled that the PM cannot bring her deal back for a third vote without "substantial changes".  Mr Barclay said "serious consideration" was being given to his intervention.
The Brexit secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was important to "respect the referee" and abide by his decisions.
But he added that Mr Bercow himself had said, in the past, that if Parliament was guided only by precedent then "nothing ever would change".
Mr Bercow cited a ruling from 1604 to justify his decision to block a third vote, after the deal was rejected for a second time last week, by 149 votes.  Mr Barclay suggested that MPs would "find a way" to get another vote, if the government manages to persuade enough of them, including the 10 Democratic Unionists, to change their mind and back the deal.  He suggested it would also depend on Theresa May getting "clarity" from the EU on "terms of an extension" to Brexit.
George Ciamba, the Romanian minister who will chair today's meeting of European affairs ministers in Brussels, said there was "less clarity today than yesterday" on Brexit.  He said an extension of Article 50, the legal process taking the UK out of the EU was matter for leaders and that Thursday's European Council meeting was the proper venue for the decision.
What are the options?
Children and Families' minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Newsnight that one of the options was for MPs to vote on whether to ignore the 400-year-old convention that Mr Bercow had cited in making his ruling.  Brexit Minister Kwasi Kwarteng earlier told the Commons the government was now hoping to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit.  He said the length of the delay would depend on whether Mrs May's Brexit deal is approved. If the deal is agreed, the delay could be short, but if not it could be longer.
It is written into law that the UK is due to leave the EU at the end of next week - 29 March. The government can ask the EU to delay Brexit but all 27 EU leaders would need to give their permission.
Mrs May has been trying to get her Brexit withdrawal agreement - the "divorce" deal, which she has already agreed with the EU - signed off by MPs in time, but they have voted against it twice.
But without giving any warning, Mr Bercow made a statement on Monday saying this was not possible. He cited a parliamentary rule dating from 1604 which states that a defeated motion could not be brought back in the same form during the course of a parliamentary session.  EU ministers are meeting in Brussels to prepare for this week's summit of EU leaders who are expected to discuss whether to grant an extension to the Brexit process.
In his Newsnight interview, Mr Zahawi, who is a Brexiteer, was asked whether the government was going to bypass Mr Bercow's ruling. He said: "Let's see, we have to look at all our options.
"If there's a majority in Parliament, I would prefer that we can set aside this convention and have a vote and go and take a short extension and get on with Brexit - which I think is where my prime minister's at."  Mr Zahawi added that the Speaker had "made it now much more difficult to have the short extension" and a meaningful vote.
"Therefore the longer extension is now clearly on the table. I don't believe that's a good thing".
"What Speaker Bercow has done has made it much more likely that we don't deliver Brexit."
Nikki da Costa, former director of legal affairs at Downing Street, told BBC Radio 4's Today that Mr Bercow had taken the "hardest possible ruling" on the Parliamentary convention regarding defeated motions but if Mrs May's deal was starting to win acceptance it would be possible for her to get MPs to overturn the speaker's decision.  She added: "I think the PM and the government can still have a third meaningful vote... but it will be extraordinarily difficult to have a fourth meaningful vote so I think MPs really have to think very carefully if that vote does come back."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to meet the leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Green Party for talks on Brexit.  The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas have all released a joint statement calling for another referendum.
"The best and most democratic way forward is to put the decision back to the people in a new vote - with the option to Remain on the ballot paper," they said.  Mr Corbyn will also meet members of the group of MPs calling for a so-called Norway Plus style of future relationship with the EU.  And European Council president Donald Tusk will hold talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar in Dublin.
Mrs May is due to meet EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday at the previously scheduled summit.
  • BBC News


Headlines Monday 18th March 2019
IRClass Wins ERS Contract for 33 SCI Ships
Ship classification society Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) has secured a five-year contract from India’s largest shipping company, The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), to undertake emergency response service (ERS) for 33 vessels.  The contract, effective from the end of February 2019, will cover oil tankers, bulk carriers and containerships.
According to IRClass, the ERS is aimed at providing technical support by way of an assessment of the damage stability as well as longitudinal strength of any vessel involved in a major incident such as grounding, collision or fire.  Issues potentially arising from such incidents include excessive trim/heel, loss of stability, progressive flooding, structural impairment, etc.
On alerting the relevant communication channel, IRClass team starts to recreate the status of the vessel, by using a pre-developed 3D hull model and applying the data received from the vessel.  As explained by the classification society, the reliability of the service is established by way of mock drills conducted periodically.
SCI currently has a fleet of 63 vessels comprising tankers, bulkers, boxships and offshore supply vessels, according to the company’s website. The fleet has a total market value of more than USD 1 billion, VesselsValue’s data shows.
  • Worldmaritime news
Spain’s First Offshore Wind Turbine Goes Into Operation
The 5MW Elisa prototype, Spain’s first offshore wind turbine, has officially been put into operation.  According to the Canarian Association for Renewable Energy, the turbine was commissioned yesterday, 17 March, at the Plocan test site.  To remind, the installation of the full-scale Elisa prototype was completed at the site offshore Gran Canaria at the beginning of July last year.
The self-installing telescopic offshore wind turbine is developed under the EU-funded Elican project carried out by a consortium of Esteyco, Siemens Gamesa, ALE Heavylift, DEWI GmbH, and Plocan.
The project’s goal was to assemble the entire system, including the foundation, tower and wind turbine, and its pre-commissioning under controlled conditions at the Arinaga port, and then tow it to the site using conventional tugs.  This is said to reduce the risks associated with assembly work at sea and cut installation costs by 30% to 40% compared to existing conventional solutions.
  •  Offshorewind.biz
Oil major Eni sets out $3bn 'net zero' carbon emissions plan
Italian oil major to invest in major forestry projects in Africa and scale up renewables capacity, but still plans to increase fossil fuel production.  Italian oil and gas major Eni has set out its plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, earmarking an additional £3bn of investment towards forestry offsets, renewables, circular economy initiatives, energy efficiency, and flaring down projects.
Outlining its four-year business strategy on Friday, the company said it would achieve the "ambitious" emission target by minimising CO2 in its operations - such as through cutting methane leaks - and offsetting residual upstream emissions through large forestry projects.
The company hopes to plant enough woodland as a natural carbon sink to capture up to 20Mt a year of carbon emissions by 2030, making it the largest forestry offset commitment to date from a major oil firm.  The planned forestry projects will be mainly be focused in Africa and are expected to cover an area four times the size of Wales, the Financial Times reported.
Additional actions in the strategy include plans to increase the share of natural gas in Eni's portfolio, expand its biofuels business, increase its renewable energy capacity, and invest $1bn over the next four years to "maximise the use of waste as a feedstock and extend the lives of industrial sites".
By 2022 the company aims to complete 60 clean energy projects, investing $1.4bn in expanding its renewable energy capacity to 2.6GW, up from just 200MW this year. It then plans to almost double its renewables capacity to up to 5GW in total by 2025, while also stepping up its focus on energy storage.  Within its own operations, meanwhile, Eni said it aimed to reduce its operating costs by replacing gas consumption with renewables.
However, the company - which holds three billion barrels of oil reserves - still plans to grow its upstream oil business, aiming to deliver 2.5 billion barrels of new resources by drilling 140 exploration wells through to 2022.  The company said it expects production to grow by 3.5 per cent a year, targeting new areas for drilling in the Middle East, Norway, and Mexico.
Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO, said decarbonisation was a "strategic priority" for the company's board, and that deployment of its own new technologies would play a "key role", while also helping to boost profitability.
"We are committed to a low carbon future and today we are setting a new target to reach upstream carbon neutrality by 2030," he said. "We are committed to growing our renewables business organically during the plan. Our renewables portfolio is well diversified both geographically and in terms of technologies. In the future we are planning to increase our exposure to energy storage. In Italy, we will expand the 'Progetto Italia', our industrial conversion project generating power from renewables on reclaimed industrial areas."
Eni's move follows rival oil giant Shell's pledge on Friday to cut the net carbon footprint of its business by between 2-3 per cent by 2021, marking the company's first ever short-term emissions reduction target. Shell now plans to set short term emissions goals every five years.
  • Business green
Brexit: Not too late for real change to PM's deal – Johnson
It would be "absurd" to hold another vote on the PM's Brexit deal before attempting further talks with the EU, Boris Johnson has claimed.  Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the leading Brexiteer said it was "not too late" to get changes to the deal, with EU leaders due to meet on Thursday.  But security minister Ben Wallace said Mr Johnson and other opponents of the deal were "ignoring the facts".  The PM's plan is expected to be voted on for a third time in the coming days.
But the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the situation remained highly unpredictable.  She said it was "eminently feasible" the PM would delay a vote until after the EU summit at the end of this week - where European leaders will discuss a UK request to extend the process and to delay Brexit and for how long.
What's the current state of play?
Last week, MPs rejected Theresa May's deal for a second time - this time by 149 votes - and then backed plans to rule out leaving the EU without a deal.  They also voted in favour of an extension to the process - either until 30 June, if the deal is supported before 20 March; or a longer one that could include taking part in European elections if MPs reject her plan again.
All 27 EU member states would have to agree to an extension.  The BBC's Europe editor Katya Adler said there were growing divisions about the length of any delay or what conditions should be attached.
Are Tory MPs changing their minds?
The possibility of Brexit being delayed or overturned in another referendum has seen some MPs reluctantly back Mrs May's deal.  A group of 15 Tory MPs from Leave-backing constituencies, including former Brexit Secretary David Davis, wrote a letter urging colleagues to back the deal to ensure Brexit goes ahead.
But so far the number of Tories publicly switching positions falls far short of the 75 MPs Mrs May needs to switch sides.
Mr Johnson, writing in his weekly Daily Telegraph column, said that further changes were needed to the Irish backstop in Mrs May's withdrawal agreement to break the impasse in Parliament.  "If we agree this deal - and unless we have a radical change in our approach to the negotiations - we face an even greater humiliation in the second phase," he said.
EU leaders have said they will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.  Former cabinet minister John Redwood said he was also not shifting position, pointing out that legally the UK was still due to leave the EU on 29 March.  Mr Wallace, who backed Boris Johnson for the leadership in 2016, said he "strongly urged" him to support the deal and "not to ignore the facts placed before him".
"I know Boris is passionate about leaving the EU and if he is passionate, he will recognise that voting for this deal is the way to deliver Brexit," he said.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers, said he was "waiting to see" whether the Democratic Unionists would swing round behind the deal before deciding which way to vote.  But he said he still believed leaving without any agreement was the "best option", telling LBC "it means... we will have restored our nation's independence".
What about the DUP and Labour?
Senior ministers have indicated the deal will only return to the Commons if it has the support of the DUP's 10 MPs, whose votes prop up the Conservative government.
Negotiations with the Northern Irish party are expected to continue on Monday, although Downing Street said a formal meeting to try and get them on board was not scheduled.
DUP MLA Jim Wells told Today the party still had a "huge difficulty" with the existing backstop arrangements - designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland but which opponents say will separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.  He said: "We could find ourselves locked in there forever in effect - and once you get in, you can never get out."
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will have a series of meetings with other Westminster leaders and some influential backbenchers in an effort to find a cross-party compromise.
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 15th March 2019
BC Ferries’ Spirit-Class Duo Completes LNG Conversion in Poland
The second of two Spirit-class ferries has wrapped up its stay at Poland’s Remontowa Shiprepair Yard, marking the completion of BC Ferries’ LNG Conversion project.  Spirit of Vancouver Island got underway from Gdansk on February 28, 2019, after spending three months at the yard as part of its mid-life upgrade.
Spirit of Vancouver Island is the second of two units to undergo the upgrade after the Spirit of British Columbia received the same treatment in the first half of 2018.  Remontowa equipped each ferry with four new dual-fuel Wärtsilä 8L34DF main engines and a cryogenic tank. Currently, the ships’ engine rooms are dual fuel, adapted to be fed both with low-sulfur diesel oil and natural gas (stored as LNG) as the main fuel.
Other upgrades have included the renewal of navigation and propulsion equipment as well as passenger areas.  The LNG conversion project was delayed by a year after BC Ferries deferred it to ensure sufficient equipment procurement lead times, detailed engineering and necessary regulatory approvals, and perform additional financial due diligence.
The two Spirit-class vessels consumed approximately 15 per cent of BC Ferries annual fuel costs and their conversion to dual-fuel is expected to lead to operational savings and environmental benefits.
BC Ferries awarded the conversion contract to the Polish shipyard in March 2016. Remontowa’s competitors for work on the conversion project included Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards and Fincantieri of Italy.
  • World Maritime News
UK Oil & Gas reports Horse Hill production milestones as ‘testing’ continues
Some 35,000 barrels of crude have so far been recovered from Horse Hill where test production continues and new drilling in the coming months aims to expand capacity.  As it releases its annual results UK Oil & Gas plc (LON:UKOG) has also provided an update from the ongoing extended well test at the Horse Hill field, highlighting a number of milestones.
UKOG, which owns a 50.635% interest in Horse Hill, said that 10,000 barrels have now been produced from the Portland reservoir and it continues to flow at an average rate of 220 barrels of oil per day.  It explained that the production rate is deliberately held beneath the previously reported test rate of 362 bopd for “prudent reservoir management purposes”.
The Portland production adds to the 25,000 barrels of crude previously produced from the Kimmeridge zone in an earlier phase of the testing programme, and, takes the aggregate to 35,000 barrels.  Some 165 tankers worth of crude has now been routed from Horse Hill to the Hamble oil terminal, sold a Brent Crude Oil prices (less deductions for handling and marketing).
In its financial results, for the twelve months ended 30 September 2018, the company said that sales in that period saw oil prices between US$70 and US$80 per barrel whilst lifting costs for the test production amounted to US$20-27 per barrel – at full scale it is anticipated below US$20 per barrel.  The extended well testing programme (which has seen flows are a variety of rates and has included periods of down-time) began in June 2018 and in
UKOG’s results to the end of September it reported revenue of £225,000.  UKOG detailed a £128,000 gross profit and a £16.7mln pre-tax loss, including a £11.5mln write off against exploration assets.  Looking ahead, UKOG highlighted that the current plan sees Horse Hill test production revenues continuing through the remainder of 2019 and that long term field production revenues will begin before the calendar year end.
New drilling this spring – comprising the HH-2 well and a new Kimmeridge sidetrack for the existing HH-1 well – will aim to boost production capacity.
UKOG said it is optimistic that Horse Hill can achieve its horizontal production targets of 720-1,080 bopd per well. At such a level, the company said the project will be generating free cash flow in 2020.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the plan is to switch seamlessly from ‘testing’ into long term production.  It also highlighted that as the project phases into full production, the addition of proven and probable reserves at Horse Hill will open up the possibility of reserve-based lending – in other words debt could be raised against the crude remaining beneath the ground.
A rig tender process has recently begun for this spring’s drilling programme, and, the company noted that it already has planning and environmental permits in place for the work.  UKOG chief executive Stephen Sanderson said: "The Portland's continued excellent production performance, particularly from a non-optimised vertical well, provides building confidence that the previously reported 720-1,080 bopd horizontal well production targets are increasingly attainable.
“The recent rig-tender exercise also means we remain fully on track to begin the first horizontals in Spring, with long term production testing of both wells planned to follow directly afterwards.  “This programme puts UKOG in a strong position to deliver real growth and positive cash flow in the near future."
As at 30 September, UKOG had £12.4mln of cash and equivalents.
  • Proactive Investors
Interserve: Key UK contractor faces crunch vote on rescue plan
Key government contractor Interserve faces a crunch vote on Friday which could lead it into administration.  The outsourcing giant has been trying to persuade shareholders to back a rescue deal which would see 95% of the firm pass to lenders.  It reached a deal with creditors last month to prevent its collapse.
But if shareholders reject its debt-for-equity-swap plan in the vote, Interserve's lenders could apply for a pre-pack administration.  This would mean the firm would avoid a Carillion-style collapse, but it would wipe out existing shareholders.  A pre-pack administration lets a company sell itself, or its assets, as a going concern, without affecting the operation of the business when administrators are appointed.
The administrators take over the running of the business to protect creditors.  In a pre-pack, the lenders take 100% of the business.  Like construction giant Carillion, Interserve has numerous public sector and infrastructure contracts. Carillion collapsed in January last year with debts of £1.5bn.  The outsourcing firm is one of the UK's largest public services providers, and employs 45,000 people in the UK.
It started in dredging and construction, and from there has diversified into a wide range of services, such as healthcare and catering, for clients in government and industry.  It sells services, including probation, cleaning and healthcare, and is involved in construction projects.  It is the largest provider of probation services in England and Wales, supervising about 40,000 "medium-low risk offenders" for the Ministry of Justice.
Its infrastructure projects include improving the M5 Junction 6 near Worcester, refurbishing the Rotherham Interchange bus station in Yorkshire, and upgrading sewers and water pipes for Northumbrian Water.  And at King George Hospital in east London, for instance, Interserve has a £35m contract for cleaning, security, meals, waste management and maintenance.
Both the rescue deal and the pre-pack administration are designed to keep those contracts going and jobs in place, at least in the short term.  Interserve, one of the government's biggest providers of public services, may go into administration later.  The firm is holding a crucial shareholder vote to decide whether to accept a rescue plan which would see its lenders write off hundreds of millions of pounds in debt in exchange for new shares.
It employs 45,000 people in the UK and relies on contracts to serve schools, hospital and the army for 70% of its revenue.  The company is drowning in £650m of debt and its woes have invited comparisons with failed contractor Carillion which went bust just over a year ago.
However, the government - which put Interserve under intense supervision 18 months ago - insists that if the rescue deal is not approved and the company does go bust, there is a plan to bring the company out of administration over this weekend.  This arrangement will see the lenders take control of the company, essential services will not be interrupted, but current shareholders will see their shares rendered worthless.  That includes the company's biggest shareholder, US firm Coltrane Asset Management, which has opposed the deal but is thought to be interested in buying pieces of the company after administration.
Whatever happens on Friday, the financial disaster at Interserve is certain to revive the debate around the role of the private sector in providing public services.
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 14th March 2019
Port of Seattle Looking for Partner for New Cruise Terminal Project
The US Port of Seattle has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to secure a partner that will develop and operate a new, single berth cruise facility at Terminal 46.
In addition, the port has adopted principles to ensure that a growing cruise business increases local economic benefit and maintains the port’s leadership as the most environmentally progressive cruise homeport in North America.  “Our principles ensure that this new cruise terminal will expand local economic benefit, and with the addition of our third shore power berth will make Seattle the national leader in promoting clean, electric shore power for our Alaska-bound cruises,” Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman said.
The cruise terminal RFQ is the first step in a partnership selection process that will support the completion of a new facility for the 2022 cruise season.  Early estimates are that a cruise terminal could be constructed for around USD 200 million. A public-private-partnership approach to build the terminal will have the port contributing half that cost. Responses to the RFQ are due April 18.
The opportunity to explore using 29 acres at the north end of Terminal 46 for a new cruise terminal and single berth has come forward now as the Northwest Seaport Alliance works to realize its strategic plan of realigning international maritime cargo operations at Terminal 5 near West Seattle and Terminal 18 on Harbor Island. The cruise terminal project is contingent on the successful authorization of a new lease at Terminal 5 which is scheduled for review at the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s March 19 meeting.
This year, the Port celebrates 20 years of service as a cruise homeport. Since 1999, the Port of Seattle has become the US West Coast’s premier cruise port for Alaska cruises. In 2019, Seattle’s cruise industry will serve more than 1 million revenue passengers for the third year in a row.
The Port of Seattle is said to be the most environmentally progressive cruise homeport in North America, with the first cruise homeport in the United States with two shorepower berths, and may be the only cruise homeport in the United States with three shorepower berths when Terminal 46 is completed.
The Port of Seattle is also the first and only cruise homeport in North America with a voluntary clean water agreement between cruise lines and regulators. Emissions from ocean-going vessels, including cruise ships entering Puget Sound, have decreased by more than 67 percent over the last 10 years.
  • World Maritime News
Rem Offshore secures contracts for five vessels
Norwegian offshore shipping company Rem Offshore has been awarded five contracts for its vessels with a total contract value of about NOK 200 million ($23.4M).
Rem said on Wednesday that the vessels which had been awarded new contracts are three 2013-built platform supply vessels – Rem Mira, Rem Cetus, and Rem Insula – and vessels to be named Rem Trader and subsea construction vessel Rem Inspector.
Fredrik Remøy, CEO of Rem Offshore, said: “The value of these contracts significantly contribute to the earnings visibility of Rem Offshore and creates a solid foundation for further growth. These awards also showcase our organization’s talent for value creation in what is still a trying market.”
The vessel owner has not provided any further details about the value of the contracts nor its clients.
  • Offshore Energy Today
British parliament to vote on Brexit delay, PM seeks to revive her deal
Britain’s parliament was due to vote on Thursday on whether to delay Brexit beyond March 29 and Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to push members of parliament to vote again before then on her EU divorce deal, which they have twice rejected.
Key to May’s plan will be an attempt to persuade the most pro-Brexit MPs to reverse their opposition to her deal in the face of a possibly long delay that could mean Britain ends up with a closer relationship with the EU than May’s plan foresees or that Brexit is overturned in a second referendum.  Arlene Foster, leader of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that props up May’s minority government in parliament but which has so far voted against May’s agreement, said it was working with the government to try to find a way of leaving the EU with a deal.
On Wednesday, parliament rejected the prospect of leaving the European Union without a deal, paving the way for Thursday’s vote that could delay Brexit until at least the end of June. Sterling surged as investors saw less chance of Britain leaving the EU without a transition deal to smooth its exit.
British finance minister Philip Hammond said Brussels might insist on a long delay to Brexit if the UK government requests an extension to the process.
 “This is not in our control and the European Union is signalling that only if we have a deal is it likely to be willing to grant a short technical extension to get the legislation through,” Hammond told Sky News.  “If we don’t have a deal, and if we’re still discussing among ourselves what is the right way to go forward, then it’s quite possible that the EU may insist on a significantly longer period,” he said.
May said on Wednesday MPs would need to agree a way forward before an extension could be obtained. All 27 other EU member states must agree to any extension.  She said her preference was for a short delay, meaning the government could try to pass the deal she negotiated with the EU by the middle of next week, even though it was rejected heavily by MPs in January and again on Tuesday.
Andrew Bridgen, a eurosceptic lawmaker from May’s Conservative Party accused her of pursuing a “scorched earth” policy of destroying all other Brexit options to leave MPs with a choice between her deal and a delay of a year or more.  A senior official in Britain’s opposition Labour Party said it would support a limited extension to the Brexit date beyond March 29 in order to seek a compromise that can be backed by MPs.
“We will be putting an amendment down to ensure parliament considers an extension, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a long extension,” Labour’s finance spokesman John McDonnell told Sky News. “We will go for a limited extension today.”  MPs filed amendments to the government’s motion on delaying Brexit that is due to be put to a vote later on Thursday.
One amendment seeks to rule out a second referendum while another is for a second referendum. A Labour Party amendment calls for a delay to Brexit to allow parliament time to find an alternative way forward.
  • Reuters
Headlines Wednesday 13th March 2019
British parliament to vote on whether to leave EU without a deal
Britain’s parliament will vote on Wednesday on whether to leave the European Union in 16 days without an agreement as the government said it would eliminate import tariffs on a wide range of goods in a no-deal Brexit scenario. British lawmakers handed Prime Minister Theresa May a second humiliating defeat for her Brexit plan on Tuesday, plunging the country deeper into political crisis with almost no clues as to how it will emerge from the chaos.
It means the world’s fifth largest economy could leave the EU without a deal; there could be an extension to the March 29 divorce date which is enshrined in law; May could hold a snap election or try a third time to get her deal passed; or a another referendum on the issue is also possible.  On Wednesday, lawmakers are expected to reject a no-deal Brexit in a vote at 1900 GMT and on Thursday are then due to vote on whether to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit, something to which all the bloc’s other 27 members must agree.
A spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk, representing EU governments, said Britain would have to provide a “credible justification” for any request for a delay.  “We won’t know how long that extension will be, that’s for them to decide. We won’t know what conditions will be attached,” Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told BBC radio.
The default position if nothing else is agreed remains that Britain will exit with no deal, a scenario that business leaders warn would bring chaos to markets and supply chains, and other critics say could cause shortages of food and medicines.
Supporters of Brexit argue that, while a no-deal divorce might bring some short-term instability, in the longer term it would allow the United Kingdom to thrive and forge trade deals across the world.  Unveiling details of a tariff plan that would last for up to 12 months in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, the government said 87 percent of total imports to the United Kingdom by value would be eligible for tariff-free access, up from 80 percent now.
It also said it would not introduce new checks or controls on goods moving from the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland, a major concern among Irish politicians who feared a hard border could see a return of violence which blighted the British province for more than 30 years until a 1998 peace accord.
May has said the government would not instruct lawmakers from her own Conservative party, who are bitterly divided over Brexit, on how to vote on Wednesday, as would normally be the case.  “If you pushed me to the end point where it’s a choice between no deal and no Brexit ... I think no deal is going to be very disruptive for the economy and I think no deal also has serious questions for the union,” Barclay said.
“But I think no Brexit is catastrophic for our democracy. Between those very unpleasant choices, I think no Brexit is the bigger risk.” The European Union said the risk of a damaging no-deal Brexit had “increased significantly” but there would be no more negotiations with London on the divorce terms, struck with May after two-and-a-half years of tortuous negotiations.
Britons voted by 52-48 percent in 2016 to leave the EU but the decision has not only divided the main parties but also exposed deep rifts in British society, bringing concerns about immigration and globalisation to the fore.  Many fear Brexit will divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional U.S. presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China, leaving Britain economically weaker and with its security capabilities depleted.
Supporters say it allows Britain to control immigration and take advantage of global opportunities, striking new trade deals with the United States and others while keeping close links to the EU, which, even without Britain, would be a single market of 440 million people.
  • Reuters
World’s largest cargo plane delivers helicopters to Aberdeen
The world’s largest civilian cargo plane has helped deliver two helicopters to Aberdeen for Babcock Offshore’s North Sea operations.  Last month the UK branch of the company identified two AW139 helicopters which would be of use for its Australian business, and two S-92 helicopters in Melbourne that could serve the North Sea.
To carry out the switch, Babcock employed the services of the Antonov 124 – billed as the largest civilian plane in the world for transporting cargo.  According to operator Volga-Dnepr Airlines, it is capable of carrying 120tonnes across its greatest distances.
The AW139s were transported to Melbourne, where the massive carrier then picked up the S-92s.  These were then taken on a series of flights to Prestwick airport, as the Antonov is too large for Aberdeen airport, and were then taken by road to Babcock’s hangar in Aberdeen.  Ian Cooke, technical director at Babcock Offshore said: “This was a great example of how being part of a global group can bring local benefits.
“When two AW139s became available in Aberdeen it made sense to get them to Australia to serve the oil and gas customers there.  “And then it was also ideal timing to transfer two S-92s, in demand by UK customers, back to Aberdeen to join the Scottish fleet.  “It was a complex project but it went without a hitch and was really smoothly managed by everyone involved.
“The aircraft are now being prepared for operations in their new locations and will bring real benefits to Babcock customers in Scotland and in Australia.”
  • Energy Voice
Saga LNG Shipping Names Its First LNG Carrier
Saga LNG Shipping has named its new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier at China Merchants Heavy Industry (Jiangsu) shipyard on March 13, 2019.  Named Saga Dawn, the 45,000 m3 vessel would be delivered to the company in May and enter into service shortly after.  Saga LNG Shipping said that the unit is the world’s first LNG carrier featuring an IMO type A LNG containment system, based on LNT Marine’s patented LNT A-BOX design.
The ABS-classed vessel features Wärtsilä dual-fuel main and auxiliary engines.
“We are confident the momentum of this significant milestone will allow us to order many more similar vessels in the near future to meet evolving market demands,” said David Wu, Founder and CEO of Saga LNG Shipping.  The company explained that Saga Dawn “brings new life to the dwindling midsized LNG fleet.” The vessel has a fully laden draft of nine meters and no partial loading restrictions.
“We expect Saga Dawn to pave the way for new business models, innovative trades and the opening up of stranded demand centers, especially in Asia,” said Jonathan Verswijver, VP of Business Development at Saga LNG Shipping.
  • World Maritime News
Headlines Tuesday 12th March 2019
Zeebrugge Rolls Out Tools to Process UK Cargo Digitally after Brexit
Preparing for Brexit, Belgium’s Port of Zeebrugge has introduced two new digital tools to allow a fluent flow of cargo to and from the UK.  This is in spite of extra customs administrations which will be implemented after the Brexit deadline.  As informed, the development of the RX/SeaPort data sharing platform is an initiative of the Zeebrugge port authority and the Association of Port of Zeebrugge interests (APZI). The platform offers a digital connection between all links in the logistical chain.
“After March 29, the platform ensures a minimization of the Brexit impact, by improving the operational efficiency and creating more transparency in the logistical chain,” Wim Fossaert, Commercial Director of RX/SeaPort, commented.
“RX/SeaPort guarantees a chainwide solution for cargo shipped from and to the UK quickly and efficiently. Ferry and shortsea traffic will experience new customs regulations after Brexit. If these are handled digitally and efficiently, we will avoid problems,” Joachim Coens, Managing Director of MBZ, said.
Every week, more than 70 regular shipping services connect Zeebrugge to UK regions.  The first tool, WIZARD, focuses on the impact of Brexit on the logistical process, namely the transportation of goods to and from the UK through the Belgian port. Each phase of the import and export flow is illustrated: booking & pre-announcement, customs declaration, guidelines and procedures for departure and arrival at the terminal.
In addition, RX/SeaPort has developed a digital system, E-Desk Ferry, which focuses particularly on ferry transportations. Through the system, export users notify the terminal operator of the arrival of their cargo. This notification contains the type of document, customs office, MRN number, unit number, terminal and booking reference.  This data is continuously available for the terminal operator, which creates digital transparency and prevents waiting periods at the terminals, as explained by the port authority.
In the case of import, users will notify the terminal operator about the cargo’s customs status with corresponding customs document numbers. Based on this information, the cargo can be released for transport.
Shortsea traffic can make use of the existing systems E-Desk Container and E-Desk Roro.
“After months of preparation with all the stakeholders, we are very happy to present the first tools of RX/SeaPort to process the UK cargo digitally after Brexit. This is an optimization of the logistical chain in Zeebrugge and will result in a seamless flow of traffic and cargo,” according to Marc Adriansens, Chairman of APZI.
In 2018, the Port of Zeebrugge handled over 40 million tons of goods, a rise of 8 percent when compared to 2017. The increase was mostly due to the growth of roll-on/roll-off and liquid natural gas volumes.
  • World Maritime News
How will Brexit affect the port of Cairnryan?
William Gunn — known to his friends as Billy — is rattling along the A77 in a lorry packed with aluminium, heading for the ferry at Cairnryan.  He may know this road better than anyone, having made the trip from Glasgow to Belfast and back more than 2,000 times over the past 44 years.
"Doesn't bear thinking about" he laughs. "Always on a Wednesday. Back on a Friday."  Happily Billy, 62, likes driving on a route which many people in south-west Scotland curse for its narrow lanes, tight curves and dangerous junctions.
It's a clear run today but Billy fears that Brexit will clog up the ports and the roads.  "I would imagine there would just be tailbacks of traffic," he says.   "They'll be queuing on the streets probably."
So how might that happen?
Billy's weekly journey takes him on the shortest route across the Irish Sea from Cairnryan to Belfast.  Another busy passage runs from Holyhead, on the Welsh island of Anglesey, to Dublin but if Brexit were to lead to customs checks there, then more hauliers may choose to head north to Dumfries and Galloway to enter Northern Ireland instead.
Of course all of this is conjecture but that is the problem with Brexit. Nobody, from the prime minister down, seems to have a clue what is actually going to happen, leaving businesses and individuals alike struggling to plan.
Ian Hampton, a senior executive at Stena Line, the largest ferry operator in the North Sea says Brexit may well affect the flow of trade.  "There are a lot of goods that flow up and down the isle of Ireland," he says. "They take different routes to and from the United Kingdom, the mainland, so a decision on where that border could be could actually change the way trade moves."  Mr Hampton has even suggested that supplies of food and other goods might run short.  "On shortages, look it's a potential," he told The Nine news programme on BBC Scotland. "Goods will inevitably require checks as you move to being a third party country to the EU so therefore it could inevitably create delay."  Stena Line's Ian Hampton said it was possible that supplies of food and other goods could run short.
In Cairnryan, Lee Medd, business development manager at the Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce is more upbeat.  He evinces a mixture of concern about increased traffic on the roads — everyone here is worried about the roads — and optimism about the prospects for the UK outside the EU.
"I think to be honest we will see a much increased flow of traffic coming in and out of this port. It's already got a lot of traffic coming in from Ireland but it's going to be seen as the easy option," he says.  "Business happened around the world before we were part of the European Union," he points out.  "People have always wanted to do business with Britain. Britain has always wanted to do business with other people around the world. That will continue. Let's just crack on with it. This could be the best thing to happen to the United Kingdom."
Romano Petrucci, who runs the Central Cafe in Stranraer, which has been serving up fish and chips for six decades, does not share that optimism.
Cairnryan is a tiny place with little infrastructure and few places to park so any overflow would put pressure on larger Stranraer, still smarting from the decision to move the port out of the town after 150 years.  Stranraer itself is capable of coping, says Mr Petrucci, indeed he would be delighted to see queues of hungry lorry drivers but he believes the roads would struggle to cope.
"We've been completely and utterly abandoned for the last 20 years," he says. "We're the only place that doesn't have any dual carriageway for 50 miles in Scotland and yet we're a major port. So no we're not ready."  Some residents here say they are not convinced that the authorities are ready either.  They have accused Dumfries and Galloway Council of failing to explain its plan for Brexit.
Martin Ogilvie, resilience manager for the council, says the criticism is not entirely unfair, explaining that the uncertainty meant they had taken a decision not to scare people with speculation.  But, he insists, they are prepared.  "There are plans already to stack up the vehicles on certain roads through just outside Stranraer," he says. "It's almost like a rolling queue but we can't have these queues blocking the main trunk roads."
Martin Ogilvie insists Dumfries and Galloway Council is prepared for the effects of Brexit.  The council, he insists, is developing options to get the traffic off the main roads and find somewhere safe to queue. One option is to use the old pier in Stranraer.  Back in his lorry, still moving for now, Billy is disgruntled about the whole affair.
The referendum campaign, he says, did not do much to inform the public about what would actually happen if the UK voted to leave the EU.  "We were not told a great deal about it," he says. "Nobody even tried to explain the full consequences. Even to this day, I don't think folk truly understand the full consequences of leaving Europe."
  • BBC News
Row over hydro projects in 'Skyfall glen'
The three projects in Glen Etive, near Glen Coe, are among seven that were approved by members of a Highland Council planning committee last month.  Now one councillor has secured enough support to have the plans reviewed on 20 March.  The three proposed schemes are opposed by a campaign, Save Glen Etive.
Mountaineering Scotland, a body representing the interests of hillwalkers, climbers and skiers, also opposes the three hydro projects.  The developer Dickins Hydro said it appreciated the glen was a special area and would do everything in its power to reduce any impact on the environment.  Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Council supports the overall hydro project, which could produce enough electricity for up to 8,000 properties and raise community benefit funding.
Local councillor Andrew Baxter said that it was only right that the projects planned for a sensitive environment were scrutinised by the full council.  Glen Etive, near Glen Coe, is a National Scenic Area, and a Wild Land Area.  The the area is well-known to film fans as a location for 2012's James Bond movie Skyfall.  Scenes for Skyfall, which starred Daniel Craig as secret agent 007, were filmed in Glen Etive and the wider Glen Coe area.
Mountaineering Scotland said constructing the hydro power schemes on the rivers and burns in the glen would involve road and bridge building, use of cement and the laying of power cables.
In January its chief executive, Stuart Younie, urged Highland Council to look at the "whole picture of development" in the glen rather than treating each application in isolation.  Landscape photographer Tim Parkin, who support opponents of the plans, said allowing the projects to go ahead would set a precedent.
He said: "We don't want to see this as the thin edge of the wedge. If we say it is OK here, is it then OK in Glen Nevis and other areas? Next will we see developments on Rannoch Moor?  "We want to see renewables, but is it the right place for them? Is there a plan to put things in the right place?"
Alasdair Sutherland, chairman of Glencoe and Glen Etive Community Council, said the schemes would generate £17,000 in community benefit every year for the local area.  He said: "The community is very receptive to that for all sorts of reasons.  "There's a single-track road that doesn't have enough passing places, we have a litter problem here and there are no public toilets.  "We think that the lives of the people of Glencoe and Glen Etive could be improved."
William Dickins, of Dickins Hydro, said the glen offered ideal conditions for small-scale hydro schemes, including high rainfall and the topography of the area.  He said: "We have spent a lot of time talking to the local community and had specialists look at the whole environment.  "But I understand that it is a very pretty and attractive area and a very special area.
"I can assure you we will do everything we are able to to ensure that at the end of the day everything is restored to look the same as it did before."
  • BBC News
Headlines Monday 11th March 2019
UK oil and gas production forecast raised
Gas from Glengorm could be tied back to the Elgin-Franklin or Culzean platforms.  Forecasts of how much oil and gas could be produced by the UK offshore industry have been revised upwards.  The industry regulator now believes 11.9 billion barrels will be extracted by 2050, up from an estimate of 8 billion four years ago.
So far 43 billion barrels of oil or its gas equivalent have been extracted from UK waters.  The new prediction is driven by lower production costs, technical advances and 30 new fields coming on stream.  Estimates of oil and gas potential have been part of the debate about the financial situation facing Scotland should it become independent.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) forecast in 2015 that a further eight billion barrels could be pumped by 2050, but that has now been raised by 3.9 million barrels.  Head of performance, planning and reporting at the OGA, Loraine Pace, said: "The 3.9 billion barrels identified is great news with 2018 being a productive year.
"New discoveries such as Glendronach and Glengorm highlight the future potential of the basin which could be boosted further with new investment, exploration successes and resource progression."  The regulator, reporting to the Treasury ahead of the chancellor's spring statement, said oil output last year was up 8.9 % last year, the highest UK oil production rate since 2011.
Gas production, however, fell by 3%. The total is expected to fall from this year onwards, but at a slower rate than previously forecast.  Capital expenditure also fell for the fourth successive year, although this trend is expected to be reversed in 2019.
  • BBC News
GasLog Partners Takes Another LNG Carrier from GasLog
Owner and operator of LNG carriers GasLog Partners has signed an agreement to acquire the 174,000 cbm tri-fuel diesel electric LNG carrier GasLog Glasgow from GasLog.  The purchase price for the vessel would be USD 214 million, which includes USD 1 million for positive net working capital balances to be transferred with the vessel.
GasLog Partners estimates that the GasLog Glasgow will add around USD 23.5 million to EBITDA in the first 12 months after closing. The 2016-built carrier is currently on a multi-year time charter with a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell through June 2026. Shell has the option to extend the charter for a period of five years.
The unit would be financed from GasLog Partners’ available sources of liquidity, including proceeds from its November 2018 shares sale, and the assumption of the GasLog Glasgow’s USD 134 million of existing debt. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2019.  With GasLog Glasgow, the Partnership’s fleet would be expanded to 15 wholly-owned LNG carriers.
“We continue to execute on our strategy of dropping vessels into GasLog Partners in order to recycle capital back to GasLog to fund our capital programme. In turn, this leads to further growth opportunities for the Partnership,” Paul Wogan, Chief Executive Officer of GasLog, said.
  • World Maritime News
Debenhams confirms it is in talks about borrowing £150m
Debenhams has confirmed it is in advanced negotiations about borrowing £150m as it battles for survival.  The funding, which would be in addition to £520m of long-term debts, is intended to ensure credit insurers restore cover for Debenhams’ suppliers and to enable the business to restructure its store portfolio.
The arrangement would also repay £40m of short-term debt agreed last month in an effort to facilitate trading through Easter.  Debenhams is also attempting to refinance £320m of loans and £200m of bonds that are due to be repaid next year. A deal is expected to include a debt-for-equity swap and 50 store closures.
Its latest push for survival comes after the Sports Direct boss, Mike Ashley, stepped up his attempts to seize control of Debenhams last week by calling for a shareholder meeting at which he said he wanted to oust all but one of its directors and install himself as chief executive.  Directors are understood to be attempting to secure a watertight refinancing plan in the run-up to the meeting, which is likely to take place in late April. They want to ensure the support of shareholders against Ashley’s attempt to seize control of Debenhams without a takeover bid.
Ashley would need support from other shareholders to reach the 50% of voting stock required to oust directors or put himself on the board.  But in January he was able to force out the Debenhams chair, Sir Ian Cheshire, by teaming up with fellow shareholder Milestone Resources, controlled by the Dubai-based retail entrepreneur Micky Jagtiani, who owns a 7% stake. Though the pair control less than 40% of Debenham’s shares, they were able to push through their scheme as so few other shareholders voted.
Ashley is keen to disrupt the refinancing because the deal is likely to involve a debt-for-equity swap that would dilute the value and voting power of Sports Direct’s stake in Debenhams.  Trading at Debenhams also continues to be poor and the share price depressed. This month the retailer said it would not meet profits targets as sales continued to fall, while the £40m loan and loss of credit insurance for suppliers had added to costs.
Debenhams shareholders, lenders and analysts have expressed concerns about Ashley’s plan, given the trading difficulties at House of Fraser, the department store chain his group bought out of administration last year.  Sports Direct shareholders are also concerned about Ashley’s intention to abandon his role as chief executive of the group should he be installed as boss of Debenhams.
  • The Guardian


Headlines Friday 8th March 2019
Songa Container Orders Scrubbers for Its Entire Fleet
Norwegian feeder owner Songa Container has decided to equip its entire fleet with exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers).  In its fourth quarter of 2018 financial report, the company said it signed a scrubber installation contract in October 2018 for all 15 vessels in the fleet. The installations are due to take place within the course of 2019 and first quarter 2020.
However, in January 2019, the company cancelled the installation of a scrubber on the Songa Antofagasta due to a potential sale of the vessel.  Going forward, Songa Container said that much of its focus will be on the CAPEX program related to the retrofit of scrubbers.
“The strategy of installing scrubbers will enable the company to provide a technically proven, environmentally beneficial, commercially attractive and risk mitigating fleet of container vessels to the liner operators for their future business development.”
“Due to the very low penetration of scrubber-fitted container vessels in the feeder segment,” the company expects to have a comparative advantage on its fleet.
“Whilst there are still many uncertainties concerning the consequences surrounding the implementation of the IMO2020 regulation, the company believes that taking a position to the IMO2020 regulation by retrofitting scrubbers in a worst case scenario, represents an opportunity to maximize its fleet utilization,” Songa Container explained.
  • World Maritime News
Siem Offshore secures long-term job for subsea construction vessel
Norwegian  subsea shipping company Siem Offshore has been awarded a long-term contract for its Siem Spearfish vessel.  The vessel owner said on Friday it had agreed a three-year frame agreement with an undisclosed subsea contractor for the offshore subsea construction vessel Siem Spearfish.  The vessel has started the operation for 2019, Siem said in the statement.
The Siem Spearfish vessel is of an STX OSCV 03 design built in 2014. It was designed for subsea operation duties such as construction and installation work, inspection and maintenance.
According to its owner, the vessel is environmental friendly with focus on low fuel consumption through its diesel electric machinery. It is classed according to SPS 2008 and Clean Design.
  • Offshore energy today
Scottish Power Going After More UK Offshore Wind
ScottishPower is actively pursuing future offshore wind projects in England and Scotland as part of its GBP 6 billion investment plan, to ensure one third of the UK’s electricity can be produced by wind by 2030.  The energy company said it plans to engage with The Crown Estate and The Crown Estate Scotland on seabed leasing rounds.
The announcement supports the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which was unveiled by Energy Minister Claire Perry MP at ScottishPower’s construction and operations hub for its East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm in Lowestoft, the utility said.
“ScottishPower is proof that offshore wind works, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring down costs and, having transitioned to 100% renewable energy, will be building more windfarms to help the UK shift to a cleaner electric economy. Two of our offshore windfarms in East Anglia will replace ALL of the old thermal generation we’ve sold and we are ready to invest more by actively pursuing future offshore projects both north and south of the border,” ScottishPower Chief Executive, Keith Anderson, said.
Construction is already underway at the company’s GBP 2.5bn East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, located 43km off the Suffolk coast. It will see 102 Siemens Gamesa turbines deployed each with a capacity of 7MW.
“We have a fantastic supply chain already in place in the UK, from businesses in and around East Anglia to across England, across Scotland as well as Northern Ireland. The Sector Deal will attract even more businesses in the UK to join the offshore wind supply chain and we are excited to see the transformative impact this will have on our projects,” Anderson said.
Planning consent has also been gained for its East Anglia THREE windfarm for up to 1,200MW and planning consultations on Scottish Power’s next two large offshore wind farms in the East Anglia zone have begun. If consents are granted, it is anticipated that East Anglia TWO will commence construction in 2024 and East Anglia ONE North will commence construction in 2025.
Around 3,000 construction jobs are being supported globally by the East Anglia projects and GBP 25million has been spent with suppliers based in East Anglia alone, Scottish Power said.
  • Offshorewindbiz
Corbyn to open Scottish Labour conference
Scottish Labour is to kick off its spring conference in Dundee with a speech from UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.  Activists are gathering in Dundee for the three-day event, with Mr Corbyn and Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird the main speakers on Friday.  Scottish leader Richard Leonard will speak on Saturday, before Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on Sunday.  Mr Leonard said the party would outline policies to end austerity and tackle poverty, inequality and homelessness.
The Lib Dems had their conference in February, while the Greens, SNP and Conservatives are to hold theirs in April and May.  As well as the leaders speeches, the conference is to feature debates about healthcare, the economy, education and Scotland's place in the world.
Mr Leonard said the party's offering was one of "hope and investment", as opposed to "more cuts and division with the Tories and SNP".
He said: "We will bring an end to austerity and we will shift the balance of wealth and power in Scotland, ensuring the wealthiest pay more to fund our NHS, our schools and the services we all rely on.
"We will end low pay and the exploitation of workers, reverse the rise in poverty, homelessness, inequality and foodbanks, and invest in our communities and our industries.  "We will put people before profit and transform our economy and our society so they work in the interests of the many not the few."
'Turbo-charged austerity'
On Thursday, Mr Leonard told First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that her independence plans amount to "turbo charged austerity at the very time when the people are crying out for investment".
Ms Sturgeon replied that "until Richard Leonard and Scottish Labour find it within themselves to stand up for Scotland instead of standing up for the continuation of Tory rule, the party will never recover in Scotland, and it will never deserve to recover in Scotland".  There was a row ahead of the conference when former leader Kezia Dugdale claimed a report to delegates from the party's Scottish MEPs had been "censored" to remove references to a new EU referendum.
A Labour source said the move had been a "genuine misunderstanding", and said Mr Leonard had written to Catherine Stihler and David Martin to apologise.
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 7th March 2019
Construction of UK’s Tilbury2 Terminal Can Start Immediately
The construction of the Port of Tilbury’s new multimillion pound port terminal, Tilbury2, will begin immediately after the UK-based company GRAHAM was appointed to carry out the work.  In late February 2019, the port received development consent from the Secretary of State for Transport to build the new port.
The contract with GRAHAM will involve the creation of a new port terminal and associated facilities on land at the former Tilbury Power Station on the north bank of the River Thames at Tilbury.  When operational in Spring 2020, Tilbury2 will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ferry port and the country’s biggest construction processing hub.
GRAHAM has been awarded the contract for both the Terrestrial and the Marine Package. The Terrestrial contract incorporates a roll-on/roll-off (RoRo), highway works, the relocation of the existing railhead, and a fixed structural steel bridge to the linkspan. The Marine contract includes works within the tidal estuary beyond the existing sea wall/flood defences, including a floating pontoon, link-span/articulated bridge, associated pilings and river bed preparation for the berth.
“Tilbury2 is a significant project for our business and our customers… There is a great deal to do over the next 12 months and we look forward to opening our new port in 2020,” Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group (owners of the Port of Tilbury) said.
“The Tilbury2 project is a complex scheme that will facilitate the expansion of the Port of Tilbury and support its continued local, regional and national economic growth. We look forward to working collaboratively with The Port of Tilbury and local stakeholders to deliver this transformational scheme,” Michael Graham, GRAHAM Executive Chairman, commented.
Tilbury2 is central to the Port of Tilbury’s GBP 1 billion (USD 1.3 billion) investment program during 2012-20.
  • World Maritime News
UK Launches Offshore Wind Sector Deal, Commits to 30GW by 30
The UK has launched the new joint government-industry Offshore Wind Sector Deal which will see offshore wind reach the connected capacity of 30GW and deliver one-third of the UK’s electricity by 2030.  Under the new deal, the number of jobs in the industry is expected to rise to 27,000 by 2030, up from 7,200 today.
The deal also includes a GBP 250 million Offshore Wind Growth Partnership to develop the UK supply chain as global exports are set to increase fivefold to GBP 2.6 billion by 2030. The increase in exports will be achieved through partnerships between the Department of Trade and industry to support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time.
Claire Perry, UK’s Energy & Clean Growth Minister said: ”By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a fivefold increase in exports. This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action.”  The amount of UK content in homegrown offshore wind projects is set at 60% in the new deal, to ensure that the GBP 557 million pledged by the government in July 2018 for further clean power auctions over the next ten years will directly benefit local communities.
The government and the industry have committed to reducing the cost of projects in the 2020s and overall system costs, so projects commissioning in 2030 will cost consumers less.
The deal will also see The Crown Estate and The Crown Estate Scotland release new seabed land from 2019 for new offshore wind developments.
UK government alongside the deal will provide over GBP 4 million pounds for British business to share expertise globally and open new markets for UK industry through a technical assistance programme to help countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines skip dirty coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects.
”Now that we’ve sealed this transformative deal with our partners in government, as a key part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, offshore wind is set to take its place at the heart of our low-carbon, affordable and reliable electricity system of the future,” the Co-Chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Ørsted UK Country Manager for Offshore, Benj Sykes, said.
”This relentlessly innovative sector is revitalising parts of the country which have never seen opportunities like this for years, especially coastal communities from Wick in the northern Scotland to the Isle of Wight, and from Barrow-in-Furness to the Humber. Companies are burgeoning in clusters, creating new centres of excellence in this clean growth boom. The Sector Deal will ensure that even more of these companies win work not only on here, but around the world in a global offshore wind market set to be worth £30 billion a year by 2030.”
  • Offshore windbiz
Glomar Offshore buys two Bourbon vessels
Offshore support vessel owner Glomar Offshore has bought two multi-purpose vessels from Bourbon Offshore.  Glomar said on Thursday it had bought the 2008-built Bourbon Arethuse and the 2009-built Bourbon Amilcar vessels, which are to be renamed Glomar Worker and Glomar Supporter, respectively.
Glomar said that, after modifications and upgrades in its yard in Gdynia, Poland (Globaltic Marine), the vessels will be dedicated to serving the oil and gas and renewables clients in the North Sea and Baltic on subsea and survey projects.
In addition, Glomar reported that upgrades on its recently acquired Minkar, Situla and Shaula (ex Halul 10, 11 and 12, all 2002 built) are proceeding and the vessels are expected to be ready to trade by 3Q 2019.  The vessels are to be certified as NOGEPA standby units, serving Glomar’s Dutch oil & gas clients.
Glomar said: “We would like to thank both previous owners, msrs Bourbon Offshore and Halul Offshore Services, as well as our brokers, Grieg Shipbrokers, for facilitating both transactions successfully.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
Brexit: UK urged to table 'acceptable' backstop remedies
The UK has been urged to table fresh proposals within the next 48 hours to break the Brexit impasse.  EU officials said they would work non-stop over the weekend if "acceptable" ideas were received by Friday to break the deadlock over the Irish backstop.  The UK has said "reasonable" proposals to satisfy MPs' concerns about being tied to EU rules had already been made.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned Brexiteers to vote for the PM's deal or face a delay to Brexit.  The PM is seeking legally-enforceable changes to the backstop - an insurance policy designed to prevent physical checks on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but there have been few visible signs of progress.
MPs are due to vote for a second time on the Brexit deal next week. If they reject the deal again, they will get to choose between leaving without a deal or deferring the UK's exit from the EU beyond the scheduled date of 29 March.  Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Hammond refused to be drawn on how he would vote if Mrs May's deal is defeated.
"If the prime minister's deal does not get approved on Tuesday then it is likely that the House of Commons will vote to extend the Article 50 procedure, to not leave the European Union without a deal, and where we go thereafter is highly uncertain," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"For those people who are passionate about ensuring that we leave the European Union on time it surely must be something that they need to think very, very carefully about now because they run risk of us moving away from their preferred course of action if we don't get this deal through."
What we heard from the chancellor this morning was that he was clear about the uncertainties ahead - and rather unclear (cagey, in fact) about how he might vote when it came to decision-time about a no-deal.  There was an explicit warning to Brexiteers: vote for the prime minister's deal because otherwise, it's delay and a soft Brexit.
As one minister expressed to me yesterday, they believe the vote does have a chance of getting through because Brexiteers will realise - just in time - that it's either the PM's deal next week, or what this minister described as "soft, softer, then meltdown".
But across government, the mood is not optimistic about what's going to happen next week and most ministers are expecting a defeat.
French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau reiterated the EU's position that the withdrawal agreement cannot be reopened and said the deal was the "best possible solution" with the controversial Irish backstop a "last resort solution".  She said: "We don't like the backstop, we don't want to have to implement it, and if we have to, we don't want to stay in the backstop.  "We all agree that it should be temporary."
Negotiations 'difficult'
Mrs May is pinning her hopes on getting changes to the backstop that will prevent the UK from being tied to EU customs rules if no permanent trade deal is agreed after Brexit.  Critics say that - if the backstop were used - it would keep the UK tied to the EU indefinitely.
But the BBC's Europe reporter Adam Fleming said talk of a 48-hour deadline for new proposals and a weekend of negotiations was "a notional timetable" and that more flexibility could be possible.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who is leading the UK team, has conceded that negotiations are at a sensitive point and the exchanges have been "robust".
Mr Cox, who will take questions from MPs on Thursday, has played down reports he has abandoned hopes of getting the EU to agree to a firm end date to the backstop or some kind of exit mechanism - key demands for many Tory Brexiteers.
Negotiations between British ministers and the EU officials over the past 24 hours have been described as "difficult", with the EU insisting there has been no breakthrough.
Diplomats from the 28 member states were told on Wednesday that Mrs May could meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday if progress was made.
  • BBC News


Headlines Wednesday 6th March 2019
APM Terminals Inaugurates New Container Terminal in Costa Rica
APM Terminals Moín — a new container terminal in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Costa Rica — was inaugurated last week.  As informed, the completion of the terminal will enable products to be shipped on transatlantic routes to European and Asian markets without transshipment.
The project represents a total investment of USD 1 billion and is built on a 40-hectare artificial island. The terminal has a 650-meter long pier and a container yard with the capacity to hold 26,000 TEUs, including power connection capacity for 3,800 refrigerated containers.  The construction of the terminal in Costa Rica was completed by a consortium of Van Oord and BAM International.
According to the terminal operator, the region will attract a very high percentage of the ships that transit through the Panama Canal. The number of shipping routes that reach the APM Terminals Moín is projected to increase by as much as 285 percent.  This 100% owned greenfield development is part of the 30-year concession to operate the terminal.
“We are proud that the country has trusted APM Terminals with the mission of developing and operating this amazing port. A concession that also brings socioeconomic opportunities to the community, the country and the region,” Kenneth Waugh, Managing Director of APM Terminals Moin, commented.
The six gantry cranes and the 29-yard cranes represent a USD 110 million investment and will allow the terminal to continuously perform an average of 180 movements per hour for loading and unloading. These efficiency standards will significantly reduce vessel service times from 40 hours to just 15 hours.
  • World Maritime News
Subsea 7 confirms three Woodside contracts
Offshore installation and construction company Subsea 7 has confirmed it has been awarded three engineering, procurement, construction, and installation contracts with Woodside since December 2018.  Following previous reports, Subsea 7 now officially confirmed the contract for SNE Field Development-Phase 1, offshore Senegal (SNE); Scarborough Project, offshore Australia (Scarborough) and Julimar Development Phase 2, offshore Australia (Julimar)
The awarded work is for engineering activities required to finalize the technical definition of the proposed developments prior to Woodside and its joint venture partners making final investment decisions (FID), which Woodside is targeting for between mid-2019 and early 2020 depending on the project.  “Subsea 7 has already recognised the value of the engineering studies in its Order Backlog. The value of the EPCI contracts will be recognised after FID, following exercise of the relevant option. Assuming FID is reached on all three projects, they would in aggregate be equivalent to a major project award for Subsea 7,” Subsea 7 said.
The Julimar field is located approximately 200km offshore North West Australia. The full scope of work will be to design, procure, install and commission a 22km 18” Corrosion Resistant Alloy (CRA) gas transmission flowline and an umbilical system. The Julimar project was awarded to Subsea 7 as a stand-alone SURF contract and will be led from Subsea 7’s Perth office, with support from other Subsea 7 offices.  The SNE and Scarborough projects were awarded to Subsea Integration Alliance, a global partnership between Subsea 7 and OneSubsea, with integrated SPS (subsea production systems) and SURF (subsea umbilicals, risers, and flowlines) project teams.
SNE is a deepwater oil field discovery located offshore, 100 km south of Dakar, Senegal. The proposed development scope includes up to 23 wells with in excess of 90km of rigid pipelines featuring Subsea 7’s Swagelining pipeline and BuBi pipeline technologies. The SNE subsea integrated project will be led from Subsea 7’s London office, with support from other Subsea 7 and OneSubsea offices.
The Scarborough Field is located approximately 380km offshore North West Australia. Subject to FID by the Scarborough joint venture, the full integrated project scope of work would include the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of subsea rigid pipelines, flexible risers, umbilicals and associated infrastructure.  All three projects will be executed using reeled pipelay and heavy construction vessels from Subsea 7’s fleet with offshore campaigns scheduled between 2021 and 2023.
Andy Woolgar, Vice President Australia and New Zealand for Subsea 7, said: “These awards build on our relationship with Woodside and our successful track record of projects executed offshore Australia. They highlight the engineering expertise and strength of our business and our local workforce to perform integrated projects from pre-FEED to execution as well as standalone projects.”
Gilles Lafaye, Vice President Africa for Subsea 7, said: “The award of the SNE FEED contract by Woodside to Subsea Integration Alliance reflects our expertise in integrated projects and we look forward to strengthening our relationship with Woodside. Senegal is an exciting new market for Subsea 7, and we are pleased to support the local oil and gas industry. We look forward to building a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership with Woodside on this project and in future developments.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
Neodrill Bags Three New Projects
Norway-based offshore services company and provider of drilling technology products, Neodrill AS announced three new project wins.  New contracts include projects with Repsol, Total and DEA Group. Neodrill’s pre-rig well construction with CAN (Conductor Anchor Node) technology technology delivers a smarter well foundation through the installation of conductors at pre-rig stage, said a press release from the Oil and gas exploration service company.
Neodrill will deliver its CAN-ductor on Repsol’s North Sea well, installation is expected to take place in the summer ahead of an expected spud date in Autumn 2019. The company will deliver its new product, named Engineered Conductor Support (ECS), on the exploration well. The ECS optimizes the fatigue life of any given wellhead system.
The new projects mark the first time DEA Group and Total will avail of the CAN technology. In February, Neodrill installed a CAN-ductor for Total in its UKCS well East of Shetland, this was the first time that the technology was installed in mixed soil conditions. A new well in DEA Group’s NCS asset will also benefit from the CAN technology this summer.
The new projects announced by Neodrill will result in a saving of between 2-4 days of rig days per well, as well as providing a more robust well foundation. The benefits of the CAN technology also include improved fatigue life and well load capacity. The CAN technology for exploration wells is also easily refurbished and reused.
Commenting on the recent contract wins, Neodrill’s Chief Executive Officer, Jostein Aleksandersen said: “We are very pleased by the work we have achieved for our clients so far this year, and we very much look forward to what the rest of 2019 will bring.  “Even though we have been around for nearly 20 years, innovation is part of our DNA. We are proud that with each new project, we have the opportunity to create something new and game-changing for the industry – whether that’s our first ever CAN installation in a new region, such as China, or new innovations to further enhance our technology.”
Neodrill is currently sponsoring the SPE/IADC International Drilling Conference and Exhibition in the Hague. The new contract announcements follow the installation of the world's deepest CAN-ductor at Woodside’s Ferrand-1 in North West Australia.
  • OE Digital
Nordex scores European double
Turbine orders secured in Luxembourg and Italy for N131/3300 and N149/4.0-4.5 machines.  Nordex has secured turbine orders in Luxembourg, its first in the country, and Italy. 
The deal in Luxembourg is with PW34 for the 23MW Wincrange project, which will feature seven N131/3300 machines.  Nordex will also provide service for the turbines for 20 years.  Cable work at Wincrange has been completed and foundation installation will kick off in April.  Turbine erection will start at the end of the year, with grid connection scheduled for February 2020.
In Italy, Nordex will supply seven N149/4.0-4.5 units for an unnamed wind farm and client.  The Italian contract also includes servicing for two years.
  • ReNews.biz
Headlines Tuesday 5th March 2019
Clarksons: CIMC SOE to Build Up to Six Small-Scale LNG Carriers for Avenir LNG
Chinese shipbuilder Nantong CIMC Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering (CIMC SOE) is set to build up to six LNG carriers for Bermuda-registered company Avenir LNG, according to Clarksons.  The contract includes the construction of two 20,000 cbm firm plus up to four additional optional LNG bunkering vessels with delivery of the firm vessels set for 2021.  Details about the contract emerged following the yard’s announcement on the construction contracts becoming effective.
The small-scale LNG company was formed by Stolt-Nielsen, which holds majority of the company shares, in cooperation with Golar LNG and Höegh LNG.  Stolt-Nielsen has already ordered four small-scale LNG carriers from Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) for its subsidiary Stolt-Nielsen Gas.
The 7,500 m3 vessels will be equipped with engines that can run on both diesel and LNG. To be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 respectively, the carriers will have a class notation for bunkering which enables the provision of LNG bunkering services if required.
  • World Maritime News
Total firms up Arctic LNG 2 project entry
French Total has signed definitive agreements with Novatek for the acquisition of a direct 10% interest in Arctic LNG 2, a major liquefied natural gas development led by Novatek on the Gydan Peninsula, Russia. The project will be developed using offshore platforms in northern West Siberia.  Previously, Total and Novatek signed binding documents on the terms to enter the Arctic LNG 2 project back in May 2018.
Upon signing the definitive agreements, Total said on Tuesday that, taking into account Total’s 19.4% stake in Novatek and Novatek’s intention to retain 60% of the project, the Group’s overall economic interest in this new LNG project will be approximately 21.6%. Should Novatek decide to reduce its participation below 60%, Total will have the possibility to increase its direct share up to 15%.
Novatek and Total also agree that Total will have the opportunity to acquire a 10 to 15% direct interest in all Novatek’s future LNG projects located on the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas.
The transaction will be closed by the end of first quarter 2019.
According to Novatek, the Arctic LNG 2 project has made significant development progress since May 2018. Front-end engineering and design (FEED) work has been completed in October confirming the preliminary cost estimates between $20 billion and $21 billion. Moreover, additional exploration drilling confirmed significant reserve growth at the Project’s Utrenneye field, and accordingly, the Russian state reserves commission subsequently increased the field’s natural gas reserves to approximately two trillion cubic meters under the Russian reserves classification.
“We are delighted to have concluded the definitive agreements for our entry into this new world class LNG project based on the vast Russian gas resources alongside our partner Novatek. Arctic LNG 2 builds on the success of Yamal LNG and will introduce several innovative solutions to further increase competitiveness,” commented Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.
“Arctic LNG 2 fits into our strategy of growing our LNG portfolio through competitive developments based on giant low cost resources primarily destined for the fast growing Asian markets.”
With production capacity of 19.8 million tonnes per year (Mt/y), or 535,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d), Arctic LNG 2 will develop over 7 billion boe of resources in the Utrenneye onshore gas and condensate field. The project will involve installation of three gravity-based structures in the Gulf of Ob on which three liquefaction trains of 6.6 Mt/y each will be installed.
Arctic LNG 2 production will be delivered to international markets by a fleet of ice-class LNG carriers that will be able to use the Northern Sea Route and a transshipment terminal in Kamchatka for cargoes destined for Asia and one close to Murmansk for those cargoes destined for Europe.
The project’s final investment decision is expected to be taken in the second half of 2019, with plans to start up the first liquefaction train in 2023.
  • Offshore energy today
Ørsted Signs Armed Forces Covenant
Leading offshore wind developer Ørsted has signed the Armed Forces Covenant which highlights the offshore wind as a “forces-friendly” industry.  As a forces-friendly company, Ørsted will seek to support the employment of veterans by working alongside the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) in order to establish a tailored employment pathway for service leavers.
The company will also offer flexibility in granting leave for service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment wherever possible, as well as supporting employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces.  Ørsted UK managing director Matthew Wright was joined at the signing ceremony by Commodore David Elford OBE ADC Royal Navy and several ex-services veterans now working at Ørsted.
”In our experience, service veterans possess many transferable skills and qualities which have led to a successful transition to careers in the offshore wind industry,” Wright said.  We are therefore delighted to formalise our pledge of support to those who serve or have served in the armed forces with the signing of this covenant.”  Ørsted said that the company already has many service veterans working on projects both offshore and onshore across the UK and the signing of the Covenant is a way to formalise the company’s pledge to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families are treated with fairness.
”At its heart, the Covenant commits its signatories to do what they can to ensure that members of the Armed Forces (be they regulars, reserves or Cadet Force adult volunteers) and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of their service,” Commodore David Elford OBE ADC Royal Navy, the Naval Regional Commander for eastern England, said.  ”For a company such as Ørsted to sign the Covenant and its associated pledges sends an important message (both inside and outside the company) that the armed forces are respected and valued.”
Former Royal Navy Engineer Ash Hedges started his Ørsted career as a wind turbine technician and progressed through to Deputy Operations Manager at Ørsted’s Westermost Rough Offshore Wind Farm.  “I would definitely say my career in renewable energy would not have happened if not for my military beginning,” Hedges said.  ”The life skill and experience I have at 34 years old is a credit to my training and the Royal Navy. The experience of working in a high-pressure environment, with huge responsibility and living with your colleague’s day in day out really set me up for my current role.”
Brexit: UK and EU backstop talks to resume
Ministers will resume efforts later to secure legally-binding changes to Theresa May's Brexit deal that might get MPs' backing in a week's time.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will meet EU officials in Brussels in search of guarantees over the backstop plan to avoid border checks in Ireland.  Mr Cox has dismissed reports he has given up on securing a firm end date to ensure the UK is not stuck.  MPs will vote on the deal by 12 March.  The UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March.
If MPs reject the withdrawal agreement for a second time, they will have the opportunity to vote on whether to go ahead in just over three weeks' time without any kind of negotiated deal.
If they decide against, they will then have a vote on whether to extend negotiations and push the date of departure back by several months.
Separately, Scottish and Welsh politicians are joining forces in an attempt to force the prime minister to change her position on Brexit. For the first time since devolution 20 years ago, they will debate the same motion, at the same time.
Leading Brexiteers are hoping Mr Cox will be able to change his legal advice to satisfy them that the backstop - a controversial plan which will see the UK aligned with EU customs rules until the two sides' future relationship is agreed or alternative arrangements worked out - will not endure indefinitely.
They have set a number of tests for the government's chief law officer and other ministers ahead of next week's votes.
Michael Tomlinson, one of an eight-strong group of Conservative MPs who will scrutinise what is brought back from Brussels, said only significant changes to the backstop would do.  "We support the prime minister in seeking treaty-level changes," he said after the group's first meeting on Monday.
A "proper analysis" of any new text would be needed to allow them to "form a judgement", he added.  BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the group of Eurosceptics, who are also lawyers, will "pore over whatever Cox gets from Brussels", adding: "They will ultimately make a political call. The crucial bit for government is for the attorney general to feel he has enough to go on to change his legal opinion on the backstop."
Mr Cox took to Twitter on Monday after newspaper reports suggested he had turned his attention away from the concrete "freedom clause" demanded by many MPs to assurances that the backstop would fall away if talks on a future relationship break down.  He said while some of the reporting was accurate, "much more of it isn't". He added: "Complex and detailed negotiations cannot be conducted in public."
Meanwhile, an identical motion will be debated simultaneously by the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday evening - with co-ordinated votes.
The vote will underline opposition to Mrs May's deal, demand a delay to Brexit and call for "no deal" to be ruled out.  Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said the "historic step" was being taken "to send a strong message to the UK government that it must stop pursuing such a disastrous course of action".
The UK government has said that the deal is a good one for Scotland and Wales.  Labour has urged MPs not to weaken in their resolve to oppose the PM's agreement when it returns to the Commons.
•           BBC News
Headlines Monday 4th March 2019
Energean starts four-well drilling program in Israel
Oil and gas producer Energean Oil and Gas has started its 2019 drilling program in Israel, which consists of three development wells and Karish North.  Following this four-well campaign, Energean has a further six drilling options available in its contract with Stena Drilling, the company said on Monday.  Energean also said it will batch drill the top-hole sections of the wells, which will allow significant operational efficiencies and cost savings.  The drilling campaign is being undertaken using the Stena DrillMAX drillship. The Stena DrillMAX is a sixth generation drillship capable of drilling in water depths of up to 10,000 feet.
To remind, Energean in January 2018 signed a contract with Stena Drilling to deploy the Stena Forth drillship “or such substitute as may be agreed by the parties” to drill three development wells in 1Q 2019 at Energean’s Karish and Tanin gas fields.
Karish North will directly target 1.3 Tcf of gas and 16 million barrels of liquids (gross) with a volume-weighted geological chance of success of 69%.
  • Offshore energy today
Climate change bill should set zero emissions date
A net-zero target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is "necessary" in Scotland's Climate Change Bill to limit global temperature rises, according to MSPs.  The bill has been criticised by environmentalists for not setting a firm date for this goal.  It proposes cutting them by 90% by 2050 and setting a net-zero target when a "clear pathway" exists to achieve it.  Holyrood's environment committee said a "greater urgency of action" was needed.
It said ministers should review the targets based on fresh advice requested from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).  That advice is expected in May.  The bill was drafted before the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) issued its stark warning on the impact of global warming.  The IPCC said the world needed to make "rapid, far reaching and unprecedented" changes if temperature rises were to be limited to 1.5C.  The terms carbon neutral and net-zero are often used interchangeably but there are differences.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant greenhouse gas but there are others which the Scottish government counts and they are not all carbon-based.  Therefore some climate change campaigners prefer the term net-zero as it includes not just CO2 and methane but also nitrous oxide, which is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities as well as from fossil fuels.  Simply being carbon neutral would not stop global warming because these other gases are also harmful to the atmosphere.  Perhaps an even better term would be "climate neutral".
The Holyrood committee's report urges clarity on the temperature limit in the bill and calls for that figure to be set at 1.5C.
Gillian Martin, convener of Holyrood's environment committee, said they welcomed the introduction of the bill and the opportunity to examine how Scotland can take action on global warming.
She added: "There is no precedent in human history for the speed and scale of change needed to tackle climate change and reduce harmful emissions."
Ms Martin called for greater urgency and action across all parts of government, across the wider public and private sectors and by individuals.  "We've all seen the catastrophic damage caused by climate change all around the world, and the threat this has on people's lives, wildlife and our natural environment," she said.  "That's why we've called for the bill to reflect the most ambitious targets possible, to ensure future generations inherit a world that is healthy and sustainable."  The committee calls for the bill's journey through parliament to be timetabled so the fresh CCC advice can be given "thorough and detailed scrutiny".
It added that it would like to see Scotland at the forefront in developing technologies that help meet emissions targets.  Caroline Rance, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland and member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said: "It's clear from the evidence given to the committee that there is plenty of opportunity for Scotland to do more in the vital period before 2030 and the public support for urgent action is loud and clear.  "By taking positive action in the next few years we can secure warmer homes, better public transport and deliver the support to enable climate-friendly farming."  
The Scottish government welcomed the report and said the targets currently being set were ambitious.  A spokesperson added: "Our bill contains the most ambitious statutory targets of any country in the world for 2020, 2030 and 2040, and will mean Scotland is carbon neutral by 2050.
"We want to go further and achieve net-zero emissions for all greenhouse gases as soon as possible. We'll set a target date as soon as this can be done credibly and responsibly.  "We are currently awaiting advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, which is due on 2 May. If the committee advise that we can now set even more ambitious targets, we will act on that."
  • BBC News
German LNG-fueled research vessel floated out
LNG-fueled research vessel Atair, being built on behalf of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has been floated out at the German Naval Yards Kiel.  The general contractor for the vessel, first of its kind, is Fassmer Shipyard while the hull, superstructure and parts of the outfitting were constructed at the German Naval Yards Kiel.  The survey vessel is planned to be used for wreck search and underwater surveying, German Naval Yards Kiel said in a statement.
Harald Fassmer, managing director of Fassmer Shipyard said, “the building of the vessel is very complex and large parts of outfitting works are still ahead of us.”  The towing of the ship to Fassmer shipyard is scheduled for the middle of March, where installation and finishing works in all trades will be continued, he said.  After finishing the trials the newbuilding is planned to be delivered to the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) in spring 2020.
  •  LNG world news
Brexit: Independent Group call for Labour 'clarity' on second referendum
Labour’s shadow cabinet needs to put its weight fully behind the push for a second Brexit referendum, the Independent Group (TIG) of MPs has said.  The group, made up of MPs who quit Labour and Tory benches, has said the opposition should show a more united front over a new EU withdrawal poll.  In an open letter, TIG has called on members of the shadow cabinet to drop the “terms and conditions” it says Labour has attached to backing a bid for a new referendum.  Accusing Labour of “ambiguity” on the issue, TIG has asked if the shadow cabinet will support a cross-party Commons amendment calling for a new Brexit poll.
TIG’s spokesman Chuka Umunna said Labour needs to clarify its stance.  He said: “With just 26 days to go to the scheduled date of departure, it is absolutely vital that we all work together in the national interest to give people the final say on Brexit.  “All terms and conditions attached to a people’s vote need to be dropped and an unequivocal commitment given now to make it happen. There is no time to waste.”
The Independent Group has already tabled an amendment seeking to pave the way for a second Brexit referendum.  It came after Labour announced the party would back attempts in the Commons for a fresh public vote, if it failed to force MPs to adopt its own Brexit plans.
•           The Independent
Headlines Friday 1st March 2019
UK renewables production rises in 2018 as coal hits record lows
Provisional BEIS statistics show UK production of renewables and oil rose in 2018, as coal, gas, and nuclear output all fell
Wind, solar and bioenergy helped push up UK production of renewable energy almost nine per cent last year, as both nuclear and gas output fell and coal generation again plummeted to record lows, provisional government statistics for 2018 show.
For the fourth consecutive year, the UK's overall energy production - including electricity, oil and gas for domestic use as well as export - rose by 2.9 per cent in 2018, hitting its highest level since 2011, according to data released yesterday by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
However, renewable energy production was up 8.7 per cent, fuelled by a 7.2 per cent increase in bioenergy output last year, as well as a 12 per cent uptick in electricity output from wind, solar, and hydro facilities.  The increase in output meant the share of renewable electricity in the overall power mix also hit a record high of 27.5 per cent, up from 23.5 per cent in 2017. Nuclear, meanwhile, accounted for 22.1 per cent of electricity supplied, down slightly from 23.4 per cent the previous year.
Counting nuclear and renewables together, low carbon generation accounted for a record high of 49.6 per cent of supply, up from 46.9 per cent in 2017, largely thanks to increased generation from wind, solar, and bioenergy.  And with GDP growth at 1.4 per cent in 2018, BEIS said the UK's energy ratio - a measure of energy efficiency based on consumption per unit of economic output - was likely to have fallen by around 2.5 per cent last year.
Analysis released in January by Carbon Brief found renewables accounted for a record third of domestic power generation last year, while overall electricity use fell to its lowest level since 1994, continuing a downward trend that started in 2005. Separate analysis has suggested renewables are on course to overtake fossil fuels as the UK's primary power source in the early 2020s.
The picture was more mixed for fossil fuel generation in yesterday's provisional statistics, however. Coal output fell by 15 per cent to a new record low, as the UK continues to work towards phasing out coal-fired power altogether by 2025.  Gas production also fell 3.4 per cent, marking its first drop after four consecutive years of growth. The fall was in part due to the closure of the Theddlethorpe gas terminal in August last year, BEIS said. Overal, gas production is now down by 64 per cent compared to its peak in 2000.
But while gas export exports also fell by 33 per cent in 2017 - due in part to the end of a long-term capacity contract for the UK-Belgium interconnector in October - domestic demand for gas actually increased by 0.8 per cent last year, largely because of colder UK weather during the 'Beast from the East'.
Meanwhile, UK production of crude oil and natural gas liquids rose by nine per cent in 2018. BEIS said this was in part due to the opening of new oil fields on the UK continental shelf, as well as the temporary closure of the Forties Pipeline in Scotland for maintenance for several weeks in December 2017, which hampered production the previous year.
Overall, production of oil and liquid gas is now down 63 per cent compared to peak production levels seen almost two decades ago in 1999.  BEIS said yesterday's statistical release enabled a provisional assessment to be made of trends in energy production and consumption in 2018, but that a more detailed analysis would be available on 28 March.
  • Business Green
Corvus Energy Wins World’s Largest Battery Package Order for Hybrid Vessels
Canadian manufacturer of energy storage systems Corvus Energy has signed a contract with Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) for the marine world’s largest battery package for hybrid-powered vessels.  As informed, the technology will be installed onboard Havila Kystruten’s environmentally-friendly coastal vessels.
“This is a big step for the cruising industry and we are extremely proud to receive this order… The Energy Storage System (ESS) is the world’s largest package ever delivered to a ship and will enable the vessels to enter fjords and ECAs on zero emission mode five years before the deadline,” Geir Bjørkeli, CEO of Corvus Energy, said.  Corvus Energy will deliver an air-cooled ESS with Corvus’ patented single-cell thermal isolation which exceeds class requirements.
“The Energy Storage System has a capacity per vessel of 6,100 kWh, which is double the capacity of any existing battery-operated vessel,” Roger Rosvold, Vice President Sales at Corvus Energy, explained.  “The unused potential for using batteries on board cruise and passenger ferries is huge. Batteries reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs, cut pollution and, with increasing environmental regulations and requirements that will incur costs for air emissions, provide a very compelling business case.”
“As more and more shipowners wake up to this, we expect to see uptake accelerating across the board. The industry is just starting to understand the power of batteries,” Rosvold further said.  The newbuilds are part of Havila’s contract with Norwegian Ministry of Transport for the construction of four environmentally-friendly vessels that will operate on the Bergen-Kirkenes coastal route.
Two of the vessels will be built by Turkish shipbuilder Tersan and the remaining by Spanish Barreras. Featuring a length of 125 meters and a width of 20 meters, the ships will be able to accommodate 700 passengers.  The vessels will have a hybrid gas-electric propulsion system with battery, where four gas-powered engines in each vessel run the generators. The system is also adapted to the next generation of technology, using hydrogen fuel cells.
The equipment from Corvus Energy is scheduled for delivery in 2020 and the coastal route vessels will be in service from 2021.
  • World Maritime News
Norwegian firm buys fish hatchery near Dumfries
A Norwegian firm has signed a deal to buy a south of Scotland fish hatchery.  It will see salmon breeder AquaGen take over the Scottish Sea Farms site at Holywood near Dumfries.  The company said the move would allow it to offer a "reliable supply of eggs" to salmon farmers.
Chief executive Nina Santi said it was planning a "series of upgrades" to existing facilities at the hatchery and hoped to produce up to 50 million eggs a year.  Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the investment showed the company's confidence in the sector in Scotland.
Scottish Sea Farms' head of fish health Ralph Bickerdike added: "This is a hugely promising development for Scotland's salmon farmers, bringing world-leading breeding expertise and technologies to bear on home-grown broodstock so that their offspring can be adapted to specifically suit the Scottish marine environment.
"This, in turn, will bring a whole host of further improvements in terms of fish welfare and product quality."
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 28th February 2019
NSW Labor Party aims for renewable energy target of 'at least' 50 per cent by 2030 if elected
New South Wales Labor will implement a renewable energy target if elected in March that will require the state to generate "at least" 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.  Under Labor's climate change plan, announced today, the state would also move "as close as possible to 100 per cent" renewable energy by 2050.  Opposition Leader Michael Daley said despite eight years in government the Coalition had failed to develop a plan to fight climate change.  "Climate change is real," he said.
"The Liberals and Nationals at the state and federal levels are still denying it exists, they still have no leadership on climate change."  NSW currently obtains less than 13 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.  Mr Daley said coal-fired power stations "will see their lives to an end" and Labor's plan is "not about a war on coal".
‘Not a war on coal’
"As far as coal goes there still will be a place for coal in New South Wales for decades to come, but it won't be based in load power generation," he said.  "If we don't act to save the environment in New South Wales and do something about climate change our grandchildren will condemn us."  "I don't intend to be a premier that has the condemnation of children into the future."
Labor's energy spokesperson Adam Searle said under the plan all state government agencies would be powered by clean energy by 2025.  "We will make sure the state government as a purchaser buys 100 per cent renewable energy for its own purposes," he said.
Mr Searle foreshadowed that Labor would make further announcements before the March 23 election outlining its plan to help diversify and transition regional economies currently reliant on coal industry.  "They are not closing today or tomorrow, we have the time to build new renewable energy capacity with storage and dispatchability over the next decade," he said.
Labor will also hold a climate change summit in its first year of government to help devise a climate change action plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
  • ABC.net.au

ICS: Oil Tanker Ban on BC’s North Coast Is a Hindrance to International Maritime Trade

A proposed crude oil tanker moratorium on British Columbia’s northern coast would interfere with international maritime trade, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has warned.  The Canadian Senate is giving consideration to legislation — Bill C-48 — that would prohibit large tankers carrying crude and heavy oils from stopping, loading or unloading at ports in northern B.C.
The area covered by the proposed ban would extend from the Canada-Alaska border to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.  “Such a dramatic step could lead to serious concerns being raised by Canada’s international trading partners,” Simon Bennett, ICS Deputy Secretary General, said.
“The proposed moratorium does not seem to have been developed through an evidence-based process and we fear it could establish a dangerous precedent that might be copied elsewhere, including by individual U.S. States, with the potential to impact greatly on the efficiency of world trade, as well as that of Canada,” he added.  This legislation, tabled in the Canadian parliament in May 2017, is currently being reviewed by a standing committee of the Senate of Canada.
As informed, the purpose of the bill is mitigating the risk of oil spills. If Bill C-48 passes, the new law would protect Haida Gwaii, Queen Charlotte Sound, Kitimat, Prince Rupert and many other areas from the risk of a major spill.  However, the legislation recognizes that coastal communities depend on some of these crude oils and therefore allows for the continued shipment of smaller quantities. Ports in southern British Columbia, where the marine safety system is more robust, will, as before, remain open to tanker traffic and smaller tankers will still be allowed to service B.C.’s northern communities.
Furthermore, energy products that dissipate more quickly through evaporation, such as liquefied natural gas, would be exempted from the ban under the proposed law.
ICS, which represents the world’s national shipowners’ associations and 80% of the world merchant fleet, also reflected on an “impressive” environmental record of the shipping industry, especially the tanker sector. On average, worldwide, there are currently fewer than two significant oil spills — over 700 tons — per year, compared to 25 such incidents per year thirty years ago, despite a doubling of the amount of oil transported by sea.
  • World Maritime News
Scottish deposit return scheme plan praised
One of the world's leading recycling firms has said Scottish government plans for a deposit return scheme could be taken on by other countries.  Proposals for a drinks container scheme would see customers pay a small charge, which is refunded when the bottle is returned to a shop.
Truls Haug, UK boss of Norwegian firm Tomra's deposit return business, said he was "quite a fan" of the plan.  
Scottish ministers are currently considering their next steps.  Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said the results of a recent consultation on deposit return show the public would back such a scheme, which under the current proposals would have a minimum deposit of more than 15 pence.
One of the aims of the consultation was to help determine what range of materials - such as plastic, metal or glass glass - should be included. A decision on this will be announced at a later date.  Mr Haug, whose company has a focus on making "reverse vending" machines, which take in used bottles, said of the Scottish government plan: "I'm quite a fan of what they are presenting.
"I think if they act on what they have stated earlier, I believe this could be a leading example going forward."  He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "They are one of the first states that focus on the recycling more than reducing littering.  "If you focus on recycling, the littering will automatically be reduced.  "But if you only focus on littering, that doesn't mean you recycle the material.  "So I think they have the correct approach to a deposit return scheme."
The Scottish government has been working to take forward the scheme amid increasing concern about the amount of recyclable waste being buried in the ground.  Mr Haug, managing director of Tomra Collection Solutions UK & Ireland, said the key to an effective deposit return scheme was to make it simple and include a wide a range of containers - like glass, plastic and paper.
He said: "Lithuania had a recycling rate of 34% prior to the introduction of deposit, and they reached about 90% within two years."  Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme, and the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have now set out their own plans.
The idea of a UK deposit return scheme has seen some controversy, with some retailers accused of trying to water down the proposals.
  • BBC News
Headlines Wednesday 27th February 2019
Ineos to spend 1 billion pounds on UK energy business
Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s petrochemicals company Ineos said on Wednesday it would spend 1 billion pounds on UK energy assets, including the Forties pipeline, which carries almost half of Britain’s oil and gas from the North Sea.  Ineos said it would invest 500 million pounds on overhauling its ageing Forties pipeline, which has been in service since 1975 and can carry up to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil.
Founder and chairman Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, said the investment underscored the company’s commitment to its UK-based businesses.  “Ineos is a supporter of British manufacturing and this 1 billion pounds investment underlines our confidence in our business in the UK,” Ratcliffe said.
The company bought the pipeline from BP in late 2018. Within weeks, it was forced to shut the system for around two months to fix a crack in an onshore section, triggering a spike in British natural gas prices in the depths of winter.  
Ineos said the upgrades would extend into the 2040s the lifeline of the pipeline system, which it said carries 40 percent of Britain’s offshore crude oil and natural gas.  Ineos said it would also invest 350 million pounds in a new energy plant at the 200,000-bpd Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, and an additional 150 million pounds in a new petrochemicals facility in the northern English city of Hull.
  • Reuters
Solstad Wins Moray East Contract
Solstad Offshore ASA has secured a contract with GeoSea for the Moray East offshore wind project in the UK.  Solstad Offshore will provide the vessel Normand Service, previously Sea Spider, to support wind farm installation operations at the 950MW project.
The vessel will be chartered for a period of 180 days firm, with up to seven months of options. The work is expected to begin in the second quarter of the year, the company said.  Moray East will comprise 100 MHI Vestas 9.5MW wind turbines mounted on jacket foundations and installed some 22km off the Aberdeenshire coast.
GeoSea is the EPCI contractor for the project’s 100 turbine foundations and three offshore substation foundations, and is in charge of transporting and installing the three OSS topsides.
Project developer, Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) Ltd, owned by EDPR, Diamond Green Limited and ENGIE, plans to have the 950MW project fully operational in 2022.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Brexit: May tells MPs 'do your duty' ahead of fresh votes
MPs will have their say on the next steps for Brexit later as Theresa May urges them to "do their duty".  Writing in the Daily Mail, the prime minister said the UK remained "firmly on course" to leave the EU with a deal "if MPs hold their nerve".  A number of amendments to the government negotiating strategy will be voted on in the Commons on Wednesday.  The votes are not on Mrs May's Brexit deal itself, but they will show what support she can or cannot get.
After her Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs last month, the prime minister has been trying to seek assurances from the EU to address MPs' concerns.  She is still in talks with Brussels over the Irish backstop policy in her plan - which aims to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland - and has assured MPs they will get to vote again on the deal by 12 March - just 17 days before the UK's scheduled leaving date.
However, on Tuesday, Mrs May bowed to pressure to accept that the 29 March deadline might not be achievable, and promised MPs a vote on whether or not to delay Brexit or rule out leaving the EU without a deal if her plan is rejected for a second time.
In the Mail, Mrs May stressed that she did not want to see the Article 50 process extended and her "absolute focus" was on getting a deal in place for 29 March.
The prime minister's critics have accused her of "kicking the can down the road", but she insisted her efforts to persuade the EU to make concessions had "already begun to bear fruit".
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 26th February 2019
ScottishPower targets £2bn smarter UK spend
ScottishPower is to spend up to £2bn in the UK in 2019 as it targets new sectors such as electric vehicle charging, smart grids and energy storage.  The plans include a 50MW battery storage project at its Whitelee wind farm in Scotland, the UK’s largest onshore project.
The large-scale battery project will be the first of a series of storage schemes, mainly located at windfarms and at strategic points on the network.
ScottishPower said its 2019 networks business would focus on continuing the company’s leading role in connecting renewables in Scotland, Wales and England.
Investments will also target the digitalisation of the grid including artificial intelligence systems that will control and balance the network in areas with high penetration of low carbon technologies to enable the widespread use of electric vehicles.   The company also revealed plans for a new public electric charging service based within the company’s retail division.  The new business will install fast chargers across the UK at strategic commercial locations from winter 2019.
ScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson said: “Now that we have sold our gas power stations our growth plans are about cleaner and smarter power that will help the UK to decarbonise faster and we have set out the part we will play in the transition to electrify the economy where it matters most now – in transport and in heating.”
Between 2018 and 2022, ScottishPower will spend £6bn in the UK with 40% on new renewable energy generation, 42% on smarter enhanced networks and 15% on innovative services and products for customers.
In renewables, ScottishPower set out plans to develop a 1GW pipeline of onshore wind projects by 2025.  The company is currently building the 714MW East Anglia 1 offshore wind farm and plans to start construction of East Anglia 2 in 2024 and East Anglia 1 North a year later.
  • ReNews.BIZ
Amazon to launch 1,000 UK apprenticeships by 2021
The world's most valuable public company says the scheme will consist of nine programmes, lasting between one and four years.  US technology giant Amazon says it will create more than 1,000 apprenticeships in the UK over the next two years.  The company said the apprenticeship pay-scale will range from an entry level starting salary of between £9.50 and £10.50 an hour, up to £30,000 a year.
The apprenticeships will consist of nine programmes, lasting between 13 months and four years, across IT, software engineering, robotics, leadership and technology as well as safety and human resources.  Amazon said that more than 90 new graduate and postgraduate apprentices will also become qualified over the next two years as part of the programme, through on-the-job and classroom training, focusing on software development engineering, senior leadership and automation.
Qualified apprentices then will work across Amazon's UK corporate and operations sites which including its UK head office and three development centres in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh.  "We want to give people opportunities to succeed in the digital age, regardless of their background," said Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager.  "Our fully-funded apprenticeship programme, from entry level through to degree level, will provide an exciting path to becoming Amazon's future team leaders, engineers and innovation drivers."  The Amazon UK apprenticeship applications will open on March 4.
Minister for Digital, Margot James, said: "It is great to see global tech giants, like Amazon, continue to invest in the UK and create high-skilled jobs for the next generation.  "Our booming digital sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country and this is a vote of confidence in our world-leading skills in tech innovation."
The announcement comes after the company said it would create an additional 2,500 "permanent" jobs in 2018, as well as open a new office in Manchester, taking its UK workforce up to 27,500 by the year-end.
At the time, Amazon said that growing investments in British research and development and increasing customer demand were factors behind the expansion.
  • Sky News
Seadrill sees improvement in offshore drilling market with increased tendering activity
Offshore drilling contractor Seadrill is seeing continuous signs of improvement in offshore drilling market with increased tendering activity and better contract economics.  Seadrill on Tuesday posted revenues of $292 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, which is a 17% increase when compared to revenues of $249 million in the third quarter of 2018.  This was primarily due to the West Hercules and West Phoenix working at higher dayrates and for more days during the quarter, the West Elara moving to a higher contractual dayrate and the Sevan Louisiana returning to service. This was partially offset by lower floater economic utilization of 93% for the quarter (3Q18: 98%).
However, when compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, when Seadrill was in bankruptcy proceedings, the company’s revenues were $431 million.  The driller recorded a net loss of $360 million in 4Q 2018 compared to a $245 million loss in 3Q 2018 and a $2.7 billion loss in 4Q 2017.  Anton Dibowitz, CEO, commented: “The offshore drilling market continues to show signs of improvement with increased tendering activity and better contract economics. We expect more activity in 2019 to lead to a tighter supply demand balance and improved pricing in 2020 as the recovery progresses.
“We are delighted to have entered into a Joint Venture with Sonangol to manage and operate four rigs focused on the Angolan market. This relationship provides us with access to a market that is expected to show significant growth over the next five years as well as an opportunity to continue expanding our fleet of premium ultra-deepwater rigs.
“We remain focused on continued cost reduction and disciplined use of capital including the terms on which we will contract our premium fleet.”  As at December 31, 2018, total cash was $2 billion which includes $461 million in restricted cash. Seadrill’s order backlog as of February 26, 2019, totaled approximately $2 billion.
Since its last earnings report in November, Seadrill has added $89 million of additional backlog.  Namely, the semi-submersible West Phoenix was awarded a two-well contract and six options with Equinor in the UK and Norway expected to start in direct continuation with its current contract. Three of the options have been exercised resulting in total backlog of approximately $51 million.
The West Castor jack-up rig was awarded a contract with Staatsolie in Suriname, starting in March 2019. The total backlog including mobilization is approximately $25 million.  The jack-up rig West Callisto was awarded a six-month extension with Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia, keeping the unit employed until July 2019 adding approximately $13 million in backlog.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Headlines Monday 25th February 2019
GMS confirms charter dates for two vessels
Gulf Marine Services, a provider of self-propelled self-elevating support vessels serving the offshore energy industry, has informed that long term charter start dates for two of its vessels have now been confirmed. The company confirmed the date for the appointment of a new non-executive director.  GMS in January announced the start of the first of three five-year charter awards for a Mid-Size Class unit in the MENA region, stating at the time that  “the start dates for the other two vessels are being finalized.”
“The Group is pleased to confirm that the start dates for the remaining two charters have now been finalized. A Small Class vessel and a Mid-Size Class vessel will commence their charters early Q2 and in mid-Q3 2019, respectively,” GMS said on Monday.  Duncan Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of GMS, said: “We are very pleased to confirm the commencement dates for these two long-term charters, which together with the third vessel already on hire for this client has added a total of 15 years (including options) to our contract backlog and will provide a firm baseload of work for the fleet.”
The company did not say who the client was, nor which vessels have been hired for the job.  GMS has also confirmed the date the date of Mohammed Bississo’s appointment as a Non-Executive Director of the Company as effective from 1 March 2019.  Bississo has waived his entitlement to receive a fee for this role.
Bississo currently co-heads Kasamar Holdings, an Abu Dhabi-based family office that owns 9.82% of GMS through Castro Investments Ltd.  He previously spent more than six years at one of the leading mid-market alternative investments firms, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as a member of the private equity group. Bississo has a BSc in Computer Science from the University of California Irvine, and an MBA from Duke University.
Simon Heale, Chairman of GMS, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mr Bississo to the Board.  His extensive knowledge of the UAE financial sector will further enhance the expertise of our Board and will be of benefit in ur discussions with our local banking syndicate.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
MISC’s Revenue Sinks 12.8 Pct in 2018
MISC Group, a provider of energy-related maritime solutions and services, closed 2018 with 12.8% lower revenue year over year.  The group’s revenue dropped to MYR 8,780.3 million (USD 2155.47 million) in 2018 from MYR 10,068.2 million reported a year earlier.  As explained, all segments recorded lower revenue excluding heavy engineering following higher revenue from ongoing projects in the current year.
LNG segment experienced a reduced number of operating vessels following the expiry of a charter contract in June 2017 and suspension of a charter contract due to geopolitical situation in the current year together with lower charter rate following contact renewal of an LNG carrier in October 2017.  What is more, offshore segment’s decrease in revenue is due to lower construction revenue for FSO Benchamas 2 in the current year as well as a recognition of one time gain for GumusutKakap Semi-Floating Production System (L) Limited (GK) variation works.
Group operating profit for the year ended December 31, 2018 was MYR 1,466.3 million, a decrease of 45.8% from the operating profit of MYR 2,705.1 million seen in 2017.  According to MISC, the decrease was mainly impacted by lower revenue. In addition, higher bunker costs incurred in the petroleum segment and close-out of completed projects in the prior year and insufficient contribution to absorb fixed overheads in the current year in the heavy engineering segment have further dampened current year’s overall operating profit.
Moreover, the group’s profit before tax of MYR 1,344.1 million was lower than the corresponding year’s profit before tax of MYR 2,003.5 million, caused by the drop in the operating profit.
“Volatile market conditions continue to affect the players in the industry on a global scale. In the face of this challenging market, MISC has proven its strength and capability in securing investment growth of more than USD900 million. Our financial stability is further affirmed when we recorded strong credit ratings in the maritime sector with Moody’s Investors Service, affirming a Baa2 issuer rating and S&P Global Ratings affirming a BBB+ long-term corporate credit rating,” Yee Yang Chien, MISC’s President/Group Chief Executive Officer, said.
“We believe that business and operational performance go hand in hand for us to consistently provide better energy related maritime solutions and services,” he added.
As of December 31, 2018, MISC Group’s fleet consists of more than 120 owned and in-chartered LNG, petroleum and product vessels, 15 floating production systems (FPS) as well as two LNG floating storage units (FSUs). The fleet has a combined dwt capacity of approximately 16 million tons.
  • World Maritime News
Homeowners fear Brexit price fall
A survey of home owners in Scotland suggests half of them believe Brexit will lead to a fall in the value of their property.  Aberdein Considine's Property Monitor found just 3% think prices will rise.  The research indicated 2018 had been a year of growth for the Scottish property market.
Total sales were in excess of £18bn - up £400m on the previous year and the best spell of growth since the 2008 crash.  Aberdein Considine managing partner Jacqueline Law said: "These figures demonstrate that the market has to a large degree recovered from the difficult days of the financial crash but we cannot ignore the uncertainty which Brexit presents.
"Whatever the outcome, families and individuals still need homes to live in and properties will continue to be bought, sold and rented.  "Homeowners and businesses could definitely benefit from a clearer understanding about what the months and years ahead have in store, and hopefully the next few weeks will bring some much needed clarity."
The survey suggested Edinburgh remains the most expensive area in Scotland, with the price of the average home there up by 9.3% over the year to £272,989.  For Scotland as a whole, the average property costs £174,290, after an annual rise of 3.3%.
Aberdein Considine's Property Monitor surveyed more than 1,000 people in Scotland.
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 22nd February 2019
Major Dutch maritime companies join Green Maritime Methanol Project
Shipowners, shipyards, manufacturers and ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam join forces to study methanol as a marine fuel
Delft, The Netherlands, 20-02-2019. A consortium of leading international maritime companies, supported by Maritime Knowledge Centre, have joined forces to further investigate the feasibility of methanol as a sustainable alternative transport fuel in the maritime sector.
Major shipowners Boskalis, The Royal Netherlands Navy, Van Oord and Wagenborg Shipping will take part in the consortium, together with shipbuilders, Damen Shipyards, Feadship, Royal IHC and major marine engine manufacturers Pon Power and Wärtsilä together with their trade association VIV. Specialized marine equipment suppliers like Marine Service Noord and maritime service providers including C-Job Naval Architects complete the maritime supply chain.
Work to study the infrastructure and supply chain for methanol is also addressed by the participation of The Netherlands’ two largest ports; Rotterdam and Amsterdam, as well as methanol suppliers BioMCN and Helm Proman and trade organization The Methanol Institute.
“Together the consortium partners – which include all the main stakeholders in the transport supply chain – bring extensive experience and knowledge which will help to make this project a success,” says Pieter Boersma, Business Director Maritime & Offshore of TNO.
“The inclusion of shipowners, shipyards, OEMs, ports and methanol suppliers demonstrates the strong interest to integrate experience and knowledge from the entire value chain in the Green Maritime Methanol project. As part of the project, the partners will look at concrete possibilities to adopt methanol as marine fuel on either newbuilds or conversions of the existing fleet.”
Finally, some of The Netherlands’ leading research institutes including TNO, TU Delft, NLDA and Marin invest in this theme and provide knowledge-building and research capacity for the project by studying operational profiles, ship configurations, engine configurations, performances, various emissions as well as many other relevant topics.
The Green Maritime Methanol project is supported by TKI Maritime and the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and will be completed within two years.  
  • Hellenic Shipping News
Fleet Xpress powers new Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ship
Inmarsat, the global leader in mobile satellite communications is providing connectivity through Fleet Xpress for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic’s new adventure cruise ship, National Geographic Venture.
The expedition ship, designed to explore the coastal waters, shallow coves and fast-moving channels where wildlife congregates, completed its first cruise around the Galapagos Islands in December 2018 before moving to Baja California. It is also destined for the Pacific North West coast and Alaskan cruising in the next few months.
Built by US yard Nichols Brothers, the 73m length by 14m beam Venture is one of a growing band of ice-strengthened expedition ships catering for more remote destinations. With a capacity for 100 guests supported by 50 crew, ship-to-shore connectivity is a central proof point that adventure cruising can deliver on comfort, safety and continuity of lifestyle, as well as get close-up to nature.
“Fleet Xpress is the right fit for our fleet of smaller expedition vessels due to the requirement of a smaller VSAT terminal and the ability to provide hi-speed, reliable, global coverage as these vessels sail to remote parts the globe where connectivity is limited and our guest expectation is always to be connected,” said Arthur Theodorou, Director of IT Lindblad Expeditions.
“Expedition cruising is creating a significant new market for Fleet Xpress,” says Christian Cordoba, Inmarsat Maritime Channel Manager for Yachting and Passenger. “Combining the high data speed of Ka-band and continuous L-band back-up with purpose-designed and easy to install 1m terminals allows Fleet Xpress achieves 24/7 coverage, stability and reliability, including high-speed IoT connectivity, whether the ship is in the Arctic or miles up an inland channel.”
Mr Cordoba says that the new generation of expedition cruisers have especially high expectations for connectivity, which they consider a lifestyle entitlement. “For adventure cruisers today, connectivity is part of the package they are paying for; this is an audience which expects a highly educational vacation, but also to share experiences online instantaneously.” Service reliability and speed become hotel management issues that affect brand reputation, ratings and repeat business, he adds.
“From the owner’s perspective, Fleet Xpress is also the answer because these compact ships don’t have the real estate for the sizeable terminals larger cruise ships use to connect via C-band. Meanwhile, L-band alone falls short on data speeds and Ku-band services may work with compact shipboard terminals, but they can’t offer the benefit of a seamless global coverage the itineraries demand.”
Fleet Xpress is now installed on board six of the Lindblad Expeditions ships, including Venture’s sister ship National Geographic Quest, delivered in 2017, with retrofits made on Sea Bird, Sea Lion, Endeavour II and Islander. Fleet Xpress is fully integrated with the ship phone systems (PABX), and the internal communications platforms and local area networks used to optimise vessel operations.
The fully proven reliability of Fleet Xpress in service, and the robust and established I-5 and I-4 satellites supporting Ka-band and L-band respectively are also proving persuasive in attracting new types of vessels such as adventure cruise ships like National Geographic Venture to the high-speed data network, adds Cordoba.
  • Hellenic Shipping News
PPAs Signed for Three Offshore Wind Projects in Taiwan
Taipower has signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with China Steel Corp (CSC) and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) for three offshore wind projects, the local media reported.
The PPAs were signed for the 300MW Chong Neng project, developed jointly by CIP and CSC, as well as for CIP’s 552MW ChangFang and 48MW Xidao, all located offshore the Changhua County.  Under the 20-year agreements, a tiered feed-in tariff (FIT) has been set to buy the energy at a higher price in the first ten years before it is reduced in the second decade, the Taiwanese Central News Agency said.
The agreed rate for the first decade is TWD 6.2795kW/h set to later be lowered to TWD 4.1422kW/h, Taipei Times reported Taipower as saying.  To remind, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) awarded grid capacity to the three projects back in April last year. Shortly after, CIP and CSC signed preferred supplier agreements with MHI Vestas.
Offshore WIND has contacted CIP for more information and comments on the matter.
  • Offshorewindbiz
Brexit: Theresa May warned dozens of Tories could rebel over no-deal
Dozens of normally loyal Conservative MPs could rebel against the government in a bid to prevent a "no-deal" Brexit, Downing Street has been warned.  Leaders of a group of MPs comprising Leavers and Remainers say they may back alternatives if Mrs May's reworked deal cannot command a Commons majority.  Co-chairman Andrew Percy told the BBC more than 30 may try to block no deal.
The government says "productive" talks in Brussels aimed at addressing MPs' concerns continue "urgently".  The UK remains on course to leave the European Union on 29 March.  But the government has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility of the UK leaving without a formal deal, in the event that Mrs May cannot get MPs to approve the deal she negotiated with Brussels in time.
Many MPs fear that scenario would be damaging to business and cause chaos at ports.  Growing concerns over the prospect of a no-deal exit are set to come to a head next Wednesday when MPs debate Brexit again and, if the UK and EU haven't agreed a deal by then, will vote on future options.
It has been reported that a handful of ministers, including potentially some in the cabinet, could also back the amendment, in what would be a direct challenge to the prime minister's authority.  The BBC's Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said a number "were saying in private they would be prepared to lose their jobs" to be able to support the amendment.
The Brexit Delivery Group says "numerous" Tory MPs are prepared to back an amendment tabled by former minister Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour's Yvette Cooper to give Parliament the opportunity to delay Brexit and stop a no-deal exit if there is no agreement with the EU by the middle of March.  Mr Percy told the BBC that members of his group were becoming "tired" of the rival European Research Group faction's refusal to back the prime minister.
The ERG of Brexiteers, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker, insist the "no-deal" option must be preserved as negotiating leverage in Brussels and declined to back the PM in a non-binding vote on the issue recently.
In a letter to government whips, Mr Percy and his co-chairman Simon Hart write: "Not only does this risk damaging the national interest, but also... we are putting in jeopardy the very thing many colleagues have spent decades campaigning for; our exit from the European Union."  The group has previously remained "almost without exception" united behind voting for the deal, the letter points out.
They believe the main sticking point - MPs' demands for changes to the backstop, the "insurance policy" to prevent the return of customs checks on the Irish border - will be secured.  However, they fear it might not be enough to win over some Brexiteers.
The BBC's Nick Watt said the prime minister was "taking no chances and is working hard to secure a revised deal with the EU by next Tuesday, the eve of the vote".  On Thursday, Mrs May held meetings with senior ministers who have expressed concerns about the impact of a no-deal scenario on business and also leading Remainers in her party, such as Justine Greening and Phillip Lee.
The duo have been touted as potential defectors to the newly formed Independent Group of ex-Tory and Labour MPs, which is calling for another EU referendum in return for supporting the PM.
Mr Lee told the BBC that although he was staying in his party, there were "worrying" signs of a "populist" shift in direction and it was time for Mrs May to "face down" the ERG.
"There are elements of that group that do not reflect the Conservatism that I joined in 1992 and it's about time that we dealt with it," he told Radio 4's Today.  The government has described the latest talks in Brussels involving Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier as "productive".
Mr Barclay and Mr Cox will meet Mr Barnier again early next week.
  • BBC News


Headlines Thursday 21st February 2019
Tilbury2 Port Construction Project Gets Go Ahead
The UK’s Port of Tilbury has received development consent from the country’s government to build Tilbury2 – a new multimillion pound port terminal adjacent to the current 930-acre site in Thurrock, on the outskirts of Greater London.  With construction scheduled to commence in a few weeks, the privately funded port, Tilbury2, will be built on a site covering in excess of 150 acres, which was part of the location of the former Tilbury Power Station.
“This is great news for the UK at a time when the country needs its ports more than ever before. Tilbury2 will deliver much needed port capacity to support businesses importing and exporting to and from Europe and the rest of the world,” Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group, said.
“The terminal will be fit-for-purpose for the UK’s departure from the European Union, utilising the latest technology and streamlined border processes, in support of continued market demand created by business growth.”  When operational in Spring 2020, Tilbury2 will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied ferry port and the country’s biggest construction processing hub, with AEO-trusted trader status.
Construction of the port, which will include a new rail and road connection, deep water jetty and pontoon, will bring the project cost to in excess of GBP 200 million (USD 260.7 million). The tender process for a contractor to complete this build has been completed and an announcement will be made shortly, Forth Ports Group said.
Tilbury2 will comprise a roll on/roll off ferry terminal for importing and exporting containers and trailers to northern Europe, in partnership with P&O Ferries. In addition, it will comprise a facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials, a strategic rail terminal which can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775m and storage areas for a variety of goods, including exported and imported cars.
“By 2020, GBP 1 billion will have been invested in Tilbury’s expansion plans, including Tilbury2 and the 55-acre London Development Park, with the full backing of our shareholders,” Hammond added.
  • World Maritime News
Shelf Drilling expanding rig fleet with four China-built jack-ups
Shelf Drilling, one of the world’s largest jack-up drilling rig fleet owners, is set to expand its fleet further with the acquisition of two jack-up rigs, with an option to buy two more from China Merchants.  Shelf will buy the first two rigs, of Gusto MSC CJ46 design, for a price of $87 million per rig, and has entered into bareboat charters of, and the option to buy, two additional CJ46 jack-up rigs.
The two rig acquisitions are expected to be completed during Q2 2019, subject to successful completion of rig acceptance and certain other customary conditions.  As for the charter deals for the other two rigs, the initial term of each bareboat charter is three years, which can be extended for three additional years upon mutual agreement between the parties.
Shelf has the option to acquire one or both of the CM bareboat rigs for $90 million per rig during the first year of the charter period, $92 million per rig during the second year of the charter period and $95 million during the third year of the charter period.
The initial three years period of the bareboat charters will begin on August 19, 2019, and Shelf expects that the CM bareboat rigs will be delivered to the company around the same time.
Following the start of the bareboat charter period, the Shelf will pay China merchants an average charter rate of $15,000 per CM Bareboat Rig each day during the charter period.
David Mullen, Chief Executive Officer, Shelf Drilling, said: “We consider this a transformational transaction for the Company. The acquisition of two premium jack-up rigs and the option to buy two further premium jack-up rigs will significantly enhance our fleet at an attractive price and an appropriate funding structure demonstrating our focus on capital discipline. We believe that the combination of Shelf Drilling’s unique operating platform, low-cost structure, and customer relationships, along with China Merchants’ demonstrated rig construction capabilities will create compelling value for all our stakeholders. We look forward to working with China Merchants as a strategic partner.”
According to Bassoe Analytics, there are currently eleven jack-up rigs under construction at the China Merchants yard, all of which are designed by GustoMSC.  As per Shelf Drilling latest fleet status report released in November 2018, the drilling company had a fleet of 39 offshore drilling rigs.
  • Offshore Energy Today
Stena Forth to Drill Guyana Offshore Well
Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas Ltd and partners have contracted a rig, the Stena Forth, to drill the Jethro-Lobe prospect on the Orinduik block, offshore Guyana.
"Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas, along with its partners in the Orinduik Block, offshore Guyana, Total E&P Activités Pétrolières and Tullow Guyana B.V. (Operator), has contracted a rig, the Stena Forth, a sixth-generation drillship from Stena Carron Drilling Limited Guyana Branch, to drill the Jethro-Lobe prospect on the Orinduik Block offshore Guyana," said a joint press release.
The exploration company said the Stena Forth is a harsh environment, dynamically positioned third-class drillship, capable of operating in up to 10,000 feet of water to a maximum drill depth of 35,000 feet.  The Stena Forth, which is currently drilling off West Africa, is fully crewed and is operating.
Eco Atlantic confirms that the contract with Stena secures the rig for transport at the end of May, targeting a June 2019 spud date. Further, the agreement also defines a window for a second well on the Orinduik Block, which would be drilled after the Jethro-Lobe well has been drilled.   The Partners have also approved the majority of the rig servicing contracts to ensure smooth and timely operations with the Stena Forth. Wellheads have been ordered from DrillQuip, and support ship and infrastructure agreements are now underway.
Colin Kinley, Chief Operating Officer for Eco Atlantic stated: "Eco is pleased to have secured the Stena Forth Drillship for thisinitial drill programme on Orinduik. This state-of-the-art Class 3 Rig hasoverall capacity ratings at close to double our operating requirements. The rigis operating, which is a great advantage to the partners."
  • OE Digital
Labour and Conservatives could see more MP exits
Labour and the Conservatives could face more resignations, with members of the new Independent Group saying they expect more MPs to join them.  Ex-Tory MP Heidi Allen told ITV's Peston programme "a third" of Tory MPs were fed up with the party's direction.  Tory MP Justine Greening said she would quit her party if it allowed a no-deal Brexit, while Labour's Ian Austin said he was considering his position.
MPs from the new group say they stand for "the centre ground of politics".  The group was set up by eight defecting Labour MPs unhappy about their party's handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism.
They were later joined by three pro-Remain Tories - who accuse the Conservative leadership of allowing right-wing hardliners to shape the party's approach to Brexit and other matters.  Chancellor Philip Hammond said he was "saddened" by his former colleagues' comments, but denied the "relatively small hardcore" - namely the pro-Leave European Research Group - had taken over.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The Conservative Party is, always has been and, in my view, must remain a very broad church.  "I understand their concerns, but I hope over time they will feel able to rejoin the party and help maintain that."
A number of other MPs have expressed sympathy with the group's grievances.  Speaking to the Express and Star, Labour's Mr Austin said he would think "long and hard" about his future in the party.
And Conservative Ms Greening told the Today programme she would find it hard to stay in a party that "crashed us out of the EU".
  • BBC News
  Headlines Wednesday 20th February 2019
DP World Expands with Purchase of UK’s P&O Ferries
Dubai-based port operator DP World has acquired the pan-European logistics company P&O Ferries for a purchase consideration of GBP 322 million (USD 421 million).  The company said that the transaction implies a 2017 Enterprise Value/EBITDA valuation multiple of 6.1x.
The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive from the first full year of consolidation and is expected to meet DP World’s return targets. On a proforma basis, DP World’s net leverage as of the first half of 2018 would be 2.96x net debt to EBITDA with this acquisition compared to the reported 2.91x.
The transaction is subject to customary completion conditions and is expected to close in the first half of 2019.  “P&O Ferries provides efficient European freight connectivity building on last year’s acquisition of Unifeeder. This transaction is in line with our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler,” Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said.
P&O Ferries consists of roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferries operation and a European transportation and logistics solutions provider, P&O Ferrymasters. The company operates a fleet of 21 vessels on the Short Sea, North Sea and Irish Sea sectors across 11 ports, while P&O Ferrymasters provides supply chain solutions in 19 European locations.
  • World Maritime News
Ulstein Kicks Off Nexans Aurora Construction
Ulstein Verft has cut the first steel for Nexans’ DP3 cable laying vessel C/S Aurora.  The hull is being built at Crist in Poland, while the engineering, outfitting and system integration, as well as equipment preparation, testing, sea trials and finalizing are carried out at Ulstein Verft in Norway.
Designed by Norwegian company Skipsteknisk, the vessel will be outfitted for power cable laying, including bundle laying, cable jointing, repair, cable system protection and trenching, Ulstein said.
“This is a proud moment for Nexans and an important milestone for the organization,” said Vincent Dessale, Senior Executive VP Subsea and Land Systems Business Group at Nexans.  “Aurora will play a key role in the installation of our cutting-edge submarine cables to help bring more energy to the world, connect offshore wind farms to the grid, support electrification of offshore petroleum installations and create interconnectors between countries.”
In July, Nexans signed a deal with Ulstein Verft for the construction of the vessel. Shortly after, it was announced that MAATS Tech will supply a deck spread and Palfinger Marine a major deck equipment package.
The 150m Aurora has a turntable with a cable capacity of 10,000t and a deadweight of 17,000t. It will be able to accommodate 90 persons once launched in 2021.
  • Offshorewindbiz
RES wind projects £1m more efficient than market, DNV GL report claims
Global Renewable Energy Company (RES) projects are £1 million more efficient than the industry standard, according to a new report by DNV GL.  Research carried out by DNV GL – technical advisor to the energy sector – claims windfarm assets managed by RES perform 1% better than industry standard, adding £1m in revenue to the firm’s average 40 megawatt projects.
RES operates several Scottish projects, including the 33 turbine Mid Hill and 20 turbine Glens of Foudland wind projects in Aberdeenshire.  The data found that RES management of personnel, tools and processes provided “greater turbine availability figures”.
Keir Harman, renewables operations director for DNV GL, said: “Our review and findings of RES’ portfolio are a sign of confidence for investors and an endorsement of RES being able to deliver a lower cost of energy for its customers.  In fact, our independent review actively demonstrates that RES-managed projects in the UK, Ireland and France are performing measurably higher than the industry standard.
“With dramatic growth and investment becoming increasingly complex in a subsidy free environment, it is evident that wind farms benefit from increased investment and innovation in operations.”  The 22 wind farms assessed provide a subset of the entire fleet asset managed by RES and the evaluation included assessment of wind farm availability and performance metrics.
Darren Cook, head of asset management at RES, said: “We commissioned the DNV GL report not just to see how we benchmark against the competition, but to understand how we can make more improvements and deliver even lower cost energy to our customers and, ultimately, to the consumer.
“Everyone at RES has an eye on how we can make assets perform more efficiently for our many customers. It’s pleasing to see that this focus on delivering above expectation and innovation is having significant positive impact for our customers.
  • Energy Voice
MP Joan Ryan quits Labour for Independent Group
Joan Ryan has become the eighth Labour MP to quit the party in the past 48 hours, citing its tolerance of a "culture of anti-Jewish racism".  The Enfield North MP said she was "horrified, appalled and angered" by Labour's failure to tackle anti-Semitism, saying its leadership allowed "Jews to be abused with impunity".
Ms Ryan said she did not believe Jeremy Corbyn was fit to lead the country.  Seven other MPs quit on Monday to form the Independent Group in Parliament.  There is mounting speculation that a number of Conservative MPs disillusioned with the government's policy on Brexit could join forces with them.
BBC Newsnight's political editor Nick Watt said Conservative whips were reporting three MPs - Sarah Wollaston, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry - had gone "very, very silent".  While the Independent Group are not confirming anything, he said he had been told by one member that Wednesday would be a "very busy day".  Announcing her decision on Twitter, Ms Ryan said she would continue to represent the north London seat in Parliament.
On Tuesday, she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she would not trigger a by-election in her constituency, as she won her seat in 2017 "in spite of [Mr Corbyn], not because of him".  "I didn't win my seat on his coat tails," she added.
Ms Ryan, who served as a minister under Tony Blair, follows Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie in quitting the party.  In her resignation statement, she said Mr Corbyn and the "Stalinist clique which surrounds him" was not providing real opposition at a moment of crisis for the country.
Instead, she said the leadership was focused on "purging their perceived ideological enemies within and obsessing over issues of little interest to British people".  Ms Ryan, chair of the Friends of Israel group, repeated Ms Berger's claim that the party had become "institutionally anti-Semitic", suggesting that under Mr Corbyn's leadership Israel had been "singled out for demonisation and de-legitimisation".
"The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become infected with the scourge of anti-Jewish racism. The problem simply did not exist in the party before his election as leader.
"No previous Labour leader would have allowed this huge shame to befall the party. I have been horrified, appalled and angered to see the Labour leader's dereliction of duty in the face of this evil."
Ms Ryan lost a non-binding confidence vote of her party members in September which she blamed on "Trots, Stalinists, Communists and the assorted hard left".
  • BBC News



Headlines Tuesday 19th February 2019
Havyard to Design Two More Cargo Ships for Royal Arctic Line
Havyard Design & Solutions will deliver ship design for further two cargo vessels for Royal Arctic Line, which would be built at Nodosa Shipyard in Pontevedra, Spain.  This will be the third and fourth cargo vessels that Havyard Design & Solutions delivers to Royal Arctic Line A/S. The design is of the Havyard 971 type, which is smaller than the first two vessels.
“These two vessels are an important addition to our strategy to renew older vessels, and, not least, to the infrastructure on Greenland,” Anders Bay Larsen, Head of Fleet Management, said.  The vessels will operate in northwest Greenland, which makes stringent requirements of the vessels’ design, as they must operate in a rough climate, sail in and out of small shallow ports, and meet ice class requirements.
Havyard 971 was developed in close collaboration with the shipping company in order to meet these requirements.
The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2020, while the second vessel would join the owner four months later.
  • World Maritime News
Skandi Olinda vessel begins Petrobras contract
The Skandi Olinda, a Brazilian-flagged flexible lay and construction vessel, has started its eight-year charter contract with Brazilian oil company Petrobras.  The vessel is owned by a joint venture formed between TechnipFMC (50%) and DOF (50%). Under the TechnipFMC/DOF joint venture agreement, TechnipFMC will manage flexible pipelay, and DOF will be responsible for marine operations.
The naming ceremony for the vessel was held in Rio de Janeiro earlier in February.  The Skandi Olinda has a 340-ton Vertical Lay System tower capacity, a 2,500-ton underdeck carousel, and two work-class ROVs, allowing it to lay flexible pipes in water depths up to 2,500 meters. It was built by Vard Promar Brazilian yard, where its sister ship, Skandi Recife, was also constructed.
Arnaud Piéton, President Subsea at TechnipFMC, commented: “We are delighted that the Skandi Olinda is joining our fleet of specialized vessels. This new charter contract with Petrobras reinforces our commitment to the development of the Brazilian market and our extensive ultra-deepwater pipelaying experience.”
DOF Subsea CEO, Mons S. Aase, said: “The extensive newbuild program of 4 PLSVs together with TechnipFMC has combined the subsea and vessel expertise across our organizations. Taking final delivery of Skandi Olinda and commencing the contract with Petrobras marks the successful conclusion of the newbuild program of the joint venture, which now has 6 vessels.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
Equinor signs LNG bunkering deal for shuttle tankers
Marine LNG Zeebrugge, a joint venture between Engie, Mitsubishi Corp and NYK will supply four dual-fuel crude shuttle tankers chartered by Equinor with LNG as a marine fuel. The vessels will operate mainly in Northern European waters and are scheduled to come into operation in early 2020
  • Lloyds List
Labour warned more MPs 'thinking hard' about futures
More Labour MPs could quit the party unless it listens to their concerns, Jeremy Corbyn has been warned.  Following the decision of seven Labour MPs to walk out on Monday, colleagues expressed anger with the leadership during a "tense" meeting in Parliament.
Corbyn-critic Ian Austin said others would "think hard" about leaving unless it fixed its anti-Semitism problem.  The BBC has been told two Tory MPs are thinking about joining the ex-Labour MPs' independent group in Parliament.  The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said a small number of Conservatives were considering their futures amid unhappiness over the government's Brexit policy.
Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey quit Labour's ranks in protest at what they said was a culture of "bullying and bigotry" in the party and frustration over the leadership's reluctance to back another EU referendum.
The seven are not launching a new political party but have urged other Labour MPs - and members of other parties - to join them in "building a new politics".  Their departures have provoked a mixed reaction at the top of the party, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell saying they should stand down and allow by-elections in their constituencies.
But deputy leader Tom Watson said the move was a wake-up call for the party. He condemned those on the "hard left" who he said were celebrating their exit, saying he "sometimes no longer recognised" the party.
Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray told the BBC he was sticking with Labour but "may change his mind" unless the party responded to concerns about its culture and direction.  Speaking after a Labour meeting in Westminster - addressed by party chairman Ian Lavery - Mr Austin said Labour must act to stop more MPs jumping ship.
Mr Austin said Mr Lavery had failed to "demonstrate the leadership" and "understand the scale of the problem we have" with anti-Semitism within its ranks.  "If that is the best the leadership can do, I can see more people taking the same course of action," he said.
"I think it will result in people thinking long and hard about their position in the party."  The BBC's political correspondent Ben Wright said several MPs thought Mr Lavery had misjudged the mood of the meeting by delivering a tub-thumping speech about being proud of the party.
But he said he did not get a sense that other MPs were poised to join the splinter group.
Party sources said Mr Lavery had insisted Labour must remain a "broad church" and it was determined to root out the "appalling abuse" that Ms Berger in particular had been subjected to.  Announcing her resignation on Monday, the Liverpool Wavertree MP said Labour had become institutionally anti-Semitic and she was "embarrassed and ashamed" to stay.
Meanwhile, Ms Coffey - one of the seven who quit - was asked on BBC Breakfast about whether more MPs could follow her.  "A number of my colleagues have expressed concern privately, but everybody has their own journey and it's a huge thing to do to leave and resign from a party," she said.
Labour MP Jess Phillips, writing in the Daily Telegraph, called on Mr Corbyn to listen to why the MPs had quit and "act on it", warning that reacting with bitterness could cause the party to "burst apart".
However, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told the Daily Mirror that the resignations were a "distracting and divisive exercise".
  • BBC News
Headlines Monday 18th February 2019
Excelerate, Equinor Conduct 1st STS Transfer of LNG in The Bahamas
Excelerate Energy and Equinor Energy completed the first-ever ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in The Bahamas on February 7, 2019.  The STS transfer was carried out using Excelerate’s 150,900 cbm floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) Exemplar and Equinor’s 142,759 cbm LNG carrier Arctic Voyager.
A full LNG cargo was transferred using the double-banked LNG transfer system while moored at Equinor’s South Riding Point storage and transshipment terminal, strategically located for storage and transshipment of crude, products and LNG, Excelerate said.  “Excelerate conducted the industry’s first commercial STS transfer of LNG in 2007, and since then, STS transfers have been completed and proven safe in a wide range of environments, now including The Bahamas,” Daniel Bustos, Excelerate’s Chief Commercial Officer, commented.
Excelerate recently completed its 1,500th commercial STS transfer on February 3, 2019, at the Engro Elengy Terminal in Port Qasim, Pakistan.
To date, the company has successfully transferred over 170,900,000 cubic meters of LNG using its STS protocol – of the 1,500 operations, over 1,300 have been with third-party vessels.
  • World Maritime News
Smart Solutions in a Digitized Future
Digitalization is an establishing technological driver of change in the offshore industry. The potential is huge in terms of increasing safety and operational efficiency, whilst at the same time reducing operational costs. This article addresses some of the recent pioneering technologies that benefit from this transformation.
Analysis software
GustoMSC has developed a suite of proprietary software geared to the specific requirements of its designs and customers. Instead of using regular off-the-shelf analysis software, the company developed its own software allowing them to efficiently perform analyses for its customers’ units, while making sure to follow the latest developments in technology, insights, and design standards.
For jack-ups this has led to the development of the Legload software, which the company uses in all its designs and site-specific assessments to study the interaction between a jack-up, the seabed it is standing on, and the action of waves, current, and wind. The analysis can be performed according to any design standard required and the results are easily interpreted and compared to design limits. The version that clients can use themselves, called the Site Feasibility Tool, has all the properties and limits of jack-ups in a client’s fleet already programmed in. This version allows the client to quickly assess the suitability of its jack-up for a specific site, and requires only a limited number of properties to be entered by the client in a simple and understandable interface.
The dynamic response of a jack-up to the waves is an increasingly important aspect of the type of analyses Gusto MSC performs. For this purpose the company has developed the Simsep program. The dynamic behaviour of a jack-up in sea states can be studied by simulating time series of various sea states. One significant recent development is that the company is now able to perform the highly accurate simulation of extreme irregular waves.
All these advances were partly driven by specific customer requirements,and were instrumental in allowing jack-up operations in the demanding northern part of the North Sea. Owing to these advances in available computer power, and the improvements in software, the company frequently runs statistical analyses involving many hundreds of hours of simulated storm conditions in a couple of hours. Until recently GustoMSC relied much more on deterministic analyses that would cost way more time to get a workable result.
In addition, GustoMSC’ parent company NOV has developed cloud-based big-data solutions, offering its clients a website dashboard that allows them to monitor ongoing operations, the health of their hardware, and predict required maintenance. This big data allows GustoMSC to gain even more feedback on the performance of the units, improving the understanding of both technical and operational aspects.
Bottom-founded offshore structures, such as jack-ups, have to be able to withstand earthquake events (seismic loading) of which the intensity depends on the area of operation and the risk involved. Changes in regulatory standards (e.g. ISO 19905-1), awareness in the sector, and the industry trend to install jack-ups in more seismically active regions mean that seismic analyses have become an important consideration in demonstrating the safety of a jack-up operation at a particular site, or in the design of new-built units.
There is a significant growth of interest for offshore wind-turbine installation in the Japanese and Taiwanese regions. Wind farm projects are slowly materializing in these regions; the first Japanese construction jack-up was delivered in February to Penta Ocean – the CP-8001, a GustoMSC GJ-3750C design based on proven technology, suitable for various installation works. From the start, severe earthquakes in these regions were significant for the design of this unit. The CP-8001’s unique features allow highly efficient operations in Japanese ocean side areas with harsh wave and weather conditions, while not giving in on the welfare of the crew. The enactment of relevant Japanese regulations will undoubtedly provide further potential for offshore wind farms.
Considering seismic loading directly in an early design phase of new units allows for an optimized design where seismic resistance can be assured with a minimal cost and weight. Seismic analysis allows GustoMSC to provide designs tailor made for the Far East offshore wind farms. The advanced calculation capabilities facilitate an increase in the safety in the offshore industry and, at the same time, enables contractors to safely reduce the level of conservatism where possible and take maximum advantage of the capabilities of their equipment.
All these new technologies will profoundly affect the ways in which people work at sea as they provide the resources the world requires for its growing population and increasing living standards. GustoMSC’s future is based on continuous development of smart and safe solutions, with digitalization forming a key consideration in most of its new developments.
  • Offshore windbiz
Rotterdam port achieves record container volumes for 2018
Rotterdam port has relied on container transhipment as its main engine of growth again for 2018, with last year’s throughput reaching a record 14.5m teu, according to Port of Rotterdam Authority.  Box volumes last year at 14.5m teu is an increase of 5.7% compared to 2017. Transhipment volumes recorded 4.5% year-on-year growth.
“A key factor in the increase in 2018 was the growth in numbers of transhipment and full import containers. Container exports developed less strongly, partly due to Chinese import restrictions on waste flows. The shortsea segment suffered from slowdowns in the British and Russian economies,” Port of Rotterdam Authority stated.
While container transhipment continued to grow at a healthy pace, that of crude oil, mineral oil products and agribulk fell.  At 469m tonnes, the port of Rotterdam’s total throughput volume ended up slightly higher in 2018 than in 2017, which was itself a record year at 467.4m tonnes.  “The port authority expects throughput volume to increase slightly in 2019, with container sector growth being lower than the exceptional levels seen in previous years,” the port authority said.  The authority said it is implementing a ‘both-and’ strategy aimed at strengthening the existing port industrial complex and embracing new initiatives in the fields of energy transition and digitisation.
“Partly because of this, we also expect high investment levels in the years ahead,” the port authority said.  The authority also pointed out that its progress in environmental and social contribution has been equally important.  “The Port of Rotterdam Authority is committed to drastically reducing CO2 emissions in order to help achieve the ambitious national climate target,” the authority said.
“We want to play a pioneering role and make the port an inspiring example of human capital, so that the Rotterdam port and industrial area will still be making a substantial contribution to Dutch prosperity and employment in 2050.
One important initiative highlighted is the Leer Werk Akkoord involving the municipality, educational institutions and the business sector to offer jobs for the long term unemployed in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region.
  • Seatrade Maritime News
Several Labour MPs about to resign, say party sources
A small group of MPs look set to announce their resignations from Labour, senior party sources have said.  At least four backbenchers who disagree with the Labour leadership over its handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism are thought likely to break away.  They are expected to announce their departure at an event later on Monday morning.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, a vocal critic of leader Jeremy Corbyn, has urged them to "stay in and fight".  Senior Labour figures, including deputy leader Tom Watson, have also called on those thinking of quitting to keep the party united so it is "electorally viable".  But anger over the leadership's refusal to get behind calls for another EU referendum, combined with dismay at its handling of anti-Semitism allegations, have led so-called "moderate" MPs already disillusioned with Mr Corbyn's leadership, to consider their future.
An event mid-morning concerning the future of British politics can mean only one thing - that after months of mounting worry and concern, some of Labour's backbenchers have made the major decision to leave their party.
This doesn't necessarily mean they are about to unveil a new party, and it doesn't necessarily mean that the group will be able to sway much power. This morning's event may see only four or five MPs announce their decision.
But it seems that the divisions in the Labour Party could not be contained.  Many of Jeremy Corbyn's MPs have long been convinced that the party should be much more enthusiastically campaigning for another referendum on staying in the EU.  But those leaving later also have broader fears about the nature of his leadership and the pace at which Labour has dealt with anti-Semitism.  The group set to depart may be small, but they are not the only ones inside the Labour Party who hold major concerns.
Last week, former shadow chancellor Chris Leslie said it was "heartbreaking" that Labour was not united in arguing against leaving the EU, adding: "I certainly think we are being played for fools by the leadership of the Labour Party."
A row over the treatment of Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger - an outspoken critic of Mr Corbyn's handling of anti-Semitism and Brexit, who had been threatened with a no confidence vote by local party activists - has sparked a fresh round of in-fighting at the top of the party.
Chris Leslie, Owen Smith, Chuka Umunna and other Labour supporters of the People's Vote campaign for another EU referendum have been linked with rumours of a split for some time - Mr Smith told the BBC last week that he was considering his future in the party.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on Sunday he did not see "any need for anybody to split from the party".  "Those saying we'll split if we don't get a 'People's Vote' [another referendum on the final Brexit deal] - well, we've still kept that option on the table and it might come about," he added.  Mr McDonnell insisted the party was "holding together on Brexit" and would be "ruthless" on claims of anti-Semitism that have plagued Labour.
He said the effect of MPs splintering from the party would be similar to the SDP breakaway in 1981, which split Labour's vote and "installed Mrs Thatcher in power for a decade".  Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA union, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, urged Labour MPs to stick with the party.  "I'd urge anyone in our party thinking of bolting not to do so," he said.
"Brexit or any other issue isn't an excuse for breaking away. Labour is the only show in town for creating a fairer Britain. Our voters need our MPs to be made of sterner stuff."  Mr Cortes, whose union backs another referendum, added: "We must get behind Jeremy who is leading the fight against no-deal.
"I also don't anticipate he will rule out a final say as this is our party's policy and he's no dictator."  Stephen Kinnock, Labour MP for Aberavon, told those thinking of quitting: "We have a duty to deliver for people that we are elected to represent and to change the country for the good and the Labour Party is the vehicle to do that."
Asked on BBC Radio 4's the Westminster Hour what his message for those who wanted to leave the party would be, he said: "I would say to them that there are certain people in the party with whom they disagree very strongly.
"The way to win the battle, if you like, is to stay in and fight."
A former Labour vice-chairman said on Sunday he would quit the party over what he saw as a repeated failure to tackle hostility towards Jewish people.  Former Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher, who stood down at the last election, told the Sun: "I can no longer justify paying subs to a party which I now regard as institutionally anti-Semitic."
On Sunday, Labour members on social media began circulating a graphic pledging to work towards a Labour-led government "under whatever leadership members elect".
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 15th February 2019
RBS warns of Brexit harm as profits double
Royal Bank of Scotland has reported profits of £1.62bn for 2018, more than double the £752m it made a year earlier.  RBS chief Ross McEwan called the results "a good performance in the face of economic and political uncertainty".  Mr McEwan said the UK economy faced "a heightened level of uncertainty related to ongoing Brexit negotiations".  He told the BBC that Brexit could have a bigger impact on the economy than the Bank of England has suggested.
Mr McEwan said: "Larger corporations are pausing on their investments. And this cannot be good for the economy long-term because those large corporations then employ smaller businesses and individuals.  "If this goes on for a long period of time we're going to see the economy slowing down more than the Bank of England suggested.  "We have a very small period of time left until the end of March and it's time that our politicians got to the conclusion so that we can get some certainty going forward."  He said that 2018 saw benign economic conditions continue, with low defaults by customers on their loans.
But the bank's statement noted the potential impact of "ongoing political uncertainties and geopolitical tensions" which could affect its customers, and, as a result, defaults were expected to increase this year.  The bank was rescued by the government in 2008 in the aftermath of the financial crisis at a cost of £45bn and it still owns 62% of the company.
In October, RBS paid its first dividend to shareholders since its bailout. In its latest results, the bank announced a final dividend of 3.5p per share, and also a 7.5p special dividend, which means the Treasury is set to receive £977m.  While the government is still RBS's main shareholder, it also has about 190,000 private investors.  The government has been selling off blocks of shares it owns in the bank, and aims to have sold all of its stake by 2024.
But it realises a loss every time it does this as it paid 502p a share and they have not yet returned to that level. RBS shares are currently trading at about 240p.
  • BBC News
DSME to Build Another LNG Carrier for Maran Gas
South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has secured an order for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier from Greece-based shipowner.
DSME is to build the 174,000 cbm ship for Maran Gas Maritime, part of Angelicoussis Shipping Group, according to data provided by Asiasis.  The newbuilding is expected to be delivered to its owner by the first half of 2021.  The value of the contract has not been disclosed.
In 2018, Maran Gas ordered three identical LNG vessels at DSME, with two of them scheduled for delivery in 2020 and one in 2021.  Last year, DSME won orders for 47 vessels worth USD 6.81 billion, hitting approximately 93% of the company’s orderbook target for the year of USD 7.3 billion. This year, the shipbuilder reportedly aims to win orders worth USD 8 billion.
  • World Maritime News
Total to move UK trading jobs to Geneva – report
French energy giant Total is planning to relocate its trading operations to Geneva, in a move affecting 200 jobs, according to Sky News.  The outlet reports that Total will move the jobs from London to Geneva, in a bid to consolidate marketing activities split between those two cities and Paris.
In a statement to Sky, Total said Brexit was “not at all a factor” and that the firm’s North Sea operations are not affected by the plans.  The firm said the changes came following its $1.5bn (£1.1bn) acquisition last year of Engie’s LNG business.  It is understood that Total is in talks to sell some of its North Sea assets, with reports emerging in November that the French energy giant was in talks with investment managers First Alpha Energy and Albion Energy Capital.
Total also completed a £5.8bn takeover of Maersk Oil in March last year.
  • Energy Voice
Headlines Thursday 14th February 2019
UK Oil & Gas increases stake in Horse Hill project with Doriemus deal
UK Oil & Gas plc (LON:UKOG) has again increased its stake in the Horse Hill oil project, this time in a transaction with fellow junior market stakeholder Doriemus.  It is acquiring a 6% interest in the Horse Hill Developments Limited (HHDL) vehicle which in turn holds 65% of the Horse Hill project.  Subsequently, UKOG will own 77.9% of HHDL and therefore 50.635% of Horse Hill.
The transaction sees UKOG paying Doriemus £2.1mln in shares, a total of 129.62mln UKOG shares, with a reference price of 1.62p per share (based on the average over five preceding trading days).  "We are delighted to acquire this further share of our Horse Hill flagship oil production project,” said Stephen Sanderson, UKOG chief executive.  “The transaction now firmly establishes UKOG as the majority interest holder in the Horse Hill Portland and Kimmeridge oil field, together with the highly prospective surrounding licence acreage. “Horse Hill is UKOG's stated 2019 focus and we are on-track to deliver continuous test-derived oil production until the start of long-term stable oil production by year end.  “The plan is designed to make Horse Hill the Weald Basin's number one oil producing field in 2019 and to move UKOG upwards into the top tier of UK onshore oil producing companies shortly afterwards.”
It is anticipated that two new horizontal wells will be added to the Horse Hill project this year, with drilling slated to start in the spring, ahead of the planned start of permanent production later this year.
The plan is to produce some 720-1,080 barrels of oil per day from the conventional Portland reservoir in the upcoming programme.
Future new wells, from 2020 onwards, will aim to increase field production above 2,000 bopd.
  • Proactive Investors
Iceland’s First Electric Ferry to Feature ABB Technology
Technology company ABB has been selected to supply integrated power and electric storage solutions to the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration’s new electric ferry which will operate on an Icelandic route known for its harsh weather conditions.  The 70-meter-long ship will take 3,600 annual trips in the rough waters between Landeyjahöfn on the mainland and the Westman Island, covering 13 km in about 45 minutes.
The ferry, with a capacity of 550 passengers and 75 cars, is designed by Polarkonsult and is due for delivery from the Crist S.A. shipyard in 2019.
The vessel will feature a large battery pack and is designed to operate in a fully electric mode, with onshore charging in both harbors. During particularly challenging weather conditions, when the consumption of battery power may exceed the available energy, the ferry will utilize its diesel-electric generator set, according to ABB.
As informed, the new ferry will replace the 1992-built MF Herjólfur in line with Iceland’s incentives to promote electric modes of transportation. With 80 percent of Iceland’s energy coming from non-fossil resources, led by hydropower and geothermal energy, the newbuilt vessel is aimed at supporting Iceland’s sustainability goals.  “Opting for ABB’s electric solutions allows the vessel to meet design constraints that initially seem in conflict: it is optimized for cleaner operation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, whilst power is sufficient to navigate some very hazardous waters safely,” Sigurdur Gretarsson, Director of Maritime Division, Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration, said.
ABB’s power distribution system will allow the batteries to connect directly to the DC link, which helps avoids losses of power during charging and discharging. Additionally, the system can allow for variable speed operation of the diesel engines, which results in reduced fuel consumption.  The scope of ABB supply also includes generators, transformers, switchboards, the power and energy management system (PEMS) and the energy storage control system (ESCS). The ferry will be connected to ABB Ability Collaborative Centers Infrastructure. This network uses remote equipment monitoring and data analytics to enable remote technical support, as well as predictive maintenance and planned interventions.
According to the company, crucial to the supporting infrastructure shoreside is the shore power connection delivered by ABB to recharge the battery with a power of 2500kW while the ferry is in the dock. On average, it will take about 30 minutes to recharge.  “Selection of ABB’s technologies for a vessel operating on such a tough route, where the water depth is sometimes limited to 4.5 meters, but wave heights can reach 3.5 meters, sets a new benchmark for battery power on board a ship,” Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports, commented.
“This project demonstrates how system integration – whether on board the ship or between the ship’s crew and shoreside expertise – is a key success factor for vessel management,” Koskela added.  The new ferry will not only reduce the environmental impact but also improve the regularity of the connection. Previously, during rough weather, the ferry operating the route would travel to an alternative harbor to dock safely, extending the sailing time from 45 minutes to close to 3 hours and causing motion sickness in passengers.
The new ferry will be able to enter the destination harbor in challenging weather conditions most of the time, with the rare exception of particularly rough seas.
  • World Maritime News
Airbus to Stop Making A380 'Superjumbo' Aircraft After Disappointing Sales, Putting 3,500 Jobs At Risk
Airbus has announced it will end production of the world’s biggest passenger plane, the A380 "SuperJumbo" model, by 2021.  The admission of long-term failure comes after Emirates, the largest customer of the A380, reduced its order from 162 to 123 aircraft.  The double-deck plane is beloved by passengers but has proved an abject commercial failure.
More than half of the entire production planes ordered are for Emirates. The Dubai-based airline has opted to take smaller A330 and A350 jets instead.  Emirates said it had struck a reduced deal worth $21.4bn with Airbus that will see it take on another 14 new A380s in the next two years, and that the airline was "sad" to see the model discontinued.
The Airbus chief executive, Tom Enders, said: “As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years.  “This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.”  Mr Enders, who is set to retire in two months, said: “The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.”
Airbus A380s will continue in operation for a wide range of airlines, including British Airways, for years to come. The planemaker has vowed to continue to proved technical support for the model.  A year ago Airbus said the future of the plane had been secured for the next decade, though the rate of production would fall to one every two months. But since then the secondhand value of the aircraft has come into question, with two of the first Singapore Airlines planes to fly being broken up for parts after just 10 years in service.
The Airbus A380 first flew commercially for Singapore Airlines in 2007, and has been bought by a dozen other airlines including British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa and Qantas.  The jet has proved extremely popular with passengers, with a special website allowing travellers to pick routes and airlines that will allow them to fly on the SuperJumbo.
But the A380 has never flown many important business routes, including the premier intercontinental link between London and New York, on a sustained basis.  Up to 3,500 jobs will be affected, including hundreds in the UK at the Airbus factory in Broughton, north Wales, and at the Rolls-Royce plane engine factory in Derby.
Airbus reported healthy profits in its 2018 full-year results.
  • The Independent
Headlines Wednesday 13th February 2019
UK Government increases renewables funding following review
The UK Government has announced an increase in renewable energy funding following a review.  The amount of money used to reduce carbon emissions from UK industry has been increased from £15 million to £24m.  The government announced the increase last night in response to a January review held by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  BEIS said as part of the announcement that it expects to invest around £100m in low carbon industrial innovation to accelerate “the roll out of low carbon technologies which will enable UK industry to remain competitive”.
In 2017, the UK government commissioned Aberdeen-headquartered Wood to undertake a study to assess the most promising carbon capture technologies.  The report from the energy services giant found that technologies such as renewable energy and hydrogen could play a role in decarbonising industry, power, heat and transport.
In January, the UK Government announced it would propose new solar power subsidies for households and businesses.
Its scrapping of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) for small scale renewables generators was widely criticised by renewables industry groups last year.
However, the government announced a new proposal last night to ensure households and businesses installing new solar panels will be guaranteed payment for power provided back to the grid.
  • Energy Voice
Awilco Drilling posts loss on WilHunter rig impairment
UK offshore drilling company Awilco Drilling has posted a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2018 of $24.2 million.  The company, which owns two 3rd generation semi-submersible drilling rigs, the WilHunter, and the WilPhoenix said its quarterly result was dragged down by an impairment charge of $25 million.  This is related to the continued cold stack status and lack of visibility of contracting opportunities in the near term for the WilHunter semi-submersible drilling rig which has been sitting idle in Invergordon for a while now.  Awilco’s other rig, the WilPhoenix, was in continued operations for Shell UK Ltd at the Kingfisher location in the UK North Sea in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Revenue efficiency for the quarter was 95.3%. Contract utilization was 100%. At the end of December, WilPhoenix had a total contract backlog of approximately $30.7 million. Revenue earned in the fourth quarter was USD 10.2 million.  Worth noting, Awilco Drilling last year entered what it said was “a growth mode.” Namely, Awilco made news as being the first company since the oil downturn began in 2014 to order a newbuild offshore rig.
Awilco in March last year ordered one new-build high-end semi-submersible rig from Keppel, with options for three more rigs.  The company, which has for years operated in the UK North Sea, is targeting the Norwegian market with the newbuild rig.  In a statement on Wednesday, Awilco said the Norwegian market for modern high-end semi-submersibles now has little availability remaining in 2019 and only around 1/3 of rig days in 2020 remaining clearly available.
The most recent fixtures remain around USD 300,000 excluding potentially material bonus amounts.  In the UK, reduced supply coupled with increased demand is expected to see the current marketed fleet soon sold out for the summer of 2019. This is expected to result in day rate pressure and reduced seasonality in the region with higher utilization levels forecast in the winter of 2019 into 2020, Awilco said.
Awilco’s newbuild rig is expected to be delivered in March 2021, when Awilco expects the market will move towards a more balanced supply as aging cold-stacked rigs will require contracts at a significant premium to current rig dayrate levels to justify the reactivation costs.
  • Offshore Energy Today
UK economy to make modest post-Brexit recovery if deal agreed: economists
Britain’s economy will barely grow in the run-up to Brexit amid concern the UK will leave the European Union without an agreement, but if there is a deal there will be a modest post-divorce upturn, according to economists polled by Reuters.  Economists mostly said a free-trade deal between the two will be made and expectations that Britain will leave on March 29 without an agreement have barely changed over the past month.
Growth slumped to 0.2 percent last quarter as Brexit worries hammered investment by companies and a global economic slowdown weighed on trade.  The February 8-12 Reuters poll said it would expand at the same rate this quarter.
Polls conducted by Reuters since the June 2016 referendum decision to leave the EU have consistently said a no-deal Brexit would be the worst outcome for the British economy.  The chance of a no-deal Brexit nudged up only to 25 percent in the latest poll from the 23 percent given in January and, with a deal expected, growth is forecast to accelerate to 0.3 percent next quarter and to 0.4 percent in the third
“If there’s a silver lining from the mounting signs that the uncertainty caused by Brexit is holding back GDP growth, it’s that the economy could enjoy a decent rebound if a Brexit deal is agreed,” said Paul Dales at Capital Economics.  The likelihood of a recession in the coming year held firm at 25 percent and the probability of one in the next two years at 30 percent.  “Although the economic headwinds have increased in recent quarters, the most likely way in which a recession will be triggered is if Brexit goes badly wrong,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.
Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to convince the bloc to amend a divorce deal that she agreed with it in November but that was rejected by her own parliament. As it stands, the UK will leave the EU in 44 days without a deal.  May told British lawmakers from all parties on Tuesday she wanted them to back the Brexit deal she is aiming to strike, citing the need to pass further legislation to prepare for Britain’s exit. May said she believed she could reach a Brexit deal parliament could support.  European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday the bloc would agree to tweak the political declaration on EU-UK ties after Brexit that forms part of the exit package.
As in all Reuters polls since late-2016, the vast majority of economists said the two sides would settle eventually on a free-trade deal.  Holding again in second place was Britain being a member of the European Economic Area, paying into the EU budget to maintain access to the EU’s single market.  The third and fourth spots flipped, with Britain leaving without an agreement and trading under basic World Trade Organization rules now in third place and Brexit being canceled last.
Apart from January’s poll, Brexit being canceled was in last place every time Reuters has asked.  The Bank of England said last week Britain faces its weakest economic growth in a decade this year, but also said interest rates would eventually rise if an EU divorce deal is done.  Other major central banks have signaled they will hold off on raising borrowing costs but BoE Governor Mark Carney stuck to his message that gradual and limited rate rises are coming if a no-deal Brexit is averted.
Economists polled by Reuters took him at his word and medians suggest a 25 basis point increase to Bank Rate to 1.00 percent would come in the fourth quarter, later than thought last month. Another 25 basis point was predicted in the second half of next year, also later than previously thought.  “The combination of Brexit uncertainty, slowing world - and UK - economic growth and lower forecasts for inflation suggests a far slower normalization of policy,” said George Buckley at Nomura, who pushed back his expectation for the first hike to November from May.
Carney said on Tuesday a modest tightening of monetary policy over time would likely be sufficient to achieve the Bank’s 2 percent inflation target. The poll pegged inflation to average the target this year and next.
  • Reuters
Headlines Tuesday 12th February 2019
Storm Erik causes new peak for British wind generation
On Friday, the National Grid reported Great British wind generation peaked at 15.32 gigawatts (GW), providing 36% of the UK’s electricity demand.  The UK utility regulator confirmed last night that between 12:15pm to 1:45pm wind was being generated at its highest level ever.  The new data beats the previous record of 15.04GW, recorded on December 18 last year.
RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “At one of the coldest times of the year, when we need it most, wind is generating over a third of Britain’s power needs, setting a new clean energy record. It’s yet another demonstration of how our energy mix is shifting to renewables, with onshore and offshore wind in the vanguard.  “This transition is set to continue apace; we’re currently finalising a sector deal that will see offshore wind alone generating at least a third of our electricity by 2030. This will secure £48bn of new investment and support 27,000 highly-skilled jobs.  “Onshore wind is already the cheapest source of new power in the UK and can make a major contribution to meeting our carbon reduction targets and keeping bills down”.
In September, RenewableUK hailed a “historic milestone” as the country’s wind generation passed 20 gigawatts.  Renewable UK said the milestone showed “phenomenal growth” in the sector, coinciding with the trade body’s 40th anniversary.  Wind power accounted for half of all power coming from UK renewables in 2017.
The first commercial wind farm went operational in 1991, with wind deployment climbing to 5GW by 2010.  In January, turbine blades at Aberdeen Bay windfarm clocked record speeds during gale force winds, the project operator Vattenfall confirmed.
Storm winds which battered Scotland averaged up to 67mph in the north-east, causing the world’s most powerful blades to hit a top speed of 192mph.  It’s understood the 262 foot rotor blades at the site, also known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), managed to complete a six second rotation, resulting in near 200mph speeds.
  • Energy Voice
TUI Losses Double Due to Heatwave and Weak Pound
TUI, Europe’s biggest holiday company, saw losses increase from €36.7m (£32.2m) to €83.6m (£75.7m) as margins fell in the final three months of 2018.  The decline in earnings is blamed on northern Europe’s “unusually long and hot summer”, overcapacity in the Canary Islands and weakness in Sterling “as a result of the Brexit decision”.  Last week the Anglo-German firm, based in Hanover, issued a profits warning – saying an anticipated 10 per cent increase in earnings would not materialise.  But Fritz Joussen, the chief executive, said TUI “is financially strong with a sound strategic and operational positioning” and on track to deliver a similar full-year performance to 2018 with profits of around €1.18bn (£1.03bn).
TUI’s turnover is up 4.4 per cent to €3.7bn (£3.25bn). Customer numbers have increased by 1.2 per cent to 3.7 million – making the average spend per customer exactly €1,000 (£880).  Joussen said: “Travel and tourism remain a growth market. Customers continue to travel, but they are currently resistant to increases in price.”
He hinted that TUI will cut prices to maintain market share, saying: “During this consolidation phase in our sector, it is particularly important to adequately participate in market growth.”  Profits in TUI’s cruise business rose by a quarter, with Marella – the UK fleet – seeing average rate per passenger per day rising by £8 to £137.  Occupancy rates on Marella ships increased by one per cent to a remarkable 102 per cent. This is achieved by some parents sharing two-person cabins with one or two children.
But the firm warned: “Sales of higher-margin products to British customers are adversely affected by the weakness of the British pound.”
Last week TUI’s largest rival, Thomas Cook, also announced increased first-quarter losses. It has put its in-house carrier, Thomas Cook Airlines, up for sale.
  • The Independent
Debenhams secures £40m lifeline as it battles for survival
Debenhams has secured a cash injection of £40m, giving it more time to arrange a longer-term refinancing and store closure plan.  The ailing department store chain, which has 165 outlets and employs 25,000 people, has been battling to reach a deal with its banks and bondholders after a difficult Christmas capped off a lacklustre 2018, during which it issued three profit warnings.
Sergio Bucher, the chief executive, hailed the new 12-month credit facility as a “first step in our refinancing process”.  “The support of our lenders for our turnaround plan is important to underpin a comprehensive solution that will take account of the interests of all stakeholders, and deliver a sustainable and profitable future for Debenhams.”
Debenhams said it would continue talking to its lenders about a comprehensive refinancing. The rescue process is expected to involve the closure of tens of stores and lenders taking a stake in the company.  News of the cash injection saw Debenhams’ shares jump 30%, to just over 4p.  The firm also announced a new sourcing partnership with Li & Fung, a Hong Kong-based supply chain manager. Bucher said this would be key part of the company’s turnaround plan, giving it access to state-of-the-art technology in the LF digital platform, enabling it to respond more quickly to trends and customers’ preferences.
The company previously had £520m in debt facilities in place including £320m of loans and £200m of bonds, which are due to be repaid next year.  Without the short-term overdraft extension, it risked breaching the terms on its debt when it faces a test on its financial health at the end of February.  Last month Debenhams said it had net debt of £286m. Cashflow has been squeezed as suppliers concerned about the financial health of the company are demanding more up-front payments.
The retailer has been sounding out property advisory firms about organising the rapid closure of as many as 50 stores via an insolvency procedure known as a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).  Such a route has already been taken by other struggling high street chains including New Look, Mothercare and Carpetright as the whole industry struggles with a combination of rising costs, falling sales and the switch to internet shopping. CVAs can take several weeks to arrange and it is not clear if a deal can be put in place before Debenhams’ quarterly rent day in late March, when it will have to pay out about £50m to landlords.
The ultimate plan to refinance its debt is likely to include a debt for equity swap but might also involve new cash from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, which owns close to 30% of the company. In order to facilitate his possible involvement in a deal, Ashley is understood to have been given access to limited information about the store chain after signing a non-disclosure agreement.
Before Christmas, Sports Direct offered the department store a £40m loan but the company turned it down because it came with a demand for security over some of Debenhams’ assets that would have given Ashley’s company a preferential position over other shareholders.  Sports Direct demanded the right to add another 10% to its shareholding without making a formal takeover bid for the whole company. Under Takeover Panel rules anyone with more more than 29.9% must make a bid for the whole company. Debenhams feared such an agreement would give Ashley control of the company on the cheap.
The credit agency Moody’s cut its view on Debenhams to negative last month, saying the company would struggle to refinance its debts without raising new funds. The company had put on hold plans to raise cash by selling its Danish Magasin du Nord chain after failing to receive strong enough offers.   After weak sales and pressure on profit margins over Christmas, Moody’s said it expected Debenhams’ underlying profits to fall by up to £20m this year, having previously predicted they would be similar to last year.  Pressure on the company ramped up in January when its then chairman, Sir Ian Cheshire, and chief executive, Sergio Bucher, were ousted from the boardroom by Ashley’s Sports Direct and the Dubai-based retail billionaire Micky Jagtiani’s Milestone Resources, which voted against them at its annual shareholder meeting.
Cheshire stepped down immediately and was replaced by the interim chairman, Terry Duddy, the former chief executive of Home Retail Group. Bucher has stayed on but is no longer a director.
  • The Guardian
Headlines Monday 11th February 2019
UK Scraps Brexit Ferry Deal with Seaborne Freight
The UK Department of Transport has terminated the ferry contract awarded to Seaborne Freight last year as part of the UK government’s plan to avoid the likely congestion at British ports stemming from the no-Brexit deal.  Namely, the looming hard-Brexit is expected to bring severe congestion in and around UK ports from March 29, 2019 amid increased border checks by European Union Member States.
The cancellation was announced over the weekend as the Irish firm Arklow Shipping, which was backing Seaborne Freight, decided to withdraw from the deal, Reuters reported citing the spokeswoman of the Department of Transport. As informed, the department is in advanced talks with other companies to secure additional capacity.  The GBP 14 million contract has been in the center of public criticism as Seaborne Freight, established in 2017, has no ferries in its fleet or trading history.
Seaborne Freight was selected together with DFDS and Brittany Ferries to provide additional ferry capacity in the North Sea as part of a total contract value of GBP 103 million (USD 131.3 million).  General Secretary of UK’s shipping union RMT Mick Cash said that the union had protested a number of times “over the fiasco” of the government’s Brexit ferry contracts to both the Department for Transport and the ports, stressing that the cancellation of the Seaborne Freight ferry contract comes as no surprise.
“The whole exercise is a complete and utter shambles with the government ignoring union calls on what needs to happen. Instead ‎they are blundering on from crisis to crisis.
“RMT has set out a package of demands that would guarantee that the Brexit ferry contracts are crewed by British seafarers, on decent pay and conditions negotiated through recognized trade unions. This government “wing and a prayer” approach was always doomed‎ to failure and it’s time for Chris Grayling (Transport Minister) to stop attacking RMT and start listening to people who actually know what they are talking about instead of the chancers selling him a pile of old rope they done even own,” he added.
Grayling has also been targeted by severe criticism following the ferry contract cancellation, with Labour party representatives calling for his resignation.
  • World Maritime News
Scottish Enterprise Schedules CfD Prep Event
Scottish Enterprise is holding an event for the local offshore wind supply chain regarding the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.  The event will focus on lessons learned in previous CfD auctions, the opportunities expected in the forthcoming round and how the industry will evolve for future rounds.
The speakers will present competition, innovation and skills to help prepare the Scottish supply chain companies to position themselves best.
Scottish Enterprise will hold the event on 7 March at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Glasgow from 09:30 to 16:00 GMT.  According to Scotland’s main economic development agency, the event is for both new market entrants and those established in the supply chain across all tiers.
In 2017, the UK committed to setting aside GBP 557 million to support bi-annual CfD auctions for offshore wind and remote island wind, beginning from the third CfD round this year and going throughout the 2020s.  The next allocation round is expected to be held by May, with the second round slated for 2021 and every two years or so from then on. Depending on the price achieved, the auctions are expected to deliver up to 2GW of offshore wind each year in the 2020s.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Brexit: Theresa May responds to Jeremy Corbyn's letter
Theresa May has responded to Jeremy Corbyn's letter setting out his five demands for a Brexit deal.  The prime minister queried his call for the UK to stay in a customs union with the EU - but welcomed more talks with Labour on a Brexit agreement.  Mrs May wants the two parties to discuss how "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop - a commitment to avoid a hard border - could work.  She did not reject any of his conditions outright in her reply.
Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold talks in Strasbourg later, as the EU and UK Brexit negotiating teams discuss proposed changes to the deal.  Writing her response to his letter of last Wednesday, Mrs May told the Labour leader: "It is good to see that we agree that the UK should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum."
This is despite Mr Corbyn repeatedly saying there should be a general election if Mrs May cannot get a deal through Parliament. He has also faced pressure from some of his MPs to push for another public vote on Brexit.  Labour asked for five changes to be made to the Brexit deal:
  • A "permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union" with the EU, with the same external tariff. It would give the UK a say on any future trade deals that the EU may strike.
  • The UK to be closely aligned with the Single Market
  • To stay in step with the EU on rights and protections for workers
  • A promise to participate in EU agencies and funding programmes on the environment, education and industry regulation
  • Agreements with the EU on security, such as access to the European Arrest Warrant database
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said it appears there are some potential stumbling blocks to a deal.  Mrs May does not agree with his first demand on the customs union, and wrote: "I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future EU trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?"
The existing Political Declaration, setting out the goals for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, "explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union - no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors and no checks on rules of origin", Mrs May told Mr Corbyn.  It also recognises the development of the UK's independent trade policy, she added.  Mrs May said securing frictionless trade for goods - which means trying to do business between the UK and the European Union with the minimum of tariffs, quotas, customs checks and other obstructions - was "one of our key negotiating objectives".  She added: "The fundamental negotiating challenge here is the EU's position that completely frictionless trade is only possible if the UK stays in the single market.  "This would mean accepting free movement, which Labour's 2017 General Election manifesto made clear you do not support."
In response to Labour's third demand, to stay in step with the EU if workers' rights improve in Europe, the prime minister said existing rights will be protected.  But there will be no automatic upgrade in line with the EU, she said. However, she said she would be prepared to commit to asking Parliament if it wanted to follow suit each time.
She agreed with Mr Corbyn's fourth point - that the government supports participating in EU programmes - but said this is already set out in the political declaration.  And she said the government shared Labour's ambition in relation to security after Brexit. She outlined several measures which had been agreed - including "arrangements akin to the European Arrest Warrant".
But she said the challenge came from the EU, which is restricting how much the UK participates in joint security after Brexit.  "Labour's support for this position going into the next phase will I hope send a powerful signal that the EU should reconsider its stance," she said.
The letter concludes with Mrs May saying she looked forward to the two parties meeting "as soon as possible".  Labour is yet to respond to the letter.
  • BBC News
Headlines Friday 8th February 2019
Wärtsilä to Carry Out World’s 1st Hybrid Retrofit for Short Sea Vessel
In December 2018, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä inked an agreement with Norwegian shipping company Hagland Shipping AS for a hybrid retrofit installation onboard Hagland Captain, a general cargo vessel.  As informed, it will be the first project of its kind ever in short sea shipping applications.
The installation of a Wärtsilä battery hybrid propulsion solution is expected to significantly enhance the ship’s environmental performance by reducing its emissions, fuel consumption, and noise.  According to the company, included in the solution are a shore power connection to provide power for loading/unloading operations and for battery charging, a new reduction gear with power take-off (PTO) and power take-in (PTI) technology, and a Wärtsilä NOx Reducer (NOR).
It is estimated that the total reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions after the retrofit could be as much as 80 to 90 percent, while overall fuel cost savings are expected to be in the range of 5 to 10 percent.  In addition, the battery capacity will be sufficient to sail in and out of harbor on electric power for approximately 30 minutes, which will effectively reduce noise and pollution levels in the vicinity of the harbor.
The project is in response to a collaborative agreement between Hagland Shipping and NOAH AS, the Norwegian environment and resource company, whereby the shipping of materials to the island of Langøya in Norway is required to be via environmentally sound vessels. Non-profit NGO, Bellona, has also given its input to the project concept.
“We believe our mutual project will have a considerable impact in the market and will further the environmental drive towards sustainable solutions in short sea shipping,” Oivind Wendelboe Aanensen, COO, Hagland Shipping AS, commented.
“Environmental considerations are increasingly important for fleet owners around the world. The need for the latest smart marine technologies has been seen for some time already in deep sea shipping, and this project is evidence that the need also exists in short sea transportation,” Paul Kohle, Director, Sales & Sales Support, Asset Management Services, Wärtsilä Marine, said.
“Wärtsilä is responding to these developments with its Smart Marine Ecosystem approach, which through the use of high levels of digitalisation and connectivity, is creating greater efficiencies, increased safety, and more sustainable solutions,” Kohle added.
The company’s hybrid solutions are based on a ‘first-of-its-kind’ fully integrated hybrid power module which combines engines, an energy storage system using batteries, and power electronics optimized to work together through a newly developed energy management system (EMS).
•             World Maritime News
Solstad Offshore lands new vessel deals
Norwegian offshore vessel owner Solstad Offshore has entered into contracts for three of its large platform supply vessels (PSVs) and an anchor handler.
Solstad said on Friday that the 2014-built Normand Service (ex. Sea Spider) or sister vessel had been contracted to GeoSea for a period of 180 days firm plus up to seven months of options.  The vessel will support wind farm installation operations at the Moray Firth Eastern Development. The contract starts in the second quarter of 2019.
Furthermore, two 2014-built PSVs, Sea Spear and Sea Supra, have been fixed to an undisclosed client for three months firm each, plus options, with beginning in 2Q 2019.  The Sea Spear has been contracted to Saipem in the Mediterranean with the beginning set for February 2019 for a period of 45 days firm plus options.
In addition, Solstad has entered into a new contract for the 2009-built AHTS Far Sagaris with Queiroz Galvão Exploração e Produção S.A (QGEP) in Brazil. This new charter contract is firm for 95 days with 180 days option, starting in February 2019 and it is in direct continuation with current charter of Far Sagaris.
As previously announced, AHTS Normand Pioneer has replaced Far Sagaris at its previous charter contract with QGEP, that is firm up to 1Q 2021.  Far Sagaris will keep supporting production activities at the Atlanta Field in Santos Basin.
Solstad said that the latest awards contribute positively to its fleet contract backlog at rates that reflect a gradually improving market.
•             Offshore Energy Today
Blockchain – The case for digitalising shipping
As blockchain technology (of cryptocurrency fame) develops, it has gained its fair share of supporters and detractors, but despite this, it is quickly being adopted by the marine industry because of its proven ability to optimise costs.
“Shipping is a slow and age-old industry still conducted in large part by phone and email. Possibly the last true disruption to the industry was containerisation,” says Daniel Wilson, Director of Business Development at TradeLens. And he should definitely know. After all, TradeLens was launched in January 2018 by A.P. Moller – Maersk and IBM to apply blockchain to the global supply chain.
The TradeLens ‘ecosystem’ currently includes more than 40 port and terminal operators across the globe, as well as customs authorities, brokers, cargo owners, freight forwarders, transportation and logistics companies, and others. The TradeLens platform empowers multiple trading partners to collaborate on a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality. Think of it as cloud-based shipping where every transaction is sealed and stamped electronically.
The next big revolution in shipping?
During a 12-month trial, Maersk and IBM applied blockchain to the shipping industry and found that the transit time of a shipment of packaging materials to a production line in the United States could be reduced by 40%, avoiding thousands of dollars in cost.
“We believe blockchain can play an important role in digitising global shipping, an area of the global economy that moves many trillion dollars of goods every year. However, success with the technology rests on bringing the entire ecosystem together around a common approach that benefits all participants equally with an open and neutral system,” continues Wilson.
The ramifications are huge and some see it as a revolution akin to when container shipping replaced stevedores and sacks of rice.
So how does it work? Instead of keeping sensitive and often proprietary ledger records or asset registries in one place, on a computer in one warehouse for example, or in an office somewhere else only to be emailed back and forth, blockchain systems offer a tamper-proof way of exchanging data (or time-stamped blocks, as they are called) because of the simple fact that they are never just located in one place. The information that can be held on a blockchain – money, information, a contract, a bill of lading – exists as a shared and secured decentralised and encrypted public ledger. It is inherently resistant to modification and is thus easily verifiable.
“The application of blockchain technology in the shipping industry has the potential to cut administrative and operational risks for shipowners, charterers and brokers,” says Michael Saava, a partner on the shipping team at law firm Watson Farley & Williams in Dubai, and co-author of an important paper on the subject.
The case for blockchain
By digitising the paper trail of international shipping – signed and stamped cargo and freight documents involving hundreds pages that need to be physically delivered to dozens of different agencies, banks, customs bureaus and other entities – the blockchain could save, and make billions by increasing time to market for products, cut trade barriers and thereby create jobs.
“The expectation is that blockchain technology will create a platform not anchored down by endless paperwork and complex transactions but instead be fully digital thus enabling more fluid freight movement and reduced costs and resource waste,” continues Saava in Dubai.
But unless the whole world can agree on one open blockchain standard, not unlike today’s email, GPS or GSM mobile communications standards, detractors see a situation where a few global players will retain their own ‘siloed’ and proprietary way of working. This benefits no one.
“How all this will be achieved remains to be seen,” admits TradeLens’ Wilson. “But we are growing at a rapid clip.”
The hope of course, as with other important world standards, is that companies, governments, authorities, and other interested parties will be able to agree on a common and basic standard that works with existing systems, and then apply monetisable applications on top of it all.
Wärtsilä, for its part, is closely monitoring all these developments and is actively participating in accelerator programs with start-up companies on all fronts of the maritime sector. The new maritime business accelerator programme formed in Turku, Finland in August 2018, is a case in point. It brought together innovative start-ups and maritime industry companies like Wärtsilä, Royal Caribbean, and others to find new growth companies for partnerships.
With more stakeholders coming together in this manner, a future where growth is enabled by blockchain isn’t that far off the horizon.
Unblocking Blockchain
While many industry players have been trying to come up with a blockchain solution to help strengthen industry collaboration, the idea of a truly open platform where all could collaborate without any inhibition still needs some work.
In November last year, five shipping lines and four terminal operators had announced a consortium to develop a blockchain platform to digitise the industry and transform documentation flows.
Christened the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), the collaboration consists of the Ocean Alliance members CMA CGM, Cosco/OOCL and Evergreen, Yang Ming, DP World, Hutchison Ports, PSA and Shanghai International Port. The tech company is CargoSmart.
GSBN will allow shippers to digitise and automate the documentation and processes around ‘dangerous goods’, a category of goods classed as hazardous and which is subject to a range of regulatory schemes. However, the ultimate aim is to “facilitate the seamless sharing of documents and data across all stages of the shipping lifecycle,” CMA CGM said in a statement.
GSBN drew obvious comparisons with its competitor platform TradeLens, a joint effort between Maersk and IBM, which was launched in January 2018 and since then has been criticised for alienating much-needed potential partners because of Maersk’s heavy involvement.
TradeLens allows trading partners to collaborate by establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising confidentiality. Shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities can all have real-time access to shipping data and shipping documents.
The new alliance also raised similar questions within the industry. For instance, how will private data be handled? What processes will be covered in the platform? Will it be open to other services? Will it have vendor lock-in by default, or will it enable companies to take out private data and process it in their own way?
However, the new question is: will these new endeavours also trigger a competition within the industry as companies compete for adoption?
Industry experts point out that a major drawback is that these initiatives, which aim to provide an industry platform, are controlled by a small group.
In an ideal world, the industry would benefit the most if all were interconnected without having to make a choice between platforms and offer smooth collaboration.
“Smart technology allows a much broader and horizontal approach to be taken across the industry, replacing the vertical view traditionally followed today. This means soon enough we will see a different approach to collaboration, competition, security, safety, and technology,” explains Marco Ryan, Wärtsilä’s Chief Digital Officer and Executive Vice President.
Wärtsilä has always been at the forefront of cross-collaboration within the industry. In November 2017, Wärtsilä had announced its vision for a Smart Marine Ecosystem. More recently, in this year’s SMM held in Hamburg, the company unveiled ‘An Oceanic Awakening’ – a global initiative focused on the radical transformation of the world’s marine and energy industry into one supremely efficient, ecologically sound and digitally connected ecosystem.
Source: Wärtsilä
•             Hellenic Shipping News
Brexit: Theresa May and Leo Varadkar to meet in Dublin
Theresa May will travel to Dublin later to discuss the Brexit negotiations' main sticking point with her Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.  The PM is seeking legally binding changes to the backstop - the plan to avoid the return of Irish border checks should no UK-EU trade deal be in place.  
Both Mr Varadkar and the EU have repeatedly rejected calls for changes.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC he believed there was now a Commons majority for Labour's plan.  The party is seeking a permanent UK-wide customs union with the European Union after Brexit, which would allow the UK "a say" in future trade deals.  
"The prime minister has to accept that the only way she will get something through Parliament is a compromise like this," he said.  "We believe that this is a deal that could fly within Parliament."
Meanwhile, a former civil service chief has called for delays to the withdrawal process to avoid a "blindfold Brexit".
In a report published by the People's Vote campaign for a further EU referendum, Lord Kerslake said the UK was not ready to leave.  "Britain is divided, directionless and hurtling towards a legal deadline, with no idea where we will end up after we cross it," said the peer, who is now a Labour adviser.  The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March.
However, Mrs May is still attempting to negotiate changes to the withdrawal agreement she struck with the EU last year but which has since been rejected by MPs.  After meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, she said she had "set out very clearly the position from Parliament that we must have legally binding changes to the withdrawal agreement" to deal with MPs' concerns about the backstop.  The backstop is an "insurance policy" designed to avoid the return of customs checkpoints at the Irish border after Brexit, which many fear could threaten the peace process.
But many MPs object to the arrangement, which they say could leave the UK "trapped" under EU rules indefinitely.  Mr Varadkar will travel to Belfast for talks with Northern Ireland's five main political parties before returning to Dublin to meet Mrs May over dinner.
BBC Ireland correspondent Chris Page said: "Ireland has consistently said it won't negotiate directly with Britain because this can be done only by the EU, so it's describing the meeting today as discussions, not negotiations."
Ahead of the meeting, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will hold talks in the Irish capital with his Irish counterpart, Seamus Woulfe.  Mr Cox has been leading work within Whitehall on providing either a time limit on the backstop or giving the UK an exit mechanism from it.  Dublin has insisted the backstop cannot be time-limited if it is to prove effective.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has said ministers are looking "with interest" at a letter from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn setting out the terms on which he would offer his party's backing for Mrs May's deal.
A senior No 10 source said the government was "looking at those proposals but there are obviously very considerable points of difference that exist between us.  "The PM continues to believe an independent trade policy is one of the key advantages of Brexit."
The Labour leader's five demands include a "permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union" aligned with the EU's customs rules but with an agreement "that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals".  Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has described the latter point as "wishful thinking" but said he would meet Labour's Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer.
And while Mr Corbyn's Brexit stance has angered Labour members of the People's Vote campaign, other backbenchers said it opened the possibility of a closer relationship with the EU than Mrs May was currently proposing.  Wrexham MP Ian Lucas told BBC Newsnight this would be favoured by British manufacturers.
"There's a natural majority in the House of Commons for a 'soft' Brexit but the prime minister to date has refused to put that natural majority together. What Jeremy has done today is write a letter which could make that happen," he said.
•             BBC News
Headlines Wednesday 6th February 2019
ExxonMobil & Qatar Petroleum Move Forward with USD 10 Bn Golden Pass LNG Project
Oil and gas major ExxonMobil and partner Qatar Petroleum have made a final investment decision to proceed with development of the Golden Pass LNG export project located in Sabine Pass, Texas.  The companies said that the construction would begin in the first quarter of 2019 and that the facility was expected to start up in 2024.
The USD 10+ billion liquefaction project will have capacity to produce around 16 million tons of LNG per year.  Golden Pass awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the project to a joint venture of Chiyoda International Corporation, McDermott International Inc. and Zachry Group.
The project will include three liquefaction trains, each approximately 5.2 million tons per year, as well as other associated utility systems, interconnections to the existing facility and the expansion of the facility’s storm protection levee system.  It will utilize the existing infrastructure including five 155,000 m3 LNG storage tanks, two marine berths to accommodate the largest LNG carriers, and the existing 69-mile Golden Pass Pipeline system with access to U.S. markets.  Golden Pass is part of ExxonMobil’s plans to invest over USD 50 billion over the next five years to build and expand manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
Working interests in the Golden Pass LNG export project are 70 percent Qatar Petroleum and 30 percent ExxonMobil.
•           World Maritime News
Sonardyne Wins £1 Mln Order from Unique Group
Integrated subsea and offshore solutions provider Unique Group is bringing the advantages of Sonardyne International Ltd.’s new Fusion 2 and 6+ underwater survey and positioning technologies to its global customer base following orders worth in excess of £1 million.  Unique Group’s orders, announced Tuesday on the opening day of Subsea Expo, in Aberdeen, will see multiple copies of Sonardyne’s Fusion 2 Long BaseLine (LBL) and INS operating platform and a large number of the latest Compatt 6+ seabed transponders and ROVNav 6+ vehicle-mounted transceivers distributed across Unique’s key operational bases.
With Fusion 2, Unique Group’s customers will have access to a single software environment in which their surveyors can perform all of their LBL, SPRINT INS and INS aided LBL operations. The software includes the ability to seamlessly switch between modes, as required, and remote access for onshore teams. Together with Sonardyne’s latest 6+ in-water hardware and new Wideband 3 signal protocol, Fusion 2 will speed up projects, through faster combined telemetry and range updates, and enable real-time INS-aided LBL SLAM operations, all with less equipment and fewer interfaces.
Unique Group has also ordered Sonardyne’s GyroCompatt 6 positioning transponders, which offer operators real-time positioning and motion data from one small, versatile and robust instrument.
Speaking at Subsea Expo, Edd Moller, Global Business Manager – Construction Survey, said, “Launched in November, Fusion 2 is our fastest, most capable survey and construction software system yet, with simple set up, easy to use workflows and an intuitive and flexible user interface. With this significant order for Fusion 2 and our Compatt 6+ and ROVNav 6+ hardware, Unique is demonstrating its confidence as an early adopter in our software and hardware systems. We are equally confident Unique’s customers will see the benefits of both.”
Andy Doggett, Group Director – Survey Division, at Unique Group, said, “Fusion 2 will enable our customers to reduce their vessel hardware requirements and interfaces; they will have less equipment to mobilise, which, in turn, will work better for them. With a single time-saving solution that is able to seamlessly switch between full LBL, INS and INS-aided operations at different phases of a project, their operational procedures will also be much simpler.”
•           OE Digital
Shearwater GeoServices awarded four North Sea seismic contracts
Shearwater GeoServices, the Norwegian seismic JV between GC Rieber and Rasmussengruppen, has been awarded four ocean bottom seismic (OBS) surveys in the North Sea.  Aker BP has awarded Shearwater a multi-year OBS contract, with the initial three surveys to be conducted at the Frosk, Ivar Aasen and Valhall fields. The first survey is scheduled to commence in the second quarter of this year, and the three surveys are estimated to take around four months.
Equinor has awarded the company an OBS survey at Gullfaks field in Norway, with work commencing in the third quarter of 2019 and estimated to take one month.  Irene Waage Basili, the CEO of Shearwater GeoServices, commented: “We are excited to be chosen by two major petroleum exploration and production (E&P) companies to execute these surveys and leverage our proprietary OBS acquisition system, state-of-the-art vessels and experienced crews.
“These awards secure backlog for the full North Sea summer season for two of our OBS vessel platforms and cementing our strong position in the OBS market. We are pleased to see strategically important customers acknowledge this position by awarding additional projects for follow-on seasons.”
Two vessels will be used for the contracts, multi-purpose vessels WG Tasman and WG Cook.
•           Splash 247
EU implodes into Brexit BLAME GAME: Theresa May leaves bloc staring at no-deal 'ABYSS'
BREXIT blame games have begun in Brussels as Britain appears to hurtling towards a no-deal divorce and now EU diplomats and officials are moving to ensure Theresa May looks liable for any chaos.  
Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29 as Article 50, the exit clause that enabled Brexit, expires two years after it was triggered. But Mrs May is no closer to securing a divorce deal as she struggles to convince MPs in Westminster, leaving EU countries scrambling to prepare for the inventible chaos of a no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister faces a battle between hardline Brexiteers within the Conservative party and a growing cross-party group of Remainers preventing the ratification of the draft EU withdrawal deal, which was agreed by Mrs May and EU leaders at a special Brussels summit in November last year.   After making promises to renegotiate the controversial Irish backstop, the insurance mechanism to prevent a hard border, fears have engulfed Brussels that the Prime Minister has adopted a Doomsday strategy – essentially playing chicken with rebel MPs.  An EU official said: “My analysis is that we are really heading for the abyss.”  On a potential extension of Article 50, they added: “We may extend to June. But it is coming. The risk of no-deal is huge.”
The European Commission has been deliberately tough on Britain with its no-deal preparations, which have been organised by Martin Selmayr, the executive’s secretary-general.  The German-born eurocrat, who is nicknamed the “monster” because of his uncompromising style, insisted any no-deal agreements should no replicate membership in a bid to deter Britain from pursuing a so-called “mini-deals” divorce.
A senior EU official, who is working on the bloc's no-deal preparations, said: "Our plans cannot replicate the withdrawal agreement and are only there to help mitigate the most disruptive effects on EU27 stakeholders."
Ahead of Mrs May's crunch trip to Brussels, member state diplomats have expressed concern that nothing substantial will be achieved.
Hinting that the Prime Minister's travel plans are just for show, one diplomat said: "It's for domestic consumption."
Another suggested that the "gruelling" call last week between Mrs May and Donald Tusk, the European Council president, signalled a new low in Brexit negotiations when the Prime Minister suggested the EU come forward with fresh ideas to save her deal.  Mr Tusk said it was down to Britain to reveal what needs to be done in order to win a majority in the House of Commons for the deal.
There is a growing desire in Brussels for Mrs May to finally take full "ownership" of her deal. Diplomats are concerned that the Prime Minister was all too happy to rip up nearly two years of negotiating when coming out of support of the amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbench MPs.  The proposal offered the Government a mandate to return to Brussels for further talks to replace the backstop with "alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border".
One EU diplomat said: "The deal is crafted around May's red lines, we couldn't have done anything more for her and now she wants to rip it up!"
•           Express
Headlines Tuesday 5th February 2019
i-Tech increases Houston workforce following Gulf of Mexico contracts
i-Tech Services, a Subsea 7 company, has hired 13 new people in Houston following the award of several new contracts in the Gulf of Mexico during last year.  i-Tech said on Monday that, in order to meet client demand for its range of life-of-field services, the Gulf of Mexico team grew by more than 25%.  Recent contracts included vessel charter renewals and the provision of custom engineering solutions for subsea flow assurance and inspection, repair, and maintenance (IRM) workscopes.
Edward Galloway, regional director for the Gulf of Mexico at i-Tech Services, said: “Despite the challenging market conditions, we enjoyed a really successful year in 2018 and expect to build on this success based on our growing capabilities and strong track record in the region.  “Key to winning these awards was i-Tech Services’ ability to provide clients with a complete turnkey solution that protects the integrity and optimizes the performance of subsea infrastructure throughout the life of a field.
“To position ourselves for the future and help manage the increasing demand for our services, we have invested in growing the team and the development of new technology solutions to ensure we remain the go-to provider for all our clients’ life of field challenges.”
  • OffshoreEnergyToday
Swansea tidal lagoon plan revived – without government funding
The backers of a pioneering project to harness energy from the tides off the Welsh coast have rebooted the scheme and believe they can build it without the help of government.  With the recent failure of two major nuclear projects, attention has turned to alternatives to fill the low-carbon power gap, with developers of windfarms and small nuclear plants among those vying for government support.
Now the firm behind the proposed Swansea tidal lagoon, for which ministers rejected subsidies last year on the grounds it was too costly, has said it believes the project can work without government money and be built within six years.  Swansea-based Tidal Power plc said several major companies were interested in buying the low-carbon electricity generated by the tide flowing through turbines in a concrete wall along Swansea bay.
Property company Land Securities, Cardiff airport and developer Berkeley Group are among those to have expressed an interest in signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the lagoon.  Such PPA deals are typically used by big energy users as a way of hedging against future power price rises, or burnishing green credentials by buying from renewable sources. A record 13.4 gigawatts of clean energy contracts were signed last year, according to BloombergNEF.  The lagoon’s backers also believe its prospects will be boosted by adding floating solar panels to the lagoon, ramping up the amount of electricity it generates. UK water companies have already used floating solar power on reservoirs in Manchester, near Heathrow and elsewhere.
The addition of solar should increase the Swansea lagoon’s annual energy output by more than a third, up from 572 gigawatt hours, enough to power about 150,000 homes, to about 770GWh.
Chris Nutt, the business development manager at Tidal Power, said: “It is becoming widely understood that there is a huge hole left in our long-term energy demands and after the latest cancellation of expected new nuclear capacity our choices if anything have become simpler – saturate the UK coastline with offshore wind or invest in groundbreaking solutions like Swansea Bay.”
The company is sounding out big energy users, including leading brands in the professional services, telecoms, media, manufacturing, services and utilities sectors.
Mark Bailey, the director of planning and development at Cardiff airport, said: “The tidal lagoon project … could be a game changer for the Welsh economy.”
The plan is to secure enough signed PPAs by the end of the year to enable a final investment decision in early 2020, with construction starting shortly afterwards. If that timetable were met, the project would be generating power in 2024 or 2025.
Going ahead without subsidies would be a rarity for a new power station in the UK, almost all of which rely on some form of government contract or subsidy before being greenlit.  Advocates of the project have said the predictability of the tides could be useful as nuclear falters and variable sources such as solar and wind power grow. But government has been sceptical.
The business secretary, Greg Clark, told parliament recently: “No one is more enthusiastic than I about innovation and new technologies, but the truth is that the costs of the proposed [Swansea] project were three times that of Hinkley Point C, and a full programme [of several lagoons] would make a tiny contribution to our energy supply for a much greater cost.”
  • The Guardian
Seismic Uptick Suggests New Wave of Recovery
Amid mixed reports on the health of the offshore supply chain, the underreported seismic services segment — a bellwether of eventual market growth or decline — is showing signs that another wave of market recovery is just a year away.  Oslo-based analysts and their reports single out companies like Seabird Exploration, PGS and Polarcus as worthy of investment because their survey work is being ordered or looked-at anew by offshore energy companies flush with new acreage. Some, like Equinor and Aker BP, have squirreled away cash in the long wait for rig and other rates to drop.
“Typically, we see the seismic space is first to respond to an upswing owing to their library and multi-client offering that responds quickly to changes in oil-company base spending,” says Danske Bank offshore analyst, Joergen Langli.  He confirms the new front-end engineering and design work, or FEED, being awarded of late is “an early indication of value coming back to the market”, but adds that new orders on larger, greenfield projects that’ll be sanctioned in 2019 won’t help build contract backlogs until 2021. The resulting engineering work looks like it will also lag by a year the seismic being ordered now or examined for 2019 and 2020 drilling campaigns.
Though arguably hardest hit by the downturn of 2014, seismic outfits might now be recovering the fastest. Their stacked survey vessels at quayside, however, will likely not be hired for at least another year, or not until oil companies begin maturing remote acreage.  Arctic licenses recently awarded in Norway might not see seismic for at least a year, as oil companies work-up acreage in core North Sea areas. A record amount of “recycled” acreage in mature areas — some 82 licenses — were only just awarded companies in Norway, as Oslo set sights on production sooner rather than later.
“I would say that arctic exploration is hot when oil companies can afford the exploration scope that that region will require,” says Langli. He confirms oil companies have for the past couple of years busied themselves by sizing up acreage close to export infrastructure.
Focus on profit
It isn’t just the North Sea rim that’s bolstering interest in seismic, and several survey outfits report strengthening global revenue forecasts for 2019 after a strong finish to 2018. PGS, for one, noted record high “late” sales of MultiClient (or group sales) to oil companies at year-end, just as it reported increasing cash flow and better market fundamentals.
Years of wild growth across the segment are now seen yielding to a focus on profit. One Norwegian newspaper quoted an analyst saying “a turning point” had been reached in seismic, as a range of data had turned in the segment’s favor.
While PGS is doing better, it’ll be some time before stacked survey vessels across the segment join the remote-areas exploration fray. “As late as 2016, the global seismic space included far too many vessels,” Langli admits.
“The size of the seismic fleet is returning to a point where rates are starting to pick slowly up. What we have seen is that they have reduced their vessel capacity with vessels still at quayside, they’ve laid-off and they’ve trimmed their organizations,” he says.
The global supply of vessels has roughly halved since 2015. Upwards of 40 percent of the workforce has been cut, Langli says, and companies have slimmed down from “several management layers to one for two”. Vessels, too, have been sold-off at a discount.  Danske Bank Markets, which has oil heading for 70 dollars in its scenario, sees industry-wide cash flow increasing further by year-end.
Better times
“After that, the greenfield and arctic pick-up, and that’s when the fun starts,” Langlis says. “The bottom line for the whole supply chain is we need to see more demand. We have looked at the different supply side on rigs, seismic and subsea, and we see that across all sectors, supply is just so high relative to 2014. You need to tighten the supply slack across the whole value-chain before you can see price traction across the segments,” he says.
Danske Bank Markets, meanwhile, sees E&P spending slowly increasing in 2019 over 2018 toward an overall nine percent for 2019 versus 2018.  “For some sub-segments, pre-2014 demand needs to be brought back” before the supply of seismic and other subsea services increases, he adds.
PGS, meanwhile, reported in January that its contract rates are up 35 percent over the 2018 average. It is also seeing a UK market “coming back to life with positive signs of capital investment returning” after a recent round of regulatory moves.