Headlines Friday 19th July 2019
 
Noble Corp. lands extensions for jack-ups working in UK and Saudi Arabia
 
Offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation has been awarded contract extensions for two jack-up rigs in the UK and Saudi Arabia. 
 
In its latest fleet status report released on Thursday, Noble Corp. said that Total had awarded a contract extension to the Noble Sam Hartley jack-up. The extension is from mid-July to mid-April 2020. The 2014-built rig has been working for Total in the UK since October 2018.
 
Furthermore, Saudi Aramco has awarded an extension to the Noble Joe Beall jack-up. This will keep the rig working in Saudi Arabia until late December 2019 with a dayrate of $65,000. The Noble Joe Beall has been working for Saudi Aramco since January 2016. The rig was built in 1981 and rebuilt in 2004.
 
In other news, the 2013-built drillship Noble Don Taylor is preparing at a shipyard in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for mobilization to Guyana where it will operate for ExxonMobil.
 
The 2014-built jack-up Noble Houston Colbert is at a shipyard in the UK preparing for a contract with an unnamed client, which is scheduled to start in early November 2019.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
British Ports Association to continue championing coastal shipping
 
The British Ports Association (BPA) is holding its annual Coastal Shipping Seminar later this summer to continue promoting opportunities for UK ports, shipping operators and cargo owners. In comparison with other transport modes, shipping is an efficient and environmentally sustainable option but often cargo owners are not always fully aware of coastal shipping transport options.
 
However by utilising the UK’s diverse network of ports, coastal shipping has the potential to ease congestion, overcome environmental pressures and haulage driver shortages and also improve connectivity between regions. Last year the BPA hosted its inaugural coastal shipping event which attracted a range of representatives from the bulk and container shipping sectors and a repeat one day event is now planned for Thursday 12 September in London.
 
Commenting on the importance of coastal shipping and moving freight within the UK by sea, as well as what will be discussed at the seminar, Sara Walsh, the BPA’s Corporate Services Manager said:
 
“We are aware of the importance of existing coastal shipping routes and possible new markets which would help to sustain trade between regions around the UK. As mentioned in the Department for Transport’s Port Connectivity Study, coastal shipping is a potentially underused domestic freight mode. Waterborne freight transport can also provide environmental benefits and can reduce road congestion as well, which could play a major role in helping the UK reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, which is particularly pertinent in the current policy climate.
 
We held our first coastal shipping event in November last year and look forward to continuing to provide a platform for individual ports to outline what they have been doing to develop their offer, and for shipping companies and freight operators to discuss their business needs and aims. There is growing interest in the sector, both from freight operators but also from policy makers, and what emerged last year is how vibrant the short sea dry bulks and container sectors are in and around the UK.​”
 
90% of the UK population lives within 30 miles of the coast, and no part of the UK is more than 70 miles from it. One of the recommendations of the Department for Transport’s 2017 Port Connectivity Study was for the DfT Maritime Modal Connectivity Team to work with industry to better understand the barriers, challenges and market opportunities of coastal shipping and inland waterways within the current freight landscape. Aside from liquid bulks, hinterland coastal shipping and container markets are on the rise.
  • Sea News
 
Public sector workers 'to get £2bn pay rise'
 
Two million public sector workers are reportedly set to get a £2bn pay rise. The Treasury will unveil the biggest public sector pay rise in six years as one of Theresa May's final acts as prime minister, the Times reported.
 
Soldiers are set to get a 2.9% rise while teachers and other school staff will get 2.75%, police officers, dentists and consultants 2.5% and senior civil servants 2%. The Treasury is expected to confirm the increases in an announcement on Monday. The government is expected to say the money will come from existing budgets, according to the paper.
 
The workers - mostly in England only - will receive salary raises above the level of inflation as a departure from the public sector pay restrictions brought in by the coalition government.
 
Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and after that rises were capped at 1% - below the rate of inflation. Theresa May continued the cap until last year when she announced austerity was coming to an end. 
 
The rises do not apply to other public sector staff, such as more junior civil servants and nurses, the Times added. Their pay is dealt with separately.
 
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, said the proposals were similar to pay rises implemented last year. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that many of the pay increases were "only just" above inflation - which is currently at 2% - and were still slower than average pay rises in the private sector.
 
Both public and private sector workers have seen their average pay rising more slowly than prices since 2010.
 
Mr Johnson said it would be "difficult" to make the argument that funding would come from existing budgets - and therefore it would mean cuts elsewhere. He said budgets for next year had not yet been set and he "would be surprised" if they do not increase.
 
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said if the money were to come from existing budgets, cuts would have to be made elsewhere to fund the above inflation aspect of the pay increases.
 
"That is a big challenge for Theresa May's successor," he said. "Will they say the age of austerity is finished and fully fund them? Or will they say cuts will be have to be made virtually as soon as they take office?"
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Thursday 18th July 2019
 
ShipChain, GTX Corp Partner Up on NFC Blockchain Shipment Tracking Solution
 
Blockchain-based solution provider ShipChain and GTX Corp, a tech firm offering GPS and NFC tracking location-based services, have announced a partnership for a new global NFC blockchain shipment tracking solution. Under the agreement, ShipChain will use GTX’s temperature enabled NFC smart tags to track temperature-sensitive shipments.
 
As explained, the tag requires no scanners, or wires, and records temperatures based on customer-defined intervals and durations. In addition, GTX offers other NFC products that ShipChain will utilize to optimize its Track and Trace Platform.
 
“ShipChain’s new partnership with GTX is another step toward reaching our goal: a transparent, unified, end-to-end logistics platform,” John Monarch, ShipChain CEO, commented.
 
“While developing our … NFC products…, we realized we needed to incorporate blockchain security in order to be an influencer in the shipment tracking and monitoring business. By collaborating and integrating our technologies with ShipChain, we will enhance our speed to market while providing a much needed comprehensive solution for the industry,” Patrick Bertagna, GTX Corp CEO, said.
 
The NFC tags provide real-time temperature sensing and data logging across the supply chain necessary with transportation of perishables; food, drinks, pharmaceuticals and other temperature sensitive products that can be negatively affected by conditions in transit. These built-in security measures can prevent the distribution of contaminated supplies in the marketplace and unauthorized modification of data logs, allowing brands, retailers, distributors, and freight forwarders to verify shipment quality.
 
The encrypted data collected from the tags will be uploaded to the ShipChain blockchain backend providing authentication and chain of custody. This new service will enable temperature-sensitive shipments to be efficiently monitored while in transit, with the potential to manage a range of new government regulatory requirements for perishable shipments.
 
Integration between ShipChain and GTX has already begun and a joint client will be announced once all details have been finalized, according to the duo. Additionally, ShipChain will begin offering GTX enabled services to all customers as part of the expanding partnership.
 
“We are seeing more and more demand for efficient, secure, and cost-effective supply chain management solutions and this partnership will deliver all of that plus the tools for data analysis to help reduce shipping costs, comply with regulatory requirements and provide brands the peace of mind that they are not delivering tainted products prior to retail consumption,” Theresa Gordon, GTX Corp NFC business leader, noted.
  • World Maritime News
 
Offshore Wind Needs Long-Term Risk Management Strategy – Gcube
 
Offshore wind industry must quickly respond to a changing global risk profile in order to avoid large-scale financial losses, GCube Insurance said. 
 
As the offshore wind sector expands globally, prices fall, and technology evolves, asset owners and investors are becoming increasingly exposed to technical and supply chain risks, alongside natural catastrophe and extreme weather, the renewable energy insurance services provider said. More sustainable approaches to risk management and insurance are required to ensure that this changing risk profile does not impact project delivery and successful long-term operations. 
 
GCube’s analysis of claims data gathered over the past twelve months from construction projects and operational offshore wind farms highlights several key trends that must be carefully managed in order to ensure project success. This includes a number of costly inter-array cable faults caused by malfunction of fibre optics designed to monitor cable performance. Cabling losses account for 55% of total claims handled by GCube in the past 12 months.
 
The analysis has also revealed a rise in the frequency and severity of claims relating to foundations – particularly monopiles installed at deepwater sites. Foundation-related losses now account for 35% of total claims. When it comes to the floating wind, significant mechanical breakdown losses incurred at all but one of the floating wind installations currently in operation worldwide, GCube Insurance said. 
 
Looking beyond Europe, increased exposure to natural catastrophe in the Taiwanese and US offshore wind markets as well as losses involving extreme weather events that cause significant project damage but do not fall under conventional definitions of natural catastrophe. And lastly, ongoing issues related to contractor error as the industry drives to reduce the levelized cost of energy in established markets, putting pressure on the supply chain, and begins to work with inexperienced local teams in emerging markets. Human error is involved in 70% of total claims over the past 12 months.
 
“Many of these claims trends could be marked down as ‘growing pains’ linked to global expansion and a drive for cost parity with conventional energy. However, if they are not properly managed, they will put these goals at risk,” said Jatin Sharma, President, GCube Insurance Services.
 
“If the industry continues to squeeze the supply chain, while at the same time commercialising new technologies in new global markets, it will become increasingly vulnerable to large-scale financial losses that dent investor confidence and put projects at risk. A long-term, responsible outlook is required – both from offshore wind asset developers and owners, and from insurance providers – to ensure that lessons are learnt quickly, and take into account the changing risk profile of construction and operation.”
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
EU is 'unimpressed' by threats of no-deal Brexit – BBC
 
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said in an interview to be published on Thursday that he was unimpressed by threats of no-deal Brexit but that if the United Kingdom opted for such a course it would have to face the consequences. Asked by the BBC what would happen if London tore up its EU membership card, Michel Barnier said: “The UK will have to face the consequences.”
 
“I think that the UK side, which is well informed and competent and knows the way we work on the EU side, knew from the very beginning that we’ve never been impressed by such a threat,” Barnier said. “It’s not useful to use it”.
 
Barnier spoke to the BBC before Britain’s Conservative Party leadership contest. Boris Johnson, who is the frontrunner in the contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, has pledged to leave the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31.
 
If Johnson wins, the three-year Brexit crisis could deepen as the EU has refused to countenance changing the Withdrawal Agreement and the British parliament could try to block a no-deal Brexit. Barnier said the Withdrawal Agreement “is the only way to leave the EU in an orderly manner”.
 
EU Commission’s first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, told the BBC that UK ministers were “running around like idiots” when they arrived to negotiate Brexit in 2017. Timmermans said he was shocked by the standard of the British negotiation after initially expecting a brilliant show.
 
“We thought they are so brilliant,” he said. “That in some vault somewhere in Westminster there will be a Harry Potter-like book with all the tricks and all the things in it to do.”
 
But then: “I thought, ‘Oh my God, they haven’t got a plan, they haven’t got a plan.' Time’s running out and you don’t have a plan. It’s like Lance Corporal Jones, you know, ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic!’ Running around like idiots.”
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Wednesday 17th July 2019
 
Offshore wind auction could raise millions for Queen
 
The Queen’s property managers will this week set out terms for the world’s biggest offshore wind auction in a decade. Industry experts expect the complex bidding process to raise record sums, which could increase energy bills and hand a windfall to the crown – potentially generating more than £100m a year in royalties for the Queen. 
 
The Crown Estate, which manages the monarch’s property portfolio, holds exclusive rights to lease the seabed around the British Isles for wind and wave power. Its profits go to the Treasury, which then sends 25% back to the royal household in the form of the sovereign grant. Criticised as a cash grab by some energy companies, the auction has already prompted calls for a review of whether the Queen should have the right to claim any revenues from offshore wind.
 
“If this source of value is going to increase fourfold, let’s make sure that value stays with the public rather than being spent on redoing the royal palace,” said Molly Scott Cato, the finance spokesperson for the Green party.
 
The sovereign grant was increased two years ago, from its previous level of 15%, in order to pay for extensive renovations at Buckingham Palace. It is to stay at 25% for a 10-year period, meaning the royal household should benefit directly from the money raised from the new leases.
 
Forecasts predict that offshore wind will be the UK’s fastest growing source of electricity in the decades to come. The Queen’s seabeds generate 8% of the country’s electricity generation, but that could increase to a third by 2030 under government targets. A more ambitious target of almost 80% from offshore wind by 2050 has been proposed by the Committee on Climate Change.
 
The cost of building turbines has plummeted, and pension funds, oil and infrastructure multinationals are now jostling for a share of the market.
 
The Crown Estate charges royalties equal to 2% of revenues for use of its seabeds, and collected £41m from existing leases last year. With many more plots already leased and under construction, these amounts will balloon. The Crown Estate does not make its forecasts public. However, if the government’s 2030 target is met, the Queen could be collecting more than £100m a year within a decade.
 
Hornsea One, the largest planned offshore facility in the world, will be a large contributor to crown coffers. When it comes fully onstream in 2021, at a cost of £500m a year to electricity bill payers, the crown will receive £10m a year. Offshore wind is paid for as a percentage of household bills. At present, 3p in every pound of a dual-fuel energy bill goes to turbine operators, on top of the money they earn from the wholesale electricity market. The crown then takes 2% of operator’s total revenues in royalties.
 
This year’s sale, the fourth held by the crown, marks a step change in how the royal seabeds are monetised. For the first time, renewable energy companies will be asked to submit an upfront payment to win a licence.
 
Five UK concessions are being auctioned: Dogger Bank, Southern North Sea, East Anglia, North Wales and Irish Sea. Between them, they represent 7 gigawatts of capacity. Each lease will run for 60 years. After a selection process to identify the best proposals, shortlisted projects will be invited to make bids. The winners will be those offering the highest upfront payment.
 
Wrangles with bidders over the terms have already delayed the tender, which was originally due to take place this spring. Final details will be revealed in a presentation to industry on Thursday. The draft format, which is likely to be tweaked, is for an “option fee” that only reduces once the wind farms are up and running. This would be on top of the annual royalty. Winning bids would also have to make a payment equal to 10% of the option fee every year in “rent” while the facility is being built.
 
Renewable energy developers have warned that the lack of transparency could lead to a “runaway” auction, which would ultimately raise costs of energy bills.
 
One industry source said the new option payments would be factored into the overall costs of the project. This would be passed on to bill payers via the annual payment the developers of renewables receive for supplying the grid. These payments are determined by a separate subsidy auction, organised by the government. Because the option fee would inflate the subsidy, it would also lead to more money being collected under the crown’s 2% royalty charge.
  • The Guardian
 
McDermott Bags FEED Contract for Sohar LNG Bunkering Project
 
US-based McDermott International has received a contract to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services for the Sohar LNG Bunkering Project in Oman. The project has an aim of establishing Oman as a regional LNG bunkering hub capable of supplying LNG as a fuel to marine vessels.
 
Under the deal, awarded by Total Oman E&P Development B.V. in partnership with Oman Oil Company S.O.A.C., the scope of work during the FEED phase includes fully defining the onshore mid-scale LNG facilities and preparing a competitive tender for the engineering, procurement, supply, construction and commissioning phase.
 
The global LNG bunkering market is entering a rapid growth period driven largely by the International Maritime Organization’s legislation to significantly limit sulphur emissions.
 
Work on the project will begin immediately and the contract award will be reflected in McDermott’s second quarter 2019 backlog.
  • World Maritime News
 
More than 60 British lords criticise Corbyn over anti-Semitism
 
More than 60 opposition Labour members of Britain’s upper house of parliament signed a statement in a newspaper on Wednesday accusing leader Jeremy Corbyn of failing “the test of leadership” over anti-Semitism in the party. Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights and critic of the Israeli government, has long been dogged by charges he has allowed a culture of anti-Semitism to thrive in Britain’s main opposition party - something he denies.
 
Eight lawmakers left the party earlier this year over anti-Semitism and Corbyn’s position on Brexit, which has also angered many members who want Labour to adopt an unequivocal pro-European Union position.
 
The statement in the Guardian newspaper, signed by several former ministers when Labour was in power from 1997 to 2010, has a stark message: “The Labour Party welcomes everyone* irrespective of race, creed, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. (*except, it seems, Jews).”
 
“You have failed to defend our party’s anti-racist values. You have therefore failed the test of leadership.”
 
The statement, signed by about a third of Labour members in the House of Lords including former ministers such as Peter Mandelson, challenged whether the party could ever win a national election “if we can’t get our own house in order”.
 
Last week, a BBC programme reported that Corbyn’s office had interfered in the independent party discipline processes aimed at rooting out anti-Semitism, a charge rejected by the party.
 
A Labour spokesman said the party stood “in solidarity with Jewish people and are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community” and speeding up its procedures to deal with anti-Semitism cases.
 
“Regardless of false and misleading claims about the party by those hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s politics, Labour is taking decisive action against anti-Semitism,” he said.
 
Corbyn has made clear through the media that anti-Semitism had no place in the party, it said.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Tuesday 16th July 2019
 
Bureau Veritas Joins International Windship Association
 
Classification society Bureau Veritas has joined the International Windship Association (IWSA) to help further the development of primary renewable solutions.
 
“A key focus area for BV is supporting safety and new technology including wind powered or wind assisted shipping. We are looking forward to working with the BV team in supporting the development of the growing technology segment,” IWSA said.
 
BV’s membership comes amid the shipping industry’s search for low carbon and zero emissions technologies that would deliver on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) initial strategy of reducing emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 
 
The classification society would bring “a wealth of experience” to IWSA and fits well with the association’s longer term development approach, with the establishment of regional wind propulsion ‘centers of excellence’ or ‘hubs’ around the world. IWSA, the not-for-profit organization, has for the last 5 years been bringing together wind propulsion projects, research organisations and projects and promoting the wind as a credible, viable and increasingly economic option for commercial vessels.
 
This pace of development in wind propulsion is slated to continue, with an EU commissioned report on the wind propulsion market in 2017 predicting up to over 10,000 wind propulsion installations by 2030.
  • World Maritime News
 
Will ships without sailors be the future of trade?
 
On 7 May, customs officers in Ostend, Belgium, received a box of oysters from the UK. The molluscs had been caught in Essex and transported to Belgium on a 12m (39ft) aluminium-hulled vessel, which traversed the English Channel with no humans on board. It was the world's first unmanned commercial shipping operation.
 
The crewless boat was carefully watched by four people in a control centre in Tollersbury, Essex, headquarters of Hushcraft, the company behind the design and development of the craft. UK and Belgian coastguards also monitored the oysters' progress.
 
"You could actually listen to the waves hitting the boat," says Ben Simpson, Hushcraft's managing director.
 
It boasts a hybrid diesel engine, electrical generators, satellite links, CCTV and thermal cameras, an automatic identification system to warn approaching vessels of its position and more.
 
The boat was made by SeaKIT, and the same vessel helped an international team of hydrographers, funded by the Japanese non-profit Nippon Foundation, win the $4m (£3.2m) Shell Ocean Discovery Xprize for advances in autonomously mapping the oceans. Now Hushcraft wants SeaKIT to be used for transporting cargo, hence mounting the 5kg box of oysters - a local delicacy - on to the vessel and sending it to Ostend. But is there a market for it?
 
"The benefits are many," says Mr Simpson. "You can send them around the world to do different jobs at a significantly reduced cost. Then, you don't have to have a galley, you don't have to have toilets. You can utilise space."
 
They are better for the environment as they can be electrically propelled, and since they can use smaller ports they can replace road transport and cut even more fumes, he says.
 
For Lawrence Brennan, a retired US navy captain and adjunct professor of admiralty and maritime law at Fordham University School of Law, all these virtues of uncrewed cargo ships come with certain caveats.
 
Ships with no sailors mean no risk to human life from fires or other hazards at sea. No-one needs to recruit staff, pay them, keep them trained or guard against unlicensed crew. The boats can go anywhere. But, in Prof Brennan's view, the first Achilles heel of unmanned shipping might be the very technology that created it.
 
A failure in communications between vessel and base will render it a ghost ship, hopelessly drifting without a soul on board, a hazard to its owners, the owners of its cargo, and the environment, he argues.
 
"Unmanned ships may be stopped by pirates by disabling shots or damaging the ship's propeller and rudder," Prof Brennan continues.
 
Karolina Zwolak, head of the Navigation Section at the Institute of Navigation and Marine Hydrography of the Polish Naval Academy, contributed to the success of the oysters' voyage. Part of her job was collision avoidance. Dr Zwolak is already working on the SeaKIT international team's next ambitious endeavour, which will be to sail across the Atlantic next year, but is aware of the technology's limitations.
 
"When unexpected situations occur on board, human creativity, experience, and non-schematic thinking can solve the problem," she says. So she does not see a revolution in the shipping industry in the near future. 
 
"I just believe more and more tasks will be delegated on shore, using communication technology," she says.
 
For his part, Mr Simpson, who believes crewless short-sea transportation might not be a rarity in five years from now, says that problems such as the risk of piracy plague both manned and unmanned vessels. He also thinks it is not economically sound to lay people off.
 
"Unmanned ships need to be built, maintained, and controlled. The people that would have been on the bridge of a manned vessel are now in the office," he maintains, adding that a lot of training will be involved in the transition.
 
The other obstacle is the law. "The legal regime is decades, if not a century-and-a-half out of date," says Prof Brennan. "As unmanned ships were never contemplated until recently, legislation says manning is essential for having a ship that is seaworthy, classified, and authorised to operate in national waters and on the high seas," he explains.
 
For self-navigating ships to crisscross the oceans free from legal constraints, an entirely new maritime legislation will have to be drawn up and embedded in national laws and international regimes, otherwise financiers will be frightened off.
 
Still, the international maritime community is going through such a frenzy of technological creativity, that for Dr Zwolak there will be a solution soon. "Technology has always preceded law," she says.
  • BBC News
 
Ryanair cuts 2020 passenger forecast, fearing Boeing MAX delays
 
Europe’s largest budget airline Ryanair (RYA.I) has cut its forecast for passenger numbers next summer, blaming possible further delays in deliveries of Boeing (BA.N) 737 MAX planes. The Irish company said on Monday the move would also impact jobs as it would close or make cuts at the some of its bases for the winter 2019 and summer 2020 schedules.
 
The airline now expects to carry 3% more passengers next summer, down from its previous forecast of 7%. That reduces its traffic estimate for the year to March 2021 to around 157 million from 162 million.
 
Boeing’s top-selling jet was grounded in March after crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed a total of 346 people. The planemaker is working on a software fix that people close to the matter have said it hopes to present to regulators in September.
 
Ryanair expects the 737 MAX to return to service before the end of the year, with the first of new planes it has ordered to be delivered in January and February 2020. But the exact date is uncertain and Ryanair has revised its summer 2020 schedule based on 30 additional aircraft, rather than 58.
 
“Boeing is hoping that a certification package will be submitted to regulators by September with a return to service shortly thereafter,” Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement.
 
“We believe it would be prudent to plan for that date to slip by some months, possibly as late as December,” he said.
 
“As Ryanair have ordered the Boeing MAX200s, which are a variant of the MAX aircraft, these need to be separately certified by the FAA and EASA,” he added, referring to U.S. and European aviation regulators respectively.
 
“Ryanair expects that the MAX200 will be approved for flight services within 2 months of the MAX return to service.”
 
Ryanair said it would start discussions with airports to determine which of its underperforming or loss-making bases would be cut or closed from November 2019. The airline said it would also consult unions.
 
Ryanair shares were up 1.2% in early trading. The stock has fallen about 4% so far this year, hit by over-capacity and intense competition in Europe’s short-haul aviation market.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Monday 15th July 2019
 
Siemens Goes Local on Moray East
 
Siemens has placed multi-million pound contracts with companies across the UK for the construction of the transmission infrastructure for the Moray East offshore wind farm. As the lead contractor for onshore transmission infrastructure construction works for the 950MW wind farm, Siemens has placed several subcontracts since work began in September 2018.
 
BAM Nuttall has been appointed as the main subcontractor to complete the civils work for the onshore substation that is being constructed to connect the project to the grid. The contract will see BAM Nuttall’s Glasgow office complete civil and building works, including foundations for the transformers, shunt reactors and switchgear equipment as well as constructing the internal road, fence and internal drainage works at the new onshore substation being built at New Deer.
 
Firms from the area local to the onshore construction sites have been working on site enabling works ahead of major civil construction works including preparation of the substation site and onshore cable route as well as provision of building materials and plant, Siemens said.
 
Perth civil engineering company, I & H Brown are undertaking enabling work on the onshore substation site, while JGC Engineering and Technical Services of Thurso will fabricate and fit out the high voltage equipment containers which will be shipped later this summer for integration into the project’s offshore substation platforms. In addition, Barrier Architectural has been appointed to fabricate a set of containers from its Stockton-on-Tees facility.
 
VolkerInfra, based in Preston, will provide and install the high voltage onshore export cables for the project which stretch the 35km underground cable route from near Whitehills on the Aberdeenshire coast to the new substation site south of New Deer. VolkerInfra has appointed Scottish companies to deliver road improvements and complete horizontal directional drilling works required for the cable installation.
 
Siemens is responsible for the complete construction of the onshore substation, including three SVC Plus advanced STATCOMs, as well as supplying three offshore substation platform topsides for the project.
 
Anwer Amara-Korba, Project Director at Moray East for Siemens Transmission and Distribution, said: “This is one of the largest construction projects in Scotland and it is vital that companies based in the local area get to share in its success. It will be a key part of providing clean, sustainable energy for Scotland to meet its low carbon aims, providing enough power for one million homes. We’re very proud to be working on the Moray East project and with a team who are so firmly committed to leaving a positive legacy in Aberdeenshire.”
 
Moray East will comprise 100 MHI Vestas 9.5MW wind turbines mounted on jacket foundations at the site some 22 kilometres off the Aberdeenshire coast in Scotland. The wind farm is scheduled to be fully operational in 2022.
 
“Moray East has been in development for the last nine years and we are now progressing with construction across various elements of the project,'' Sarah Graham, Transmission Infrastructure Package Manager for Moray East said.
 
''The experience and capability of the local supply chain is crucial in delivering the transmission infrastructure required to grid connect the wind farm. We welcome Siemens’ appointment of its key subcontractors and look forward to working with them to deliver the project safely and successfully.”
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
Scottish wind power output at record high
 
Wind power output in Scotland hit a record high during the first six months of 2019, according to figures from Weather Energy. It has calculated the energy produced by turbines could power every home in Scotland and part of the north of England.
 
The period to June, it claimed, saw the equivalent of 4.47 million homes' consumption supplied by wind power. WWF Scotland has described the trend as a "wind energy revolution".
 
Its climate and energy policy manager Robin Parker, said: "These are amazing figures; Scotland's wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead. 
 
"Up and down the country, we are all benefiting from cleaner energy and so is the climate. These figures show harnessing Scotland's plentiful onshore wind potential can provide clean, green electricity for millions of homes across not only Scotland, but England as well.
 
Alex Wilcox Brooke, of Severn Wye Energy Agency, added: "These figures really highlight the consistency of wind energy in Scotland and why it now plays a major part in the UK energy market."
  • BBC News
 
Eyeing post-Brexit trade deals, Britain looks to train school-leavers as future negotiators
 
As Britain prepares to carry out its own trade negotiations for the first time in decades, the government has launched a scheme to recruit and train school-leavers as future commerce experts. The Department of International Trade, which was created after the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, said its two-year scheme would include placements with teams working on future trade deals and supporting British companies exporting.
 
“As we leave the European Union and take up trade in our own right as a policy, we have had to develop all the skills to be able to do that,” trade minister Liam Fox said at the launch of the scheme, as school children taking part in a mock trade negotiation noisily bartered over products in the background.
 
“I wanted young people in particular to look at the world of trade and say ‘that is a profession I would like to go into, that is something I would like to do as a career.’”
 
Britain cannot formally sign trade deals with other countries until it has left the European Union but has been working to amass expertise, replicate agreements it is part of as a member of the EU and lay the groundwork for new deals.
 
Those applying for the scheme, which will pay around 30,000 pounds a year, do not need to have any qualifications. The department expects most candidates will either be 18-year-old school-leavers or people wanting to switch careers. It will also include a six-month posting in one of Britain’s trade offices around the world.
 
“If you want to sell Britain properly you have to know what Britain has to sell but you have to also understand the markets that we are selling into,” Fox told Reuters.
 
Britain’s Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser Crawford Falconer, who previously worked as New Zealand’s Chief Negotiator, said the scheme was not about filling a gap in trade negotiating talent in Britain.
 
“We have got plenty of trade negotiating talent but what we need to have is greater diversity and greater choice and for people to enter at a younger age,” he said.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Friday 12th July 2019
 
DSME Smart Ship Solution Gets LR’s Approval in Principle
 
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has received approval in principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register for its Smart Ship Solution (DS4®).
 
The fleet monitoring smart ECDIS and surveillance system has been granted the descriptive note ‘Digital AL3 SAFE SECURITY’, confirming compliance with LR’s digital ships requirements.
 
The SECURITY descriptive note means that systems with digitally enabled functions have adequate resilience measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks or other unauthorised access.
 
LR has defined five accessibility levels for digitally enabled technology onboard ships, AL3 means the systems have digital access for autonomous/remote monitoring and control, but onboard permission is required, and onboard override is possible.
 
“We are pleased to receive AiP from LR for our fleet monitoring smart ECDIS and surveillance system. We look forward to installing the system onboard several ultra large container ships that are currently under construction. We will keep enhancing our Smart Ship Solution to reflect market demands,” Odin Kwon, DSME Senior Executive Vice President, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Danske Commodities Signs Sheringham Shoal PPA
 
Danske Commodities has signed a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm in the UK.
 
Danske Commodities will take over the balancing and trading of 126MW out of the project's total 316.8MW capacity, which is equivalent to 40% of the wind farm’s production.
 
“The Sheringham Shoal PPA is a great addition to our long-term portfolio and it shows our commitment to British renewables," said Danske Commodities CEO Helle Østergaard Kristiansen.
 
"Danske Commodities has traded power in the UK for the past ten years and we continue to be a part of the exciting development of British offshore wind."
 
The Sheringham Shoal project consists of 88 turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6MW, which were put into operation in 2012 some 17km off the coast of North Norfolk.
 
The 316.8MW offshore wind farm is owned by Equinor (40%), Equitix (40%) and Green Investment Group (20%)
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Total hires Deepsea Stavanger rig for drilling ops off South Africa
 
Offshore driller Odfjell Drilling has signed a firm contract with French oil major Total for drilling offshore South Africa.  Odfjell said on Thursday that the contract was awarded to the 6th generation semi-submersible Deepsea Stavanger.  The contract value, including compensation for mobilization and demobilization periods, is estimated at being between $145-$190 million plus incentives.
 
According to the company, the drilling program is expected to last between 180-280 days. Mobilization to South Africa is expected to start in the first quarter of 2020.
 
Simen Lieungh, CEO of Odfjell Drilling, said: “Following Total’s recent successful campaign with Deepsea Stavanger in South Africa on the Brulpadda well, which ended in February 2019, we are very pleased to continue the collaboration with Total for the next phase of the project on Block 11B/12B.
 
“[…] it is of great benefit to Odfjell Drilling and Total to be able to utilize the same drilling unit for the next wells in order to build on the experience from the previous exploration drilling campaign in this operationally challenging harsh environment high-current area.”
 
It is worth reminding that the Brulpadda well on Block 11B/12B was spud in late December 2018. Total encountered a total of 57 meters of net gas condensate pay over two Lower Cretaceous high-quality reservoirs and described the discovery as a ‘world-class play.’
 
Block 11B/12B is located in the Outeniqua Basin 175 kilometers off the southern coast of South Africa. The block covers an area of 19,000 square kilometers with water depths ranging from 200 to 1,800 meters.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Seafood industry seeks answers on post-Brexit trade
 
Leaders of Scotland's seafood industry have told UK environment and food secretary Michael Gove more has to be done to safeguard exports after Brexit.
 
At a meeting in London, representatives of salmon producers, fishing boat skippers and seafood processors set out the concerns.  In particular, they worry about delays of fresh fish being delivered by truck to European customers.  Defra described the meeting as "very productive".  The seafood industry representatives also sought reassurances about compensation for any new tariffs.  Another concern was increased paperwork to certify the seafood's origin.
 
'No extra barriers'
Hamish Macdonell of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation said: "Scottish seafood rightly enjoys an enviable reputation for quality and availability in European markets.  "As representatives of all seafood sectors, farmed and caught, we made it clear to the UK government that we are determined to ensure this continues, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  "We held a constructive meeting with Mr Gove and his senior officials and while we appreciate the preparatory work that has been already been undertaken, we believe more has to be done to protect seafood exports to the continent if no Brexit deal is agreed."
 
The Scottish Seafood Association's Jimmy Buchan added he was "hopeful" about Mr Gove's response.  "Seafood is perishable so it is imperative that no extra barriers are placed in the way of its access to market," he said.  "We are now hopeful Mr Gove will work with his colleagues across the UK government to make sure access remains as swift and as easy in the future as it is now."
 
A Defra spokeswoman said: "We all want a sustainable, profitable fishing industry and to have the greatest possible tariff-free and barrier-free trade with our European neighbours and negotiate our own trade agreements.  "We look forward to continuing our engagement with the sector to achieve the common goal that exports of this top-quality product can continue in all scenarios."
  • BBC News
Headlines Thursday 11th July 2019
 
Samsung Heavy Bags Order for Two Eco-Friendly Suezmax Tankers
 
South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has clinched a deal to build two Suezmax tankers for an undisclosed Panamanian shipowner.
 
Under the KRW 147 billion (USD 125.4 million) contract, the shipbuilder is scheduled to deliver the units by March 2021.
 
The newly ordered tankers are designed to meet environmental regulations with the ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipped in preparation for the IMO’s regulations. In addition, a number of fuel-saving technologies would be applied to the tankers to enhance operational efficiency.
 
Additionally, the SVESSEL, the first next-generation smart ship system in the domestic shipbuilding industry developed by SHI, would be embedded in the two tankers to ensure cost-effective and safe operation with functions that help crew plan fuel-saving optimal routes, monitor equipment performance in real time, diagnose equipment failures and remotely control the tankers from an onshore location.
 
“The stricter environmental regulations will increase the demand for smart ships designed with high fuel efficiency all around the world,” said an official of SHI.
 
With the latest order, SHI has won deals valued at USD 3.3 billion so far this year to build 16 vessels including 10 LNG carriers, 4 oil tankers, one special-purpose ship and one FPSO, reaching 42% of its annual order target of USD 7.8 billion.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
Scottish Offshore Wind Supply Chain Goes Online
 
Xodus Group is working with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International (SDI) to create a directory of Scotland-based suppliers for the offshore wind market.
 
The new Scottish Industries Directories platform will include a directory and gap analysis which are expected to help local suppliers capture a greater share of the offshore wind market by advertising their experience and capabilities, Xodus said.
 
According to the company, it is anticipated that the website will become a one-stop shop for developers and contractors looking to procure products and services for future offshore wind projects.
 
“This is a great piece of supply chain enabling and will form a directory for developers to use going forward to identify procurement and partnership opportunities in Scotland," said Scott Hamilton, Principal Consultant at Xodus.
 
“The aim is to create a comprehensive list which can be utilised in both the domestic and overseas markets. We would encourage every company working in the offshore wind space to get involved."
 
Xodus is inviting companies with existing experience in offshore wind or capabilities that could be applied to the sector to sign up to the directory. It is due to be launched later this year.
 
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Sif secures HKZ foundations deal
 
Dutch fabricator to supply monopiles to Vattenfall for three of four zones at 1.4GW offshore wind farm
 
Dutch fabricator Sif is to manufacture foundations for Vattenfall’s 1.4GW Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind zone off the Netherlands.
 
The company will deliver 114 monopiles for three of the four array areas with manufacturing at the MV2 facility in Rotterdam to begin in 2020-21.
 
Two of the projects were already in Sif’s order book under exclusive negotiations. The manufacturer said the subsidy-free project is due online in 2022.
Chief executive Fred van Beers said: “Our manufacturing facilities in Rotterdam are ideally situated for North Sea offshore wind projects. For the Hollandse Kust Zuid project Vattenfall has valued this in their bid evaluations.
 
He added: “We are grateful for the confidence our client has expressed in their project award to Sif and together with their representatives we will put every effort on the timely delivery of time-critical project- parts.
 
“Our orderbook for the period 2020- 2021 is now filling up to approximately 300 Kton of which 80 Kton in exclusive negotiations.”
 
Vattenfall was on Wednesday selected as the winner of the auction to develop the 760MW HKZ 3&4 project. It secured the rights for the 1&2 site in an earlier round.
 
  • Renews.biz
 
Labour anti-Semitism claims prompt dismay in party
 
Senior Labour figures have expressed anger and alarm over claims some of Jeremy Corbyn's closest allies tried to interfere in disciplinary processes involving allegations of anti-Semitism.
 
Deputy leader Tom Watson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan were among those who spoke out following accusations made in Wednesday's BBC Panorama documentary.  Mr Watson said he was "shocked" and "appalled" by the claims.
 
Labour has insisted the programme was inaccurate and denied any interference.
 
'Harrowing' testimony
Labour's disputes team is supposed to operate independently from the party's political structures, including the leader's office.  The leader's office was "angry and obstructive" when it came to the issue officials brought in by the party's general secretary, Jennie Formby, "overruled" some of their disciplinary decisions and "downgraded" punishments to a "slap on the wrist"
 
Seumas Milne, one of Mr Corbyn's closest aides, laughed when advised by a long-serving party official about what Mr Corbyn should do to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.  On one occasion, Mr Corbyn's office ordered batches of anti-Semitism complaints to be brought to his Commons office for processing by his aides.  Labour has rejected claims of interference and described the programme as "seriously inaccurate" and "politically one-sided". It has insisted the former staff making the claims were "disaffected".
 
But Mr Watson said those who had come forward to the BBC had been "incredibly brave".
 
"Hearing the testimony of party members and former staff was harrowing," he tweeted. "They are not 'disaffected' - they have been incredibly brave. Very serious questions now have to be answered."
 
BBC Panorama spoke to former party officials, who alleged they had to deal with a huge increase in anti-Semitism complaints since Mr Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015.  Eight former officials who worked in the team and dealt with anti-Semitism cases claimed to the BBC that:
 
Mr Khan tweeted: "It breaks my heart that Jewish Labour members will have watched #Panorama and felt that there is no place in the Labour Party for them. It is more imperative than ever that Labour continues to cooperate fully with the @EHRC investigation."
 
In May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched a formal investigation to look into whether Labour has "unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish".  Other MPs and peers in the party also offered their support to the former staff in the documentary, adding that it showed Labour was failing to effectively tackle anti-Semitism in its ranks.  Labour peer Lord Falconer said the leadership had to "change gear" over the issue.
 
Fellow Labour peer Lord Levy, a former party fundraiser under ex-PM Tony Blair and a leading voice in the British Jewish community, said the party should feel ashamed of what was going on.  He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that if the party's leadership could not deal with such a sensitive issue then the leadership must look at themselves and see if they needed to be changed.  He said he considered leaving the party every day because it was so difficult to stay. However, he said, friends had told him that walking away would "allow them to take over our party".  The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the programme added weight to the group's suspicion that the issue of anti-Semitism had been "treated with disdain".
 
Labour has been engulfed in a long-running dispute over anti-Semitism within its ranks, which has led nine MPs and three peers to leave the party.  The leadership has been accused of failing to get to grips with the problem, with allegations of hundreds of complaints against members remaining unresolved.
 
But Labour said it "completely" rejected any claims it was anti-Semitic.  It accused the Panorama programme of being a "seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning".
The party said that "no proper and serious attempt was made to understand our current procedures for dealing with anti-Semitism, which is clearly essential to reach a fair and balanced judgement".
 
"Since Jennie Formby became general secretary the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold," it added.
 
"We will build on the improvements to our procedures made under Jennie Formby, and continue to act against this repugnant form of racism."
 
  • BBC News

Headlines Wednesday 10th July 2019

 

JMU to Build Next-Generation Energy-Saving Bulker for NYK

 
Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has concluded a contract with compatriot shipbuilder Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) for the construction of a next-generation energy-saving bulk carrier.
 
To feature a length of 299.9 meters and a breadth of about 50 meters, the newbuild is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
 
As informed, the 211,000 dwt ship is expected to transport raw materials for JFE Steel Corporation under a long-term charter contract between NYK and JFE Steel.  The vessel, which will fly the flag of Panama, will be a Capesize bulker for trading iron ore and coking coal in and around the Pacific. The new energy-efficient scrubber-equipped vessel will not only be compliant with NOx emission regulations (Tier III) and the IMO SOx emission cap but will also have a larger cargo space than a conventional ship, leading to improved fuel economy, according to the company.
 
The ship’s carbon dioxide emissions also meet the stricter Phase 2 Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirements entering into force in 2020.
In addition, cargo hold corrosion resistant steel developed by JFE Steel will be used for the parts of the ship to improve corrosion resistance.
With a total gross tonnage of 108,900 tons, the new eco ship will be able to reach a navigational speed of 14.5 knots.
  • World Maritime News
 
Ørsted Backs EU Energy Master’s Students
 
Ørsted is giving out scholarships for UK and EU students which are starting an energy master's program at the Durham University this October.
The scholarships are available up to GBP 6,000 and are valid for the MSc Energy and Society and MSc New and Renewable Energy programs at the UK university.
 
Ørsted emphasized it is already a key strategic partner for Durham University and collaborates with Durham Energy Institute Researchers on a number of research projects and activities.
 
“The UK is the global leader in offshore wind and, if we are to maintain that position, we must attract the most talented minds to the industry. With the Ørsted scholarships we intend to do just that by providing the opportunity for those bright people who may otherwise been unable to progress to the next stage of their studies," said Benj Sykes, UK Country Manager at Ørsted.
"Our partnership with Durham University to date is already producing cutting-edge research that is helping to drive innovation and we look forward to this continuing.”
 
The deadline for submitting applications for the scholarship is 17 August.
  • Offshorewind.biz​
 
 
Subsea 7 in ‘sizeable’ North Sea award with Equinor
 
Offshore installation company Subsea 7 has said it has been awarded a sizeable contract by Equinor for operations in the Danish and the Norwegian sectors of the North Sea.
 
Under the contract, Subsea 7 will be performing for installation and diving operations on the Europipe II, Heimdal and Statfjord (EHS) fields over the next three years.  Subsea 7 defines a sizeable contract as being between USD 50 million and USD 150 million.
 
The contract comprises engineering, procurement, construction and installation  (EPCI) of pipeline end manifolds (PLEM), bypass and tie-in spools for the  Europipe II gas pipeline, Oseberg Gas Transport, and Statpipe pipelines, operated by Gassco AS.
 
Equinor is a technical service provider for and on behalf of Gassco AS for  Europipe II and Heimdal Subsea Bypass.  Project management and engineering, including front end engineering (FEED), will begin immediately at Subsea 7’s office in Stavanger, Norway.
Offshore installation campaigns are scheduled for 2020, 2021, and 2022 using one of Subsea 7’s diving vessels as well as heavy construction and light construction vessels.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
 
Major: I will seek a judicial review to stop Parliament shutdown
 
 
Former prime minister Sir John Major has told the BBC he would seek a judicial review in the courts if the new prime minister tried to suspend Parliament to deliver a no-deal Brexit.
 
Sir John said such a move would be "utterly and totally unacceptable".  Using a judicial review, anyone can apply to challenge the lawfulness of decisions made by the government.
 
Boris Johnson - the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race - has refused to rule out proroguing Parliament.  A source close to Boris Johnson told the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith that Sir John "has gone completely bonkers" and had "clearly been driven completely mad by Brexit".  They said the threat of court action was "absurd" and risked dragging the Queen into politics.
Brexit date.  The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March, but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May's deal. Currently, the date for exit is 31 October.  If that date is reached without a deal being agreed on the separation process, then the UK will leave without one.
 
MPs have consistently voted against this option, but the prime minister could try to get around that by closing Parliament - proroguing - in the run-up to Brexit day, denying them an opportunity to block it.
 
The question of prorogation was raised during a lTV debate between Mr Johnson and his rival in the race to lead the Conservative Party Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt categorically ruled it out but Mr Johnson said he would "not take anything off the table".
 
'Inconceivable'
 
Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, Sir John said: "In order to close down Parliament, the prime minister would have to go to Her Majesty the Queen and ask for her permission."  He said it would be "inconceivable" the Queen would refuse his request and the she would be put "amidst a constitutional controversy".
 
"The Queen's decision cannot be challenged in law, but the prime minister's advice to the Queen can, I believe, be challenged in law - and I for one would be prepared to seek judicial review to prevent Parliament being bypassed," he said.
 
Sir John also criticised the "artificial" Brexit deadline of 31 October which he said "had a great deal more to do with the election of leader for the Conservative Party than the interests of the country".
 
"National leaders look first at the interests of the country - not first at the interests of themselves," he added.
  • BBC News
Headlines Tuesday 9th July 2019
 
Enterprise Plans Further Expansion at Houston Ship Channel Terminal
 
Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) has announced three additional expansion projects that will increase the partnership’s capacity to load liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), polymer grade propylene (PGP) and crude oil from its Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT) on the Houston Ship Channel.
 
Currently, Enterprise’s nameplate LPG loading capacity is approximately 660,000 barrels per day (BPD).
 
Previously, the US provider of midstream energy services unveiled a project to add 175,000 BPD of LPG loading capacity, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed late third quarter of 2019.
 
The additional, new projects are expected to increase incremental LPG loading capacity by another 260,000 BPD. They are planned to be in service in the third quarter of 2020.  When completed, the projects will give EHT nameplate capacity to load up to almost 1.1 million BPD of LPG, or approximately 33 million barrels per month.
 
In response to record demand for PGP by international markets, the partnership is adding refrigeration facilities at its Houston Ship Channel terminal that will enable Enterprise to load up to an incremental 67,200 BPD, or approximately 2 million barrels per month, of fully refrigerated PGP. With this expansion project, Enterprise will enable co-loading fully refrigerated PGP and LPG onto the same vessel. This expansion is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2020.  As part of the expansion, Enterprise is also building an eighth dock at its Houston Ship Channel terminal with the capability to load approximately 840,000 BPD of crude oil, increasing the partnership’s nameplate export capacity for crude oil at the Houston Ship Channel to 2.75 million BPD, or nearly 83 million barrels per month.
 
Expected to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2020, the new dock will be able to accommodate a Suezmax vessel, the largest ship class that can navigate the Houston Ship Channel.
 
“We are pleased to announce this additional investment in our Houston Ship Channel marine terminals. In total these expansions will enable us to load an incremental 1.3 million BPD of LPG, polymer grade propylene and crude oil,” A.J. “Jim” Teague, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner, said.
 
Enterprise estimates that by 2025 exports of U.S. crude oil will increase from 3 million BPD to 8 million BPD and the domestic LPG export market will double from 1.4 million BPD to 2.8 BPD. Much of this growth is being driven by increasing production from the Permian Basin of Texas.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
Over 60 Stolt Chemical Tankers to Get DESMI BWMS
 
Tanker operator Stolt Tankers has selected DESMI Ocean Guard’s CompactClean ballast water management system (BWMS) for installation on the company’s existing fleet.
 
Under the agreement, DESMI is to equip more than 60 chemical tankers with the CompactClean BMWSs by the end of 2023.
 
Most of the ships will be retrofitted with two CompactClean systems, one for each ballast pump.
 
As explained, this has the advantage that the ships will maintain full redundancy on their ability to ballast and de-ballast, which is a priority for Stolt Tankers. The ability to ballast/de-ballast is essential to the ship’s ability to load or discharge cargo, and hence to operate.
 
“While strict compliance with all environmental and safety regulations is a must, we always undertake great efforts to be compliant without jeopardising the smooth and efficient daily operation of our ships. After careful consideration, we found that the CompactClean BWMS was the ideal solution for us in order to meet the IMO and US Coast Guard regulations for ballast water treatment,” Herman Heyns, Senior Project Manager at Stolt Tankers, said.
 
“We will be able to retrofit two systems into the pump rooms or on the deck of most of our ships. For Stolt Tankers it is essential to keep our ballast operations as simple as possible, and we do not want to complicate this more than necessary.”
 
“The fleet of ships owned and operated by Stolt Tankers is top of the line sophisticated chemical tankers, which imposes extra challenges on the BWMS to be retrofitted. Obviously, the BWMS must be approved for installation in hazardous areas (EX-certified), but they also need to be capable of being incorporated in a smooth and seamless manner into the existing automation on the vessel,” Rasmus Folsø, CEO of DESMI Ocean Guard A/S, explained.
 
Stolt Tankers, part of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, operates a fleet of 71 deep-sea parcel tankers and 84 coastal and inland tankers.
 
  • World Maritime News
 
Allseas in renewables push. Buys OTEC firm Bluerise
 
Offshore oil and gas installation, construction, and decommissioning specialist Allseas has ventured into renewables through the acquisition of Bluerise, a specialist developer of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology.
 
Based in Delft, the Netherlands, Bluerise has been researching and developing OTEC technology for 9 years, designing systems that utilize the natural temperature difference in the ocean between cold deep water (5°C) and warm surface water (25°C) to generate clean electricity.
 
Announcing the acquisition of Bluerise on Monday, Allseas said it would use its offshore expertise and record of deep-water technologies to advance Bluerise concepts and accelerate the implementation of OTEC technology for renewable energy projects.
 
OTEC generates renewable energy by harnessing the heat in ocean surface water to evaporate liquids with a low boiling point (such as ammonia). The vapor drives a turbine that generates electricity. After the vapor transfers its energy, a heat exchanger condenser cools the vapor, turns it back into liquid and a pump conveys it to the heat exchanger evaporator to repeat the cycle.
 
“Allseas is fostering the use of renewable energy sources. OTEC, with its vast offshore energy potential and scalability, matches well with the company’s capabilities. Allseas looks forward to continuing the work performed by Bluerise, founded by Berend Jan Kleute and Remi Blokker, and making OTEC a success,” Allseas said.
 
For Allseas, a specialist in the offshore oil and gas industry for over three decades, the Bluerise deal is a second important agreement outside of the oil and gas industry in the past month.
 
Allseas and DeepGreen on June 10 announced they had entered into a partnership with DeepGreen to harvest deep sea battery grade metals “to meet skyrocketing growth in electric vehicle demand.”
 
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Brexit: MPs to try to block no deal through Northern Ireland Bill
 
MPs will try to block a no-deal Brexit by attempting to amend the Northern Ireland Bill on Tuesday.
 
The amendment requires the government to update MPs on the situation in Northern Ireland in the autumn, meaning, in theory, Parliament could not be suspended during this period.
 
There have been suggestions that a new PM could shut down Parliament to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.
 
Tory MP Dominic Grieve said such a move would be "an end to democracy".
 
Speaker John Bercow will announce later if he has selected the amendment tabled by Mr Grieve, giving MPs the chance to vote on it.
 
The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Theresa May's deal. Currently, the date for exit is 31 October.  If that date is reached without the UK and EU securing an agreement about the separation process, then the UK will leave the EU without a deal.  MPs have consistently voted against this option.
 
The prime minister could try to get round this problem by closing Parliament in the run-up to Brexit day. This would deny MPs an opportunity to block no deal.
 
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Grieve, the former attorney general, said: "The idea that it is constitutionally proper to prorogue Parliament as a device for bringing about a no-deal Brexit is outrageous - I have never come across a more extraordinary suggestion."
 
Unlike his rival Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson - the frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race - has not ruled out suspending Parliament.
 
He has said he could not "envisage the circumstances" in which he would do so. He has vowed to leave the EU on 31 October "come what may".
 
Lord Hague, a supporter of Jeremy Hunt, has opposed proroguing Parliament arguing: "It ought to be unthinkable that we could leave the EU by procedure, a procedural ruse."
  • BBC News

Headlines Monday 8th July 2019

 
Samsung Heavy Delivers World’s Largest Containership to MSC
 
The world’s largest containership was delivered to the Swiss Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) from South Korea last week.
 
Samsung Heavy Industries said that the unit is the first from a batch of six 23,000 TEU-class vessels ordered by MSC in September 2017. The company has another five such ships on order at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
 
Named MSC Gulsun, the 400-meter-long containership was delivered three weeks ahead of schedule, according to Samsung Heavy.
 
With a width of 61.5 meters and a height of 33.2 meters, the unit can carry 23,756 20ft containers and represents the largest vessel built for the container shipping industry to date.
 
It is equipped with a next-generation smart dispensing system and exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers).
  • World Maritime News
 
Ørsted and EEW Plan Monopile Factory in New Jersey
 
Ørsted has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EEW to work towards establishing a monopile fabrication facility in Paulsboro, New Jersey, for the Ocean Wind project.
 
According to the project documents, the foundation manufacture facility may longer term expand its scope of activities as the Atlantic coast offshore wind industry grows.
 
Ørsted also signed an MoU with the South Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council to only hire union labor for construction.
 
The company further plans to establish a Pro-NJ Grantor Trust with a USD 15 million initial investment to enable MBE/WBE or small business entry to the offshore wind industry.
 
In June, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) selected the Ocean Wind project proposed by Ørsted with support from Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) to negotiate a 20-year offshore wind renewable energy credit (OREC) for an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 1,100MW.
 
Located off the coast of Atlantic City, Ocean Wind will be New Jersey’s first large-scale offshore wind farm. Subject to Ørsted’s final investment decision, the wind farm is expected to be completed by 2024.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Altus scores 3-year wireline services deal with TIOS
 
TechnipFMC Island Offshore Subsea (TIOS), a TechnipFMC and Island Offshore joint venture, has hired Altus Intervention for the provision of wireline services across three of the JV’s vessels.
 
The contract, covering services aboard Island Constructor, Island Frontier and IslandWellserver vessels. has a duration of 3 years. TIOS will have options to further extend with two one-year extensions.
 
According to Altus, the scope includes the provision of all wireline and application services, tractor conveyance and logging services in the Norwegian Continental Shelf, the UK Continental Shelf, West Africa, and the Mediterranean.
 
Cathrine Bjaarstad, President, Norway & Denmark, Altus Intervention: “We have just completed a campaign with TIOS in Equatorial Guinea and will continue in NCS throughout this year with the Island Constructor. The Wellserver and Frontier are currently working for Equinor.”
 
Bjaarstad said that Altus has since 2003 Altus Intervention has provided wireline services together with TIOS for light well interventions in over 600 subsea wells across both the Norwegian and UK continental shelf and in West Africa in water depths of 70 to 850 meters.”
 
“Together we have set a new standard and have successfully reduced the average number of LWI operation days per well by 60% in the last 6 years. We see this award as a confirmation of our quality intervention services,” Bjaarstad added.
 
Altus did not provide the financial details of the contract with TIOS.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Former Brexit chief: We should all worry about no deal
 
Everyone should worry about no deal, the civil servant who was, until March, head of the Brexit department has said.
 
Philip Rycroft, who resigned after 18 months, told the BBC's Panorama no deal was "fraught with risk".
 
And NI police said no deal could help recruitment for paramilitary groups.
 
Both the candidates in the race to replace Theresa May as prime minister - Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson - have said they would be prepared to leave the EU without a deal.
 
Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said there was "no reason at all" why new negotiations with the EU could not be completed "the next three months".
 
But the EU has repeatedly refused to re-open negotiations.
 
'Unprecedented'
The UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March but this date was delayed after MPs repeatedly rejected Mrs May's deal. Currently, Brexit is set to take place on 31 October.  In a no-deal scenario, the UK would immediately leave the EU with no agreement about the "divorce" process, immediately coming out of the single market and customs union and institutions like law enforcement body Europol.
 
Those against say it would damage the economy, especially industries like farming, and cause widespread disruption, but some politicians insist problems could be quickly overcome.  The government says it has been preparing for almost three years to minimise that disruption and to provide people and businesses with information they need to get ready.
 
In his first broadcast interview since stepping down as permanent secretary at the Brexit department, Mr Rycroft said the planning operation for exiting the EU was "an unprecedented situation" and "the biggest exercise across government over the last few decades".
 
He told Panorama: "This has been an extraordinary exercise to which the civil service is responding brilliantly well… The planning I think is in good shape, absolutely… but of course what that doesn't mean is that there won't be an impact from Brexit, and particularly a no-deal Brexit, because that is a very major change and it would be a very abrupt change to our major trading relationship."
 
"The rational outcome over the next few months is to get a deal because that is overwhelmingly in the economic interest of both the EU and the UK."
Mr Rycroft continued: "It's not in the UK's interest to have no deal, it's not in the EU's interest to have a no deal.
 
"I think everybody should be worried about what happens in a no-deal situation. We would be taking a step into the unknown."
 
But Sir Michael told BBC Radio 4's Today programme said no deal was the "ultimate fall back" and needed to be prepared for "so that our partners are convinced that this is a deadly serious negotiation".
 
"We have got three months to do this with a fresh approach," he said. "We need some alternative arrangements for Northern Ireland - some of that technology is already in place - we need the right to exit the backstop if the negotiations fail, we need some improvements to the political declaration.
"These aren't the biggest things, but what they do require is some optimism and ambition and above all some energy.
 
"We will have a fresh team, a fresh prime minister and there is no reason at all why this can't be done in the next three months."
 
'Frustrating process'
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, additional checks on goods being delivered across the UK-EU border could result in delays on the roads - especially around the Port of Dover in Kent, which handles 17% of the UK's goods trade.
 
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said working with the government to prepare for no deal had been "a frustrating process". He said: "We have no clarity of the processes - what's actually going to happen on day one."  Mr Burnett told Panorama that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling had left him a voicemail expressing his disappointment after the RHA issued a press release following a private briefing.
The Department for Transport said the RHA had been heavily involved in EU preparatory work and would continue to be involved at every stage of planning.
 
In a statement, it added: "It is extremely unfortunate when details of private conversations held in confidence are made public in a press release."
 
Paramilitary recruitment
The Police Service of Northern Ireland also told the BBC of its concern at the impact on security of a no-deal Brexit.  There are fears that one could lead to the introduction of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - a situation Sinn Fein has said would lead to further calls for a referendum on Irish unification.  PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs told Panorama: "We know that the New IRA and other groups continue to recruit people and we believe that Brexit provides an opportunity for them to encourage people to recruit."  But he added that, despite their worries, to date the PSNI had not seen "any upsurge" in violence or recruitment being driven by Brexit.
 
Mr Mairs also expressed fears price differences on the border could create "new opportunities" for criminal gangs, claiming: "We would see, traditionally, connections between some of those groups and more violent groups.  "The potential impact of a no deal on the economy in Northern Ireland is significant, and that would, in our view, present potentially significant security concerns."
 
Will a no-deal Brexit happen?
The handling of Brexit has been the key issue in the Conservative leadership race.  Frontrunner Mr Johnson has said the UK should prepare "confidently and seriously" for a no-deal Brexit, but believes the chances of it happening are "one million to one against".  He has said he will try to get a new deal negotiated with the EU, but has promised to leave the EU with or without one on 31 October.  His rival, Mr Hunt, also wants to change the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Mrs May and thinks this can be achieved by the end of October.  He has said he is prepared to delay Brexit beyond that date, if there is a prospect of getting a deal. If not, he would be prepared to leave without one but with "a heavy heart".
 
Meanwhile MPs opposed to no deal are seeking ways to block such an outcome. Tory MP and ex-minister Sam Gyimah says there are "30 plus" Conservative MPs who would vote to block a no-deal Brexit.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Friday 5th July 2019
 
Auction spells end of subsidies for UK offshore wind
 
An auction this year designed to encourage more renewable energy in Britain will probably for the first time see a winning price for offshore wind at wholesale rates, according to a fund manager at Investec.
 
Under Britain’s contracts for difference (CFD) programme, generators get paid a fixed price, measured as the difference between the strike and a market reference. If the wholesale rate is at a higher level than the contract, generators pay the difference back, lowering costs for consumers. Contracts in the UK forward market, which sets the price of electricity many months into the future, range from about £33 a megawatt-hour to about £52. The level of incentives needed is dropping after technology costs have plunged.
 
The strike level will probably be “highly competitive with the wholesale price, as next generation multi-megawatt turbines are likely to be used which will significantly reduce costs,” said Deirdre Cooper, who helps oversee clean investments at Investec’s asset management division.
 
The next auction, which could start as this month, will see CFD subsidies capped at £65m to help pay for new renewable projects for delivery in the three years through 2025.
 
In the most recent contest in 2017, the lowest guaranteed price for offshore wind was £57.50 a megawatt-hour, half the rate achieved in the previous auction in 2015. That number looks set to fall further when contracts are awarded later this year.
  • Irish Examiner
 
Neptune’s Dutch North Sea platform selected for offshore hydrogen pilot
 
Oil and gas company Neptune Energy is taking part in a pioneering pilot project to create the first offshore hydrogen plant in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. According to Neptune, a megawatt electrolyzer will be placed within a sea container and installed on Neptune’s Q13a platform, in the Dutch sector of the North Sea, 13 kilometers from Scheveningen.
 
“The platform is well-suited for the ground-breaking project; as the first fully electrified offshore oil platform in the Dutch North Sea, it saves approximately 16.5 kilotonnes of CO2 per year,” Neptune said.
 
The hydrogen produced by the electrolyzer on Neptune’s Q13a platform will be transported via an existing pipeline to a second platform, operated by Taqa. There it will be used to generate electricity for powering the platform.
 
Neptune Energy’s managing director for the Netherlands, Lex de Groot, said: “This pilot demonstrates the valuable role gas has to play in the integration of various energy systems and underlines our commitment to adopting innovative technologies and supporting a sustainable future for our business. The North Sea, where both wind and natural gas are abundantly available, is the perfect testing ground and we are proud that our Q13a platform has been selected. The platform was the first in the Netherlands to be fully electrified, making it an excellent fit for this important pilot.”
 
The pilot is expected to begin production later in 2020. According to Neptune, it will provide the participants with the opportunity to develop their experience of producing hydrogen in an offshore environment, and will create a testing ground for innovative technologies and integrated systems.
 
The pilot project commissioned by NexStep, the Dutch Association for Decommissioning and Re-Use, and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Jaguar to make multi-million-pound electric car investment in UK plant
 
Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is making a multi-million-pound investment to build electric vehicles in its home market, in a major boost to a sector hit by a slump in diesel sales and Brexit uncertainty.
 
The firm is undergoing a turnaround designed to offer an electrified option to all of its new models from 2020 as it seeks to move away from its reliance on diesel vehicles which are being increasingly shunned by buyers. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which built 30 percent of Britain’s 1.5 million cars last year, will make a range of electrified vehicles at its Castle Bromwich plant in central England, beginning with its luxury saloon, the XJ.
 
“The future of mobility is electric and, as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK,” said Chief Executive Ralf Speth on Friday.
 
JLR has long warned about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit and the need to maintain frictionless trade with the European Union, echoing fears in the sector that just-in-time production could be hit by customs delays and additional bureaucracy. But it has signed a deal with workers at the Castle Bromwich factory to go from a 5-day to a 4-day working week with the same amount of hours which should allow the plant to operate more efficiently.
 
Friday’s investment announcement comes after a turbulent few months for the firm which announced around 4,500 job cuts earlier in January and posted a 3.66-billion-pound loss in 2018/19.
 
JLR also called on the government to bring giga-scale battery production to the country so that Britain is not left behind in the rush to produce low and zero-emissions vehicles and technology.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Thursday 4th July 2019
 
EIB Provides Funding for New Sweden-Finland RoPax
 
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 70 million (USD 78.9 million) loan with the Finnish-Swedish consortium Kvarken Link Oy with the aim of improving the ferry connection between the two countries. With the funding, Kvarken Link Oy finance a new ferry to transport passengers and vehicles between the ports of Umeå in Sweden and Vaasa in Finland.
 
The new ice-class RoPax ferry, to transport up to 800 passengers, would be built by Rauma Marine Constructions in Finland to high environmentally friendly specifications with hybrid propulsion. With a length of 150 metres, the passenger/car ferry is scheduled for delivery in 2021, and will operate under the Finnish flag.
 
“Vaasa and Umeå have been connected by ferry since 1958. When the original service went bankrupt in 2011, the municipalities took it upon them to continue the service – and with success. The growing demand in both passengers and freight now warrants a modern ship to keep both cities connected,” Alexander Stubb, EIB Vice-President, said.
 
The vessel will be equipped with a hybrid propulsion system with a combination of a dual-fuel engine (LNG/LBG and diesel) and batteries, as well as an electrically driven azimuth propeller system. 
 
The project also involves port upgrade works required for the reception of the new vessel at the ferry terminals in the cities of Vaasa and Umeå.
  • World Maritime News
 
Oil Supertanker bound for Syria detained in Gibraltar
 
British Royal Marines and officials in Gibraltar have detained the supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying crude oil to Syria, in breach of European Union sanctions, the government of Gibraltar said.
 
In a statement the government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas Refinery in Syria.
 
“That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. EU sanctions against the government of Syria took effect in May 2011. With my consent, our port and law enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation.”
 
The government published regulations on Wednesday to enforce the sanctions against the tanker and its cargo. 
 
Refinitiv Eikon mapping indicates the ship sailed from Iran, and if the cargo is confirmed to be Iranian crude, its attempted delivery to Syria could also be a violation of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports. The mapping data shows the ship has sailed a longer route around the southern tip of Africa instead of via Egypt’s Suez Canal. 
 
The Grace 1 was documented as loading fuel oil in Iraq in December, although the Iraqi port did not list it as being in port and its tracking system was switched off. The tanker reappeared near Iran’s port of Bandar Assaluyeh fully loaded. Shipping data shows the ship is a 300,000-tonne Panamanian-flagged tanker managed by Singapore-based IShips Management Pte Ltd.
  • Reuters
 
Conservative leadership: Theresa May says next PM 'must strengthen the union'
 
Theresa May is to tell the two men vying to replace her as prime minister that they must make strengthening the union one of their top priorities.
 
In a speech in Scotland on Thursday, Mrs May will urge her successor to "think creatively" about how to ensure the UK stays together. She will also give further details of a review into how devolution is working. The review is aimed at ensuring UK government departments are working in the best interests of devolution.
 
The government has stressed it will not include devolved areas that are the responsibility of the Scottish government.
 
Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, predicted ahead of the prime minister's speech that the review was "too little, too late" and would do nothing to prevent Scottish independence. Mrs May's speech is likely to be her last in Scotland before she steps down as prime minister on 24 July, when she will be succeeded by either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt - who are both due to appear at a hustings event in Scotland on Friday.
 
Mr Johnson said on Sunday that the next prime minister should be a "minister for the union" while Mr Hunt has pledged to to use "every drop of blood in my veins" to prevent the UK splitting up. But Ms Sturgeon, who wants another referendum within the next two years, has already predicted that more Scots will be encouraged to support independence regardless of who wins.
 
In her speech, Mrs May will insist that strengthening the union has been an "explicit priority" of her government over the past three years. And she will say she is confident that this will continue to be the case regardless of who replaces her in 10 Downing Street.
 
Mrs May will add: "The job of prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings with it privileges and responsibilities which you only really feel once the black door closes behind you. 
 
"One of the first and greatest is the duty you owe to strengthen the union. To govern on behalf of the whole United Kingdom. To respect the identities of every citizen of the UK - English and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish. And to ensure that we can go on facing the future together, overcoming obstacles together, and achieving more together than we ever could apart - a union of nations and people."
 
Mrs May will also formally unveil a UK government review of how devolution is working across the UK and what can be done to improve it. Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan told the BBC on Wednesday that it would be a "simple, straightforward way of making sure devolution is working as best as it can be".
 
Ahead of the prime minister's arrival in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon claimed that the country was "heading inexorably towards independence" and that the Conservatives were "running scared of the rising tide of support for independence". 
 
She added: "The Tories' behaviour towards Scotland in the three years since the Brexit vote has been high-handed, arrogant and dismissive. 
 
"They have demolished any notion of a respect agenda and have destroyed their own claims that the union is in any meaningful way a partnership of equals. People across Scotland can now see that more plainly than ever. Theresa May's so-called review of devolution is too little, too late".
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Wednesday 3rd July 2019
 
Connecticut Releases Draft Offshore Wind RFP
 
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Bureau of Energy Technology Policy have issued a Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to 2,000MW of offshore wind energy.
 
The RFP comes as Connecticut's Governor Ned Lamont signed into law the House Bill 7156, An Act Concerning the Procurement of Energy Derived From Offshore Wind. The Draft RFP is now open for review and comments, with the submissions due by 15 July 4:00 p.m. local time. The final solicitation is due to be released on 15 August.
 
“We congratulate the state of Connecticut for moving so quickly in preparing their first major Draft RFP for offshore wind energy,” said Liz Burdock, CEO and President of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.
 
"I believe this solicitation will accelerate the region’s investments in ports like New London and Bridgeport, and allow Connecticut suppliers to be active participants in the regional offshore wind supply chain.”
 
The bid due date will be 30 September, while DEEP is expected to announce the solicitation decision in November. To remind, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted 134-10 in favor of the legislation in mid-May authorizing the development of the additional 2,000MW of offshore wind capacity in the state. A month later, the Connecticut State Senate unanimously approved the procurement of the capacity.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
Boskalis to Dry Dock Carnival Vista for Azipod Repairs
 
The Netherlands-based Boskalis will deploy a transport vessel as a first of its kind “floating dry dock” facility to complete the repairs to Carnival Vista’s two azipods, the ship’s main propulsion system.
 
The procedure will see the company lift the Carnival Cruise Line ship out of the water and onto a semi-submersible heavy transport vessel, Boka Vanguard, off the coast of Freeport, Bahamas. The unit would then be transported to the Grand Bahama shipyard where the repairs will take place whilst the cruise ship is resting on the heavy transport vessel.
 
This is a world first operation that will take place in the coming weeks in Freeport, Bahamas, according to Boskalis. Animation BOKA Vanguard dry docking Carnival Vista from Boskalis|Dredging&Marine Experts on Vimeo.
 
“This groundbreaking procedure made possible by Boskalis is a revolutionary way to ensure Carnival Vista’s repairs are completed in a safe, timely and efficient manner, so the ship can resume its popular seven-day schedule from Galveston later this month,” Lars Ljoen, executive vice president of marine operations for Carnival Cruise Line, said.
 
Boka Vanguard is expected to arrive in Bahamian waters on July 5 to prepare for Carnival Vista’s arrival on July 12. The loading, transport and repairs are expected to take two weeks, allowing Carnival Vista to return to Galveston in time for its July 27 voyage and continue with year-round seven-day Caribbean itineraries.
  • World Maritime News
 
Obesity rivals smoking as cause of cancer, UK charity warns
 
Obesity is rivalling smoking as a cause of cancer, responsible for more cases of bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancer than cigarettes, according to the UK’s leading cancer charity. Smoking is still the biggest cause of cancer, but Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has warned that government action to tackle obesity is vital, because it is a significant factor in 13 different types of cancer. Obes people now outnumber smokers by two to one.
 
Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, said: “As smoking rates fall and obesity rates rise, we can clearly see the impact on a national health crisis when the government puts policies in place – and when it puts its head in the sand.
 
“Our children could be a smoke-free generation, but we’ve hit a devastating record high for childhood obesity, and now we need urgent government intervention to end the epidemic. They still have a chance to save lives.”
 
Excess weight causes about 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year, said CRUK. There are also 1,400 more cases of kidney cancer caused by excess weight than by smoking each year, 460 more ovarian cancers and 180 more cases of liver cancer.
 
The charity issued its warning as figures were released by Public Health England and the Office for National Statistics showing the decline in smoking in the UK. There has been a big reduction in the overall smoking rate to 14.7% last year, down five percentage points from 2011. Across the UK, 26% of the adult population were classified as obese in 2016, while 40% of men and 30% of women were overweight.
 
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Although cancer survival is at a record high, this significant progress is in danger of being undone by the fast-growing epidemic of obesity, given excess weight is linked to 13 types of cancer.
 
“This study is further proof that obesity is the new smoking, and the NHS can’t win the ‘battle against the bulge’ on its own; families, food businesses and government all need to play their part if we’re to avoid copying America’s damaging and costly example.”
 
Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 40 health organisations, said: “The causes of obesity are complex, but we know that the environment we live in plays a huge role, and currently this is heavily skewed towards unhealthy options. This is why we need the government to push on with plans to bring in a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts on TV and online, reduce the amount of unhealthy food promoted in supermarkets, and take sugar out of everyday food and drinks.”
 
CRUK agrees with that agenda. “There isn’t a silver bullet to reduce obesity, but the huge fall in smoking over the years – partly thanks to advertising and environmental bans – shows that government-led change works. It was needed to tackle sky-high smoking rates, and now the same is true for obesity,” said Prof Linda Bauld, the charity’s prevention expert.
 
The British Medical Association said the government was dragging its heels over bringing in measures to curb obesity. “The severity of this problem must not be underestimated. As well as the pressing need to raise public awareness of the worrying link between obesity and multiple types of cancer, we need to see a reversal of the cuts to public health funding so we can prevent children and adults reaching this critical stage. Failure to do so will continue to cost lives,” said the association’s board of science chair, Prof Parveen Kumar.
  • The Guardian
 
Headlines Tuesday 2nd July 2019
 
One Sea Partners Up with European Space Agency on Digitalization, Autonomous Ships
 
One Sea alliance and the European Space Agency (ESA) have decided to collaborate on maritime digitalization and autonomous shipping initiatives.
 
As informed, the industry alliance promoting a common goal of self-guiding shipping and ESA, which comprises 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space, have signed a memorandum of intent covering future collaboration. The agreement sets out common objectives to encourage the development of space-based applications to analyze, enable and implement maritime digitalization and autonomy using latest generation connectivity.
 
The One Sea alliance gathers together key stakeholders from the maritime and ICT industries to accelerate the delivery of digitalized solutions to market. It is led by Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation (DIMECC) ecosystem which has been established to support strategic research, development and innovation.
 
ESA’s participation aligns with the space agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES) Business Applications program which aims at supporting European players in delivering commercial products and services that benefit user communities across a number of vertical domains.
 
“This is an important statement of intent, through which One Sea and the ESA acknowledge the significance that ongoing digitalisation and autonomy have for the maritime industries,” Jukka Merenluoto, One Sea Lead, commented.
 
“Expertise from different disciplines is necessary to transform today’s connectivity capabilities for tomorrow’s needs, and this MoI represents a unique opportunity to develop applications and services that leverage assets on the ground and in space,” Merenluoto added.
 
“We expect that the current initiative, thanks to the engagement of the partners, will foster the emergence of innovative space-based downstream solutions addressing the key challenges of the future maritime and shipping sector,“ Rita Rinaldo, Head of the ESA Institutional Projects Section, commented.
 
The knowledge-sharing agreement foresees using resources, expertise and facilities belonging to one of the signatories to achieve common goals. The MoI makes explicit reference to the future use of DIMECC’s Jaakonmeri test area for autonomous vessels – the first dedicated test zone worldwide for autonomous ship technology, located off western Finland. Finnish regulators have authorized One Sea to oversee future trials in the area.
 
Momentum continues to build for One Sea, as the vehicle best suited to coordinate thinking on shipping’s autonomous future. Members ABB, Kongsberg Maritime and Wärtsilä ran separate autonomous ship trials off the Finnish and Norwegian coasts at the end of 2018. Last month, three global maritime sector influencers joined the One Sea alliance, after satellite group Inmarsat and NYK Group research subsidiary Monohakobi Technology Institute (MTI) became full members and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) signed up as an associate member.
  • World Maritime News
 
Baker Hughes lands equipment and service contracts with i3 Energy
 
Independent oil and gas company i3 Energy has awarded Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), contracts for its 2019 summer drilling program on its Liberator and Serenity assets and its 2020 Phase I development of Liberator in the UK North Sea.
 
i3 Energy has already signed a contract with Dolphin Drilling for the use of the Borgland Dolphin semi-submersible drilling rig at its undeveloped Liberator oil field and Serenity prospects in the North Sea. i3 Energy said on Tuesday that BHGE’s scope will include directional drilling, drilling fluids, mudlogging, formation evaluation operations and wellheads.
 
In connection with the award, BHGE has agreed that £3 million ($3.8M) of oilfield service and oilfield equipment contract payments will not become payable until such time as i3 has received its first sales revenues from Liberator Phase I.
 
As part of this transaction, the company said it will be issuing to BHGE warrants up to a notional value of £3 million at an exercise price of 56.85p per ordinary share, totaling up to 5,277,045 warrants if fully issued. BHGE can exercise the warrants via cash settlement or in exchange for payments due under OFS or OFE contracts with the company.
 
Junior noteholders will also be offered participation in warrants on these same terms, pro-rata to their ownership of i3 on a fully-diluted basis and also pro-rata to the proportion of warrants fully issued to BHGE, which could total up to 1,566,572 warrants if all 5,277,045 warrants are issued to BHGE.
 
Majid Shafiq, CEO of i3 Energy commented: “We are very pleased to announce that we will be awarding these multi-million dollar oilfield service and equipment contracts to BHGE. We appreciate the confidence BHGE has shown in the quality of the Liberator oilfield in agreeing to receive payments from first oil revenues. This transaction will enable us to maximize the allocation of capital resources and contingency towards our 2019 drilling activities, and we look forward to welcoming BHGE as a partner as we establish a mutually beneficial long-term relationship to unlock the value in our assets.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Contaminated blood inquiry: Scots victims to give evidence
 
The stories of Scots who contracted HIV and hepatitis from contaminated blood products will be heard as an inquiry into the scandal moves to Edinburgh.
 
Victims and their families will give evidence during the two weeks the UK-wide inquiry is in Scotland. An estimated 3,000 people were infected with tainted blood products in Scotland in the 1970s and 80s. An earlier public inquiry into contaminated blood products in Scotland was labelled a "whitewash" by victims. The Penrose Inquiry - published in 2015 - took six years and cost more than £12m, though its powers and terms of reference were limited.
 
Many of the NHS patients who were infected were haemophiliacs, while others included those who needed blood transfusions. Dan Farthing, of Haemophilia Scotland, said they were determined not to repeat the "failure" of the Scottish public inquiry. It did not have the power to compel witnesses outside Scotland to attend and it made only a single recommendation - that anyone who had a blood transfusion in Scotland before 1991 should be tested for hepatitis C.
 
Haemophilia Scotland is optimistic that the chairman of the new inquiry, retired judge Sir Brian Langstaff, will keep the victims and their families at its "heart".
 
Mr Farthing said: "Over the next two weeks infected and affected people from across Scotland will be giving evidence and painfully reliving some of the worst experiences of their lives. We will hear about how these infections have taken lives, destroyed relationships, and ended careers."
 
He added: "For the inquiry to succeed it must answer the questions poised to it by our community. The inquiry recommendations, when they come, must show that lessons have been learned and make sure that all those damaged by the disaster have the financial and emotional support they need."
 
People with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders were given blood infected with HIV and hepatitis viruses during the 1970s and 1980s. It was the result of a new treatment; a clotting agent called Factor VIII. People who had blood transfusions after an operation, or childbirth, are also thought to have been exposed.
 
The UK was struggling to keep up with demand for the Factor VIII blood clotting treatment, so supplies began to be imported from the US, where much of the blood plasma came from donors such as prison inmates and drug-users, who sold their blood. These groups were at higher risk of blood-borne viruses, but at the time HIV had not been diagnosed, and understanding about hepatitis was still developing. By the mid-1980s, once it was clear HIV was blood-borne, the products started to be heat-treated to kill the viruses but questions remain about how much was known before this time.
 
Some of the contaminated blood products remained in circulation and continued to be used, and screening of all blood products began in 1991. By the late 1990s, synthetic treatments for haemophilia became available, removing the risk of infection.
 
The latest public inquiry has been described as the biggest in UK history. It started in London in September last year and has already held sessions in Leeds and Belfast. It aims to establish why patients were given blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis C, and whether there was a cover-up.
 
The Department of Health estimates that 30,000 people across the UK were affected. The Scottish hearings will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. In contrast to the rest of the UK, Scotland was less reliant on imported blood products from the US. The transfusion service, however, regularly used donations from prisoners to top up supplies - a group at higher risk of having infections like HIV or hepatitis C.
 
So for the Scottish patients, who felt that they had no voice in the Penrose Inquiry, this is an opportunity to discover where responsibility lies for those actions. But this new UK wide inquiry is also broader and has greater powers. It will look at claims of a cover-up, and the response of government and officials as the risks began to emerge.
 
And like thousands of others across the UK, the key questions are similar: will it hold people to account? And will it result in more compensation for the victims and families who have lived with the stigma, or died with the shame, of this enormous NHS mistake?
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Monday 1st July 2019
 
Hurricane disappointed with Warwick Deep well results
 
Hurricane Energy has encountered disappointing results at the 205/26b-13Z (Warwick Deep) well located in the West of Shetland area. The well did not flow at commercial rates. Transocean Leader semi-submersible started drilling the Warwick Deep well for Hurricane Energy and Spirit Energy on April 16, 2019.
 
Earlier this year, energy intelligence firm Rystad Energy placed the Warwick on its list of top wildcat wells to watch this year, citing Hurricane’s pre-drill estimate of 935 million boe (Best Case Prospective Resources), and an indicated 77% chance of success.
 
Following completion of drill stem testing of the Warwick Deep well, the decision has been made to plug and abandon the well, Hurricane said on Monday. The Warwick Deep well was drilled to a total depth of 1,964m TVDSS and included a 712m horizontal section of fractured basement reservoir.
 
According to Hurricane, initial analysis indicates that the well intersected a poorly connected section of the fracture network within the oil column. The well did not flow at commercial rates producing a mixture of drilling brine, water, oil and gas, the company added. Hurricane and its contractors are currently evaluating the drill stem test data and fluid samples with the objective of providing an update on this preliminary analysis at Hurricane’s Capital Markets Day, scheduled for July 11, 2019.
 
The rig will now undertake work to permanently plug and abandon the Warwick Deep well and will then move to the 205/26b-B ‘Lincoln Crestal’ well, the second well of a three-well program on the Greater Warwick Area. Hurricane has a 50% interest in the Greater Warwick Area following Spirit Energy’s farm-in to the P1368 South and P2294 licenses in September 2018, which committed to a five-phase work program targeting sanction of full field development in 2021.
 
Dr Robert Trice, Chief Executive of Hurricane, commented: “It is disappointing that the Warwick Deep well did not flow at commercial rates. We were initially encouraged by hydrocarbon shows and gas ratio analysis indicative of light oil, however drill stem testing has clearly demonstrated that Warwick Deep cannot be considered suitable as a future production well and therefore the well will be plugged and abandoned.
 
“I look forward to commencing operations on the second well in the three-well program, Lincoln Crestal. This is now the preferred candidate to be tied back to the Aoka Mizu FPSO, where Lancaster EPS production operations remain in-line with guidance.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Helsinki Shipyard Oy to Build Cruise Ship Duo for Vodohod
 
Helsinki Shipyard Oy and Russia’s river cruise company Vodohod have signed a contract for the construction of two luxury cruise expedition vessels. According to the agreement, inked on June 27, the new vessels would be operated in high latitude areas both in the Arctic and Antarctic waters, as well as in the tropical waters during the spring and autumn seasons.
 
The parties unveiled that the design work for the project already started at Helsinki Shipyard Oy, with the first ship scheduled for delivery in August 2021 and the second in January 2022. To feature a length of about 110 meters and a breadth of 20 meters, the units will have an ice class PC6. They will be capable of accommodating 148 passengers and up to 110 crew members.
 
According to Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch, CEO of Helsinki Shipyard Oy, the new company’s first order marks the start of “a new chapter in the operation of Helsinki Shipyard.”
 
The shipyard was acquired by Algador Holdings Ltd in a transaction that finalized on May 20. Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy (AHS) transfered its assets and operations to Helsinki Shipyard Oy, the new company it established ahead of the transaction.
 
“Under the new owners Helsinki shipyard can concentrate on its core expertise, which are strong ice-class vessels and cruise ships,” Victor Olerskiy, the Chairman of the Board of the Helsinki Shipyard Oy, said in May.
 
Algador Holdings is owned by Rishat Bagautdinov and Vladimir Kasyanenko, whose companies operate international shipping and shipbuilding businesses, including Vodohod.
  • World Maritime News
 
Drive for electric bikes to replace delivery vans
 
A taxpayer-backed firm wants to help end use of petrol and diesel delivery vans with a new electric bike amid rising demand for green transport. The "Urban 200" was invented by three childhood friends who grew up building bikes together in their sheds. Their company, Edinburgh-based PeddleSMART, is getting ready to launch its vehicle. It will be built in a new factory employing ex-offenders and people with disabilities.
 
The premises at Ravenscraig, Motherwell, has been set up with a £400,000 grant from the economic development agency Scottish Enterprise. The vehicle has been developed over the last few years by friends Alastair Hutchison, Brian Craigie and David Field, who bonded over a love of engineering as teenagers in the 1970s and 80s.
 
Mr Hutchison said: "I do lots of cargo deliveries around Edinburgh - I'm one of the very few who do with a bike and a trailer.
 
"We wanted to come up with something bigger, more powerful and this was the solution. It's a bit Heath Robinson, but that's exactly where we began.
 
"It's full electric power, so it's no different from any other electric bike."
 
The current version can carry 200kg - the same as eight bags of cement or 66 boxes of wine - with up to 40 miles between charges. PeddleSMART is initially pitching the vehicle at public sector organisations like the NHS, councils and organisations which run "campus" sites which are home to multiple buildings and companies, such as Edinburgh's Bioquarter.
 
The firm is also targeting private companies such as food delivery firms and people who want to cut their car use. PeddleSMART Chief Executive Adam Reid told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme the vehicle's design was still evolving.
 
"We're developing it to put a weather surround on it, and move it from a three-wheeler to a four wheeler - it can be a freight carrier, a people-carrier and can do work for a council for instance - gritting instance or horticultural stuff in their parks.
 
Mr Reid agreed that a big cultural change would be needed for products like the Urban 200 to take off, but added: "Everyone's happy about doing something for the climate and saving money." The company's factory will create 100 jobs paying the £9-per-hour living wage over the next three years, and will take on people facing a range of challenges getting jobs.
 
"That's something we're really passionate about - helping the community and providing career opportunity for those guys," said Mr Reid.
 
The decision by Scottish Enterprise to back PeddleSMART comes after it announced a big change in its role, with a move from supporting high-growth companies to ones looking to create quality jobs and tackle inequalities. PeddleSMART is launching its vehicle in Scotland this year, with an aim to go UK-wide and beyond in 2020.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Friday 28th June 2019
 
CSIC Inks USD 2.08 Bn Worth of New Deals
 
China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) has held a grand signing ceremony for CNY 14.3 billion (USD 2.08 billion) worth of new contracts in Beijing.  The shipbuilding major agreed new vessel orders, conversion projects, charter and financing deals on June 27, according to Eworldship.
 
Under the new agreements, signed by the company’s leasing unit CSIC Leasing, a total of 24 newbuildings were ordered, including very large crude carriers (VLCCs), shuttle, product and chemical tankers, as well as Newcastlemax bulkers.
 
Additionally, the company signed conversion contracts for twelve vessels at three compatriot shipyards, namely, Dalian Shipbuilding, Wuchang Shipbuilding and Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding.
 
CSIC also secured financing deals with the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited and Nanyang Commercial Bank, related to two VLCCs and four 64,000 dwt woodchip carriers, and a joint investment contract with Wah Kwong Shipping for a VLCC duo.
 
CSIC said that its leasing arm already secured chartering contracts for 13 of the new vessels with Shandong Shipping, RWE Group, Oldendorff, Koch and WEM Lines.
  • World Maritime News
 
Woodmac: PTTEP’s Malaysia gas find is world’s 7th largest in 2019
 
Thai PTTEP on Thursday said it had made largest ever gas discovery ever in Malaysia, but came short of providing the estimated size. It said the discovery offshore Sarawak was a “multi-tcf” one. Energy intelligence firm Wood Mackenzie thinks the discovery is the seventh largest global discovery of the year.
 
In his take on PTTEP’s discovery at the Lang Lebah-1RDR2, the first exploration well in Sarawak SK410B Project, Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Huong Tra Ho said: “We estimate an indicative size of 2 trillion cubic feet, making this the 7th largest global discovery of the year. It is in the deeper, HP/HT reservoir of the basin, and looks potentially to have relatively ‘clean’ gas qualities and low impurity content.”
 
The analyst said the discovery was located in the gas-rich Sarawak-Luconia-East Natuna basin, which has enjoyed an exploration success rate of 55% over the past 10 years, above the 37% global average.
 
“The Miocene carbonate play, in particular, has produced a number of high-profile finds over the years, including Pegaga, B14, Kuang North and Kasawari. But issues around gas impurities and contaminants have stymied development plans for some of the fields,” Huong Tra Ho.
 
Development option
“We expect Lang Lebah to have a high chance of commercialization as feedgas into the Malaysia LNG (MLNG) complex. The plant is in urgent need of new supply as existing sources have only met 85% of its requirements in 2018. Legacy fields have experienced sand influx and water breakthroughs, while many of the remaining undeveloped discoveries require advanced CO2 and H2S processing. Gas quality will thus be crucial to determining the speed and ease of future monetization plans for Lang Lebah, which is also close to existing infrastructure.
 
“For PTTEP, Lang Lebah highlights the company’s capability in handling technically challenging reservoirs and reinforces its business development credentials. The discovery is now the largest operated find in company history, ahead of the Zawtika field (~280 mmboe) in Myanmar.
 
“It also represents a big win for the Thai national oil company, which has been aggressively securing resources across Southeast Asia over the past year, particularly Malaysia. The news comes on the back of PTTEP’s acquisition of Partex and Murphy Oil’s Malaysia portfolio, which together make it the third largest upstream acquirer in 2019.”
 
The Sarawak SK410B Project is located in the shallow waters, approximately 90 kilometers offshore Sarawak, with the acreages of approximately 1,870 square kilometers. The consortium consists of PTTEP HKO (the Operator), KUFPEC and PETRONAS Carigali Sdn. Bhd. with participating interests of 42.5%, 42.5% and 15% respectively.
 
PTTEP said Thursday the drilling result of the Lang Lebah-1RDR2 was historically PTTEP’s largest discovery.
 
“This affirms PTTEP’s strategy in organically growing reserves from exploration activities. The discovery will require further drilling to confirm upside potential,” PTTEP said.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Britain needs more nuclear power, electric chargers for climate goal – CBI
 
Britain needs more nuclear power plants, electric vehicle charging sites and carbon capture and storage projects to meet its new climate target, the Confederation of British Industry said on Friday.
 
The comments from Britain’s major business lobby come a day after the country became the first G7 member to enshrine in law a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
 
“Firms want to see a whole host of stable, long-term policies enacted – from building new nuclear power stations to scaling-up carbon capture and storage... that send markets a robust signal,” Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist said.
 
The CBI has written to Britain’s business and energy secretary Greg Clark calling on the government to include such policies in an energy white paper expected later this year.  Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May announced the new emissions target earlier this month, saying the country needed to move faster to combat climate change.
 
The UK’s original target was to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. The new target is more in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement which calls on countries to reduce carbon emissions to try to limit the global temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.
 
Britain in 2016 signed a deal with France’s EDF and China’s CGN to build the 18 billion pound ($23 billion) Hinkley C plant, Britain’s first new nuclear plant in decades.  The deal was criticized by organizations such as Britain’s National Audit Office for being too expensive and two other proposed projects, Toshiba’s NuGen and Hitachi’s Horizon, have since failed due to their inability to secure funding.
 
Britain’s climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said Britain would need to ramp up its renewable electricity generation such as wind and solar to meet the net zero target.  But the CCC also said it was likely that renewables would need to be complemented by low-carbon power options such as nuclear power and carbon capture and storage at gas or biomass power plants.
  • Reuters
 
G20 kicks off with row over climate ambition
 
International talks in Osaka and Bonn are marred by continuing divisions over the Paris Agreement and the global response to the escalating climate crisis  The G20 Summit in Japan will kick off today amidst predictions of a sizeable diplomatic row over international efforts to tackle climate change.
 
Reuters reported officials were still wrangling over the wording of the draft communique that is due to be issued at the close the summit, with the US and Europe once again divided on the level of climate policy ambition they are willing to commit to.
 
The stand-off comes in the same week as the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn were marred by a row over how to formally recognise the IPCC's landmark report on the risks associated with more than 1.5C of warming in the UN negotiations.
 
A small group of countries, led by Saudi Arabia, effectively blocked continued engagement with the IPCC report and even proposed text that would have cast some doubt on its findings - a proposal that was blocked by other countries, resulting in a compromise text that simply expressed "appreciation and gratitude" to the scientific community.
 
Meanwhile, in Osaka Reuters reported that an initial draft text that made limited mention of climate change had been strengthened with new language to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
 
The changes came as French President Emmanuel Macron suggested France could refuse to sign a communique that does not include a clear commitment to the Paris Agreement.
 
"If we don't talk about the Paris Agreement and if we don't get an agreement on it amongst the 20 members in the room, we are no longer capable of defending our climate change goals and France will not be part of this," he told reporters.
 
However, the US is widely expected to push for a softening of the language on climate action and could once again insist on a specific reference to its decision to quit the Paris treaty.
 
"Negotiations on the topic of climate will be especially difficult this time," a German official told Reuters.
 
Fears are once again growing that the US and a relatively small band of petrostates could seek to dilute support for the Paris Agreement before it comes into full effect next year.
 
Meanwhile, major business groups once again called on world leaders to strengthen their commitment to climate action and deliver more ambitious policies to drive investment in low carbon infrastructure.  Earlier this week a group of nearly 500 investors who collectively hold nearly half the world's assets published an open letter calling on the G20 to ramp up their carbon reduction targets, phase out coal power and fossil fuel subsidies, and set a global price on carbon by the end of next year.
 
And yesterday the We Mean Business coalition, which includes over 900 companies representing $19.3 trillion in market capitalization, issued a detailed statement calling on G20 governments to urgently ramp up decarbonisation efforts in order to ensure global emissions peak by 2020, halve by 2030, and reach net zero by mid-century.
 
The statement, which is also backed by a host of global green bodies including the Ceres investor network and C40 group of cities, argues the world needs "bold targets and clear timelines from all national governments which give businesses, investors, cities, states and regions the clarity and confidence they need to accelerate and scale-up their climate action".
 
It also stresses that it is in governments' interests to deliver more ambitious climate policies. "The scale of the climate crisis is more visible than ever and citizens are waking up to the consequences as never before," it states. "We see it vividly in the recent wave of protests around the world, from striking students to disruptive action, and election results in Europe showing that concern about climate change is at an all-time high."
 
The statement sets out a number of specific policy proposals, calling on governments to deliver new national climate action plans, set a "meaningful" price on carbon, end fossil fuel subsidies, introduce fiscal measures to support clean technologies, support clean city development, enhance climate reporting guidelines, and develop just transition strategies. 
 
The EU, UK, and many other countries may be responding to business calls and stepping up their climate goals and working on more ambitious policies, but it looks as if the divisions that have marred international climate talks for decades remain as present as ever.
  • Business Green

Headlines Thursday 27th June 2019

50Hertz Issues Geotechnical Survey Tender Call
 
German transmission system operator 50Hertz Offshore GmbH is seeking geotechnical survey services for a project in the German Baltic Sea.  50Hertz has issued a tender for a geotechnical investigation and an accompanying report for an offshore transformer platform.
 
The duration of the contract would be ten months, 50Hertz said. The value of the contract is undisclosed.  The minimum time frame during which the tenderer must maintain the tender is until 28 February 2020.  Interested parties have until 26 July to respond to the solicitation.
 
50Hertz is responsible for the construction and operation of offshore infrastructure which connects wind farms in the German Baltic Sea to the national grid.
 
To this end, the TSO builds and operates offshore substations, partly in cooperation with the wind farm operators, which convert wind energy to a higher voltage for onshore transport level. From there, the electricity is transported to the company's onshore substations through our submarine cables.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Gasum’s Coralius Marks Bunkering Milestone in Rotterdam
 
Gasum’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker vessel, Coralius, conducted its first bunkering in the port of Rotterdam.  During the ship-to-ship operation LNG was supplied to the chemical tanker Bit Viking. The event represented a milestone for Coralius when proving its availability in the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area).
 
“Finally, being able to bunker our clients in the ARA area increases LNG availability and security for the LNG fueled fleet. The amount of LNG driven vessels is growing rapidly globally, and we will definitely be part of the growth in being present where LNG is needed,” Kimmo Rahkamo, Vice President, natural gas and LNG, Gasum, said.
 
Coralius mainly operates in the North Sea and the Skagerrak area, where it celebrated its 100th bunkering operation in late February.
 
Gasum said it expects an increase in the average amount of delivered stem, as it will perform bunkerings on shuttle tankers and other bigger vessels.  ConocoPhillips in exclusive talks for Barossa-Darwin LNG link
  • World Maritime News
 
ConocoPhillips in exclusive talks for Barossa-Darwin LNG link
 
A ConocoPhillips-led consortium developing the Barossa offshore gas and condensate project in Australia has entered into exclusive negotiations with the Darwin LNG Joint Venture for the supply of backfill gas to the Darwin LNG facility.
 
ConocoPhillips has previously said that it believes Barossa is a leading candidate to backfill the Darwin LNG facility from 2022 when the existing offshore gas supply from the Bayu-Undan field is expected to be exhausted.
 
Santos, a partner in the Barossa offshore project, said on Thursday the exclusive talks would give Barossa JV “an exclusive commercial negotiation period to reach a processing services agreement as well as settle on a tariff in anticipation of a Final Investment Decision early next year.”
 
The Barossa project entered the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of development in April last year, and in May announced the contract with TechnipFMC to supply the Subsea Production System (SPS) and associated SPS installation support.
 
The indicative plan for Barossa includes development wells drilling in 2020/21, deployment of a newbuilt FPSO and the installation of subsea infrastructure, with the operations expected to start in 2023.
 
Japan’s MODEC in June 2018 confirmed the award of a contract by ConocoPhillips for the front-end engineering design (FEED) of a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Barossa project. MODEC is competing for the FPSO award with a JV between Samsung and TechnipFMC.
 
Dry gas would be transported from the FPSO via a new 260km pipeline (GEP) to a tie‐in point on the existing Bayu‐Undan pipeline (approximately 130km offshore from Darwin).
 
Santos CEO: Barossa is a lead candidate for Darwin LNG
 
Commenting on the exclusive talks with Darwin JV Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gallagher said: “This exclusivity confirms the confidence we had to commit to long-lead items last month and maintain project schedule to deliver gas to DLNG as early as possible.”
 
“Clearly, it also confirms Barossa’s status as the lead candidate for the supply of backfill gas to Darwin LNG. Bids have also been received and are being evaluated for the FPSO, gas export pipeline and development drilling. We’re getting on with the job.”
 
The Barossa gas field is located 300 kilometers north of Darwin. According to info on ConocoPhillips’ website, Barossa would ensure continued operation of the DLNG facility for a further 20 plus years, providing ongoing economic and social benefits to Darwin.
 
Santos holds a 25% interest in the Barossa-Caldita joint venture along with partners ConocoPhillips (37.5% and operator) and SK E&S (37.5%). Worth noting, Santos is also a joint venture partner in Darwin LNG with an 11.5% interest.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
G20 members at odds over climate change for summit meeting: sources
 
TOKYO (Reuters) - G20 negotiators are wrangling over the wording of a summit communique on combatting climate change, with the United States pushing to downgrade the language against European opposition, according to sources and drafts of the text.
 
The arguments are a reprise of tussles over global warming that have stymied talks in multilateral forums since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark agreement to limit the effects of climate change.
 
The latest draft, seen by Reuters, includes language supporting implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and saying the accord signed by 200 nations is “irreversible”.  An earlier draft, also seen by Reuters, did not include such language at the insistence of the United States, two sources familiar with the discussions over the communique told Reuters.
 
Further changes to the communique are likely before the final adoption of the text on Saturday by Group of 20 leaders in Osaka for this week’s summit, but the inclusion of stronger language came as French President Emmanuel Macron said France will not accept a text that does not mention the Paris agreement.
 
“If we don’t talk about the Paris Agreement and if we don’t get an agreement on it amongst the 20 members in the room, we are no longer capable of defending our climate change goals and France will not be part of this,” he said in Tokyo on Wednesday before heading to Osaka.
 
France was one of the main drivers behind the Paris accord and the French parliament is now debating an energy bill that targets net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
 
“Negotiations on the topic of climate will be especially difficult this time,” a German government official said on Wednesday.
 
Nations in Paris agreed to limit the global average rise from pre-industrial temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Current policies, though, put the world on track for at least a 3C rise by the end of the century, according to a United Nations report in 2016.
 
Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, piled pressure on G20 leaders on Wednesday, demanding urgent action from governments on climate change.
 
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday also urged G20 countries to back more ambitious climate goals, among other international initiatives.
 
Summit host Japan has been criticized for backing the continued use of coal for power generation, one of the biggest sources of gas emissions that cause global warming.  G20 leaders will meet on Friday and Saturday.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Tuesday 25th June 2019
 
Shell: LNG Bunker Barge Starts Ops in Rotterdam
 
Europe’s first inland-waterway LNG bunker vessel has performed its first bunkering operations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, according to the ship’s long-term charterer Shell.  The LNG London, owned by LNG Shipping – a cooperation between Victrol and Sogestran, conduced the operation with the Containerships Polar and Containerships Nord vessels.
 
The 110-metre-long barge would primarily be used by Shell for LNG bunkering in the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp.
 
“The entry into service of LNG London shows our ability and commitment to providing safe and reliable supplies that help meet the growing need for cleaner-burning fuel,” Tahir Faruqui, General Manager, Shell Global Downstream LNG, said.
 
“We are pleased to have three LNG bunker vessels in our fleet and look forward to others joining them in the future,” Faruqui added.
 
Featuring a capacity of 3,000 cubic metres, LNG London would be loaded at the Gate terminal in Rotterdam. The LNG cargo would be delivered to seagoing vessels, inland barges and terminals onshore, while a restricted air draft allows the barge to sail via inland waterways to Antwerp and Amsterdam, if required.
  • World Maritime News
 
Merkur Switches On
 
GE Renewable Energy has completed the handover of the 66 GE Haliade 150-6MW turbines at the Merkur offshore wind farm in Germany.  GE is also in charge of carrying out operations and maintenance of the turbines for a period of ten years.
 
To remind, jack-up vessel Seafox 5 installed the last turbine at the project site 45km of the island of Borkum in September last year, shortly after the wind farm produced first power.
 
The 396MW Merkur offshore wind farm is expected to be fully commissioned this year.
 
Merkur Offshore GmbH, a joint venture between Partners Group, InfraRed Capital Partners, DEME Concessions and Coriolis, is the developer and owner of the project.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Energean firms up agreement with Israel Natural Gas Lines
 
Greek oil and gas company Energean Oil and Gas has signed a detailed agreement with Israel Natural Gas Lines (INGL) for the transfer of title of the near shore and onshore part of the infrastructure that will deliver gas from the Karish and Tanin FPSO into the Israeli national gas transmission grid.
 
A Memorandum of Understanding with INGL was signed in December 2018.  As consideration, INGL will pay Energean 369 million Israeli New Shekels, approximately $102 million, which will be paid in accordance with milestones detailed in the agreement.
 
The agreement covers the onshore section of the Karish and Tanin infrastructure and the near shore section of pipeline extending to approximately 10km offshore. It is intended that the hand over to INGL will become effective shortly after the delivery of first gas from the Karish field in 1Q 2021.
 
Following hand over, INGL will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of this part of the infrastructure. Energean will not incur any charges or tariffs for use of this infrastructure.
 
Mathios Rigas, CEO of Energean Oil & Gas said: “The agreement signed with INGL is an important milestone for the Karish and Tanin development, which will start flowing natural gas to the Israeli market in 1Q 2021. This demonstrates the commitment of the Israeli government to the project, and to long term development of gas resources offshore Israel. The infrastructure being built by Energean will enable connection of future gas discoveries to the system, further contributing to Israel’s energy security and diversity of supply.”
 
Energean made a Final Investment Decision (FID) in March 2018 for its flagship Karish-Tanin gas development project, where it intends to use the only FPSO in the Eastern Mediterranean to produce first gas in 2021.
 
Energean has already signed firm contracts for 4.2 bcma of gas sales into the Israeli domestic market. Future gas sales agreements will focus on both the growing Israeli domestic market and key export markets in the region.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Boris Johnson defends Brexit plan and 'row' silence
 
Boris Johnson has admitted he would need EU co-operation to avoid a hard Irish border or crippling tariffs on trade in the event of no deal.  In an exclusive interview with the BBC, the favourite to be next prime minister said: "It's not just up to us."
 
But he said he did "not believe for a moment" the UK would leave without a deal, although he was willing to do so.  Asked about a row he had with his partner, he said it was "simply unfair" to involve "loved ones" in the debate.
 
Reports of the argument on Friday with his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, dominated headlines over the weekend after the police were called to their address in London.
 
The interview comes after Sky News said it would have to cancel a head-to-head debate on Tuesday between the two leadership contenders as Mr Johnson had "so far declined" to take part.
 
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd told Radio 4's Today programme she found Mr Johnson's decision to ignore live TV debates "very odd" and urged him "to reconsider".
 
Meanwhile, the other candidate, Jeremy Hunt has promised to boost defence spending by £15bn over the next five years if he becomes prime minister.  In an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Johnson said the existing deal negotiated by Theresa May "is dead".
 
He insisted it was possible to broker a new deal with the EU before the end of October because the political landscape had changed in the UK and on the continent.
 
"I think actually that politics has changed so much since 29 March," he said, referring to the original Brexit deadline.
 
"I think on both sides of the Channel there's a really different understanding of what is needed."
 
At the moment, the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October after the PM's Brexit deal was rejected three times by Parliament.
 
Mr Johnson said he would be able to persuade Brussels to resolve the Irish border issue - a key sticking point - despite repeated warnings from EU leaders that that was impossible.  He said there were "abundant, abundant technical fixes" that could be made to avoid border checks.
 
When challenged that these do not exist yet, Mr Johnson replied: "Well, they do actually, you have in very large measure they do, you have trusted trader schemes, all sorts of schemes that you could put into place."  But, he admitted, there was "no single magic bullet" to solve the issue.
  • BBC News

 

 
Headlines Monday 24th June 2019
 
Wind power: £100m fund aims to boost UK companies
 
A £100m fund has been established to help UK firms capitalise on the boom in offshore wind.  With the UK so well suited to exploiting wind power, turbines have been erected in more than 30 locations from Brighton to the Moray Firth.  But trade unions say the boom has not generated enough jobs for UK workers.
 
The Offshore Wind Industry Council says its initiative will help hundreds of firms "maximise opportunities" in the offshore wind supply chain.
 
"The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical help for UK companies so they can compete successfully for contracts in this thriving global market," said Benj Sykes, chairman of the OWIC and UK country manager for the Danish firm Orsted.  The OWIC, which is a joint government and industry body, will invest the privately-raised funds over 10 years to support companies in the supply chain.
 
Firms that manufacture parts, lay cables and maintain wind farms will receive support ranging from "expert advice on manufacturing and commercialisation" to funding for innovation. They will also be given support to export their products and services.
 
By 2030 the offshore wind power market is expected to be worth £30bn per year, with the UK expected to be generating a third of its electricity from wind. The OWIC hopes to raise the participation of UK businesses in the industry from 48% currently to 60%, under a sector deal agreed between industry and government.
 
The new fund will bring "investment, thousands of high-quality jobs and huge economic opportunities for communities across the UK", energy and clean growth minister Chris Skidmore said.  Last month GMB general secretary, Tim Roache said Britain's politicians needed "to sharpen their elbows in the fight for jobs" when it came to opportunities in the growing renewables sector.
 
The union says up to 1,000 jobs could be created at two mothballed yards in Fife if EDF chose local firms to manufacture parts for a huge wind farm project there, rather than as is expected the work being done in Indonesia, Belgium and Spain.
  • BBC News
 
Ocean Cleanup Redeploys Its Upgraded System
 
After tweaking its plastics collecting system over the past four months, The Ocean Cleanup redeployed the revamped System 001/B last week.
 
“After only four months of design, procurement, and assembly, the crew is now on their way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with the upgraded System 001/B,” the company informed via social media.
 
Being towed by the Maersk’s supply vessel Maersk Transporter, the system is scheduled to arrive at the test site on June 25.
 
After a couple of years of various tests, the system failed two months after being deployed and was towed to Hawaii for inspection and repair. The company earlier explained that the System 001, which was deployed into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in September 2018, needed final fine-tuning before it could start harvesting plastic at full potential.
 
The Ocean Cleanup confirmed many key assumptions of the design, but also encountered two unscheduled learning opportunities during the period – the system did not maintain a sufficient speed, allowing plastic to exit the system, and a stress concentration caused a fatigue fracture in the HDPE floater.
 
In mid-January 2019, the Wilson system completed its 800-mile journey and arrived in Hilo Bay, Hawaii.  The latest campaign would test the various modifications that were made to the system.
  • World Maritime News
 
Boris Johnson 'could face Tory coup' over no-deal Brexit stance
 
Jeremy Hunt has stepped up his criticism of Boris Johnson for avoiding media scrutiny in the Tory leadership campaign, calling it “disrespectful”, as another minister said Johnson could be brought down by his own MPs if he pushed for a no-deal Brexit.
 
Tobias Ellwood, the junior defence minister, said it was possible that the decision by Johnson actively to seek no deal could push some Conservatives to support a no-confidence motion against his government.
 
“I believe that absolutely is the case,” Ellwood told the BBC. “I think a dozen or so members of parliament would be on our side, would be voting against supporting a no deal and that would include ministers as well as backbenchers.”
 
Following a hugely difficult weekend for the Johnson campaign, dominated by questions about why police were called to his home after an argument with his partner, Carrie Symonds, allies of the former foreign secretary sought to fight his corner.
 
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, who supported Johnson after abandoning his own leadership bid, said it was “nonsense” to accuse the frontrunner of avoiding scrutiny, saying he was taking part in dozens of Conservative hustings events.
 
Priti Patel, the former international development secretary and another leading Johnson supporter, told the BBC that Johnson was facing “a very clear, politically motivated series of attacks” over the incident on Thursday night at the London home he shares with Symonds.
 
Johnson has refused to comment on the circumstances of a furious row that led one neighbour to record some of the shouting from inside his flat, and informed the Guardian about the incident. Other neighbours said they had considered calling police.
 
“The very prospect of someone taping someone in their private home, frankly, tells me that is politically motivated,” Patel said. “And that is not the type of behaviour that you would expect in our country. It’s the type of behaviour associated with the old Eastern Bloc.”
 
Patel said such incidents were “very much there to deflect upon the fact he is a Brexit candidate”. She said: “Quite frankly this has now become very much, I think, remain versus leave, and a personal attack and campaign against Boris.”
 
Speaking earlier to Sky News, Hunt declined to comment on the incident with Symonds, saying only: “He’s got to decide what he says about his private life.”
 
But Hunt was scathing about Johnson’s decision to avoid almost all media interviews and debates, calling it “very disrespectful to Conservative party members”.
 
Johnson has agreed to take part in an ITV event on 9 July, by which point party members will have received their ballots. But he is avoiding a planned Sky debate on Tuesday.
 
“I’m saying that it is cowardice, frankly, not to appear in head-to-head debates against me,” Hunt said.
 
“You can’t become prime minister without answering questions about the decisions you’re going to have to take almost immediately you get through the door of No 10. My worry is that Boris has got a coalition of people like Matt Hancock, who want no deal taken off the table, and Mark Francois, who wants no deal – that coalition will dissolve very, very quickly indeed when he has to take some actual decisions.
 
“Sometimes in politics you can fudge, but on Brexit you can’t. There are going to have to be decisions, and that’s why it’s very important that the new prime minister has a mandate from having spelled out exactly what they’re going to do.”
 
Hunt also accused Johnson of appearing willing to “slink through the back door” of No 10 by “pathetically” evading questioning. “Don’t be a coward, Boris, man up,” he wrote in Monday’s edition of the Times.
 
Warnings such as those from Ellwood about no-confidence motions made proper scrutiny all the more necessary, Hunt argued: “In that situation, is he going to have an election in order to get a majority in parliament for a no-deal Brexit? I think Conservative party members need to know the answer to those questions.”
 
Defending Johnson on BBC1’s Breakfast, Hancock said the dozen-plus party hustings and other events amounted to “endless and constant scrutiny”.
 
Hancock added: “Of course, the question of whether Boris’s private life is private is, perfectly reasonably, up to him. I don’t think anybody would like their conversations late at night to be listened in to and snooped on by a neighbour.”
  • The Guardian
 
Headlines Friday 21st June 2019
 
ABS Ready to Class Its First “Tri-Fuel” Ship
 
The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) is set to achieve another first after it classes its first “tri-fuel” vessel.  Under a contract with Harvey Gulf International Marine, ABS will class two offshore supply vessels (OSV) being retrofitted with a battery/converter system.
 
The installation of a 1,450 kW battery hybrid solution is anticipated to reduce the vessels’ exhaust emissions, fuel consumption, and noise level. The overall fuel cost savings are expected to be in the range of 10 to 20 percent, according to Harvey Gulf International.
 
ABS said the battery capacity would be sufficient to sail in and out of harbor on electric power with fewer engines running, while also supplementing hotel load electricity when docked, which would reduce noise and pollution levels in the harbor area.
 
“The project will effectively create tri-fueled vessels with significant potential to reduce fuel consumption and emissions,” Matt Tremblay, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Offshore, said.
  • World Maritime News
 
Maersk Drilling closes Giant rig sale
 
Danish offshore drilling contractor Maersk Drilling has completed the sale of its jack-up rig Giant – formerly named Mærsk Giant – to the LOTOS Petrobaltic Group.
 
Mærsk Giant was delivered in 1986, and upgraded in 2012. Maersk Drilling entered into an agreement to sell the jack-up rig Mærsk Giant to “an Australasian-based independent O&G operator” in November 2018.  The drilling contractor said on Friday that the new owners would use the rig for drilling solely in the Baltic Sea, for jobs involving the LOTOS Petrobaltic Group and other contracting parties.
 
“After reviewing different options, we believe that a sale of Giant creates the highest shareholder value. The rig was built in 1986 and the sale is part of our fleet optimization in line with our strategic priority of maintaining a fleet of modern, high-quality assets,” says CFO Jesper Ridder Olsen of Maersk Drilling.
 
Maersk Drilling will recognize a single-digit USD million pre-tax gain on the sale.
 
The Mærsk Giant is one of the ultra-harsh environment jack-ups in Maersk Drilling’s fleet. The rig is fully equipped for high pressure/high temperature (HP/HT) drilling and is designed for year-round operation in the North Sea, in water depths up to 107 m (350 ft) with an available leg length below the hull of 132 m (435 ft).
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Clean power to overtake fossil fuels in Britain in 2019
 
Britain, the birth place of coal power, is set this year to use more electricity from zero-carbon sources such as wind, solar and nuclear than from fossil fuel plants for the first time, the country’s National Grid said on Friday.  Britain was home to the world’s first coal-fuelled power plant in the 1880s, and coal was its dominant electricity source and a major economic driver for the next century.
 
But last week it became the first G7 country to commit to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a target requiring a big increase in low-carbon power, and an even steeper reduction in fossil fuel use.  European leaders have also this week discussed moving to a tougher climate target but have struggled to find unanimity among member states.
 
“The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past 10 years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero-carbon power beats fossil fuel fired generation for the first time,” National Grid CEO John Pettigrew said.
 
Data from National Grid shows low-carbon power generation contributed around 48% of Britain’s electricity in the first five months of 2019 while fossil fuels such as coal and gas-fired plants contributed around 47%. The rest comes from biomass and storage.
 
The transition has been largely due to a huge increase in Britain’s wind power capacity, with wind contributing almost a fifth of the country’s power in the first five months of 2019, up from just 1% in 2009.
 
Britain’s windy coastlines in particular have proved to be an ideal host for large wind projects, with the northwest coast of England home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Orsted’s Walney Extension.  The increase in zero-carbon power marks a huge shift from a decade ago when coal and gas plants provided around three-quarters of the country’s electricity.
 
Britain plans to phase out all coal-fired power generation by 2025 and further cuts in greenhouse emissions will be vital if the country is to meet the net-zero target, the government’s climate advisers have said.  Germany, which gets around 35% of its electricity from renewable sources has struggled to reduce its emissions due to its high portion of coal power, which contributed more than one-third of its power last year.
 
The National Grid data showed 9% of Britain’s electricity came from imports from Europe via interconnectors with France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland during the first five months of the year.  More than half of these imports came from zero-carbon generation.
 
National Grid said the growing number of power interconnectors Britain has with its neighbors, such as nuclear power dominant France, will help Britain further curb its fossil fuel use.
 
An interconnector planned with Norway will give Britain access to Norway’s carbon-free hydro power, while also enabling Britain to export is growing wind capacity, National Grid said.
 
The UK-Norway North Sea Link, at 720 km, is the world’s longest interconnector and is expected to begin operation in 2021.
  • Reuters
 
 
Headlines Thursday 20th June 2019
 
Hyundai Mipo Secures Containership Order
 
South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, part of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has received an order for two feeder containerships.  The deal was inked with an undisclosed shipowner from Asia, according to Hyundai Mipo’s stock exchange filing.
 
As informed, the contract is worth KRW 82.7 billion (USD 71.2 million).  The 2,500 TEU vessel pair is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2020.  Reports say that the two Sub Panamax vessels would be constructed for Korea Marine Transport Co. (KMTC).
 
In March this year, KMTC already ordered three identical 2,500 feeders at Hyundai Mipo yard. The company will be paying USD 35 million for each of the 35,000 dwt newbuilds.
 
To be fitted with scrubbers, the ships will feature a length of 197 meters and a width of 32.5 meters. They will be built at Ulsan Hyundai Mipo shipyard and delivered sequentially in the second half of 2020.
  • World Maritime News
 
Langholm turbines-enlargement plan opposed by planners
 
A council is being recommended to refuse revised plans for a wind farm near Langholm.  Developers want to cut the number of turbines in the Crossdykes project from 15 to 10 but increase them in size.
 
Planning officials have said that is a major departure from the original plans and would have a significant adverse visual impact on the landscape.  However, community councils and residents have said the cut in turbines would create a less cluttered layout.
 
They have also argued the construction phase would be a boost for the local economy and the offer of 10% community ownership of the scheme would provide opportunities for the area.  Dumfries and Galloway Council previously approved the 15-turbine project but is being advised to turn down this version - which would see turbine height increase from 150m (500ft) to 176m (580ft).
 
A report to the local authority's planning committee said the level of community support was recognised as were the potential socio-economic benefits.
Nonetheless, it concluded the visual impact would be too great and has recommended the proposal be refused.
  • BBC News
 
UK employers stick to 2.5% pay deals – XpertHR
 
British employers offered staff pay rises averaging 2.5% as part of wage settlements in the three months to May, industry data showed on Thursday, matching the trend seen for most of this year.
 
Human resources data firm XpertHR said pay settlements had hovered around the same level since the start of 2019, despite a small pick-up in inflation.
 
“Following a dip in the second half of 2018, the first half of 2019 is dominated by pay rises in the region of 2.5%,” XpertHR analyst Sheila Attwood said.  After years of falls in pay when adjusted for inflation, Britain’s workers have had some of the biggest pay rises in a decade in recent months due to a tight labour market though they are modest compared to pre-financial crisis rates of pay growth.
 
The risk of a disruptive Brexit has made some employers more willing to hire new staff, who can be sacked if the economy sours, than to make long-term labour-saving investments.  Pay settlement data is typically lower than the headline measure of wage growth, as it does not include pay increases gained through changing jobs or promotions.  Official data last week showed average annual wage growth excluding bonuses was 3.4% in the three months to April, just off a 10-year high of 3.5% recorded at the turn of the year.
 
The Bank of England forecast last month that pay growth would ease to 3% this year. But policymakers are concerned inflation will hover above its 2% target unless it raises interest rates slightly over the next couple of years.
  • Reuters
 
Headlines Wednesday 19th June 2019
 
UK oil industry getting ‘very good’ at decommissioning, OGA boss says
 
The UK oil and gas industry is starting to get “very good” at decommissioning, the sector’s top regulator said yesterday.  Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) chief executive Andy Samuel said the UK was already a top player when it came to the late-life management of offshore infrastructure.  The industry is now showing its potential to become a world leader in oilfield dismantling and scrapping, he added.
 
In 2017, the OGA revealed dismantling the UK North Sea would cost £59.7 billion and it set a goal of reducing the figure by at least 35%.  A year later, the regulator said the sector had potentially slashed the bill by 7%, or £4bn.  OGA’s next decommissioning cost estimate report will be published on July 2.
 
The study will reveal that “extremely good” progress is being made, Mr Samuel said at the Energy Exports Conference yesterday.  He also told the audience he was “more confident than ever before” in the oil and gas industry’s “vision” for the next 15 years.  Vision 2035 is the ambition to fulfil as much UK oil and gas demand as possible through domestic production and help boost supply chain exports, while supporting the low carbon push.
 
A taskforce of big hitters has been assembled to devise a roadmap showing what needs to be done and by when to deliver the vision.  Oil and Gas UK chief executive Deirdre Michie said the roadmap would be published at the Offshore Europe oil and gas conference and exhibition in Aberdeen in September.
  • Energy Voice
 
Norway Ponders 3.5GW Offshore Wind Move
 
The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced plans to potentially open two areas for offshore wind development with a combined capacity of up to 3.5GW.  The Ministry will send a proposal to open a hearing on the Utsira North area off the coast of Rogaland before summer. In addition, input will be requested for the Southern North Sea II area.
 
The Utsira Nord area would have the capacity of between 500MW and 1,500MW. The area is suitable for floating wind turbines, Norway's Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell-Børge Freiberg said.
 
''I would ask for input on whether we should also open the area Southern North Sea II, which is close to the territorial boundary with Denmark,'' Freiberg said, adding that the wind farm or wind farms at the Southern North Sea II area, with a combined capacity of between 1GW and 2GW, could provide a connection to the European continental grid.
 
The Norwegian government presented a strategy for floating wind power in the state budget for 2018. The goal of the strategy is for Norwegian companies to increase exports of goods and services to this industry.
 
''Offshore wind power offers great opportunities for Norwegian companies. Norway can build on unique experience from the oil and gas industry, shipping, shipbuilding, and renewable energy. The cost of wind power has fallen a lot, and it is likely that it will fall further,'' said Freiberg.
 
As part of the consultation, the MPE will also propose a regulation to the marine energy law. The regulations will provide further provisions on the licensing process, the Ministry said.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
Scottish alcohol sales drop as minimum price kicks in
 
Scots bought less alcohol in 2018 than any year since records began in the early 1990s, according to a new report.  Analysis by NHS Health Scotland found Scottish adults still bought more alcohol than people in England and Wales on average but the gap narrowed.  A minimum price per unit of alcohol was introduced on 1 May last year in a bid to tackle Scotland's drink culture.  The authors of the report said it was not possible to quantify the impact but "early indicators were encouraging".
 
Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP), although others places operate different forms of price control.  Minimum pricing was largely aimed at raising the cost of cheap lager, cider and spirits sold in supermarkets and off-licences to reduce consumption.
 
The 2019 MESAS (Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland's Alcohol Strategy) report said:
  • The average Scottish adult bought 19 units of alcohol per week (The UK recommended limit was 14 units a week for men and women).
  • The annual volume of "pure alcohol" in drinks sold in Scotland was 9.9 litres per adult, down about 3% from 10.2 litres in 2017.
  • The volume of alcohol is 9% higher than in England and Wales (9.1 litres) - the smallest difference since 2003.
  • Since 2010 the volume of pure alcohol sold per adult through supermarkets and off-licences has fallen by 9% in Scotland.
  • It has risen by 3% in England and Wales over the same period.
The report said alcohol continued to be a leading cause of illness and early death in Scotland, with an average of 22 people dying of alcohol-related illness every week.
 
The Scottish government brought in minimum unit pricing to target the price of cheap, high-strength alcohol, which it said attracted problem drinkers.  The new law looked at the amount of alcohol in a drink and set a minimum price of 50p for each unit.  Under the rules, a 70cl bottle of vodka, at a strength of 37.5% abv, would be 26.25 units and cost £13.13.
 
Lucie Giles, public health intelligence adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said the minimum pricing law led to the biggest rise in the average price of alcohol for a decade and a "substantial" fall in the volume of alcohol sold at very low prices.  For the first time, less alcohol was sold below 50p per unit in Scotland than south of the border.
 
Following Scotland's introduction of the policy, members of the Welsh Assembly passed legislation to introduce a minimum price for alcohol - the plans are yet to be implemented.  Similar legislation has been considered for England but is not currently on the table.
 
Ms Giles said: "From the data in this report it's not possible to quantify the full contribution of MUP (minimum unit pricing) on alcohol prices and sales, but these are encouraging early indicators."  She said alcohol was still a "significant public health issue" and people in Scotland's poorest areas continued to experience the most harm.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Tuesday 18th June 2019
 
GreenSpur Rolls Out Jumbo Offshore Wind Turbine Generator
 
GreenSpur Renewables has built what is said to be the world's largest ferrite-based direct drive permanent magnet generator (DD-PMG) for offshore wind turbines that is capable of multi-megawatt electricity generation.  The DD-PMG, capable of producing 250kW, uses a new construction method that solves many problems today's offshore wind turbines experience without the need for large quantities of rare earth magnets, GreenSpur said.
 
The generator was assembled in the North East of England and is now at Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult in Blyth where system testing will be carried out over the next few months.
 
“The current generation of direct drive generators used in today’s offshore wind farms rely on rare-earth magnets. Not only is the supply of these dominated by China – and may possibly be restricted as part of the ongoing US-China trade war – there is also competition for magnet supply from other fast-growing industries, including defence, computing and electric vehicles," said Andrew Hine, Commercial Director at GreenSpur.
 
"Not only does our generator use no rare earth magnets, our source material – ferrite – is actually a waste product of the steel making process – unlike rare earths, whose mining is environmentally damaging.”
 
Replacing scarce and expensive rare earth magnets which cost GBP 40 per kg with cheap and abundant ferrite magnets, costing GBP 1 per kg, is expected to deliver a generator CAPEX saving of circa 33%.
 
The design is also said to offer fast scaling through a modular design that allows generators to be constructed in stages, for example, a 12MW offshore turbine can be created by stacking three 4MW units in parallel.
 
GreenSpur tested a 75kW generator in Blyth in 2017, after which it signed an agreement with ORE Catapult and Warwick Manufacturing Group to build a single-stage 250kW direct drive generator, which is part of a four-stage 1MW design.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
Oil group Total hopes new supercomputer will help it find oil faster and more cheaply
 
Energy major Total said its new supercomputer - which has propelled it to a world ranking as the most powerful computer in the sector - will enable its geologists to find oil faster, cheaper and with a better success rate.  The computing power of the Pangea III has been increased to 31.7 so-called ‘petaflops’ from 6.7 petaflops in 2016, and from 2.3 petaflops in 2013, Total said, adding that it was the equivalent of around 170,000 laptops combined.
 
The computer ranks as number 1 among supercomputers in the oil and gas sector, and number 11 globally, according to the TOP500 table (www.top500.org) which ranks supercomputers twice a year.
 
Total’s European peer Eni’s HPC4 supercomputer is ranked number 17 in the global top 500 list.  Oil and gas companies, along with other industrial groups, are increasingly relying on powerful computers to process complex data faster. This enables them to cut costs while boosting productivity and the success rate of projects.
 
Total did not say how much it had invested in the new supercomputer.  The company’s senior vice president for exploration, Kevin McLachlan, told Reuters that 80% of the Pangea III’s time would be dedicated to seismic imaging.
 
“We can do things much faster,” he said. “We are developing advanced imaging algorithms to give us much better images of the sub-surface in these complex domains and Pangea III will let us do it 10 times faster than we could before.
 
Total said the new algorithms can process huge amounts of data more accurately, and at a higher resolution.  It would also help to locate more reliably hydrocarbons below ground, which is useful in complex environments where it is exploring for oil trapped under salt, such as Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Angola and the Eastern Mediterranean.
 
McLachlan expected the increased computer power to affect Total’s success rate in exploration, because of the better imaging, and in oil well appraisals, development and drilling.  “What used to take a week, now takes us a day to process,” he said, adding that tens of millions of dollars of savings would be made on the oil wells as a direct result of obtaining better images.
  • Reuters
 
UK firms overcharging loyal customers could soon face instant fines
 
Firms that exploit consumer loyalty by overcharging longstanding customers could soon face instant fines under plans unveiled by the government.  The “loyalty penalty” is estimated to be costing customers more than £4bn a year, according to consumer groups.
 
The government is to consult on whether to give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) new powers to impose direct fines where consumer law has been broken. This means the competition watchdog would not have to go through the courts and would be able to intervene earlier and move more quickly.
 
Ministers believe this will act as a powerful deterrent to firms that are harming consumers with misleading claims, unfair terms and conditions and hard-to-exit contracts.  They have also proposed new rules to ensure mobile providers end the practice of charging customers the same monthly rate once they have paid off their handsets.
 
Customers who stay loyal to their mobile, broadband or insurance providers are paying as much as £1,000 a year more than serial switchers – costing them a total £4.1bn more – according to research from the charity Citizens Advice, which filed a “supercomplaint” last year.
 
Theresa May said: “For far too long, many big companies have been getting away with harmful trading practices which lead to poor services and confusion among customers who have parted with their hard-earned cash. The system as it stands not only lets consumers down but it also lets down the vast majority of businesses who play by the rules.
 
“It is high time this came to an end and today we are confirming our intention to give much stronger powers to the CMA, to strengthen the sanctions available and to give customers the protection they deserve against firms who want to rip them off.”
 
But Citizens Advice said the measures were not enough and called for urgent action from regulators. Gillian Guy, its chief executive, welcomed the planned end to the mobile phone loyalty penalty, which she said had cost consumers £341m since the charity made its supercomplaint in September.
 
“But this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “While the government’s announcement is welcome, we’re disappointed by the lack of action from regulators. The Financial Conduct Authority and Ofcom have had six months since the CMA issued its findings on our supercomplaint and there has been little progress. They need to set out their plans urgently on how they will tackle this systematic scam.”
 
The consumer group Which? welcomed the clampdown on “excessive” loyalty penalties. Caroline Normand, its director of advocacy, said: “Action to impose fines on firms that harm consumers through excessive charges, misleading offers and confusing practice can’t come soon enough and should act not only as a deterrent, but as an incentive to give consumers a fair deal.”
  • The Guardian
 
 
Headlines Monday 17th June 2019
 
 
Scotland Grants Marine Consent to 850MW Offshore Wind Farm
 
The Scottish Ministers have given marine consent for the construction and operation of the 850MW Moray West offshore wind project.  This clears the way for the project to participate in the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction scheduled for this summer. If successful in the auction, the project could enter the construction phase in 2022.
 
The wind farm is being developed by Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd., a joint venture between Engie and EDP Renewables.  As stated in the consent, the wind farm will comprise no more than 85 wind turbines and up to two offshore substations installed in the Outer Moray Firth some 22.5km southeast off the Caithness coastline.
 
Moray West is a sister project to the 950MW Moray East wind farm which recently started offshore construction. The 100-turbine Moray East is also being developed by Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
Scottish firms continue to grow output despite uncertainty
 
Scottish firms continued to grow their output during the spring months, figures from the Fraser of Allander Institute have revealed.  The index showed 40% of firms surveyed by the institute increased output in the second quarter of 2019, while 26% reported a decline.
 
Business investment continued its falling trend, while managers await more certainty about Brexit.  Export performance fell to the worst position in three years.
 
Mairi Spowage, head of economic analysis at the institute, said there had been growth in the Scottish economy "despite continued uncertainty".  She added: "In particular, business activity is up from the first quarter of this year. Over the last quarter there has been fewer businesses worrying about future demand. However, it remains the greatest concern for Scottish businesses.
 
"The slowdown in investment has persisted and the downward trend in exports appears to be disproportionately affecting smaller businesses.
 
"Businesses still remain unprepared for a no-deal Brexit and the recent jump in political uncertainty is not going to help over the next few months."
 
The report found that net balances in exports slumped to its lowest level in three years, with only one in five firms indicating a rise in export activity.  The economic data comes ahead of the publication of Scotland's GDP figures for the first quarter of 2019.
 
A separate report from the Royal Bank of Scotland published last week showed Scotland's private sector has suffered a drop in output for the fifth time in six months.
  • BBC News
 
Equinor strikes oil and gas in Norwegian Sea. Eyeing Norne tie-in for development
 
Equinor has made an oil and gas discovery in 6507/3-13. exploration well in the production license 159B the Norwegian Sea, and is thinking of a potential tie-up with the nearby Norne FPSO.
 
The well, Equnor said Monday, had two different reservoir targets; an upper drilling target containing 2-12 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of gas and a lower target with an estimated volume of 1-48 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent.  Nick Ashton, Equinor’s senior vice president for exploration in Norway and the UK, said: “We are very pleased with the results of both targets. This was of course what we hoped for, and it isn’t given that we find both oil and gas in the same well. The volumes are broadly estimated, and operational challenges prevented side-tracking. We are evaluating both the time and place for further delineation to give us more accurate volume estimates.
 
Drilling of the well 6507/3-13 Snadd Outer Outer/Black Vulture started on April 27 around 14 kilometers south-west of the Norne field in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea.
 
The operation started by drilling to 2800 meters to the first target Snadd Outer Outer, where gas was proven. Further drilling down to 3200 meters to the second target, Black Vulture, hit oil. The well volume totals 3-60 million boe before further delineation is made.
 
“The deepest target is following up the Cape Vulture discovery of 2017, offering further opportunities on the Nordland Ridge, and we are very happy about today’s discovery. Snadd Outer Outer/Black Vulture and Cape Vulture combined have in fact proven to be a success story for Cretaceous reservoirs off the coast of Nordland, encouraging us to pursue further opportunities in the area going forward,” says Ashton.
 
The Transocean Spitsbergen semi-submersible drilling rig drilled the Snadd Outer Outer/Black Vulture well. The well has now been plugged and abandoned, while the license partners will evaluate how to further develop the discovery.  “Tying the discovery to the Norne ship is one of the options we will study. Snadd Outer Outer/Black Vulture is located close to the Norne field with all its infrastructure, and this option is in line withEquinor’s strategy of using existing solutions. The Cape Vulture discovery has already more than doubled remaining oil resources that can be produced through the Norne field, and we have a specific goal of further increasing the reserves around the Norne field,” says Ashton.
 
Transocean Spitsbergen is currently moving to production license 502 to drill the Equinor-operated exploration well Klaff in the North Sea.
  • Offshore Energy Today

 

 
Headlines Friday 14th June 2019
 
Protestors climb back onto oil rig
 
Greenpeace activists have climbed aboard a BP-contracted oil rig in the Cromarty Firth again.  The campaign group said this morning that its climbers were “determined to stay for as long as possible”.
 
Yesterday, two protestors were removed from the Transocean-owned drilling rig following a stand-off with police lasting several hours.  About 10 people have been arrested in connection with the protest, which began on Sunday and has prevented the rig from going out to drill the Vorlich well in the North Sea.
 
It was thought that yesterday’s arrests had brought down the curtain on the demonstration, but activists have occupied the rig once more.  A spokesman for Greenpeace said today: “BP are heading out to drill a new well giving them access to 30 million barrels of oil – something we can’t afford in the middle of a climate emergency.
 
“We can’t give up and let oil giants carry on with business as usual because that means giving up on a habitable planet and our kids’ future.
 
“The UK government has announced a target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 – we have started to enforce it.”
 
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We continue to work with the operators of the installation, the Cromarty Firth Port Authority and other interested parties to achieve a safe resolution to the continuing protest in the Cromarty Firth.”
 
A spokesman for BP said: “We continue to work with Transocean, Police Scotland and all relevant authorities to bring this reckless action by Greenpeace to a safe conclusion.
 
“We support debate, discussion and peaceful demonstration, but the irresponsible actions of this group are putting themselves and others unnecessarily at risk, while ignoring court orders and police action.”
  • Energy Voice
 
Publicly owned Prestwick Airport put up for sale
 
Prestwick Airport is being put up for sale by the Scottish government.  The airport was taken into public ownership six years ago after it was threatened with closure following heavy losses.  Transport Scotland said an advert would be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union, inviting expressions of interest.  Ministers have regarded Prestwick Airport as a strategic economic asset, particularly for Ayrshire.  It passed into state hands after being bought by the Scottish government for £1 in late 2013.
 
The Scottish government said then that the deal would help protect the airport and safeguard thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
Prestwick has been looking to turn around it fortunes, including applying to carry out horizontal space launches from its 2,986-metre concrete case runway.
 
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: "Since the Scottish government bought Glasgow Prestwick Airport in 2013, we have been clear that it is our intention to return the business to the private sector when the time is right.
 
"The senior management team at the airport has continued to engage with potential buyers and investors to discuss proposals for developing the business under new ownership.
 
"Good progress continues to be made by the airport to increase revenue, deliver operating efficiencies and pursue exciting opportunities for the future, including Spaceport."
 
The preferred bidder will need to meet four requirements:
  • To give a commitment to maintain aviation operations and maximise the employment potential associated with the business
  • Have significant investment capabilities
  • To be capable of operating and managing an airport
  • To have the ability to develop aviation services
Mr Matheson added that any expressions of interest would be "considered carefully" before any decision was taken to divest the government's shareholding in the airport or any part of the business.
 
The Scottish Conservatives welcomed the decision to sell the airport.  Ayr MSP John Scott said: "Prestwick has all the foundations for success - the longest commercial runway and parallel taxiway in Scotland, a reputation of being Britain's only fog-free airport, its own dedicated railway station, and a thriving aerospace campus.
 
"What it now needs is an owner prepared to put in the investment to take the airport forward as the major economic asset it undoubtedly is."
Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Colin Smyth said the Scottish government "cannot simply wash its hands of Prestwick".  He added: "They have a responsibility to ensure that if a buyer is actually found, any sale must secure the jobs at Prestwick.
 
"Anything else would be an economic tsunami for Ayrshire and beyond."
 
In January, it emerged that the debt owed by Prestwick Airport to the Scottish government had risen from £30m to £38.4m.  That was while revenue rose through a doubling of funds from refuelling aircraft at the publicly-owned facility.
 
Accounts lodged with Companies House showed the holding company made a loss of £7.6m in the year to March 2018, down from £8.6m the previous year.
  • BBC News
 
Female Captain to Take Helm of Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady
 
Virgin Voyages’ new 110,000 gross tons cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady, will be led by Captain Wendy Williams from the spring of 2020.  Williams is the first Canadian woman to captain a ship for a major cruise brand, according to the company.  While Virgin Voyages is still in the early stages of the crew for Scarlet Lady, the company said it had already recruited Captain Williams as well as nearly a dozen other female officers.
 
“I have salt water in my veins and nothing brings me more joy than being at sea,” Captain Wendy Williams said.  The ship was launched in February this year at Fincantieri’s Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard in Italy. Set to sail from Virgin Voyages’ new terminal in PortMiami, Scarlet Lady would be delivered in 2020.
 
Featuring over 1,400 guest cabins, the cruise ship will have the capacity to host more than 2,700 passengers, accompanied by 1,150 crew members on board. It is the first of three units ordered under a EUR 2 billion construction deal signed between Virgin Voyages, a part of Virgin Group, and Fincantieri in December 2016.
 
The company signed a EUR 700 million deal for the construction of the fourth unit in October 2018.  Furthermore, in response to the recent U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba from the United States, the Florida-based cruise line said it would replace its Cuba sailings with additional Mayan Sol sailings, new Riviera Maya and Key West voyages, along with an enhanced Bimini offer.
  • World Maritime News
 
Headlines Thursday 13th June 2019
 
Consortium awarded extra funding to create £9 million offshore renewables hub
 
A national consortium which has the University of Strathclyde as a core member has been awarded an additional £4 million funding to cement the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore renewable energy (ORE) innovation and research.  The Supergen ORE Hub was created in July 2018 to bring together a network of academic, industrial and policy stakeholders to champion and maintain the UK’s wave, tidal and offshore wind expertise.
 
It was initially awarded £5million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and has now received an additional £4million to expand the support it offers researchers working across the country.
 
The Supergen ORE Hub is led by Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Head of the School of Engineering and Computing, Electronics and Mathematics at the University of Plymouth.  As well as Strathclyde, which brings vast expertise in Offshore Engineering, Wind Power and Marine Renewable Energy to the Hub, it includes academics from the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Exeter, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Southampton, and Warwick  It is also working with an advisory board, made up of industry leaders, policy makers and other key stakeholders, to ensure it is addressing the key challenges faced by companies in the ORE sector.
 
Professor Feargal Brennan, Head of the Offshore Engineering Institute at Strathclyde and the Supergen ORE Offshore Wind ‘Champion’ said:
 
The additional funding significantly reinforces the Strathclyde team, which is leading fundamental research into floating platforms for Offshore Wind and other marine renewable energy devices and operations.
 
“Our strengths at Strathclyde are the breadth of our internationally leading research and vision for the enormous potential of offshore renewable energy.  “This is coupled with leadership of the largest offshore renewable energy doctoral training activity which supports a new generation of early career leaders for the sector.”
 
Professor Greaves said: “This additional investment is fantastic news and further recognition that offshore renewables have a vital role to play in the UK’s future energy generation.
 
“It will enable us to build on our existing ambitious programme of work, providing greater funds for early career and established researchers within the Supergen ORE Hub.
 
“It also means we can offer more support to those from other institutions, strengthening the UK’s collective status as a world leader in this exciting and rapidly expanding field.”
 
The new investment will allow extra funding to be made available through the Hub’s Flexible Fund, providing grants of up to £100,000 to seed areas that complement existing research, fill gaps or add cross cutting activities to explore the transfer of research findings between sectors within ORE.  It will also enable an additional number of post-doctoral researchers to be employed across the 10 partner universities, expanding the Hub’s Early Career Researchers network.
 
More money will also be invested into the Hub’s Research Landscape, an interactive tool designed to create a comprehensive database of ORE research taking place in universities and other organisations across the UK.
  • Strath.ac.uk
 
World’s 1st Autonomous Ship to Feature MacGregor Automated Mooring System
 
MacGregor, part of Cargotec, and Kongsberg Maritime have entered into an agreement where MacGregor will deliver an automated mooring system for the world’s first autonomous containership, Yara Birkeland.  As explained, this will enable mooring operations to be undertaken without human intervention and supports the effective operation of the fully electric, zero-emission vessel.
 
The automated mooring system is scheduled to be delivered during the second half of 2019, according to MacGregor.  “We worked very closely with Kongsberg to identify the most suitable mooring solution and are proud to have developed an innovative, fully electrical system which increases safety and eco-efficiency compared with conventional mooring operations,” Høye Høyesen, Vice President, Advanced Offshore Solutions, MacGregor, commented.
 
As World Maritime News previously reported, Kalmar, also part of Cargotec, will provide the autonomous loading and unloading solution for Yara Birkeland, as well as transportation between the fertilizer production facilities and the quay.  Yara Birkeland is expected to reduce emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in a densely populated area of Norway. Powered by hydroelectric and a battery energy storage system, Yara Birkeland and the port infrastructure will produce no harmful greenhouse gasses for the entire operational lifecycle.
 
The containership will transport fertilizer from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles.
 
Being built by Norway’s shipbuilder Vard, Yara Birkeland will be one of the first Maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) to enter commercial operations. The move to unmanned operations will be phased, giving Yara International and Kongsberg time to test the advanced systems that enable operation without a human at the helm.
 
When delivered from the Yard early in 2020, Yara Birkeland will be a manned vessel. Autonomous functions will gradually be implemented, tested and validated, with the target of performing fully autonomous unmanned operations by 2022.
  • World Maritime News
 
SQA staff to strike on exam results day
 
Workers at the Scottish Qualifications Authority are to stage three one-day strikes, including on exam results day.  The Unite union had agreed to suspend action amid a restructuring dispute.  But it has now confirmed walkouts on 26 June and 22 July, plus an overtime ban in the week leading up to results day on 6 August.
 
The union says staff were left in unsuitable roles and a redundancies agreement was breached. The SQA said it was "committed" to addressing issues.  The authority also said it would ensure pupils would receive their results on time.
 
An SQA spokesman said: "The SQA is fully committed to ensuring that candidates receive their results on time. We have an established governance framework in place, where progress and risks are managed, supported by robust contingency plans."
 
Unite alleges the restructuring issues "contributed to a lack of trust and confidence in management".  The union claims that staff were left without specific job roles and that others "had no option" but to accept unsuitable roles.  It stated that if significant progress was not made, then it would trigger the 14-day legal notification for industrial action.  Unite held a ballot and 90% of members who turned out voted to strike.
 
An overtime ban will also be in place in the week leading up to the day pupils are expected to get their results.  As part of the restructuring process, the SQA launched a voluntary redundancy process which recently ended.  As a result, 62 workers were approved for redundancy, which Unite said was equivalent to 8% of the workforce.
 
Unite claimed the exercise was concluded "without proper or timely consultation" and breached an existing agreement with the union.  Alison MacLean, Unite regional industrial officer, said: "The situation beggars belief, the workforce are already stressed, demoralised and dismayed. Now to add insult to injury, staff may be expected to pick up additional work.
 
"Let's be crystal clear here - this dispute has been created, directed and exacerbated at every turn by SQA mismanagement and incompetence of the highest order.
 
"Unless immediate action is taken to address our members' legitimate concerns, then more days of action will be inevitable."
An SQA spokesman said: "We are committed to working in partnership with the Unite union and have made significant progress on the process that is undertaken in a restructure.
 
"We are also committed to listen to, and address, the important issues that have been raised by its members. We are focussed on relationship building and moving forward, together, into the future.
 
"SQA has also concluded its Voluntary Early Release scheme. As an organisation, we continue to evolve our products and services to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders and customers, such as the need to make cost efficiencies.
 
"The scheme has created opportunities for employees to be considered for voluntary early release from the organisation with financial compensation, where this is of mutual benefit to the employee and to SQA."
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Wednesday 12th June 2019
 
Cnooc’s UK business posts £1bn pre-tax profit
 
A recovering oil price drove a boost to profits for Cnooc’s operations in the UK and Ireland in 2018.  Cnooc Petroleum Europe, formerly Nexen UK, has posted its full year accounts on Companies House, with pre-tax profits of £1bn, up from £767.6m in 2017.  Although production for the China-owned firm dropped in the year, from 100,000 barrels per day to 76,000, the higher realised oil price of $70.76 boosted performance, up from $52.91 the year before.
 
Revenues were £1.575bn, up from £1.48bn, while total comprehensive income was £628.5m, up from £450.5m.  Cnooc’s share of production at the Buzzard field, the largest producing asset in the UK, dropped from 62,800 barrels per day to 49,500, following a lengthy shutdown for the field at the end of the year.
 
After the reporting period, the firm also made the 250million barrel Glengorm discovery in January this year.  CNOOC’s other core assets include Golden Eagle and the Scott fields, as well as the Telford and Rochelle fields.  Between its operations in the UK and Ireland, Cnooc employs around 600 people offshore and in onshore administration roles.
 
Going forward, the firm said it will “actively assess opportunities including the acquisition of additional exploration and production acreage” in the UK North Sea.
 
Earlier this year the firm officially changed its name from Nexen to Cnooc International after being acquired by China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) in February 2013 in a £9.4billion deal.
  • Energy Voice
 
BP serves Greenpeace with injunction over oil rig protest
 
British oil major BP has served an injunction to Greenpeace in an attempt to stop the actions of the environmentalist group’s activists aboard a rig currently under contract with the company.  Greenpeace UK said via its social media accounts on Tuesday that the injunction was served to stop the protest on the Transocean-owned Paul B. Lloyd, Jr. rig.
 
This announcement came shortly after Greenpeace stated that its activists were still on the rig and that they brought in fresh supplies along with new climbers.
 
Other media outlets have reported that rig workers lowered the legal papers down to two activists using a bucket and a rope. The injunction means that the activists aboard the rig must cease and desist from the action.  The initial two climbers boarded the rig on Sunday, June 9, in an effort to stop BP’s drilling plans offshore Scotland.
 
The Paul B. Loyd, Jr. is owned by Transocean and is scheduled to start drilling for BP in the UK sector of the North Sea.  Transocean’s latest fleet status report, published in April 2019, shows that the 1990-built rig started its contract with BP in May. The deal is scheduled to end in November 2019 unless BP exercises its options under the contract, which would see the rig working for the oil major well into next year.
 
The rig’s contract with BP was announced last October, and it was initially planned to start in March this year.  Greenpeace activists have also recently blocked entrances to BP’s headquarters in London as part of its “Climate Emergency” campaign. The activists set up camp inside specially designed containers, blocking the entrance to the building. They were subsequently removed by police, and ten people were arrested as a result.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target
 
Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change.  Prime Minister Theresa May said reducing pollution would also benefit public health and cut NHS costs.
 
Britain is the first major nation to propose this target - and it has been widely praised by green groups.  But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible.  The UK already has a 2050 target - to reduce emissions by 80%. That was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but will now be amended to the new, much tougher, goal.
 
The actual terminology used by the government is "net zero" greenhouse gases by 2050.  That means emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry will have to be avoided completely or - in the most difficult examples - offset by planting trees or sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere.
 
The government's advisory Committee on Climate Change recommended the "net zero" target in May.  Its report said if other countries followed the UK, there was a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise by 2100.  A 1.5C rise is considered the threshold for dangerous climate change.
 
Laurence Tubiana, an architect of the crucial Paris climate agreement, told the BBC: "This is a historic commitment that will reverberate right around the world.  "All eyes will now turn on the rest of the EU to match this pledge."  Theresa May said the UK led the world to wealth through fossil fuels in the industrial revolution, so it was appropriate for Britain to lead in the opposite direction.
 
"We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions," she said.  "Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. We must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth."  Number 10 said it was "imperative" other countries followed suit, so there would be a review within five years to ensure other nations were taking similarly ambitious action and British industries were not facing unfair competition.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Tuesday 11th June 2019
 
Production in major North Sea Culzean gas field starts
 
Production has started on the massive Culzean gas field in the North Sea.  Operator Total said the field, 140 miles (225km) off Aberdeen, will be responsible for 5% of the UK's gas needs when it reaches peak production.
 
Culzean was discovered in 2008 when it was described as the largest gas find in a decade. It contains gas reserves equal to about 250-300 million barrels of oil.  The find was made by the Danish firm Maersk Oil.  Maersk was subsequently bought by Total.
 
The French firm owns a 49.99% stake, with the remainder shared between BP and JX Nippon.  Total's president of exploration and production, Arnaud Breuillac, said: "Culzean is a good example of our efforts to upgrade our portfolio in the North Sea over the last years, notably by bringing Total and Maersk Oil together.
 
"The Culzean field is located in the Central Graben area, close to the Elgin-Franklin fields, also operated by Total.
 
"The Culzean project is delivered ahead of schedule and more than 10% below the initial budget, which represents capex (capital expenditure) savings of more than 500 million dollars."
 
About 100,000 barrels of oil-equivalent gas per day will come from Culzean via a pipeline to Teesside.  It consists of three bridge-linked installations and a floating gas storage facility.
  • BBC News
 
Shell ships first LNG cargo from Prelude FLNG
 
Oil major Shell has announced that the first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has sailed from the Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, located 475 kilometers North East of Broome in Western Australia.
 
Shell is the operator of Prelude development in Block WA-44-L offshore Western Australia with Inpex, KOGAS and OPIC as its partners.  This shipment will be delivered by the Valencia Knutsen to customers in Asia, Shell said on Tuesday.  Shell Integrated Gas and New Energies Director, Maarten Wetselaar, said: “Today’s first shipment of LNG departed from Prelude FLNG, safely. Everyone involved should be very proud of the work taken to reach this important milestone.
 
“Prelude forms an integral part of our global portfolio and plays an important role in meeting the growing demand for more and cleaner energy for our customers around the world.”
 
Zoe Yujnovich, Chairman Shell Australia said: “Prelude FLNG combines human endeavour and ingenuity from across the globe and here in Australia.  We are proud to work with our local communities, suppliers and partners to ensure its safe, reliable operations into the future.”  The Prelude FLNG facility gathers, processes, stores and offloads natural gas and condensate products at sea.  Prelude started production of gas from the wellhead in December 2018 and shipment of condensate in March 2019.  The Prelude FLNG facility will produce 3.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate and 0.4 mtpa of LPG.
 
Following the announcement on Shell’s Prelude project shipping its first LNG cargo, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, Daniel Toleman, said: “The Spanish flagged Valencia Knutsen has shipped Prelude’s first LNG cargo. The first cargo was more than eight years after FID and nearly two years after the facility arrived in Australia.
 
“How fast Prelude delivers its second and third cargo, and ramps up to plateau output will be a key indicator of success. Shell will be keen to ramp up to full production quickly to counteract any reserves impact from the already producing and connected Ichthys field.
 
“The Prelude facility will be backfilled by Crux, which entered FEED this year. We expect an FID late next year with first production in 2025. In addition, later this year Shell will spud the Bratwurst exploration well. If a significant gas resource is discovered it is likely these volumes will be developed via the Prelude facility. 
 
“With Prelude onstream, Australia is on track to export more than 80 mmtpa of LNG, which surpasses Qatar as the largest LNG producer in the world.
 
“The completion of Prelude marks the end of the Australian greenfield LNG boom. The next investment cycle is already in sight, with backfill projects – Scarborough, Barossa, Browse, Arrow and Crux – vying for FID.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Clydebank energy firm insists it is on track as losses rise
 
A Clydebank-based energy supplier has seen losses spiral to nearly £7 million as its boss vowed it was now on the road to profitability – despite challenging market conditions.
 
Together Energy, set up by former British Gas executive Paul Richards in 2016, booked a loss of £6.9m for the year ended August 31, which followed a £922,546 reverse the year before. Turnover leapt to nearly£36m from £1.7m, accounts newly filed at Companies House show.
 
Losses widened during a year which saw the company report a huge increase in customer numbers. As many as 33,000 came on board after Together was appointed as the supplier of last resort by Ofgem for customers of OneSelect, the failed Reading-based energy company. It took customer numbers at Together, which employs around 110 staff, to more than 55,000.
 
The auditors for Together note in the accounts that the firm’s ability to continue as a going concern depends on obtaining additional funding, meeting cashflow projections, and the continuing support of its wholesale trading partner. Mr Richards, who holds a 74.6 per cent stake in the company, said he has a “high degree of confidence” that talks with investors to raise around £15m will have a successful outcome.
 
Asked to comment on the increase in losses, Mr Richards said the results had been factored into the business plan set out when the company began trading in 2016, noting that gross margins were ahead of where he expected to be at this stage. He said: “To grow the book in the first instance we did what most people do, we put out a loss-making tariff. But in our 33, 34 months of trading we have only ever put two loss-making tariffs out. That’s playing a big piece.”
 
The losses also reflected a decision to amortise the cost of acquiring customers over two years, said Mr Richards, noting 80% of customers have signed up to three-year fixed term deals.
 
“We are actually very happy with where we have got to,” he said. “We have reached peak losses, and we are out the other side now, looking profitable.”
 
However, Mr Richards conceded conditions remain “extremely challenging” in the energy supply sector. He admitted the failure of 11 smaller companies in recent months had led to many customers losing faith in the deals offered by the minnows, with many turning back to the Big Six suppliers.
 
But he noted that Ofgem had signalled its faith in Together by awarding it the right to serve the former OneSelect customers.  Mr Richards said being appointed supplier of last resort for OneSelect meant Together had to pay out £4m in customer credits.  But he said the cost of acquiring the customers was “negligible”.  He declared that the firm’s level of operating expenditure remained one of the lowest in the industry, adding that it will benefit over the long run from the investment it has made in its own billing system.
 
An initial £1.8m was spent on the system, with a further outlay of a similar amount still to be made in the technology. Now, as we grow, our cost to serve reduces,” Mr Richards said.  Asked how he would assess Together’s standard of customer service, he said its record currently looks poor on Trustpilot because it has had to deal with around 10,000 customers who did not come on board from OneSelect. That has involved settling final bills and credit refunds. However, he said it has been faring better on scores by Citizens Advice.
 
While big suppliers have lamented the impact of the UK Government’s price cap on variable tariffs, Together has won customers each time the cap has risen.
 
Together boosted its team in December by drafting in former Lloyds and Rangers director Donald McIntyre as commercial director.
  • The Herald

 

 
Headlines Monday 10th June 2019
 
NCL Changing Itineraries across Three Brands amid Cuba Ban
 
The extremely abbreviated timeframe for compliance with the new travel restrictions to Cuba has aggravated the impact to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ earnings estimates, the Miami-based cruise major said.  The company explained that it is in the process of modifying all itineraries across its three brands that included calls to ports in Cuba.
 
“Our three brands are working diligently to accommodate the needs of our guests and travel partners as we quickly modify itineraries to meet the new Cuba travel regulations,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.  Although the sailings that included a Cuban port of call represented slightly more than 3% of the company’s remaining sailings in 2019, the restrictions are expected to impact around 25% of the Capacity Days attributable to the combined sailings on the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, the majority of which were Cuba-intensive premium priced itineraries.
 
The modification of these itineraries, the substantial discounts offered, the accommodation of cancellations and changes to reservations, incremental marketing investment, along with the protection of travel agent commissions will result in an estimated impact to Adjusted EPS for full year 2019 of approximately USD 0.35 to USD 0.45, the company said.
 
The Trump Administration’s move to ban cruise ships from docking in Cuba became effective June 5. The decision was revealed earlier in June and included the change in authorized travel to Cuba under the people-to-people program and prohibition of travel to Cuba via cruise ships.
  • World Maritime News
 
Stena Forth drillship heads to Tullow’s Guyana block for two-well job
 
The Stena Drilling-owned Stena Forth drillship has been mobilized from West Africa – where it has been operating for Tullow – and is now en route to the Tullow-operated Orinduik Block, which is located offshore Guyana.  The Stena Forth has been mobilized for Tullow and its partners Total and Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas for a committed two-well campaign. The first exploration well is to be drilled on the Jethro Lobe prospect, as reported on December 5, 2018.
 
Eco informed on Monday that the drillship is expected to reach the Orinduik Block on or around June 24, 2019, and spud the Jethro Lobe prospect offshore Guyana on or around June 26, 2019.
 
The Stena Forth was actively drilling for Tullow on an existing contract immediately prior to its transition to Guyana and is fully crewed with experienced personnel, which will allow a smooth transition and less rig-up and training time, Eco said.  The second well is the Joe prospect, a few kilometers away. The two wells are not contingent and will be drilled immediately one after the other.
 
Following Eco’s placing and subscription completed on April 10, 2019, the company has a cash balance today of approximately $35 million and is funded for its share of up to a further six potential new exploration or development wells in addition to the Jethro Lobe and Joe wells.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
PMI: Private sector output drops as orders decline
 
Scotland's private sector has suffered a drop in output for the fifth time in six months.  The Royal Bank of Scotland's PMI report for May saw new orders fall, with cost pressures leading companies to raise selling prices at a quicker pace.  This means the modest pick-up in activity in April has been reversed.  And confidence within the business community remains subdued amid Brexit concerns and forecasts of weaker growth of Scotland's economy.  Operating expenses were driven higher by labour costs as firms continued to expand their workforces.
 
The Scotland Business Activity Index - a measure of combined manufacturing and service sector output - fell to 48.9 in May, from 51.0 in April, signalling a reduction in private sector activity.
 
Relative to other areas of the UK, only Northern Ireland observed a quicker fall in output than Scotland.  Although the fall in demand was only marginal, it was a stark contrast to the robust growth rates seen throughout 2018.
 
The lower demand enabled firms to work through outstanding business in May, reducing backlogs for the eighth month in succession. Employment increased for a 15th straight month. However, the rate of job creation was modest.
 
Scottish businesses anticipate output to rise over the coming year, but the degree of confidence remained subdued.  Malcolm Buchanan from Royal Bank of Scotland said: "Private sector business activity was dragged back into contraction by a weaker service sector in May, reversing the rebound seen in this part of the economy which helped reinstate overall growth in Scotland in April.
 
"For the fifth time in six months, new orders fell. Panellists attributed order book contraction to weak overseas demand and reduced confidence within the local economy.
 
"Brexit-related concerns and fears of slowing economic growth north of the border remained prominent, ultimately keeping business confidence subdued and below the UK average."
 
Meanwhile, small businesses appear to be more positive.  New figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggested that business confidence had bounced back into the black for the first time in a year.
 
In the second quarter of 2019, FSB's Scottish Small Business Index (SBI) increased by a record 37.5 points to +3.3.  It is only the second time since 2015 that business optimism in Scotland has been in positive territory.  It comes after two quarters of record-breaking lows.
 
In contrast, the UK Index has fallen further into negative territory, down to -8.8 points from -5 last quarter. This is the fourth straight quarter in which the UK index has been below zero, a first in its near 10-year history.  Andrew McRae from FSB Scotland said: "After five years lagging behind the UK average - and some record low readings over the last six months - it's a refreshing change to see Scotland bucking the trend in a positive way.
 
"It's hard to point to a single factor behind this. The mini heatwave around Easter has reportedly given some important sectors a bit of a bounce.  "Equally, the Brexit extension in April let businesses breathe a sigh of relief that the threat of crashing out of the EU without a deal had receded for the immediate future."
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Friday 7th June 2019
 
KR: Hyundai-ISCS for Smart Ships Gets Cyber Security Type Approval
 
Classification society Korean Register (KR) has granted its first cyber security type-approval certificate to Hyundai Electrics for its Hyundai-ISCS, a new smart integrated communication system for next-generation ships.
 
The system is said to provide ‘comprehensive cyber security protection’.  A formal presentation between KR and Hyundai Electrics took place at Nor-Shipping 2019, in Oslo on June 5.
 
The cyber security type approval has been developed by KR based on international standards. The technical functions, security and audit functions are all inspected and assessed for confidentiality, integrity and availability, while the backup and recovery functions are inspected and analyzed for their response strength following a cyber incident, according to the classification society.
 
Hyundai-ISCS is a joint product developed by Hyundai Electric and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). It provides a range of information on board ships, acting as an interface between more than 20 different types of equipment including safety systems and sensors, and altogether combines to significantly enhance the ship’s smart abilities.
 
Hyundai Electric applied for KR’s cyber security type approval to clearly demonstrate to the industry that the system can provide comprehensive protection against security threats faced by today’s onboard functions.
 
“This is the very first cyber security type approval certificate to be issued anywhere in the world, but it reflects the speed of development in this sector and rising level of risk to on board systems from cyber-attack,” Hyung-chul Lee, Executive Vice President of KR, commented.
 
As explained, demand for certification services for cyber security is expected to increase reflecting the fact that an increasingly diverse smart ship technologies are being used on board vessels and the overall number of applications has increased dramatically in recent years.
  • World Maritime News
 
Lukoil enters Eni’s license offshore Congo for $800 million
 
Russian oil and gas company Lukoil has concluded an agreement with New Age to acquire a 25% interest in the Eni-operated Marine XII license in the Republic of Congo for $800 million in cash.  The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including the approval by the government of the Republic of Congo, Lukoil said on Thursday.
 
In a separate statement on Thursday, New Age said that the sale of its position in Marine XII marks the culmination of a successful investment cycle for the company. New Age will utilize the proceeds from this transaction to further strengthen its balance sheet and to redeploy into earlier stage opportunities within its African portfolio, including the Marine III license which is also in the Republic of Congo.
 
The Marine XII license covering 571 sq. km is located on the continental shelf of the Republic of Congo 20 km from the shore with the sea depth of 20-90 meters. The license covers five discovered fields containing 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent of proved and probable (2P) reserves according to international independent auditor.
 
Two fields, Nene and Litchendjili, launched in 2015, currently produce 28 thousand barrels of oil (mainly light and low-sulfur) and gas condensate per day, and 1.7 million cubic meters per day of marketable gas.
 
Eni started production from Nené Marine field in January 2015, just eight months after obtaining the production permit and 16 months following the exploration discovery. In December 2016, Eni launched the second development phase of the Nené Marine field.
 
The Marine XII license is based on a production sharing contract. Eni is the project’s operator with a 65% stake. The project also involves the state company Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo with a 10% stake.
 
Vagit Alekperov, President of Lukoil, said: “Entering this project is in line with our M&A strategy. The project is characterized by explored reserves, substantial production growth potential, access to well-developed infrastructure and it also fits our technological expertise. On top of that, the project is already free cash flow positive.
 
“We are also pleased to expand our partnership with Eni that is well-experienced in international offshore projects and known for its successful footprint in the region.”
 
David Stoopin, CEO, NewAge said: “I am pleased to announce the sale of our interest in Marine XII. This sale highlights the success of our strategy of identification and early entry into under-valued proven acreage with upside potential.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Rutgers University Team Up Off New Jersey
 
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rutgers University to advance ocean research and monitoring that will support offshore wind development off the coast of New Jersey.  The five-year cooperative agreement term will initiate this summer and help to bolster on-going efforts at the Rutgers Center for Ocean Observing Leadership (RUCOOL).
 
Together, Atlantic Shores and RUCOOL will focus on advancing approaches to collecting and analyzing meteorological, oceanographic and marine bioacoustic data. The work will build upon efforts RUCOOL is already undertaking in partnership with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU).
 
“Rutgers University is a leader in marine science research, and Atlantic Shores is committed to increasing data collection that will support the sustainability of the emerging offshore wind industry in New Jersey,” said Chris Hart, President and Managing Director of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind.
 
“We look forward to advancing their research efforts by collaborating early on as our Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind portfolio gets off the ground.”
 
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind is a 50/50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US, LLC with an OREC application currently under consideration by the NJBPU.
 
The joint venture plans to build multiple projects over the next decade within their 183,000 acre lease area off the coast of New Jersey, to help the state meet its goal of generating 3.5 GW of renewable energy by 2030. In total, Atlantic Shores’ lease area has the potential to generate 2.5GW of wind energy.
 
A decision on which developer will be awarded a state contract to build the first offshore wind farm in New Jersey is expected this summer. Atlantic Shores plans to move forward with data collection and research in partnership with RUCOOL regardless of the outcome of the NJBPU decision.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Scottish Power urges tougher climate change laws
 
Scottish Power has called for new, tougher climate change laws to help increase green energy projects.  The energy giant said legislation was needed to help meet a UK target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  Its call came as the UK's biggest onshore wind farm - Whitelee near Glasgow - reached its 10th anniversary.
 
The UK government said it was "on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely".  Last week a group of leading climate scientists wrote to the prime minister calling for her to enshrine a target for net-zero emissions in national law.
 
Their letter came after the government's independent climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), urged ministers to set a new legal target for a 100% cut in all greenhouse gases by the middle of the century as soon as possible.
 
Net-zero is the point where the same volume of greenhouse gases is being emitted as is being absorbed through offsetting techniques like forestry.  The wind farm, developed and operated by Scottish Power Renewables (SPR), consists of 215 turbines, generating up to 539MW of electricity.
 
A study on behalf of Scottish Power found Whitelee's total generation of green energy to date equated to about 90% of the annual household electricity consumption of Scotland.  Whitelee is located on Eaglesham Moor to the south of Glasgow and covers an area of about 83km2.
 
Scottish Power Renewables chief executive Lindsay McQuade said: "We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple and we know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy.
 
"If we are to meet the bold target of net-zero by 2050, our ambition has to be underpinned by legislation.
 
"UK power sector emissions have continued to fall since the Climate Change Act was passed in 2008, pushing Scotland to become coal-free.
 
"The same approach is now needed to ensure industry takes all available measures to increase the amount of new renewable generation that is essential to decarbonisation."
 
World 'first'
A UK government spokeswoman said: "We lead the world in tackling climate change, being the first country to introduce long-term legally-binding carbon reduction targets and cutting emissions further than all other G20 countries.
 
"The Committee on Climate Change's report, commissioned by the government, now sets us on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely and we will respond in a timeframe which reflects the urgency of the issue."
 
This week Chancellor Philip Hammond warned Theresa May that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 could cost the UK more than £1tn.
 
The Scottish government is planning to legislate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045, after accepting the advice set out by the CCC in May.
 
'Hugely successful'
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the "hugely effective and successful" Whitelee wind farm showed "the important role onshore wind plays, both in generating clean energy, and in contributing to our economy".
 
He added: "We have recognised that the global community faces a climate emergency and have taken swift action by lodging amendments to our Climate Change Bill and, in the event the bill is passed, Scotland will end its contribution to climate change within a generation."
 
Scottish Power is not the only big energy firm investing in wind power in Scotland.
 
SSE said its Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth recently generated the most electricity of any single renewable source in Scotland.
 
The Perth-based company has also been investing in projects to develop offshore wind in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Thursday 6th June 2019
 
Inmarsat, HHI Unit Ink Deal to Fast-Track Maritime Digitalization
 
Satellite communications company Inmarsat has signed a business cooperation agreement that allows Hyundai Global Service (HGS) to offer ship owners and managers “a digital total care solution route to maritime digitalization”.
 
HGS was established in 2016 by South Korean parent group Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) as a digital transformation solutions provider to optimize ship operation and performance.  As informed, the agreement paves the way for cooperation that will include the use of Fleet Xpress dedicated bandwidth services by HGS to support its digital services for ship owners plus recognition of HGS as a certified application partner (CAP) within Inmarsat’s digital ecosystem.
 
The formal agreement has been announced after the completion of trials on board three ships over a three-month period, testing a variety of sensor-driven applications measuring voyage and equipment operating data including fuel consumption and vibration monitoring, plus HGS analytics and reporting services.
 
Specifically, the Inmarsat CAP program allows application and software developers to choose their own route to digital enablement via either a dedicated bandwidth service over Fleet Xpress or FleetBroadband or through a dedicated API that allows access to fleet data, Inmarsat’s cloud-based IoT platform.
 
The terms of the agreement offer HGS the opportunity to expand its digital total care solution to encompass different applications aimed at helping owners and managers to enhance ship efficiency and reduce operating costs.  Stefano Poli, VP, Business Development, Inmarsat Maritime described the agreement with HGS as a significant milestone in the offering being made to third-party service providers enabling maritime digitalization.
 
“The Hyundai-Inmarsat agreement is effectively the first of its kind and marks the commercial service introduction of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress dedicated bandwidth services as part of our portfolio of solutions for certified application providers,” he said.
 
“With this new service, HGS is now strengthening its value proposition of applications to monitor and analyse ship performance for existing and new customers,” Poli added.
 
Since its launch in March 2016, Fleet Xpress has been installed on board around 7,000 ships.
 
HGS has already signaled that it intends to extend its ship digitalization offering into the retrofit market, with discussions continuing with Inmarsat on options to provide a bundle of connectivity, certified hardware, and HGS’s digital transformation services as a ‘shipyard service package’.
  • World Maritime News
 
Cooper inks new gas supply deals from Sole and Casino Henry projects
 
Cooper Energy has signed new gas supply agreements with AGL Energy from its Sole (Gippsland Basin) and Casino Henry (Otway Basin) gas operations, located offshore Australia.  The Sole gas field is poised to become south-east Australia’s newest source of gas supply when it starts production on completion of the Orbost Gas Plant upgrade currently being undertaken by APA Group, Cooper said on Wednesday.
 
Cooper Energy has completed the construction of the offshore development of the Sole gas field and APA is expected to conclude the plant upgrade works and begin commissioning and delivery of sales gas within the September 2019 quarter.  The Sole Gas Project will deliver an additional 68 terajoules (TJ) per day of natural gas supply for south-east Australia.
 
AGL Energy is a cornerstone gas customer for the development of the Sole gas field, having accounted for 60% of the total volume contracted in 2016 to secure project financing, according to Cooper.
 
Under the new agreements, AGL Energy has contracted to take, at current market prices: a share of the 2019 calendar year production from Sole, inclusive of commissioning gas; up to 4 PJ from Sole for the period January 1, 2020 to April 30, 2020. This tranche represents an extension to the gas volume AGL previously contracted from May 1, 2020; and, 100% of Cooper Energy’s share of gas production from Casino Henry for the 2020 calendar year.
 
Cooper Energy Managing Director David Maxwell said: “AGL Energy’s commitment was critical to the Sole Gas Project proceeding and now, on the cusp of production start-up, we are delighted to add new supply agreements. Having been there as a customer which supported project finance it is fitting we now have agreements with AGL Energy for the supply of gas right from commissioning.”
 
“The extension of our supply relationship with AGL Energy to now also include Casino Henry reflects our multi-basin strategy under which we can offer a portfolio of sources. The Otway Basin offers a competitive source of gas supply for South Australia in particular and we hope our forthcoming drilling program will add to the resources we can bring to market,” he said.
 
AGL Energy Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Brett Redman said: “AGL has a long history of supporting new domestic supply into the gas market. We are pleased to be supporting Cooper Energy and the Sole Gas Project with this additional purchase in support of their project and the additional purchase from Casino Henry”.
 
Maxwell said the agreements with AGL Energy were the first from a Sole marketing process which started in the first half of FY19 and was anticipated to result in the signing of additional agreements in the coming months. These agreements are expected to include coverage of 2019 Sole production that remains uncontracted and longer-term gas sales of uncontracted gas from Sole for the period 2020 to 2023.
 
In related news, AGL Energy has also recently entered into a new gas supply agreement with BHP for the supply of natural gas from BHP’s Gippsland Basin, off Victoria.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Ørsted Picks WIND for Inter-Array Cable Storage
 
WIND has secured a contract by Ørsted for the storage and onshore handling of inter-array cables and accessories at its site in Velsen, the Netherlands.  The 20-year framework agreement includes all of Ørsted's current and future offshore wind farms in Europe.  The inter-array cables and accessories will be centralized from their current various storage locations in Europe to WIND's yard in Velsen.  For this purpose, the Dutch company said it is planning to further expand its warehouse capacity from where logistics and repairs will also be handled.
 
“The trust that Ørsted is showing in us by combining its storage of subsea cables for all its European wind farms into one efficient yard is greatly appreciated," said WIND Managing Director Tom Nooij.
 
"On a more general note, this development contributes further to the centralisation of cable related services in the European offshore renewables market and will help the offshore wind industry achieve a decrease of repair and maintenance costs."
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
D-Day: May and Macron in France to mark 75th anniversary
 
Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron have joined D-Day veterans in northern France for a second day of events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.
 
A lone piper played to mark the moment when the first UK soldiers went ashore.  At an inauguration ceremony, Mrs May told veterans "thank you", while Mr Macron said we owe them "our freedom".  Later, US President Donald Trump will accompany Mr Macron at the US War Cemetery at Omaha Beach.  Hundreds of veterans have gathered in Normandy for the anniversary of the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.
 
Mr Macron and Mrs May - in one of her final engagements as Conservative leader - were in Ver-sur-Mer to see the first stone laid for a memorial to commemorate the 22,442 British troops who died there in the summer of 1944.
 
Mrs May told the ceremony that she was humbled to be able to mark the moment with veterans, adding: "If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come in France, in Britain, in Europe and the world, that day was June 6, 1944."
 
Mr Macron paid tribute to those who fought in the war and thanked troops for their courage.  In his speech, he said: "This is where young men, many of whom had never set foot on French soil, landed at dawn under German fire, risking their lives while fighting their way up the beach, which was littered with obstacles and mines."
 
The French president also paid tribute to the UK prime minister, saying: "Leaders may come and go but their achievements remain. The force of our friendship will outlast current events."
 
Following the inauguration ceremony, a service is being held at the cathedral in Bayeux, the first city to be liberated by the invasion.  Mrs May, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon are among those attending the service, which will be followed by a ceremony at Bayeux War Cemetery, where many of the fallen were buried.
 
The day's commemorations mark key events in the operation, which was aimed at bringing an end to World War Two.
 
By night-time on 6 June 1944, about 156,000 Allied troops had landed on Normandy's beaches, despite challenging weather and fierce German defences. Some had drowned when they were accidentally dropped off too soon in deep waters.  By the end of D-Day, the Allies had established a foothold in France and within 11 months Nazi Germany was defeated and the war was over.
 
At 06:26 BST - the exact minute the first British troops landed on the beaches in 1944 - a lone piper played on a section of the Mulberry Harbour in the town of Arromanches.
 
Meanwhile, Mr Macron will accompany US President Donald Trump at an event at the US war cemetery at Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer.
 
Other events taking place include:
  • A veteran's parade in Arromanches, followed by a Red Arrows flypast
  • A service of remembrance and wreath laying at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire
  • In Portsmouth, a veteran's parade before a memorial service at the city's D-Day Stone
  • The Duke of Sussex will join the Chelsea Pensioners and six D-Day veterans for Founder's Day at London's Royal Hospital Chelsea
  • In Edinburgh, 15 D-Day veterans will be presented with the Knight of the Légion d'Honneur Cross at the French Consulate
Wednesday saw the first day of the 75th anniversary events, with leaders from every country that fought alongside the UK on D-Day joining the Queen in Portsmouth.
 
Veterans of the landings were also in attendance as the Queen paid tribute to the "heroism, courage and sacrifice" of those who died.
 
Mr Trump - who was on the last day of his three-day UK state visit - said D-Day "may have been the greatest battle ever".
 
Around 300 veterans were then waved off on the cruise ship MV Boudicca as it set off for the Normandy commemorations.
 
But two veterans - Harry Read, 95, and John Hutton, 94, - parachuted back into Normandy, 75 years after their first landing.
 
This time, they jumped in tandem with members of the Army's Parachute Regiment display team, the Red Devils - and were greeted by cheers.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Wednesday 5th June 2019
 
Trump Administration Bans Cuba Cruise Ship Port Calls
 
The Trump administration has unveiled new restrictions for U.S. travel to Cuba, including banning group tours and cruise ship stops to the island nation.  Under the newly announced changes, meant to tighten the economic pressure on the Cuban government, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.
 
“Veiled tourism has served to line the pockets of the Cuban military, the very same people supporting Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and repressing the Cuban people on the island,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of State.
 
Additionally, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending non-family travel to Cuba regulations to remove the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel.
 
The OFAC amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) on June 4 to further implement the President’s foreign policy on Cuba.
 
These changes complement the ones to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR). These were announced on 17 April 2019 and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba.
 
While Norwegian Cruise Line said it is “closely monitoring these recent developments and any resulting impact to cruise travel to Cuba,” Royal Caribbean Cruises already cancelled two port calls to Cuba for June 5 and June 6 sailings. The company added that further impacts to the cruise itineraries would be evaluated.
  • World Maritime News
 
Keppel orders Kongsberg package for Awilco newbuild drilling rig
 
Singapore’s offshore rig builder Keppel has ordered Kongsberg equipment for a semi-submersible drilling rig it is building for Awilco Drilling.
 
Kongsberg Maritime said this was its first milestone order for a major project combining Kongsberg control and electrical systems with power, propulsion, and mooring solutions. The contract is valued at approximately NOK 350 million (~$40 million).
 
According to the Norwegian equipment supplier, the contract for the Moss CS60Eco semi-submersible drilling rig covers a diverse technology and equipment package, previously not available from a single partner serving the shipbuilding sector. Delivery will take place during Q2/Q3 2020 with the rig due for completion in March 2022.
 
“Our contract with KeppelFELS demonstrates our position as a world class, global organization with the unique ability to supply operational technology and major ship’s equipment as a single contract,” said Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime. “As one Kongsberg Maritime, our goal is to provide sustainable, safe and cost-effective integrated solutions that optimize operations and deliver value across the board”, says Haugsdal.
 
The drilling rig itself is the second newbuild recently ordered by Awilco from Keppel. It is designed for harsh environment use, and will be equipped and certified for drilling on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, including in the Barents Sea, in water depths up to 5000ft.
 
The cost of the rig delivered from the yard in Singapore is around $425 million.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
JDR Wins SeaMade Inter-Array Cable Contract
 
Hartlepool-based JDR Cables has signed a contract with DEME Offshore to provide inter-array cables and accessories for the SeaMade offshore wind farm in the Belgian North Sea.
 
JDR, part of the TFKable Group, will design, manufacture and deliver 78.1 kilometres of aluminium core inter-array cables and a range of cable accessories, including repair joints and connectors. The company secured the contract after a competitive tender.
 
The inter-array cables will carry the electricity generated by the wind farm's 58 Siemens 8.4MW turbines to an offshore substation for transmission to the offshore grid. The offshore wind power generated is transmitted by a 33kV cable system with hang-offs and connector terminations for 128 cable ends. The cable will be assembled in JDR’s Hartlepool facility, with delivery expected by the end of 2019.
 
The SeaMade offshore wind farm is located up to 50 kilometres off the coast from Ostend and will integrate two wind sites known as Mermaid and Seastar. The 487MW project is the single largest wind farm being funded and built in Belgium.
 
Robert Weeks, Sales Manager at JDR, said: “We are extremely proud to have won this competitive tender through our track-record of delivering market-leading cable technology to the offshore wind industry. And we are thrilled to say we are playing a part in Belgium’s largest offshore wind farm.''
 
The wind farm, developed by SeaMade, which is a consortium of Otary RS (70% stake), Electrabel (17.5%), and Eneco Wind Belgium (12.5%) is expected to be operational by 2020.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Donald Trump to join Queen for 75th D-Day anniversary
 
US President Donald Trump will join the Queen in Portsmouth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, on the final day of his UK state visit.  Theresa May will host 15 world leaders to honour the largest combined land, air and naval operation in history.  Figures from every country that fought alongside the UK will be attending.
 
Mr Trump said he was looking forward to going to Portsmouth to commemorate what "may have been the greatest battle ever in history".  The countries being represented at the event have agreed to make a joint statement pledging to ensure the "unimaginable horror" of World War Two is not repeated.
 
Called "the D-Day proclamation", the 16 signatories - including the UK and the United States - commit to working together to "resolve international tensions peacefully".
 
The UK prime minister will use the occasion to call for continued Western unity in tackling what she will call "new and evolving security threats".  The commemorations to mark the Allied invasion of northern France come a day after Mr Trump had a series of political meetings as part of his three-day state visit to the UK.  The president used a TV interview to play down his earlier suggestion that the NHS would be included in post-Brexit trade talks between the US and the UK.
 
During a joint news conference with the UK prime minister, Mr Trump had said "everything is on the table" in future discussions between the countries.
 
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock was among several Conservative leadership candidates who said they would not allow the NHS to become part of any trade talks.  And later Mr Trump told Piers Morgan in an interview for ITV's Good Morning Britain that he did not "see it being on the table".
 
"Somebody asked me a question today and I said everything's up for negotiation because everything is, but I don't see that being... that's something that I would not consider part of trade. That's not trade," he said.
 
Other things Mr Trump said in the ITV interview were:
  • People who fought in D-Day paid the "ultimate debt". "That may have been the greatest battle ever in history," he said. "Being at that site [Portsmouth was one of the key embarkation points on D-Day] will be very interesting"
  • He would have "no problem" with meeting Jeremy Corbyn another time after earlier revealing he had turned down a request to meet the Labour leader who he called a "negative force"
  • He had a long conversation with Prince Charles about climate change - referred to as "extreme weather" by Mr Trump - and was impressed with the prince's "passion" for future generations
  • He clarified that he had called the Duchess of Sussex's comments about him "nasty", rather than calling her nasty
  • His mother "would have been very proud" to see him meet the Queen
  • "There's always a chance" he might take military action in Iran, but he does not want to. "I'd much rather talk [to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani]," he said
  • On having the nuclear codes - "I think it's a terrible responsibility but it's a responsibility I'm prepared to handle"
  • On his ban on transgender people serving in the army - "It is what it is," he said. "They take massive amounts of drugs, they have to... You would have to break rules and regulations in order to have that"
Tuesday saw protesters gathered in central London and other cities - including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield - to voice their opposition to President Trump's visit.
 
Mr Corbyn - who boycotted Monday evening's state dinner - was joined at the rally on Tuesday by members of other political parties, including the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Tuesday 4th June 2019
 
Oakland Port Gets Final Funding for Technology Program
 
The Port of Oakland has received final funding for the implementation of the Freight Intelligent Transportation System (FITS) program.
 
Namely, the Alameda County Transportation Commission received USD 12.45 million from the California Transportation Commission for FITS, that includes 15 freight technology demonstration projects designed to address traffic management, security systems and roadway improvements at the Oakland seaport.
 
The funding comes from California Senate Bill 1 funds.  The port said FITS would reduce congestion and improve traffic flow for truckers who haul cargo containers in and out of Oakland. It would also update security systems and provide a common communication platform for first responders.
 
“This funding will help improve the port’s maritime operations,” John Driscoll, Port of Oakland Director of Maritime, said.
 
The Alameda County Transportation Commission will administer construction of thirteen FITS improvement projects, while the port would be responsible for the remaining two projects that are security related.
 
The total cost of the FITS program is USD 30.6 million and all projects are scheduled to be completed by late 2021, followed by 12 months of systems testing. The project is expected to go live in late 2022.
  • World Maritime News
 
Equinor cleared to use West Phoenix rig for Norwegian Sea well
 
Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor has received consent from the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) to drill an exploration well in the Norwegian Sea using the West Phoenix drilling rig.
 
The well 6507/2-5 S is located in production license 942. The drilling location is on the Dønna terrace, about 20 kilometers northwest of the Skarv field, and approximately 227 kilometers from Brønnøysund.
 
Water depth at the site is 332 meters.  Drilling of the well is scheduled to start in June 2019 and the drilling operations are expected to last 53 days.  The well is to be drilled by West Phoenix, a semi-submersible drilling rig of the Moss Maritim CS50 type, operated by North Atlantic Drilling (formerly Seadrill Management).
 
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  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Carbon Trust Opens Subsea Cable Tenders
 
The Carbon Trust has launched two tenders for subsea cables as part of its Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) program.  The first tender calls companies and consortia to carry out a study to evaluate the need for fault detection and monitoring on the inter-array system and how it would work with other systems and site processes to minimize generation downtime.
 
It also focuses on examining the potential for online monitoring systems that offer real-time identification of changes in the inter-array system.  The deadline for submitting applications is 4 July by 13:00 BST.
 
The second tender seeks companies and consortia to undertake a study looking into improved cable designs for bottom-fixed offshore wind farms that are fit-for-purpose and optimized for their operating environments.
 
The key objective is to evaluate and recommend potential improvements to subsea cable designs for bottom-fixed projects and develop specifications of possible future cables.
 
Additionally, it will investigate the technical feasibility of surface-laid subsea cables and develop relevant standards and best practice guidelines for improved cable handling.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Donald Trump to hold talks with Theresa May amid protests
 
Donald Trump is to meet Prime Minister Theresa May for "substantial" talks on the second day of the US president's three-day state visit to the UK.  Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be among the senior ministers present at the talks, where issues such as climate change will be discussed.  It comes as large-scale protests are planned in several UK cities, including a demonstration in Trafalgar Square.
 
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to address protesters at the London rally.  Mr Trump praised the "eternal friendship" between the UK and US during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace at the end of the first day of his trip.  The Queen said the countries were celebrating an alliance which had ensured the "safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades".
 
Earlier on Monday, the US president reignited his political feud with the mayor of London, calling Sadiq Khan a "stone cold loser" just before landing on UK soil.
 
Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of US media company Newsmax Media and a friend and confidant of Mr Trump's, told the Today programme he and the rest of Mr Trump's friends and family were "so impressed" with the banquet on Monday evening.
 
"This is a president that loves brands - and the Queen has the greatest brand in the world," Mr Ruddy said. "He recognises her importance for America, for the West, how she's unified Britain for all of these years."
 
Mr Ruddy laughed off questions about protesters who believe Mr Trump is racist. He said the president was "super inclusive", "welcomes black people" to his various clubs in the US, and that the allegations were just "personal attacks".
 
Mr Trump and Mrs May will start Tuesday by co-hosting a breakfast meeting of British and American business leaders at St James's Palace in a bid to boost trade links.  The Duke of York, Chancellor Phillip Hammond, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump are also expected to attend.
 
Mrs May, who will stand down as Tory leader on Friday, will then hold talks with the US president in Downing Street, when they are expected to discuss a range of issues on which they hold differing views.  The prime minister will raise the issue of climate change, with a government spokesman again saying on Monday the UK was "disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017".
 
The two leaders are also expected to discuss Huawei. The US has blacklisted the Chinese firm for security reasons, while the UK may allow it to supply "non-core" components for its 5G network.
 
Downing Street said there was nothing unusual in the pair not having a formal one-to-one meeting.
 
The PM's official spokesman said it was "always going to be the case" that the meeting in the Cabinet Room at No 10 would involve the delegations from the two sides rather than just the leaders and there would be "substantial bilateral discussions".
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Monday 3rd June 2019
 
TORM Expands Fleet with Four MR Units
 
Danish shipping company TORM has reached an agreement to acquire four modern MR vessels “at an attractive price point”.  The quartet, built in 2011 by Korean yard Hyundai Mipo, would be purchased for a total consideration of USD 83 million with expected delivery between August and December 2019.
 
“Looking into an improving demand-supply situation for the transportation of clean petroleum products, we believe that the timing for a fleet expansion with modern vessels is appropriate and underlines the flexibility provided by our strong capital structure,” Jacob Meldgaard, Executive Director, said.
 
TORM has agreed a conditional term sheet of USD 66 million with an international financial institution on financing of the four MR vessels.
 
As of today, TORM has CAPEX commitments of around USD 346 million covering the remaining CAPEX on the company’s two LR1 newbuildings with expected delivery in 2019, six MR newbuildings with expected delivery in 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, the four 2011-built second-hand MR vessels and scrubber installations on newbuildings and retrofit vessels.
 
The company’s current undrawn credit facilities and cash amount to USD 407 million.
  • World Maritime News
 
Beach closes sale of interest in Otway assets
 
Australia-based oil and gas company Beach Energy has completed the sale of an interest in the Otway assets offshore Australia to O.G. Energy.
 
On October 5, 2018, Beach announced it had entered into an agreement to sell 40% of its Victorian Otway interests to O.G. Energy, through its wholly owned subsidiary OGOG (Otway) Pty Ltd, for $344 million with an effective date of July 1, 2018.
 
Following the satisfaction of all conditions, a completion payment of $262 million was received on Friday, May 31, 2019, comprising the purchase price of $344 million less adjustments of $82 million. These adjustments reflect O.G. Energy’s share of net cash flow from these assets between the effective date of the transaction and the completion date.
 
Following completion, Beach holds a 60% interest and remains as operator of its Victorian Otway interests, including the Geographe, Thylacine, Halladale, Speculant and Black Watch gas fields, Enterprise and Artisan exploration prospects and the Otway Gas Plant.
 
Additionally, Beach has agreed to transfer to O.G. Energy, for consideration and subject to customary regulatory approvals, a 40% interest in the La Bella gas field, ensuring alignment across its offshore Otway portfolio.
 
Commenting on the close of the Otway Sale, Beach Managing Director, Matt Kay, said: “We are excited to formally welcome O.G. Energy into our Victorian Otway Basin assets. Having a fully-aligned partner on board is an important step in Beach’s plans to develop more gas supplies for the east coast gas market.
 
“Completion of the transaction further strengthens Beach’s balance sheet. The company is in a strong financial position to consider accelerating investment in our value-accretive growth portfolio.”
 
O.G. Energy is the energy division of Ofer Global, a private portfolio of international businesses. O.G. Energy’s oil and gas division, O.G. Oil & Gas, holds the groups’ exploration and production interests, which are held through both direct participations, like the planned Otway joint venture, as well as through strategic shareholdings.
 
It is worth reminding that, earlier this year, Beach hired a Diamond Offshore-owned semi-submersible drilling rig to undertake its Victorian Otway offshore drilling program. The first well expected to be drilled in the offshore program will be the Artisan gas exploration well, which is located in the VIC/P43 permit.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Ørsted Kicks Off Hornsea One Operations
 
Ørsted has officially started operations on the 1,214MW Hornsea One, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.  The project’s first operational team of 32 set sail from Grimsby Royal Docks to the wind farm located 120 kilometres out to sea on 31 May.
 
They are part of two shift-based teams that are responsible for operating and maintaining the wind farm, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout its 25-year life-span, Ørsted said.  The teams will each spend two weeks at a time offshore, staying on the Service Operations Vessel (SOV) Edda Mistral.
 
David Coussens, Deputy Operations Manager for Hornsea One, and leading the first operational team shift, said: “Operating a wind farm this far offshore is unprecedented. We’ve had to think creatively and come up with new ways of working to overcome the logistical and technical challenges of operating a massive power station 120km from the shore, about the same distance as Grimsby to Leeds!''
 
The huge scale of the project means that operations are beginning before construction is complete, Ørsted said. To date, over 50 of the 174 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines are operational, and turbine installation is expected to continue until late summer.
 
The wind farm is scheduled to be fully operational in 2020.
 
“The speed of construction has been phenomenal, and it’s thanks to the hundreds of dedicated people working on the project, that the project is on schedule to eventually generate enough clean electricity for over a million homes across the UK. It’s an exciting moment for me personally, but also for the UK as the world watches the progress with this record-breaking wind farm,” Morten Holm, Hornsea One’s Head of Operations, said.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Hunt would pursue no-deal Brexit in extremis with 'heavy heart'
 
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would be prepared to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union without a deal if there was no alternative, and with a heavy heart.  Hunt is in the running to replace Theresa May as prime minister.
 
“In the end, if the only way to leave the European Union, to deliver on the result of the referendum, was to leave without a deal, then I would do that,” he told BBC Radio. “But I would do so very much as a last resort, with a heavy heart because of the risks to businesses and the risks to the union.
 
“I would be prepared to do it in extremis but I wouldn’t do it if there was a prospect of a better deal and I think there is a prospect of a better deal and I think it’s possible to get one before October 31, although I don’t pretend it’s going to be easy.”
  • Reuters

 

 
Headlines Friday 31st May 2019
 
Virginia DMME and Old Dominion Uni Sign Offshore Wind Deal
 
Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) and Old Dominion University (ODU) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the state's offshore wind projects.  The agreement, signed between ODU President John R. Broderick and DMME Director John Warren, is based on providing research and support for Virginia's offshore wind, with focus on the Coastal Virginia project.
 
MoU signing took place after a panel discussion about the sector which was led by Warren with representatives from Ørsted US, Avangrid Renewables, ODU, Dominion Energy, Port of Virginia and Tidewater Community College, among others
 
The event included talks about the opportunities for Hampton Roads to reinvent itself with offshore wind development by capitalizing on clean energy generation and job growth.
 
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will feature two Siemens Gamesa 6MW turbines installed in a federal lease area in the Mid-Atlantic some 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.  It is expected to provide the operational, weather and environmental experience necessary for large-scale development in the adjacent 112,800-acre leased site.
 
The 12MW project is being jointly developed by Dominion Energy and Ørsted, who plan to have it operating in December 2020.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
SunStone Signs Deal for Seventh Infinity-Class Ship
 
Miami-based SunStone Ships has signed an agreement for the construction of its seventh Infinity-class ship in Hong Kong, China.  The vessel, ordered on May 29, 2019, has a long-term charter agreement in place.
 
Featuring a length of 104 meters and a width of 18 meters, the unit will be capable of carrying between 130-200 passengers and 85 to 115 crew members.  The latest cruise ship is scheduled for delivery in September 2021.
 
The company’s previously ordered Infinity-class vessels, currently under construction, are scheduled to join the SunStone fleet in August 2019, October 2020, January 2021, March 2022, September 2022 and October 2022, respectively.
 
The vessels are Ice Class 1A, Polar Code 6 and are being built with Safe Return to Port, Dynamic Positioning, and Zero Speed Stabilizers.
  • World Maritime News
 
Helix Energy takes majority stake in Subsea Technologies Group
 
Houston-based offshore energy services firm Helix Energy Solutions has bought a majority stake in Aberdeen-based Subsea Technologies Group Limited (STL).
 
STL is a subsea engineering company specializing in the design and manufacture of subsea pressure control equipment, including well intervention, well control and subsea control systems.  The companies did not disclose terms of the acquisition.
 
Scotty Sparks, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Helix, stated: “This acquisition provides Helix with a significant opportunity to offer in-house engineering services, product development, and systems engineering, whilst also enabling us to accelerate the development of new well intervention technologies and provide an enhanced product and service offering.”
 
Drummond Lawson, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of STL, added: “We are excited about the acquisition, as joining Helix represents opportunities for company growth and to strengthen our capabilities, products and service offerings.  STL will continue to provide industry leading service to our clients, and we look forward to engaging existing and new clients alike in those opportunities.”
 
Going forward STL will operate from Helix’s offices in Aberdeen, and Lawson, along with Chief Technical Officer Dave McKay, will continue in their current roles.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Iberdrola launches cleantech 'Start-up Challenge' to protect grid from climate impacts
 
Energy giant is on the hunt for UK entrepreneurs with solutions to keep electricity grid running in face of extreme weather caused by climate change.  Spanish energy giant Iberdrola yesterday launched a new 'Start Up Challenge', a hunt for new ideas to help protect the UK's electricity grid from the impacts of more extreme weather.
 
Climate change threatens to heighten the frequency and intensity of extreme weather including storms, snow, ice, floods and extreme heat - all of which can fry the UK grid and cause lengthy power outages.
 
"Climate change poses many risks to society, and more frequent and more intense weather events are a real challenge for electricity network operators," said Armando Martinez, director of the networks business at Iberdrola Group. "Even equipment designed and engineered to the highest specifications can be completely destroyed by the fiercest of storms."
 
"Companies like Iberdrola are always innovating and improving processes, and we also studiously monitor and assess emerging technologies," he added. "However, we are sure that there will be concepts currently brewing in labs and on whiteboards that could end up being global game-changers."
 
Companies are invited to register for the competition until June 30. The winning firm will have the opportunity to pilot their idea and if it proves successful, Iberdrola said it will offer the firm a supplier contract and potentially become an investor.
 
"A great idea on paper can become a core part of day-to-day business operations quickly with the right support and guidance," said Agustin Delgado, chief innovation and sustainability officer at Iberdrola. "We will help to take successful ideas in to a pilot stage, and then onwards towards a full supplier agreement. Ultimately, a concept that improves our processes could end up being sought after by electricity network companies the world over."
  • Business Green

 

 
Headlines Thursday 30th May 2019
 
USCG Urges Vigilance in Shipping amid Renewed Cyber Attacks
 
The US Coast Guard (USCG) has urged the maritime industry to stay alert after recent email phishing and malware intrusion attempts.  According to a safety bulletin issued on May 24, the USCG said that “cyber adversaries” were targeting commercial vessels.
 
“Cyber adversaries are attempting to gain sensitive information including the content of an official Notice of Arrival (NOA) using email addresses that pose as an official Port State Control (PSC) authority,” according to the notice.
 
Additionally, the authority has received reports of malicious software activity designed to disrupt shipboard computer systems.
 
The USCG urged maritime stakeholders to verify the validity of the email sender prior to responding to unsolicited email messages. If there is uncertainty regarding the legitimacy of the email request, vessel representatives should try contacting the PSC authority directly by using verified contact information.
 
Additionally, vessel owners and operators should continue to evaluate their cyber defence measures to reduce the effect of a cyber-attack.
  • World Maritime News
 
Ithaca Energy to buy Chevron’s North Sea business for $2 billion
 
Ithaca Energy, a subsidiary of Israel’s Delek Group, has decided to acquire Chevron North Sea Limited (CNSL) for $2 billion.  Offshore Energy Today reported back in late April that Delek Group had made an offer to buy a package of North Sea assets owned by oil major Chevron.
 
Ithaca Energy said on Thursday that the transaction will add a further ten producing field interests to the existing Ithaca portfolio, four of which relate to assets operated by the company, resulting in an approximately 150% increase in the proven and probable (2P) reserves of the company and a 300% increase in forecast 2019 production.
 
Pro-forma the transaction, Ithaca’s asset base is estimated to consist of 2P reserves of approximately 225 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) plus a further 45 MMboe of proven and probable contingent (2C) resources associated primarily with additional near-field development and infill drilling opportunities.
 
The enlarged portfolio, encompassing 18 producing field interests in total, is forecast to deliver pro-forma 2019 production of approximately 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (60% liquids) at an operating cost of approximately $17 per barrel of oil equivalent.
 
Chevron’s 500 employees to transfer
 
As part of the transaction, approximately 500 employees will transfer to the company, of which around 200 work offshore on the operated assets.
 
According to Ithaca, with the addition of the high quality, long life assets that characterize the Chevron North Sea portfolio, the acquisition delivers upon a number of key strategic objectives of the company and establishes Ithaca as the second largest independent oil and gas producer in the UK North Sea.
 
The transaction provides a material step up in the scale and breadth of the company’s producing asset base, establishes a wider portfolio of investment opportunities from which to grow the future cashflows of the business and enables accelerated monetization of Ithaca’s existing $2.2 billion of UK tax allowances.
 
The transaction has an effective date of January 1, 2019, and is expected to complete around the end of the third quarter of 2019 following approval of the acquisition by the UK Oil and Gas Authority. Taking into account the interim period cashflows that are forecast to be generated by CNSL from the effective date, it is anticipated that the price payable at completion will be around $1.65 billion, subject to adjustments for the transfer of working capital.
 
Ithaca is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tel Aviv stock exchange listed Delek Group, Israel’s integrated energy company. The acquisition will be funded through an upsized $1.65 billion Reserve Based Lending (RBL) senior debt facility, a $700 million acquisition debt financing facility, an equity investment by Delek and existing cash resources of the company. Ithaca’s existing $300 million term loan and associated Delek guarantees will be retired as part of this refinancing.
 
JP Morgan is acting as financial adviser to the company in relation to this transaction. The RBL facility has been fully underwritten by BNP Paribas and the acquisition debt financing has been jointly underwritten by JP Morgan and BNP Paribas.
 
The deal “underlines Ithaca’s belief in North Sea”
 
Les Thomas, Ithaca Energy CEO, commented: “The acquisition of CNSL is a significant step forward in the long term development of Ithaca Energy and underlines our belief in the North Sea, particular in the UK Central North Sea where the enlarged business will own a range of interests in a number of key producing assets.
 
“We are very pleased to be acquiring a high quality portfolio of assets and experienced operational organization that fits well with our existing business. Like our current portfolio, the production and reserves base is heavily weighted towards operated asset positions, which provides us with the ability to actively prioritize and unlock the full potential of the business. We are excited about establishing an enlarged organization with a dynamic and innovative culture based on a continued commitment to safe and efficient operations.”
 
Asi Bartfeld, Delek Group CEO, added: “The acquisition is a key part of the Delek Group’s strategic focus on building a world class E&P business. Acquiring CNSL accelerates implementation of that strategy and further strengthens the Group’s oil and gas business. We see exciting growth opportunities in the North Sea and are looking forward to working with Ithaca to deliver upon our value and growth targets.”
 
Following completion of the transaction, Chevron will provide the security and remain financially responsible for the decommissioning obligations of Chevron North Sea Limited in respect of its interests in the Heather and Strathspey fields and the Cambo exploration well.
 
The producing field interests being acquired as part of the transaction between Ithaca and Chevron North Sea Limited.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Council unveils bold plan to transform banks of the Clyde
 
The banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow city centre could be transformed to make way for homes, a hotel and bars.  City council bosses have pledged £25m towards regenerating Custom House Quay, which stretches from Victoria Bridge towards The Clutha pub.  The land is not currently occupied due to concerns about the "structural integrity" of the quay walls.  It is hoped the project, which will be funded as part of the City Deal scheme, would see 20m of new wall constructed.
 
The local authority has given BBC Scotland artists' impressions of the proposed development.  The council aims to turn the area in to an "attractive waterfront destination" with a mix of "residential, hotel and commercial uses" along with space for bars and restaurants.
 
Council leader Susan Aitken said: "Custom House Quay is very important both in terms of its location on the riverside in the city centre, close to Buchanan Street and St Enoch Square, and as an attractive development opportunity.
 
"Glasgow City Region City Deal funding means that its redevelopment can now take place.
 
"Investment in strategic sites on the Clyde is currently taking place at Glasgow Harbour and at Tradeston with the Barclays campus, and the development of Custom House Quay would be another step towards realising the full potential of the waterfront."
 
If the proposals get planning approval, construction will start in 2022 with the project being completed in Spring 2024.
  • BBC News
 
Sturgeon: Scots won’t accept Tory PM telling us we can’t choose future
 
People in Scotland will not accept being told by a future Tory Prime Minister that they cannot choose their own future, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Currently, 11 candidates have declared they are standing to succeed Theresa May – Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid, James Cleverly, Matt Hancock, Esther McVey and Kit Malthouse.
Earlier this week, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said that she expects all of those candidates to rule out a referendum on Scottish independence.
 
In a tweet on Wednesday, Sajid Javid wrote: “If I become PM, I won’t allow a second Scottish independence referendum. People stated views clearly in 2014, so there should be no second vote. Nicola Sturgeon should spend more time improving public services in Scotland, and less time grandstanding”.
 
However, the First Minister responded by saying that Scots would not accept a Tory leader telling them they can’t choose their own future.  Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “Memo to Tory leadership candidates: A majority of Scots – independence supporters and opponents alike – will not accept being told by a Tory PM that we are not ‘allowed’ to choose our own future (& PS, you have a lot to learn about good public service delivery from the SNP gov)”.
 
Rory Stewart, another Tory leadership hopeful, also tweeted: “In everything we do and everything we say in this leadership race we should remember that the key is to unify the country and not divide the United Kingdom.  ”The First Minister made the comments as the Referendums (Scotland) Bill was introduced at Holyrood, setting out the rules and regulations for any future vote.
 
The second half of 2020 has already been earmarked as a possible time for another Scottish referendum.  Ms Sturgeon had earlier said that it would be a “democratic outrage” if Westminster were to block Scotland from holding a second referendum.  The First Minister stated: “An independence referendum within this parliamentary term will give Scotland the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation – rather than have a Brexit future imposed upon us.
 
“Throughout the Brexit process, Scotland has been treated with contempt by Westminster, and our efforts to find compromise and protect the interests of the people of Scotland, who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, have been ignored.”
  • The Courier

 

Headlines Wednesday 29th May 2019

 
Hutchison Ports, CN to Build New Container Terminal at Quebec Port
 
Canadian Québec Port Authority (QPA) has signed a long-term commercial agreement with Hutchison Ports and Canadian National Railway (CN) to build and operate a new container terminal, known as project Laurentia.
 
The CAD 775 million (USD 574 million) project, previously known Bauport 2020, will be financed primarily through the joint investment of the three partners.  The QPA also has ongoing discussions with the federal and provincial governments to complete the financing.
 
“Today, through a joint venture with Hutchison Ports and CN, we are setting the stage for this project to become a North American success in terms of business and social acceptability not to mention a vector of economic development for Québec, allowing the St. Lawrence to gain additional growth and competitiveness with U.S. ports,” Mario Girard, Québec Port Authority’s President and Chief Executive Officer, commented.
 
As explained, Hutchison Ports was selected after a competitive process in which QPA invited international port operators to provide proposals to participate in the project.  The agreement stipulates that Hutchison Ports will build “the most environmentally and technologically advanced” cargo-handling facility in North America. The facility would become one of the terminals with the smallest ecological footprint in the world, according to QPA.
 
“We are pleased to partner with the Québec Port Authority and CN to develop the Québec container terminal. Québec City will become Hutchison Ports’ gateway to the East coast of North America,” Eric Ip, Group Managing Director of Hutchison Ports, said.
 
As the major inland deep-water terminal in North America, the new terminal will be the only facility in the St. Lawrence which could accommodate the new generations of very large ships.  The deep-water container terminal project is currently under an environmental assessment process with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
 
This agreement increases Hutchison Ports’ global network to 52 ports spanning 27 countries. Hutchison Ports handles close to 85 million TEU per year, representing approximately 11% of the global containerized cargo trade.
  • World Maritime News
 
Nam Cheong clinches long-term deals for three offshore support vessels
 
Malaysia’s offshore support vessel provider Nam Cheong has clinched long-term charter contracts for three OSVs with Malaysian oil majors.  The company said on Wednesday that the long-term contracts are worth approximately RM 80 million ($19.05M), with an option for extension valued at RM 50 million ($11.9M).
 
According to the vessel owner, the three vessels – one platform supplier and two anchor handlers – will be used to service works on floating LNG facilities and other production operations in Malaysian waters until 2022, with optional extension period running until 2024.  With the additional contracts, the group’s chartering orderbook will grow to RM 295 million, including option for extension of RM 140 million.
 
Commenting on the new contract wins, Leong Seng Keat, Chief Executive Officer of Nam Cheong said, “Through years of unceasingly delivering performance, we have nurtured working relations that have withstood volatilities in the industry and solidified our expertise to build relations with new clients.
 
“With the OSV industry steadily gaining pace, our focus for growth now shifts to our 32-strong fleet as we bolster our chartering operations to capture the gradually recovering market. We are steadily scaling up our capabilities and expertise to better service oil and gas players’ offshore support needs, with an eye on other business opportunities in the offshore marine industry.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
OOS International Ups Semi-Submersible Crane Vessel Game
 
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has granted an Approval in Principle (AIP) to the design of OOS Zeelandia, a new semi-submersible crane vessel (SSCV) that, when built, will have the largest lifting capacity in the world, OOS International B.V. said.  China Merchants Offshore Technology Research Center (CM-OTRC), the R&D center for China Merchants Industry Holdings (CMI) of Shenzhen, China, completed the basic design of the OOS Zeelandia in cooperation with OOS International.
 
With a total lifting capacity of up to 25,000 metric tons (mt) using two fully-revolving cranes of 12,500mt each, and with a clear deck space of over 11,000m2, OOS Zeelandia is designed to lift and transport a large offshore structure on its own main deck, either for installation offshore in one lift, or for decommissioning in one piece and transporting back to shore for re-use/upgrade or dismantling and disposal, OOS International said.
 
Besides offshore structures installation or decommissioning in the oil and gas sector, the vessel will also be capable of serving several other markets, most important among them being subsea installation, offshore wind turbine installation, and pipe laying.
OOS Zeelandia will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fitted with a closed bus DP3 system, aided by high redundancy azimuth and tunnel thrusters. It is designed to travel at a normal economical speed of 12 knots and at a maximum speed of up to 15 knots.
 
The vessel will have a winterized main deck and will carry ABS ice class A0 notation, making it possible to operate in a first-year arctic ice environment.
 
In addition, it will offer an accommodation capacity for up to 492 crew and personnel in single and double cabins.
CMHI is currently building two smaller vessels of similar design, named OOS Serooskerke and OOS Walcheren, with smaller cranes of 2 x 2,200mt each, in its Haimen, Jiangsu yard.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Indyref2 'framework' bill published at Holyrood
 
Legislation which could pave the way for a new Scottish independence referendum has been tabled at Holyrood.
 
The Scottish government wants to put the question of independence to a new public vote in the second half of 2020.  However, the Referendums (Scotland) Bill does not set a date or question, with ministers seeking agreement with the UK government  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "now more than ever it is essential that we keep Scotland's options open".
 
Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell will give a statement to MSPs on Wednesday afternoon about the bill and plans for a "citizens' assembly" to discuss Brexit and independence.
 
The Scottish Conservatives said the "latest stunt" was "all about Nicola Sturgeon pandering to her party, not speaking for the country".  Ms Sturgeon announced in April that she wanted a new independence referendum to happen before the end of the current Scottish Parliament term in 2021.  She told MSPs that she wanted to secure a "Section 30 order" - an agreement similar to that underpinning the 2014 referendum - from the UK government before doing this, to put the vote "beyond doubt or challenge".
 
The UK government has so far rejected such an agreement, but Ms Sturgeon said she would bring forward legislation to "set the rules for any referendum that is now or in the future within the competence of the Scottish Parliament".  She wants the legislation to be passed by the end of this year, with a view to applying it specifically to a second independence referendum in the event a deal is struck with UK ministers.
 
If such an agreement is secured, then the question, date and referendum period could be added to the bill via secondary legislation.  The bill as it stands has been ruled within Holyrood's remit by Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh.  Speaking ahead of Wednesday's statement, Ms Sturgeon said that "Scotland must have the chance to choose a better future than the one being offered by Westminster".  She added: "An independence referendum within this parliamentary term will give Scotland the opportunity to choose to be an independent European nation - rather than have a Brexit future imposed upon us.
 
"We will seek agreement to a transfer of power at an appropriate point to enable an independence referendum that is beyond challenge to be held later in this parliament.
 
"It is essential the UK government recognises that it would be a democratic outrage if it seeks to block such a referendum - indeed, any such stance would, in my view, prove to be utterly unsustainable."
 
Holyrood's pro-Union opposition parties have hit out at the move.  Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said it would "come as no surprise to anybody in Scotland that Nicola Sturgeon has decided to use the EU elections to manufacture the case for a second independence referendum".
 
He said: "No matter what people in Scotland say or do, the SNP's answer is always the same - to take us out of the UK.
 
"At a time when we need to focus on the challenges on education, the economy, and public services, this proves that the SNP has become a waste of parliamentary space."
 
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie added: "Not one patient will be seen quicker nor one school child get a better education as a result of Nicola Sturgeon's independence obsession. All it will do is damage our economy and hurt our public services."
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Tuesday 28th May 2019
 
Green Maritime Methanol Project Starts with Nine Ships
 
The Green Maritime Methanol consortium has selected nine ships for research on the application of renewable methanol as a marine fuel.  New designs, newbuildings as well as existing ships of Boskalis, Van Oord, the Royal Netherlands Navy and Wagenborg Shipping were selected.
 
The vessel sizes vary in length from between 40-160 meters, with tonnage ranging from 300-23,000 dwt and in installed power from 1-12 MW.  Research for these ships will start with determination of the cost for implementation and use of methanol fuel systems, Green Maritime Methanol said, adding that the results of this research will be compared with low sulphur marine diesel.
 
Each of the ships has its own specific operational profile, providing a specific insight into the feasibility of methanol for a certain ship type, its sailing route and cruising speed. Not only cargo vessels are being evaluated in this phase, as attention will also be paid to ferries, dredgers and support vessels operating in coastal waters.
 
For each scenario the most attractive technical, operational and economical configurations will be determined. The parties envision sharing and exchanging knowledge within the consortium with opportunities to further develop methanol as a transport fuel for the maritime sector.
 
Recently, the consortium welcomed three new entrants, namely the Royal Netherlands Shipowners’ Association (KVNR), Bureau Veritas and Lloyds Register.
 
The project is supported by TKI Maritiem and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and runs until December 2020.
  • World Maritime News
 
Rystad: Renewables investments in Asia to overtake oil and gas in 2020
 
Renewable energy investment in Asia, excluding China, will overtake spending on upstream oil and gas projects in the region as soon as next year, according to Norwegian oil and gas intelligence firm Rystad Energy.
 
Rystad said that total capex in renewables would overtake exploration and production spending in 2020, with contributions from Australia and other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea.
 
Gero Farruggio, Head of renewables at Rystad, said: “These countries each have strong pipelines for renewable energy developments of all types, including offshore wind. And, importantly, most have large targets outlining the inclusion of renewable power sources within their respective energy mixes, with corresponding support policies.”
 
In Australia, the renewable energy project pipeline is now over double the national electricity market. Only 1% of the country’s solar, wind, and utility storage projects is currently owned by oil majors. Rystad forecasted that this was likely to change.
 
“By 2020, it is feasible that the majors will be the dominant renewable developers in Australia as they pursue ‘oil and gas’ scale opportunities. Commercial drivers are increasing the desire to ride the ‘solar-coaster.’
 
“Upstream companies will lead the charge, building sizeable utility storage, solar and – ultimately – offshore wind portfolios. Solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, and turbines will soon be conventional segments of Australia’s oilfield services,” Farruggio added.
 
Rystad Energy expects renewables in Australia will continue the strong growth seen in 2018 through 2020, although the country still faces the local challenge of transmission losses, which impacts revenues and creates policy uncertainty.
 
“However, investor confidence is high in Australia, and the country currently has a development pipeline of over 105 GW of solar, wind, and storage projects, as well as a fleet of aging coal-fired power stations which will require replacement,” Rystad said.
 
The intelligence company added that the growth in India’s renewables presented significant scale and one to watch.
 
“It is no surprise that Petronas and Shell have recently made moves in the Indian commercial and industrial renewables space.” Farruggio stated.
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
Kraken Subsea Wins Kriegers Flak Contract
 
Vattenfall has awarded Kraken Subsea Solutions with a contract for employer's representation for the inter-array cable installation at the Kriegers Flak offshore wind project.
 
The French engineering and consultancy company will provide supervision services to Vattenfall during the offshore installation operations at the 605MW wind farm, which will take place from July 2019 to November 2020.
 
Kraken will be involved in all of the installation operations for the inter-array cable package, including boulder picking and clearance, pre-trenching, pre-survey, cable pull-in, laying and burial, as well as termination and testing.
 
JDR Cables will manufacture more than 70km of aluminium core inter-array cables and provide a range of termination accessories for the Krigers Flak project, under a contract it secured in March.
 
In November 2016, Vattenfall won the tender to build the wind farm with the lowest ever bid of EUR 49.9 per MWh, 58% below the original cap of EUR 120 per MWh.
 
The 605MW Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm will comprise 72 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines scheduled to be fully commissioned before the end of 2021.
  • Offshorewind.biz
 
Tory leadership contest: Jeremy Hunt warns against no-deal Brexit 'suicide'
 
Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has warned that his party will be committing "political suicide" if it tries to push through a no-deal Brexit.  The foreign secretary is one of 10 people seeking to replace Theresa May.
 
Michael Gove has begun his pitch by pledging to allow EU nationals in the UK at the time of the referendum to apply for citizenship free of charge.  The Brexit-supporting environment secretary will make an "open and generous" offer, sources said.  Tory rival, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, is promising a "listening exercise" on Brexit.
 
Mr Hunt says the Conservatives would be "annihilated" and "face extinction" if there was a general election before Brexit happened.  He says he has always believed that no-deal is better than no Brexit but warns that a prime minister advocating no-deal would risk losing a confidence vote in Parliament - so committing to a general election.
 
"Trying to deliver no deal through a general election is not a solution; it is political suicide," he writes.  It would "probably put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10 by Christmas."  He pledged to negotiate a new agreement with the EU if he wins the leadership contest.
 
In response, one of Mr Hunt's rivals, Esther McVey, said "political suicide" would be not leaving the EU at the end of October, as planned.  On Monday Housing minister Kit Malthouse became the latest Tory MP to join the race to become party leader.
 
Writing in the Sun newspaper, Mr Malthouse said the campaign "cannot be about the same old faces" and described himself as "the new face, with fresh new ideas".
 
He told BBC News he was "the only candidate that has proven the ability to unify MPs around a Brexit plan that could deliver us out of this jam", after he brought together Leave and Remain-supporting Conservative MPs in January to devise an alternative Brexit proposal known as the "Malthouse Compromise".
 
Mr Malthouse - who voted to leave the EU - said his "primary objective" was to secure a deal before the 31 October deadline, but said it was still necessary to prepare for the possibility of no deal.
 
Meanwhile, fellow leadership-hopeful Mr Gove has said he wants to give as many as three million people from elsewhere in the EU who live in the UK an easier path to citizenship after Brexit.
 
As part of the plan, he would remove the requirement of EU citizens to provide proof of their right to be here - getting rid of the so-called 'settled status' scheme.
 
A source close to the environment secretary said: "This is simply the right thing to do - honouring the promise of Vote Leave that EU nationals studying, working and living in the UK were welcome to stay."
 
The Sun reports that rival contender Health Secretary Matt Hancock has written to ITV, BBC, Sky and Channel 4 to ask them to broadcast a live debate between those vying for the Tory leadership.
 
The official leadership race gets under way in early June, after Theresa May stands down - but jostling between candidates has already begun. The winner, expected to be named by late July, will also become prime minister.
  • BBC News
 
Headlines Friday 24th May 2019
 
Teekay Offshore Secures USD 450 Mn Shuttle Tanker Fleet Refinancing
 
Teekay Offshore Partners has secured a new USD 450 million revolving credit facility for sixteen shuttle tankers.  The loan will be used to refinance the existing revolving credit facility dated September 8, 2017, currently fully drawn with outstanding amount of USD 445 million, and for general corporate purposes, Teekay Offshore explained.
 
It is funded by commercial banks and bears interest at LIBOR + 250 basis points with a five-year tenor and a profile of 8.4 years.  The company added that the facility is in accordance with its previously noted financing plans.
 
In April 2019, Teekay Offshore Partners secured USD 414 million long-term debt facility, funded and guaranteed by Canadian and Norwegian export credit agencies and commercial banks, to finance four new shuttle tankers under construction at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).
 
Following delivery in 2019 and 2020, two of the Suezmax DP2 vessels would start working for Norway’s 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
 
Redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery gets £1m from BP
 
The redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery is being given £1m from oil giant BP, it has been announced.  The art gallery closed in 2015 and was originally due to reopen in late 2017.  It is now expected to open to the public in the autumn. It has received £10m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £10m from Aberdeen City Council. The campaign for the remaining £10m has raised £4.8m so far.
 
The "BP Galleries" will be in a copper-clad second-floor extension.  The hope is to host three special exhibitions each year by national and international artists.  BP Group chief executive Bob Dudley said: "We are proud that BP's support for arts and culture in the UK stretches back more than five decades.
 
"Today's commitment adds the Aberdeen Art Gallery to the list of great institutions we support, in a city that is home for our people, our business and the community we are a part of."
 
Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council's culture spokeswoman, said: "When it reopens in autumn this year Aberdeen Art Gallery will be the city's most inspiring, accessible and welcoming public building."  The redesign of the Schoolhill art gallery building was backed by 27 votes to 15 by the council in 2013.
  • BBC News
 
Seaspan Ferries to Expand Fleet with New LNG-Hybrid Vessels
 
Canadian transport provider Seaspan Ferries will be adding two new liquid natural gas (LNG) – battery hybrid ferries to its fleet in 2021.  The 149-meter-long vessels will be constructed by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem B.V. at their Mangalia Shipyard in Romania, with construction scheduled to begin in 2019.
 
Featuring 1,034 lane metres, the new roll-on/roll-off units would join the Seaspan Swift and the Seaspan Reliant, the company’s first hybrid ferries, commissioned just over two years ago.
 
Since introducing these vessels to their fleet, Seaspan Ferries has been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining a high level of performance and reliability for its drop-trailer service between the Mainland terminals and Vancouver Island.
 
“Within their first two years of service, our existing LNG hybrid vessels have operated with emission reductions of over 50% compared to traditional vessels; a large part of which is directly linked to the use of LNG fuel,” Frank Butzelaar, CEO Seaspan Marine Transportation, said.
 
“Expanding our fleet of LNG vessels will allow us to further expand our service offering and reduce emissions at the same time. It’s the right decision for the business and for the environment,” Butzelaar added.
  • World Maritime News
 
Headlines Thursday 23rd May 2019
 
Topshop owner Philip Green plans to close 23 stores in Arcadia rescue
 
Sir Philip Green plans to close 23 UK stores with the loss of 520 jobs as part of a financial rescue plan for his retail empire, which takes in Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Evans and Burton.  The company is also asking landlords to accept rent cuts on up to 194 of its 566 UK and Irish stores in a rescue package that will involve the closure of all Topshop’s 11 US stores.  If a deal is not approved, Green’s Arcadia Group, which employs about 19,000 people, could face administration.
 
Ian Grabiner, the Arcadia chief executive, said the restructure was a “tough but necessary decision for the business”.  He added: “We have in place a well-developed turnaround plan for the group, which includes driving cost efficiencies and managing the refreshed retail store estate and investing in the continued development of our multi-channel proposition and logistics.”
 
The former billionaire Green’s business needs the support of landlordsto cut costs before its next rental payment in late June. The deal is controversial as Green’s family have taken more than £1.5bn in dividends and other payments out of Arcadia since buying it for £850m 17 years ago.  The company’s sales and profits have plummeted as it faces increasing competition from online specialists such as Asos and Boohoo, as well as Zara, H&M and Primark on the high street.
 
Green, who has not been in the UK since October, is said to be keen to wrap up an exit from the group. With his reputation in tatters after the collapse of BHS in 2016, only a year after Green sold it for £1 to a former bankrupt, and accusations of inappropriate behaviour, the entrepreneur has lost his appetite for the British high street.
 
Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said landlords would be asking themselves whether they really wanted a probably worthless stake in a business that was likely to be lossmaking and had fallen out of favour with shoppers.
 
“It’s probably not got much of a future,” he said, suggesting landlords would think twice about backing the restructure plan. “Any option for [landlords] is bad. Maybe the least bad option is to establish the principle that retailers can’t just walk away from their legal liabilities.”
 
To persuade them to accept the deal, Arcadia is offering landlords a 20% share in the proceeds from any sale of the business and has promised to invest £50m in revamping and improving stores, as first reported by the Guardian. They will also have access to £40m in compensation.  Arcadia also wants to halve payments to its pension fund, which has a deficit of at least £537m, to £25m a year for three years.  But Green’s wife Christina, who is the formal owner of the business, has agreed to top up payments to the pension fund with £100m of additional cash over the next three years.
 
It is not clear whether the pensions regulator has approved that deal. But John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant, said: “This is a good deal for the Arcadia pension schemes. If Sir Philip had chosen to put £100m into the BHS pension scheme before selling it in 2015, it wouldn’t have come back to bite him so ferociously.”
 
Arcadia will seek agreement from landlords for the restructure at a meeting on 5 June. They must approve seven separate insolvency procedures (CVAs) in order for the plan to go ahead. Each require the backing of at least 75% of landlords.
  • The Guardian
 
Hyundai Heavy Clinches Deals for Two LNG Carriers
 
South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries has secured newbuilding agreements for two LNG carriers.  According to a stock exchange filing, the deals have a value of KRW 463.8 billion (USD 389.5 million).
 
The 180,000 cbm vessels, ordered by an undisclosed European owner, are scheduled for delivery by the end of June 2022.
 
The shipbuilder earlier said it expects to receive more orders for large-scale LNG carriers during 2019 on the back of an increasing LNG orderbook amid recent tightening of environmental regulations.  
 
In mid-April Hyundai Heavy said it secured orders for five new gas and crude carriers, with a value of around USD 600 million, from European and Asian ship owners.
 
Namely, an undisclosed Greek shipping company signed a contract for the construction of a 174,000 cbm LNG carrier, while a Japanese owner placed an order for an LNG carrier with Hyundai Heavy at the end of March.
  • World Maritime News
 
BW Offshore to spin off BW Energy in Oslo IPO
 
FPSO leasing specialist BW Offshore is looking to spin off its E&P subsidiary BW Energy as a separate company and is planning to list it on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
 
“BW Offshore plans to establish BW Energy as a separate E&P company and will invite external investors into the company to finance the development of the recently acquired Maromba field offshore Brazil and value-enhancing investments at the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon,” BW Offshore said on Thursday. BW Offshore established BW Energy back in December 2016 and owns oil and gas in Gabon, Namibia, and Brazil.
 
The company said that BW Energy will have a diversified portfolio of production and development assets, “positioned for growth based on its unique low-risk development strategy supported by BWO’s existing FPSOs, track-record, and experience.”
 
Carl K. Arnet, the CEO of BW Offshore said: “With BW Energy, we have demonstrated our unique ability to move the threshold for commercial development of discovered resources through use of existing FPSOs, fast-track project execution, and properly scaled development concepts,” said “We will continue to target robust business opportunities based on proven reserves with sequential growth potential and unlock significant value that traditional oil & gas companies are not addressing.”
 
“We have proven the attractiveness of our field development strategy with the Dussafu development. Our E&P activities now have a scale where it is natural to invite external investors to add to BW Energy’s project execution capacity and growth potential,” Carl K. Arnet added.
 
BW Offshore said BW Energy would consist of: 73.5% working interest (WI) in the Dussafu Marin Permit offshore Gabon (owned by the current partnership); 56% WI in the Kudu license offshore Namibia (owned by a subsidiary of BWO); 100% WI in the Maromba field offshore Brazil (owned by a subsidiary of BWO, subject to regulatory approval).
 
BW Energy is the operator of the Dussafu license offshore Gabon, which it bought in 2016, developed it and started production 18 months since the acquisition.
 
Current gross production from the Dussafu field is around 12,000 barrels of oil per day, expected to achieve approximately 20,000 barrels of oil per day in 2020 as the 4 new production wells of the phase 2 development are hooked up to the BW Adolo FPSO.  The internal estimated recoverable reserves now stand at 80 MMboe gross including both Tortue and the Ruche discoveries, up more than 5 times from the sanctioning of the first phase. In addition, a rich inventory of exploration and appraisal opportunities represents further material upside potential, BW Offshore said.
 
“BW Energy has assembled an experienced E&P organization, with strong technical and operational capabilities. Following several operational achievements at Dussafu, BWO plans to expand BW Energy’s portfolio by transferring its rights to interests in the Maromba field offshore Brazil.  Following the transfer, BW Energy will start preparations for the phased development of the Maromba heavy oil discovery which is expected to yield between 100 and 150 MMboe. BWO will also transfer its interest in the Kudu license in Namibia to BW Energy. All of BWO’s and BW Group’s upstream oil & gas assets will be held through BW Energy following these transfers,” BW Offshore said.
 
BW Energy will be led by a management team consisting of CEO Carl K. Arnet, COO Lin G. Espey and CFO Knut R. Sæthre with effect from July 1, 2019.
 
BWO and BW Group will invite external investors to invest directly in the new entity. BW Energy targets a listing on Oslo Stock Exchange in 2019 and has retained DNB Markets and Pareto Securities as financial advisers in this respect.
  • Offshore Energy
 
Headlines Wednesday 22nd May 2019
 
Shearwater adds tenth vessel to active fleet as ‘seismic market gains traction’
 
Seismic services player Shearwater GeoServices has decided to bring the tenth vessel into active operation for the 2019 northern hemisphere summer season on the back of strong backlog as marine seismic acquisition market gains traction.  According to Shearwater’s statement on Tuesday, this extensive fleet is brought into operation on the back of solid backlog and provides marine seismic acquisition services spanning towed and seabed activities in response to rising demand for geophysical services from E&P- and multi-client companies.
 
High customer activity and successful integration of the marine seismic acquisition assets and operations of Schlumberger, which Shearwater bought in November 2018, over the past six months provides Shearwater a 33-month vessel backlog as of late May with projects for customers such as Equinor, Shell, Aker BP, and TGS.
 
For comparison, at the same time last year, the company had three vessels in operations and a backlog of 14 months. Measured by revenue, the backlog has increased four-fold year-on-year without compromising on project margins.
 
“It has been a very busy six months. We have already activated six vessels from cold-stack and have one more underway in response to a growing demand for our high-end assets, operational capabilities, and leading solutions,” said Irene Waage Basili, the CEO of Shearwater GeoServices.
 
Contracts awarded to date in 2019, include 3D and 4D projects for Shell and Equinor ranging from offshore Australia to the Barents Sea, Ocean Bottom Seismic (OBS) projects for Aker BP and Equinor in the North Sea, as well as a major exploration survey in Brazil by TGS.  Shearwater has also been awarded a high-density multi-azimuth 3D seismic acquisition contract over the SNE field offshore Senegal by Woodside.
 
The company added that the backlog for processing and imaging services had also grown significantly due to the strengthened market position, which had also led to new customers for the Reveal software business.
 
Irene Waage Basili added: “It is a strategic priority for Shearwater to have critical mass and scalability to ensure efficient and competitive operations. It also allows us to attract and retain the best people in the industry, to continue to invest in technology development and to be a long-term partner to all our customers.”
  • Offshore Energy Today
 
UK Tackles Offshore Wind Power Integration Challenge
 
The UK Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) has launched a new task force dedicated to finding innovative solutions to make the best use of electricity generated by renewable sources, including offshore wind. The Solving the Integration Challenge research project is a key part of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal announced in March, RenewableUK said.
 
A group of experts and business leaders will examine how the UK can continue to decarbonize by building a modern energy system, managing variability of demand and supply, based on renewable technologies, with offshore wind playing a leading role.
 
The participants will publish a road map identifying pioneering techniques, such as using electricity from offshore wind to generate and store hydrogen as a power source.  It will also examine how to introduce more flexibility into the UK's energy system, such as by expanding battery storage and the use of demand-side response, which enables consumers to take advantage of low electricity prices at certain times of the day.
 
Earlier this month, the Committee on Climate Change published a report on cutting greenhouse gas emission to net zero by 2050 which emphasized the role of wind energy in tackling global warming while keeping energy bills down. The report suggests that the UK could increase its offshore wind capacity nearly tenfold by 2050, from 7.9GW now to 75GW.
 
“There is no doubt about the urgent need to be more ambitious in our plans to decarbonise electricity generation," said Baroness Brown of Cambridge, the Offshore Wind Sector Champion, who is leading the project.
 
"With the transformative Offshore Wind Sector Deal in place, and CCC’s call for more offshore wind, the time is right for the UK to reach out and embrace innovative technologies which will help us to integrate more low-cost power from renewables onto the system. This will benefit consumers and create highly-skilled jobs, as well as leading by example on the global stage in taking practical measures against climate change."
 
The task force began work on 20 May in London and includes senior representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Scottish Government, Committee on Climate Change, National Grid, ORE Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult, Atkins, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, ITM, Good Energy, Shell, Equinor, Vattenfall and Ørsted.
  • Offshore Wind.biz
 
Royal Mail looks to parcels as cuts dividend and lifts investment
 
Royal Mail Plc slashed its dividend by 40% on Wednesday to fund a new five-year turnaround drive that seeks to better position the group for a future dominated by online parcel deliveries and help to expand further overseas.  Facing the threat of renationalisation from the opposition Labour Party, the former British monopoly promised to invest a further 1.8 billion pounds in its UK postal service in the hope of turning it around.
 
The company will introduce about 1,400 parcel postboxes across the UK, in what it said was the single biggest repurposing of the postbox network for over 160 years.  Chief Executive Rico Back told Reuters it would seek to earn 40% of revenue from its operations outside Britain and 70% from parcel deliveries by the end of the five-year period.
 
To fund that drive, the company said it would cut its dividend for 2019-20 to 15 pence per share from 25 pence in 2018-19.  “This is not a decision we have taken lightly as we know how important the dividend is to our shareholders,” said Back, who has been in the top job for around a year.
 
“We have sought to find an appropriate balance between sustainable shareholder returns, and investing in the future. Our ambition is to build a parcels-led, more balanced and more diversified international business.”
 
The initial market reaction was positive, with shares up more than 3 percent to 218.4 pence by 0730 GMT. That is below the 330 pence flotation price in 2013.  Struggling with a market changed by Amazon and online shopping as well as the move away from sending letters, Royal Mail has been reviewing operations and testing new delivery methods.
 
It appointed its third chairman in a year in March and has been facing a shareholder revolt over management pay packages, while its shares, down two thirds in the past 12 months, dropped out of London’s blue-chip index at the end of last year.  Back added in the statement that scaling up its General Logistics Systems business was a key priority.
 
The company’s annual results showed that revenue at GLS, its ground-based parcel network, rose 8%, but adjusted operating profit slipped 9%.  It also forecast adjusted operating profit after certain costs of 300 million pounds to 340 million pounds for 2019-20, down from the 411 million pounds it reported for the year to March 31.
  • Reuters
 
 
Headlines Tuesday 21st May 2019
 
British Steel on verge of administration
 
British Steel is on the verge of administration as it continues to lobby for government backing, sources say.  The UK's second-biggest steel maker had been trying to secure £75m in financial support to help it to address "Brexit-related issues".  If the firm does not get the cash it would put 4,500 jobs at risk and endanger 20,000 in the supply chain.
 
Company sources said that the direction of talks with the government would become clearer in the coming hours.  British Steel's main plant is at Scunthorpe, but it also has a site in Teesside.  As first reported on Sky News, according to insiders the request for emergency financial support from the government has been reduced from £75m to about £30m.
 
The report said British Steel shareholder Greybull Capital and lenders had agreed to pump new money into the firm.  Unless a deal is reached by Tuesday afternoon, the firm could go into administration within 48 hours. EY would be expected to be appointed as administrators on Wednesday.
 
In a statement, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: "As the business department, we are in regular conversation with a wide range of companies."  In April, British Steel borrowed £100m from the government to enable it to pay an EU carbon bill, so it could avoid a steep fine.
 
Sources close to Greybull Capital say its lenders have told them that unless they can secure £30m lifeline they will pull the plug on British Steel tomorrow.  The timing of this could hardly be worse for the government coming as it does right before the European elections.  Cynics might suggest that Greybull is not unhappy with the timescale of the plea.
 
Business Secretary Greg Clark has a very tough decision, as I've already written.  The question may be whether the government can put this down to Brexit mitigation and tap the same source of contingency funds Chris Grayling disastrously used to procure emergency ferry capacity.  At least there would be an immediate dividend - to stave off the collapse of a firm that employs 4,500 people directly and has 20,000 more at risk in the supply chain.
 
However, having already lent £120m to cover a genuinely Brexit-related carbon emissions bill - further assistance to a private company struggling in a deeply challenged industry may be a precedent they would rather not set.  Last Thursday, British Steel said it had the backing of shareholders and lenders and that operations continued as usual while it sought a "permanent solution" from the government to its financial troubles.
 
It is understood that along with administration, nationalisation or a management buyout are being discussed as fall-back options for the company.
British Steel's troubles have been linked to a slump in orders from European customers ‎due to uncertainty over the Brexit process.  The firm has also been struggling with the weakness of the pound since the EU referendum in June 2016 and the escalating trade US-China trade war.
 
Greybull Capital, a private equity firm, rescued Tata Steel's long products business during the depths of the steel crisis in 2016, saving more than 4,000 jobs.  It then rebranded the company as British Steel and recently returned it to profit.
 
On Monday, the government, trade unions and employers signed a UK Steel Charter in Parliament. The charter calls on the government and large companies to buy British to boost UK industry.  The GMB union said it had written to British Steel on Tuesday demanding the firm works with the government to save the Scunthorpe steelworks.
GMB national officer Ross Murdoch said: "Given this latest speculation, these are understandably extremely difficult times for our members."
 
"Yesterday the government, alongside trade unions and employers, signed a UK Steel Charter at Westminster. They must now put their money where their mouth is.
 
"GMB calls on the government and Greybull to redouble efforts to save this proud steelworks and the highly skilled jobs."
  • BBC News
 
North sea Oil Company Fined £1.16 Million After Gas Leak
 
An oil firm has been fined more than £1m - one of the biggest ever fines in a case of its type - over a North Sea gas leak.  The incident happened on Marathon Oil's Brae Alpha platform, 155 miles north east of Aberdeen, on Boxing Day 2015.  The company admitted Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) and Health and Safety at Work Act breaches.
 
Marathon was fined £1.16m at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.  No-one was injured in the incident.  Most of the 100 personnel on the platform had been gathered in the accommodation block, ahead of their Boxing Day meal, so they were not near the leak.
 
Pipework ruptured, allowing more than two tonnes of high-pressure methane gas to be released, causing what was described as significant damage.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said Marathon Oil had failed to undertake any suitable and sufficient inspection of the pipework that would have allowed the company to identify the risk and prevent the hazard.
 
HSE inspector Ahmedur Rezwan, said: "This incident is a further reminder of the ever-present hazards in oil and gas production, that if not rigorously managed can easily result in a potentially life-threatening event.
 
"During any normal period of operations personnel could easily have been working in, or transiting through Module 14, and they would almost certainly have been killed or suffered serious injury.
 
"The timing of the incident and fact that the gas did not ignite was fortuitous."
 
Marathon said in a statement: "Marathon Oil confirms that the company has been fined in a case relating to a gas release which occurred on the Brae Alpha platform on 26 December 2015.
 
"The company has fully co-operated with the HSE and complied with the measures suggested in the improvement notice.
 
"The safety of our personnel is a top priority, and we've taken action to resolve issues relating to this incident."
 
In 2015, Total was fined £1.125m over a gas leak from 2012.
  • Oil and Gas People
 
Shearwater confirms SNE field award with Woodside
 
Geoservices company Shearwater GeoServices has confirmed the award of a high-density multi-azimuth 3D seismic acquisition contract over the SNE field offshore Senegal by Woodside.  As reported by Offshore Energy Today back in late April, Woodside, as the operator of the SNE Field Development Joint Venture, awarded the seismic survey contract to Shearwater to improve reservoir definition supporting SNE well positioning and optimization.
 
Shearwater said on Tuesday that the contract covers the Sangomar, Sangomar Deep and Rufisque Offshore blocks, which include the SNE discovery.
According to the company, the work, designed as high density and multi-azimuth survey, will be acquired by the Polar Marquis using 14 streamers, and FlexiSource triple source. Starting in early 3Q 2019, the survey will take approximately 90 days to complete.
 
“We are pleased to see the award by Woodside of this complex multi-azimuth triple source contract over these significant Senegal discoveries” said Irene Waage Basili, the CEO of Shearwater GeoServices.
 
“The award reflects our capabilities as a full-service geophysical service provider and the Polar Marquis’ excellent record operating offshore Africa.”
  • Offshore Energy Today

 

Headlines Monday 20th May 2019
 
Peel Ports Presents Plans for Hunterston Site
 
UK’s port operator Peel Ports has revealed its plans for the major port and industrial center at Hunterston, one of Scotland’s most important development sites.  The company has published its vision for Hunterston and how it intends to develop the site over the next twenty years. The details are contained in a master plan, published on May 16 at the beginning of a six-week consultation process.
 
Peel Ports is calling on North Ayrshire residents and businesses to share their opinions about potential uses of the site which comprises a 300-acre brownfield footprint, deepwater, and rail connections.
 
“No other single site in the UK offers Hunterston’s … combination of deep-water, extensive land area and transport links. This historic industrial site has the potential to transform Scotland’s prospects in a variety of key economic sectors, providing jobs, skills development, import and export opportunities for decades to come,” Andrew Hemphill, Port Director, Peel Ports Clydeport, commented.
 
“The intended benefits that we have set out can only be achieved with the input of the local community, public sector agencies and commercial partners,” he added.
 
“Developing the site is also a … chance for the region to lead the way with innovative and sustainable industries, potentially in the circular economy or renewable energy… I urge everyone with an interest in the health of North Ayrshire to read the masterplan and get involved in the debate,” Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, said.
 
In recent years, the government has changed its preferred energy policy from fossil fuels towards renewable resources. The result is Hunterston Port’s role, as a major importer of coal previously burnt in Scottish power stations, is now obsolete.
 
Peel Ports has already worked with North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and many businesses in preparing the master plan and is now consulting with the public and others stakeholders about the next steps.
  • World Maritime News
 
Decommissioning on horizon for UK’s early commercial windfarms
 
Senior Associate and renewable energy specialist at law firm CMS The winds of change continue to sweep across the renewable energy sector.  Technology is moving forward rapidly with step-changes in the size, capacity and efficiency of wind turbines.
 
Many of the UK’s first commercial windfarms are now approaching the end of their initial lease periods and the end of their 20 to 25 year operational lives. As a result, they will soon be unfit for purpose.  Last month, the energy sector trade body RenewableUK issued a report warning that the UK could lose more than 8GW of onshore wind generation if older windfarms are not upgraded with larger and more efficient turbines in the next 20 years. The report anticipates that around 17.5% of the UK’s entire power output could be lost and that the low carbon electricity generation gap of up to 18% of current demand by 2030 which the UK faces could grow if existing windfarms are not repowered.
 
With decommissioning obligations beginning to appear on the horizon for many of the UK’s early commercial windfarms, developers are increasingly looking at repowering options and in doing so must consider the terms of the land agreements in respect of their existing sites and what changes might be needed to accommodate a repowered project.
 
Most leases for renewable developments will include a right for the developer to extend the term for another 25 or 30 years on terms to be agreed. This is a helpful in-road to future discussion but the specific terms of the extension to cater for repowering will still need to be negotiated between the parties. Even with an option to extend the term of a lease, the new project may still require landlord’s consent to redevelop or reconfigure a site.
 
The permitted use under the existing lease may also be specific to the original planning permission, detailing points such as the number of turbines and the original capacity of the site. If developers are seeking an extension to the lease to repower the required changes to the permitted use clause will need to be agreed and documented. If developers require the ability to install more than one form of renewable energy technology and/or battery storage facilities, the permitted use under the lease should also be expanded to cover this.
 
Rent is another important consideration when developers are looking to repower an existing site. Rent levels have changed significantly since renewables subsidies were removed in Scotland creating a potential tension between perceived uplifts as a result of increases in capacity or efficiency and the downwards pressure of the new subsidy environment in a repowering situation. Developers will need to be flexible in their approach to rent and how the value of the project is shared with the landowner if they want to agree lease extensions and wider rights to use the project site.
 
In terms of decommissioning, the obligations as drafted may not be suitable for a repowered project. In addition, it may be possible for some of the repowering to be done while existing turbines continue to operate, necessitating shared areas of the site and the access to it. Consideration should be given to the interface between the existing operational windfarm, decommissioning of the original turbines and installation of the new, larger turbines.
 
Careful analysis of the access route is also a key consideration. Existing land take or oversailing agreements are likely to be for the same period as the original planning consent and lease which means developers may need to renegotiate with landowners on the access route to the site to extend these agreements. Developers will also need to consider how they will acquire rights to any additional areas of land required to accommodate advances in technology, including the need to transport larger blades to a site as part of a repowering project.
 
The findings of the RenewableUK report suggest that repowering many existing sites may be essential to ensure the UK continues to increase its wind energy capacity while also being commercially beneficial to developers. Careful consideration of existing lease terms and other land-related issues will help determine if that is the right approach.
  • Energy Voice
 
Lloyds to create 500 jobs at new tech hub in Edinburgh
 
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has announced plans to create 500 high-skilled jobs at a new digital tech hub in Edinburgh.  The bank has started recruiting software engineers and data scientists for the hub, which will be based at its Scottish Widows' headquarters.  The new roles will be phased in over the next 18 months.  LBG said it was responding to a shift in customer behaviour towards digital services.
 
The hub will be used to develop new technology for Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Scottish Widows customers.  The move is part of a £3bn investment announced by Lloyds last year to overhaul its digital services.  Most high street banks, including Lloyds, have been shutting branches in recent years as more customers conduct their banking through apps or on the internet.
 
Last year, the group earmarked more than 60 branches for closure, while in 2017 it closed dozens of Lloyds, Bank of Scotland and Halifax branches.
Lloyds said some of the roles at its new hub would be taken up by existing staff looking to upskill.  Philip Grant, chairman of LBG's Scottish executive committee, said the group was working to "strengthen our tech-based talent pool in Scotland".  He said: "People's expectations are rising rapidly as they want the same experience they're used to with established digital brands.
 
"In our tech labs, we are designing what customers will need in the future, making products and services that can adapt to their lives and making it easier for them to connect with their finances."
 
Scotland's Economy Secretary Derek Mackay welcomed the announcement.  He said: "Edinburgh is fast becoming one of the UK's most competitive tech hubs, with growth in agile start-ups, offerings from its world-leading universities and new digital academies providing greater scale and choice for careers in the industry.
 
"Lloyds' investment will be a major boost towards growing the workforce of the future in Scotland, helping create a more dynamic and innovative side to its thriving financial sector."
 
Lloyds is already actively involved in the Edinburgh tech scene, regularly hosting digital academies and meet-ups including CodeClan and CodeBar, as well as partnerships with Fintech Scotland and HackerX.
  • BBC News
 
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

 

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