Friday, January 19, 2018

Global insurance broker and risk management provider, Marsh issues sulfur cap insurance warning

Vessels could be deemed unseaworthy and their insurance cover affected by failing to comply with the sulfur emissions (SOx) regulations set to be introduced on 1st January, 2020, according to insurance broker and risk management provider, Marsh.
Marsh’s report, ‘Emissions Regulations: Concerns for the Marine Industry’, explores the risks and insurance implications associated with measures introduced by the IMO to reduce the sulfur footprint of commercial shipping.

The report states that shipowners should not assume that insurance cover will continue to remain in place following a breach of the MARPOL Annex VI after 1st January, 2020.

The failure to comply with international conventions, and consequently losing flag state convention certification, could affect the validity of a shipowner’s insurance cover if they continue to operate without prior insurer consent.

Marcus Baker, Marsh’s global marine practice chairman, commented: “As 1st January, 2020 approaches, Marsh envisages large numbers of vessels seeking to book space in repair yards for the installation of new equipment or conversion to LNG in an effort to comply with the MARPOL requirements.

“Latecomers may find that convenient or preferred yards have no room and, being unable to comply with the new sulfur cap rules by 2020, may risk their vessels becoming non-compliant, which could have ramifications for their insurance provision. Shipowners should act early to ensure any modifications that are required can be carried out in good time.”

Another tanker fire

Another tanker fire The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has claimed to have contained a fire that broke out on board the 2000-built, 46,145 dwt Indian flag product tanker ‘Genessa’, earlier this week. 
Messaging on Twitter, the ICG said that it had saved all of the 26 crew on board, including two who suffered major burns. One has since passed away.

It also said that it suspected that the fire started in the vessel’s accommodation area or engine room, while the vessel was at Kandla anchorage, Gulf of Kutch, western India on Wednesday.

‘Genessa’ was reportedly carrying at least 30,000 tonnes of diesel fuel when the fire started. She was believed to be managed by Seven Islands Shipping.

An ICG hovercraft was deployed to check the shoreline for oil traces, however, the Ministry of Defence for Gujarat State stated that ocean water samples showed no signs of an oil spill.

Meanwhile, the wreck of NITC’s sunken Suezmax ‘Sanchi’ has been located, Beijing said on Wednesday, but gave no new details about the environmental impact of the disaster, although reports continued to emerge of a massive oil slick.

‘Sanchi’ sank on Sunday after a new fire erupted, following the collision with a Chinese bulk carrier a week earlier. The bodies of only three of the 32 crew members — 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis — had been found thus far.

“The location of the wreck has been confirmed,” China's transport ministry said on its official social media platform, adding that the ship lay at a depth of around 115 m. “Underwater robots will be deployed to explore the wreck waters,” the ministry added.

Takuya Matsumoto, a spokesman for Japan's coastguard said it was not yet clear how much fuel remained in the ship, Associated Press reported.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Top Commodity Strategist Says The Outlook For Crude Is Constructive | Tr...

Exxon Mobil signs deal for deepwater oil exploration off Ghana

Exxon Mobil Corp signed a deal with Ghana on Thursday to explore for oil in the Deepwater Cape Three Point offshore (DWCTP) oilfield. 

The signing followed direct negotiations between Ghana and Exxon Mobil without an open competitive tender due to the nature of the field, where the depth ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 meters, Ghanaian officials said. 

Ghana, which exports cocoa and gold, began commercial production of oil from its flagship Jubilee reserves in late 2010. Other firms drilling in the West African country include UK’s Tullow oil and Kosmos Energy. 

The Exxon Mobil deal is the first to be signed after the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea last September drew an ocean boundary favoring Ghana in a dispute with its neighbor Ivory Coast. 

Exxon Mobil, lead operator, holds an 80-percent interest in the DWCTP, while state-run Ghana National Petroleum Corporation holds 15 percent. Exxon is yet to select a local partner to own the remaining 5 percent as Ghana’s laws required, Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko told Reuters. 

The agreement is subject to approval by parliament and Exxon is expected to start exploration this year, Agyarko said. 

Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Andrew Heavens

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bitcoin's Nouveau Riche Run to Gold as Cryptocurrency Crashes

Amid the wild Bitcoin ride that’s wiped more than 40 percent off the cryptocurrency’s price in a month, a pattern may be emerging: sellers are switching out of digital gold and into the real thing.

Bullion dealer Sharps Pixley, a subsidiary of Europe’s largest precious metal coin and bar outlet regularly sees trades north of a million pounds, while sales of gold coins at Frankfurt-based CoinInvest jumped fivefold as the largest digital asset collapsed after surging 1,400 percent last year, according to Director Daniel Marburger.

“Yesterday was a hell of a crazy day,” he said from Frankfurt. “Emails and phones did not stand still with customers asking how they could turn their crypto into gold.”
The current price swings across seemingly every cryptocurrency are bringing to the fore a question that has loomed over the industry since its inception: to what extent can a virtual asset be a store of value? By swapping out of digital gold and into the real thing, some investors may be providing an answer.

After Gold Rush

Ross Norman, a gold dealer with a store tucked in a corner of London frequented by the upper classes, started exchanging gold for bitcoin via an intermediary three months ago. He describes his customers as almost embarrassed by their new-found fortunes. They often store it in safety deposit boxes in his underground vault, following extensive due-diligence to prevent money laundering.

“We’re seeing trades north of a million pounds every couple of weeks,” said Norman from his shop in St James’s St. “It’s been a welcome addition to our business in a period when physical demand from more traditional sources has been subdued.”

Customers as young as 25 come in carrying laptops holding bitcoin they accumulated when it traded at $1 or below. One, Norman said, had 1,000 bitcoin he intends to turn into physical metal. The company, owned by Degussa Goldhandel GmbH, doesn’t take possession of bitcoin. Customers buy via an intermediary.

“Bitcoin is a bit of a lobster pot -- it’s easy to get in, but hard to get out,” Norman said. “Gold also offers investors 4,000 years of history as a store of value, and that’s looking quite appealing right now.”

Lack of demand hasn’t proved much of a headwind to gold prices in recent weeks. The yellow metal, supported by a falling dollar, rallied 7.5 percent in the past month to a four-month high before tempering gains. Bitcoin fluctuated on Wednesday, but was about 44 percent lower than its peak in December.

Marburger said CoinInvest sold almost 30 kilograms of gold, worth $1.2 million in the spot market, as Bitcoin dropped 23 percent on Tuesday. One bitcoin buys about eight one-ounce Britannia gold coins, he said.

It was a similar story at GoldCore Ltd., where clients have been diversifying away from cryptocurrencies and into physical gold in both bars and coins, according to Director Mark O’Byrne.

“They told us they were concerned that the massive price appreciation was unsustainable and they got nervous about it,” he said in an emailed note. “We think increasingly people are realizing that these digital assets have much higher risk levels than the traditional safe haven asset.”

But Marburger at CoinInvest says physical gold bullion also holds attraction for bitcoin investors because the assets have much in common.

“Both are limited in quantity, easy to trade and you can store them decentralized,” he said. Gold has advantages because there are “no passwords you can lose, the volatility is much lower, sustainable growth and in the end you can hold your investment in your hands,” he said.

Bitcoin dropped below $10,000 on Wednesday and was trading 5 percent lower at $10,132 at 11:45 a.m. New York time. It reached a record high of $19,511 on Dec. 18. Gold was 0.4 percent lower at $1,332.48.

— With assistance by Todd White

Trump's Offshore Oil Plan Faces Opposition on All Coasts: Map

The Trump administration is hoping to lure investment to the U.S. with a proposal to sell leases in almost every inch of the nation’s outer continental shelf -- including waters hugging the U.S. East Coast that share characteristics with Brazil, Guyana, Ghana and other countries attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in oil companies’ quest for crude. Geologists speculate that the U.S. waters could hold an equally tantalizing amount of crude and natural gas. But oil companies may be unwilling to endure the high production costs and public opposition to find out. A gusher of litigation is more likely than a gusher of oil.

Jennifer A Dlouhy
and Dave Merrill