Monday, December 31, 2012

Iran Missile Test: Rocket Test Claimed Near Strait Of Hormuz

Iran Missile Test

In this photo obtained from the Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, a surface-to-air missile is fired by Iran's army, during a maneuver, in an undisclosed location in Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/ISNA, Amin Khosroshahi)  
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's navy said Monday it test-fired a range of weapons during ongoing maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil supply.

IRNA quoted Adm. Amir Rastgari, spokesman for the exercise, as saying the Iranian-made air defense system Raad, or Thunder, was among the weapons tested, along with various torpedoes and underwater and surface-to-surface rockets as well as anti-ship missiles. The Islamic Republic said it also deployed domestically-made hovercraft during the operation.

The Raad system was on show during a military parade in Tehran in September for the first time. Iran says is more advanced than its Russian predecessor and is designed to confront fighter jets, cruise missiles, smart bombs, helicopters and drones. Iran said the system fires missiles with a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles), capable of hitting targets at 22,000 meters (75,000 feet).

Tehran has tried to build a self-sufficient military program since 1992. It frequently announces technological breakthroughs, most of which cannot be confirmed independently.

Iran's military leaders have recently said they believe future wars will be air- and sea-based and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and naval power in anticipation of such a possibility.

The drill began on Friday and ends on Wednesday, one of a number of exercises Iran holds annually.
The maneuvers come as the West increases its pressure over Iran's nuclear program. Iran has said in the past it might close the strait over Western sanctions or military threats against its nuclear facilities, but has stepped back from those threats in recent months.

Both the United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at weapons development.

Iran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Badagry Petroleum, Eton Finance to build $1.95bn oil refinery in Nigeria

Nigeria-based Badagry Petroleum Refinery has signed a joint venture financing agreement with Eton Finance of Singapore, to build a new $1.95bn oil refinery in the country.

The agreement will help Badagry Petroleum to build and operate a Greenfield refinery in the Ipokia local government area of Ogun State.

The construction of the new refinery is aimed at improving the country's crude oil refining capacity by 100,000 barrels per day, reported PUNCH.

Nigeria's new refinery will be able to process imported crude oil and crude oil blends from the country and produce bitumen, diesel, grease, heavy fuel oil, jet fuel, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, lubricating oil, and petrol.

The project received Approval in Principle in 1993, however it was delayed due to various interruptions.

The formalities regarding the financial and administration aspects are expected to be achieved in the next two to four months time, while the fabrication and construction work for the facility is planned to start in the middle of 2013.

Construction is expected to take 24 months to 30 months to complete.

OPEC will earn a record $1.05 trillion in 2012 in oil revenues

U.S. oil production rises, but it's was still a record year for OPEC earnings
OPEC willl earn a record $1.05 trillion in net oil export revenues in 2012, the U.S. Energy Department says. On the bright side, U.S. oil production is set to reach a 20-year high in 2013. (Karen Bleier / AFP / Getty Images / November 13, 2012),0,7708067.story

OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is set to earn a record $1.05 trillion this year in net oil export revenues, the U.S. Energy Department says.

In 2011, OPEC raked in more than $1 trillion in net oil export revenues for the first time ($1.03 trillion), the Energy Department said.

As a consequence, Americans will pay the highest average price ever for gasoline this year. The U.S. average for a gallon of regular gasoline in 2012 will be $3.63 a gallon.

The 2012 average breaks the old record, set last year, of $3.53 a gallon.

OPEC will have to tighten its collective belt a bit in 2013, when it will earn a projected $955 billion.
The Energy Department did have some encouraging news for Americans.

U.S. oil production is set to average 6.4 million barrels a day in 2012 as the nation continues to reduce its dependence on foreign crude.

The U.S. oil production boom is being driven by states like North Dakota and Texas.

In 2013, the Energy Department predicts that U.S. oil production will increase to 7.1 million barrels a day, which would be the highest level since 1992.

Friday, December 21, 2012

NYSE to be bought by upstart rival for $8.2 billion

December 21, 2012
NEW YORK — For more than two centuries, New York Stock Exchange traders barking buy and sell orders symbolized American capitalism at work.

But the last decade has witnessed the rise of the machines — electronic exchanges offering cheaper and faster stock trading. The Big Board could not keep up.

Now, the NYSE is issuing a sell order — its own.

The world's most well-known exchange operator said Thursday that it had agreed to be bought by a mostly unknown electronic rival for $8.2 billion. The David-and-Goliath deal crystallizes how far the NYSE has fallen behind its more nimble, upstart rivals.

The buyer is IntercontinentalExchange Inc., which has become a financial powerhouse trading futures and derivatives involving commodities like oil and sugar. The Atlanta company would take over a trophy financial brand and command a pulpit both on Wall Street and in Washington.

"The trading floor died a long time ago," said James Angel, a professor of finance at Georgetown University. "What you see on the floor are people who are tending to the computers."

This deal catapults ICE from relative obscurity into a top global player.

The company was founded 12 years ago in an office park in a woodland area along the Chattahoochee River in suburban Atlanta.

ICE expanded through acquisitions during the last decade and went public — on the NYSE — in November 2005. Analysts forecast that ICE's revenue will reach $1.4 billion this year, more than double the $574 million it reported in 2007.

Its chief executive, Jeffrey Sprecher, is a trained chemical engineer who attended business school at Pepperdine University in Malibu and still maintains a house in Los Angeles. He will be chairman and CEO of the newly combined company, while NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer will be its president.

"ICE has to view it as a major coup," said Richard Sylla, a financial historian at New York University. "It has nothing like the icon status of the New York Stock Exchange."

Analysts saw ICE's planned takeover as a logical culmination of years-long trends in financial markets.

As competition from rival stock-trading platforms increased, NYSE Euronext saw its share of equity trading plummet in an increasingly fragmented marketplace. At the end of 2005, the year ICE went public, the upstart had a market capitalization of $2 billion. In 2006, the year it went public, NYSE Euronext had a market cap of $15.2 billion.

But ICE eventually eclipsed the market behemoth. By Wednesday, NYSE's market cap had shrunk to less than $6 billion, while ICE's market cap had grown to about $9 billion.

The deal marks only the latest potential deal involving NYSE Euronext.

Last year, NYSE rejected an $11-billion bid by ICE and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., which competes with the NYSE for stock listings.

Before that, the German exchange Deutsche Boerse made a bid for NYSE Euronext, but that was scuttled by European regulators. NYSE Euronext itself was formed in a 2007 merger when NYSE Group, parent company of the exchange, got together with Euronext, which owned stock exchanges in Europe.

The deal would give ICE a foothold in the derivatives and futures markets in Europe, analysts said.
Notably, NYSE Euronext owns the London International Financial Futures Exchange.

For its part, ICE said it is "committed to preserving" NYSE Euronext's brand and would maintain dual headquarters in Atlanta in New York.

But the deal is not complete. Anti-trust regulators must sign off on the acquisition before it becomes final, possibly in the second half of 2013.

Because ICE has no equities business, regulators will not be worried about its acquisition of the NYSE, Angel said.

For ICE, the real attraction of NYSE is its derivatives business.

"This deal does not present any of the antitrust issues that the last two proposed deals did," he said. "I think this one has much smoother sailing."

Both companies' shareholders must also give their blessing.

Under terms of the deal announced Thursday, NYSE Euronext shareholders would receive $33.12 a share, representing a 38% premium over the company's Wednesday closing price.

NYSE Euronext shares rallied on news of the deal Thursday, gaining $8.20, or 34%, to $32.25.

Times staff writer Jim Puzzanghera in Washington contributed to this report, which contains information from the Associated Press.

Tanker Operator newsletter - Dec 21 2012

DNV and GL to merge
(Dec 21 2012)
- DNV and Germanischer Lloyd (GL), two conglomerates offering oil and gas risk management services and ship classification, have agreed to merge. >>more
Pirates kidnap chemical carrier crew members
(Dec 21 2012)
- Pirates took five crew members hostage during an attack on a chemical tanker off Nigeria last Monday. >>more
Steering gear problems ground 'Stena Primorsk'
(Dec 21 2012)
- A tanker carrying Bakken crude to Irving Oil Corp's refinery in Canada from Albany, New York, ran aground in the Hudson River. >>more
Berlian Laju on the brink
(Dec 21 2012)
- A petition has been filed against PT Berlian Laju Tanker (BLT) in the US Bankruptcy Court, under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, which could derail its restructuring plans. >>more
NAT to purchase its business management concern
(Dec 21 2012)
- Nordic American Tankers (NAT) is to acquire its business manager, Scandic American Shipping. >>more
Nigerian oil production slumps
(Dec 21 2012)
- For decades, Nigeria has been constrained in upstream development, due to a lack of investment. >>more
SCF vindicated in UK Court over Novoship fraud case
(Dec 21 2012)
- SCF Group has welcomed a London Commercial Court Judgement on litigation brought by Novoship claimants. >>more
Evensen to become CMA Commodore
(Dec 21 2012)
- Teekay Corp's president and CEO Peter Evensen has been named as the Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) Commodore for 2013. >>more
ICS addresses Arctic shipping
(Dec 21 2012)
- The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has issued a new position paper on Arctic shipping, setting out key principles for the future governance of Arctic waters. >>more
Transas signs up Montanari
(Dec 21 2012)
- Transas Marine has signed a TRANSERV service agreement for 11 tankers owned by Navigazione Montanari. >>more
Monitor vessel performance with SEEMP
(Dec 21 2012)
- Will the mandatory introduction of SEEMP provide any added value to the environment? >>more
Thome expands the use of Indian officers on board tankers
(Dec 21 2012)
- Singapore-based Thome Ship Management has signed a joint venture partnership deal with Doehle Danautic, a leading shipping service provider in India. >>more
Odfjell to expand co-operative venture
(Dec 21 2012)
- Parcel tanker and terminal operator Odfjell has signed a letter of intent to expand its existing joint venture with Lindsay Goldberg. >>more
ClassNK continues to grow
(Dec 21 2012)
- Tokyo-based classification society ClassNK topped 210 mill gt for the first time at the end of November 2012. >>more
Will China continue to drive the shipping industry?
(Dec 21 2012)
- China's shift towards a domestic consumer demand-oriented economy could provide a significant boost to the global shipping industry. >>more
Shipping confidence rises as scrapping increases
(Dec 21 2012)
- Overall confidence levels in the shipping industry have recovered slightly from their lowest level for over four years. >>more
MR rates continue to rise - more VLCCs change hands
(Dec 21 2012)
- Faith in future of the MR market looks to be growing, judging by the rates being paid for 12-month plus charters. >>more
TO takes a holiday
(Dec 21 2012)
- The next edition of Tanker Operator News will be published on Friday 4th January 2013. >>more

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Global oil exploration hotspots

Global oil exploration hotspots
Featuring Richard Swann, Stuart Elliott, and Robert Perkins

Click here to watch the streamed video

An average crude price of over $100 has been a catalyst for a surge of successful oil explorations across the world; In this video Platts' editors discuss:

- How "matching" geological basins in South America & Africa are proving rich hunting grounds for oil companies;
- The steep financial risk faced by independent oil exploration companies;
- How new technology is helping to push exploration beyond traditonal frontiers and rapidly grow the amount of recoverable oil.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Six Kidnapped in Nigeria

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) was the latest target of criminal gangs in Nigeria. Reports have gunmen kidnapping six workers, four foreigners and two Nigerians, who worked for HHI in Bayelsa state.

"At about 15:30 (1430 GMT) today, some armed men went to a Hyundai location in a forest by the Atlantic Ocean beach and kidnapped four expatriates and two Nigerians," Bayelsa police spokesman Fidelis Odunna told reporters.

"The police are going to beef up security around all companies that have expatriates," he said.
Last week gunmen abducted two Lebanese men working for Nigerian construction company Setraco and killed a soldier protecting them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kill Van Kull Oil Spill: Barge Leaks Fuel Near Mariner's Harbor, NY

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - A barge with a leaking cargo tank spilled fuel oil into a New York City waterway on Saturday, officials said.

The barge was carrying 112,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil, but it was unclear how much oil spilled into the water, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

The spill came from a Boston Marine Transport Inc barge due to a leak from its cargo tank, it said.

The leak occurred at Mays Ship Repair near Mariner's Harbor in the city's Staten Island borough, the Coast Guard said. It was first reported shortly after 11 p.m. local time (0400 GMT) on Friday, the Coast Guard said.

Boston Marine Transport said fuel was being transferred from one barge to another when oil could be seen seeping into the water between them, the Coast Guard said. The first barge had the leak, it said.

Boston Marine Transport workers put a containment boom around the two barges, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said the fuel was leaking into Kill Van Kull, a waterway between Staten Island and New Jersey that connects to New York Bay and the Hudson River.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection were responding to help contain the spill, the Coast Guard said. (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by David Brunnstrom and Will Dunham)

Friday, December 14, 2012

TANKEROperator news

Ballast water convention remains a major cause for concern
(Dec 14 2012)
- Representatives of the leading worldwide associations of shipbuilders, class societies and shipowners have expressed serious concerns about the obstacles faced by the impending Ballast Water Management Convention. >>more
Owners urged to order vessels designed to cope with future rules
(Dec 14 2012)
- “Owners working on new designs should take into consideration the possibility of running their vessels on LNG as a fuel and not be left behind,” said Trond Hodne, DNV’s marine marketing director. >>moreTORM calls EGM to amend voting rights and to elect a new board
(Dec 14 2012)
- TORM is to convene an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to be held on Wednesday 9th January 2013. >>moreSCF negotiates large bank loan
(Dec 14 2012)
- Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has signed a new $700 mill seven-year credit facility with a consortium of eight leading international banks. >>moreTotal enters the cylinder oil debate
(Dec 14 2012)
- Total Lubmarine has expressed concern over what it called a biased interpretation of MAN’s recently issued customer service letters. >>moreA changing crude tanker route map
(Dec 14 2012)
- The Atlantic Basin, particularly Europe, has seen a reduction of more than 1.1 mill barrels per day in refining capacity this year. >>moreMoller gets the nod to lead ITOPF for another year
(Dec 14 2012)
- ITOPF’s board has voted unanimously to extend the appointment of Teekay Corp's Bjorn Moller, as chairman for a further year. >>moreISF's MLC guidelines published
(Dec 14 2012)
- The International Shipping Federation (ISF) has published a new and comprehensive ‘Guidelines on the Application of the ILO MLC’. >>moreISU battles for adequate remuneration
(Dec 14 2012)
- In the face of stiff opposition, the International Salvage Union’s (ISU) attempt to secure modest changes to the 1989 Salvage Convention has come to nothing. >>moreSwedish Club opts for 7.5% rise
(Dec 14 2012)
- The Swedish Club is to invoke a general increase of 7.5% at the February 2013 renewals. >>moreChinese ship recycling facility gains certification
(Dec 14 2012)
- ClassNK has issued what is claimed to be the world’s first Statement of Compliance (SOC) for a ship recycling facility to Jiangmen Zhongxin Shipbreaking & Steel. >>moreCockett opens up in Florida
(Dec 14 2012)
- Cockett Marine Oil has opened an office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, effective 10th December, 2012. >>moreKVH upgrades mini-VSAT offering
(Dec 14 2012)
- KVH Industries recently completed a major upgrade to the mini-VSAT Broadband network. >>moreVideotel's ECDIS package gains MCA approval
(Dec 14 2012)
- The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has given its formal approval to the Videotel CBT ECDIS blended learning package. >>moreAstrium to make use of SES satellite for greater coverage
(Dec 14 2012)
- Satcoms providers SES and Astrium Services have signed capacity deals to deliver connectivity to vessels around Latin America, as well as in the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. >>moreUK's marine research and technology centre takes shape
(Dec 14 2012)
- The UK’s largest university-business collaboration reached a head this week with the “topping out” of a new state-of-the-art marine technology and research centre at the University of Southampton, UK, which incorporates the Lloyd’s Register’s Group Technology Centre. >>moreSeafarer welfare groups merge
(Dec 14 2012)
- The International Committee on Seafarers' Welfare (ICSW) and the International Seafarers' Assistance Network (ISAN) have formally agreed to merge. >>moreKongsberg trains the trainer
(Dec 14 2012)
- Kongsberg Maritime has launched a new ECDIS instructor training course designed to train Masters and senior personnel who will in turn train other officers and crew members in familiarisation of the company’s ECDIS on board vessels. >>moreMR interest ramps up in newbuilding and chartering sectors
(Dec 14 2012)
- In the newbuilding sector, interest in MRs continued. >>moreExpanded CSR-H requires more sophisticated software
(Dec 6 2012)
- Industry feedback from shipyards, designers and shipowners on the first draft of the harmonised IACS Common Structural Rules for tankers and bulk carriers (CSR-H) has thrown up concerns that the expanded scope of the proposed new rules could significantly slow the design process. >>moreNew LPG carrier concern takes shape
(Dec 6 2012)
- Teekay LNG Partners is to create a new 50/50 joint venture LPG carrier operation with Belgian gas carrier owner Exmar. >>moreSOLAS amendments from MSC 91
(Dec 6 2012)
- Class society ABS has reported that a significant number of SOLAS amendments were adopted at the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee’s (MSC) 91st session, which met from 26th to 30th November. >>morePirates release four seafarers
(Dec 6 2012)
- Four South Korean seafarers abducted by Somali pirates from a tanker 19 months ago were released last Saturday, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said. >>moreFrontline 2012 suffers small loss - cancels VLCC newbuilding
(Dec 6 2012)
- John Fredriksen’s new tanker vehicle Frontline 2012 reported a net loss of $1 mill for the third quarter of 2012. >>more

Thursday, December 13, 2012

OPEC keeps output target on hold amid weak economy


VIENNA — OPEC ministers agreed to keep their daily crude production target unchanged at a meeting Wednesday. But in a sign of internal rivalries, they failed to reach consensus on a new secretary general, a post sought by Saudi Arabia, Iran and resurgent oil-power Iraq.

The agreement to leave the production ceiling at 30 million barrels a day was expected. Actual output, however, is a million barrels higher because some countries produce above their limits.

The 12-nation Organization of the Petroleum Producing Countries is expected to continue breaching the ceiling, despite a plentiful world supply of oil. Robust U.S. production and anemic world demand due to flagging economic growth have further contributed to pushing crude inventories unusually high.

OPEC predicts even less demand for its oil next year in part because of weak economic growth in consuming countries – something the organization said was the "biggest challenge facing global oil markets in 2013."

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badry detailed some of the key risks to growth and oil demand – Europe's debt crisis, Japan's weak economy and America's "fiscal cliff," the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect on Jan. 1 unless politicians reach a budget deal.

"We see uncertainty in 2012 and in 2013, and we see the world economy is not in good shape," Al-Badry told reporters.

On the bright side, he said he expected the U.S. Congress and the White House to reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, which could push the world's largest economy into recession. He also forecast continued economic growth – and oil demand – from America, as well as China, India and other developing countries.
The decision to keep to the present production target reflected most OPEC nations' belief that prices remain high enough to keep sales profitable, despite the weak global economy.

Benchmark crude for January delivery was up 70 cents to $86.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, gaining for the second day after falling for five straight sessions.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up 90 cents to $108.91 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Brent has been well over $100 a barrel most days this year – a level within OPEC's comfort zone.

Iranian oil minister Rostam Ghasemi – whose country is losing hundreds of thousands of barrels a day in oil sales due to international embargoes over its nuclear program – said the Islamic Republic ideally sought a cut of 2 million barrels a day to the OPEC ceiling. But even he added that Tehran could accept the current daily ceiling of 30 million barrels.

"The state of the market today is fine, but if OPEC does reduce its production the state will improve," he said.

Ghasemi also played down the effects the sanctions were having on his country as an instrument of pressure to force concessions on a nuclear program some nations fear may be geared to making weapons – allegations Tehran denies.

He claimed the Iranian state had cut its financial dependence on oil income by 20 percent in the last three years. "Next year we will do the same," he said.

OPEC ministers did not agree, however, on replacing Al-Badry as the organization's secretary general – the public face of the organization between ministerial meetings and a symbol of the cohesion the group likes to project despite persistent internal rivalries.

Instead, the meeting extended him for a sixth year, making him one of the longest-serving officials in that post in OPEC's history.

The choice of secretary general must be unanimous among OPEC's 12 members. The failed Saudi, Iranian and Iraqi bids reflected the divisions between those member states, despite the cartel's outward show of unity.

A choice between Iran and the Saudis – whose disputes extend beyond oil dominance to regional political rivalries – would have further polarized the organization. Iraq, which is vying to out-produce the Saudis in the next decade, also was considered by some members to have its own agenda instead of wanting to serve OPEC.

Analyst Cornelia Meyer, CEO of MRL Corporation suggested that despite internal strains, OPEC – which produces more than a third of the world's crude – remained successful in helping keep "the world adequately supplied with oil."

"While it has one aim, it has so many divergent views," she said. "It's never been cohesive."
Margaret Childs contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Intertek extends oil and gas capabilities in Ghana

  • Intertek has opened a new technologically advanced calibration laboratory in its Takoradi Port facility, launched earlier this year to provide independent petroleum industry testing and inspection.

As part of its continued growth in Africa, Intertek, a leading global quality solutions provider, has invested in the expansion of its services to the petroleum industry in Ghana.

Intertek has opened a new technologically advanced calibration laboratory in its Takoradi Port facility, launched earlier this year to provide independent petroleum industry testing and inspection. The introduction of calibration services will build on this to serve a wider customer base in the growing market.

Intertek has invested approximately £600,000 in Ghana since last year, with the opening of its office in Accra and now the combined comprehensive calibration, testing and inspection facility in Takoradi which will help energy companies in the area undertake efficient operations through the most accurate measurement and testing.

Africa is estimated to have 70% of the world's undiscovered oil, according to the African Economic Outlook report, and Ghana has seen a number of significant oil finds such as the Jubilee field which may hold up to one billion barrels.

Augustin Bogoloh, Regional Manager, Ghana and French West Africa, for Intertek, said: 'We have seen significant growth in Ghana's petroleum industry and Intertek aims to provide the best service to oil and gas companies in Ghana and the wider region. The new first class laboratory for calibration expands on our existing services in Ghana and underlines our commitment to West Africa. We look forward to growing our business to provide continued support to Ghana's petroleum industry, and also in other countries in Africa.'

The facility in Takoradi has the capability to test and inspect a wide range of crude oil and refined petroleum products, including marine fuel, lube oils, diesel and gasoline. The addition of the new calibration laboratory provides the ability to certify the accuracy of instruments used to measure electrical, pressure, temperature and torque parameters.

Frederick Atike, who has 12 years' experience in industry, has joined the team as technical manager to manage the calibration facility. Intertek also recently employed Greg Dinkelman as business development manager to expand the company's calibration and metering service offering in Sub Saharan and West Africa. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Mr Dinkelman is responsible for developing the business as part of Intertek's growth strategy, which will also see further development of local offices in the region.

Intertek has been in Ghana since 1984 and currently employs almost 200 staff and contractors in its operations across the country. Intertek will continue to recruit, train and transfer its specialised skills to achieve its primary objective of expansion of its activities in Ghana's downstream and upstream markets. Intertek's current business streams in Ghana are oil and gas, minerals and agriculture, with other bases in Accra and Tarkwa.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ghana election voters react to Mahama's win

Tullow Oil: Jubilee Phase 1A Starts Production

Dow Jones Newswires
Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), an oil & gas, exploration and production group, said Tuesday that in Ghana, West Africa, Jubilee Phase 1A production has started and the Okure-1 exploration well has encountered low net to gross oil bearing reservoir in a secondary objective.

-In Guyana, South America, Tullow has let its interest in the Georgetown License expire.

-Okure-1 exploration well, drilled in the Deepwater Tano license offshore Ghana, has reached its planned total depth of 4,511 meters; well encountered non-reservoir quality formations at the main objective levels below the TEN cluster and discovered a gross 17 meter interval of low net to gross oil bearing Turonian age sandstones within an overlying secondary objective.

-Light oil with a 40 degree API was recovered from this interval.

-Integration of wireline logs and pressure data indicates that this oil accumulation isn't connected to other hydrocarbon discoveries in the license area.

-Next exploration activity to be carried out by the rig will be the drilling of Sapele-1, adjacent to the Jubilee field, also in the Deepwater Tano License and is expected to be spudded by the end of the year.

-First Jubilee Phase 1A production well has been brought on stream and is now producing in excess of 16,500 barrels of oil per day, or bopd, resulting in field production of over 90,000 bopd.

-This is the first of five Phase 1A producers which are planned to be completed before mid 2013.
-Rig is now carrying out acid stimulation work on two Jubilee Phase 1 wells to further enhance production before completing the second Phase 1A production around year-end 2012.

-Tullow operates the Deepwater Tano license and the Jubilee Field and is partnered by Kosmos Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, PetroSA and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

-Tullow continues to evaluate oil exploration opportunities in Guyana and the wider region.

-Shares closed Monday at 1256 pence valuing the company at 11.4 billion pounds.

-Write to Ian Walker at

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Copyright © 2012 Dow Jones Newswires

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tanker Operator newsletter - Dec 7 2012

Tanker Operator
Expanded CSR-H requires more sophisticated software
(Dec 6 2012)
- Industry feedback from shipyards, designers and shipowners on the first draft of the harmonised IACS Common Structural Rules for tankers and bulk carriers (CSR-H) has thrown up concerns that the expanded scope of the proposed new rules could significantly slow the design process. >>more
New LPG carrier concern takes shape
(Dec 6 2012)
- Teekay LNG Partners is to create a new 50/50 joint venture LPG carrier operation with Belgian gas carrier owner Exmar. >>more
SOLAS amendments from MSC 91
(Dec 6 2012)
- Class society ABS has reported that a significant number of SOLAS amendments were adopted at the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee's (MSC) 91st session, which met from 26th to 30th November. >>more
Pirates release four seafarers
(Dec 6 2012)
- Four South Korean seafarers abducted by Somali pirates from a tanker 19 months ago were released last Saturday, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said. >>more
Frontline 2012 suffers small loss - cancels VLCC newbuilding
(Dec 6 2012)
- John Fredriksen's new tanker vehicle Frontline 2012 reported a net loss of $1 mill for the third quarter of 2012. >>more
Nordic on track to find future permanent financial solution
(Dec 6 2012)
- Nordic Shipholding has reported year-to-date TCE of $19.7 mill, an increase of $1.1 mill on the $18.6 mill reported in 2011. >>more
US to become the world's leading oil producer?
(Dec 6 2012)
- US oil production was at its highest level since the late 1990s at almost 6.5 mill barrels per day at the end of September, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). >>more
Asian products tanker rates take off
(Dec 6 2012)
- During 2012, the product tanker market in the East has moved from extreme weakness to one of remarkable strength. >>more
Knightsbridge suffers significant loss
(Dec 6 2012)
- Knightsbridge Tankers reported a net loss of $57 mill for the third quarter of this year, compared to net income of $9.08 mill for the same quarter last year. >>more
Anthony Veder expands gas tanker fleet
(Dec 6 2012)
- Anthony Veder's small newbuilding environmentally friendly LNGC 'Coral Energy' is to be named by Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima today (Friday, 7th December). >>more
US announces Iranian oil export sanction exemptions
(Dec 6 2012)
- The Obama Administration has exempted India, South Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey, Taiwan and Sri Lanka from sanctions banning the buying of Iranian crude. >>more
LR and UK Club tries to address potential MLC PSC problems
(Dec 6 2012)
- The sixth and latest in a series of pocket checklists published by Lloyd's Register and the UK P&I Club has been launched to support Masters, officers and managers in preparing for inspections against the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC). >>more
Shipbrokers should always follow up telcons in writing
(Dec 6 2012)
- International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has warned of the potentially costly consequences of a failure of shipping intermediaries to confirm in writing any initiatives performed on behalf of their principals. >>more
Upgraded tanker software now available
(Dec 6 2012)
- Shipping software company AXSMarine has released AXSTanker 3.1, an enhanced version of its AXSTanker product. >>more
Liquid cargo handling training software upgrade success
(Dec 6 2012)
- L-3 DP Associates (L-3 DPA) has recently delivered upgrades of its liquid cargo handling simulator (LCHS) software to four maritime training academies and training centres. >>more
NCC takes delivery of eighth chemical tanker
(Dec 6 2012)
- National Chemical Carriers (NCC) of Saudi Arabia, owned 80% by The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (BAHRI), has taken delivery of another 45,000 dwt chemical carrier. >>more
Golden Stena Weco invests in own chemical tanker
(Dec 6 2012)
- Golden Stena Weco recently invested in its first tanker within the framework of the newly established joint venture. >>more
AIS-based business intelligence now portrayed on video
(Dec 6 2012)
- PortVision has created PortVision TV, a series of on-line videos designed to show the benefits of combining AIS-based vessel-tracking with analytics, reporting and process-improvement tools. >>more
Cape Verde to license private armed guard concerns
(Dec 6 2012)
- In a move designed to thwart the escalating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Government of Cape Verde has granted a license to Cape Verde Maritime Security Services (CVMSS) to exclusively vet private maritime security companies (PMSCs). >>more
US joint venture to enter the maritime SCR market
(Dec 6 2012)
- US-based technology firms Tenneco and Cormetech have signed a joint development agreement to collaborate on designing ultra-large diameter selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts for marine engine applications. >>more
Scorpio fixes large product tankers - Greeks snap up VLCCs
(Dec 6 2012)
- Scorpio Tankers is to timecharter in a 2008 built 115,406 dwt LR2 for six months at $16,000 per day. >>more

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Drought Hampers Mississippi River Transportation

Prez Mahama promises to invest more in TOR and VALCO

Presidentsays the next National Democratic Congress (NDC) government will put the necessary measures in place to enable VALCO and the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) operate at full capacity.

This, according to the president, forms part of government’s commitment to create job opportunities for people living in Tema and its immediate environs.

The president also says the coming on stream of VALCO will trigger other energy related job opportunities in the area.

Addressing NDC supporters in the Tema Community 2 on Monday night, the president said his government, if retained in Friday’s polls, will restore Tema to its past glory.

President Mahama also touched on the development of the motorway, promising to expand the popular route to a six-lane carriageway.

“In the next four years of the NDC government, we are going to build an interchange at the motorway round about so that there will be no traffic [jam] at the motorway round about again,” he said.

The president is currently rounding up his campaign in the Greater Accra region.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Magellan and Occidental Petroleum proceed with BridgeTex Pipeline

The BridgeTex Pipeline will transport crude oil from Texas to the Houston Gulf Coast area
Magellan Midstream Partners and Occidental Petroleum are continuing with the development of the previously announced BridgeTex Pipeline in the US.

With access to refineries at the Houston Ship Channel, Texas City and others across the Gulf Coast via third party pipelines, the BridgeTex Pipeline will move up to 300,000 barrels a day of Permian Basin crude oil from Colorado City, Texas to the Houston Gulf Coast area.

The project includes the construction of 1.2 million barrels of crude oil storage at Colorado City and 1.4 million barrels at east Houston. Around 400 miles of 20" pipeline will be built, going from Colorado City to Magallen's terminal in east Houston, in addition to a further 50 miles of 24" pipeline between east Houston and Texas City.
The BridgeTex pipeline is expected to come online by mid-2014.

The pipeline project is supported by long-term transportable commitments and has received a favourable order from the Federal Agency Regulatory Commission approving the tariff structure for the pipeline.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Susan Rice Keystone XL Attacks Put White House In A Bind

WASHINGTON -- When Susan Rice's potential nomination to the post of secretary of state hit another snag this past week, the White House found itself in a quandary.

On Wednesday, a publication affiliated with the Natural Resources Defense Council dug into the ambassador to the United Nations' financial disclosures, and discovered that she and her husband were heavily invested in several oil companies in western Canada including one, Transcanada, that currently has a project under review at the State Department.

As secretary of state, Rice would have to oversee the review of that project, the Keystone XL pipeline, which has dragged on for several controversial and tortured years.

It would be an obvious conflict of interest, and were she to be confirmed as secretary of state, Rice would almost certainly have to divest from her shares in Transcanada. The ties could give some senators pause over whether to confirm her for the post.

But Rice is not yet the nominee, and as ambassador to the U.N., her investments were not deemed a conflict of interest by ethics lawyers. (Earlier investments were found to be conflicts, and in 2008, as she was being considered for a post in the Obama administration, she divested from Boeing and GE.)
And so the administration declined to comment about the impact of the investments on her possible nomination. A spokesman for Rice said she committed no wrongdoing with her investments.

"Ambassador Rice has complied with annual financial disclosure and applicable ethics requirements related to her service in the U.S. government and is committed to continuing to meet these obligations," Payton Knopf, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., told The Huffington Post.
The reticence to address the swirling controversy shows the limits of what the White House feels it can do to defend Rice unless she is actually nominated.

For the administration, openly backing its U.N. ambassador against the onslaught of attacks, from her financial portfolio to her role in the September attack in Benghazi, Libya, risks giving the impression that it is laying the groundwork for her appointment to a post for which she has yet to be nominated. Staffers were reluctant to even let Rice go to Capitol Hill last week to answer questions about her role in disseminating talking points about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, wary that it would be interpreted as preemptive diplomacy for a future confirmation hearing.

Some fear that if the White House offered a stronger defense of Rice against her congressional foes, it could make it politically harder to nominate anyone else. When the president -- during a national press conference shortly before Thanksgiving -- urged Rice's detractors to direct their criticisms at him, it was widely interpreted in Washington as the clearest indication that he intended to nominate her to the post. Nominating anyone else might be interpreted as political defeat.

Allies have been left confused and frustrated.

"Why is it that the White House seems incapable of doing anything to defend Susan Rice," one top Democrat close to the administration asked this past week. "She is actually a member of the administration, last time I checked."

For the time being, the administration has been heartened by the fact that few of the attacks so far have turned out to be sustainable.

Republicans have wavered over how hard to press Rice about her Sunday show appearances, in which she offered an early (ultimately erroneous) explanation for the terrorist attack in Benghazi, that left four Americans dead. It later emerged that Rice had faithfully transmitted the approved talking points from the intelligence community, which were ultimately deemed to be incomplete and inaccurate.

Another recent charge made by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- that Rice may have been partially at fault for the failure to prevent the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in east Africa -- was undermined by the original investigators of the attacks, who told HuffPost that Rice played no direct role.

Even more recently, a conservative news website, poring over Rice's financial disclosure documents, pointed to a set of investments she made with a Dutch oil company with a history of doing business with Iran. But Rice is not alone. News reports later noted that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the senator who has led the charge against Rice's nomination, is also invested in the company.

The Canadian oil company investments may pose the clearest obstacle for Rice's nomination, although NRDC officials said should she fully divest, they would have no objection to her nomination on those grounds. A veteran of past confirmation battles noted that financial conflicts of interest are not unheard of for high-level nominees, and are typically reconciled during the nomination process.

"It is awkward for her to be in the position of being judged on how her finances may conflict for a job she has yet to be nominated for," said the source, who would only speak about a prospective nominee on the condition of anonymity.

Financial experts contacted by The Huffington Post say that the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would have obvious benefits for the value of Transcanada stock, and would also affect the growth potential of several other companies exploring the oil fields of western Canada, and in which Rice also holds stock.

"In the event of her being nominated, we're confident that she would divest," said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, the director the NRDC's international program.

"For us, the main point is that high-level State Department officials dealing with the Keystone XL pipeline decision should not have any conflict of interests. That means they can't be invested in Transcanada stock or any other tar sands holdings."

Sam Stein's wife works for the Obama administration on matters of oversight that have included congressional inquiries into the Benghazi attack.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NDC collapses TOR in oil rich Ghana

nformation reaching the New Statesman indicates that Ghana’s only oil refinery, The Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), has virtually collapsed under the tenure of the ruling National Democratic Congress administration.
Since NDC government took over the reins of government in 2009, TOR has been virtually dormant except in 2010 when the company operated continuously on the back of regular crude oil supplied by the Ghana National Petroleum Company under a 1-year ‘processing’ or ‘tolling’agreement. However, since then, TOR’s plants have been operating at less than 30% of capacity in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
TOR’s virtual collapse has resulted in continuous year after year financial losses, massive brain drain of technical staff coupled with low morale and motivation among current TOR staff and management.
The New Statesman can confirm that the NDC government has pursued policies designed to ‘kill’ TOR – by promoting over 12 new private fuel importers, while denying tor the working capital it needs.
At the same time, the NDC government has refused outright to supply jubilee crude oil to TOR, with the baseless excuse that jubilee crude is not suitable for TOR. Meanwhile TOR’s assay tests have confirmed that TOR can easily handle and refine jubilee crude.
In this edition, the New Statesman will assess TOR’s current situation and the NDC’s failed promises regarding the revival of TOR.
TOR’s current situation
TOR is still buried under massive debt to the tune of some US$350 million and is unable to operate. The company owes this amount to twenty (20) creditors including: Banks (Ghana Commercial Bank and Barclays); Oil suppliers (Vitol, Glencore, Sahara, VRA, GNPC, NNPC); Utility companies (Electricity Company of Ghana & Ghana Water Company Limited); Contractors (GLOTEC, TSAKOS); Tax agencies (SSNIT and IRS); and other companies (Insurance and TOR provident fund)
Expensive spare parts ordered and delivered to the Tema ports since 2009 have not been cleared and have been left to the mercy of the weather.
Technical personnel with years of experience, who are critical to the operations of the refinery, have also left for Qatar, Cameroon, Equitorial Guinea, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The New Statesman can confirm that over 20 key engineers and technicians left TOR since 2011. It is being reported that TOR’s board and management have now resorted to offering“bribes” to some key staff not to decamp to the Middle East refineries.
As though this was not enough, the government-to-government (g-to-g) crude oil agreement whereby the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) supplies crude oil to TOR under concessionary terms has been in limbo since beginning 2011, as is the agreement with Equitorial guinea.
TOR has not issued audited accounts since 2008. Without proper financial accounts and a clear turnaround plan, TOR’s bankers are unable to provide working capital for tor’s sustained operations.
These problems have reduced TOR to a fuel storage depot where private importers store their fuel in return for a modest fee. These storage fees have become TOR’s only stable source of cash. As a result TOR is unable to meet salaries and other statutory payments, including payments to SSNIT, IRS and staff provident funds.
NDC government’s failed promises to TOR
The Mills/Mahama/Amissah Arthur government have not given adequate financial support to TOR. In 2010, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning paid a total of GH¢1.4 billion to Ghana Commercial Bank on TOR’s behalf. This was only a part of TOR’s debt, leaving a balance of about GH¢400 million payable to other creditors.
Beyond the payments to Ghana Commercial Bank, the NDC government has only given promises to TOR, but has not provided any additional funds.
In August 2011, then vice President John Mahama announced that the government of Ghana would provide $56 million to TOR immediately for retooling to improve its efficiency and performance.
In addition, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Kwabena Duffour, stated at the same meeting, that the TOR debt recovery levy had accumulated GH¢270 million as of August, 2011 which would be used as collateral to raise $200 million working capital for TOR.
As at today, 9th November 2012, the NDC government has failed to keep any of the above promises. Instead of taking bold and speedy actions to save tor, the NDC government continues to ‘dilly dally’, by launching endless consulting studies to find out how to save TOR.