Latest News

    Why Lifting Oil Export Ban Can Help U.S. Foreign Policy (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    A House of Representatives bill is due to go to the floor this week, one step closer to lifting the 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil. The window of opportunity was opened by the continuing plunge in oil prices, now at a six-year low, as falling demand and booming production have created an overabundance of global supply.Congress must seize this opportunity: Lifting the ban on crude oil export would not only be good for the economy, it could also benefit U.S. foreign policy.U.S. firms have been unable to export crude oil since 1974 — a legacy of the energy security fears in the wake of the Arab oil embargo. The only exceptions are crude oil exports to Canada, and oil produced in Alaska. There are similar, if less draconian, export restrictions on natural gas, which requires a Department of Energy waiver.These restrictions were an overreaction. But recent changes in the global oil market have made matters worse. Over the past decade, new technologies — particularly hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” — have enabled the extraction of oil and natural gas in previously inaccessible areas. The result has been a shift away from some traditional energy-producing countries — such as Russia or members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries – and toward newer producers.The biggest beneficiary of these technological advances has been the United States, now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Even under current restrictions, U.S. crude exports to Canada have risen dramatically, from essentially zero in 2007 to more than 100,000 barrels a day by March 2013. U.S. producers could contribute far more globally, but are largely prevented from doing so under the current bans.The new oil produced is also at odds with U.S. refining capacity, which complicates domestic consumption. Fracking usually produces light sweet crude oil. U.S. refineries, however, are primarily set up to process heavier crude oils from Mexico and Venezuela.This has led to domestic market distortions. Refiners can buy oversupplied crude on the cheap, but then charge consumers world market prices for gasoline, pocketing the difference.Various studies have shown, however, that ending the ban would help the U.S. economy. It would add an estimated 630,000 jobs, increase manufacturing and boost the gross domestic product in the long-term. Though some supporters of the ban argue that lifting it could raise pump prices, as more oil it made available for export, it is most likely to lower them in the long run.A lack of domestic refining capacity now discourages production by lowering the prices that refineries pay for crude oil. If producers are instead able to export their excess crude oil, they would likely increase production, which would lower global oil prices.Lifting the ban would also produce real benefits for U.S. foreign policy. Authoritarian regimes would no longer be able to cite Washington’s reluctance to open its energy markets to free trade as an excuse for their own unfair practices. It is harder, for example, for the United States to chide China on issues like currency manipulation while maintaining protectionist economic policies like the crude export ban.More important, exporting U.S. oil and natural gas increases diversification within world energy production. Though energy security concerns can be overblown, increasing production in the United States would reduce global reliance on oil from volatile regions like the Middle East.It’s certainly true that today’s low oil prices may make increased production less attractive to U.S. producers in the short-term. Yet states like those in Eastern Europe may well choose to switch to U.S. suppliers from Russia for non-economic reasons. Then, once oil prices rise again, the influx of U.S. oil and natural gas into the world market from new domestic production would certainly keep prices lower than they would have been otherwise. That would reduce the income and influence of various authoritarian states, which have long been among the world’s biggest producers of oil, such as Venezuela or Russia.Lifting export bans on liquefied natural gas would be particularly helpful for U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe. These states rely on Russia for the majority of their energy, which limits their range of political and economic responses to Moscow’s recent aggression. By building liquefied natural gas terminals, these states would be able to import U.S. liquefied gas, and divest themselves of dependence on Russian gas over the long-term.There has been other recent momentum in Congress on lifting the export ban. A bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this summer, and is awaiting full hearings. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in July had also signaled his support for ending the ban, comparing it to the sanctions on Iranian oil and gas producers.Today’s depressed oil market is an ideal time to remove these outdated export restrictions. With oil prices so low, any protests about potential increases in gasoline prices would be muted. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports is long overdue. Increased U.S. production has also removed any solid justification for keeping it. Congress should seize the opportunity now to lift the ban, and reap the economic and foreign policy benefits so sure to follow.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Brazil’s 13th Licensing Round Fails to Attract Oil Majors (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Brazil’s 13th licensing round, which offered 266 blocks for the oil companies to bid for, fell significantly short of expectations.Of all the blocks up for grabs, the country managed to sell 37. Only two offshore blocks were sold, and 35 onshore, in the bidding round held on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro.Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company, and traditionally the largest bidder in the previous bid rounds, this year decided not to take part.The company said it reviewed the offered areas and did not find something that would improve its current assets portfolio. Petrobras further said that the decision not to bid for new areas was also a part of its initiative to reduce costs, and improve profitability.Oil majors, such as Shell, Exxon, BP, Statoil, Rosneft and CNOOC, who had qualified to take part in the bidding round, also withheld from making any offers at the event hosted by the ANP, Brazil’s oil and gas regulator.Of almost 40 oil companies that had qualified for the bidding, only 17 actually submitted their bids, 11 of them from Brazil.Brazil’s hydrocarbons agency offered 84 offshore blocks across six basins. It sold two.The two offshore blocks sold, located in the Sergipe-Alagoas basin, went to a local oil company, Queiroz Galvão Exploração e Produção (QGEP). The company was the sole bidder for the two blocks.The four basins that had offers were Potiguar, Parnaíba, Sergipe-Alagoas, and Reconcavo. In total, the ANP collected 121 million Brazilian reais in bids, most of which comes from the above-mentioned QGEP, 99 million reais.According to O’Globo newspaper, Magda Chambriard, the general director of the ANP, said that the agency did not know what went wrong with the auction.“We will have to go home and analyze carefully,” she said, adding that the current oil price level, 50% lower when compared to the prices when the previous licensing round was held two years ago, might have been a decisive factor.She also said that the reason might be that the companies usually seek partnerships with Petrobras, and as mentioned before, Petrobras decided not to participate.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    UK Energy Secretary Sees Fracking As Better Option Than Clean Energy (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd says Britain’s Conservative government is determined to cut subsidies to companies developing clean energy alternatives to oil and gas, and argues that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract oil from shale is a less expensive option.Addressing her party’s conference in Manchester on Oct. 5, Rudd dismissed subsidies as a path to cleaner energy for her country, saying there is “no magic money tree” to finance such an effort.“I support cutting subsidies,” she said, “not because I am an anti-green Conservative, but because I am a proud green Conservative on the side of the consumer. We must be tough on subsidies. Only then can we deliver the change we need.”Rudd also repeated the Tories’ support for fracking. She said evidence from the United States demonstrates that the technology is “cheaper, without subsidy, than the alternative” for generously providing Britons with energy.“The kind of transformation we need of our global energy system will only happen if low-carbon energy becomes cheaper than the alternative,” Rudd said. “The only long-term way to solve the real tension between affordability, security and low carbon is to discover low-cost, low-carbon technologies.”Besides, the energy secretary said, at least some companies developing green technologies don’t need subsidies any more. She singled out the solar energy industry, saying, “With solar costs continuing to fall and new innovations in battery storage, renewable energy can stand on its own two feet.”Rudd also cited cuts in government support for onshore wind farms, again not because Tories oppose green energy, but because wind-turbine technology will provide Britain with 30 percent of its electricity within 15 years.“Subsidies have been cut and changes to planning rules mean that wind turbines should only get planning permissions if they have been clearly backed by local people,” she said. “Some have characterized these changes as motivated by ideological opposition to anything green. Nothing could be further from the truth.”Rudd acknowledged that her party strongly supports a free market, but also stressed that Conservatives’ energy policies also are consumer-friendly.“I am clear that my department is a pro-business, pro-growth department that will champion the consumer,” she said, “getting a grip to protect families from endless worry about their energy bills. First, this means providing secure supplies of electricity, oil and gas that will enable us to work through our long-term economic plan and finish the job of securing our economic future.”On Sept. 29, at the Labour conference in Brighton, the shadow energy secretary, Lisa Nandy, said her party opposes calls for the UK’s energy industry to be nationalized. Instead, she said, “We want to democratize it,” she said, by allowing each community, not the government in London, to own its own energy power station.In her address in Manchester, Rudd responded by saying competition among private companies is the best way to guarantee high-quality service and low prices.“We want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to nurture competition so that it delivers cheaper bills and better customer service … to help ensure that we have an energy market that works for the consumer,” the secretary told the conference.Rudd didn’t mention the troubles facing Britain’s offshore energy industry, which has suffered greatly because of low energy prices, aging drilling infrastructure in the North Sea and dwindling oil reserves in the region.Source: oilprice.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Vroon Cuts Jobs and Lays up 12 Vessels (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Vroon Shipping Services will reduce its operational fleet by taking twelve offshore-support vessels out of operation, which consequently means it will also reduce the number of onboard positions.The Dutch shipping company said in a press release on Thursday that it would be taking twelve offshore-support vessels out of operation, citing the ongoing slump in offshore oil and gas activities.The company said that from the fourth quarter of 2015 onwards, five platform-supply vessels and seven emergency response and rescue vessels (ERRV) would enter long-term lay-up.In addition, a number of older ERRVs are being divested for recycling purposes, Vroon has said.“We deeply regret the corresponding reduction in onboard positions and the consequences this has for our colleagues,” the company said in its press release.“The current market conditions, which have created low vessel-utilisation levels, require us to substantially reduce operational costs on unemployed vessels. Rationalisation of our operational fleet and cost structure started earlier this year and will remain a priority going forward. Vroon Offshore Services’ commitment to safe and flawless service delivery to clients is unremitting, and the company will continue expanding its market coverage.”Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Dräger Tubes Top 100 million Sales (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Blyth – One of the leading manufacturers in safety technology, Dräger, is celebrating the success of its Dräger Tubes, after more than 100 million tubes have been sold worldwide in the past decade.The company describes the Dräger Tubes as ‘a laboratory behind glass’ – a leading example of a short-term gas measurement system. For more than seven decades, Dräger, has been pioneering the way forward in tube manufacture and the high volume of sales is testimony to the satisfaction of its customers.The Dräger Tubes are a cost-effective, flexible and reliable method of measurement, proving themselves a million times over and used all over the world.They are often used in sectors such as chemical or pharmaceutical, where a diverse range of gas hazards in the plant or laboratory situations, regularly calls for on-the-spot measurement. More than 220 short-term tubes are available for measuring up to 500 gases and this number is growing year on year. As changing environmental conditions, new legal regulations and special customer requirements come into play, new and more sensitive tubes are being developed all the time. Kevin Honner, from Dräger, said: “We are committed to offering safety solutions that really make a difference to our customers, and I believe this has played a big part in the Dräger Tubes’ success over the past decade.“Where gas safety is concerned, the tubes’ measurement system plays a pioneering role and we’re forward-thinking in that new technology is being continually developed around our customers’ requirements.” Dräger Tubes provide results immediately after measurement, so there is no need to send samples into a lab for analysis. There is also no need for calibration by the user – the calibration is shown in the form of a scale printed on the tube.The tubes represent one of the classic forms of gas analysis and their versatility makes for countless applications in industry, firefighting, disaster prevention, laboratory work, environmental protection and many other areas which require measurement results to be instantly available so that decisions can be made.The ‘tube’ itself is a sealed glass vial, which contains a solid carrier material – a chemical reagent which reacts to particular gases or vapours, with a characteristic colour change. To cause this reaction, a defined volume of ambient air is drawn through using a Dräger Tube pump. Even small quantities of gas are sufficient, and the user can easily read and analyse the result because of the scale marks printed on the tube. The tubes have a variety of usages from determination of concentration peaks, to detection of possible leakages, as well as the analysis of air in sewers, shafts, chemical tanks or other confined spaces.In applications where individual measurements or low measurement frequencies are sufficient, Dräger Tubes have advantages compared to electronic measurement equipment and are comparatively inexpensive to purchase and very easy to use.Dräger is committed to offering customers a full safety solution and the Tubes go hand in hand with the company’s training offer, service, maintenance and rentals, and bespoke product offer – based around customer requirements. Source: www.draeger.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    +apos;Suspicious Binoculars+apos; Cause Aberdeen Airport Evacuation (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Flights have now resumed at Aberdeen International Airport after the departure lounge was evacuated over a "suspicious" item.The alert was sparked by the discovery of unidentified baggage in a secure area of the airport.Police were called to the main terminal at about 09:40.An airport spokesman said that the lounge area was cleared for about 15 minutes while it was searched.After a full and thorough search of the area, a "suspicious canister” was found, which is believed to have contained binoculars, this has not been confirmed by Police Scotland or the airport staff, who have yet to pass comment. The airport spokesman furthered; "The terminal was evacuated as a precautionary measure and the incident has since been stood down."Passengers are now being reprocessed through security as the airport returns to business as usual."About 400 passengers had to be re-searched at security following the alert. Incoming flights were held on the tarmac during the operation. Flights were arriving and departing normally by 11.30am with only minor disruption.A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “There were no specialist units in the airport.”Flight services have returned to normal.Please leave comments and feedback below

    Oil Spills in Statfjord Area North Sea (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    On Thursday, October 8, at 8.30 a.m. there was a report that oil had been observed in the sea close to the OLS B loading buoy at the Statfjord field, in the North Sea.According to Statoil, the operator of the field, the oil spill was discovered during the loading of oil from the Statfjord A platform to the tanker “Hilda Knutsen” via the OLS B loading buoy, which is located between Statfjord A and Statfjord B.Loading to the tanker has stopped and supply to the pipe and loading system from Statfjord A has been closed, the company has reported.Production at Statfjord A is operating normally, Statoil added.The leak is located in a flange in the loading hose. It is also too early to say how much oil has leaked, Statoil explained.The stand-by vessel with oil spill response equipment and the anchor handling vessel, equipped with a ROV, are at the location. A SAR helicopter is also assisting with monitoring the spill.Statoil adds that the relevant authorities have been notified.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.comPlease leave comments and feedback below

    Aberdeen Airport Evacuated - 400 Passengers Re-Screened by Security (Thursday, 8 October 2015)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    All flights have been delayed at Aberdeen International Airport after what has been described as an ‘operational incident’ occurred.The airport which acts as the main heliport for helicopters travelling to offshore oil and gas installations said that up to 400 people have been sent back through security at the terminal to be re-screened - severely delaying all flights.The incident began just before 10am on Thursday and has caused significant delays. People at the scene have posted on social media claiming the building has been evacuated and there is a heavier than usual police presence.Aberdeen airport’s duty manager said: “We have an operational incident ongoing and all passengers screened in the last hour had to be re-processed. The airport was evacuated as part of a security operation. I can’t tell you the nature of the incident.”Police officers helped airport staff search passengers but the cause of the "operational incident" is unclear.A spokeswoman said: "The airport has requested Police Scotland to assist with the re-searching of passengers and we are currently in attendance."“Police are still on the scene.”Aberdeen International Airport is the main air hub in the north east of Scotland and served more than 3.8 million passengers in 2014.It also acts as a gateway to the North Sea for helicopters travelling to offshore oil and gas installations.Please leave comments and feedback below

News Feeds

Oil and Gas Jobs Health and Safety Community