Record Launch for Ulstein Verft

By MarEx 2015-08-26 19:51:09

Ulstein Verft’s largest offshore vessel so far, the offshore construction vessel Island Venture, was launched on August 25.

The 160m Ulstein SX165 design vessel is jointly owned by Norway-based Island Offshore and US-based Edison Chouest Offshore. The latter will be managing the vessel. Thus, the vessel carries the Edison Chouest colors and logo.

Ulstein Verft, Norway, builds a wide range of highly-effective and sustainably efficient vessels that include offshore support, offshore construction, seismic and research vessels.

Asian Trade Boom Predicted

By MarEx 2015-08-26 19:32:25

Trade from China and Southeast Asia to North America and Europe is expected to boom in the next five years, according to new analysis released by IHS Inc.

The firm forecasts that China’s trade will continue to increase by more than five percent per year between 2015 and 2020. This positive medium-term trade growth comes despite more recent setbacks caused by the marked economic slowdown in China and weaker growth among other emerging markets in the current and near-term.

“These increases will not be the double-digit rises seen before the 2008 global economic crisis,” said Krispen Atkinson, principal analyst at IHS Maritime & trade. “However, an increase of over 30 percent in the next five years underscores China’s intent to remain a new trade hub-and-spoke lynchpin for the rest of the economic world, cementing the Maritime Silk Road Initiative via China and Asia within the emerging market universe.”

Bigger ships

One new trend is the move towards larger container ships to streamline the supply chain. The four alliances that dominate east-west trade are pushing the trend towards container ships capable of carrying 20,000 boxes (20 foot equivalent units), in their quest to reduce unit costs with ever more efficient vessels. Current container ships hold around 13,000 boxes, so the new super-containers capable of transporting over 50 percent more cargo. Their push has meant further capacity has become available in the trade.

Southeast Asia-North America trade boom

“China may be the major powerhouse in the region, but Southeast Asia is making significant headway,” Atkinson said.

Vietnam’s exports are estimated to increase by 44 percent by 2020. IHS forecasts a 44 percent increase in trade between Vietnam and North America and a 43 percent increase in trade between Vietnam and Europe in the next five years. “In terms of actual cargo, the figures are still low when compared with China’s, but these are still huge jumps for these economies,” Atkinson said.

Trade between these two regions is made up of manufactured goods, such as home appliances or mechanical hardware.

“Vietnam, India and many of the South Asian economies stand to benefit from recent energy and commodity price falls as net importers of these goods,” said Jan Randolph director of sovereign risk analysis at IHS. “They have significant industries and services sectors of their own that benefit from cheaper inputs and have currencies that are not coupled to a strengthening US dollar.”

East Africa-China trade boom

Trade routes from China to Africa are expected to see a marked increase over the next five years, with the highest growth expected to be seen from the East African to China route, incorporating Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“Trade between East Africa and China is expected to increase by 91 percent by 2020,” Atkinson said. “It’s all around manufactured goods. East Africa is becoming a new hub for the Chinese.”

Chinese leadership has publicly announced its commitment to develop infrastructural and to promote regional integration in East Africa. “In the coming years, China’s relationship with East Africa will change,” said Natznet Tesfay, head of sub-Saharan Africa analysis at IHS County Risk. “Right now, the focus is on importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods. But, Chinese investments in enhancing regional interconnectivity will enable it to take advantage of comparatively lower operational costs and to onshore manufacturing activity in East Africa.”

Schlumberger Acquires Cameron

By MarEx 2015-08-26 19:14:15

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield service company, and engineering company Cameron have announced a definitive merger agreement in which the companies will combine in a stock and cash transaction. The agreement was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The transaction combines two complementary technology portfolios into a “pore-to-pipeline” products and services offering to the global oil and gas industry. On a pro forma basis, the combined company had 2014 revenues of $59 billion.

Schlumberger expects to realize pretax synergies of approximately $300 million and $600 million in the first and second year, respectively. Initially, the synergies are primarily related to reducing operating costs, streamlining supply chains and improving manufacturing processes, with a growing component of revenue synergies in the second year and beyond.

Paal Kibsgaard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Schlumberger said, “This agreement with Cameron opens new and broader opportunities for Schlumberger. At our investor conference in June 2014, we highlighted how the exploration and production industry must transform to deliver increased performance at a time of range-bound commodity prices. With oil prices now at lower levels, oilfield services companies that deliver innovative technology and greater integration while improving efficiency, which our customers increasingly demand, will outperform the market.

“We believe that the next industry technical breakthrough will be achieved through integration of Schlumberger’s reservoir and well technologies with Cameron’s leadership in surface, drilling, processing and flow control technologies. Deep reservoir knowledge further enabled by instrumentation, software and automation, will launch a new era of complete drilling and production system performance.

“In addition, we will achieve significant efficiency gains through lowering operating costs, streamlining supply chains, and improving manufacturing processes while leveraging the Schlumberger transformation platform.”

Jack Moore, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cameron, added, “This exciting transaction builds on our successful partnership with Schlumberger on OneSubsea and will position Cameron for its next phase of growth. For our shareholders, this combination provides significant value, while also enabling them to own a meaningful share of Schlumberger. Together, we will create a premier oilfield equipment and service company with an integrated and expanded platform to drive accelerated growth.

“By bringing together Cameron and Schlumberger, we will be uniting two great companies with successful track records, performance and value creation. We look forward to working closely with Schlumberger to achieve a seamless post-closing integration and long term value for all of our stakeholders.”

The transaction is subject to Cameron shareholders’ approval, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. It is anticipated that the closing of the transaction will occur in the first quarter of 2016.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. is acting as financial advisor, and Baker Botts LLP and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP are serving as legal counsel, to Schlumberger. Credit Suisse is acting as financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is serving as legal counsel to Cameron.

NASA says: “The Ice Sheets Are Waking Up”

By MarEx 2015-08-26 18:10:12

Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly three inches since 1992, with some locations rising more than nine inches due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.

The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise?

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least three feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

In 2013, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an assessment based on a consensus of international researchers that stated global sea levels would likely rise from one to three feet by the end of the century. According to Nerem, new research available since this report suggests the higher end of that range is more likely, and the question remains how that range might shift upward.

The data reveal the height of the sea surface is not rising uniformly everywhere. Regional differences in sea level rise are dominated by the effects of ocean currents and natural cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). But, as these natural cycles wax and wane, they can have major impacts on local coastlines.

“Sea level along the west coast of the United States has actually fallen over the past 20 years because long-term natural cycles there are hiding the impact of global warming,” said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “However, there are signs this pattern is changing. We can expect accelerated rates of sea level rise along this coast over the next decade as the region recovers from its temporary sea level ‘deficit.’”

Scientists estimate that about one-third of sea level rise is caused by expansion of warmer ocean water, one-third is due to ice loss from the massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and the remaining third results from melting mountain glaciers. But, the fate of the polar ice sheets could change that ratio and produce more rapid increases in the coming decades.

The Greenland ice sheet, covering 660,000 square miles, nearly the area of Alaska, shed an average of 303 gigatons of ice a year over the past decade, according to satellite measurements. The Antarctic ice sheet, covering 5.4 million square miles, larger than the United States and India combined, has lost an average of 118 gigatons a year.

“We’ve seen from the paleoclimate record that sea level rise of as much as 10 feet in a century or two is possible, if the ice sheets fall apart rapidly,” said Tom Wagner, the cryosphere program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re seeing evidence that the ice sheets are waking up, but we need to understand them better before we can say we’re in a new era of rapid ice loss.”

Although Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise currently is much smaller than that of Greenland, recent research indicates this could change in the upcoming century. In 2014, two West Antarctica studies focused on the acceleration of the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector showed its collapse is underway.

East Antarctica’s massive ice sheet remains the primary unknown in sea level rise projections. Though it appears to be stable, a recent study found under a major glacier two deep troughs that could draw warm ocean water to the base of the glacier, causing it to melt.

“The prevailing view among specialists has been that East Antarctica is stable, but we don’t really know,” said glaciologist Eric Rignot of the University of California Irvine and JPL. “Some of the signs we see in the satellite data right now are red flags that these glaciers might not be as stable as we once thought. There’s always a lot of attention on the changes we see now, but as scientists our priority needs to be on what the changes could be tomorrow.”

One of the keys to understanding future rates of ice loss is determining the role ocean currents and ocean temperatures play in melting the ice sheets from below its edges. A new six-year NASA field campaign took to the waters around Greenland this summer to probe how warming ocean waters are triggering Greenland glacier degradation. The Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project is taking coastal ocean temperature measurements, observing glacial thinning at the ice’s edge, and producing the first high-resolution maps of the seafloor, fjords and canyons in the continental shelf surrounding Greenland.

Eight Killed In Collision

By MarEx 2015-08-26 16:54:39

Eight people are dead after a ferry capsized and sank after a collision with a fishing boat near India’s port city of Kochi. The ferry was transporting about 30 passengers from Vypin, a Kochi island to Fort Kochi. The Coast Guard, Navy and Marine police were dispatched for the rescue operation.

The survivors are being treated at a nearby hospital, but at least three of the rescued passengers are in serious condition.

The status of fishing vessel and its operators is unknown.