Grim Outlook for North Sea Offshore Industry

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-11 12:48:57

The outlook for North Sea oil and gas operators looks grim, according to a UK industry report published today.

Two-thirds of companies operating in the North Sea have been forced to cancel projects because of the recent fall in crude oil prices and operators reported slashing staff training by half. One of the strongest contributors for the depressed market is the drop in crude oil prices, which saw oil trading below $50 per barrel in 2015.

The findings are compiled in the 22 Oil and Gas Survey Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and law firm Bond Dickinson, which put together data from 133 North Sea operators.

Confidence in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has reached its lowest level since the survey began in 2004. An overwhelming majority of contractors reported a drop in confidence in UKCS activities over last year’s level.

The report also found that exploration has been one of the biggest casualties in the North Sea decline. Around 70 percent of all firms involved in exploration saw their value drop over the past 12 months.

Decommissioning alone is the one area that is reporting positive trends.

“Decommissioning is the bittersweet positive in the survey. Academics have been predicting an imminent spike in decommissioning for years but that spike is now well and truly upon us. Decommissioning is not driven by oil price or demand and could be very important in maintaining the value of activity in the North Sea – but the inevitable downside is that it hastens the decline of offshore exploration and production,” said Uisdean Vass oil and gas partner at Bond Dickenson.

The survey administrators did maintain a degree of optimism, claiming that new opportunities may exist in the market, despite the grim appearance of the data.

James Bream, research and policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said “This is a mid-life crisis in the UKCS but as some people say life begins at 50.”

An infographic for the data can be found here.

The complete report can be accessed here.


8 Rescued After Box Ship Sinks

By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-11 10:56:04

Eight crew members were rescued after a Chinese feeder box ship sank off the Guangzhou port Wednesday morning.

The 42 meter (157 foot) Xin Hong 328 began taking on water in its engine room in the early morning of June 10. The vessel began to list heavily starboard and sank around 5:00am near Shajiao Anchorage of Guangzhou port. All eight crew members onboard were able to abandon the ship and were rescued by a coastguard vessel.

The Xin Hong 328 was loaded with 72 containers and was en route from Hong Kong to Nansha port in Guangzhou when the incident occurred. The Guangzhou MSA sent four patrol vessels to the accident scene to monitor vessel traffic in the area as floating containers posed a navigational hazard. Authorities have not reported any environmental pollution, but they continue to monitor the situation. Work is underway to recover the containers and a salvage operation has been initiated.

The cause of the incident is unknown, but authorities have launched a formal investigation.


Houston Ship Channel Reopened Following Chemical Spill

By MarEx 2015-06-11 09:14:28

A shelter-in-place was lifted and the Houston Ship Channel was reopened at 2:08 p.m. Wednesday, after an incident in the upper ship channel that caused the release of as much as 23,000 gallons of naphtha (PTN).

The Coast Guard was notified of the incident through a National Response Center report from someone on the ship channel at 11:46 a.m., reporting a smell in the area. Shortly after, a representative from Kirby Inland Marine reported the allision that impacted cargo tank number one on the starboard side of the barge. The Chevron facility where the barge was docked issued a shelter in place for their facility and the Coast Guard shut down a 1.5 mile section of the upper ship channel from Light 152 to Greens Port Industrial Park.

The barge was carrying approximately 30,000 barrels of naphtha, or more than 1 million gallons, and the impacted tank had approximately 5,000 barrels.

The Coast Guard, along with several other agencies and responders are working together to ensure the safety of people in the area and to minimize any impact to the environment if possible.

“Upon consultation with the NOAA support coordinator, their models showed that most of the product would evaporate in approximately three hours,” said Cmdr. Eric Carrero, the federal on-scene coordinator for the Coast Guard. “We are continuing to ensure the safety of personnel and the environment.”

An incident command post has been established in Channelview to coordinate response efforts. A number of agencies have been working together including the Coast Guard, Port of Houston, Kirby Inland Marine, and T&T Salvage.


MOL sets up new car carrier brand

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K Lines has established a global brand for car carrier services.
The new brand name is MOL Auto Carrier Express (MOL ACE), “ACE” named after its automobile vessel names.
MOL now operates 120 automobile vessels and its offices and agencies are in as many as 140 countries in the