Successful Sea Trial of Rotor Sail

By MarEx 2015-05-31 20:37:41

Norsepower Oy and Bore have announced the successful sea trial of Norsepower’s Rotor Sail Solution, a new wind propulsion technology for ships. The sea trials, verified by NAPA and supported by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, confirm fuel savings of 2.6 percent using a single small Rotor Sail on a route in the North Sea.

Based on the trials, Norsepower and Bore believe that a full system on Estraden with two rotors has the potential to deliver 5 percent efficiency savings on an ongoing basis. Norsepower forecasts savings of 20 percent for vessels with multiple, large rotors traveling in favourable wind routes.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution was installed on the 9,700 DWT Ro-Ro carrier MS Estraden. Owned by Bore, the leading Finnish Ro-Ro Shipping Company, MS Estraden operates in a continuous service between the Netherlands and the U.K., sailing through the North Sea’s windy corridors at speeds of 16 knots.

“The successful trials of our wind technology are a ground-breaking moment not only for Norsepower, and also the wider development of wind propulsion technology for shipping. The results suggest that when Norsepower’s technology is implemented at scale, it can produce up to 20 percent net savings in fuel costs with a payback period of less than four years at current fuel prices, confirming that wind technologies are commercially-viable solutions that reduce fuel and carbon emissions in the industry,” said Tuomas Riski, CEO, Norsepower.

The trials were measured and analyzed with continuous monitoring systems from maritime data analysis, software and services provider, NAPA and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland collected data over a six-month period, during which both the Rotor Sail technology and automation system was operational 99 percent of the time. The results confirmed that Norsepower’s rotor is able to produce large amounts of thrust force, which enables considerable fuel savings.

Reinforcing VTT’s findings, NAPA conducted a randomized trial that found clear and significant savings, despite largely calm weather conditions throughout the study. After establishing a baseline profile of the vessel in normal operation, the Rotor Sail was activated and de-activated at random intervals to verify that any measured effect was solely due to the sail, and that any benefit was measurable across the vessel’s operating profile. The average verified fuel savings during the trial in NAPA’s analysis was 2.6 percent. The trial was conducted using ClassNK-NAPA GREEN, the vessel performance monitoring and verification software developed by NAPA and ClassNK, the world’s leading class society.

“As impartial data analysis and verification is vital for charterers and shipowners looking to retrofit efficiency technology onto vessels, we used both randomized trialing and advanced statistical modeling to ensure objective results. The Rotor Sail offered clear savings against these criteria and adds to a growing list of innovative eco-efficiency technologies that have proved themselves through robust data collection and advanced analytics,” said Esa Henttinen, Executive Vice President, NAPA.

“We are proud to be the first shipowner to install the Norsepower Rotor Sail, and demonstrate that wind propulsion technology has verifiable 5 percent fuel savings on a yearly basis, can be retrofitted without any off-hire costs, and is extremely easy to use in practice. It’s our goal to find ways to establish sustainable shipping with minimal impact on our environment,” said Jörgen Mansnerus, Vice President, Bore.

The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor – a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. When the wind conditions are favorable, Norsepower Rotor Sails allow the main engines to be throttled back, saving fuel and reducing emissions while providing the power needed to maintain speed and voyage time. Rotor sails can be used with new vessels or can be retrofitted on existing ships without off-hire costs. The installation was completed in two parts: the required foundations were installed during a normal dry-dock stay, followed by the 18-metre-high rotor during an ordinary seven-hour harbor stay.

Norsepower is one of several technology companies participating in a joint program of Carbon War Room and UCL Energy Institute to fast-track adoption of emerging wind-propulsion technologies by the shipping industry.

“Modern wind systems are demonstrating measurable and meaningful fuel savings for ships. As wind propulsion, air bubble systems and other ground-breaking technologies are increasingly adopted and become mainstream, the industry will reap the rewards of lower fuel costs—more sustainable than those from short-term price decreases, and be able to stay ahead of external pressures,” says Jose Maria Figueres, Chairman, Carbon War Room.


U.S. Leader Talks of Peace in Asia

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-31 20:22:45

U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter has been focusing on maritime security during his tour of Asia last week. After viewing a Vietnamese coast guard vessel that was rammed by a Chinese ship last year, he pledged $18 million to help the nation buy U.S. built Metal Shark patrol boats.

Carter’s 11 day trip has seen him visit naval and coast guard headquarters in Vietnam looking to “modernize” relations. He started his Asian tour calling for a stop to island building in the South China Sea, and it has been a focus of his dialogue with Australasian leaders. Although Vietnam has also reclaimed land in the sea, Carter singled out China’s large-scale activities extending to several thousand acres.

Malaysia Concerned

Carter also met with Malaysian Minister of Defense Datuk Seri Hishammuddin in Singapore where he congratulated Malaysia on its successful chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), pointing to a host of recent ASEAN initiatives which have successfully bolstered regional security, including cooperation in humanitarian and disaster relief, peacekeeping, anti-piracy and counterterrorism.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, a major annual forum for key leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss security challenges and opportunities. They shared their concerns regarding Chinese land reclamation in the South China Sea. They agreed that all regional tensions should be resolved in accordance with international law. Carter expressed gratitude to Hishammuddin for advocating for an increase in cooperative maritime patrol flights.

Australia and Japan Alliance Building

Ash, Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and Australian Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews also held trilateral defense ministerial talks in Singapore last week. This was the fifth meeting of its kind among the three nations’ top defense officials.

The defense ministers from Japan and Australia reaffirmed the strength of their respective alliances with the United States as essential to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, and underscored their enduring support for the U.S. rebalance to the region.

Recalling Japan’s path as a peace-loving nation for the last 70 years, the U.S. secretary of defense and Australian defense minister welcomed and supported Japan’s recent efforts to play a greater role in regional and global security, including its efforts to develop legislation for peace and security under the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation.

The leaders expressed strong opposition to the use of coercion or force to alter the status quo in the East China and South China Seas unilaterally and their serious concern over Chinese land reclamation activities. They urged all South China Sea claimants to exercise self-restraint, halt reclamation activities, take steps to ease tensions and refrain from provocative actions that could escalate tensions.

They called on governments to clarify and pursue territorial claims and accompanying maritime rights in accordance with international law. They also called for ASEAN and China to reach early agreement on a meaningful code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Australia’s top five trade partners are all in the Indo-Pacific, and approximately 98 percent of the nation’s international trade by volume travelling by sea – and more than half of that through the South China Sea.

Russia Steps Up

Also in Singapore is Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. He said that Russia will take part in naval military exercises together with its Asia Pacific allies including the May 2016 drills which have a focus on counter-terrorism and naval security.

RT reports Antonov also said he was concerned about stability in the region, naming the U.S. as the main destabilizing factor with policies aimed against Russia and China: “We are concerned by U.S. policies in the region, especially since every day it becomes increasingly focused on a systemic containment of Russia and China.”


Supply Vessel Fire in Mumbai High

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-31 19:42:42

The ONGC supply vessel Vestfonn suffered an engine room fire on Sunday, in the Mumbai High field, about 200km west of Mumbai, India.

The OSV Ahalya evacuated 24 of the 33 crew from Vestfonn, leaving the remainder on board to contain the fire.

Coast Guard Regional Headquarters Mumbai diverted aircraft to assess the situation and coordinated support efforts from vessels in the area including OSVs BS Negi and Ocean Diamond.

The fire was contained on Sunday evening, and Vestfonn is under tow by another ONGC vessel Malviya 24.

Vestfonn is a 6,100-bhp OSV built in 1983.


OPEC Oil Output Highest Since 2012

By Reuters 2015-05-31 17:04:44

OPEC oil supply in May climbed further to its highest in more than two years as increasing Angolan exports and record or near-record output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq outweighed outages in smaller producers, a Reuters survey showed.

The boost from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries puts output further above its target of 30 million barrels per day (bpd), underlining the focus of top exporter Saudi Arabia and other key members on market share.

OPEC supply rose in May to 31.22 million bpd from a revised 31.16 million bpd in April, according to the survey, based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.

The group meets on Friday and is not expected to alter policy as oil has risen to $65 a barrel from a low close to $45 in January and there are signs of slowing growth in the higher-cost supplies that have been eroding OPEC’s market share.

“Anything but a renewed confirmation of the production target at the forthcoming OPEC meeting would be a major surprise,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said.

“The rapid rise in U.S. crude oil production has been stopped and the oil price has recovered considerably.”

If the total remains unrevised, May’s supply would be OPEC’s highest since it pumped 31.53 million bpd in August 2012, based on Reuters surveys.

The biggest increase came from Angola, which exported 58 cargoes in May, more than originally planned in April, according to loading schedules.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia has not reduced output from April’s record high of 10.30 million bpd, sources in the survey said, as it meets higher demand from export customers and in domestic power plants.

Of the countries with lower output, Libya posted a decline as more supply was disrupted by unrest, and production in Nigeria slipped because of pipeline leaks that prompted Royal Dutch Shell’s local venture to declare force majeure on exports from the Forcados stream.

Iraqi exports, which have helped push OPEC output higher this year, look set to have fallen slightly short of April’s record level, according to this survey.

Although Iraq increased its northern exports further following a deal between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government, flows declined from the south, which produces the bulk of Iraq’s oil.

Further increases are expected in later months, said a source familiar with Iraq’s exports.

“We should do better in the second part of the year to close the gap between planned and the current figures,” he said.


Petrobras Considers Selling Gulf of Mexico Assets

By Reuters 2015-05-31 16:57:36

Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras is considering selling some of its assets in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a divestment plan to shore up its finances, local daily Folha de S.Paulo reported on Sunday.

Petrobras has hired BNP Paribas to study the possible sale of its stake in offshore oilfields in the region, which are worth about $8 billion, the newspaper said without citing sources.

Officials with Petrobras and BNP Paribas were not immediately available for comment.

Facing a corruption scandal that has dragged down its market value, Petrobras, one of the world’s most indebted companies, said in March it plans to sell as much as $13.7 billion in assets this year and next to reduce debt and protect cash.

In 2013, Petrobras had trouble selling fields in the Gulf of Mexico as the value of those assets fell at the time.


Iran Sanction Deal A Step Closer

By Reuters 2015-05-31 16:52:30

Six world powers have agreed on a way to restore U.N. sanctions on Iran if the country breaks the terms of a future nuclear deal, clearing a major obstacle to an accord ahead of a June 30 deadline, Western officials have said.

The new understanding on a U.N. sanctions “snapback” among the six powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – brings them closer to a possible deal with Iran, though other hurdles remain, including ensuring United Nations access to Iranian military sites.

The six powers and Iran struck an interim agreement on April 2 ahead of a possible final deal that would aim to block an Iranian path to a nuclear bomb in exchange for lifting sanctions. But the timing of sanctions relief, access and verification of compliance and a mechanism for restoring sanctions if Iran broke its commitments were among the most difficult topics left for further negotiations.

U.S. and European negotiators want any easing of U.N. sanctions to be automatically reversible if Tehran violates a deal. Russia and China traditionally reject such automatic measures as undermining their veto power as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

As part of the new agreement on sanctions snapback, suspected breaches by Iran would be taken up by a dispute-resolution panel, likely including the six powers and Iran, which would assess the allegations and come up with a non-binding opinion, the officials said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would also continue regularly reporting on Iran’s nuclear program, which would provide the six powers and the Security Council with information on Tehran’s activities to enable them to assess compliance.

If Iran was found to be in non-compliance with the terms of the deal, then U.N. sanctions would be restored.

The officials did not say precisely how sanctions would be restored but Western powers have been adamant that it should take place without a Security Council vote, based on provisions to be included in a new U.N. Security Council resolution to be adopted after a deal is struck.

“We pretty much have a solid agreement between the six on the snapback mechanism, Russians and Chinese included,” a Western official said. “But now the Iranians need to agree.”

Another senior Western official echoed his remarks, describing the agreement as “tentative” because it would depend on Iranian acceptance.