Vikings O&M profit up 229%

Singapore-listed offshore services provider Vikings Offshore and Marine (Vikings O&M) has posted a profit of SGD900,000 (USD672,400) , up 229% year on year (y/y) for the first quarter ended 31 March 2015.
Revenue hiked 40% y/y from SGD15.3 million to SGD21.4 million in the first quarter. The higher

COSCOL predicts semi-submersible slump

Shanghai-listed COSCO Shipping (COSCOL) predicted that operations of its semi-submersible carrier fleet would be pressured in the short term due to the slump in crude oil prices since the second half of 2014.
The delays in deliveries of offshore equipment orders, along with capital expenditure

U.S. Approves Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan

By Reuters 2015-05-11 15:45:29

Royal Dutch Shell’s return to oil drilling in the U.S. Arctic for the first time since 2012 took a big step forward on Monday when the Obama administration approved the company’s exploration plan.

The Department of Interior conditionally approved Shell’s plan to explore for oil in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. Shell has already spent about $6 billion on exploration in the Arctic.

The Arctic is estimated to contain about 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and natural gas, but its recovery could be decades away.

Shell proposes to drill up to six wells in water about 140 feet (40 meters) deep, using two vessels that can serve as relief-wells for each other in case of an emergency.

“We have taken a thoughtful approach to carefully considering potential exploration in the Chukchi Sea,” said Abigail Ross Harper, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in a release.

As part of the conditional approval, Shell must obtain permits from the federal government and the state of Alaska in order to begin drilling this summer. Shell has not drilled in the Arctic since a mishap-filled 2012 season, when the company was forced to evacuate its Kulluk drill rig, which eventually ran aground.

One of the vessels that Shell plans to use this summer, the Noble Discoverer, also had problems in the harsh Arctic waters in 2012. At one point it had to be towed to port after experiencing vibrations in a propeller shaft.

Several environmental groups are concerned about drilling in an harsh, pristine region with little capacity for emergency response. “Our government has rushed to approve risky and ill-conceived exploration in one of the most remote and important places on Earth,” said Susan Murray, an official at Oceana, a leading voice against Arctic drilling.

Even if Shell gets all the permits it needs, its Arctic aspirations may face a hurdle further south. Last week, the city of Seattle ruled that its port must apply for a permit to allow Shell to make it a hub for drilling rigs headed to the Arctic.


Asian Nations Respond to Increased Piracy

By MarEx 2015-05-11 15:09:03

Chief of Navy for Singapore, Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han, told local news sources today that the littoral states, consisting of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are in discussions to increase patrols in the lower areas of the South China Sea, the areas most affected by the recent influx of maritime piracy.

The decision to increase maritime security in the area comes after The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) urged the littoral states to increase survellance for the area following heightened reports of piracy for 2015.

Since 2013 the number of total attacks against ships has increased significantly from 29 incidents to 38 over the same period. The increase is largely due to a heightened onboard attacks in the Straits of Malacca and attacks at ports and anchorages in Vietnam. ReCAAP is particularly concerned with the escalation of “very significant” incidents such as the recent fuel siphoning situations. A February 14 incident aboard the product tanker Lapin involved the siphoning of 2,000 tons of bunker oil as well as an explosive package, which was later determined to be fake.

From 2011 to 2014 only one “very significant” incident was reported, but for the same period in 2015 five of these major situations have occurred. As the report states, “A total of five incidents of cargo discharged were reported in 2014, of which four were incidents involving siphoning of fuel/oil, and one was theft of scrap metal from a barge.”

Also, over half of all reported attacks have taken place in a hotspot of activity in the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Though as the organization notes, “incidents reported in the Singapore Strait were relatively less severe in nature compared to that reported in the Malacca Strait.”

Speaking again to local news outlets, the Chief of Navy emphasized that in addition to normal pirate attacks in the region, the littoral states also must be aware of the possiblity for terrorist activity in the area. This is a real concern for the area as Al Queda has recently threated major shipping lanes including the Strait of Malacca. Chung Han stated that a terrorist attack would also be difficult to distinguish at first from a pirate attack.

One main drawback to the patrols being proposed by the South Asian countries is the that they would be in close disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea. In recent years, China has overwhelmingly laid claims to areas in the South China Sea, increasing tensions with other neighboring Asian countries.