Chinese firms to buy stake in Fortescue

Chinese companies Baosteel and CITIC are poised to buy a stake in the flagging Fortescue Metals Group, according to local media, with one IHS Maritime source also saying Fortescue ore ships on order were up for sale.
Speculation has been mounting in recent days that buyers are circling iron ore

Hanjin Shipping posts quarterly profit

Hanjin Shipping returned to the black for the first quarter of 2015, and further improvement can be expected from South Korea’s biggest container shipping company, said analysts in a research note.
KDB Daewoo Securities’ analysts Jay JH Ryu and Kim Choong-hyun said, “Hanjin Shipping’s first-quarter

CNOOC overseas LNG base starts operation

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the country’s largest offshore oil producer, announced on 25 May that its first overseas LNG supply base has started operation.
Located in Queensland, Australia, the Curtis LNG project is expected to secure an annual LNG supply of 3.6 million tonnes for China

JES executive director resigns

Singapore-listed shipbuilder JES international holding (JES) has announced the resignation of its executive director Jin Xin in its filing to the Singapore Exchange.
According to the filing, Jin Xin has tendered his resignation because of health issues. Prior to his resignation, he oversaw the

Taiwan Proposes South China Sea Peace Plan

By Reuters 2015-05-26 01:10:28

Taiwan proposed a peace initiative on Tuesday to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea that it says will reduce tensions that have put Beijing at odds with its neighbors and the United States.

The South China Sea Peace Initiative announced by President Ma Ying-jeou called on claimants to temporarily shelve their disagreements to enable negotiations on sharing resources.

Ma’s plan is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea, which allowed Taiwan and Japan to jointly fish in the contested waters.

However it appeared unlikely the plan would be accepted by China, which claims most of the South China Sea and has rebuffed earlier attempts at multilateral negotiations.

Taiwan has so far played a marginal role in disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed sea.

Ma’s remarks in a keynote speech at an international law conference in Taipei were the most public comments by Taiwan since the United States, its biggest ally, raised concerns over the speed and breadth of China’s land reclamation in the area.

“We demand that freedom of navigation and overflight be respected in the South China Sea,” said Ma, who urged a peaceful resolution “before a major conflict breaks out”.

Taiwan normally maintains a low-key approach to such issues but has coast guard and military facilities in the area, including an airstrip and soon-to-be-completed port on Taiping Island, also known as Itu Abu, the largest natural land mass in the disputed Spratlys archipelago.

“I believe the mainland side understands the spirit and principle of our South China Sea peace initiative,” Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin told reporters after Ma’s speech.

The rival claims by Taiwan and China go back to before they split in a civil war in 1949 after the defeated Nationalists fled to the island from the Communists.


Brazil Reconsiders Local-Content Rules

By Reuters 2015-05-26 00:58:27

Brazil’s national oil-industry association, IBP, released a list of suggestions for regulatory changes on Monday that it hopes will boost exploration activity in the wake of falling oil prices, high costs, delays and a graft scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.

IBP President Jose Camargo told reporters he hopes the changes can be written into rules in time for an auction of oil concessions planned for October.

The proposals focus on Brazil’s national-content regulations, which the government has strengthened in recent years in an attempt to use new oil development to create high-paying industrial jobs.

Many companies, including Petrobras have blamed the Brazil-content rules for soaring costs, project delays and bureaucratic rigidity that makes compliance difficult.

“We need to restart investment,” IBP Executive Secretary Antonio Guimarães told reporters at an event in Rio de Janeiro. “We’ve all seen the paralysis that we have today.”

Among the IBPs recommendations is that content levels become part of the bid process, giving companies points toward their total bid prices at auctions, rather than being set at fixed levels.

This would allow companies to figure out the most convenient way to include national content in projects and force them to offer more upfront cash to the government if they want a lower content level, IBP said. Until the late 2000s this was the way national content commitments were made.

IBP also called on Brazil’s oil regulator, ANP, to finish writing long-expected rules on waivers from Brazil-content rules. At present companies eligible for them can’t get them, even when local suppliers are not available.

ANP board member Florival Carvalho told reporters at the event that the agency is considering some improvements for the October auction, but that there would probably not be any major changes to existing rules at that time.

IBP also asked for regulations that would allow oil companies to rebalance the percentage of locally sourced goods and services during the up to 15 years it takes to find and develop oil to account for changing technology and market prices.

It is also seeking a way to adjust commitments for exchange rate moves.

“If the exchange rate strengthens the value of local content rises if it weakens it falls,” Guimarães said.