Drilling to Begin Near Deepwater Horizon Site

By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-13 15:09:48

Drilling is set to begin again in Mississippi Canyon Block 252, the site of the infamous 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

In April the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved plans for Louisiana-based LLOG Exploration to drill a new well near the site of the BP spill. The privately owned company will be using the Sevan Luisiana, semisubmersible rig that will drill to a depth of 4,927 ft. The seadrill is working under a three year contract from Sevan Drilling ASA based in Oslo, Norway.

Representatives from the Ocean Foundation have expressed concern over small companies drilling near the Macondo reservoir area due to the complicated nature of the work. Also, opponents raised concern over the spill response capabilities of a smaller company. It took BP, one of the world’s largest offshore operators, 87 days to cap the flow of oil following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

However, LLOG states on its website that it has nearly 40 years’ experience in the industry and that it has drilled 850 wells in total. The company’s recent endevours have focused on the drilling of underdeveloped area of in the Gulf of Mexico with particular focus on the Mississippi Canyon, Green Canyon, and South Timbalier.

According to statements given to the associated press, LLOG is the first company to go after the oil reserves that BP was looking for back in 2010. Additionally, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has stated that regulators have intensively reviewed LLOG’s plans for drilling the area.


Texas Plant Gets Approval to Export LNG

By MarEx 2015-05-13 13:37:56

On Tuesday, The U.S. Energy Department gave final approval for Cheniere to export liquefied natural gas from its plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. The authorization allows for the plant to export LNG to countries that do not currently share a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

The Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years. In a written statement yesterday, the Energy Department commented that, “The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration further believes the country could become a net LNG exporter by 2017. The boom in domestic energy drilling and demand from gas consumers in Europe and Asia has pushed companies to build multi billion-dollar facilities to export the fuel.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

Cheniere hopes to export LNG from Corpus Christi beginning in 2018. Last week, the DOE approved LNG exports from Dominion Resources Inc’s Cove Point plant in Maryland.


Not a Plane, but a Ship

By Kathryn Stone 2015-05-13 11:04:27

The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has turned up something unexpected this week. Instead of the downed Boeing 777 Australian-led search teams were looking for, the salvage operation has uncovered a previously uncharted shipwreck 13,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface.

“It’s a fascinating find,” said Peter Foley Director of the Operational Search for the MH370, “but it’s not what we’re looking for.” The Fugro Equator, a deep tow system, first detected a series of bright reflections on an otherwise empty seafloor. Though skeptical that the contacts were related to the investigation for the missing plane, the search team diverted additional vessels to the area to perform sonar scans and gather underwater imagery. The search revealed that the debris field was man-made as previously thought and that it was the wreckage of a 19 century ship, not the MH 370.

For the past 14 months the Australian government has coordinated an international search team to locate and salvage the remains of Malaysian Flight MH 370, in which 239 crew members and passagers died. The ill-fated plane disappeared on March 8, 2014 en route to Beijing and has become one of the biggest aviation mysteries of all time.

As of May 2015 over 75 percent of the 23,000 sq. mile priority search area has been investigated and the full search of the area is expected to conclude by the end of the month. The investigation currently consists of three vessels with deep tow systems and a third autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

Foley showed continued optimism toward the search efforts saying, “This event has really demonstrated that the systems, people and the equipment involved in the search are working well. It’s shown that if there’s a debris field in the search area, we’ll find it.”

It is estimated that the search has cost over $100 million to date. The Austrialian government has set aside an additional $40 million to continue search efforts through 2016. If no wreckage from the MH370 flight is found in the priority search area, the investigation will include a doubled search area of seafloor adjacent to the priority zone.

The Australian government has stated that the wreck found this week and all captured imagery will be given to marine archeologists in the hope of identifying the ship.


Star Bulk sells discounted shares

NASDAQ-listed Star Bulk has priced a heavily discounted equity offering to raise funds for its newbuilding programme.
The bulker owner is selling 56.25 million shares at USD3.20/share, a 15.1% discount versus the closing price on 12 May, immediately prior to the offering announcement.
Star Bulk

Hafnia seeks US share listing

Hafnia Tankers, the Danish product tanker owner, has applied to have its shares listed in the US.
The company said today that it had applied to register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with a view to making an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange.

Navy Fighter Jet Crashes in Persian Gulf

By MarEx 2015-05-13 08:39:19

Two U.S. Navy pilots were rescued Tuesday after a fighter jet crashed into the Persian Gulf.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet went down shortly after taking off from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which had been deployed to the Arabian Gulf amid heavy fighting in Yemen.

The two personnel aboard the strike fighter ejected from the aircraft, survived the crash and were quickly recovered by search and rescue personnel from the ship. The recovered Naval Aviators are being evaluated by medical personnel aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt. Initial reports indicate both are conscious and alert, and without serious injury.

The U.S. navy has further indicated that the crash was not a result of hostile activity. It is still unknown if the crash was due to pilot error or jet malfunction.

Strike Fighter Squadron 211 is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, and is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 1. USS Theodore Roosevelt, with its embarked carrier air wing, is currently in the U.S. 5th Fleet supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, conducting strike operations against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

The Navy is currently conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash.


Australia moves to axe cabotage

The Australian federal government today announced it is to axe legislation introduced to promote Australian-flagged shipping and will deregulate the coast.
While the move has been hailed by Shipping Australia Limited, the peak industry body representing foreign shipping in Australia, and some