U.S. Clinches Port Deal with Oman
Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.Still, the U.S. official noted that the agreement would expand U.S. military options in the region for any kind of crisis.Duqm is ideal port for large ships. It is even big enough to turn around an aircraft carrier, a second official said."The port itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very attractive, again being outside the Strait of Hormuz," the official said, adding that negotiations began under the Obama administration.COMPETITION WITH CHINAFor Oman…
Smarter Energy Policy Will Broaden Offshore Recovery
For the past few years, depressed commodity prices, stricter regulatory requirements and competition from onshore development at home and from other countries offering attractive offshore lease and royalty terms have had severe impacts on new exploration in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Thankfully, the tide appears to finally be turning.In August, Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 251 drew increased competition for offerings and $178 million in high bids, $53 million more than previous sale held in March.
US States Slow Trump Offshore Oil Drilling Expansion Plan
The Trump administration's plan to broadly expand drilling in U.S. offshore waters is moving slowly due to opposition from coastal states and indifference from oil companies that have turned their focus to other opportunities. The administration hopes encouraging U.S. energy development outside of shale oilfields will further its goal of "energy dominance." But existing Obama administration lease rules remain in place through 2022 unless the new rules gain approval. The Department of the Interior this year proposed opening vast new acreage in the U.S. outer continental shelf to drilling.
U.S. Navy Assesses Fleet Structure
Following the release of new national security and defense strategies, the Navy is undertaking a new Fleet Structure Assessment that could alter its stated goal of a 355-ship fleet, senior service officials told Congress this week. A new FSA would take a look at the mix of surface ships and submarine in the service and could change assumptions on the look and size of the future fleet, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9), told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee on Tuesday.
Harvey Gulf Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Louisiana-based Harvey Gulf International Marine LLC, which has more than 50 vessels in its fleet and supplies offshore oil rigs among other services, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Houston. Harvey Gulf did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The company said in court papers it had more than $1 billion in debt and has an agreement with lenders to reduce what the company owes. In return lenders would receive the equity in the company when it exits bankruptcy. Other creditors such as suppliers will be paid in full.
Trump Aims to Open Nearly All US Offshore to Oil Drilling
The Trump administration on Thursday proposed opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, a move aimed at boosting domestic energy production that sparked protests from coastal states, environmentalists and the tourism industry. The effort to open previously off-limits acreage in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans comes less than eight years after BP Plc's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - the largest in American history. The disaster…
Trump to Open Oil Drilling off US East Coast
The Trump administration is preparing a plan that would open up oil drilling off the U.S. East Coast, Bloomberg reported. President Trump ordered the Interior Department to create the draft proposal as part of his “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” executive order in April. The new plan, which could be unveiled as soon as this week, would allow the U.S. to auction oil and gas drilling rights in Atlantic waters previously blocked under the Obama administration. The new proposal would span the years 2019 to 2024, replacing the Obama plan, which runs through 2022.
Iran: Drones Near U.S. Warships are Safe
Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) rejected U.S. criticism that it flew a drone unsafely near a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf and it defended its right to carry out air patrol missions in the area. On Monday the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said that an Iranian drone had come within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a U.S. aircraft carrier while it was in international waters in the Gulf conducting flight operations. Spokesman Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey said the Iranian drone "conducted an unsafe and unprofessional approach" as it passed by the USS Nimitz without navigation lights late on Sunday. Iran's IRGC…
US Navy: Bigger is Better, but at What Cost?
The U.S. Navy has a balanced fleet, but it wants to grow bigger and better. Will the budget allow both? Maritime Reporter's March 2017 cover story on the U.S. Navy was all about the numbers. There exists several plans to grow the fleet beyond the current number of 308 ships, the Mitre recommendation of 414 ships, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment 340-ship proposal, and the Navy’s decision to grow the fleet to 355 ships, and the Trump administration’s 350. With so many numbers being bandied about, there are even more suggestions on how to get there.
WCI Meets the Press, Addresses FY 2018 Budget Request
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017; FY 2017 Corps' Work Plan and Infrastructure Plan Addressed. Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) today held its annual briefing for the news media to address the President’s FY 2018 budget request, the FY 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations Act, the Corps of Engineers’ FY 2017 Work Plan, and the Administration’s infrastructure initiative. he event was held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The full FY 2018 budget request to Congress released by the Trump Administration proposes $5.02 billion for the Corps’ Civil Works program…
CBP Withdraws Obama-proposed Jones Act Changes
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has withdrawn an Obama-era proposal to modify a law that governs shipping, which would have revoked waivers that make it easier for oil and gas operators to skirt restrictions, according to an agency bulletin published Wednesday. For nearly 40 years the CBP has provided exemptions to the Jones Act, which mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. The exemptions have allowed oil and gas operators to use often cheaper, tax-free, or more readily available foreign flagged vessels. The CBP has weighed revoking these waivers after President Barack Obama's administration proposed to put them on the chopping block two days before President Donald Trump took office.
WCI Applauds FY 2017 Omnibus
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) praised today’s passage of the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. FY ’17 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission totals $6.038 billion, a 0.8 percent increase above the FY ’16 funding level, but almost a 31 percent increase above the Obama Administration requested level. The bill provides full-use of estimated annual revenues from the…
OP/Ed: Obama’s Arctic Decision Undercut His Own Legacy
On December 20, 2016, in an 11th hour unilateral action designed to cement his environmental legacy, President Obama withdrew 3.8 million acres in the north and mid-Atlantic Ocean and 115 million acres in the U.S. Arctic Ocean (including the entire Chukchi Sea and a significant portion of the Beaufort Sea) from future oil and gas leasing. Unlike the five year moratoria announced by Canada, President Obama touted these closures as “permanent.” Not only does this short-sighted decision threaten the economic lifeline of Alaska, U.S. energy leadership and U.S.
Feds to Offer 122K Acres Offshore NC for Wind
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, North Carolina will be offered in a commercial wind lease sale on March 16, 2017. “Today’s announcement demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with Federal, state and local partners over the past eight years have built a foundation to harness the enormous potential of offshore wind energy,” said Secretary Jewell. The Kitty Hawk lease sale is the latest effort in the Obama Administration’s renewable energy program at the U.S.
NOIA Slams BOEM’s Denial of Offshore Seismic Permits
National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi today issued the following statement on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s denial of seismic survey permits for the Atlantic OCS. “In yet another ‘black Friday’ announcement targeting the offshore oil and natural gas industry, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) blanket denial of seismic survey permits is an unsurprising attempt to put another nail in the coffin of sensible energy exploration in the Atlantic.
White House ‘Playing Politics’ Arctic Drilling Ban -AEC
The Obama Administration announced that it will ban offshore oil and gas development throughout much of the U.S. Arctic. Under the authority of a provision in a 1953 law, the decision designates "the bulk of the Arctic” indefinitely off limits. Commenting, Lucas Frances, spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center, said, “This is a deeply frustrating development and one that will mean a bleak economic future for Alaska. After the White House cited a lack of industry interest in the Arctic for removing the region from the offshore leasing program…
Obama Bans New Drilling off Alaska, Part of Atlantic Shore
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, in a push to leave his stamp on the environment before Republican Donald Trump takes office next month. Obama used a 1950s-era law called the Outer Continental Shelf Act that allows presidents to limit areas from mineral leasing and drilling. Environmental groups said that meant Trump's incoming administration would have to go court if it sought to reverse the move.
Op/Ed: Obama’s Parting Salvo at US Energy Security
Randall Luthi, President of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), does not pull any punches as he weighs in on the Obama administration’s release of the Final 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The good news is we now have an offshore leasing plan for the next five years that includes a schedule for regular oil and gas sales in the Gulf of Mexico. The bad news is it is only half a plan. Offshore energy development is a vital part of the U.S. economy, providing jobs, energy security and much needed government revenue.
Obama Administration Bars New Oil, Gas Exploration off Alaska
The Obama administration on Friday blocked new exploration for oil and gas in Arctic waters, in a win for environmental groups that had fought development of the ecologically fragile region. The Department of the Interior released a 2017 to 2022 leasing plan that blocked drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off northern Alaska. It also limited petroleum development in the Cook Inlet off south-central Alaska. Environmental activists have battled drilling in Alaska to protect whales, walruses and seals, and as part of a broader movement to keep remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
The US Election: Ramifications for Maritime
Clinton vs. Trump. Perhaps one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history, the 2016 Election Day results with have impacts felt far and wide – and all throughout maritime industry. A proverb common to both Greek and Turkish cultures states that a wolf may change its fur, but does not change its nature (Ο λύκος την τρίχα αλλάζει, το χούι δεν τ`αλλάζει /Kurt tüyünü değiştirir, huyunu değiştirmez). In English, we might render this “a leopard cannot change its spots.” If we are to believe the proverb…
US Warship Challenges China's Claims in South China Sea
A U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, drawing a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area. The U.S. action was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, U.S. officials said. The Chinese Defense Ministry called the move "illegal" and "provocative," saying that two Chinese warships had warned the U.S. destroyer to leave. The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur challenged "excessive maritime claims" near the Paracel Islands…
Duterte Aligns Philippines with China to Resolve Sea Dispute
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks. Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate. "In this venue, your honours, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States…
Sailing into the Arctic’s Future
Last month, a large cruise ship completed its inaugural cruise through the Northwest Passage. The historic journey brought nearly 1,700 passengers from Seward, Alaska, past the rugged wilderness and isolated villages of the Arctic, to the concrete jungle of New York City. Along the way, passengers and crew were treated to a stunning contrast of climates, geography and culture. While understandable, concerns over passenger safety, wildlife disruptions and water pollution went unrealized during the historic cruise through the passage.