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Monday, March 19, 2018

Us Administration News

U.S. Considers Venezuela Oil Sanctions

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The Trump administration is considering sanctioning a Venezuelan military-run oil services company and restricting insurance coverage for Venezuelan oil shipments to ratchet up pressure on socialist President Nicolas Maduro, a U.S. official said. With Maduro running for another term in an April election that Washington and its allies oppose as a sham, the United States is weighing sanctions that would target Venezuela’s vital oil sector beyond what has been done before, the official told Reuters on Wednesday. Some measures could come before the vote and others could be imposed afterwards.

DNV Garners Additional USCG Authorization

Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is now cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to administer the following certificates: SOLAS Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate; SOLAS Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate; and International Safety Management (ISM) Code (DOC and SMC). Additionally, DNV is collaborating with the Coast Guard on other statutory certificates the Coast Guard may delegate, such as: International Certificates of Fitness for Carrying Liquefied Gases and Hazardous Chemicals in Bulk; Mobile Offshore Drill Unit International Safety Certificate; and MARPOL International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate for Carrying Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk. Until late 1996, the U.S. Administration delegated only U.S. and International Tonnage certificates to Recognized Organizations.

Hutchison Port Q1 Profit Slumps 70%

Photo: Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH)

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) suffered a 69.9 percent plunge in first-quarter net profit to to HK$166.9 million ($24.4 million USD) from the corresponding period a year earlier. The Hong Kong-based port operator said it was largely due to the absence of a government rent and rates refund previously received. Excluding a one-off rent and rates refund, however, net profit would be 15.7 percent lower than that of last year, said the manager of the container port business trust in a statement.

Europe Gives U.S. The Raspberry

In an apparent flexing of newfound muscles, the European Union is picking another trade fight with the United States, threatening to file a World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S. over fees on cargo ships at U.S. ports, increasing tensions between the two trading giants. In a letter released last Tuesday, European Commission vice president Leon Brittan said harbor fees proposed by the Clinton administration, like those they would replace, constituted an unfair tax on European shipping lines, container vessels and their cargoes. "This discriminatory application of a fee that is not justified in the first place simply cannot continue," Brittan told U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. If a settlement is not reached by Jan.

Greasing the Skids

Record gas prices, OPEC solidarity and a U.S. administration doling out incentives for exploration and production all add up to good news for those companies conducting business in or profiting from the offshore market. There is little doubt that the international offshore market, led by the Gulf of Mexico, is poised for a record rebound in the second half of 2001 and beyond. The tandem of high crude prices — spurred by OPEC's seeming solidarity on controlling output — combined with the emphasis on expanding offshore production by the new U.S. administration seemingly provides the proverbial "win-win" for all companies that makes its living finding and recovering resources, or those companies that supply vessels, products and services to the offshore oil business.

What’s New in Floating Production? December 2016

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The December WER report examines whether OPEC’s decision to limit crude production will accelerate deepwater project starts over the next 12 to 24 months, given 3 billion barrels of oil stocks in global inventory, 5,000+ drilled-but-uncompleted shale wells in the U.S. ready to be fracked and likelihood that producers will cheat on output quotas. As we discuss in the report, the output cut could stimulate deepwater orders – but with a time lag. We also assess whether Hoegh and Maran’s orders for seven speculative FSRUs (two firm…

Russia: Exxon Still Drilling in its Arctic

ExxonMobil is still drilling in the Russian Arctic, a Russian minister said on Friday, in move that if confirmed will anger Washington after the U.S. administration slapped sanctions on Moscow to suspend such operations by Western oil majors. The joint drilling project in the Kara Sea between Exxon and the Kremlin's state oil firm Rosneft has become one of the most watched projects by the oil industry after the West ratcheted up sanctions on Moscow for its incursion in Ukraine. Two previous waves of sanctions have failed to stop Exxon from sending an oil drilling rig from Norway to the Russian waters in August in the hope to confirm billions of barrels of new oil reserves.

US Aims to Prevent China from Taking Territory in International Waters

Photo: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

The new U.S. "I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing. Spicer was responding to a question as to whether Trump agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. Tillerson's remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing prompted Chinese state media to say the United…

Buckeye Buys Trafigura's Texas Assets

Oil logistics specialist Buckeye Partners LP will pay $860 million for control of Trafigura's prized oil facilities in the Texas shale hub amid expectations Washington will relax its crude oil export ban. U.S. firm Buckeye will buy 80 percent of the global commodities trader's South Stream assets which include a deep-water tanker loading terminal in Corpus Christi, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage and a small refining unit known as a condensate splitter. Trafigura will hold on to the remaining 20 percent in the Corpus Christi facility, described in Trafigura's 2013 annual report as "one of the company's most important strategic assets ... at the center of the action in the world's largest, most dynamic, energy market". The deal comes at a time of increased pressure on the U.S.

US States Slow Trump Offshore Oil Drilling Expansion Plan

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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.

DHL Says Ocean Freight Rates at Turning Point

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Demand for ocean and air freight has been better than expected this year, with increasing volumes and rates finally improving after years in the doldrums, executives from freight forwarding company DHL, part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, said. "We're seeing relatively high demand for both ocean and air freight. We're seeing rising volumes on several routes," Tobias Meyer, chief operating officer and executive vice president for business support, DHL Global Forwarding, told Reuters. "Given the debate around the new U.S.

Trump's Tariff Announcement on Track for This Week

U.S. President Donald Trump (Photo: White House)

U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs is on track to come by the end of this week, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. Trump is also seeking to sign a presidential proclamation on Thursday in an effort to set his tariff plan in motion, Axios media outlet reported separately, citing two senior administration officials.   Reporting by Susan Heavey

Trump to Set Hefty Tariffs on Steel, Aluminum Imports

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U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he would impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, in a move the administration said would protect U.S. industry, but which critics said would fail to boost jobs and risked stoking a trade war with China. Trump, speaking after a meeting with U.S. steel and aluminum makers said the duties would be formally announced next week. “We’re going to build our steel industry back and our aluminum industry back," he said. News of the tariffs drove the stocks of U.S.

Trump: U.S. Hits Steel, Aluminum Imports with Hefty Tariffs

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U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday he would impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, in a move the administration said would protect U.S. industry, but which critics said would fail to boost jobs and risked stoking a trade war with China. Trump, speaking after a meeting with U.S. steel and aluminum makers said the duties would be formally announced next week. “We’re going to build our steel industry back and our aluminum industry back," he said. News of the tariffs drove the stocks of U.S.

Op/Ed: Disconnect from River to Washington

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Just before the anticipation of good things to come on Valentine’s Day, on February 12, the inland waterways transportation industry was left feeling disappointed and puzzled after the release of the long-awaited Trump Administration infrastructure principles, and then the release of President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request. During the Presidential campaign, then-candidate Trump said he would undertake a $1 trillion infrastructure initiative that would focus on a wide array of projects, from sewer systems to bridges to Veterans Hospitals to rural broadband expansion.

China Angered by Britain's Comments on South China Sea

China expressed anger on Wednesday after a senior British official said a ruling expected within a few months in an international arbitration case the Philippines has brought against China's South China Sea claims must be binding. Hugo Swire, British minister of state responsible for East Asia, also said Britain saw the ruling, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, as an opportunity for China and the Philippines to renew dialogue over their territorial disputes. China claims virtually all of the South China Sea and rejects the court's authority in the case, which is widely expected to go in favour of the Philippines, significantly raising tension in the strategic waterway.

Harbor Services Fund Under Attack

The Administration's proposed tax to pay for harbor dredging is not a viable or equitable solution to funding navigation channel maintenance at the nation's ports, says the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). AAPA and others testified at a House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Hearing on the Administration's Harbor Services Fund (HSF) proposal, H. R. 1947. The plan creates a new tax on vessels to replace the Harbor Maintenance Tax, the export-tax portion of which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998. The administration proposal, submitted to Congress, but not yet introduced as a bill, would…

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran

A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a licence from U.S. sanctions enforcement authorities at a time when President Donald Trump is flexing his muscles against Tehran. For BP and its American Chief Executive Bob Dudley, selling Rhum, which BP discovered in the 1970s, removes a potential source of friction as it mends its ties with the U.S.

Chinese Port Operators Optimistic of Future

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The outlook for global container port demand growth is now more optimistic, and Chinese players are on the acquisition trail in an aggressive and highly confident manner, said a report from Drewry. Major M&A deals are changing the landscape, with more to come, according to the Global Container Terminal Operators Annual Report 2017, now in its 15th year of publication by global shipping consultancy Drewry. Drewry’s container port demand forecast is more positive than in last year’s report…

Coast Guard, NOAA to Include Navigation Rules in U.S. Coast Pilot

The U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up on a consolidated publication that will help mariners save time and money. The Coast Guard Office of Navigation Systems and NOAA Office of Coast Survey will incorporate the amalgamated International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (72 COLREGS) and the Inland Navigation Rules into NOAA’s U.S. Coast Pilot publications. The U.S. Coast Pilot publications already include the Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service regulations.

Exxon Rig Enters Uncharted Waters of Russian Political Storm

U.S. sanctions on Russia include Rosneft, Exxon's partner: Project may not break sanctions, but brings political risks. An ordinary, long-scheduled journey of an oil drilling rig into Arctic waters is turning into a major political exercise, attracting international scrutiny and creating a dilemma for ExxonMobil. Exxon, the top U.S. oil major and the world's most valued oil company, is bringing the rig, called West Alpha, from Norway to the Russian Arctic. It is hoping for a major discovery in the Kara Sea with Russian partner Rosneft. The journey has begun just as the United States has slapped the toughest sanctions yet on Russia, including on Rosneft, over escalating violence in Ukraine. Further sanctions are likely after the downing of a Malaysia Airlines' plane in eastern Ukraine.

China Rebuffs US Pressure to Ease S. China Sea Tensions

Western Pacific: File photo

China appeared to rebuff pressure from the United States to rein in its assertive actions in the South China Sea on Sunday as Southeast Asian nations declined to overtly back Washington's proposal for a freeze on provocative acts. The lack of progress in resolving the maritime tensions at Asia's highest-profile diplomatic meeting so far this year shows the tough task Washington faces in persuading smaller Asian nations to risk antagonising the region's rising power. Foreign ministers…

Harvey Gulf Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Shane Guidry, Harvey Gulf's chairman and chief executive officer

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.

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