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Friday, December 15, 2017

Us Administration News

Trump to Open Oil Drilling off US East Coast

President Donald Trump (Official White House photo)

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.

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.

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.

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

© ggw / Adobe Stock

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…

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.

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.

DHL Says Ocean Freight Rates at Turning Point

© dbvirago / Adobe Stock

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.

William P. Doyle Appointed as DCA Executive Director & CEO

William P. Doyle

The Dredging Contactors of America’s (DCA) has selected the Honorable William P. Doyle, Sr. as its new Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). William Doyle currently serves as a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission having been unanimously confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate as a Presidential Appointee, and remained onboard with the Administration of President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Doyle served over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine as an engineer aboard numerous classes of vessels. He is a licensed attorney and marine engineer.

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…

Chinese Port Operators Optimistic of Future

© anuphadit / Adobe Stock

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…

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…

AGCS Makes Leadership Changes in North America

Allianz Group’s specialist corporate insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) announced today that effective December 31, Henning Haagen will take over as North American Regional Head of Specialty Lines, and Rich Soja will become the North American Regional Head of Marine. These appointments follow the retirement of John Barnwell after more than 20 years with the company. While taking on these new responsibilities, both Haagen and Soja will continue in their current roles as Northeast Zone Executive in the U.S. and Global Head of Inland Marine, respectively. Since joining Allianz in 2008, Haagen has held a range of global leadership positions within the organization both in Munich and London…

U.S. Backs S. China Sea Bilateral Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says backs bilateral talks; Philippines says dispute does not involve United States. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following an international court ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month. China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, in which U.S. ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi had asked Kerry to lend his support for bilateral talks to restart between Manila and Beijing in a meeting between the two in the Laos capital of Vientiane on Monday.

U.S. Warship Challenges Beijing in South China Sea

The USS Dewey underway in the South China Sea (CREDIT: PO3 Kryzentia Weiermann)

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. China said its warships had warned the U.S.

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…

First Attempts To Rescue Russian Sailors Fail

Rescuers mounted a desperate undersea mission on Tuesday to evacuate 116 sailors trapped in a stricken nuclear submarine on the sea floor before the oxygen ran out. Reuters reports said a first attempt to dock a rescue capsule to the sunken submarine had failed due to heavy storms and a second had been launched. Dwindling oxygen supplies on the vessel were pushing rescuers to speed up their efforts. The crew of the Kursk, one of Russia's most modern submarines, have been able to communicate with the outside world only by tapping on the hull since an accident at the weekend forced them to shut down the reactor and let the craft sink to the bottom. But a Navy spokesman said the tapping was growing fainter. "The signal is getting weaker.

ABS Strengthens Digital and Strategic Leadership

Photo: ABS

ABS announced three senior management appointments as part of the organization’s digital class strategy. “As our markets are increasingly shaped by digital technology, ABS is setting the pace in digital innovation,” said ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. “As part of our digital class journey, our entire organization is focused on digital developments and opportunities. Howard Fireman, previously the organization’s chief technology officer, will take on…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

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