Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Congress News

Oil Prices Fall as Demand Woes Eclipse U.S. Stimulus

Illustration by spyrakot - AdobeStock

Oil prices slipped into negative territory on Wednesday as faltering fuel demand from the spread of the coronavirus outweighed a massive pending U.S. economic stimulus package.Brent crude was down 45 cents, or 1.66%, at $26.70 per barrel at 1029 GMT after earlier rising to a high of $28.29.U.S. crude was down 10 cents, or 0.42%, at $23.91 after a high of $25.24 per barrel.U.S. senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on the $2 trillion stimulus bill which is expected to be passed through Congress later on Wednesday.Still…

U.S. Clean Energy Sector Seeks Subsidies to Keep Projects Moving

© Federico Rostagno

Wind and solar energy companies on Thursday called on Congress to pass tax incentives that would help the sector avoid project delays and keep financing flowing amid a pandemic that has choked off supply chains and slowed construction.In a letter to House and Senate leadership, seven clean energy trade groups asked lawmakers to extend deadlines that would allow their projects to qualify for generous wind and solar federal tax credits despite delays caused by the spread of the coronavirus across the globe.The American Wind Energy Association…

Offshore Wind: Decisions Needed Sooner, not Later

AOT is working to develop a new port, specifically configured to serve Atlantic Ocean wind projects, on 30 acres along the Arthur Kill tidal strait between Staten Island and New Jersey. 
Boone Davis, President & CEO, Atlantic Offshore Terminals

On September 26, the State University of New York Maritime College hosted a conference on the emerging east coast offshore wind industry. “Offshore Wind Power, Planning for America’s Ocean Energy” focused on four fundamental topics:• East Coast Wind Farm Overview – Status of the Industry.• Jobs and Supply Chain Technical Working Group.• Wind Farm Port Development.• Offshore Wind Maritime Operations.In some ways, actually clocking in for a day’s work on an offshore wind turbine is tantalizingly close. Ditto for power flowing from an offshore substation to a mainland interconnection.

U.S. Needs to Revive Shallow-Water GoM E&P

Image: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

The US should define the Gulf of Mexico Shallow Water Province as a distinct entity to avoid stranding more than $20 billion of its oil and gas resource, said a new research.According to a research from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) the GOM Shallow Water Province, comprised of water less than 200 meters deep, is a historically energy-rich area which now produces natural gas, accounting for 33% of the gulf’s gas production and just over 10% of its oil production.Production and infrastructure investment used to be substantially higher in the Shallow Water Province…

Denmark OKs Nord Stream 2 Project

Connecting pipe sections above water. Photo:  © Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt.

Denmark has granted permission for the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to be constructed across Danish seabed in the Baltic Sea, leading to Germany.The Danish decision puts greater pressure on U.S. Congress to quickly pass a sanctions bill to halt the project before it is completed.The pipeline being constructed under the Baltic Sea by Russia's Gazprom energy giant is nearly complete, but had not previously been granted permission to cross Denmark's exclusive economic zone.DEA is in charge of the application to construct its planned…

Milito Named NOIA President

Erik Milito (Photo: NOIA)

Veteran energy industry association executive Erik Milito has been named as the new president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) and will to take the helm of the offshore energy association effective November 1, 2019.“Erik is a strong leader and an effective communicator, qualities that make him a great fit for NOIA President and will serve our membership well. I am confident in his ability to inspire the NOIA membership and convey to the public the important role that offshore energy plays in America and beyond,” said NOIA…

U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Firms Moving Venezuelan Oil to Cuba

© Marit / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on four maritime firms and vessels transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba, amid an acute fuel scarcity in the island that is forcing people to line up for gasoline and public transport.Despite tough U.S. measures against Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, Cuba's state-run oil import and export company Cubametales and other Cuba-based entities "have continued to circumvent sanctions by receiving oil shipments from Venezuela," the Treasury said in a statement.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was continuing to take action against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro…

How to Determine Which Countries Have the Best Energy Policies

© virojt / Adobe Stock

Which countries have the best energy policies? This is an interesting, and rather obvious, question, considering that every country’s energy practices impact the world in one way or another. But it’s one you don’t often hear asked.That is probably because it’s hard to compare countries in any sensible and fair way, given the differences in population, size, economy and resources.Still, the world needs to know who does it best. The challenge is to measure performance against a set of agreed indicators, that governments find helpful in meeting their own challenges to develop coherent policies.It goes without saying how important this is.

NOIA Weighs in on The COASTAL Act

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) Vice President for Government and Political Affairs Tim Charters

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) Vice President for Government and Political Affairs Tim Charters issued the following statement after the introduction of the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life (COASTAL) Act:“It is vital that American offshore energy production promote equity for the states immediately adjacent to these offshore areas. By amending GOMESA and establishing a revenue sharing program for Alaska, the COASTAL Act will ensure that these states receive continued benefits from their participation in offshore energy production, while still protecting an irreplaceable revenue stream for the U.S.

Tanzania Builds $30bn LNG Project

Medard Kalemani. Pic: Govt of Tanzania

Dr Medard Kalemani, Tanzania’s Minister of Energy, has confirmed the recently announced plans for a syndicate of oil companies to commence construction of the $30bn LNG project in 2022.In March, the government stated that it planned to complete negotiations with a group of international oil companies in September to develop the project.Led by Norwegian energy firm, and Platinum Sponsor of the Congress, Equinor, the group also consists of Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Ophir Energy and Pavilion Energy.These international companies will work closely on the project…

Atlantic Offshore Wind: Favorable Winds for Maritime

© 3plusx/Adobe Stock

Now that the United States finally can envision steady winds blowing from the Atlantic Seaboard due to a pipeline of offshore wind farms on the horizon, the maritime industry can finally step up and earn some of the benefits. This includes shipbuilding, port construction, and worker training. This article reviews the key developments and forecasts the growth in maritime jobs.The federal and state governments share responsibility for developing offshore wind farms and bringing the wind into the power grid and, ultimately, to consumers.This shared responsibility arises from the fact that the federal government…

U.S. Court to Decide Who Will Control Citgo

AdobeStock / © Renaschild

A U.S. court will decide whether a board of directors appointed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro or one backed by his rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido, runs the eighth-largest U.S. refiner, Citgo Petroleum Corp.A lawsuit filed by Maduro's representatives on Tuesday in Delaware Chancery Court seeks to reassert control over Citgo , along with other U.S. subsidiaries of PDVSA , the Venezuelan state-run oil company.Citgo, Venezuela's most important foreign asset, has been caught in a tug-of-war as U.S. President Donald Trump's government…

OMSA Announces Formation of Wind Committee

OMSA President Aaron Smith

Open to all OMSA Members, the Committee Seeks to Further the Domestic Offshore Wind Industry and the Jones Act.New Orleans, LA – Today, the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) announced the formation of the OMSA Wind Committee and announced that membership on the Committee is now open to all OMSA members.OMSA President, Aaron Smith said, “Over the past 46 years, OMSA has done a tremendous job in promoting public policy that benefits the vessels, operators, and mariners engaged in the offshore oil and gas industry. As more OMSA members apply their expertise to the offshore wind market…

VT Halter Wins Historic $746m CG Contract

VT Halter in Pascagoula, MS, won a $746m contract to build the U.S. Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. Photo: VT Halter.

VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, MS has emerged the victor in one of the most prized and coveted shipbuilding contracts in recent memory, a $746m deal to build the Coast Guard's lead Polar Security Cutter. If two additional ship options are exercised, the total deal could approach $2B.The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, through an Integrated Program Office (IPO), awarded VT Halter Marine Inc., of Pascagoula, Mississippi, a fixed price incentive (firm) contract for the Detail Design and Construction (DD&C) of the Coast Guard’s lead Polar Security Cutter (PSC).

Mexico to Offer Pemex One Year Lifeline

(File photo: Pemex)

Mexico will offer its ailing state oil company Pemex a lifeline for only one year by dipping into its budget stabilization fund, Finance Minister Carlos Urzua said on Friday, ruling out that the government will absorb the debt.With $106 billion in financial debt, Pemex is the world's most indebted oil company and is teetering on the brink of having its debt downgraded to junk. Investors have shown little enthusiasm about the possibility of a new bond issuance.Investors are also increasingly concerned that Mexico's sovereign rating will suffer…

HazSub Spill Response Plans

© VanderWolf Images/AdobeStock

On August 18, 1990, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) was enacted into law. Section 4202 of that Act amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA or Clean Water Act) to require tank vessels and marine transportation-related facilities to prepare and submit to the US Coast Guard plans for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worse case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance carried in bulk as cargo. The only real difference between the requirements regarding oil and hazardous substances was that a hard deadline was mandated for oil spill response plans…

NOPEC Bills: Leverage for White House

File Image / CREDIT: AdobeStock / © sunnyS

For a proposed statute still at the first stage of the legislative process, with only a handful of sponsors in the U.S. Congress, the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Countries Act of 2019” (NOPEC) is generating a lot of comment.The amount of attention being paid to the proposed legislation is out of all proportion to its probability of being enacted into law - unless oil prices spike higher at some point during the remainder of 2019 and 2020.Similar NOPEC bills were introduced into the House of Representatives (HR 948) and the Senate (S 370) early last month…

DOE Chief Perry: OPEC Bill Could Spike Oil Prices

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (CREDIT: US DOE)

The United States needs to be cautious about pending legislation that would allow the Justice Department to sue OPEC and other oil producers over supply cuts because it could result in higher prices in the long term, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Thursday."We need to be really careful before we pass legislation that may have an impact that goes way past its intended consequences," Perry said at a news conference.The bill could curtail supply management by oil producers in global markets, possibly leading to a petroleum glut and lower prices.

Citgo Loans Price in Potential Regime Change

The bank debt of oil refiner Citgo Petroleum Corp, US subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), has been volatile in recent days as Venezuela’s political crisis deepens and the market prices in a potential regime change in the South American nation.The company’s US$650m term loan B jumped in secondary trading this week, according to a trader monitoring the debt, after the Houston-headquartered company last Friday installed a new board of directors that is expected to enhance Citgo’s independence from its troubled parent company.Citgo…

US Offers Oil from Emergency Reserve

(Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday it is offering up to five million barrels of sweet crude oil from the national emergency reserve in a sale mandated by previous laws to raise funds to modernize the facility.Laws passed by Congress in previous years require the department to hold sales to pay for improvements to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve which is held in caverns on the coast of Texas and Louisiana.The delivery period for the oil will be from May 1 to May 14 for oil from the reserve's West Hackberry and Big Hill site, and from May 1 to may 31 from the Bryan Mound site.