Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Western Europe News

Norway Wants to Build Floating Wind Farms

(Photo: Equinor)

Norway's energy minister will meet with companies on Wednesday to discuss the potential construction of offshore floating wind farms, he told Reuters on Friday.The meeting is the first concrete step to spur development of offshore floating power generation, after the government said last December it would seek to accommodate such plans."Wednesday next week I will have a meeting with different stakeholders in offshore wind and discuss both the opening process and the regulatory framework," Terje Soeviknes said.Unlike offshore wind turbines that are fixed to the seabed…

Hundreds of Norway Oil Workers Go On Strike

Photo courtesy of Equinor

Hundreds of workers on Norwegian offshore oil and gas rigs went on strike on Tuesday after rejecting a proposed wage deal, leading to the shutdown of one Shell-operated field and helping send Brent crude prices higher.One union said hundreds more workers would join the strike on Sunday if an agreement over union demands for a wage increase and pension rights was not reached.Royal Dutch Shell said that due to the strike it was temporarily closing production at its Knarr field, which has a daily output of 23,900 barrels of mostly oil, but also natural gas liquids and natural gas.Shutting the field…

Hundreds of Oil Workers Strike in Norway

Photo: Harald Pettersen / © Equinor

Hundreds of workers on Norwegian offshore oil and gas rigs went on strike on Tuesday after rejecting a proposed wage deal, leading to the shutdown of one Shell-operated field and helping send Brent crude prices higher.One union said hundreds more workers would join the strike on Sunday if an agreement over union demands for a wage increase and pension rights was not reached.Royal Dutch Shell said that due to the strike it was temporarily closing production at its Knarr field, which has a daily output of 23,900 barrels of mostly oil, but also natural gas liquids and natural gas.Shutting the field…

Norway Oil Workers, Employers Reach Deal to End Strike

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Norwegian drilling rigs workers will end their industrial action after the union representing 1,600 striking employees reached a deal with the group acting for their employers, the parties said on Thursday.The strike began on July 10 after the Safe union and the Norwegian Shipowners' Association could not come to an agreement over wages and pension conditions. The industrial action led to the shutdown of one Shell-operated field."The strike is over ... All workers will go back to work today," the lead negotiator for the Safe union told Reuters.The action had limited impact on output from Norway…

Refit for Jack-up at Damen Verolme Rotterdam

Photo: Damen Shipyards

Damen Verolme Rotterdam (DVR)  completed a refit project on the MPI Enterprise, a 120-metre, self-elevating, DP2, wind turbine installation vessel owned and operated by MPI Offshore, part of the Vroon Group. The works included the installation of spudcans on her four-legged jacking system, which can elevate the vessel at rate of one metre per minute in water depths up to 45 metres. Acquired by Damen Shipyards Group in June 2017, DVR is one of the largest refit and repair yards in Western Europe, capable of accommodating any seagoing vessel or floating offshore unit. Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has worked with MPI Offshore in the past.

Norway: First Trade Deficit in 19 Years

Norway's trade balance turned negative for the first time in 19 years in June as imports of foreign-made aircraft and oil and gas platforms outweighed exports from the country's petroleum industry. The Nordic country has been running a trade surplus for nearly two decades as the revenues from its exports of oil and gas have amply covered its import needs. Norway is western Europe's largest crude exporter. In June the country posted a trade deficit of 0.8 billion Norwegian crowns ($97 million) against a surplus of 7.8 billion crowns in May, Statistics Norway said on Friday.

U.S. Coal Exports Soar, Revived in Part by New Energy Policy

File Image: CREDIT Inland Marine

U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump's administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working. The increased shipments came as the European Union and other U.S. allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal. The previously unpublished figures provided to Reuters by the U.S.

Norway's Labour Calls for Debate on Oil Tax Regime

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Norway should review its generous tax regime on oil drilling because of climate change, the opposition Labour party said on Monday, three weeks before a parliamentary election which opinion polls suggest it is on course to win. Labour's Marianne Marthinsen, a member of parliament's Finance Committee, told daily Aftenposten that Western Europe's top oil producer should look at changing rules that allow oil firms to reclaim costs of "failed exploration campaigns". She later told Reuters that Labour did not have "any intentions of making changes in the oil taxation regime in the next parliament's term"…

Premier to Sell Stake in Wytch Farm Onshore Oilfield

North-Sea focused Premier Oil has agreed to sell its stake in British onshore oilfield Wytch Farm for $200 million to an undisclosed buyer, the company said on Tuesday. The deal also includes letters of credit worth around $75 million related to future field abandonment liabilities, Premier Oil said. Debtwire reported on Tuesday the sale had been struck with Verus Petroleum. Verus was not immediately available for comment. Premier Oil increased its stake in Wytch Farm, western Europe's largest onshore oilfield, to 33.8 percent only last month after acquiring Maersk Oil's interest in the field using its pre-emption rights.

Norway Looks to Shift from Oil

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) JJAVA)

Norway will study ways to make its economy greener and reduce dependence on oil and gas reserves that are likely to lose value amid efforts to slow climate change, Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen said on Thursday. A government commission of experts, to be appointed in coming days, will examine the nation's green competitiveness and ways to insulate western Europe's biggest oil and gas exporter from financial risks linked to climate change. "Given the energy and transport revolutions, fossil energy resources will be of less value over time," Helgesen told Reuters. "The energy transition to renewables is going faster than anyone thought.

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Violates Constitution, Lawsuit Says

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Norway's plan for Arctic oil exploration is unconstitutional because it violates the right to a healthy environment, a lawyer for Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group told an Oslo court on Tuesday. The case is the first of its kind in Norway and says a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil , Chevron and others violates the constitution. Norway signed the 2016 Paris accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century. The country is Western Europe's largest oil producer and oil and gas are its most important exports. Government lawyers say the case is a publicity stunt that would cost jobs if it is successful.

Distillate Fuel Market to Tighten in 2018: Kemp

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Sharrif Che'Lah)

U.S. refineries are struggling to meet booming demand for distillate fuel oil at home and in export markets which will leave the distillate market very tight in 2018. Even if the northern hemisphere winter is only averagely cold, the distillate market looks set to enter 2018 with lower than average stocks and fast-growing demand, which should keep prices and refining margins firm. The gross refining margin for turning Brent into U.S. heating oil has climbed to almost $19 per barrel from a recent low of less than $11 in May, despite record U.S. refinery production of distillate.

Norway Open to Offshore Floating Wind Power

Norway plans to open one or two offshore regions for construction of floating wind turbines, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said in a statement on Wednesday.   "The government wishes to accommodate offshore wind power, in particular with demonstrations of floating wind turbines in mind," it said, adding that this should happen "as soon as possible." Norway is western Europe's top producer of oil and natural gas, and has so far lagged Nordic neighbours Denmark and Sweden in wind power developments. Reporting by Terje Solsvik

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Deemed Legal

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) ggw)

An Oslo court approved on Thursday Norway's plans for more oil exploration in the Arctic, dismissing a lawsuit by environmentalists who said it violated a constitutional right to a healthy environment. The case, brought by Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth Group, had argued that a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil, Chevron and others was unconstitutional. "The environmental organisations' argument that the plan violates the Constitution's Article 112 has not succeeded," Oslo district court ruled. The court ordered the environmental groups to pay the state's legal costs of 580,000 Norwegian crowns ($71,687).

Norway: We Must Prepare for Arctic Oil Race with Russia

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Norway must identify potential offshore oil and gas reserves near its northern maritime border with Russia to better protect its economic interest in the remote Arctic region, energy minister Terje Soeviknes said on Wednesday. The two countries agreed in 2010 to split previously disputed areas of the Barents Sea between them, allowing each to exploit resources hidden beneath the seabed. An increase in drilling activity on the Russian side of the border should lead Norway to push its own agenda, the minister said. "We need to start the discussion about what to do in the far north.

DNV GL Taps Oudman as Regional Manager

Ben Oudman (Photo: DNV GL)

As the global energy transition in the oil and gas industry marks significant changes to come, regional adaptions will pose a broad variation of challenges and opportunities. DNV GL – Oil & Gas has appointed Ben Oudman as Regional Manager for Continental Europe, Eurasia, Middle East, India and Africa to further strengthen the company’s efforts to help the industry overcome barriers to progress. DNV GL’s 2017 Energy Transition Outlook report shows that while the energy transition is well underway, oil and gas will likely remain major energy sources for many years to come.

Greenpeace Appeals after Losing Norwegian Arctic Lawsuit

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) ggw)

Environmental groups launched an appeal on Monday after an Oslo court rejected their arguments that Norway's oil and gas exploration in the Arctic violates citizens' right to a clean environment. Greenpeace and Nature and Youth disputed the Oslo District Court's verdict last month, particularly that Norway could not be held responsible for greenhouse gas emissions from the use of its oil and gas exported abroad. The Oslo court said a 2015 licensing round that granted offshore exploration rights to companies including Statoil, Chevron, Lukoil and ConocoPhillips was acceptable under Norway's anti-pollution laws.

Oil Producer Norway Starts Wage Talks to Avert Widespread Strikes

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Norwegian employers and labour unions embarked on four weeks' of wage talks on Monday to stave off widespread strikes that risk impacting output in western Europe's biggest crude producer. Unlike most years, in which wages are set on an industry-by-industry basis to reduce complexity, the 2018 round rolls a majority of private sector firms into a single negotiation in a bid to resolve a stand-off over pension reform. "We've understood that there is no real will among employers to compromise from the outset," labour union negotiator Asle Reime, who will represent oil workers, told Reuters ahead of the talks.

Norway Calls in Mediator to Avert Strikes

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Norwegian employers and labor unions failed to reach a deal in initial wage talks on Thursday, union sources told Reuters, leaving it up to a state-appointed mediator to avert widespread strikes that risk impacting output in western Europe's biggest crude producer. Negotiations will resume after the upcoming Easter holiday, ahead of an April 7 deadline, after which most workers are allowed to go on strike. While Norway's production of oil and natural gas is unlikely to be targeted from the start since the contract for rig workers' is valid until June, unions may still hit the sector by shutting down yards and other suppliers.

Norway Labour Unions Threaten Strike by 35,000 Workers

Image: Credit Aker Solutions

Almost 35,000 private-sector workers organised by Norway's largest labour unions plan to go on strike from April 8 unless a deal is found over wages, pensions and other compensation, the unions said on Tuesday. The first wave of a strike would hit large parts of Norway's metals production by leaving smelters idle, and would have significant impact on the output of fertilisers. But the output of oil and gas from western Europe's largest producer would initially be spared, the unions said. Norway's Norsk Hydro is a major producer of aluminium, while Yara is among the world's largest makers of fertilisers.