World’s coastal waters riddled with invasive species

March 2, 2008

Eighty-four percent of the world’s coasts are being colonized by foreign aquatic species, according to a Nature Conservancy study.

San Francisco Bay is the most invaded aquatic region on Earth, the study finds, with 85 invasive species in its waters, 66 percent of them considered harmful. More than half of San Francisco Bay fish and most of its bottom-dwelling organisms are not native to the Bay, and new invaders are constantly being introduced. Invasive species are non-native species that have been introduced into a new landscape, freshwater system or ocean region. Because this new area often lacks natural competitors and predators, the invaders tend to displace native plants and animals, disrupt food webs, and alter fundamental natural environmental processes. ‘The scale of this problem is vast,’ said Jennifer Molnar, conservation scientist at The Nature Conservancy and lead author of the study, ‘Assessing the Global Threat of Invasive Species to Marine Biodiversity. ‘Every day, thousands of vessels cross our oceans with invasive species hitchhiking on their hulls,’ Molnar said. ‘Because of this, as many as 10,000 species are estimated to be in transit at any one time.’ Throughout the world’s oceans, aquatic alien invasive damage economies by diminishing fisheries, fouling ships’ hulls, and clogging intake pipes.

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Oil discovery in the North Sea

March 2, 2008

An oil discovery has been made by StatoilHydro due south-west of the Grane field in the North Sea.

The size of the find is estimated to be in the order of 20 – 30 million recoverable barrels of oil. StatoilHydro Petroleum, as the operator of production licence 169, has completed the drilling of wildcat well 25/11-25 S. The well is located just to the southwest of the Grane field in the North Sea. ‘The find is a continuation of the good start to exploration activities on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2008,’ says Tim Dodson, director of exploration in Exploration and production Norway. ‘This find is the fourth discover we have been involved in so far this year,’ he says. StatoilHydro has previously reported a discovery in the Fram area of the North Sea and Gamma at Haltenbanken. A discovery was made at Marulk on Haltenbanken where ENI Norway is the operator and StatoilHydro has a 50 per cent ownership stake. The well is the thirteenth exploration well in production licence 169. The licence was awarded in the thirteenth concessionary round in 1991. The Grane oil is transported through a 212 kilometre long pipeline to StatoilHydro’s Sture terminal in Øygarden, west of Bergen.  The discovery in the M prospect is interesting and may be relevant for further investigation when seen in the context of other discoveries in the area.

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China steps forward as Venezuela’s key oil buyer

March 2, 2008

China could be the near monopoly buyer of Venezuelan fuel oil after Beijing stepped up financial aid to cash-strapped Caracas, but it will be years before higher volumes of crude from the OPEC member begins flowing East.

Venezuela is struggling with multiple problems including a cash crunch caused by President Hugo Chavez’s use of oil money to fund socialist projects, surplus fuel oil due to refinery outages and must seek alternative buyers for the crude it stopped shipping to Exxon Mobil Corp due to a legal row. In an unprecedented move to ease its cash squeeze, state-run PDVSA had asked for $1 billion upfront payment in a tender to sell eight fuel oil cargoes of 1.8 million barrels each. The tender was scrapped when potential buyers balked, but PDVSA is still holding talks with PetroChina, traders said. If a deal comes through, it would mean China soaking up nearly all the Venezuelan fuel oil exports to Asia and raise term imports by the world’s second-largest oil consumer by a further 20 percent over a year, traders said. China, which is keen to secure long-term supplies to meet its surging demand, has more than doubled liftings of Venezuelan fuel oil, a heavy residue used to power ships and make road-paving bitumen, since fourth-quarter 2007. PetroChina, China‘s main proxy in energy deals with the Latin American nation also aims to raise crude oil imports from Venezuela by a quarter or more this year to at least 100,000 bpd. The trader ships about half its Venezuelan imports into China‘s booming domestic marine fuel market.

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ABG Shipyard delivers Lamnalco Group tug

March 2, 2008

UAE-based Lamnalco Group has taken delivery of new anchor handling tug ‘Lamnalco Mallard’, from India‘s ABG Shipyard.

This is the third vessel the yard has delivered to Lamnalco in this financial year and the eighth delivered to the Group since it began dealings with the yard. ABG, which boasts an order book of about Rs82.7bn ($2bn), is contracted to deliver a further six vessels to the group over the next few years. The tug is 53 meters in length and is able to carry out duties ranging from anchor handling and offshore supply to material and crew transportation and external fire fighting. It will be deployed to supply, support-floating production offloading storage (FPSO) vessels and offshore oil and gas fields. The Lamnalco Group operates a fleet of over 90 vessels.

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Chevron floats Usan venture

March 2, 2008

US energy giant Chevron confirmed that the company and its co-venturers are ready to develop the Usan field off Nigeria.

Chevron’s development plan for the Usan field includes a floating production, storage and offloading vessel with a storage capacity of 2 million barrels of oil. First production is expected in late 2011 with peak production of 180,000 barrels of oil per day. The associated gas will be reinjected in the reservoir. Co-venturers in the Usan field development are Chevron (30 %), Elf (20%), Esso (30%) and Nexen (20%).

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