Thursday, 15 November 2012

BP fined, charged in oil spill

Oil giant BP and three of its employees were indicted on criminal charges including manslaughter and obstruction of Congress on top of a record $4-billion fine that the company will pay the government for its role in the oil spill disaster that scarred the Gulf of Mexico.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the indictments in a televised news conference from New Orleans, where the grand jury has been investigating the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast. Eleven people died in the explosion.
The announcement of the charges against BP employees came on the same day officials announced that BP had agreed to an unprecedented settlement involving a guilty plea to criminal charges.
In addition, BP agreed to pay more than $525 million in civil penalties to satisfy complaints by the Securities and Exchange Commission. That brings the total settlement cost to more than $4.5 billion – not including the billions the company has already paid to settle civil claims from residents, fishermen and businesses harmed by the spill.
In all, the company said it agreed to enter guilty pleas to 14 charges, including the eleven counts of manslaughter. But the government went further, charging individuals as well.
Two BP employees, Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, who were described by Holder as the two highest-ranking BP supervisors on board the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded, were charged with manslaughter and other counts.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

UAE's first ever oil and gas museum attracts visitors

Visitors to this year's Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) have been treated to the UAE's first ever oil and gas museum.
The ADIPEC Museum is a unique collection of photographs, equipment, maps and documents that illustrates the history of the local oil industry from its humble beginnings with the signing of the Red Line Agreement in 1928 to the present day.
Hosted in an outdoor marquee at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the 500-square-metre museum also has a chronological display of photographs of the Abu Dhabi region dating back to the 1930s. The photographs illustrate the growth of Abu Dhabi in the last 70 years from a modest fishing community struggling in the wake of a dwindling pearl diving industry into the 8th largest oil exporter in the world.
The ADIPEC Museum was assembled over the past year and offers visitors a unique opportunity to look at materials that have never been seen before in a single public display. The curators poured over 17,000 photographs from 15 local and international archives.
The museum is a notable collaborative effort between international oil companies. Four of the seven original signatories of Abu Dhabi's first oil concession agreement of 1939, namely: ExxonMobil, Total, Shell and BP, are significant contributors to the museum.

Indonesian Court Shuts Down Oil and Gas Regulator

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has ordered the country’s oil and gas regulator BPMigas to shut down, throwing international energy investors into confusion and raising concerns that the verdict could curb revenue from crude oil and gas exports and hamper future international investment.
The suit was brought by 42 organizations and individuals to review the 2001 law that brought the regulator into effect. The plaintiffs included Muhammadiyah, one of Indonesia’s largest Muslim groups, and business organizations. Under the terms of the 2001 law, BP Migas’s job was to grant rights on production-sharing contracts to oil and gas producers to explore for oil and gas. Most of those contracts are with multinational producers.
The court declared that the existence of the regulatory agency degrades state control over natural resources and was therefore unconstitutional since BP Migas didn’t directly manage oil and gas, instead handing it over to state-owned companies or private companies through cooperation contracts. That mechanism, the court held, limits access for the state to maximize the benefits of natural resource management for people’s welfare.
The decision is the latest in a growing series of actions by the government or the courts that appear designed to limit the participation of foreign companies in Indonesia’s economy. The hostility to foreign control of Indonesian natural resources has largely been aimed at mining companies, through regulations such as a ban in April on unprocessed metal-ore shipments, with an exemption for producers that process output inside Indonesia.

Nigeria Loses $7bn Annually to Oil Theft

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that the Federal Government as well as local and international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria lose an estimated $7 billion (N1.05 trillion) to oil theft annually.
In its report, the 28-member agency said Nigeria’s crude oil production had dropped to the lowest level for more than two years in October 2012, due to the recent flooding in some parts of the country and widespread theft of crude oil. The IEA report noted that Nigeria’s crude oil output fell to 1.95 million barrels per day (mnbpd) in October, after production in recent months ranged between 2 mnbpd and 2.5 mnbpd. According to the report, the drop from September 2012 to October 2012 was around 110,000 barrels per day, with the country’s output falling to “the lowest level in around two-and-a-half years”.
The report however stated that by early November, production levels were recovering, with export loading schedules showing increased volumes for December.

President Jonathan Cancels Manitoba Contract

President Goodluck Jonathan has cancelled the $23.72 million management contract for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), a critical component of the power reform and privatisation programme awarded to Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International, which had been selected by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) to run TCN for three years, with the option to extend for another two years.
Manitoba had signed the $23.7 million management contract with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) last July, following a long drawn out process that lasted more than five years, in which the Canadian firm and Power Grid of India had their technical and financial proposals evaluated to determine which of the companies would be selected as management contractor.
Presidency sources said the president based his decision to cancel the contract on a memo sent by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), which for several weeks, had been pushing for its cancellation on the premise that did it not pass through due process as provided under the Public Procurement Act.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Afghanistan shortlists companies for major oil and gas project

The Afghan government has shortlisted companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey for a major oil and gas exploration project, a step in the country's quest to reap revenues from its vast untapped mineral and energy resources.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said that bids from Dubai's Dragon Oil, Kuwait Energy, and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. have been selected for the tender involving exploration rights in the Tajik Basin in northern Afghanistan. The basin's oil reserves are estimated at more than 1 billion barrels.
The Tajik Basin is located between the northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz. The tender includes the six blocks known to contain hydrocarbon reserves. The blocks may be awarded to a single bidder or to multiple bidders.
Afghanistan has been looking for ways to exploit some of its mineral wealth to offset the loss of revenues when foreign aid and spending drops in step with the withdrawal of international combat troops by year-end 2014. The government has been keen to develop an oil-extraction and refining capability for the landlocked nation, which is entirely reliant on fuel imports from neighboring Iran and Central Asian countries.