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Aberdeen Shadows

Following the global collapse in oil prices, North Sea oil revenues have been in freefall. In the first three months of this year they fell by 75%, continuing the downward spiral from the middle of last year. The downturn seemed to have justified the fears expressed by No campaigners in the referendum on Scottish independence. Indeed, tax receipts from oil accruing to Scotland between January and March this year were £168m, down from the £742m gathered in the final quarter of 2014. And nowhere is the economic wind-chill factor being more sharply felt than in Aberdeen.
Amid job layoffs in a region long regarded as Scotland’s Klondike, the big oil operators are putting an end to the longstanding “two weeks on, three weeks off” working model for oil-rig workers. Crews are being pressured into signing up to a “three weeks on, three weeks off” equal-time rota. This is a tougher regime than in Norway, but is comparable with working practices in regions such as the Gulf of Mexico.
Aberdeen …

It's Scotland's Oil

Umm...not quite..

 China may soon get control of a large slice of UK North Sea oil supply, which is key to determining global oil prices, if bids by its state firms for assets of Canadian oil companies Nexen and Talisman are cleared by the regulators.

 The Chinese state-controlled energy giant CNOOC last Monday unveiled a $15.1bn (£9.7bn) bid for Canada’s Nexen, the second biggest oil producer in the North Sea. If successful, the takeover will be China’s largest ever foreign investment. If approved, the Chinese would take control of the UK's largest producing oil field - Buzzard - and the Golden Eagle development, which includes both the Golden Eagle and Peregrine reservoirs in the North Sea, about 43 miles off Aberdeen.

Oil from Buzzard, although only 0.2 percent of global supply, plays a crucial role in setting prices because it is the largest contributor to the Forties oil blend, one of four North Sea crude streams making up the Brent oil benchmark. Forties usually sets the va…

PLAYING RISK WITH THE WORLD

It all began like a good disaster film. The gas alarm sounded and the emergency evacuation started. Only a small contingent stayed behind, labouring to plug the leak. Having failed to do so after hours of trying, they turned off all the machinery and electricity and fled the platform too. When the last helicopter lifted off, it left the drilling rig alone on a swelling cloud of highly flammable gas from the deep. For almost an entire week flickering way up at the tip of the 490-foot stack was an open gas flare. a company spokesman thankfully noted, the wind had been blowing the gas vapors away from the platform. If it hadn't, and the cloud of gas had come into contact with the flame, there could have been a massive explosion threatening to trigger an environmental catastrophe. Total, the French energy company that owns Elgin, the stricken platform, had lost complete control. Nor was this accident without warning. Weeks earlier, engineers working on the Elgin had noted troubling p…

Russia's Oil War

Just in case you may not be aware but the present crisis in the Caucasus may have more to do with oil and gas than protecting ethnic Russians .

Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline (BTE) carries some six billion cubic metres of gas a year (bcm/y) to Turkey, some of which is then forwarded to Greece. As Azerbaijani gas output grows, the line should reach its full 20 bcm/y capacity by about 2014.The European Union is also backing proposals for development of essentially parallel lines to carry as much as a further 30 bcm/y of gas from Turkmenistan, and perhaps Kazakhstan.The EU calls the route through Azerbaijan and Georgia its "Fourth Corridor" - matching existing supply systems from Russia, Norway and North Africa - with concept projects such as the planned Nabucco pipeline from the Georgian-Turkish border to Austria seen as ways of implementing it.
Because transit through such a corridor bypasses Russia, it offers advantages to both Caspian producers and European consumers.Producers…

who owns the North Pole - part 11

The Socialist Copurier has been following the scramble for the Arctic and its resources for a while now.
The lasted development has been the research by the US Geological Survey revealing that the Arctic is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of untapped oil and has three times as much untapped natural gas as oil.
The figures from the USGS are said to be the first estimate of the energy available north of the Arctic circle. According to the survey, the Arctic holds about 13% of the world's undiscovered oil, 30% of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20% of the undiscovered natural gas liquids. Exploration companies believe the recent rapid ice melt in the Arctic may make it easier to get reserves out of the region.
Hence the importance placed on the competition for territorial rights and sovereignty in the Arctic region .

Grangemouth Strike

Unions in dispute are often depicted as selfish workers striking out of self interest. These workers are striking to prevent their company’s pension scheme being undermined for future workers joining the scheme. They are standing up to protect the pensions of future generations of workers in their industry. Isn't that altruism ? Isn't that self-sacrifice ?

Jim Ratcliffe, 55, owner of the strike-torn Grangemouth refinery , reported to be 25th in this years Times Rich List with wealth of £2.3 billion will have no doubt secured the future of his future generations and progeny .

Ratcliffe has grown Ineos rapidly by making ever-bigger acquisitions funded mostly with debt, says Breakingviews.com. “How come, one might ask? Surely even in today’s markets where liquidity is sloshing around, one needs to fund at least 20% of a deal with equity?” Ratcliffe gets round that requirement by using Ineos as the equity – focusing single-mindedly on growing cash flow to increase the company’s debt…

Your Lives , Their Profits

A "frightening" report by the Health and Safety Executive which said the North Sea oil industry was not doing enough to safeguard the 30,000 people who work offshore. The report follows a three-year investigation of almost 100 offshore installations which revealed that on nearly 60% the state of plant was below an acceptable level and 16% of them were failing to comply with legislation.
Lessons learned and highlighted at the inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster in which 167 men died in 1988 have been forgotten . Speaking at the launch of the KP3 report, Health and Safety Commission Chair Judith Hackitt said "corporate memory" had been "lost" since the disaster.

Unite union said: "It is clear to me there are companies out there which are still risking the lives of our members and the offshore workforce for the sake of a barrel of oil and that is unacceptable."

Findings :-
On 58% of installations inspected the plant was considered "poor".
10…

Who owns the Atlantic Ocean - Part 1

Britain is preparing territorial claims on tens of thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean floor around the Falklands, Ascension Island and Rockall in the hope of annexing potentially lucrative gas, mineral and oil fields .

"The Russians may be claiming the Arctic but the UK is claiming a large chunk of the Atlantic. Some states might ask why a big power is entitled to huge stretches of the ocean's resources thousands of miles away from its land, but that's the way the law is." - Martin Pratt, director of research at Durham University's international boundaries research unit .

Britain is accelerating its process of submitting applications to the UN - which is fraught with diplomatic sensitivities, not least with Argentina - before an international deadline for registering interests. Relying on detailed geological and geophysical surveys by scientists and hydrographers, any state can delineate a new "continental shelf outer limit" that can extend u…

Who Owns the North Pole , part 6

Further to our earlier post pointing out the Russian expansion into the Arctic Circle , we now offer an update on the Canadian competition .

Canada raised the stakes in the battle to claim ownership of the Arctic by sending Stephen Harper, prime minister, on a three-day trek to the region, just days after the Russians planted a flag on the seabed at the North Pole.

“Our government has an aggressive Arctic agenda,” Dimitri Soudas, Mr Harper’s spokesman, said on Wednesday.

“The Russians sent a submarine to drop a small flag at the bottom of the ocean. We’re sending our prime minister to reassert Canadian sovereignty,” said a senior government official, according to Canadian press.

The Northwest Passage, which is the main focus of the dispute, has become a sought-after territory thanks to global warming, which has begun to melt the ice in these waters, exposing a potentially vast haul of natural resources. Studies have estimated that the Arctic has as much as 25 per cent of the world’s undis…

Iraq - It was always about the oil

Our comrade at Mailstrom has posted a short animated cartoon that succinctly summarises the new Iraq Oil Law that is in the process of being passed by the Iraqi Parliament .

More Oily Profits

Continuing the Socialist Courier saga of the riches to riches story of the fortunate few .

Executive directors at Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy reaped the rewards of the oil and gas industry and shared in a £25 million cash-and-shares boardroom bonanza .

The company's directors' pay bill more than doubled, with chief executive Sir Bill Gammell netting £5.5 million in pay, benefits and shares. In 2006, Gammell's basic pay and benefits increased 37% to £986,716, including a bonus equivalent to 100% of his £480,000 salary, plus further benefits worth £26,716. His short-term earnings were dwarfed, however, by a gain of £4,496,549 from the vesting of shares awarded under along-term incentive plan (LTIP).

Exploration director Mike Watts pocketed £4.3 million. Watts also had reason to celebrate Cairn's share-price success in a year when his basic pay package climbed 31% to £581,844. This included a £350,000 salary and £210,000 bonus. Watts chalked up a gain of £3,724,869 on vesti…

Not such a taxing year for some

My , isn't the State generous to certain capitalists .

The Aberdeen -based oil and gas company Venture Productions have had a boom-time in 2006 with a 50% increase in output helped by bringing fields onstream and strengthened by acquisitions. It averaged a net production for 2006 of 44,706 barrels oil equivalent daily and conducted a £153m takeover of CH4 Energy .

"2006 was a record year for Venture and we have continued to make great progress in increasing both production and reserves," said chief executive, Mike Wagstaff.

In September it announced a profit of £97.7million in the six months ended June 30 .

YET:-

Venture said it probably would not have to pay any tax on its 2006 profits after claiming 100% tax relief .