Offshore SeisNews ©

••• 18.10.12 Bourbon confirms hostages taken offshore Nigeria.
Bourbon has confirmed that seven crew members, six Russians and one Estonian, were kidnapped whilst boarding Bourbon Liberty 249 offshore Nigeria on October 15th.
The other nine crew members are still onboard the vessel which is heading for the Nigerian Port of Onne. They are safe and sound, and in good health.
An emergency unit was set up immediately by Bourbon to help secure the men's realease.
Bourbon said it was in contact with the crew members’ families, supporting them, and keeping them regularly informed. Bourbon said it will continue to disclose any new information when available and verified but not make any comment that could adversely affect the situation of the hostages.
Source: Worldmaritimenews

••• 18.10.12 Zeljko Runje appointed Vice President for Offshore Projects at Rosneft.
Zeljko Runje has been appointed to the newly created position of Vice President for Offshore Projects at Rosneft. He has extensive experience in this field.
Developing offshore projects is one of Rosneft’s strategic priorities. In the medium term it will contribute significantly to resource base replacement, while in the long term it will become the Company’s key source of production growth. The scale of the challenge of developing offshore oil and gas fields dictates the need to hire and involve the industry’s best.
Zeljko Runje was born in 1954.
He graduated with distinction from University of Alaska.
In 1979-1993 Mr Runje occupied various technical and management positions on drilling and production projects in the Arctic region of Alaska. In 1993-1997 Mr Runje worked on oil projects in Yemen and Algeria.
Since 1997 Mr Runje has held various management positions on the Sakhalin 1 project in his capacity as Vice President at ExxonMobil Russia Inc.
Source: Rosneft

••• 17.10.12 NASA starts IceBridge 2012 Antarctic campaign.
NASA's Operation IceBridge got the 2012 Antarctic campaign off to a productive start with a land ice survey of Thwaites Glacier and a sea ice flight over parts of the Bellingshausen Sea. During the first few weeks of a campaign, IceBridge typically concentrates on sea ice before it begins to melt as spring temperatures rise, but as often happens in the field, the weather had other ideas.
On Oct. 12, the IceBridge team met with meteorologists at the Punta Arenas airport to discuss weather conditions and make a final decision on where to fly. "The forecast for all sea ice science targets was hopeless," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. "We decided to take advantage of the unusually good conditions over the Thwaites Glacier area."
Thwaites Glacier is a rapidly-changing ice stream in West Antarctica that flows into Pine Island Bay. A high priority area, Thwaites has been the subject of repeated missions over the past several years by IceBridge and other organizations, such as the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin (UTIG). UTIG is one of IceBridge's partnering organizations, though their survey in this region was part of a project that occurred before IceBridge. Combining new measurements with these previously gathered data gives researchers a more detailed view of parts of Thwaites Glacier, and the resulting information will help with various computer models used to predict how ice sheets change over time.
On Oct. 13, the weather shifted somewhat, allowing for the first sea ice flight of the campaign, a high-priority mission in the Bellingshausen Sea along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. This marked the fourth year of data collection over this area. Repeated survey lines on both this flight and the previous one are vital for building a record of change in the Antarctic.
The DC-8 also flew over Burke Island in the Amundsen Sea. Using the DC-8's Coherent Radar Depth Sounder, IceBridge scientists were able to record ice thickness on the small island, something Studinger said is a subject of some interest in the science community.
Source: Maritime-connector

••• 16.10.12 Rosneft and Eni discuss joint exploration projects in Russia.
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni have met to discuss the progress of joint projects between the two companies offshore Russia in the Black Sea and Barents Sea, sanctioned in the strategic cooperation agreement signed on 25 April 2012.
The executives in charge of the two companies’ upstream, downstream and offshore projects and the CEO of Saipem were also present at the meeting.
As part of the agreement, Eni and Rosneft will form joint ventures (Eni 33.33%, Rosneft 66.67%) for the joint development of the Fedynsky and Tsentralno-Barentsevsky exploration licenses, located offshore Russia in the Barents Sea, and Zapadno-Cernomorsky, located offshore Russia in the Black Sea, areas with great mining potential.
During the meeting, the parties also discussed the state of the European and global oil and gas market and opportunities for further cooperation between the two companies outside the Russian Federation.
Source: OffshoreEnergyToday

••• 16.10.12 NATO issues guidance for correct identification of dhows, skiffs and whalers.
NATO has issued a guidance for correct identification of dhows, skiffs and whalers:
"The merchant community is a valuable contributing factor in the fight against piracy.
Detailed and specific information provided by merchants is extremely valuable to naval forces. In some incidents this information has been essential in the successful disruption of pirate attacks. Timely and descriptive reports help the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) provide essential warnings and guidance to other ships in the area.
We have received reports of Somali criminals using common local ships in piracy attacks. They will board the ship and hold the original crew hostage. A local ship enables the pirates to blend in among the boating traffic and present itself as a fishing or trading vessel.
In order to provide you with guidance, we need current knowledge and understanding about local shipping. The High Risk Area is larger than Europe and patrolled by a limited number of naval assets. Your reports about suspicious activity are one of the factors that enable the naval forces to use these assets in the most efficient manner.
Local ships in the HRA are often not registered and it is very important that we have a good as possible description of the local ships, apart from pictures. This Identification Guide is designed to elaborate your background knowledge and increase your understanding of local traffic. Our goal is to make this the standardised way of reporting local ship traffic in the HRA. Help us, help you!"
Whole guidance you can download here
Source: Maritime-connector

••• 15.10.12 PGS orders another two Ramform Titan-class vessels.
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA has exercised its options to order another two Ramform Titan-class vessels at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
Two vessels were ordered in 2011. The two additional vessels will be vessel number three and four in the Ramform Titan Class. When completed, the four new builds will be a part of the 11 vessel fleet of Ramform icons. The first vessels in the series have a planned delivery 1st quarter 2013.
The new generation Ramforms will strengthen PGS' unique position in the seismic industry. The decision to renew and expand the fleet comes at a time when demand for marine seismic services is increasing.
The new Ramform Titan class will further enhance PGS' position as a leader in 3D seismic acquisition productivity and efficiency. The vessels are designed to utilize and extract the full potential from the flagship GeoStreamer® technology.
The vessel design is based on the demonstrated strengths of the current Ramform fleet, while improving capabilities along a number of key parameters. The new vessels will include a significantly upgraded GeoStreamer based seismic package and are designed to take the full benefits of the GeoStreamer towing efficiency.
The vessels will further strengthen PGS' leading position in the High Density segment of the market, where large spreads, long streamers and towing efficiency are the key success factors. The High Density segments are driven by deep water exploration and production in geologically complex areas such as Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico.
The GeoStreamer technology is also opening up new markets in mature basins, such as the North Sea, where the higher fidelity data can reveal new geological plays.
Source: PGS

••• 15.10.12 Shell’s arctic containment vessel good to go.
U.S. Coast Guard announced that it granted certification for the Arctic Challenger containment vessel.
"The ABS classification and recent Coast Guard certification of the Arctic Challenger containment barge is welcome news and means Shell will have the necessary assets in place to drill and evaluate hydrocarbon zones in 2013. Until then, we will continue to make the most of the time that remains in the 2012 open water season by drilling top hole sections on our prospects in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas," said Pete Slaiby, VP Alaska.
Earlier, the Arctic Challenger was issued its Class Certification by the American Bureau of Shipping. Classification is a certification applied to confirm that the vessel complies with requirements. Because the ACS is a first-of-its-kind system, Shell worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to define the standards that should apply.
Source: OffshoreEnergyToday

••• 12.10.12 Norwegian workers will get their wages increased by 4.5%.
Norwegian oil workers, who went on strike for better conditions this summer, will get a 4.5% pay increase but not the right to retire early, the Labour Ministry ruled in a forced settlement on Thursday.
Offshore workers had demanded higher wages and full pension rights at 62 but oil companies refused to even negotiate about retirement issues.
Workers then went on a 16-day strike in July, reducing oil output by 13%, and only returned to work after the government broke up the strike to protect Norway's reputation as a safe oil exporter.
"It is important to us to keep the pension question outside regular wage negotiations," said Haavard Hauan, a spokesman for the Norwegian Oil & Gas Industry Association, the industry's chief lobby group.
Oil workers are barred for two years from going on strike over the same issue.
Norway is the world's eighth-biggest oil exporter and Europe's second-biggest natural gas supplier.
The country's oil workers are the best paid in the world, earning around $180,000 in average annual salary.
Source: Upstream

••• 11.10.12 Sunken nuclear subs in the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea will be lifted.
The two sunken nuclear-powered submarines K-27 and K-159 will be lifted and scrapped, a source in Russia’s Ministry of Defense says. An international tender will held to get the job done.
Lifting and scrapping of the two submarines from the bottom of the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea is included in a revised draft for strategic development of Russia’s Arctic zone.
"A broad range of measures for cleaning Arctic waters of pollution is specified. In addition to the sunken submarines particular attention is given to removal of dangerous waste left behind after the military units on Franz Josef Land, New Siberian Islands and Bely Island", a source in the Ministry of Defense says to Izvestia.
The K-27 submarine was dumped in the Kara Sea in 1980 and is laying on 75 meters depth. Lifting of this vessel should not be any trouble, the military source says. The other submarine will probably be harder to lift. K-159 sank in the Barents Sea during towing in 2003 and could be laying up to 250 meters under the surface of the sea.
A joint Russian-Norwegian expedition to the K-27 earlier this autumn concluded that the submarine is not yet leaking radioactivity but that it is urgent to lift it for safe decommissioning.
According to Izvestia’s source, Russia does not have the capacity to do this operation on its own: "We still don’t have the necessary vessels. After "Kursk" the fleet bought five unmanned deep-sea vehicles of the Venom-class from the UK, which now are being replaced by three new Icelandic Gavia underwater vehicles". But this is equipment for search and rescue and not for lifting he says and adds that the Russian navy also lacks personnel that can operate on large depths.
An international tender will have to be made to get the submarines lifted. Countries like USA, Netherland, France and South Korea all have companies able to do the challenging job. "Kursk" was raised in 2001 by a consortium formed by the Dutch companies Mammoet and Smit International.
In November, the "K-27 case" will be discussed at an international conferance on nuclear safety in Moscow, arranged by Norway, Sweden and Russia.
Source: BarentsObserver

••• 11.10.12 Research ice breaker Polarstern has returned from the Central Arctic expedition "IceArc" in Bremerhaven on 8 October 2012.
54 scientists and technicians from twelve different countries conducted research on the retreat of the sea ice and the consequences for the Arctic Ocean and its ecosystems over a period of two months in the High North.
A number of new technologies were used for to film and photograph life in and below the ice down to a depth of 4400 metres. Since its departure from Tromso (Norway) on 2 August 2012 Polarstern has travelled some 12,000 kilometres and conducted research at 306 stations. These included nine ice stations where the ship moored to an ice floe for several days to examine the ice, the water beneath it and the bottom of the sea. Read more...
Source: Alfred Wegener Institute

••• 11.10.12 Research vessel Sikuliaq to be christened and launched soon.
Marinette Marine Corporation will on Oct. 13, 2012, hold a christening and launching ceremony for the r/v Sikuliaq. This 261-foot oceanographic research ship, formerly known as the Alaska Region Research Vessel, will be owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by UAF.
The name of the vessel, Sikuliaq, is pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk] and is an Inupiaq word meaning "young sea ice." When complete, the vessel will be one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world and will be able to break ice up to 2.5 feet thick. The Sikuliaq will be home ported in Alaska, at UAF’s Seward Marine Center in Seward.
The vessel will be owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as part of the U.S. academic research fleet. It will be used by scientists in the U.S. and international oceanographic community through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System.
R/v Sikuliaq will replace the more than 40-year old r/v Alpha Helix that is now retired and was owned by the National Science Foundation.
Source: Marine Technology

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