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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Obama Administration News

U.S. Clinches Port Deal with Oman

Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.Still, the U.S. official noted that the agreement would expand U.S. military options in the region for any kind of crisis.Duqm is ideal port for large ships. It is even big enough to turn around an aircraft carrier, a second official said."The port itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very attractive…

Michael Toohey (Photo: WCI)

WCI Applauds FY 2017 Omnibus

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) praised today’s passage of the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. FY ’17 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission totals $6.038 billion, a 0.8 percent increase above the FY ’16 funding level, but almost a 31 percent increase above the Obama Administration requested level. The bill provides full-use of estimated annual revenues from the…

U.S. Interior Dept Finalizes Rule to Protect Waterways from Coal Mining

The U.S. Interior Department on Monday finalized a contentious rule to protect streams and forests from coal mining impacts, one of the Obama administration's last major environmental regulations. The Stream Protection Rule, which the coal industry strongly opposes, updates 33-year-old regulations with stronger requirements for responsible surface coal mining. The Interior Department says the rule will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests over the next two decades. (Reporting By Valerie Volcovici)

Photo: Gladding Hearn

US Boatbuilding: Exports Buoy Bottom Lines

Market conditions dampen some future prospects, but domestic yards have proven that they can compete overseas, and will do so again when the time is right. These are ‘interesting’ times for U.S. shipbuilders. The tail end of one of the biggest boom cycles seen in the last 50 years also finds some builders at the pointy end of once-fat backorder books and searching for new sources of business. This point in the cycle, however, also provides ample proof that U.S. yards can do more than produce expensive blue water Jones Act hulls for the domestic markets.

NOIA - Randall Luthi President of the National Ocean Industries Association

NOIA Applauds Passage of House Interior Appropriations Bill

“NOIA applauds members of the House of Representatives for passing the first Interior and Environment Appropriations bill since 2009. Not only does the passage of the bill bring back regular order, the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill includes smart policy provisions to limit the harmful impact of many short-sighted regulations targeting offshore oil and natural gas exploration and development and includes protections from other potential politically-driven regulations the Obama administration could levy on its way out of office.

(Photo: The Great Lakes Group)

Gov’t Officials Tour Great Lakes Shipyard

U.S. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez traveled to Cleveland on Monday, June 6, to meet with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Chairman Ronald Rasmus of The Great Lakes Towing Company and members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board to discuss the crucial role that sector strategic partnerships play in equipping workers with the skills they need to compete in today’s labor market. “Sector strategies” are employer-driven partnerships of industry…

Photo: Claudio Paschoa

2016 and Two FPSOs in US GoM: The 20 Year Saga

Peter Lovie’s Chronology of the FPSO’s difficult struggle to viability in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a fascinating journey through time and the oil industry itself. 2016 saw the arrival of the second FPSO in the US Gulf of Mexico. Despite the long prominence of the US Gulf of Mexico in pioneering in the offshore world, FPSOs have been curiously slow in arriving despite being the most used floating production system in the rest of the world. Tracing what went on from securing regulatory approval in principle to be able to use FPSOs in GoM…

Photo: Chesapeake Shipbuilding

MARAD Grants $4.9 Million for US Shipyards

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today awarded $4.9 million in grants to support capital improvements at nine small shipyards located throughout the United States. Provided through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, the funding supports industrial modernizations that increase productivity, allowing our Nation’s small shipyards to compete more effectively in the global marketplace. “Small shipyard grants do more than just improve shipyard infrastructure and equipment or add to the bottom line,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. Photo by US-ASEAN Business Council, Inc.

US-ASEAN Connect Initiative, Thanks to South China Sea

The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are taking their relationship to a new level, thanks to heated tensions in the South China Sea. China, a key ally of North Korea, has said its committed to denuclearizing the Northth Korea, but has not been to agree with the US or the United Nations on how to achieve that goal. Asean leaders have reiterated their stand on wanting a peaceful resolution to the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Photo: US State Dept

John Kerry Off to Asia to Address Maritime Issues

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing for peaceful resolutions to increasingly tense maritime disputes in Asia, reports AP. Kerry arrived in the Laotian capital Sunday and will travel to China late Tuesday for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other senior officials, the State Department said. Laos is the current head of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose members are becoming more vocal in complaints about China's growing assertiveness over competing claims in the South China Sea.

(Photo: MARAD)

MARAD in 2016: Anticipation and Reflection

With the Panama Canal expansion slated for completion later this year and the industry-wide boost in U.S. maritime activity that will likely follow, there is no question that 2016 will be a demanding year for the Maritime Administration. While the course ahead will be full of new challenges, I wanted to highlight our agency’s 2015 accomplishments and reflect on the opportunities this year offers. Calendar year 2015 was a truly one for the history books for our agency. I say that because 2015 was a year in which we literally helped make history!

Chip Jaenichen (Photo: MARAD)

U.S. Shipbuilding: Funds Available for Small Shipyards

Maritime Administration announced funding availability for small U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today announced the availability of $4.9 million in Federal funding to support capital improvements and employee training at small U.S. shipyards. The grants, provided through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, will support efficiency improvements and modernizations that allow U.S. shipyards to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.

Offshore fire courtesy CMMI

U.S. Offshore Oil Drilling Rule Planned

The United States is planning to impose a major new regulation on offshore oil and gas drilling to try to prevent the kind of explosions that caused the catastrophic BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing Obama administration officials. The Interior Department could make the announcement as early as Monday, the paper said. It is timed to coincide with the five-year anniversary of the BP disaster, which killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the gulf.

South China Sea claims. Map by Murphy on Piracy

China Constructing Sea Outposts, US Warns

The U.S. military commander for Asia warned that, China could eventually deploy radar and missile systems on outposts it is building in the South China Sea that could be used to enforce an exclusion zone over the disputed territory, according to a report in Reuters. Admiral Samuel Locklear described as aggressive the land reclamation and construction projects China has been conducting at eight military outposts in the South China Sea. Locklear said the artificial islands planned…

Photo: Greenpeace USA

Anti-Arctic Drilling Activists Hold 'Shell No' Protest in Seattle

Seattleites took a dramatic stand, er paddle, against Arctic oil drilling. Local Native Americans and concerned citizens took to kayak and canoe and surrounded a giant, Arctic-bound Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling rig currently making a layover in the Port of Seattle. The group that planned the event, called the “Paddle in Seattle,” said Saturday’s demonstration began a three-day “massive peaceful resistance,” the Associated Press reports. The group plans to block access to the oil giant’s rig parked in the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 and delay preparations for drilling on Monday.

Photo: Greenpeace Finland

US Senators Want a Stop to Arctic Drilling

Eighteen U. S. senators have urged the Obama’s administration to halt Shell’s Arctic drilling plans saying that it is an unacceptable and irresponsible decision, says a report in Reuters. Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, joined by seventeen other Senators, has urged the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to halt all offshore oil and gas drilling permits in the Arctic region. “Opening development on a new fossil fuel reservoir in the Arctic not only puts the natural resources…

Arctic Challenger. Photo by Royal Dutch Shell

Shell Barge Arrives in Alaska

The Arctic Challenger, an oil spill containment barge, that had left Bellingham, north of Seattle, and was headed toward Dutch Harbor, in Unalaska, off mainland Alaska,  reached port in Alaska on Wednesday, June 10, for a brief stop before heading to the Chukchi Sea to support exploratory oil drilling. The vessel is moored on the Aleutian Islands in Dutch Harbor, where the U.S. Coast Guard is beefing up its patrols in case activists show up at the fishing community to protest Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill this summer, according to KTUU TV.

Pacific Walrus

Shell's Arctic Drilling a Threat for Pacific Walrus

A number of environmental groups are asking the Department of the Interior to rescind permission Shell has been granted to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic this summer because the company's plan would not protect the walrus. Shell's plan would violate federal rules limiting how closely a company can drill multiple wells, Earthjustice argued in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, sent on behalf of 10 other groups. The rules, issued in 2013 by the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Marine Mammal Protection Act…

Photo: White House

Can't Touch This: The Climate Case Against Arctic Drilling

A new report released today by Oil Change International and Greenpeace USA details a clear case against drilling for oil in the Arctic ocean based on climate science imperatives. The report, “Untouchable: The Climate Case Against Arctic Drilling,” shows U.S. Arctic offshore oil should be deemed an “untouchable” fossil fuel reserve by any reasonable measure. The Obama administration’s fight against climate change is undermined by Shell’s quest for new oil reserves in the Arctic Ocean, warns the report.

Image: Shell Global

Obama Defends Arctic Oil Drilling

United States' President Barack Obama defends his decision to allow Royal Dutch Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. He insisted that there was no contradiction between his climate change agenda and Arctic drilling. “I share people's concerns about offshore drilling,” Obama said, while emphasizing that Shell bought its exploration leases before he took office. His televised message did not stop several environmentalist organizations from criticizing the contradictions in his words and policies.

USS Ronald Reagan Arrives in Japan. Photo: U.S. Pacific Command

Behave in the South China Sea, US Admiral Warns China

US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift  has fired a broadside at China and other regional nations who are flouting international law in the South China Sea. Admiral Scott has warned that if bullying behaviour at sea of the kind shown by China is not confronted, it will spread to land and become a "friction point" there. His remarks are part of an escalating US campaign directed against Chinese land reclamation on reefs under Beijing’s administration. Swift’s speech came…

Conoco CEO: Lifting U.S. Oil Export Ban on Wish List

The head of U.S. The comments come amid intensifying debate in Washington on whether to reverse the 40-year-old ban, imposed after the Arab oil embargo. A Republican-sponsored bill to repeal it passed the House of Representatives last week, but faces an uncertain future after a veto threat by President Barack Obama. "Allowing exports would ... help save existing jobs and create new jobs," Conoco's CEO, Ryan Lance, told an audience at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Luncheon in Boston, adding he believed the move would also help the economy and produce increased tax revenue.

Prirazlomnaya platform. Photo: Information Directorate, Gazprom

Is Oil Industry Backing Away From Offshore Arctic Drilling ?

The principal difficulty for Arctic offshore drilling right now, according to oil industry think tank, is economic. The companies may be back for another try at Arctic offshore drilling, in U.S. waters or elsewhere, if economic conditions change, reports AP. Shell pulled out from drilling in the Arctic after completing just one unsuccessful exploration well. Then Obama administration cancels two scheduled Arctic Ocean lease sales for 2016 and 2017. To those who aren't oil industry insiders, it seems like the most sudden of turnabouts.

Map by Asep Setiawan

Angry China Warns U.S. Navy Ship

A US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed close to China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said its warships tracked and warned the American vessel, reports Reuters. China summoned the American ambassador to protest the U.S. Navy's sailing of a warship close to one of China's artificial islands, in an act that challenged Chinese sovereignty claims. According to a report in AP, the Executive Vice Minister Zhang Yesui said that the U.S.

President Barack Obama Photo whitehouse.gov

Obama to Attend Paris Climate Summit

President Barack Obama still plans to attend a global climate summit in Paris at the end of November despite the attacks claimed by Islamic State, a senior U.S. administration official said on Saturday. The Paris summit is focused on curbing climate change, one of the Obama administration's top priorities. A French official told Reuters earlier on Saturday that the summit would continue with beefed-up security despite the deadly attacks on Paris that killed 127 people. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) Courtesy AAPA

AAPA Welcomes FAST Act

President Obama is today, expected to sign a five-year, $305 billion transportation reauthorization bill that Congress overwhelmingly passed yesterday which includes $11 billion in new freight funding grants and programs and other top priorities among America’s seaports. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (H.R. 22) is the first long-term transportation bill in 10 years, and the first ever to make freight a priority and significantly focus on port eligibility throughout the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) funding and planning programs.