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Category Archives: Offshore

ACT offers to resettle refugees held in ‘inhumane’ offshore detention … – The Guardian

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:25 am

Refugees and asylum seekers protest inside the Manus Island detention centre. The ACT government has passed a motion describing offshore processing centres as unsafe and degrading.

The ACT government has offered to resettle refugees from Australias offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

A motion passed the unicameral ACT legislative assembly, without division, declaring that the ACT government is willing and ready to settle refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru in Canberra as part of a national program of resettlement.

The motion, put by Greens MLA and minister for justice Shane Rattenbury, said the offshore processing centres were inhumane and degrading and had been unequivocally shown to be unsafe.

Refugees in these processing centres have been subjected to violent attacks, sexual violence, inadequate medical care, and harassment of mothers, fathers and children as young as six.

The motion was unanimously supported by Labor and Greens members in the chamber. Liberal members did not rise against it or call a vote, effectively abstaining.

The ACT is the only Australian state or territory to have declared itself a refugee welcome zone, one of 148 zones across Australia, including shires and councils from every state.

The declaration is likely to have little practical impact. Decisions on granting visas are the bailiwick of the commonwealth, not state or territory governments. Amnesty International Australia said it hoped the ACTs commitment would establish a precedent for other states and territories.

This sends a strong message to prime minister Turnbull and immigration minister Dutton that their deliberately abusive policies are not welcome and that they must come to an end, Amnesty refugee campaigner Ming Yu Hah said.

Refugees and people seeking asylum who Australia has trapped on Nauru and Manus Island are not safe and further tragedy is inevitable unless Australia acts responsibly.

About 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers are held on Australias offshore immigration islands of Nauru and Manus, either in the regional processing centres or in communities.

Three pregnant refugees held on Nauru who have requested terminations and have been recommended by doctors for transfer to Australia, remain on the island, after being refused transfers by the Nauru hospital overseas medical referral (OMR) committee.

More than 50 refugees and asylum seekers are on the OMR list but have been refused transfers or not considered, raising concerns among medical and departmental staff.

There is particular medical disquiet over pregnancy terminations being referred to the OMR committee. Pregnancy terminations are illegal on devoutly Christian Nauru, and the hospitals doctors are essentially being asked to approve a procedure overseas that is illegal on the island.

Psychiatrists treating the pregnant women have raised concerns the women may self-harm, commit suicide, or attempt a home abortion if they are denied access to the procedure.

The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians have both said refugees and asylum seekers needing advanced medical care should immediately be brought to Australia.

The opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann and Labor senator Lisa Singh, have both written to the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, over the delayed medical transfers.

Neumann wrote he was concerned by the imposition of an additional step reference to the hospital OMR committee for politically sensitive medical transfers.

I seek your urgent assurance that asylum seekers and refugees residing in Australian-funded offshore processing centres, in particular women and children in Nauru, will have access to medical transfers when required.

Singh wrote the Australian government was aware refugees and asylum seekers held offshore were consistently exposed to harm, violence and abuse and questioned, too, the involvement of the OMR committee in approving terminations.

What is the rationale for this decision by the Australian immigration department, that seems only to serve as a political means of preventing these women from being brought to Australia for medical care? What outcome does your department expect from this looming tragedy?

The Guardian has sought comment from the office of the immigration minister .

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Maryland Goes Big With Offshore Wind – Sierra Magazine

Posted: at 4:25 am

In May, Maryland scored a big win for renewable energy when its public service commission approved financing for two large offshore wind projects. The commission concluded that the clean energy installations would be a net benefit to ratepayers: Though utility bills for the average consumer are predicted to rise by about $1.40 a month, the increase will be offset by the creation of almost 9,700 new in-state jobs and $74 million in tax revenues over 20 years, along with environmental and health benefits. Once the projects are complete in the early 2020s, they'll produce 368 megawatts of electricity, cutting 19,000 tons of climate-polluting gases a year.

With this decision, the state is well-positioned to become a hub for the offshore wind industry along the Eastern Seaboard. The companies building the projects must spend $76 million on steel manufacturing in Maryland and use local ports, among other requirements.

David Smedick, a Beyond Coal representative with the Maryland Chapter, says a five-year effort by environmental organizations and the local chapter of the Wharf and Dock Builders, Piledrivers, and Divers Union laid the groundwork for the unanimous decision. "The data was there," Smedick says, "and it won everybody over."

This article appeared in the September/October 2017 edition with the headline "Maryland Has the Wind at Its Back."

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Offshore driller Seadrill to file for chapter 11 – MarketWatch

Posted: at 4:25 am

Offshore-drilling services major Seadrill Ltd. said Thursday it will likely file for bankruptcy protection next month as part of a plan to restructure around $10 billion in debt.

The Bermuda-based company, controlled by Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen, is one of the world's largest offshore drilling companies. It operates a fleet of 68 rigs and drillships for customers including Total SA, Petrobras and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Seadrill said it plans to file for chapter 11 in the U.S. by Sept. 12 but that its business operations remain unaffected by the restructuring efforts and it expects to continue to meet its ongoing customer and business counterparty obligations.

Its assets at the end of the first half amounted to $20.7 billion.

Seadrill's shares tumbled 10 cents to 16 cents in New York trading and are down 99% from their 2013 peak, when the company's market value exceeded $22 billion.

Daily leases for the company's rigs, which commanded up to $800,000, dropped to around $200,000 as cheap oil from U.S. shale drilling flooded the market.

The low oil prices, coupled with a glut of rigs, has put rig owners under severe pressure. In late July, Ocean Rig UDW Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Hercules Offshore Inc., GulfMark Offshore Inc., Toisa Ltd. and Vantage Drilling have also spent time in bankruptcy court since oil and gas prices cratered. Paragon Offshore Ltd., which emerged from chapter 11 last month, was forced back into bankruptcy after it was unable to transfer two rigs to its reorganized entity.

Seadrill has managed to push back a number of restructuring deadlines over the past year, but it faces a $1 billion bond, which matures next month.

The company said its latest restructuring plan will likely involve raising about $1 billion of new capital, along with a five-year extension of its bank facilities and "substantial" impairment or conversion of its bonds into equity.

Seadrill is discussing the restructuring with dozens of creditor banks including Sweden's Nordea, Norway's DNB and Denmark's Danske Bank, as well as with bondholders and rig-building yards in Asia.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in June, Mr. Fredriksen said he was putting in long hours to keep Seadrill from collapsing. "It's hard to answer if it will come out of restructuring, but as long as I back it, we'll be OK," Mr. Fredriksen said. "In the past, we've dealt with messier situations than Seadrill, but we came through."

Patrick Fitzgerald

contributed to this article

Write to Costas Paris at

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Crew ‘put at risk’ by offshore gas leak off Norfolk coast – BBC News

Posted: at 4:25 am

BBC News
Crew 'put at risk' by offshore gas leak off Norfolk coast
BBC News
An oil and gas company has been warned by inspectors after 10 workers were put at risk when gas leaked on a offshore platform. It happened when the crew travelled to the normally unmanned Perenco platform in the southern North Sea on 16 June.
Offshore workers exposed to risk of North Sea explosionEnergy Voice

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Report: Russian Offshore Wealth Likely Equal To Country’s Entire Household Wealth – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Posted: at 4:25 am

WASHINGTON -- Capital flight from Russia is now likely equal to the collective wealth of all Russian households, according to a new report by a respected U.S. research firm, a trend that has helped to drive the countrys income inequality to extreme levels.

The National Bureau of Economic Research says in a paper being published this month that the top 1 percent of Russians now hold up to 25 percent of the countrys wealth, a function of capital flight that has accelerated in recent years.

There is as much financial wealth held by rich Russians abroad -- in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Cyprus, and similar offshore centers -- than held by the entire Russian population in Russia itself, the report says.

Wealth stashed outside the country by rich Russians is now around three times larger than official net foreign reserves, it says.

The concentration of income for the top 1 percent of Russians is now comparable to similar levels in the United States, the report says, and well above France.

The reports authors, which include famed economist Thomas Piketty, say they used national accounts, surveys, wealth rankings, and tax data, including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers, to compile the report, and say existing official surveys likely understate the degree of inequality.

The bureau, also known as NBER, is a private U.S. research group known as the official arbiter of U.S. economic cycles -- expansions and recessions -- as well as being home to many award-winning economists and researchers.

Russias income inequality, the report says, was markedly different from other former communist countries, as well as nations like China -- a function, it says, of how Russia made the transition to a market economy following the Soviet collapse in 1991.

After the turbulent 1990s, which included the crash of the Russian ruble in 1998, the country's economy stabilized in the early 2000s and then accelerated largely by high global oil prices. Since the global recession in 2008, however, Russia's economy has seen more modest growth, hobbled by low oil prices, as well as Western economic sanctions imposed following Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Gross domestic product is running at a meager 0.5 percent this year and is forecast to grow 1.4 percent in 2017 and 2018. Official inflation is around 4.4 percent. this year.

The report argues that the dramatic failure of Soviet communism and egalitarian ideology in part paved the way for Russian willingness to tolerate high income inequality and the concentration of private wealth in the hands of a relative few.

In effect, extreme inequality seems acceptable in Russia, as long as billionaires and oligarchs appear to be loyal to the Russian state and perceived national interests, the paper finds. Whether this fragile equilibrium will persist in the coming years and decades remains to be seen.

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Does local opposition impact offshore drilling decisions? – News … –

Posted: at 4:25 am

Wilmington and other coastal governments don't want it off NC, but do their concerns make a difference in Washington?

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. -- Local communities are again lining up to oppose efforts by the federal government to open up the Mid-Atlantic to seismic testing for potential offshore drilling.

But those local resolutions, like one adopted last week by the Wilmington City Council and other local governments, are not legally binding as the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) moves forward to review seismic testing off the East Coast -- including North Carolina.

And, in the midst of adopting them, some local officials question their efficacy.

"I don't particularly think local resolutions have an impact," Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilcox said. "They don't hurt. But do I think the federal government pays attention to them? No, I don't think so."

Tracey Moriarty, spokeswoman with BOEM, confirmed that such resolutions are not binding on either the oil and gas leasing program or on the Atlantic Geological and Geophysical Activities program.

"That being said, with regard to BOEM's National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, public input is critical to this process," she said.

Moriarty added that the agency would solicit public comments, including at public meetings, "at least three points" during the process -- during the drafting of a decision document and while preparing environmental impact statements.

Putting coast 'at risk'

In April, President Donald Trump signed an executive order reversing former President Barack Obama's five-year ban on seismic testing.

Moriarty said the agency has received permit applications from six companies looking to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic.

"Before the permits can be issued, careful environmental analysis will be done to ensure the safety of the marine ecosystem," she said.

The president's order has prompted action from some local and state officials, including Cooper, who submitted formal comments to BOEM "to convey North Carolina's opposition to oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling on North Carolina's coast."

"Offshore drilling would put North Carolinas coastal economy at risk and thats why Governor Cooper joined governors from both parties along the Atlantic coast to oppose drilling," Cooper's spokesman Ford Porter said. "The Department of Environmental Quality has issued formal comments against seismic testing and oil and gas leasing in waters off of North Carolina, and the Cooper administration will continue to pursue ways to protect our coast from this threat."

Kure Beach Mayor Emilie Swearingen said she believes the goal is not to influence Trump himself, but employees within BOEM.

"Nothing we have to say would make any difference to the president," she said. "I hope they would make a difference with people in his administration."

The president's move comes as U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., is cosponsoring legislation called the Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act of 2017, which is intended to decrease the time for permit approvals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act -- including for seismic testing.

In an interview last month, Rouzer said he is a supporter of testing for offshore oil resources. He said the issue is one that has varying perspectives from residents in his district, which stretches from Brunswick County in the south to the Raleigh suburbs.

"As you go further inland, there's more and more support for exploration because people recognize that energy development is one of the key job developers," Rouzer said.

'We have a voice'

In previous years, hundreds of municipalities and counties adopted resolutions opposed to seismic testing and offshore drilling -- something the environmental advocacy group Oceana said led to the Obama administration's decision last year.

"The federal government has to listen to the will of the states and the states are saying they don't want this," Oceana spokesman Dustin Cranor said.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said he believes the resolutions can have an impact if they're adopted up and down the coast.

"Obviously, we have a voice. And the only voice we have is resolutions in opposition to offshore drilling," he said. Numerous resolutions "send a clear message to the administration and people thinking about doing this that people who would be impacted by offshore drilling are in opposition to it."

Reporter Tim Buckland can be reached at 910-343-2217 or

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Offshore wind still missing from New Jersey’s energy mix, says Tom Gilbert – Press of Atlantic City

Posted: at 4:25 am

The coastal breezes are just as strong in both states, yet today an island off Rhode Island is harnessing wind power to generate clean electricity while New Jersey has only generated hot air.

In 2010, New Jersey was poised to be the first state to tap the immense potential of offshore wind energy. Seven years ago this month, the governor signed a measure creating the tax credits and financial assistance for offshore wind that would be essential to getting the new technology off the ground.

The new law directed the state Board of Public Utilities to develop a program that would require about 1,100 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. It compelled BPU to create a credit system to stimulate interest from developers just as New Jersey had accomplished with solar power.

Unfortunately, the Christie administration has failed to deliver on New Jerseys promise of offshore wind. The BPU has not developed the all-important credit system. Today, Massachusetts, New York and Maryland are closer than New Jersey to getting power from wind.

Why wind? The arguments are as strong as the Atlantic gusts that could be powering New Jersey homes and businesses. Wind is clean energy an advantage over the fossil fuels that cause climate change, harm health and risk public safety. And the Business Network for Offshore Wind calls it the only renewable energy resource that can be deployed at an electric output scale comparable to nuclear generation.

While consumers will pay a bit more initially, offshore wind costs will become comparable to other power sources. And when the health benefits of cleaner air are factored in, wind easily beats fossil fuels.

A study of offshore winds potential in Massachusetts explains that initial costs will decline because, as with so many other things, prices go down as demand and scale increase and technology improves. Just think about what that computer you bought 10 years ago cost, compared to today.

That Massachusetts study predicted costs would drop continuously during 10 years of buildout starting in 2020. When states commit to offshore wind, business risks plummet. Costs also decline dramatically as the workforce grows experienced and the supply chain becomes more efficient.

Europe shows us what lies ahead for the U.S. offshore wind industry. There, the price of building an offshore wind farm dropped dramatically 46 percent in the past five years.

Wind also means the development of an entire industry, along with good jobs and tax revenues.

Maryland recently awarded contracts to two offshore wind developers for 368 megawatts of capacity, to be available starting in 2021. That state expects to create around 9,700 new direct and indirect jobs and $74 million in state tax revenues over 20 years.

Public opinion certainly isnt a barrier. Three-quarters of New Jersey voters favor offshore wind, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll last fall.

Back in 2010, while announcing the new policy that would never be carried out, Gov. Christie proclaimed that developing New Jerseys renewable energy resources and industry is critical to our states manufacturing and technology future.

The statement is as true now as it was then. Lets make up for lost time and take the steps necessary to make New Jersey a leader on offshore wind.

Tom Gilbert is campaign director of ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Far Hills.

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USGS confirms 2.2 earthquake offshore of Cape Elizabeth | WCSH6 … – WCSH-TV

Posted: at 4:25 am

NEWS CENTER and Adrienne Stein, WCSH 6:25 PM. EDT August 24, 2017

(Photo: USGS)

*UPDATE 8/24 5:15 p.m. The earthquake's intensity has been increased from 2.0 to 2.2.

*UPDATE 8/24 3:10 p.m. The U.S. Geological Survey on Thursday afternoon confirmed a 2.0 earthquake less than 4 miles southeast of South Portland offshore of Cape Elizabeth.

2.0 Earthquake registered just offshore of Cape Elizabeth.

Seismogram in Maine picked up the rumble just after noon.

207: Maine author's new book says we should be concerned but not afraid of earthquakes

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) A loud, mysterious boom shook the Cape Elizabeth region around lunchtime Thursday.

A NEWS CENTER viewer said it shook his house, and friends have commented on social media wondering what caused the sound.

Cape Elizabeth police said they got at least a dozen calls about it. Officers heard and felt it, too.

NEWS CENTER asked police if it could be a sonic boom from the Blue Angels flying team, which is in Brunswick for the weekend. The officer said that idea was dismissed in their department.

There isnt any report of a propane explosion in the community, either.

NEWS CENTER Chief Meteorologist Todd Gutner tweeted Anyone feel that?

Anyone feel that?

He got more than a dozen responses, including a tweet from Peter Nichols who said he felt the ground shake and heard the loud boom in South Portland, too.

Yes in sopo.

We felt something here in the Courthouse!

Police as of Thursday afternoon said they didn't have a clue as to what may have caused it.

2017 WCSH-TV

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Why Tesla Is Interested In Offshore Wind –

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Platts recently reported that global offshore wind capacity could double to 34 GWs by 2020, growing at a compound rate of 19 percent per year. The rapid expansion would be driven chiefly by new capacity in the North Sea and China. In fact, offshore capacity in East Asia will outstrip that of Europe by 2022.

But what about the U.S.? Rapidly declining costs, improving reliability and the success of the first offshore installation in Rhode Island are encouraging companies to take further chances on offshore wind. New offshore projects are attracting the interest and attention of major energy companies, as wind power continues to increase its share of the total U.S. energy market.

Leases for offshore wind development are being snapped up by European energy companies, which have decades of experience installing offshore wind farms. Royal Dutch/Shell has been investing in electricity start-ups and other ventures to improve its competitiveness in non-fossil fuel fields. Norways Statoil won a license to develop a farm off the coast of New York, and seeks to expand to California and Hawaii, reallocating resources from its oil and gas division. The New York lease went to Statoil after a $42.47 million bid for around seventy-nine thousand acres.

Statoil is on the cutting-edge of wind technology and spearheads the Hywind project off the coast of Scotland, the worlds first floating wind farm.

Related:Aggressive U.S. Oil Sanctions Could Bankrupt Venezuela

Denmarks DONG Energy has won a lease in Massachusetts, holds another lease in New Jersey and recently opted to spin off its oil and gas divisions so it could focus exclusively on renewables. The Danish company holds a dominant share (29 percent) of global installed offshore wind capacity.

DONG recently beat second quarter profit forecast, and is looking to expand into new opportunities in New York, Maryland and Virginia, according to the companys spokesperson.

An attempt at constructing wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts near Cape Cod failed in 2001 due to local resistance, environmental concerns and other issues. But a new effort is being made by DONG Energy, working with Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind, to install 144 MW of capacity with a 40 MW/hour Tesla battery storage system, allowing the turbines to collect additional energy at night and securing more reliability from wind turbines that historically have found it difficult to match supply with demand.

The failure of the Cape Wind project was indicative of the sluggish progress of offshore wind power in the United States, which lags far behind Europe and Asia in installed capacity. But this new project once completed will provide enough power for around 80,000 homes. The Tesla battery will provide greater reliability, as wind turbines are generally incapable of providing power with the same steadiness as fossil fuel-firing power plants.

The costs associated with offshore wind, the longer set-up time and the cost of long transmission lines running back to shore, makes it an expensive proposition. Local political resistance to offshore wind remain strong.

Cape Wind failed in large part because local residents protested the installation of what they regarded as an eye sore: similar ventures in the Carolinas have run into similar problems. That might be changing, however, as a growing commercial and political coalition urges the governor of North Carolina to approve new action on offshore wind power.

Related:Is Wall Street Funding A Shale Failure?

The marriage of Tesla storage technology and DONG manufacturing could provide the answer to how offshore wind becomes competitive in the U.S. Tesla is focusing its renewable-power battery technology on both solar and wind power, with a storage facility operational in Kauai, Hawaii and a second set for construction in Australia.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind power added 8200 MW in 2016, accounting for 26 percent of new capacity. Total wind energy has doubled since 2011, from 120 million MW hours to 226 million MW hours.

A report on offshore found more than 20 projects in the pipeline, representing 24,000 MWs of potential installed capacity. The potential for projects utilizing Teslas storage technology or floating platforms may indicate further growth in the future, once methods are refined.

If the projects from Statoil and DONG are successful, they could presage further expansion of offshore wind power in the United States, as more companies take advantage of falling costs and new tech.

By Gregory Brew for

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Woman Found Dead Offshore of Hakalau – Big Island Now

Posted: at 6:34 pm

Big Island Now
Woman Found Dead Offshore of Hakalau
Big Island Now
The Hawai'i County Fire Department responded to a report of an opihi picker in distress offshore of Hakalau near the 15-mile marker of Highway 19 (Mmalahoa Highway) on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, at 1:36 p.m.. First-responders arrived on scene and to ...

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