Timelapse: Watch moment 17,000 tonne rig is moved from Isle of Lewis to safer shores

Timelapse: Watch moment 17,000 tonne rig is moved from Isle of Lewis to safer shores

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The Transocean Winner Credit: Gillies Mackenzie

Written by – 26/08/2016 1:19 pm

This incredible footage shows the moment a 17,000-tonne oil rig which ran aground in the Outer Hebrides began its journey to safer shores.

The Transocean Winner rig has since been refloated following the incident at Dalmore Bay earlier this month.

The rig ran aground in bad weather with 280 tonnes of diesel on board and two of its four fuel tanks were damaged in the incident.

The video footage was taken at around 10pm at night earlier this week.

It resulted in the loss of 53,000 litres of fuel, most of which is thought to have evaporated with no damage to the environment.

Watch the timelapse footage below.

https://www.energyvoice.com/video-2/117709/timelapse-watch-moment-17000-tonne-rig-moved-western-isles-safer-shores/#ooid=F0NnJqNTE6_oj5DlcuwhuSH1HIGtWn69

 

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London-based International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has released a report showing alleged secretive corporate structures and aggressive tax evasion schemes used by Chevron and other major North Sea oil producers

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ITF accuses North Sea oil majors of secretive tax evasion schemes

Image source: PixabayzoomImage source: Pixabay

London-based International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has released a report showing alleged secretive corporate structures and aggressive tax evasion schemes used by Chevron and other major North Sea oil producers.

ITF, a global union federation representing around 700 unions and more than 4.5 million transport workers from 150 countries, released its report named “Offshore Oil, Offshore Tax” on Wednesday accusing Chevron of using off-the-grid schemes for tax evasion purposes.

In the 2016 Budget, the UK Chancellor announced major new tax cuts to benefit the North Sea oil producers. ITF says that a Chevron executive is the honorary treasurer of the oil and gas lobby that demanded these cuts. On top of further reductions in the overall corporate tax rate, the Petroleum Revenue Tax was eliminated and the supplementary charge for oil companies was cut in half.

ITF says that the oil and gas industry may now receive more in subsidies than it pays in tax. The reportstated an estimate that nearly £120 billion in potential tax revenue was not collected in 2014 which would pay for the entire National Health Service budget or Education & Transport budgets combined.

Cash pooling, or internal lending structures between subsidiaries of the same company, has been a common practice for multinationals, ITF says.

ITF points to Chevron Treasury BV (CTBV) in the Netherlands as the core of Chevron’s UK operation in a “cash pooling” function. CTBV ‘is engaged in the efficient utilizations of cash by managing cash pooling for a number of Chevron companies’. ITF claims that CTBV’s job is shifting, or ‘sweeping,’ cash around which may help to avoid tax obligations and make significant profits in the currency exchange and interest charges.  The report describes CTBV as having no employees and paying a €432,000 service charge to “Chevron Products UK Limited for work performed… [which] relates to tax, accounting and treasury services.” It added that CTBV is not registered in the UK but holds €1.12 billion in loans from pool participants.

$45.4 billion in offshore accounts

 

ITF added that, over the last two decades, Chevron has paid billions to settle tax disputes involving the United States, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Japan and many other countries making tax schemes a global trend for the company. The report states that, globally, Chevron reported stashing US$45.4 billion (£32.5 billion) in off-shore accounts and that the US Government has not approved a tax filing by the company since 2011. Some even longer.

The report accuses Chevron of tax avoidance being their business model. It names a case where Australia’s federal court recently ruled against Chevron in a landmark transfer pricing case. The court found that an AUD$2.5 billion high-cost related party loan shifted profits from Australia to Delaware. Interest payments reduced tax liability in Australia and made tax-free profits in Delaware. A much larger AUD$35 billion tax scheme with a similar structure is currently under audit by the Australian Tax Office.

Steve Cotton, ITF General Secretary, said that the report laid out in detail the secretive corporate structures used by Chevron and now copied by other oil companies.

“The public would be shocked to see how Chevron uses a complex web of companies to route money through the Netherlands, Bermuda and other tax havens. It has over 200 active subsidiaries in Bermuda alone.

“This at a time when there has been a dramatic reduction in tax revenue from the North Sea. In the mid-1980’s, taxes on the North Sea oil production accounted for nearly 9% of all tax receipts collected by the UK Government – today it is just 0.7%

“While production has fallen, tax revenues have fallen much further, due to tax cuts and aggressive tax minimisation schemes.

“It is well documented that both Shell and BP are using similar corporate structures to reduce their tax in the UK. Both BP and Shell in 2014 paid no UK corporate tax.”

Calls for inquiry

Cotton has called on the UK Parliament to establish an inquiry to investigate the corporate structures used by the oil companies operating in the North Sea and the impact they have on security, taxes and royalties. In his belief, the public will demand action from political leaders regarding the facts stated in the report.

Scottish Secretary of Unite, the largest union in the North Sea oil fields, Pat Rafferty said: “The UK government needs to investigate and step up action to clamp down on any inappropriate tax loopholes being exploited by Chevron to make sure UK taxpayers aren’t taken for a ride, and it pays its fair share.”

John McDonnell, MP, who has been briefed on the report, said: “This thorough new research blows open the complex tax avoidance measures undertaken by a major multinational. Anyone concerned with ending the scourge of tax avoidance needs to pay careful attention to its findings.

“It’s time to put a stop to these complex company structures that rip off taxpayers and place extra strains on public services across the globe.”

Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Chevron, seeking comment on the ITF allegations. We will update the article if we get a response.

 

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Rigs stack up off Invergordon

 

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Oil rigs stacked in the Cromarty Firth

Written by – 23/08/2016 7:25 am

As many as a dozen drilling rigs are expected to spend the winter stacked in the Cromarty Firth as the depressed oil price continues to limit North Sea activity.

There has been a noticeable increase recently in the number of semi-submersible and jack-up vessels anchored in the firth and berthed at the quayside in Invergordon, with around 10 rigs currently in the deep water North Sea inlet.

The giant West Phoenix, which at 35,000 tonnes, last year became the largest rig by gross tonnage to berth there, is also anchored close to entrance to the firth.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Port of Cromarty Firth said that although two vessels were due to leave this week, the numbers were expected to rise again.

She said: “It’s likely we will have as many as 12 rigs in the Port of Cromarty Firth over the winter.

“This is symptomatic of the ongoing pressure the depressed oil price is bringing to the North Sea.”

Despite speculation about the future of a number of the rigs, she added the port authority was not aware of plans to scrap any of those currently stacked.
The two departing the waters this week are bound for projects in the North Sea.

The new build Maersk Highlander jack-up has been undergoing commissioning work, carried out by Semco Maritime, after being transported to Invergordon Service Base from the Jurong Shipyard, Singapore.

At the vessel’s naming ceremony at the Ross-shire port last week, Maersk Drilling chief executive, Claus V Hemmingsen admitted it might seem a difficult challenge to take in a brand new rig in the middle of a severe downturn, but added: “in the 40+ year history of Maersk Drilling, it is far from an unknown challenge to take a new, state-of-the-art piece of drilling equipment into operation.”

The Maersk Highlander will work on the £3billion Culzean gas development, 155 miles east of Aberdeen. Another jack-up owned by the Danish company, the Maersk Reacher, is currently undergoing upgrading and modification work at the quayside in Invergordon.

Also leaving the Cromarty Firth this week will be the Paragon MSS1. The semi-submersible, built in 1979, has been undergoing intermediate classification and service works, also carried out by Semco Maritime. The rig, owned by Paragon Offshore, is believed to be heading for a North Sea drilling contract for Nexen.

More inspection, repair and maintenance projects are in the pipeline at Invergordon, according to the Port of Cromarty Firth spokeswoman.

She added: “Companies on the Port’s Service Base, including Semco Maritime and Port of Cromarty Firth Services, are working hard to attract project work to Invergordon.

“The Port of Cromarty Firth remains one of the leading ports in Europe for rig inspection, repair and maintenance. The firth is an ideal, sheltered environment with a highly skilled and experienced workforce.

“Their efforts have been rewarded recently with work being undertaken on all three rigs alongside the quay and we’re pleased to say that more projects are set to follow.”

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The Transocean Winner at the start of its refloat operation

 

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The Transocean Winner at the start of its refloat operation.

Written by – 24/08/2016 5:59 am

A 17,000-tonne oil rig which ran aground in the Outer Hebrides which was successfully refloated is expected to arrive at a temporary location this morning.

The Transocean Winner drilling rig ran aground on Lewis two weeks ago was refloated at high tide in Dalmore Bay, near Carloway at around 10pm on Monday.

Two tug boats have been taking the rig on a 54-mile journey to Broad Bay at the other side of the island where experts will assess the damage.

The journey has taken longer than initially estimated with a travelling speed of 1-1.5 knots per hour.

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency has been conducting counter pollution flyover checks in the area to examine the water for any sign of discharge, sheen or pollution from the rig.

There was no pollution reported in the Dalmore Bay area, but a slight sheen was detected as the aircraft continued to follow the path of the rig.

The sheen is said to be associated with the ongoing pressurisation of tanks to maintain the rig’s stability, but a Brigg’s Marine and Environmental Services team is accompanying the tow and assisting by “breaking up the light sheen”.

A temporary exclusion zone remains in place at Dalmore Bay until the seabed has been checked for any debris or environmental impact.

Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State’s representative for maritime salvage and intervention, said: “We are taking advantage of the favourable weather conditions following this big step forward, and we will continue to closely monitor the rig whilst it is under tow.

“Once everything is declared safe, I will be looking at releasing the exclusion zone in Dalmore Bay.

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the Western Isles Council and community for their patience and their gracious hospitality during this challenging and disruptive period.

“This salvage operation has required the united cooperation from so many different organisations who have spared no effort to ensure that this rig reaches safer waters.”

Eight anchors are being laid out in Broad Bay to hold the rig in place when it arrives.

Transocean will then begin the assessment process – which includes putting divers in the water – to look at the damage the rig has suffered; a process which could take until the middle of September.

The semi-submersible structure was blown ashore at Dalmore during a towing operation on Monday August 8. The towline between the rig and its tug was lost en route from Norway to Malta amid high winds and heavy seas in the early hours that day.

The rig grounded with 280 tonnes of diesel on board and two of its four fuel tanks were damaged in the incident.

It resulted in the loss of 53,000 litres of fuel, most of which is thought to have evaporated with no damage to the environment.

The remaining 200 tonnes of hydrocarbons, mainly diesel oil with small amounts of base oil and brine, were transferred from the rig to the supply vessel Olympic Orion at the weekend.

A 300m exclusion zone around the rig will remain in place while the salvage work continues.

There will also be a 1km exclusion zone while it is towed from Dalmore Bay to Broad Bay, on the east coast of Lewis, some 54 miles (87km) away.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is carrying out a probe into the grounding of the rig and will issue its findings at a later date.

 

 

Oil rig rescue highlights need to reinstate rescue vessels

 

 

 

 

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Oil rig rescue highlights need to reinstate rescue vessels

The grounding of a 17,000-tonne oil drilling rig carrying 280 tonnes of diesel last week highlights the need to reinstate axed Emergency Towing Vessels (ETV), the union Nautilus has said. The union was speaking after the Orkney-based Herakles – Britain’s only remaining ETV, operated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) – was deployed to assist the Transocean Winner rig which ran aground on the Western Isles of Scotland on 10 August after breaking from its tug in heavy seas. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has begun an inquiry into what happened as the semi-submersible platform was being towed from Norway to Malta. It is understood that from Malta, the rig was to be taken to a yard in Turkey to be scrapped. Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “The incident highlights the vital work that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) do in protecting life at sea. If the ETV had not been available then lives would have been at risk and the chances of environmental damage would have been greatly increased” (Risks 761). The union leader added: “The government only agreed to retain the use of Herakles in Orkney last month and this highlights how important that decision was. I hope the government looks closely at this incident and reconsiders the risk for other coastal areas of the UK not served by government-funded ETVs.” The union has run a lengthy campaign against the axing of the crucial safety vessels (Risks 587). The four ETVs were introduced after the Braer and Sea Empress tanker disasters, but three were withdrawn following the 2010 public spending review.

Ÿ  Nautilus news release. BBC News Online. The Herald. The Guardian.Nautilus_International_logo

 

Wood Group Dispute update 18 August 2016

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Unite Scotland Press Release
 Thursday 18 August

New announcement on Wood Group dispute

The following announcement has been issued jointly by Wood Group and the Unite and RMT Trade Unions in relation to the current dispute involving workers on the Shell facilities in the North Sea.

“Wood Group and the Unite and RMT unions have held two full days of constructive discussions which will continue next week.

“These talks, which are allowing all parties to bring ideas to the table, involved union officials, offshore shop stewards and Wood Group management. These collaborative discussions have demonstrated a clear, shared understanding of the issues being raised by all parties, plus the challenges facing the North Sea.

“We remain focused on reaching a mutually acceptable outcome, which demonstrates collective leadership in shaping the future of the North Sea.” 

During this period, and to facilitate open and honest discussions, neither Wood Group nor the unions will make any further public statements in relation to this matter.


ENDS

For further information contact Unite Scotland media officer David Eyre on 07960 451631. Email david.eyre@unitetheunion.org

Notes to editors:

Twitter: @UniteScotland

Facebook: UniteScotland

Web: http://www.unitetheunion.org/scotland

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.

Unite Offshore Twitter : @uniteoffshore

Unite Offshore  Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/uniteoffshore2015/

 

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Transocean’s Grounded Drilling Rig Now Leaking Fuel

Transocean’s Grounded Drilling Rig Now Leaking Fuel

Post > Transocean’s Grounded Drilling Rig Now Leaking Fuel

Transocean’s Grounded Drilling Rig Now Leaking Fuel

Published at 07:08PM – 10/08/16

Damaged fuel tanks on the Transocean drilling rig Transocean Winner, grounded in the Isle of Lewis, are reportedly leaking diesel, according to the BBC.

The Transocean Winner rig was carrying 280 tonnes of oil, the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said in a statement.

“During the inspection, the salvors discovered that two of the fuel tanks appear to have been breached, however it is unclear at this time how much oil from those tanks has been released to the environment,” the MCA statement reads.

Transocean’s Grounded Drilling Rig Now Leaking Fuel

“A damage assessment team from Smit Salvage and Transocean has been on board the oil rig grounded off the Isle of Lewis to carry out a series of initial inspections,” the MCA added.

According to the statement, the team spent three and a half hours checking the condition of the rig’s structural integrity.

Fuel Leaking from Grounded Drilling Rig
Transocean Winner Drilling Rig Aground in the Isle of Lewis (Image: Kenny John Macleod)

The rig is still in its original position, at Dalmore beach, in the Isle of Lewis, and weather conditions have made it impossible for the team to continue with the assessment today, the MCA explained.

“Additional salvors and technical experts from Transocean and also equipment continues to arrive to the incident area to support the operation,” it added.

Salvage Operations Risked by Continued Bad Weather

According to the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention, Hugh Shaw, there was no evidence of oil around the facility or on the beach.

However, monitoring continues from the shore and from the air and counter pollution measures are ready and available in case oil is detected.

Still, it remains unclear how much fuel may have been released.

In the meantime, bad weather has prevented the inspection team from returning to the rig and a temporary exclusion zone remains in force.

The rig, which ran aground on Monday, was being towed from Norway to Malta. Due to bad weather, the tow line may have broken early on Monday.

Shaw told BBC Radio Scotland this won’t be a “speedy” operation as the weather conditions worsen and the rig could move further and cause more damage.

“We’re not going to risk anyone or any craft going in below the rig until we know it’s safe to do so,” he explained.

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Transocean Winner Drilling Rig Aground in the Isle of Lewis (Video: Kenny John Macleod)

 

 

 

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