ESA, European Space Agency (Paolo Twiting from Space)

Subdivision Tips, South Australia (C: +61431138537), https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Raj Rajaratnam brother charged with insider trading

Raj Rajaratnam brother charged with insider trading Thu, Mar 21 18:39 PM EDT By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Raj Rajaratnam's younger brother was indicted on charges of conspiring in the insider-trading scheme for which the founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund was convicted nearly two years ago, U.S. prosecutors announced on Thursday. Prosecutors said Rengan Rajaratnam, 42, conspired with his older brother to trade on non-public information concerning Clearwire Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc in 2008. Rengan Rajaratnam was a portfolio manager at Galleon, and the trades for which he was charged resulted in nearly $1.2 million of illegal profit, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, who announced the charges. Rengan Rajaratnam was charged with six counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy, and faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the fraud counts. He has not been arrested. He is not in the United States and is believed to be in Brazil, a person familiar with the matter said. David Tobin, a lawyer for Rengan Rajaratnam, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The charges arise from a broad U.S. government crackdown on insider trading. Since October 2009, seventy-seven people have been charged by Bharara's office in that probe, and 71 have been convicted. The FBI and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are still investigating. Raj Rajaratnam, 55, received an 11-year prison sentence in October 2011 after a jury convicted him the previous May. He is appealing his conviction, as well as the government's use of wiretaps to obtain it. Wiretap evidence was also used in the case against Rengan Rajaratnam. "Rengan Rajaratnam and his brother shared more than DNA," Bharara said in a statement. "They also shared a penchant for insider trading." The SEC filed separate civil charges against Rengan Rajaratnam, whose full first name is Rajarengan. The SEC lawsuit alleges a broader scheme that netted $3 million in illicit gains for Rengan Rajaratnam and hedge funds he managed following trades on stocks including Polycom Inc and Hilton Hotels. The Polycom trade took place in January 2006 when Rengan Rajaratnam was a portfolio manager at Sedna Capital Management, which he founded in 2004. Before founding the firm, he worked briefly at Steven Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LP as an analyst, the SEC said. 'GONNA RIP' Some of the allegations in the criminal case relate to activity that prosecutors said took place in March 2008. That made it an imperative to bring securities fraud charges on those allegations now, because of a five-year statute of limitations. Thursday's charges focus on two particular instances of Rajaratnam obtaining inside information. The first came in March 2008 after Rajiv Goel, then an executive at Intel Corp, told Raj Rajaratnam about Intel's plans to make a $1 billion investment in Clearwire. After a news report describing some details of that transaction surfaced, the younger Rajaratnam allegedly said on a phone call to his brother that the "Clearwire stuff ... just hit." "So, I don't know how much you got in today, but I think (Clearwire's share price) is gonna rip tomorrow," Rengan Rajaratnam said, referring to Raj Rajaratnam's Clearwire purchases that day and the possible direction of its stock price the next day. Prosecutors said Rengan Rajaratnam earned $101,070 from Clearwire trades in his personal brokerage account, while two Galleon funds he oversaw earned a combined $1.08 million. Goel cooperated with prosecutors in the probe. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in 2010 and was sentenced in September to two years probation. SPILLING THE BEANS The second instance concerned information received from former McKinsey & Co director Anil Kumar, who was sentenced to two years probation last July following an earlier guilty plea to securities fraud charges. Prosecutors said that in August 2008 Kumar told Raj Rajaratnam about a deal between McKinsey client AMD and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and that three hours later Raj Rajaratnam advised his brother about it. They said that after Raj Rajaratnam bought 3 million AMD shares for a hedge fund he managed and 250,000 shares for a fund his brother managed, Rengan Rajaratnam told his brother by phone that another McKinsey partner "spilled his beans" and "volunteered the information about the investments" in AMD. The other McKinsey partner is David Palecek, according to the SEC complaint. He died in 2010. Catherine Redlich, a lawyer who represented Palecek in the investigation, in an email said "there is no proof David ever agreed to provide inside information to the Rajaratnams and no proof that he received money or other benefits from them for doing so." A representative for McKinsey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Former McKinsey chief Rajat Gupta is separately appealing his conviction and two-year prison term for feeding information to Raj Rajaratnam that he had learned from board meetings at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, where he had been a director. The cases are U.S. v. Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-cr-00211; and SEC v. Rajaratnam in the same court, No. 13-01894. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Gary Hill, Richard Chang, David Gregorio and Steve Orlofsky)

Iran will destroy Israeli cities if attacked: Khamenei

Iran will destroy Israeli cities if attacked: Khamenei Thu, Mar 21 10:41 AM EDT By Marcus George DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's clerical supreme leader said on Thursday the Islamic Republic would destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if it came under attack from the Jewish state. "At times the officials of the Zionist regime (Israel) threaten to launch a military invasion but they themselves know that if they make the slightest mistake the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in an address to mark the Iranian new year. Israel has threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons nuclear activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this, saying it wants nuclear energy only for civilian purposes. In his televised speech, Khamenei said Iran's struggles over the past year against international sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program resembled a battle and that its enemies had confessed to trying to "cripple the Iranian nation". "What happened last year, we need to learn a lesson," he said, alluding to what he described as Iran's significant scientific and military advances. "This vibrant nation will never be brought to its knees." Khamenei also called for Iran's "natural right" to enrich uranium for nuclear energy to be recognized by the world. Western powers have refused, saying Iran has hidden nuclear work from U.N. inspectors and stonewalled their investigations. Talks between Iran and six world powers - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany - are to resume early next month in a further attempt to strike a deal on Iranian nuclear aspirations. But Khamenei was cool to a U.S. suggestion of direct talks between the two countries, which severed diplomatic relations after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. "I am not optimistic about these talks. Why? Because our past experiences show that talks for the American officials do not mean for us to sit down and reach a logical solution ... What they mean by talks is that we sit down and talk until Iran accepts their viewpoint," he said. "Iran only wants its enrichment right, which is its natural right, to be recognized by the world." (Reporting By Zahra Hosseinian and Marcus George; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Damascus mosque blast kills 42 including senior Syrian imam

Damascus mosque blast kills 42 including senior Syrian imam Thu, Mar 21 20:31 PM EDT BEIRUT (Reuters) - An explosion at a mosque in the Syrian capital on Thursday killed at least 42 people, including a senior pro-government Muslim cleric, and wounded 84, the Syrian health ministry said. State television and anti-government activists earlier had reported 15 dead. The television said a "terrorist suicide blast" hit the Iman Mosque in central Damascus, and Mohammed al-Buti, imam of the ancient Ummayyad Mosque, was among the dead. "The death toll from the suicide bombing of the Iman Mosque in Damascus is 42 martyrs and 84 wounded," the health ministry said later in a statement. While attacks in the capital during Syria's two-year-long rebellion have become almost commonplace, an attack on a mosque was deeply shocking to both sides in the conflict. Buti, a government-appointed cleric reviled by the Syrian opposition movement, delivered the official weekly Friday mosque sermons on state television. In one of his televised speeches, Buti described those fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad as 'scum'. He also used his position to call on Syrians to join the armed forces and help Assad defeat his rivals in the rebellion. Rebel spokesman Loay Maqdad said units associated with the opposition's Free Syrian Army were not behind the attack. "We in the Free Syrian Army do not take any responsibility for this operation. We do not do these types of suicide bombings and we do not target mosques," he told Al Arabiya television. Video released by Syria's al-Ikhbariya channel showed dozens of limp bodies lying on the bloodied carpet of the mosque, as emergency workers rushed in to give survivors first aid. Mangled limbs lay among the wreckage. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists across Syria, said earlier that around 15 people died in the blast in central Damascus. The Observatory said it was unclear if the explosion was caused by a car bomb or a mortar shell. Dozens more were wounded in the attack it said. The Iman mosque is next door to the offices of Assad's ruling Baath party, as well as other government compounds. Locals were panicked after the blast and described seeing ambulances rushing to the area while traffic came to a standstill. Residents near the mosque said the strong, acrid smell of gun powder still hung in the air. "RECEIVING GOD'S WRATH" Buti, 84, led the funeral prayers for Assad's father, the late President Hafez al-Assad. The imam's critics saw him as a religious mouthpiece in support of Assad. When the revolt started in March 2011, he quickly threw his support behind the Assad family, which has ruled Syria for more than four decades. Buti was a Sunni Muslim, the sect which makes up the majority of Syria's population. Sunnis have led the revolt against Assad, a movement that began as peaceful protests but devolved into bloody civil war that has sparked sectarian bloodshed between Sunnis and Assad's minority Alawite population. It was unclear who was behind the Damascus blast, although Syria TV immediately accused "terrorists," a term frequently used to described rebels. If opposition fighters were responsible, it would signal the ease with which they are able to strike in the heart of the capital compared to a year ago. Some opposition activists argued the rebels could not have been behind the attack, and called it a government plot. They said it was unlikely that rebels, many of whom are deeply religious, would target a mosque. "The regime eliminated Buti," said Leena al-Shami, a Damascus activist speaking on Skype. "One of the last things he said is that Assad is the prince of Muslims and Syrians fight with him, as in jihad (holy war). "I don't think Buti could have done more, his role was over. Now the regime wanted to make a martyr of him." Some locals recalled one of Buti's more memorable sermons from early on in the revolt, in which he told President Assad he had a vision that Syria would 'receive God's wrath', but would survive. (Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Professor gunned down in Karachi

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=EMSuEh7GKiE Khuda ne aaj wadie-Hussein ko Sibt-eJaffer ka taj pehna deya hay, hammarey tammam shohda unko apni saf mein dhek ki ghoom uthey hayn Aysee lagata hay Qabrestan ki shadeeon ki ander rooh phhokney ki liay Sibte_jaffer ko invite kia gaya hay, farq ye hay pehly woh FB Area mein zindo ko gaggatey the abb woh murdon ko hillanaey ja rhaein hayn , I am sure all deads will be happy tonight in Wadi-e-Hussein... === ASHAN HAM MANAENGE JAB IMAM ajfm AYENGE Zakmi dil dikhainge jab imam ayenge zakhm hain abhi taza makka or madina k shaam kufa karbala ham bhula nahi sakte az sakifa taeen dum khair se nahi pohnchay jtne dukh uthaye hain ham ne kalma goo se aik aik chukainge jab imam ayenge shak hai jinko Alla shaam kufa karbala ham bhula nahi sakte az sakifa taeen dum khair se nahi pohnchay jtne dukh uthaye hain ham ne kalma goo s =============== Altaf Hussein ki motor cycle abhi bhi salamat hay lekin Sibte Jafer ki motorcycle ne unhey jannat pnhoncha dya. Allah hamein bhi aysee motor cycle atta kar dey, ham bhi Karachi ki sogwar howaoun ko sounghtey houy mola ki mehman ban jaen. Tu kia abhi ham mattam aur girya pe hi ektafa karein ge, kia ham ab bhi Taliban se Muzakrat karein gein? Kia ab Election ka koi jawaz reh gaya hay, kia hamein aysee Parliament, aysee fouj , ayse syasatdanon , aysee mazhabi qayadat , ayse lesssani pangah, aysee toothpunaji ryasat , aysee tahiul qadri enghilab se chutkara nahi hasil kerna chahiay, kia ab bhi hum entezar kareein gi kissi ayatollah ki fatwaey ka , kia yeh jihad ka waqt nahi hay, kia hum dafnaney ki baad gusl aur fateha ki bad phir so jayen gein , kia hamein abhi bhi sabbaq nahi milla ============ KARACHI: Poet and former principal of Liaquatabad College Professor Sibte Jafar was shot dead in Karachi on Monday, Express News reported. According to initial details, unidentified armed men opened fire at Jafar while he was commuting through the Liaquatabad area on his motorbike. Jafar’s body was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Police have started its investigation and more security personnel were summoned to keep the security situation in the area under control. Evidence collected from the crime scene suggested that a 9mm pistol was used in the crime. In the immediate aftermath of Professor Jafar’s murder, professors and lecturers in the province have announced a boycott of educational activities on Tuesday. Apart from his educational duties, Professor Jafar was well known for his sozkhwani and marsia recitals. He was also known for his poetry. It has not been confirmed as yet if this was a sectarian attack. The Shia Ulema council has announced three days of mourning and demanded that the killers be arrested immediately. Shia community members have been targeted in the city by extremists. Recently, at least 50 people were killed in a terrorist attack in a Shia-neighbourhood of Abbas Town. اخـتر کـو یہ ایـک مسئلہ سـب ہـی مُلا بتائیں کس جرم میں لوٹی گئی کربل میں دردائیں؟ مـظـلوم(ع) کـے ماتم سے ہمیں روکنے والو گھر فاظمہ زہرا(س) کا تباہ کس نے کیا ہے؟ پاکستاني شیعہ‎ مختلف معجزات کی وجہ امام رضا ع سے پوچھا کے الله تعالی ا نے حضرت موسی ع کو عصا اور ید بیضا اور آلہ سحر اور حضرت عیسی ا عہ کو طب اور حضرت محمد صہ کو کلام اور خطبہ کے ساتھہ کیون مبعوث فرمایا؟ آپ عہ نے فرمایا جس دور مین الله تعالی ا نے موسی ا عہ کو بھیجا تو اس وقت جادو کا بڑا شھرہ تھا او وجہ سے الله تعالی ا نے موسی ا عہ کو عصا اور ید بیضا کا معجزہ دے کر بھیجا جس سے انہون نے جادوگرون کے جادو کو باطل کیا اور اپنی حجت کو ثابت کیا۔ جس دور مین خدا وند عالم نے حضرت عیسی ا کو بھیجا تو وہ دور بیماریون کا دور تھا لوگون کو اس دور مین طب کی شدید ضرورت تھی اسی لی خدا وند عالم نے اپنی حکمت کاملہ سے حضرت عیسی ا کو وہ معجزے دیے جو اس وقت کے طبیبون کے پاس نہین تھے آپ نے حکم خداوندی سے مردے زندہ کیے اور مادر زاد اندھون کو بینائی عطا کی اور برص کی مریضون کو صحت یاب کیا اور اپنی حجت کو ثابت کیا- جس دور مین خدا وند عالم نے اپنے حبیب حضرت محمد صہ کو مبعقث فرمایا تو عرب مین شعرو شاعری اور خطبات کا بڑا چرچا تھا- خدا وند عالم نے عرط کی فصاھت و بلاغت کو باطل کرنے کے لیے اپنے حبیب کو قرآن مجید جیسی کتاب عطا فرمائی اور خدا وند عالم نے اپکو جوامع الکلم عطا فرمائے چناچہ آنحضرت نے اپنے خطبات و مواعظ سے عربون کی فصاحت و بلاغت کو باطل فرمایا اور اپنی حجت ان پر قائم فرمائی- یہ سن کر راوی نے کھا مین نے آپ عہ کی طرح سے صحیح جواب دینے والا آج تک نہین دیکھا۔ عیون اخبار رضا جلد 2 صفحہ -173- کیا تھا عشق سو ترتیب وار مارے گئے اس ایک جرم میں ہم بار بار مارے گئے بہار آئے تو شاخوں پہ پھول گن لینا میں کیا بتاؤں مرے کتنے یار مارے گئے *طالب حسین طالب* ================ Bombs kill nearly 60 on Iraq invasion anniversary Tue, Mar 19 17:30 PM EDT 1 of 6 By Patrick Markey and Kareem Raheem BAGHDAD (Reuters) - More than a dozen car bombs and suicide blasts tore through Shi'ite Muslim districts in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other areas on Tuesday, killing nearly 60 people on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. Sunni Islamist insurgents linked to al Qaeda are regaining ground in Iraq, invigorated by the war next door in Syria and have stepped up attacks on Shi'ite targets in an attempt to provoke a wider sectarian confrontation. One car bomb exploded in a busy Baghdad market, three detonated in the Shi'ite district of Sadr City and another near the entrance of the heavily fortified Green Zone that sent a plume of dark smoke into the air alongside the River Tigris. A suicide bomber in a truck attacked a police base in a Shi'ite town south of the capital, and another blew himself up inside a restaurant to target a police major in the northern city of Mosul. "I was driving my taxi and suddenly I felt my car rocked. Smoke was all around. I saw two bodies on the ground. People were running and shouting everywhere," said Ali Radi, a taxi driver caught in one of the blasts in Baghdad's Sadr City. The Iraq war began shortly before dawn in Baghdad on Thursday, March 20, 2003, with U.S. air strikes on the capital. Shortly afterwards, President George W. Bush, addressing Americans on television late on March 19 U.S. time, said the offensive was under way. Now a decade after U.S. and Western troops swept Saddam from power, Iraq still struggles with insurgents, sectarian friction and political feuds among Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish factions who share power in the government of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. In a sign of concern over security, the cabinet on Tuesday postponed local elections in two provinces, Anbar and Nineveh, for up to six months because of threats to electoral workers and violence there, according to Maliki's media adviser Ali al-Moussawi. The polls will go ahead elsewhere on April 20. No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attacks, but Islamic State of Iraq, a wing of al Qaeda, has vowed to take back ground lost in its war with U.S. troops. This year the group has carried out a string of high-profile attacks. Violence is still below the height of the sectarian slaughter that killed tens of thousands after Sunni Islamists bombed the Shi'ite Al Askari shrine in 2006, provoking a wave of retaliation by Shi'ite militias. But security officials say al Qaeda's local wing is regrouping in the vast desert of Anbar province bordering Syria and suicide bombers have carried out attacks nearly twice a week since January, a rate not seen for several years in Iraq. Further complicating security, thousands of Sunni protesters are also rallying in Anbar against Maliki, whose Shi'ite-led government they accuse of marginalizing their minority sect since the fall of Sunni strongman Saddam. Syria's war next door is also whipping up Iraq's volatile mix. Iraq is exposed to a regional tussle for influence between Turkey, which backs Sunni rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, and Shi'ite Iran, the Syrian leader's main ally. Assad's Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. UNENDING POLITICAL CRISIS After Operation Iraqi Freedom promised to liberate the Iraqi people, Iraq has struggled with a decade that drove the country into sectarian mayhem which killed tens of thousands and the turmoil of a young democracy emerging out of dictatorship. Since the last election in 2010, Maliki's Sunni and Kurdish critics have accused him of consolidating his own authority, abusing his control of the security forces to pressure foes and failing to live up to a power-sharing deal. The political turmoil has only worsened since American troops left Iraq in December 2011, removing the symbolic buffer of U.S. military power and weakening Washington's influence. Iraq's Arab-led central government and the country's autonomous Kurdistan region, where ethnic Kurds have administered their affairs since 1991, are locked in a feud over control of disputed territories containing some of the world's richest oil reserves. Both have sent troops from their respective armies to reinforce positions along their contested internal border. Some of the current tensions may be posturing before the provincial vote and parliamentary elections in 2014, and a full-scale Iraqi breakup looks unlikely. But after more than a year of crisis, rival Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders are hardening positions along sectarian and ethnic lines. "Iraqi politics have not transcended sectarian structures. It's an integral part to electioneering," said Ramzy Mardini at the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies. "When election seasons come around, it's time to push on the fear accelerator." (Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Ali al-Rubaie in Hilla; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Pravin Char) =======================

Friday, March 15, 2013

Samsung's Galaxy S4 emerges to do battle on Apple's home turf

گذشتہ دنو ں متحدہ قومی موومنٹ (ایم کیو ایم )کی رابطہ کمیٹی کے اراکین کی ہزاروں شیعوں کی قاتل کالعدم سپاہ صحابہ کے سرغنہ اورنگ زیب فاروقی کے ساتھ ہونے والی خفیہ ملاقات میں ایم کیو ایم کے وفد کو دی جانے والی فعال شیعہ کارکنان کی فہرست میں سے 4 کارکنان کو قتل کیا جا چکا ہے ، باقی شیعہ کارکنان کراچی سے ہجرت پر مجبور ہو چکے ہیں Samsung's Galaxy S4 emerges to do battle on Apple's home turf Fri, Mar 15 01:49 AM EDT 1 of 4 By Sinead Carew and Miyoung Kim NEW YORK/SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co premiered its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, which sports a bigger display and unconventional features such as gesture controls, as the South Korean titan challenges Apple Inc on its home turf. The phone, the first in the highly successful Galaxy S-series to make its global debut on U.S. soil, was unwrapped at Manhattan's iconic Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening. Some industry watchers were clearly dazzled by its features, setting a high bar for Apple to surpass. The S4 can stop and start videos depending on whether someone is looking at the screen, flip between songs and photos at the wave of a hand, and record sound to run alongside snapped still pictures. But other industry watchers said the phone would not upturn an industry that lives and dies by innovation. The plethora of new features "are good steps in this direction, but they can be seen as gimmicks rather than game changers. At this point, Samsung appears to be trying to kill the competition with sheer volume of new features," said Jan Dawson, chief telecom analyst at IT research outfit Ovum. "For now, Samsung can likely rely on its vastly superior marketing budget and the relatively weak efforts of its competitors in software to keep it ahead." The success or failure of Samsung's latest flagship phone - the fourth in a brand launched in 2010 - will be pivotal in the world's biggest smartphone maker's battle against Apple and smaller, and key to that struggle will be phone differentiation. Apple may already be feeling the heat. Just a day before, marketing chief Phil Schiller blasted Samsung and the Google Android software in rare interviews given to Reuters and other select media, underscoring the pressure that the iPhone maker is feeling from its Korean mobile-phone nemesis. The S4, which Samsung preceded with a marketing blitz that drummed up industry speculation reminiscent of some of Apple's past launches, will be available by the end of April and rolled out to 327 carriers in 155 countries, including U.S. service providers Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA. "Samsung has fulfilled the promise of their marketing that they are the tech innovators. It remains to be seen whether it's overload for customers, whether they can really take advantage of all these features," said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin. The S4 will use either Samsung's own applications processor or Qualcomm Inc's Snapdragon central processing chip, depending on the country. But the Korean company kept mum on exact dates and prices. SAMSUNG HITS BROADWAY Samsung took a slightly different tack with the S4's launch, using actors and a full live orchestra to present the smartphone's various features via a series of skits - as perhaps befitted its theatrical platform. That marked a departure of sorts from the usual slick, high-wattage shows favored by rivals such as Apple. Investors largely shrugged off the launch. Shares in Samsung were down 1.1 percent in a steady market in early Seoul trading on Friday. The stock has stood little changed so far this year, while Apple's shares have tumbled 20 percent as disappointing sales of iPhones raised fears that its dominance may be slipping. Apple's U.S. sales outstripped Samsung's for the first time in the quarter ending in December, even after Samsung spent a record $400 million on phone advertisements here last year. While the global smartphone market's growth rate is tapering off, Samsung still derives the majority of its annual profits from Galaxy phones. Samsung said the Galaxy S4 will sport a bigger 5-inch display than the S3's 4.8 inches. But because the new display will cover more of the phone's surface area, the device itself will be the same length and slightly narrower, thinner and lighter than the previous generation. The newest features involve different options for navigation. For example, if the phone senses someone is looking at the screen, the user can tilt it forward or backwards to scroll up and down a Web page. That feature falls slightly short of what some consumers may have expected after the New York Times reported that the phone would be able to scroll automatically by tracking readers' eyes. But what it can do is sense when it has someone's attention. When a video is playing, for instance, the stream will automatically pause if the person glances away and it will restart when the eyes refocus on the screen. This is an update on an existing Galaxy feature, which powers down the display if it senses no one's looking at it, conserving battery power. The latest phone also has a sensor that lets users move their hands to the left or right to scroll between different websites they have opened or through songs or photos in an album without having to touch the phone. The idea is to make it easier to change the song playing without having to pick up the phone while driving or to avoid putting sticky fingers on the touch-screen display while scrolling through a Web page at mealtimes. The phone will also allow users to hover a finger over an email inbox or a photo gallery to get a glimpse of more details of what's in the email or which photos are in an album. Another feature includes the option to automatically put a copy of details from a photograph of a business card into the phone's contacts database or call a number in the business card. Samsung is also promising an instant translation between 10 different languages for certain applications, as well as a separate translation application on the device. The device also has a 13-megapixel camera, compared with the S3's 8-megapixel camera. "They kind of cherry-picked features that other competitors had, and then packed them up all together into one device," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "The story though is more about who Samsung is and where they want to be. It is clear today that they want to play in an ecosystem game, their own ecosystem. The word Android didn't come up once." (Additional reporting by Poornima Gupta in San Francisco; Editing by Edwin Chan, Richard Chang and Ryan Woo) ================= Galaxy S4 smartphone on Tuesday April 23, 2013. Aside from a host of new features (see captions below), this handset is bigger as well as better than its predecessor. The surface of the S4 is larger, though the device is slightly thinner than the S3's. The display? A vivid, HD-capable 5 inch Super AMOLED screen that adds 0.2 inches of diagonal space and, at 1080-by-1920 resolution, quite a few more pixels. Samsung Electronics loses $12 billion market value on smartphone worries Fri, Jun 07 04:23 AM EDT By Miyoung Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co lost $12 billion in market value on Friday, hit by brokerage downgrades that have underscored concerns about slowing sales of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone. The share slide of more than 6 percent comes after it recently introduced two stripped-down versions of the S4, fanning worries that profit margins for its mobile business will suffer. It also follows a report that arch-rival Apple will begin a trade-in program for iPhones. The new stripped-down S4 models will help it widen its lead in the global smartphone market and fend off Chinese competitors, but some fear that the South Korean tech giant is trading in profits for volume. Analysts say sales momentum for the high-end version of the S4, which became its fastest selling smartphone since its launch in late April, has slowed. "Sales of high-end handsets are lagging behind expectations, while low- to mid-end handsets are selling briskly worldwide," said Kim Young-chan, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp. "As the portion of low- to mid-range handsets is expected to increase in Samsung's overall mobile phone business, this has also sparked concerns about thinning margins and lower growth." APPLE ANGST Apple will start a program this month to allow users to trade their older iPhones for the newest model, Bloomberg news agency cited people familiar with the plan as saying, a first for the company as it prepares to introduce a new version of the smartphone. "With Apple widely expected to announce an older iPhone trade-in program and also a new cheaper iPhone, overall growth prospects for (Samsung's) smartphone business have dimmed," said Kim Hyun-yong, an analyst at E*trade Securities. "Second-quarter results will be solid but we have to see whether the trend can be sustainable going forward." Shares in Samsung finished down 6.2 percent at their lowest level in four months, wiping out 14 trillion won of value to bring its market cap to 210.2 trillion won ($188 billion). It was their biggest daily percentage drop since late August when the stock tumbled more than 7 percent following a U.S. jury verdict that it infringed on Apple's patents. Samsung, which represents nearly 20 percent of the main bourse's market value, helped send the main stock index 1.9 percent lower, while suppliers of smartphone components were also hammered. DOWNGRADES Brokerage downgrades this week included a 4.8 percent cut in Samsung's price target to 2.0 million won from Woori Securities. It cited weakening profit growth for Samsung's mobile business, which generates around 70 percent of its total earnings. It also cut 2013 and 2014 earnings per share forecasts by 9.2 percent and 11.7 percent respectively. JPMorgan slashed its earnings estimates and said monthly orders for the S4 have been cut by 20-30 percent to 7-8 million from July due to weak demand in Europe and South Korea. Among smartphone component suppliers taking a battering, camera module maker Partron tumbled 11 percent, printed circuit board maker Interflex dived 10.6 percent and camera lens manufacturer Digital Optics shed 12 percent. Ratings agency Fitch Ratings also said on Thursday it was not planning to upgrade Samsung's A+ rating in the medium term due to its heavy reliance on the fickle consumer electronics market, in particular handsets. "Samsung has yet to prove its 'creative' innovation, that is, launching a product or a market segment that has not existed before in addition to prowess in manufacturing technology," Fitch said. ($1 = 1115.8500 Korean won) (Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs) ================

Harsh environment Jotun FPSO design taking precedence over haste

European contractors are struggling to batten down costs consumed by North Sea production floaters, but construction schedule overruns are not as bad as rumors suggest. This subject was a major issue at the 14th Annual Floating Production Systems Conference in London, organized by IBC Global Conferences. The negative aspects were touched on by Inge Laskemoen, Senior Vice President for Field Development at Kværner Oil & Gas Norway. He outlined events leading to delivery of the Jotun FPSO to Esso. Jotun is a joint development of three fields in the Norwegian North Sea, called Elli, Elli South, and Tau. For a Norwegian project, the international content is unusually high - operator Esso and Enterprise each own 45%, with the balance held by Statoil, Conoco, and Amerada Hess. Production, which started last October, is derived through wells drilled from a wellhead platform, with oil and gas exported to the floating production,storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which in turn offloads to shuttle tankers. The location is 165 km west of Haugesund, in 126 meters of water. Kværner gained the EPIC contract for the FPSO in April 1997. First oil was achieved 30 months later. New challenges arose each day of those 30 months, according to Laskemoen - but the stiffest emerged before the contract had even been awarded. In 1996, Kværner had been toying with a new hull design developed by its Masa Yard division in Finland, which was about to be deployed in a floating storage unit on Norsk Hydro's Field. Schedule driven Duration of recent FPSO construction projects (in months) from contract award to first oil. Balder execution time includes re-build to meet field requirements. ((In architecture, a turret (from Italian: torretta, little tower; Latin: turris, tower) is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification. As their military use faded, turrets were adopted for decorative purposes, as in the Scottish baronial style. )) Modifications were required, however, particularly to the turret, in order to convert this concept into a seaworthy FPSO. In November that year, Kværner took the gamble of ordering a vessel based on this design from Masa Yards - in anticipation of winning the Jotun prize. That risk had to be taken, Laskemoen claimed, because of Esso's tight schedule for this project. "It was necessary to start several engineering activities on the topside facilities at this stage prior to award of the FPSO contract, in order to provide interface information from the topside facilities design needed for the detailed design of the vessel." Esso had demanded a 20-year working life for the vessel, with no drydocking in that period. Long discussions ensued between Kværner and Esso over how to interpret this 20-year rule, which differed from the detailed specs in the shipbuilder's tender. Compromises were eventually reached, but these enforced some re-design and changes to the fabrication process. Added complications followed. Late in the conceptual engineering phase, the field partners decided that the FPSO should itself provide saleable gas for direct export into the Statpipe trunkline system (unlike other FPSOs, which deliver their gas untreated for clean-up elsewhere). Accommodating this late change proved to be a struggle. "As a result, we got out of sequence in ordering the topside processing equipment," Laskemoen said. Waves dictate change A further dilemma was the potential impact of severe weather on the hull. Model tests had shown that large waves in this location would deposit green water onto the deck. Further analysis suggested that the quantity and impact could be significant, leading to further very late design changes being imposed. "The cost consequences became more significant than they could have been," said Laskemoen. Major improvements that had to be instituted included protection of cable racks, the deluge skid with bulkheads, more protection wall for the emergency generator and re-routing of the exhaust duct, and structural reinforcement of the escape route and other structures. At the time of construction, many other North Sea gas development projects were also underway, many incurring serious schedule/ cost overruns. Kværner and Esso tried to keep a lid on potential problems by strengthening the Jotun project team. They created an "alignment initiative" to aid staff interaction at all levels and thereby improve execution of the project. However, planning and execution problems continued to surface. As the project progressed, it emerged that the FPSO tender had been based on a concept that was not sufficiently matured. Topsides modification had to be performed at the detailed design phase. In turn, process overlapped into the detailed engineering phase, forcing further widespread modification. These overruns put engineering as a whole out of sequence. The effect of performing so many activities in parallel was to increase the strain on human resources to meet schedules. That situation was exacerbated by the high workload at the time in Norwegian yards, which meant that local pre-fabrication support staff was not readily available. "We had to buy to higher cost and lower quality," said Laskemoen, "resulting in reduced productivity." With delays hitting all main deliveries to the Jotun assembly site in Stavanger, Kvarner decided to insist on earlier arrival of outstanding packages such as the compression unit, "in order to have the major units lifted onboard the vessel for completion under our own control. There was more carry-over work than expected, and too many problems surfaced during completion and commissioning activities. This again resulted in increased workload to the assembly site, and further challenges regarding completion of the vessel." Other challenges Other problems that had to be faced included: •FPSO's mooring anchor chains: These had been installed prior to arrival of the vessel, and were lying on the seabed waiting to be lifted up. After the majority had been pulled in, some twisting of the chain was encountered due to sideways pulling. The chain locked in the guiding system, and as a result, the pulling method had to be modified •Flushing and preservation: The heating and cooling medium systems were flushed and preserved prior to sailaway from the yard, but preservation proved unsatisfactory. Chemical flushing was needed to clean the system properly. Esso, which had global expertise in this field, worked with Kværner to find a chemical medium applicable to the completed system which could be used without destroying gaskets and seals. •Firewater systems: Some vibration was being experienced, which led to significant repair and re-design of some of the firefighting water system components. "For many of the FPSOs built in recent years," Laskemoen concluded in his pre sentation, "the production facilities are more complex and the execution time and investments are at another level compared to the more simple design. The main reasons for these differences are: •Long field life •Environmental requirements - zero emissions philosophy •Production of crude of a quality to achieve the best possible market price •For Jotun, gas production to sales quality Jotun's FPSO, which has a design capacity of 89,000 b/d, plus water treatment at 122,000 b/d, water injection at 190,000 b/d, and gas compression at 53 MMcf/d, was delivered five months later than originally planned. Compared to other recent North Sea FPSOs, this is reasonably good, Laskemoen claimed. In general, floaters are still being produced quicker than fixed platforms of similar capability, he claimed, and at lower cost. ============= UPDATE 1-Chevron-led Kazakh oil venture sees sharp output rise in 2018-19 Mon, Jan 28 07:19 AM EST By Raushan Nurshayeva ASTANA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Output at Chevron-led Tengizchevroil (TCO), Kazakhstan's largest oil producer, is set to rise by 12 million tonnes per year in the 2018-19 timeframe from last year's 24.2 million tonnes, TCO General Director Tim Miller said on Monday. Data released by TCO project partner Lukoil this month said the venture's production stood at 25.1 million tonnes (about 503,000 barrels per day) in 2012. "Our 2012 production was 24.2 million tonnes. This was 3.7 pct lower than our business target of 25.1 million tonnes," Miller told an enlarged meeting of Kazakhstan's Oil & Gas Ministry. "The primary reasons for this were mechanical problems ... severe weather conditions and transportation restrictions." The huge Tengiz oilfield, located onshore in western Kazakhstan, is one of three main drivers of Kazakhstan's plans to raise its oil output by 60 percent by the end of the decade. Kazakhstan is now the second-largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia. The vast Central Asian nation of 17 million plans to raise output to 130 million tonnes by 2020 through expansion at the Kashagan offshore field in the Caspian, higher output at Tengiz and the Karachaganak oil and gas field. Kazakh Oil & Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev said earlier on Monday Kazakhstan's total oil output was set to rise to 82 million tonnes in 2013 from last year's 79.2 million tonnes. TCO's output is set to remain at the current level for a few years as the venture has first to implement the Wellhead Pressure Management Project (WPMP) to install a pressure boost facility and drill additional wells post-WPMP to lay the groundwork for the crucial Future Growth Project (FGP). "The Future Growth Project will expand production capacity by 12 million per year," Miller said. "Start-up of the FGP operation will be in the 2018 to 2019 timeframe." "We are targeting the final investment decision for the fourth quarter of 2013," he said without specifying the sum. Chevron holds a 50-percent stake in the venture, while ExxonMobil owns 25 percent, Kazakh state oil company KazMunaiGas has 20 percent and Lukarco, controlled by Lukoil, the remaining 5 percent. Since TCO's creation in April 1993, the venture's cumulative payments to Kazakhstan had totalled $74.2 billion, Miller said. "In 2012, total payments exceeded $14 billion for the second consecutive year," he said. ================== Product description With subsea tieback projects, what goes on above the surface is just as important as what is happening beneath it. EDG has the topside expertise to support your subsea tieback projects, and we are committed to quality, cost-effective designs. Tiebacks to deep water, floating facilities require a different approach than the traditional topsides projects in shallow water or to fixed platforms. Shallow Water and Fixed Platform Topside Projects Schedule Most projects have a target completion schedule. Depending on the aggressiveness of the schedule, maintaining it could take precedence over cost control and, possibly, quality. Quality Quality, sometimes equated with operability, is a primary consideration during the design and construction phases. Depending on the level of quality desired by the client, adjustments to the project budget and schedule may be required. Cost Cost is always a consideration on any project. Most projects have a cost threshold beyond which it is no longer economically feasible. Cost considerations may also limit factors such as the quality and delivery of equipment. Deep Water Topside Projects When designing for deep water projects, it is necessary to consider three additional priorities. Balancing these six priorities is a complex process and can become even more challenging when one must take precedence over the others as the defining criterion for design. Deep water priorities to consider beyond schedule, quality and cost Location The location (center of gravity) of new equipment is paramount to floating facilities that depend on ballast to return the vessel to an upright, level position. If the location for the new equipment results in a list that cannot be corrected with the available ballast, a new location must be found. Deck extensions, raised decks and mezzanines create more location options for equipment, at the expense of an increase in weight. However, this may be the only way to shift the Center of Gravity of the equipment to a location where ballasting can return the vessel to an even keel. Weight Floating facilities have a maximum weight they can accommodate and still maintain the required freeboard. If initial weight estimates for the tieback project exceed the allowance for new equipment, it may not be practical to complete the project at that location. Equally challenging, retrofitting additional flotation or reducing weight through the removal of other equipment can be prohibitively expensive. Precise weight estimates at the beginning of the project, as well as aggressive weight monitoring and control as the project progresses, are critical to achieving desired weight targets. Depending on the project weight allowance, some or all equipment may need to be selected based on the lowest weight versus the shortest delivery or lowest costs. Space If the available open space does not adequately house new equipment, and the applicable weight budget for the project cannot cover structural steel to allow greater deck space, the tieback may not be completed at a particular host. Choosing equipment that fits within the accessible space, and thereby eliminates the need for deck extensions or mezzanines, may take precedence over the lowest cost and fastest delivery.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pertamina claims offer for West Qurna stake

Pertamina claims offer for West Qurna stake Mohammed Hatta Rajasa (left), Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussain al-Shahristani, meeting March 14, 2013, when the two countries signed an energy and economics memorandum of understanding. (source: the office of the deputy prime minister) By Staff of Iraq Oil Report Published Thursday, March 14th, 2013 BAGHDAD - Indonesia has signed an Iraqi crude supply deal and said it is in talks to purchase up to 20 percent of the ExxonMobil-operated West Qurna 1 oil field. Led by Mohammed Hatta Rajasa, the country's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, a delegation of more than a dozen, including officials from state company Pertamina, also signed energy and economic cooperation agreements in Baghdad on Thursday. "We are negotiating and there is a possibility to buy 10 to 20 percent of West Qurna 1," R... UPDATE 2-Pertamina seeks part of Exxon's stake in Iraqi oilfield Thu, Mar 14 10:43 AM EDT By Raheem Salman BAGHDAD, March 14 (Reuters) - Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina is in talks to buy 10-20 percent of Exxon Mobil's stake in Iraq's West Qurna-1 oilfield, Indonesia's Chief Economic Minister said on Thursday. The development of the $50 billion West Qurna-1 project has been in question since last year, when Exxon offered to sell its stake after contracts it signed with the autonomous Kurdistan region riled Baghdad, which rejects them as illegal. Indonesian minister Hatta Rajasa confirmed that Pertamina is interested in buying into the project. It has begun negotiations for a possible 10 to 20 percent stake, he said at a news conference in Baghdad. Sources have said Exxon is considering selling part of its 60 percent stake in West Qurna-1 to PetroChina , the listed arm of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC). Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has offered Exxon sweeter contract terms to keep it operating in the south, on condition that the U.S. oil giant gives up its Kurdish deals, industry sources say. Thursday's news conference also confirmed the signing of a memorandum of understanding that Iraq is to supply Indonesia with 35,000 barrels of oil per day. UPDATE 1-CEO of Indonesia's oil firm Pertamina to stay for now Tue, Mar 05 04:46 AM EST By Fathiya Dahrul and Fergus Jensen JAKARTA, March 5 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Indonesia's state-owned oil and gas company, Pertamina , has been asked to stay on after the expiry of her four-year term on Tuesday, a minister said. Pertamina is one of Indonesia's most valuable state assets and sources of funding, and the process of choosing its leader is frequently embroiled in controversy and political feuds. During the time Karen Agustiawan ran Pertamina as its first woman chief executive, Indonesia's second-biggest oil producer aggressively acquired oil assets both at home and abroad to boost profits and offset declining output. "Now her time is up, but before a new CEO is appointed there must continue to be one," Dahlan Iskan, the minister for state-owned enterprises, told reporters. "We're waiting for the decision of the final assessment team and they won't necessarily replace her. They may also not extend her tenure." The company reported profits of more than 25.89 trillion rupiah ($2.67 billion) in 2012 and was expected to boost oil output by 5 percent to 244,000 barrels of oil per day this year. "Mrs. Karen is pretty good. She's not that special, but she is pretty good," said Iskan, who along with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono makes the final decision on who will run Pertamina. "Her profits were the largest in the history of Pertamina." Agustiawan could not be reached for comment. A Pertamina spokesman declined to confirm the extension of her tenure. Pertamina plans to spend up to $6.7 billion to boost production and expand infrastructure in 2013. The company bought three Indonesian units of U.S. oil company Anadarko Petroleum Corp for an undisclosed price in December, followed by the acquisition of the Algerian unit of ConocoPhillips for $1.75 billion. Last month, Pertamina scrapped its plan to buy the Venezuelan assets of Harvest Natural Resources Inc for $725 million. Pertamina, which accounted for 17 percent of Indonesia's oil and gas output in 2012, is under pressure to improve oil infrastructure to prevent subsidised fuels from being sold illegally. Fuel subsidies gobble up around 15 percent of government spending, totalling 306.5 trillion rupiah last year.

Blasts, clashes kill at least 25 in central Baghdad

ہمیں اپنے مذھب و عقيدہ ميں شک سے دوچار كرنے كے لئے منافقين ھميشہ يہ نعرہ بلند كرتے ہیں کہ اگر ھم حق پرہیں تو كيوں قتل ہو رہے ہیں اور كيوں اس قدر ھميں قربانی دينی پڑ رہی ہیں ۔ بہت سے انبياء جوكہ يقيناً حق پر تھے، اپنے پروگرام كو جاری كرنے ميں كاميابی سے ھم كنار نھيں ھوسكے، بنی اسرائيل نے بين الطلوعين ايک روز ميں ستر انبياء كو شھيد كر ڈالا اور اس كے بعد اپنے كاموں ميں مشغول ھوگئے جيسے كچھ ہوا ہی نھيں، تو كيا ان پيامبران الٰہی كا شھيد و مغلوب ھونا ان كے باطل ھونے كی دليل ھے؟ اور بنی اسرائيل كا غالب ھوجانا ان كی حقانيت كی علامت ھے؟ يقيناً اس كا جواب نھيں ميں ھے، دين كے سلسلہ ميں فريب كی نسبت دينا اور حق پر نہ ھونے كے لئے شبہ پيدا كرنا، منافقين كے القاء شبھات كے نمونے ہیں۔ دين كو اجتماع و معاشرت كے ميدان سے جدا كركے صرف آخرت كے لئے متعارف كرانا، دين كے تقدس كے بہانے دين و سياست كی جدائی كا نعرہ بلند كرنا، تمام اديان و مذاھب كے لئے حقانيت كا نظريہ پيش كرنا، خدا محوری كے بجائے انسان محوری كی ترويج كرنا، اس قبيل كے ھزاروں شبھات ھيں جن كو منافقين ترويج كرتے ہیں تا كہ ان شبھات كے ذريعہ دين كے حقايق و مسلّمات كو ضعيف اور اسلامی معاشرہ سے روح ايمان كو خالی كرديں اور اپنے باطل و بيھودہ مقاصد كو حاصل كرليں۔ لیکن ہم عاشورائی قوم ہیں۔ "لبیک یا حسین (ع)" کا نعرہ ہی منافقین کی نابودی کیلئے کافی ہے۔ کسی کو کوئی اعتراض؟؟؟ Blasts, clashes kill at least 25 in central Baghdad Thu, Mar 14 11:26 AM EDT 1 of 3 BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Coordinated blasts killed at least 25 people in the heart of Baghdad on Thursday near the heavily fortified Green Zone, where several Western embassies are located, police and medics said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosions, but Sunni Muslim insurgents have been redoubling their efforts to undermine Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and foment inter-communal conflict this year. The brazen attacks in broad daylight will fan concerns about Iraq's fragile security, which has come under growing strain as the increasingly sectarian conflict in neighboring Syria threatens to upset its own Sunni-Shi'ite balance. Police said two car bombs exploded in the Alawi district, one of them near the Justice Ministry building, before a suicide car bomber blew himself up near an Interior Ministry office. A suicide bomber then walked into the Justice Ministry and militants attacked the building, clashing with Iraqi security forces, who eventually regained control. "I went to the second floor to do something when I heard a big explosion, then a second one," said Ammar Ghanim, a policeman who was inside the ministry at the time of the attack. "We heard shooting and a few minutes later three attackers wearing military uniform came up to the second floor and randomly started shooting," he said. "I got shot in the leg and I am very proud to have killed one of them (the attackers)." Among the dead were at least 7 policemen and 15 civilians, police and medics said. Three militants were also killed. At least 50 people were wounded. Iraq's power-sharing government has been all but paralyzed since U.S. troops left more than a year ago and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite, is facing protests in the country's Sunni heartland, which shares a porous border with Syria. Violence has intensified as Sunni opposition has swelled, and Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate has urged the protesters to take up arms against the government. Security experts say al Qaeda-linked militants have been regrouping in the western province of Anbar and crossing into Syria to fight alongside mainly Sunni rebels against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Shi'ite Iran. (Reporting by Kareem Raheem; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alistair Lyon) ============ Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study Thu, Mar 14 12:53 PM EDT 1 of 9 By Daniel Trotta NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said. The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said. The report, the work of about 30 academics and experts, was published in advance of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003. It was also an update of a 2011 report the Watson Institute produced ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that assessed the cost in dollars and lives from the resulting wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The 2011 study said the combined cost of the wars was at least $3.7 trillion, based on actual expenditures from the U.S. Treasury and future commitments, such as the medical and disability claims of U.S. war veterans. That estimate climbed to nearly $4 trillion in the update. The estimated death toll from the three wars, previously at 224,000 to 258,000, increased to a range of 272,000 to 329,000 two years later. Excluded were indirect deaths caused by the mass exodus of doctors and a devastated infrastructure, for example, while the costs left out trillions of dollars in interest the United States could pay over the next 40 years. The interest on expenses for the Iraq war could amount to about $4 trillion during that period, the report said. The report also examined the burden on U.S. veterans and their families, showing a deep social cost as well as an increase in spending on veterans. The 2011 study found U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war totaled $33 billion. Two years later, that number had risen to $134.7 billion. FEW GAINS The report concluded the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women's rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud, it said. Former President George W. Bush's administration cited its belief that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's government held weapons of mass destruction to justify the decision to go to war. U.S. and allied forces later found that such stockpiles did not exist. Supporters of the war argued that intelligence available at the time concluded Iraq held the banned weapons and noted that even some countries that opposed the invasion agreed with the assessment. "Action needed to be taken," said Steven Bucci, the military assistant to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the run-up to the war and today a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think-tank. Bucci, who was unconnected to the Watson study, agreed with its observation that the forecasts for the cost and duration of the war proved to be a tiny fraction of the real costs. "If we had had the foresight to see how long it would last and even if it would have cost half the lives, we would not have gone in," Bucci said. "Just the time alone would have been enough to stop us. Everyone thought it would be short." Bucci said the toppling of Saddam and the results of an unforeseen conflict between U.S.-led forces and al Qaeda militants drawn to Iraq were positive outcomes of the war. "It was really in Iraq that 'al Qaeda central' died," Bucci said. "They got waxed." (Editing by Paul Simao) ================ پاکستاني شیعہ‎ عقائد حضرت عبد العظیم شیخ صدوق وغیرہ نے حضرت عبدالعظیم سے روایت کی ہے میں نے اپنے آقا حضرت امام علی نقی-کی خدمت میں حاضر ہوا حضرت نے جب مجھے دیکھا تو فرمایا: مرحبا اے ابو قاسم تو ہمارا حقیقی ولی ہے۔ میں نے عرض کی اے فرزند رسول خدا (صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم)میں چاہتا ہوں کہ اپنا دین آپ کے سامنے پیش کروں اگر آپ کو پسند ہوا تو قیامت تک اس پر ثابت قدم رہوں گا۔ حضرت امام نقی-نے فرمایا: اپنا دین بیان کر۔ میں نے کہا :میں کہتا ہوں کہ خدا یکتا و یگانہ ہے اس کی مثل کوئی چیز نہیں خداابطال اور حدتشبیہ سے خارج ہے (یعنی نہ اس طرح ہے کہ کچھ بھی ہو اور نہ اس طرح ہے کہ کسی چیز کا مشابہ ہو)جسم و صورت اور جوہر و عرض نہیں ہے بلکہ ان کو پیدا کرنے والا ہر چیز کا پالنے والا اور مالک ہے اور ہر چیز کو اس نے عدم سے وجود عطا کیا ہے۔ اور میں کہتا ہوں کی محمد (صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم) اللہ کے بندے اور اس کے رسول ہیں اور خاتم الانبیاء ہیں اور قیامت تک کوئی پیغمبر نہیں آئے گا اور حضرت (صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم) کی شریعت تمام شریعتوں کی آخری شریعت ہے اور اس کے بعد قیامت تک کوئی شریعت نہیں ہے اور میں اقرار کرتا ہوں کہ پیغمبر (صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم) کے بعد امام، خلیفہ اور ولی امیر المومنین علی-ابن ابی طالب ہیں ان کے بعد امام حسن- ان کے بعد امام حسین-ان کے بعد ابن الحسین زین العابدین- ان کے بعد محمد ابن علی الباقر+ ان کے بعد جعفر ابن محمد صادق + پھر موسی ابن جعفر کاظم+ ان کے بعد علی ابن موسیٰ رضا-پھر محمد ابن علی + ہیں اور ان بزرگوکے بعد اے میرے مولا آپ ہیں۔ پس امام نے فرمایا کہ میرے بعد میرا بیٹا امام حسن عسکری- ہے پھر فرمایا(معلوم ہے) اس امام کے بعد اس کے خلیفہ کے زمانے کے لوگ کس طرح ہوں گے؟ میں نے عرض کی مولا کس طرح ہوں گے؟ حضرت نے فرمایا: "زمین ظلم و جور سے پرہو چکی ہوگی کیونکہ لوگ اپنے امام کو دیکھ نہ سکیں گے۔ اور نہ ان کیلئے امام کا نام لینا جائز ہوگا( کہ کہیں ذات امام- کو کوئی نقصان نہ پہنچ جائے) یہ سلسلہ جارہی رہے گا یہاں تک کہ امام کا ظہور ہوگا اور وہ زمین کو عدل و انصاف سے پر کردیں گے"۔ میں عرض کیا کہ میں امام حسن عسکری-اور ان کے خلف (فرزندو جانشین) کا اقرار کرتا ہوں اور قائل ہوتا ہوں ان بزرگواروں کا دوست خدا کا دوست ہے اور ان کا دشمن خدا کا دشمن ہے اور ان کی اطاعت خدا کی اطاعت ہے اور ان کی نافرمانی خدا کی نافرمانی ہے ۔ اور یہ(اقرار کرتا ہوں) کہ معراج حق ہے قبر میں سوال ہونا حق ہے اور یہ کہ جنت حق ہے اور جہنم حق ہے اور صراط حق ہے اور میزان حق ہے اور قیامت کے آنے میں شک نہیں ہے اور خداوند عالم قبر والوں کو زندہ کرکے اٹھائے گا۔ اور میں قائل ہوں کہ ولایت (یعنی خدا، رسول اور آئمہ٪ کی دوستی) کے بعد نماز، زکوة،روزہ،حج، جہاد، خمس، امر بالمعروف، اور نہی عن المنکر سب کے سب فرض ہیں۔ پس امام علی نقی-نے فرمایا: خدا کی قسم یہ خدا کا دین ہے جس کو خدا نے اپنے بندوں کیلئے پسند فرمایا ہے اور تو اسی عقیدے پر ثابت قدم رہ خداوند عالم نے اپنے بندوں کے لئے پسند فرمایا ہے اور اسی عقیدے پر ثابت قدم رہ خداوند عالم تمہیں دنیاوی اور آخروی زندگی میں قول ثابت (وحق) پر ثابت قدم رکھے۔ (اکمال الدین واتمام النعمة کتاب التوحید جلد۲ ۳۷۹) علمدار روڈ‎ یـہ جہـــاں ایک دن پر نـــور ہو گا لبــوں پــہ سب کے ســرور ہو گا ذہنوں میں سب کے شعور ہو گا شــرک سے ہر کـــوئی دور ہو گا عـــلم و عـرفان کا دستـــور ہو گا خـــالق پـــہ سب کو غــرور ہو گا یقیـــن رکھـــو ایســا ضــرور ہو گا جب مہـــديء حـق کا ظہور ہو گا العجـــل ، العجـــل یـــا امــــــام _ زمــــــانــــــہ العجـــل ========= شیعت نیو ز کت نمائندے کے مطابق لانڈھی میں امریکی و سعودی نواز کالعدم سپاہ صحابہ کے دہشت گردوں کی فائرنگ سے دونوں ٹانگوں سے معزور ۳۵ سالہ ارشد علی ولد شاہد شہید ہو گئے ۔ تفصیلات کے مطابق دہشت گر دی کا یہ واقعہ لانڈھی بابر مارکیٹ کے نذدیک کل شب پیش آیا کراچی:شہید ارشد علی کی نماز جنازہ آج بعد نماز ظہرین امام بارگاہ ابالفضل عباس لانڈھی نمبر 3 میں ادا کردی گئ اور تدفین لانڈھی نمبر 6 میں کی جائ ہے۔ ====== Top News Car bombs, shootings kill 23 across Iraq Mon, Apr 29 10:31 AM EDT 1 of 2 BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 23 people were killed in Iraq on Monday in a series of car bombs in Shi'ite Muslim areas and militant attacks, medics and police sources said, taking the week's death toll to nearly 200 as sectarian violence intensifies. Clashes have increased as the civil war in Syria puts strain on fragile relations between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The tensions are at their highest in Iraq since U.S. troops pulled out more than a year ago. The latest bout of blood-letting began when security forces raided a Sunni protest camp near Kirkuk last week triggering clashes that quickly spread to other Sunni areas including the western province of Anbar, which borders Syria and Jordan. Iraq decided on Monday to close a border crossing with Jordan for two days starting on Tuesday due to "organizational issues", the interior minister said without giving any details. It is the second time this year that authorities have ordered the closure of the Traibil border post in Anbar where Sunnis have been protesting against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government since December. The demonstrations had eased in the past month, but this week's army raid on a protest camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk, 170 km north of Baghdad, angered Sunnis and appears to have given insurgents more momentum. Early on Monday, at least nine people were killed and 40 wounded in two car bomb explosions in Amara, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The first of two blasts in Amara, ripped through a market where people were meeting to eat breakfast, and the second hit an area where day laborers were gathering to look for work. Another car bomb was detonated in a market in Diwaniya, 150 km south of Baghdad, killing two people, police said. "I was preparing to go to work when a big explosion shook my house and broke the glass in all the windows," said witness Widy Jasim. "I ran outside, the explosion was near my house and bodies were everywhere". A bomb in a parked car went off near a busy market in Kerbala, killing at least three people. A further six people were killed in an explosion near a Shi'ite worship site in Mahmudiya, about 30 km south of Baghdad. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but car and suicide bombings are trademarks of the Islamic State of Iraq, the Iraqi wing of Sunni Islamist al Qaeda which seeks to provoke sectarian conflict. Violence is still well below its height in 2006-07, but provisional figures from rights group Iraq Body Count indicate about 1,494 people have been killed so far in 2013. In Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, gunmen clashed with the army early on Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding three others, military sources said. A sniper shot dead a soldier and wounded another while they were on patrol in Madaen in eastern Baghdad, police said. The speaker of parliament Osama al-Nujaifi, himself a Sunni, proposed an initiative to avoid "the ghost of civil war and sectarian strife", calling on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Shi'ite-led government to resign, dissolve parliament and prepare for an early parliamentary election. Iraqi politics are deeply divided along sectarian lines, with Maliki's government mired in crisis over how to share power among Shi'ite Muslims, the largest group, Sunnis and ethnic Kurds who run their own autonomous region in the north. (Reporting by Aref Mohammed in Basra, Kareem Raheem and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad and Emad al-Khuzaie in Diywaniya; Additional reporting by Ali al-Rubaie in Hilla and Ziad al-Sanjary in Mosul; Writing by Suadad al-Salhy; Editing by Jon Hemming) ============== Syrian prime minister survives Damascus bombing, six die Mon, Apr 29 13:24 PM EDT 1 of 8 By Dominic Evans BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's prime minister survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Damascus on Monday, as rebels struck in the heart of President Bashar al-Assad's capital. Six people were killed in the blast, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Previous rebel attacks on government targets included a December bombing which wounded Assad's interior minister. As prime minister, Wael al-Halki wields little power but the attack highlighted the rebels' growing ability to target symbols of Assad's authority in a civil war that, according to the United Nations, has cost more than 70,000 lives. Assad picked Halki in August to replace Riyadh Hijab, who defected and escaped to neighboring Jordan just weeks after a bombing killed four of the president's top security advisers. Monday's blast shook the Mezze district soon after 9 a.m. (2:00 a.m. EDT), sending thick black smoke into the sky. The Observatory said one man accompanying Halki was killed as well as five passers-by. State television showed firemen hosing down the charred and mangled remains of a car. Close by was a large white bus, its windows blown out and its seats gutted by fire. Glass and debris were scattered across several lanes of a main road. "The terrorist explosion in Mezze was an attempt to target the convoy of the prime minister. Dr Wael al-Halki is well and not hurt at all," state television said. It later broadcast footage of Halki, who appeared composed and unruffled, chairing what it said was an economic committee. In comments released by the state news agency SANA but not shown on television, Halki was quoted as condemning the attack as a sign of "bankruptcy and failure of the terrorist groups", a reference to the rebels battling to overthrow Assad. Mezze is part of a shrinking "Square of Security" in central Damascus, where many government and military institutions are based and where senior officials live. Sheltered for nearly two years from the destruction ravaging much of the rest of Syria, it has been sucked into violence as rebel forces based to the east of the capital launch mortar attacks and carry out bombings in the center. CHEMICAL WEAPONS Assad has lost control of large areas of northern and eastern Syria, faces a growing challenge in the southern province of Deraa, and is battling rebels in many cities. But his forces have been waging powerful ground offensives, backed by artillery and air strikes, against rebel-held territory around the capital and near the central city of Homs which links Damascus to the heartland of Assad's minority Alawite sect in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean. As part of that counter-offensive, Assad's forces probably used chemical weapons, the United States and Britain have said. However the trans-Atlantic allies, whose 2003 invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was based in part on flawed intelligence about an Iraqi program of weapons of mass destruction, have been cautious in their accusations. Despite congressional pressure on Barack Obama to do more to help the rebels, the U.S. president has made clear he is in no rush to intervene on the basis of evidence he said was preliminary. Britain, which says there is limited but growing evidence of chemical weapons use, said it wanted a United Nations investigation to see "whether or not there is verified use of chemical weapons". "We've been very clear that, should that be the case, then the repercussions would be serious," British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said during a visit to Beirut. "That is why it is so important to have this independently verified and for the U.N. to do their investigation". A U.N. team of experts has been waiting to travel to Syria to gather field evidence, but has yet to win agreement from Syrian authorities who want it to investigate only government accusations of chemical weapon use by rebels in Aleppo province. Russia, which has criticized Western and Gulf Arab support for the anti-Assad fighters, said that attempts by Western countries to expand the U.N. inquiry to cover rebel accusations of Syrian government use of chemicals in Homs and Damascus mounted to a pretext to intervene in the civil war. "There is not always a basis for the allegations (of the use of chemical weapons)," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference. "There are probably governments and a number of external players who believe that it is fine to use any means to overthrow the Syrian regime. But the theme of the use of weapons of mass destruction is too serious and we shouldn't joke about it. To take advantage of it (to advance) geopolitical goals is not acceptable." The United Nations said in February that around 70,000 people had been killed in Syria's conflict. Since then activists have reported daily death tolls of between 100 and 200. Five million people have fled their homes, including 1.4 million refugees in nearby countries, and financial losses are estimated at many tens of billions of dollars. The Beirut-based U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimates that 400,000 houses have been completely destroyed, 300,000 partially destroyed and a further half million have suffered some kind of structural damage. (Additional reporting by Thomas Grove in Moscow; Editing by Alistair Lyon and Robin Pomeroy) ===============

Exclusive: TNK-BP tycoons turn to ex-BP bosses for help in investing billions

Exclusive: TNK-BP tycoons turn to ex-BP bosses for help in investing billions Wed, Mar 13 11:38 AM EDT By Melissa Akin, Katya Golubkova and Tom Bergin MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Representatives of the Alfa Group, set to earn billion of dollars from the sale of Anglo-Russian oil venture TNK-BP, have sounded out former BP CEOs John Browne and Tony Hayward about investing jointly in international oil projects. German Khan, one of four Soviet-born businessmen who shared control of TNK-BP with BP for a decade, met Browne and Hayward and other potential deal partners in London last month, sources familiar with the discussions said. Khan, who effectively heads TNK-BP and is Mikhail Fridman's partner in the Alfa Group consortium, sought advice and broached potential partnerships, according to the sources. State oil company Rosneft is on the verge of completing a $55 billion takeover of TNK-BP, creating the world's largest publicly listed oil firm by output, pumping the equivalent of 4.6 million barrels of oil per day. The Alfa-Access-Renova consortium will receive a cash consideration of $28 billion for their one-half stake in TNK-BP. Alfa will get half of that and wants to reinvest much of the money in oil and gas, as well as in telecoms, the sources said., "Life after TNK-BP is getting closer - the three groups will go their different ways. Alfa made their name in oil and gas and telecoms, and intend to continue to do so," said one source. The other two partners in AAR, mining tycoon Viktor Vekselberg of the Renova Group and Len Blavatnik of Access Industries, are likely to bow out and focus on other ventures and charity work, sources close to TNK-BP and AAR said. After he left BP, Hayward moved to Vallares, a cash shell founded by financier Nat Rothschild which later bought Turkey's Genel Energy, a producer focused on the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan. Hayward now heads Genel Energy, while Brown, Hayward's predecessor at BP, is a partner in Riverstone, a private equity fund focused on energy, where he is co-head of renewables funds. Browne joined forces with the tycoons to create TNK-BP in 2003 by pooling their oil assets in an unprecedented Russian joint venture, which later descended into a struggle for control and left Hayward, as BP CEO, to wage boardroom warfare with the four men after Browne's departure. Despite the row, the Russian tycoons were always respectful of Browne and his successor Hayward, who later made peace with them. Hayward did not respond to a phone call and a text message, and Browne's office at Riverstone did not return a call. Alfa representatives declined to comment. LIFE AFTER TNK-BP Alfa's investment in mobile network Vimpelcom helped transform it into one of the world's largest telecoms operators and launched Alfa on a series of sector investments. The Russian tycoons' ambition to take their oil business global was a big bone of contention with BP, which saw the TNK-BP venture primarily as a way to tap the vast oil riches of Russia, the world's top crude oil producer. In the wake of a 2008 conflict in which current BP CEO Bob Dudley, then CEO of TNK-BP, was forced to flee Russia, the tycoons won BP's consent to invest in an Amazon exploration venture and buy two BP units in Venezuela and Vietnam. The 2008 conflict marked the decline of the partnership into what BP officials came to term a "strategic misalignment" between the partners, which ended with the sale of TNK-BP to Rosneft, a deal due to conclude in the coming weeks. BP will become a 20 percent shareholder of Rosneft, holder of the world's largest liquid hydrocarbon reserves, and the tycoons will for the most part be free to pursue their global ambitions. "There will be a lot of money left over. German (Khan) will work on oil," said a source close to AAR. Fridman is an experienced strategist with a flair for corporate warfare, while Khan is known as a tough enforcer. Both are veterans of the rough-and-tumble post-Soviet business world with a high tolerance of risk. Khan once told an interviewer that the Hollywood mafia epic the "Godfather" was an "instructive film" and, according to media reports citing Wikileaks, he carried a pistol to dinner. More recently he has striven to restyle himself as an international oil man, polishing his English and adopting a natty dress style. Some of the proceeds of the TNK-BP sale are likely to stay in Russia, where the government is due to approve tax incentives to deploy new oil industry technologies used in the U.S. shale revolution, which could encourage smaller players to try their luck alongside giants like TNK-BP. Latin America could be an initial target for the oil investments, while the fund's geographic scope will span North and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia, the sources said. (Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine in Moscow and Andrew Callus in London; Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Provision of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Start-Up (Isspe) Offshore Garagol-Deniz West Petroleum Development Project in TURKMENISTAN

Provision of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Start-Up (Isspe) Offshore Garagol-Deniz West Petroleum Development Project in TURKMENISTANTI Ref No: 10932367 Date : 29 Mar 2012 Description: Provision of Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Start-Up (Isspe) Offshore Garagol-Deniz West Petroleum Development Project, TURKMENISTAN Deadline: 10 Apr 2012 Document Type Tender Notice ========= The future for gas in Turkmenistan’s portion of the Caspian Sea Oleg Lukin 25 July 2011 | 6:54 GMT Petronas started up gas production in Turkmenistan’s section of the Caspian Sea earlier this month – so how are other projects in the offshore coming along. And what will the companies do with the gas? Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, right, and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the opening ceremony of a Petronas gas refining plant in Kiyanly, Turkmenistan on 12 July. (PA) Related stories •Turkmenistan: reality does not match ambition •Second West-East pipeline’s eastern section goes into operation •Turkmenistan ups natural gas exports 77% for first half 2011 •Third line of Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline to be completed by 2013 Malaysia’s Petronas became the first company to produce natural gas from Turkmenistan’s portion of the Caspian Sea on 12 July. The operators of other production-sharing projects in the Turkmen sector also plan to produce gas, for export to either Iran or Russia and, in future, to EU countries via the Southern Gas Corridor. Offshore gas from Petronas The Malaysian group started up a gas treatment complex and onshore gas terminal near the village of Kiyanly. The facility, which will prepare gas from the Magtymguly offshore field for export, cost $500 million. It has capacity for 5 billion cubic metres a year, upgradable to 10 bcm. After treatment, the gas enters the Turkmenistan gas transportation system via a 53 km pipeline that ties the Kiyanly facilities to the Ekerem-Garabogaz export pipeline. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Malaysian Prime Minister Haji Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak attended the 12 July ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The start of commercial natural gas production on Turkmen’s Caspian shelf has great significance, not only for the national economy, but for Turkmenistan’s policy aimed at ensuring global energy security and wide-ranging international cooperation,” Berdimuhamedow said at the ceremony. The Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea contains more than half of the sea’s oil reserves and about one-fourth of its gas reserves, he said, citing forecasts from geologists. Turkmenistan aims to diversify its natural gas export markets, in line with the nation’s energy strategy. All of Turkmenistan’s gas production previously came from onshore fields. The gas is exported to Russia (on the Central Asia-Center pipeline system), China (Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China pipeline) and Iran (Korpeje-Kordkuy in western Turkmenistan and Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran in eastern Turkmenistan). Turkmenistan exported 22.6 bcm of gas in 2010. There are also plans to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, which will have capacity for 33 bcm per year. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2012 and be completed in 2014-2015. Ashgabat is also looking at opportunities to deliver gas directly to Europe. That would involve construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea to Baku, where it would join the existing Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and be shipped to the planned Nabucco pipeline, scheduled to be built by 2017. The EU is currently in talks with Turkmenistan to secure guarantees of long-term natural gas deliveries. OMV, one of the Nabucco shareholders, believes the pipeline would need to deliver between 10 and 16 bcm of Turkmen gas a year. However, the resource base for future deliveries has not been determined yet. Nabucco might be supplied in the future with gas from Petronas and other foreign operators developing offshore fields in Turkmenistan’s Caspian sector. Exploration success Turkmen geologists and US Western Geco, which researched the Turkmen sector in the early 2000′s, believe the in-place resources total 12 billion tons of oil and 6.5 trillion cubic metres of gas. Thirty-two blocks in the sector were designated for development under production-sharing agreements. Petronas was the first foreign company to conclude a production-sharing agreement (PSA) with Turkmenistan when it signed the contract to Block 1 on the Turkmen shelf in 1996. The 25-year licence to the block is registered with Petronas Charigali (Turkmenistan) (PCT), the 100% project operator. Block 1 covers 1,900 square km and includes the Magtymguly (formerly East Livanov), Ovez (Central Livanov) and Diyarbekir (Barinov) fields. In the 15 years since the PSA was signed, comprehensive seismic surveying and the drilling of 14 exploration wells and one appraisal well indicated major oil and gas reserves at the three known fields and the newly discovered Mashrykov and Garagol-Deniz fields. Recoverable reserves in Block 1 total about 75 million tons of oil and 245 bcm of natural gas, Petronas says. An appraisal well, which it plans to drill at Garagol-Deniz this year, is expected to increase those totals. Petronas began test production at Diyarbekir in 2006. Production currently totals 300,000 tons per year. Commercial oil production is slated to commence in 2013. Given the major gas reserves discovered in the survey, PCT and Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources signed an agreement on the development of gas fields and the construction of the gas treatment station and onshore terminal in Kiyanly in 2006. Construction of the facilities began in June 2007. The gas project will see construction of the Magtymguly Collector Riser Platform-A, from which hydrocarbons will be delivered to shore via 73 km undersea pipelines for gas, condensate and monoethylene glycol. Phase I of the gas project at Magtymguly will see production of 5 bcm a year. Volumes will rise to 10 bcm a year as production from new fields is added in the next two-three years, Petronas said. Petronas plans to produce 2.4 million tons of gas condensate a year in Phase I, subsequently rising to 4 million tons a year. After removal of natural gas liquids, the stabilized condensate will be marketed as Kiyanly Light crude oil. The oil will be stored for later export on tankers. Offshore gas export routes During Najib’s visit to Turkmenistan, PCT signed a contract on gas sales with the Turkmen Presidential State Agency for Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources and the state oil company, Turkmengaz. The contract will provide for sale of 5 bcm of gas a year delivered to the Ekerem-Garbogaz pipeline. From there, the gas could be exported on the Central Asia-Center-3 pipeline (for export to Russia Kazakhstan) or to Korpeje-Kordkuy (Iran). In the first phase, the gas would initially be sold on the domestic market. Later on, gas might be exported to Iran and Russia as Turkmengaz sees fit. The Malaysian side has not disclosed the price that Turkmengaz will pay Petronas for the gas. Potential offshore gas sellers Another company that will begin supplying gas from offshore fields is Dragon Oil, a UAE-headquartered company that began developing the Cheleken block in 1999. Cheleken includes the Dzheitune and Dzhygalybeg fields with reserves amounting to 639 million barrels of oil and 3 tcf (84.96 bcm) of gas, according to Dragon Oil data. So far the company has only produced oil: about 2.2 million tons in 2010. It flares most of the associated petroleum gas it extracts. Dragon Oil drew up a project for commercial use of the gas in 2009, which targets production of 2 bcm of commercial gas, between 75,000 and 100,000 tons of LNG and approximately 300,000 to 400,000 tons of gas condensate. The project includes laying a 30 inch- (76 cm) diameter pipeline to shore and the construction of a gas treatment station and an LNG plant. The gas treatment station will separate out the condensate and propane-butane fractions to produce dry gas. Investment will amount to $600 million to $700 million in the 2010-2012 period. Dragon Oil planned to launch the gas project in 2009, based on the assumption Ashgabat would need the gas, given its agreement to export 70 bcm a year to Russia up to 2028 that commenced in 2010. However, the decline in gas prices following the onset of the global financial crisis caused Gazprom to reduce imports of Turkmen gas to 10.5 bcm in 2009-2011, compared with 40 bcm in 2008. However, Dragon Oil will have an opportunity to begin selling its gas – if not this year then in the next few years – thanks to Ashgabat’s 2010 agreement with Iran to boost exports to 14 bcm a year (from 8 bcm previously) and to 20 bcm at an unspecified point in the future. The agreement accompanied the completion of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline with capacity for 12.5 bcm a year. The Korpeje-Kordkuy pipeline in the Caspian coast region has capacity for 14 bcm a year, of which 8 bcm can be supplied from onshore fields, leaving 6 bcm of capacity available for gas produced at offshore fields. In addition, if Turkmenistan signs a long-term supply contract with Nabucco, Ashgabat will want to purchase gas from Dragon Oil and Petronas to export on the planned system to Europe. A Russian consortium also plans to produce gas on Turkmenistan’s shelf. Itera signed a PSA to develop Block 21 in the southwestern portion of the shelf in September 2009. Recoverable reserves in the contract territory amount to 219 million tons of oil and 92 bcm of gas, according to preliminary estimates. Development will cost an estimated $6 billion. In November 2009, Russian state-owned Zarubezhneft accepted an offer from Itera to take a 51% stake in the project, an alliance that the Turkmen side has approved. Zarubezhneft created a new company, Nestro-Caspian, which will become the operator of the PSA once Turkmen government formalities are completed. Itera and Zarubezhneft invited Rosneft to join the project in April 2011. Ashgabat is expected to provide clearance for the deal in April 2011. Geochemical and 2D and 3D seismic surveying will be carried out over the 1,200-square km territory in 2011-2012. The first exploration well will be drilled in 2012. Three wells will be drilled in the exploration period. Production is projected to peak at 11 million tons of oil and 4.5 bcm of gas a year. Itera will use some of the gas to supply a nitrate fertilizer plant with capacity for 650,000 tons of urea a year that it plans to build. It will sell the rest. Another property, Block 23, is forecast to contain major gas reserves. The 940 square km territory, located in the south-eastern portion of the shelf, is being developed by German RWE, one of the Nabucco shareholders. A subsidiary, RWE Dea AG, signed a PSA for the project in July 2009. It will conduct seismic surveying over 400 square km and drill three exploration wells in 2011-2012. Investment will total an estimated $1 billion. The outlook for the combined Block 11-12 is less clear. The participants in the production-sharing project include German operator Wintershall, Danish Maersk Oil and Indian Oil and Natural Gas Company. Maersk signed the PSA in 2002 and Wintershall and ONGC joined later. 2D seismic surveys indicated major oil and gas traps in the contract territory, including the Garadashlyk structure. However, two exploration wells did not yield commercial volumes. 3D seismic surveys are currently being conducted at the fields. Turkmenistan has plans to conclude PSAs on other gas blocks in the Caspian. Talks are underway with Total, GDF, BP, OMV, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Marathon Oil Corp, as well as with KazMunayGas. In August 2010, President Berdimuhamedow ordered the government to expedite a selection of companies to develop Blocks 19 and 20, for which proposals have been received from Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and UAE-based Mubadala Development. The Turkmen sector of the Caspian is shaping up as a resource base for new gas pipelines supplying Europe, particularly the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, whose design capacity has not been determined yet. Another pipeline project – the Caspian gas pipeline – which will see construction of a pipeline with capacity of 30 bcm a year through Kazakhstan and Russia, is under consideration. Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed an agreement on construction of the pipeline in 2007. However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Berdimuhamedow decided at a meeting in October last year to halt the project, pending growth in demand for gas in Europe. ====== India : India and Kuwait to endeavor finalizing Joint Venture Projects in oil & Gas Sector Publish Date : 13-Mar-2013 India and Kuwait today resolved to expedite discussions for promoting joint venture projects in various areas of oil & gas sector including those in the upstream & downstream activities. Speaking at a meeting with Sheikh Nasser Sabah AL-Ahmed AK-Jaber AL-Sabah, Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs, Kuwait, here today, Dr. M.Veerappa Moily, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas said that the two sides should give new momentum to the warm & friendly long-standing relations. He said we should move fast beyond discussions and finalize the projects for cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Dr. Moily invited Kuwaiti companies to invest in the opportunities in a number Petro-Chemical projects, refinery projects, and upstream-exploration & production ventures in India. The Minister cited examples of up-coming Petro-Chemical Projects at Dahej, Mangalore and Paradeep which offer possibilities for Kuwaiti companies to pick up stakes for mutually beneficial cooperation. Similarly our companies would be keen to participate and invest in various projects in Kuwait’s E&P, refinery or Petro-Chemical sectors. The Minister also proposed participation of EIL in the development of Kuwait’s oil industry projects. Sheikh Nasser Sabah AL-Ahmed AK-Jaber AL-Sabah welcomed the proposal deeper cooperation between the oil sector companies of India and Kuwait. He suggested that the experts of the two sides should sit together to deliberate on specific projects. He invited representatives Indian Oil PSUs to visit-Kuwait for taking forward the initiative. The Kuwait Minister assured his full support to the on-going and future cooperation in the sector. Sheikh Al-Sabah was accompanied during the meeting among others by Mr. Farook AL-Zanki, CEO, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. Dr. Moily on the other hand was accompanied by Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Shri Satish C Mehta, Chairman Indian Oil Shri R. S. Butola, CMD EIL Shri A. K. Purwaha, MD ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) Shri D. K. Sarraf and Director (HR) ONGC Shri K S Jamestin. ====== Dragon inviting tenders for Turkmen offshore rigs, platforms ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan – Oil Production from the Cheleken Contract Area in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea averaged 70,600 b/d in the first quarter of 2012, according to operator Dragon Oil. This represents a 22% increase compared to the corresponding quarter in 2011. Five new development and appraisal wells have been put into production so far this year, including a side track of an existing well in the Dzheitune (Lam) field. Three new development wells are currently being drilled in this field: 13/171, 28/169, and C/170, by two platform-based rigs and a jackup. However, delivery of the new build jackup Caspian Driller is delayed by subcontractor issues and the rig now is expected toward end-2012, ready for drilling in 1Q 2013. It will be leased for five years, with an option for a further two years. To support the planned drilling campaign in the years ahead, Dragon is seeking to lease further platform-based rigs. It is tendering for two land rigs and aims to secure at least one by the end of the year, which could be ready for drilling early next year. Dragon has also started the tendering process for up to two newbuild jackups, and aims to award contracts toward the end of 2012. Construction should then take two to three years. Ongoing infrastructure projects include construction and installation of additional platforms for drilling new development wells, in-field pipelines, and a facilities upgrade to cater for future growth in production. The Dzhygalybeg (Zhdanov) A platform for block 4 should be delivered by the end of this year and be ready to drill in 1Q 2013. Work on the Dzhygalybeg (Zhdanov) B platform is progressing as planned and the facility should be ready for drilling during the first half of 2013. Dragon expects construction of the new Dzhygalybeg (Zhdanov) block 4 gathering platform and installation of associated in-field pipelines to be concluded during the second half of this year. Tendering has started to select contractors to build and install the Dzheitune (Lam) D and E platforms and associated pipelines, and awards are due by end-2012. These platforms will be suitable for drilling with a jackup, with eight slots each initially. Later this year, Dragon plans to start the tendering process for construction and installation contracts of the Dzheitune (Lam) F, G, and H platforms and associated pipelines. The Dzheitune (Lam) F facility will accommodate a platform-based rig with initially 16 slots, while the Dzheitune (Lam) G and H platforms will suit deployment of a jackup and will have eight slots each. Dragon will also invite international contractors to build a fabrication yard in the Hazar harbor area in Turkmenistan, offering expanded load-out capabilities, related facilities, and berths, with completion by end-2013. Earlier this year, the company issued a contract for a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study of another subsea trunkline to transport oil and gas onshore to accommodate planned production growth beyond 2015. This is subject to the outcome of a water injection pilot scheme over the next two-three years, initial flow rates in the Dzhygalybeg (Zhdanov) field, and overall performance from the area. Over the next two to three years, Dragon Oil plans to undertake a berths upgrade, channel dredging, and breakwater construction at Aladja Jetty and in the harbor area to enhance its operational and crude oil loading capacity. Finally, Dragon plans to triple crude oil tank storage capacity at the Central Processing Facility: a FEED study is under way. 4/16/2012 =============

UPDATE 2-Hunting cautious on shrinking gas extraction market

UPDATE 2-Hunting cautious on shrinking gas extraction market Thu, Mar 07 07:04 AM EST * Pretax profit jumps 55 percent in 2012 * Hunting sees slow start to 2013, improving in H2 * Expects more competition stemming from weak gas price * Plans final 2012 dividend of 14.0 pence By Alice Baghdjian LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - British oil services firm Hunting reported a jump in 2012 profits but gave a cautious outlook for 2013, saying low prices were discouraging drilling for gas in the United States, shrinking the market for extraction services. "There is a smaller market - instead of rigs chasing for (both) oil and gas, all they can chase for is the oil market...We'll continue to achieve our market share but will no doubt meet increased competition," Hunting's finance director Peter Rose told Reuters. Hunting posted a 55 percent jump in pretax profit for 2012 to 123.6 million pounds ($186 million), compared with the 79.8 million it made a year earlier. Profits were bolstered by activity in the Gulf of Mexico returning to levels seen before BP's 2010 oil spill, stable U.S. crude oil prices, as well as a full year's contribution from acquisitions completed in 2011, the company said. Shares in the firm were down 1.88 percent by 1130 GMT to 914 pence, having risen some 18 percent so far this year, outperforming the broader sector. The company, which manufactures products used by oil firms to construct and maintain wells, has benefited from huge growth in demand for its products from operators in the booming U.S. shale oil and gas market in recent years. Oil and gas firms are increasingly reliant on services companies to help extract the shale hydrocarbons, which can be more difficult and costly to remove than conventional oil and gas. Hunting said an increase in active offshore drilling units in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere helped to offset the shift from gas to liquids in North America, with a 13 percent decline in the number of active onshore rig units there in 2012. The company said that the first six months of 2013 would be flat, but added business should pick up later in the year, alongside a modest increase in onshore drilling throughout 2013. "While the Board is mindful of the current geopolitical and economic issues which prevail, it is confident of delivering a further satisfactory year," Hunting's chief executive Dennis Proctor said in a statement. A surprise profit warning in January from Saipem, Europe's biggest company in the industry, sent shockwaves through what was seen as a buoyant sector. A vague outlook forecast from peer Petrofac last week also weighed on the sector.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SARB offshore project given 2016 production target

SARB offshore project given 2016 production target by Arabian Oil & Gas Staff on Sep 5, 2011 Be the first to comment Ali Rashid Al Jarwan, ADMA-OPCO's CEO. ADMA OPCO's Satah Al Razboot (SARB) full field development has been approved by ADNOC to proceed with high priority in order to start production by early 2016, according to the offshore production company's annual review. The SARB Project Team was formed under the sponsorship of ADMA-OPCO’s CEO Ali Al Jarwan, and the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) was awarded in 2010. The annual report reveals the target was to complete the FEED activities by April 2011. The developed scheme is based on building two artificial islands for drilling instead of the conventional Wellhead Towers approach and directs the well fluid through subsea pipelines to a new facility to be installed on Zirku Island for processing, storage and export of the SARB production of 100 MBD of crude oil. An option to export crude through Jabbel Al Dhanna is being studied. This facility will also handle the Umm Lulu production of 105 MBD in addition to the Gas and Water Injection requirement for SARB Field. ADNOC is scheduled to complete the artificial islands construction by end 2012. The layout of the falcon shaped islands has been finalized and an optimum well location for drilling and SIMOPS has been identified. The current plan is to drill 44 wells from SARB 1 and 42 wells from SARB 2. The First Stage Separation study concluded that no separation will be introduced to the artificial islands in compliance with the Select Stage findings. A combined oil and gas pipeline option has been adopted and two 26 inch combined fully rated oil and gas pipelines- one from each island (SARB 1 & SARB 2) - to Zirku Island have been selected. The start-up of drilling by a new onshore rig suitable for extended reach drilling is targeted for August 2013 from SARB 1 and by January 2014 for SARB 2. =========== Abu Dhabi receives bids on Sarb and Umm al-Lulu projects 6 November 2012, 11:58 GMT | By Mark Watts Contractors submit commercial bids for two major packages on offshore oil fields Abu Dhabi has received commercial bids on two major packages to develop its Satah al-Razboot (Sarb) and Umm al-Lulu offshore oil fields, according to sources close to the bidding process. Offshore producer Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (Adma-Opco) tendered the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts in the first quarter of 2012 and received technical proposals in June. The projects are part of Adma-Opco’s plan to add 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) of additional production from four new offshore fields, with about 100,000 b/d coming from both Umm al-Lulu and Sarb. Adma-Opco received bids from the same group of contractors for Sarb full field development package three on 5 November and Umm al-Lulu full field package one on 6 November, according sources from three bidding companies. The contractors are: Hyundai Heavy industries (South Korea) Leighton Offshore (Australia) McDermott (US) NPCC (UAE) Petrofac (UK) Saipem (Italy) Samsung Engineering (South Korea) Technip (France) Sarb package three covers offshore pipelines and platforms, while Umm al-Lulu package one includes the construction of wellhead towers and platforms. Commercial bids on the much-larger package four of the Sarb full field development, which covers the construction of the project’s main processing plant are expected to be submitted on 26 November. Meanwhile, Adma-Opco has not yet issued a deadline for bids on Umm al-Lulu package two. Adma-Opco is majority-owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), with minority stakes held by the UK’s BP, France’s Total and Japan Oil Development Company (Jodco). Offshore developments are playing a key role in Abu Dhabi’s efforts to increase its crude production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) from today’s estimated 2.6 million b/d. Abu Dhabi’s Zakum Development Company (Zadco) is expected to award an estimated $4bn EPC contract on its Upper Zakum oil field development by the end of the year ================= FACTBOX-UAE oil and gas concessions Wed, Sep 22 03:58 AM EDT Sept 22 (Reuters) - Multinational companies hold large stakes in concessions that pump most of the oil and gas in the United Arab Emirates, the world's third-largest oil exporter. The UAE has said it aims to increase its oil production capacity to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2.7 million bpd now and it will be reliant on these concessions for the increase. [ID:nLDE6740HT] The UAE's concessions system allows oil and gas producers to acquire their own equity hydrocarbons from an OPEC country but in return they have to provide much of the investment for new production and agree margins analysts say are very tight by international standards. Following are details of the four largest concessions, with capacity based on official information and industry estimates. ABU DHABI COMPANY FOR ONSHORE OIL OPERATIONS (ADCO) * Capacity around 1.4-1.5 million bpd. * Concession expires 2014. * ADCO has said it aims to boost capacity to 1.8 million bpd by 2017, spending over $5 billion on projects. * Operates onshore and in shallow coastal waters of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. * Oil output is mainly from five fields: Asab, Bab, Bu Hasa, Sahil and Shah. All fields are linked to the storage and shipping facilities located at Jabel Dhana, where tankers load Murban crude for export. * Oil production also comes from four other fields: Jarn Yaphoure, Al Dabbiya, Rumaitha and Shanayel. * Original concession signed January 1939 with Petroleum Development (Trucial Coast). In 1962, the company became known as the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company (ADPC), and in 1979, it became known as the ADCO. * Equity stakes: - Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) 60 percent - BP Plc (BP.L) 9.5 percent - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) 9.5 percent - Total SA (TOTF.PA) 9.5 percent - Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) 9.5 percent - Partex Oil and Gas 2 percent. ABU DHABI MARINE OPERATING COMPANY (ADMA-OPCO) * Capacity around 550,000 bpd. * Concession expires 2018 * First offshore oil discovery in Abu Dhabi was made in 1958 at Umm Shaif. Operations focused on offshore areas of Abu Dhabi. * Oil and gas production comes from two major fields, Umm Shaif and Lower Zakum. Crude is transferred to Das Island, for processing, storing and export. * Equity stakes: - ADNOC 60 percent: - BP 14.66 percent - Total 13.33 percent - Japanese Oil Development Co (Jodco) (owned by INPEX (1605.T)) 12 percent. ZAKUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY (ZADCO) * Capacity 550,000 to 600,000 bpd. * Upper Zakum concession expires 2026, other fields 2018. * Zadco was established in 1977 to develop and operate the Upper Zakum field, which Zadco ranks as the world's fourth largest. It also operates Umm Al Dalkh and Satah fields. * The Upper Zakum concession was extended to 2026. * Equity stakes: - ADNOC 60 percent - Exxon Mobil 28 percent (Exxon stake taken January 2006 as part of plans to boost output from Upper Zakum to 750,000 bpd by 2010 from 500,000 bpd.) - Jodco 12 percent ABU DHABI GAS INDUSTRIES LTD (GASCO) * Set up in 1978, Gasco has the concession to handle gas processing and natural gas liquid extraction operations from the UAE's onshore fields. It draws gas from various fields, including Asab, Habshan-Bab, BuHasa and Ruwais. * The UAE holds the world's seventh-largest gas reserves, at around 227.1 trillion cubic feet, according to BP statistics. Much of the UAE's gas is sour. * The Gasco concession was renewed in April 2009 on a 20-year contract backdated to start in 2008 so is due to expire in 2028. * Equity stakes - ADNOC 68 percent - Shell 15 percent - Total 15 percent - Partex 2 percent OTHER UAE CONCESSIONS * In addition to Adco, Adma-Opco, Zadco and Gasco, the UAE also has a handful of much smaller concessions, including one granted to Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N), but none of them yet produces large quantities of oil or gas. (Reporting by Simon Webb, Christopher Johnson, David Turner, Amena Bakr and Barbara Lewis; editing by William Hardy) ====================== UAE criticizes Iran lawmakers' visit to disputed islands Mon, May 06 10:12 AM EDT DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates criticized on Monday a visit by Iranian lawmakers to Gulf islands near the Strait of Hormuz at the center of a territorial dispute between the two countries, who are both trade partners and strategic rivals. Tension between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims in a Middle East shaken by two years of political turmoil has sharpened the 42-year-old dispute, complicating an ambivalent relationship in which national pride has vied uneasily with economic pragmatism. About 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports flow through Hormuz. Iran threatened last year to block the Strait as tensions rose with the West over Tehran's disputed nuclear program. "The Foreign Ministry strongly condemns and categorically rejects a visit by an Iranian parliament delegation to the islands," the UAE state news agency WAM said. "This visit flagrantly infringes on the sovereignty of the UAE and undermines all exerted efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution for this issue," it said. The islands, Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb, are claimed by both countries but have been held by Iran since 1971, shortly before the seven Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and formed the UAE, now allied with Washington. There was no immediate official comment from Iran. But a report on an Iranian website calling itself the Young Journalists Club said that a delegation of Iranian parliamentarians made a one-day visit to the three islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Sirri on April 25. Sirri is not claimed by the UAE. Iran says its sovereignty over the Gulf islands it holds is not negotiable but has called for talks with the UAE to clear up "misunderstandings". A senior UAE foreign ministry official met Iran's UAE ambassador to discussed "important issues of mutual concern", WAM said. (Reporting by Mahmoud Habboush and Yeganeh Torbati, Editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich)