BHP Billiton announced on February 9, that the Board has approved expenditure of US$2.2 billion for its share of the development of the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the Gulf of Mexico.
BHP Billiton holds a 23.9 per cent participating interest in the Mad Dog field. BP, the operator, holds a 60.5 per cent participating interest, and Union Oil Company of California, an affiliate of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., holds the remaining 15.6 per cent participating interest. During the fourth quarter of 2016, BP sanctioned the Mad Dog Phase 2 project.
Mad Dog Phase 2, located in the Green Canyon area in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, is a southern and southwestern extension of the existing Mad Dog field. The project includes a new floating production facility with the capacity to produce up to 140,000 gross barrels of crude oil per day from up to 14 production wells. Production is expected to begin in the 2022 financial year.
Steve Pastor, BHP Billiton President Operations Petroleum, said “Mad Dog Phase 2 is one of the largest, discovered and undeveloped resources in the Gulf of Mexico, one of BHP Billiton’s preferred conventional deep-water basins. It offers an attractive investment opportunity for BHP Billiton and aligns with our strategic objective to build our conventional portfolio through the development of large, long-life, high-quality resources.”
Leading international energy logistics provider Peterson has signed a teaming partnership agreement with Port Cameron LLC, to develop a state-of-the-art port and supply base facility in the Gulf of Mexico. Peterson will provide logistics consultancy services to support the planning and initial development of Port Cameron, a 500-acre deepwater staging port situated in Cameron, Louisiana, serving the Gulf of Mexico.
Under the agreement, Peterson will have the option to lease up to 1.2 million square feet of space in Port Cameron Logistic Center and will also serve as port manager. In this role, Peterson will provide operational support and port management, including supporting Port Cameron with strategic development.
Erwin Kooij, CEO, Peterson Offshore Group commented: “This agreement demonstrates Peterson’s commitment to working with key partners to extend our operations in the region and we look forward to supporting Port Cameron to develop a state-of-the-art port to serve industry in the Gulf of Mexico.
“As well as international best practice, we bring a solid understanding of processes and systems to optimize port and supply base operations; essential at a time when the industry is looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
“Being involved from start-up gives us the opportunity to share our learning and experience gained over many years of managing port and supply base operations in major strategic energy locations around the world.”
Bud Viator, Chairman of Port Cameron Executive Committee, added: “We are very excited about this new partnership and believe it will be mutually beneficial to both parties. Peterson’s knowledge of integrated logistics services for the energy industry will lend itself to Port Cameron establishing itself as a premiere shore based intermodal port.”
“Port Cameron presents energy operators and service companies in the Gulf with a tremendous opportunity to position their business in a premier deepwater oil and gas port, centrally located to conveniently serve offshore installations in the region,” explains Ted Falgout, Executive Director for Port Cameron.
Upon completion, Port Cameron will be the largest private energy services facility on the Gulf Coast, with more than 21,000 linear feet of bulkhead lots on dredged slips of 500-feet and 700-feet wide and dredged depths of 33 feet.
Fugro has secured its continued utilisation of high performance offshore IRM vessel, REM Etive, and has finalised a purchase agreement at conditions significantly more beneficial than a renewed charter agreement, with owner Solstad. The move supports a portfolio of IRM contracts being executed by Fugro in the Asia Pacific region and is expected to strengthen the company’s position in relation to future subsea inspection business in the area.
Suited to a wide range of offshore operations, REM Etive has been operating in Southeast Asian waters for Fugro under a charter agreement since 2007 and is mobilised with a comprehensive range of Fugro equipment for specialised subsea inspection and field support projects. Retaining the benefits of the vessel’s assured performance and notable versatility will result in seamless project execution and provide the continuity that is essential in operational management.
“We are excited to secure the REM Etive and to continue her deployment for our clients in the APAC region,” said Mark Heine, Divisional Director Marine and member of Fugro’s Board of Management. “With three multi-year IRM contracts already in place, two of which were awarded in recent weeks, this vessel is the best fit with our fleet to enable us to continue our delivery excellence and efficient performance in subsea IRM projects.”
REM Etive is a field proven design and has recorded many hours of safe operation with very high up time in a wide range of weather conditions. The 93-metre vessel is a significant element in the delivery of services from Fugro’s marine asset integrity business line. Together with Fugro’s highly experienced personnel, she is capable of supporting a comprehensive range of services throughout the lifecycle of a subsea development.
Oceaneering International, Inc. (“Oceaneering”) (NYSE:OII) announced that Roderick A. Larson, who currently serves as Oceaneering’s President, has been designated to succeed M. Kevin McEvoy as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), immediately following Oceaneering’s 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which is scheduled to be held on May 5, 2017.
John R. Huff, nonexecutive Chairman of Oceaneering, said, “After 38 years of dedicated service to Oceaneering in numerous positions, Kevin has led the company with skill and integrity, continuing to drive safety and positioning us for growth and change. The board and all of Oceaneering are proud of the accomplishments Kevin has achieved during his tenure.”
M. Kevin McEvoy
Mr. McEvoy said, “I am very pleased to turn over the CEO role to Rod. Rod is a proven leader who has the experience and track record of delivering results. I know we can count on Rod’s direction, supported by a strong management team, to maintain focus and momentum on Oceaneering’s strategy of providing services and products that facilitate deepwater exploration and production.”
Mr. Larson has served as President since February 2015 and is expected to continue in that role as CEO. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from May 2012 to February 2015. Prior to joining Oceaneering, Mr. Larson was with Baker Hughes Incorporated for more than 20 years, where he held various positions, including serving as President of Latin America. He currently serves on the board of Newpark Resources, Inc.
Mr. McEvoy will continue serving on Oceaneering’s board as a Class III Director until at least May 2019. It is anticipated that Mr. Larson will join Oceaneering’s board concurrent with his appointment as President and CEO.
Samoco Oil Tools, a leading developer of tools for the oil and gas industry, has announced the launch of OneTrip® to greatly reduce the time and costs associated with mandatory Blowout Prevention (BOP) testing. The company collaborated with Shell Offshore Engineering to engineer, manufacture and test the new tool.
Nearly seven years ago, federally-mandated testing protocol required operators to test the integrity of their BOP equipment every 14 days. While operators have complied for years, no one in the industry has been able to complete the test in one trip, until now.
“These stricter protocols are essential to a rig’s safety and ultimate success as testing detects potential problems that can endanger rig workers and the environment,” said MJ Hellail, CEO of Samoco Oil Tools. “BOP testing is also very expensive for energy producers. Operators must interrupt rig operations for 36 to 72 hours each time they perform BOP testing. That is where we identified the need for a solution like OneTrip.”
Traditional methods perform three separately staged subtests of the BOP’s large RAM, small RAM, and sheering capabilities which require testing tools to run multiple “trips” along the BOP stack. OneTrip’s proprietary design enables the testing of all three during a single trip down the hole.
OneTrip’s additional BOP testing capabilities include:
- A low torque, high-pressure Seal design to ensure a resilient downhole seal that can withstand harsh subsea conditions
- Ability to withstand 25,000psi Test & sustain a load up to 1.2M lbs.
- Technology that holds OneTrip downhole until BOP test results are confirmed satisfactory
“OneTrip is proven to provide significant savings to drilling operators by cutting BOP testing time in half,” said Hellail. “Plus, it has a universal design that performs with any BOP configuration. We can customize the tool’s dimensions to match a rig’s BOP stack specifications.”
About Samoco Oil Tools
Samoco Oil Tools is a smart, sophisticated R&D company that engineers and manufactures technologically-advanced tools for the oil and gas industry. Working in collaboration with oil and gas majors and leading research universities, Samoco designs innovative, application-specific tools that are proven to enhance both offshore and onshore drilling operations by providing solutions to challenging problems and saving operators significant time and money. By re-imagining conventional design and employing state-of-the-art materials originally engineered for the aerospace industry, Samoco is building tools for the oil and gas sector that are stronger, faster, lighter and easier for crews to manage.
The maritime and energy industries are looking to boost their profitability and explore new business models through digitalization. However, companies are increasingly recognizing the need to overcome data quality issues and manage the ownership, control, sharing and use of data. To facilitate frictionless connections between different industry players, domain experts and data scientists, DNV GL is launching an industry data platform.
Remi Eriksen, President and CEO, DNV GL
Remi Eriksen, President and CEO of DNV GL, explains: “The potential for smarter use of data in our industries is enormous. Companies have always turned to us for independent, expert assessments and best practices – to build trust in the safety, efficiency and sustainability of their physical assets or operations. Now we are exercising this same role in the digital domain with our Veracity industry data platform, designed to help companies leverage the ever-increasing amount of data from multiple sources. This is an additional way of fulfilling our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment.”
DNV GL is developing the platform by working together with several industry leaders on big data projects in pursuit of reduced downtime, improved safety, predictive maintenance, performance forecasting, energy efficiency and real-time risk management.
“This is the start of transforming some core elements of our 150-year-old company into a global digital-platform business. It will not happen overnight, but we have a unique starting point. DNV GL is already a trusted custodian of asset and performance data from ships, power grids, wind and solar farms, oil and gas installations, fish farms and the healthcare sector. That's why we're building an industry data platform in collaboration with Microsoft Azure and other leading companies. DNV GL is not looking to own data, but to unlock, qualify, combine and prepare data for analytics and benchmarking,” says Remi Eriksen.
“A key learning from the big data projects we have worked on so far is that data quality is a major barrier to overcome. A distinctive element of our platform is that we combine domain expertise and data science to put quality assurance of data – the veracity of data - at the center and to facilitate open, industry-wide collaboration and innovation,” says Lars Petter Blikom, who is heading DNV GL’s digital platform business. “The data scientists and developers we have been working with across industries universally agree that these are key issues that need to be tackled collaboratively.”
“Data is the key ingredient for companies in any industry looking to transform their business, said Michel Van der Bel, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft EMEA. “DNV GL has a high level of trust within the industries it serves based on its strong track record in handling customer data. Offering its customers more sophisticated data insights through Microsoft’s cloud will help companies in the maritime and energy industries drive digital innovation scenarios like predicting maintenance issues to reduce downtime to improve business outcomes.”
Trinidad Offshore Fabricators Unlimited (TOFCO) recently completed work for the Juniper offshore gas platform topsides at its facility in La Brea, Trinidad. The project marks a milestone for Trinidad and Tobago as it is the largest offshore structure ever fabricated in the country.
Juniper is a Normally Unmanned Installation (NUI) measuring 145 feet to the top of the helideck and weighing approximately 5,200 short tons. It was recently installed 50 miles off the southeast coast of Trinidad at a water depth of 360 feet. An anticipated production capacity of 590 million standard cubic feet per day will flow through the Mahogany B offshore hub.
Projects of this size and complexity pose unique challenges. However, in the end these challenges were overcome and TOFCO not only delivered this historic project safely and within budget, it was also fully completed and pre-commissioned prior to the scheduled sail-away date. Even with the aggressive schedule, quality was not sacrificed and global benchmarks were exceeded by working more than 2 million man hours on Juniper without a lost-time incident.
Over the past decade, TOFCO has installed management systems and processes to maximize efficiency and ensure quality control for all projects. As a result, the company has successfully fabricated 10 major offshore structures, essentially establishing the offshore fabrication industry in Trinidad and Tobago and developing a base of skilled workers.
The company relied on extensive communication and planning as well as a team of skilled workers and craftsmen, 98 percent of whom were native Trinidadians — most from La Brea and surrounding areas. More than 750 workers were engaged on the project at its peak. TOFCO’s employee mentoring model has empowered its workers by providing internationally accepted skill set training, education and career development.
“The construction of the Juniper topside by TOFCO is as much a victory for Trinidad and Tobago and the community of LaBrea as it is for the companies involved in the project,” said TOFCO General Manager Javed Mohammed. “We look forward to taking this success into securing future projects.”
Fabrication of the Juniper topsides was significant for the Trinidad and Tobago economy because it provided local contracting and employment opportunities in a wide range of crafts and disciplines, helping to strengthen and stimulate the domestic oil and gas services supply chain. When Juniper begins production, it is expected to help close shortfalls experienced by the downstream and LNG processing plants.
ELA Container Offshore GmbH delivered two Offshore Living Quarters to Belgium based G-Tec Offshore s.a. The containers were placed on board of the multi-purpose drilling vessel MV ‘Omalius’ off the coast of France. The solution on deck turned out to be very successful as the units have also been used for other projects since then.
Currently the MV Omalius is working in the construction phase of the Merkur wind farm, located approximately 45km north of the islands of Borkum, Germany where GeoSea, Belgian Deme Group’s ’s specialist will realize the construction of Merkur Offshore. The wind farm will be one of Germany’s largest wind farms with 66 offshore turbines of 6 megawatt each capable of providing clean energy to power 500,000 homes.
The ‘Omalius’ is a 275ft DP2+ multi-purpose drilling vessel suitable for offshore geotechnical site investigation, drilling works, ROV inspection and other related offshore support.
G-tec provides specialized geotechnical engineering services, as well as marine geophysical surveys and marine environmental surveys. In particular, their services are targeted to customers active in dredging, offshore renewable energy, ports & coastal development, infrastructure & civil engineering, pipelines & cables, and mining & quarries.
The ‘Omalius’ is a 275ft DP2+ multi-purpose drilling vessel suitable for offshore geotechnical site investigation, drilling works, ROV inspection and other related offshore support. The containers were needed instantly the moment the vessel was almost ready to start the project. The space on deck was limited due to the fact a lot of machinery was installed for this particular project. “After inspection on site we managed to find the best location suitable for the expansion and the preparations on board began instantly”, explains Frank ter Haak, Business Development Manager Netherlands at ELA Container Offshore GmbH.
The containers were placed on board of the multi-purpose drilling vessel MV ‘Omalius’ off the coast of France to provide additional accommodation.
Both containers were pre-assembled each with a so called Gangway Container attached to each front end in order to provide easy access to each container from the deck. ELA took care of loading of the containers at the premises in Haren, Germany and also secured them for transportation.
“During past offshore projects we recognized the need to deliver containers immediately or just within a few days. To be able to promise and realize an on-time delivery to our clients, we start producing new containers for our fleet as soon as stock is low. Again this was a perfect example of how quick we can provide a solution to our clients. In the meantime we also have used containers on stock that we can offer to our clients at attractive rates”, says Managing Director of ELA Container Offshore GmbH, Hans Gatzemeier.
ELA Container has already gained diverse experience in the Offshore-Wind and Offshore Oil & Gas Industry. Whether on pontoons, transformer platforms, rigs or supply vessels - ELA Container is the ideal partner, offering tailor-made concepts for all requirements in the form of Living Quarters, Offices, Dining Rooms, Galleys, Laundries, Recreation or Locker Rooms and all types of Carrying Units. ELA Offshore containers are equipped with all the necessary utilities. This guarantees, in combination with all ELA Offshore features, a long service life, functionality and comfort.
The high quality Containers are “Made in Germany” according to German quality standards and possess all necessary certifications such as DNV 2.7-1 / EN 12079-1, DNV 2.7-2, based on SOLAS, IMO FSS Code and MLC as well as CSC and are approved from several IACS-companies. In terms of fire resistance, an A60 insulation provides high safety standards. Every container will be checked before delivery. Depending on customer requirements, ELA Offshore Containers are individually customized, immediately operational and are available at short notice.
The main features of ELA offshore accommodations include:
- Flexibility on demand
- One base type with various accommodation solutions
- Easy handling thanks to standard 20 ft High-Cube ISO standard dimensions
- Highest quality standards
Chet Morrison Contractors announces that it has achieved a safety milestone, recording zero injuries and zero incidents for 2016. The company also posted zero motor vehicle accidents, fires, spills or damage to the environment and incurred zero regulatory fines.
This record covers approximately 800,000 man-hours on more than 300 projects for nearly 100 customers. It includes all services and operations, such as diving, heavy construction, fabrication and deepwater riser services. Moreover, it was achieved despite widespread spending reductions across the industry.
“Health, Safety, & the Environment (HSE) are core values for us,” said Chet Morrison, CEO and founder of the company. “We are focused on creating an incident-free workplace without environmental impact through strong leadership, visible support, and clear guidance. This safety record is the result of individual responsibility and accountability at every level of our organization.”
Chet Morrison Contractors’ approach to safety improvement has been comprehensive, including everything from employee learning and training to project planning and execution. By promoting a proactive, positive culture of safety both on and off the job, the company has made its employees into partners, all continually working toward the common goal of zero incidents.
Looking forward, Chet Morrison Contractors will continue to identify, eliminate and control hazards while employing Safe Work Practices across all its operations. The company is committed to reducing the amount of High Potential for Occurrence (HiPO) events, increasing competency with skill education and training, and continuing to focus on improvement across all HSE activities.
International environmental solutions provider, TWMA, is celebrating a decade of success in Egypt with a major HSE milestone.
The growth of operations in Egypt has been so significant that as well as continual upgrades to both the Alexandria and Cairo sites, turnover for these operations has reached almost $9million per annum, in previous years. Most notably, staff numbers have more than doubled over the last ten years reaching 50 in 2017, all of whom are Egyptian locals.
The linchpin to TWMA’s success in Egypt has been the establishment of long-standing, strong relationships with some of the industry’s largest operators in the region, along with the company’s demonstrable health and safety track record which recently resulted in an impressive five year milestone.
The Egypt team receiving the award for five consecutive years with zero Lost Time Incidents (LTI)
Abdelrahman Amin, Egypt General Manager at TWMA, said: “Egypt has always been an important country for TWMA as our Alexandria and Cairo facilities were our first established operations in the MENA region.
“We recently reached five consecutive years with zero Lost Time Incidents across our onshore and offshore operations in the region. This was a fantastic achievement which underpinned the team’s commitment to a strong safety culture and the highest possible standards in all our operations.
“We are extremely proud that 100% of our team in Egypt are local employees whose wealth of knowledge of the country is key to TWMA’s ongoing growth and success.”
TWMA has made ongoing investment in its Egypt facilities which have evolved significantly over the past ten years. Abdelrahman continued: “It was important that we increased the waste storage and process capacities of the Alexandria facility, which included upgrading our TCC RotoMill® to process increased amounts of waste. We also upgraded our maintenance and fabrication capabilities as well as the offices of our Cairo site.
“We continually improve our sites which have allowed us to successfully introduce our innovative technology in Egypt, across a range of projects from small and ad-hoc to large and long-term. We continue to build strong relationships with our clients, who include international companies and operators, and this has ensured we maintain a large presence in the country which allows us to diversify into other countries such as the UAE.”
Moving forward, TWMA plans to upgrade and further increase the slops treatment capabilities of the Alexandria site which will support its complete service offering in the region. The company will also be utilising its Offshore Thermal Treatment - TCC RotoMill® and its Onshore Mobile Thermal Treatment - TCC RotoTruck® technologies at additional client sites.
On February 23, 2017, Guy Dayvault, a commercial consultant in LNG marketing and natural gas, will make a presentation to the MTS Houston Section on Texas LNG.
Texas LNG Brownsville LLC is an independent, Houston-based energy company engaged in LNG-related businesses. Key members of its management and technical team have extensive LNG, gas and large engineering and construction global project experience, as well as long-term relationships in LNG markets. The company is focused on low unit costs, speed to market, LNG offtake flexibility, efficient use of capital, robust technical solutions, and is well positioned to commence Phase 1 production of 2 MTA of LNG (out of a total permitted capacity of 4 MTA) for export to FTA and non-FTA markets in 2022.
Texas LNG’s initial project will be constructed at the Port of Brownsville in south Texas. Texas LNG’s 625-acre site is strategically located on the north shore of the Port of Brownsville's deepwater ship channel in proximity to natural gas supplies. The Texas LNG team includes leading financial, technical, environmental and legal partners including Samsung Engineering, BNP Paribas, Third Point LLC, Braemar Engineering, Air Products, Honeywell, NRG, K&L Gates, GreenbergTraurig, Royston Rayzor, and others.
Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG)
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled sufficiently to condense into a liquid. When cooled to a liquid, its volume shrinks 600 times, making it easy to store and transport on ships. The United States is currently experiencing large increases in natural gas production due to innovative technologies and efficient operations, resulting in a surplus that can be exported. For neighboring markets, LNG can be transported by pipeline, but for markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America exporting by LNG ships is the only solution.
Contrary to false information, LNG is not stored or transported under pressure, LNG tanks are insulated, but the liquid is essentially at atmospheric pressure. LNG is nontoxic, non-corrosive, odorless, nonexplosive and nonflammable. In liquid form it does not burn or explode. In the unlikely event of it being exposed to air it instantly evaporates into the atmosphere. It is also the cleanest burning of all fossil fuels.
About the Speaker
Mr. Dayvault is a commercial consultant in LNG marketing and natural gas having worked over 23 years in LNG and over 35 years in oil and gas. Through Energy Deal Solutions LLC he provides commercial advisory, structuring, negotiating and strategic planning services to the LNG industry. His past clients have included Jordan Cove LNG and the Qatargas Americas Liaison Office in Houston as well as various upstream E&P clients, and Asian LNG buyers. Before forming Energy Deal Solutions, LLC, Mr. Dayvault led the LNG Commercial Development team for Gazprom Marketing & Trading USA and had various commercial and financial modeling roles at Marathon, Enron, and Glencore. He began his career with ten years at Chevron. Mr. Dayvault has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University, an MS in Petroleum Engineering and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.
UPCOMING MTS HOUSTON PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS
February 23, 2017 – Luncheon – Texas LNG – Langtry Meyer, Texas LNG
March 25, 2017 - Sporting Clays - American Shooting Center
March 30, 2017 –Offshore Outlook Conference – Half-day conference
April 27, 2017 - Luncheon – Jack St Malo Operations and Next Stages – Travis Flowers, Chevron
May 25, 2017 - Luncheon – Platform Hub Upgrades – Williams
June 22, 2017 - Luncheon – Decommissioning of Subsea Infrastructure for Independence Hub – Carly Fisher, Anadarko
October 9-11, 2017 - Dynamic Positioning Conference, Westin Memorial City, Houston
Oilfield Helping Hands (OHH), a nonprofit charitable organization comprised of volunteers devoted to providing financial assistance to oilfield workers in financial crisis, has been named the 2017 beneficiary of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon.
OTC will host the Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, 2 May 2017 at NRG Center in Houston. The event recognizes industry achievements, raises funds for a worthy cause and provides an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to network with colleagues from around the world.
Joe Fowler, chairman, OTC board of directors, said, “We’re proud to name Oilfield Helping Hands as this year’s beneficiary. The event’s Executive Advisory Board was most impressed by the organization’s commitment to helping families that have been a part of our industry and have hit hard times.
“Specifically, Oilfield Helping Hands assists families in financial crisis due to medical and other serious circumstances. It works diligently to keep costs low to ensure as much money as possible can go directly toward benefitting the families,” Fowler continued.
Gregory Rachal, president, Oilfield Helping Hands, said, “The OTC Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon does more than just support great causes in the industry, it also raises awareness about them. We’re beyond proud that Oilfield Helping Hands has been chosen as this year’s beneficiary and know this honor will have a positive impact on the lives and wellbeing of several worthy families in need. To date, we have distributed more than USD 3.3 million to hundreds of families across the U.S. Thanks to OTC, we are confident that we’ll be able to support even more oilfield families experiencing financial crisis.”
Oilfield Helping Hands (OHH), established in Houston in 2003 as a nonprofit charitable organization, helps oilfield families with financial assistance in times of crisis. OHH raises money through donations, corporate memberships and fundraising events each year to be given based on need to members of the oilfield industry family. Since 2003, OHH has assisted hundreds of families, distributing more than $3.3 million in assistance. OHH has active chapters in Houston, Oklahoma, Louisiana, the Rocky Mountains, the Permian Basin and South Texas.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard Study Released
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is designed to reduce GHG emissions in transportation fuels. PIRA’s just-released study The Impact of the LCFS on the California Transportation Fuel Market concludes that the standard can be met by 2020 with a fuel mix less reliant on traditional hydrocarbons, a drawdown of banked LCFS credits and higher costs of compliance. Even assuming only a gradual tightening of requirements post 2020, PIRA finds that the surplus of LCFS credits will run out. Reductions now are generally being achieved by biofuels such as ethanol and renewable diesel but other fuels (electric vehicles, gas/biogas) will play a larger role over time.
Asia’s Oil Dependence on the Middle East to Remain High
Asian oil demand is expected to remain fairly robust this year, with the “Big Four” (China, India, Japan and South Korea) contributing to 80% of that regional growth. Asian oil import dependence is expected to rise further as regional oil production declines. The Middle East will continue to be the dominant source of supply for the Asia-Pacific region despite the recent decision by OPEC to cut production in 1H17 which is causing a pickup in movements from alternative Atlantic Basin suppliers to Asia. Asian refining fundamentals should be moderately supportive this year as demand growth is expected to outpace incremental refinery throughput.
Mild Weather Reduces Seasonal Premium
This heating season appears to be shaping up to be another “winter that wasn’t,” limiting near-term price recovery. Expectations for February gas-weighted heating degree-days (GWHDDs) have ratcheted down dramatically — falling from a projected ~800 at the start of the month, to a mere 652 as per the latest forecast. That is 15-20% milder than normal, and almost 8% below last February’s paltry total.
As Nuclear Moves Lower, Focus in Germany Returns to Higher Part of the Stack
While German day ahead prices have come off multi-year highs reached in January, February-to-date baseload price has averaged €51.0/MWh, with the average peak price reaching €60.8/MWh, well above PIRA’s expectations, and in stark contrast with the ultra-low price settlement of February 2016 (only €21.9/MWh). With the shutdown for maintenance of Brokdorf and Gundremmingen B, German spot prices are settling in a very steep section of the generation stack, or where a small change in thermal dispatching has an exponential effect on the price.
Coal Market Returns to Bearish Trajectory
The coal market moved decidedly lower this week, reversing the gains posted last week. For the front of the curve, CIF ARA prices fared the best, likely due to continued strength in prompt coal demand. For more deferred pricing, FOB Richards Bay prices generally held up relative to the other forward markers. FOB Newcastle prices continue to languish, with forward prices trading at a discount relative to FOB Richards Bay through Cal-18. Over the next 90 days, weakening seasonal demand will be a heavy weight on pricing expectations. However, PIRA’s models continue to show notable growth in China’s coal-fired generation, which will underpin persisting year-on-year growth in import demand. Additionally, the impending return of the working day cap at Chinese coal mines (slated to go back into force April 1) adds further upside potential to China’s import demand.
Corn Rally Intact
Success and failure in the grains on Friday, February 10 as wheat was able to tag its $4.50 psychological objective in March futures while December corn came oh so close to $4.00 with a $3.9975 high. Offers at $4.00 remain fairly chunky Monday morning as the average crop insurance price after the first eight trading days of the month stands at a somewhat attention-grabbing $3.95. The floating insurance ratio of 2.58:1 still favors soybeans by about $40/acre based solely on futures prices, but a 4 handle in December futures will “buy” more corn acres than previously estimated, despite the financial advantage still enjoyed in beans.
Encouraging Trade Data from U.S. and China, but with Asterisks
The U.S. trade deficit widened markedly during the fourth quarter of 2016, and subtracted from GDP growth. But the underlying picture in trade is starting to become more encouraging: export growth has recently turned positive, and imports of capital goods are pointing to stronger capital expenditure activity. Chinese trade data for January were better than expected, but recent data on foreign exchange reserves indicated relatively large capital outflows from China. The unexpected weakness in December German industrial production was most likely an outlier.
U.S. Ethanol Prices Rebound
U.S. ethanol prices increased the week ending February 3. Manufacturing margins also bounced off of very low levels. D6 RIN prices bottomed. Brazil’s ethanol imports were the highest in five years in January. European ethanol prices soared as the market tightened because of higher mandates and delayed imports.
Huge U.S. Crude Stock Build Overwhelms Data
Surging crude imports pushed up crude stocks to 13.8 million barrels, while a pop in reported product demand of 1.5 MMB/D caused product inventories to decline 12.4 million barrels. Overall stocks came up 1.4 million barrels on the week which was about 1 million larger than last year’s increase. Gasoline demand was particularly strong, especially if you add some 485 MB/D to the reported EIA figure to reflect EIA’s inflated export estimate. Cushing crude stocks increased 1.1 million barrels because of the Seaway Legacy Pipeline outage. Overall crude stocks should continue to build as runs decline due to seasonal maintenance, which has already reduced runs 1.5 MMB/D from their winter peak.
What Stopped the Sharp Ascent in Pricing and Turned It Around
It does look like rapidly weakening Asian LNG pricing sharply cut off the recent ascent of European gas, however, that may be just a distraction from what is actually happening on the ground. It appears that global LNG pricing is having an increasingly influential impact on European pricing, by way of Global LNG’s biggest swing supplier – Qatar. However, while the LNG story is still emerging, the sharp rise in pricing has already achieved some real and significant demand destruction. The erosion of gas-to-power demand was an early indication that European spot prices were reaching fundamentally unjustifiable levels.
Mild Winter Dampens Markets
Eastern raw loads were down by over 5% year-on-year during January as heating degree days for the Eastern Interconnect and ERCOT fell by 24% year-on-year. Gas prices declined from December levels at most regional hubs (the Mid-Atlantic region was an exception) as heating loads faded. PIRA expects CY17 prices to average above CY16 at all major power hubs, but in nearly every case, price gains will fall short of increases in gas prices. Despite the mild winter, gas prices remain up year-on-year on the strength of lower production and rising exports which have sustained much of the storage deficit seen at the end of December.
California Carbon up as Auction Nears; Compromise Needed on Policy
Boosted by the auction legal hearing, the benchmark CA carbon allowance price moved above the 2017 auction floor of $13.57. March delivery pricing is aligned with the floor price. If the February auction fails to clear, unsold tons could move to the Price Containment Reserve. Latest reporting shows lower power emissions (with strong hydro), but increased transportation emissions. For Compliance Period 2, sources still need to procure compliance instrument volumes. PIRA expects continuing legal, legislative and regulatory uncertainty to limit the upside potential for allowance pricing. The final Scoping Plan will see delays - a compromise must emerge that addresses Environmental Justice concerns and incorporates additional analysis. While cap and trade may be part of the final strategy, offsets could be limited or eliminated.
Production Decreases From Record High
U.S. ethanol inventories built for a fifth consecutive week the week ending February 3, surpassing 22.0 million barrels for the first time since April 2016. PADD II stocks led the way, increasing by 118 thousand barrels to a record 7.8 million barrels. Domestic ethanol production dropped 6 MB/D to 1,055 MB/D, still the second highest mark on record. Ethanol-blended gasoline manufacture soared to 8,685 MB/D from 8,309 MB/D, the largest weekly jump over the past year.
WASDE Offers Little
The February WASDE was probably more interesting for what was not changed rather than what was changed. In our WASDE Preview, we overused the word pace for emphasis. While the World Board paid attention to the pace of ethanol crush, it ignored the pace of both corn and soybean exports. More interesting to us was that despite the export pace in the U.S., and given the lack of change in the U.S. S&D, there were only minimal changes to global export expectations. In the end, wheat, yes wheat, stole the show and garnered the most interest.
Global Equities Continue to Post Broad Gains
More record highs were set this past week. The U.S. market moved to new record highs with the strongest performing sectors being retailing, industrials, and housing. Energy was little changed on the week. Internationally, China, emerging Asia, and Latin America performed the best and outdid the U.S. gains. Many of the global equity trends retain a bullish bias.
No Big Surprises in Japanese Oil Stock Data
Japanese crude runs rose back to near steady-state rates. Crude imports increased slightly, more than covering the run rise, and stocks built slightly. Finished product demand fell back by ~330 MB/D, but finished product stocks still drew almost 1 million barrels for a third straight week. Gasoline demand eased back ~100 MB/D, lower supply drew stocks modestly. Gasoil demand was fractionally changed and still seen as strong. The supply side was largely balanced and stocks were unchanged. Kerosene demand fell back and the draw rate slowed from a strong 185 MB/D to 150 MB/D. Margins were slightly higher on the week. Levels remain healthy.
Lower Costs Will Drive LNG Growth, Not Higher Prices
Growing portions of the LNG industry are hyper focused on cutting costs throughout the value chain in order to create an environment where lower delivered prices can produce a decent return. The conveyance of this idea seems particularly important among the majors, which are sitting on vast amounts of stranded gas and growing portfolios of existing supply that need to clear at a lower price.
Mozambique Chooses Yara and Shell
Mozambique’s domestic gas tender, launched on 26 August, offered bidders up to 2.8 MMcm/d of gas at from the Rovuma Basin, which will be available when Anadarko’s 12 mtpa LNG project comes online around 2022. Bidders negotiated up to an additional 8.5 MMcm/d directly with the Area 1 and Area 4 consortiums, putting a total of 11.3 MMcm/d on offer. However, the allocations announced by MIREME amounted to 12.2-13.1 MMcm/d.
U.S. Propane Stocks Plumb Multi-Year Low Levels
U.S. propane inventories fell by 6.9 million barrels to 55.8 million barrels, below both 2016 and 2015 levels. These stocks were 19 million barrels below last year’s levels. Last week’s 6.9 million barrels draw was the second largest for the current drawing season. If inventories continue to draw at the average weekly rate of the drawing season thus far, stocks could fall to near 40 million barrels, which would be near 2014 levels.
Weak Start in January Portends Challenging Year
Tanker markets are off to slow start in 2017 and are expected to weaken further as the year progresses. Production cuts promised by both OPEC and non-OPEC producers during 1H17 are being enforced, reducing cargo volumes and tonnage demand. Meanwhile new tankers are being delivered at a rapid pace. Fleet capacity growth in 2017 is estimated at 5.9%, up moderately from 5.8% in 2016. There were 42 new tankers added to the fleet in January alone.
S&P 500 Reaches Record High
The S&P 500 broke through the 2,300 level and set another record high on the week, as did many other indices. Financial stresses remain exceedingly low. Volatility (VIX) moved lower while the price of high yield debt (HYG) moved fractionally higher, but emerging market debt (EMB) posted more substantial gains. The U.S. dollar reversed course on the week and strengthened against many currencies.
Stronger Fourth Quarter Onshore Stock Draw
The latest preliminary data on commercial stocks in the three major OECD markets—United States, Europe, and Japan—and now show a 61 million barrel (660 MB/D) inventory decline in the fourth quarter 2016, more than double the previous estimate. This is in sharp contrast to the year earlier 23 million barrel stock increase (250 MB/D). The year on year fourth quarter inventory reversal of 84 million barrels caused end-year 2016 stocks to fall slightly below the year earlier for these major markets.
The information above is part of PIRA Energy Group's weekly Energy Market Recap - which alerts readers to PIRA’s current analysis of energy markets around the world as well as the key economic and political factors driving those markets.
Heavy lift vessel (HLV) contractors have faced a challenging market in recent years as the low oil price environment combined with a shift towards subsea installation and deepwater activity has seen fixed platform installations decline globally.
The number of fixed assets installed in 2017 is expected to be c.45% less than 2014 levels. This has resulted in a troublesome outlook for heavy lift vessels within the market for topside and jacket installation, leading contractors to seek out opportunities in less traditional markets.
Two such bright spots are offshore wind and decommissioning – the former being increasingly-attractive as the volume of installed turbines per year grows rapidly and the projects become larger and further from shore. Though this growth has historically been supported by government subsidy, recent (and projected) reduction in capital costs make the technology cost-competitive with conventional forms of power generation such as nuclear and CCGT. Whilst the market for turbine installation is predominantly covered by purpose built Wind Turbine Installation Vessels (WTIV), the installation of foundations and substations is accessible to HLVs. A key requirement for entering this market is sufficient deck space with the ability to carry at least 4 monopiles typically preferred. Although turbine size, and hence the size of the supporting foundation, are increasing with water depth, it is unlikely that HLVs will need lifting capacity >3,000T; crane capacity in the range of 1,500-3,000T is suitable for most offshore wind installations.
For HLVs with lifting capacity >5,000T, decommissioning represents a significant opportunity, particularly within the North Sea which is characterized by large platforms – c.40% of platforms within the UK and c.85% of platforms within Norway have a combined substructure and topside weight >5,000T. Until recently the largest single lift decommissioning operation had been the removal of the Frigg TCP2 MSF, weighing in at 8,500T. With the introduction of super heavy lift vessels such as Allsea’s Pioneering Spirit, Heerema’s Sleipnir (due for delivery in 2019) as well as recent orders from Shandong Twin Marine for two vessels with lifting capacity of 34,000T, it is hoped that the decommissioning of the North Sea’s heaviest platforms will become more efficient.
The offshore wind and decommissioning markets both have a heavy emphasis on cost reduction, and the resultant requirement for cost-effective HLV solutions going forwards will be extremely important. As such, in a market where day rates are often driven by tonnage requirements, super heavy lift vessels may have a somewhat-limited market reach and vessels that are over specified will risk lower day rates.
Kathryn Symes, Douglas-Westwood London
Eni has started production of the East Hub Development Project, in Block 15/06 of the Angolan deep offshore, ahead of development plan estimates and with a time-to-market among the best in the sector.
Production is taking place through the Armada Olombendo Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, which can generate up to 80,000 barrels of oil per day and compress up to 3.4 million cubic meters of gas per day. With 9 wells and 4 manifolds at a water depth of 450 meters, the FPSO Olombendo will put into production the Cabaça South East field, 350 kilometers northwest of Luanda and 130 kilometers west of Soyo.
Production from the East Hub Project will add to production from the existing West Hub Project in the Sangos, Cinguvu and Mpungi fields, where another vessel, the FPSO N’Goma, is operating. In total, Block 15/06 will reach a peak of 150,000 barrels of oil per day this year.
“We are proud of what we have achieved in Block 15/06,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi. “Leveraging our extensive experience in exploration, we have been able to discover a total of 3 billion barrels of oil in place through 10 commercial discoveries. Moreover, thanks to strong field development and project management, we are beginning production of the East Hub with a time-to-market of only 3 years, and 5 months ahead of schedule. Cabaça South East brings our number of fields in production to 5, with 2 more expected to start before the end of 2018. This is yet another example of Eni’s Angolan and worldwide capability to deliver state-of-the-art projects, and was made possible by Eni’s new operational model, where we play an increasingly active role in the integrated development of our projects.”
Block 15/06 is operated by Eni with a 36.84% share, while Sonangol Pesquisa e Produção controls 36.84% and SSI Fifteen Limited controls 26.32%.
Eni has been present in Angola since 1980 through its subsidiary Eni Angola. Equity production amounted to 124,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2016.
"2016 was the year we made significant strides in creating a stronger platform for growth. We launched six major project start-ups - from Algeria to the Gulf of Mexico - and made final investment decisions on a further five major projects. And we see exciting opportunities ahead, said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive.
"We have delivered solid results in tough conditions - and are well prepared for any volatility in oil pricing. We have adapted by cutting our controllable cash costs by $7 billion from 2014 - a full year earlier than planned. Continued tight discipline on costs remains essential. Everything we have done during the year has made us a more resilient and competitive company.
Photo credit: BP
"With our Deepwater Horizon financial liabilities now substantially behind us, BP is fully focused on the future. You have seen that focus in the string of strategic portfolio additions during the last two months of the year. From increasing gas interests and renewing long-term low-cost oil to expanding our retail operations - these investments will generate significant long term value for our shareholders. We start this year with considerable momentum - and a sense of disciplined ambition. We have laid the foundations for BP to be back to growth."
4Q and full year 2016 results
Underlying replacement cost profit1 for fourth quarter of 2016 was $400 million2, compared with $196 million for the same period in 2015 and $933 million for the third quarter of 2016. Compared to a year earlier, the quarter’s result benefited from higher oil prices and significantly lower costs, offset by weaker refining margins and higher turnarounds in the Downstream.
The full year 2016 price environment was challenging: the average Brent oil price of $44 per barrel was the lowest for 12 years; Henry Hub gas marker prices averaged $2.46 per million British thermal units; and the refining marker margin was the lowest since 2010.
The headline reported result for the full year was a profit of $115 million, compared with the headline loss of $6.5 billion reported for 2015. The 2016 headline result included a total of $4 billion non-operating charges taken through the year associated with resolution of the remaining legacy of the 2010 oil spill. The headline profit excluding these legacy charges was $4.1 billion for 2016, compared with $2.0 billion for 20153.
Underlying operating cash flow4, excluding pre-tax Gulf of Mexico payments, was $17.8 billion for 2016, with $4.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $20.3 billion in 2015.
BP’s full year controllable cash costs5 were $7 billion lower than in 2014 - a target reached a year earlier than previously expected. Organic capital expenditure for the year totaled $16 billion6 in 2016, compared with the range of $17-19 billion anticipated at the beginning of last year.
In total $7.1 billion in pre-tax payments related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were made through 2016, as processing of outstanding claims accelerated. Total divestment revenues were $3.2 billion in the year7.
BP reported a reserves replacement ratio for 2016 of 109%8.
At year end, BP’s gearing level was 26.8%, within the target range of 20-30%.
BP also today announced an unchanged dividend for the quarter of 10c per ordinary share, expected to be paid in March 2017.
During the fourth quarter BP announced a series of important agreements, including
- increasing long-term low-cost oil interests through renewal of BP’s 10% interest in the ADCO onshore oil concession in Abu Dhabi, which has a life of 40 years;
- taking a material stake in emerging world-class, low-cost gas basins offshore Mauritania and Senegal through a farm-in agreement with Kosmos Energy;
- extending BP’s existing major gas positions: in Egypt, by acquiring a 10% interest in the world-class Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean; in Oman, finalising agreements to extend the Khazzan gas project by 50%; and in Indonesia by acquiring an additional 3% in the Tangguh LNG project;
- building from significant incumbent oil positions: in Azerbaijan, BP and partners agreeing principles to extend the ACG oil concession by 25 years to 2050; and in the US Gulf of Mexico, BP sanctioning the development of the Mad Dog 2 project, at costs 60% lower than originally estimated, expected to begin production in 2021; and
- building on BP’s leading retail and convenience expertise, agreeing a strategic fuel and convenience partnership in Australia with the leading supermarket chain Woolworths, including the acquisition of their network of more than 500 retail sites9.
Bob Dudley commented: "These agreements are firmly aligned with BP’s strategy and our view of the evolving energy landscape. They will make an important contribution to BP’s growth and create significant long term value for our shareholders.”
Two new major Upstream projects began production during the fourth quarter: the In Amenas compression project in Algeria, and the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the US Gulf of Mexico, which came onstream 11 months earlier than planned and $150 million under budget. BP also won interests in exploration acreage in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico.
The recently-announced portfolio additions will be accretive to cash flow over the longer term but will require additional cash outflow in the early years. Together with the mostly second half start-up of the new Upstream projects expected to come onstream in 2017, these significant and strategic additions mean that BP now anticipates balancing its organic sources and uses of cash by the end of 2017 in a Brent oil price environment of around $60 a barrel.
"Looking beyond this year, we expect organic free cash flow to grow into the medium term, supported strongly by the ramp-up of production from new Upstream projects, strong marketing growth and the positive impact of these portfolio additions," said Brian Gilvary, BP chief financial officer.
Including estimated additional organic capital spending associated with the portfolio additions, organic capital expenditure is now expected to be $16-17 billion in 2017.
Divestment proceeds for 2017 are expected to be $4.5-5.5 billion, reverting to $2-3 billion a year thereafter.
Gulf of Mexico legacy
BP is moving towards completion of the process for resolving Business Economic Loss (BEL) claims arising from the 2010 oil spill and amounts to resolve remaining claims are expected to be substantially paid in 2017.
In 2017 cash payments related to the spill are expected to be lower than in 2016, around $4.5-5.5 billion, before falling sharply to around $2 billion in 2018 and to a little over $1 billion a year from 2019.
A pre-tax charge of $625 million was taken in the quarter to reflect the latest estimate for claims, including BEL claims, and associated costs. Together with the non-cash impact of the ongoing unwind of discounting effects on the provision and other costs, a total pre-tax charge of $800 million was taken in the fourth quarter. The total cumulative charge for the incident is now $62.6 billion on a pre-tax basis, $44.1 billion after tax.
BW Kudu Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of BW Offshore) has entered into a Farm-Out Agreement for a 56% stake of the Kudu license offshore Namibia. National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR), the Namibian state-owned oil company, will hold the remaining 44% of the license. BW Kudu will become operator of the Kudu license.
BW Kudu will pay for past costs upon transfer of the field interest to the company. The final investment decision is planned for Q4 2017.
"BW Offshore will now start the work with the Namibian government, NAMCOR, NamPower (the Namibian power utility), large infrastructure investors and other stakeholders to get this very exciting project to FID" said Carl K. Arnet, CEO of BW Offshore.
The Kudu field was discovered by Chevron in 1974 approximately 170 km off the coast of Namibia. A further seven appraisal wells have been drilled since then by various oil companies including Shell and Tullow who subsequently withdrew from the project. The Kudu field is estimated to contain 1C-2C-3C Contingent Resource range within the main reservoir ("K3") of 755-1330-2308 Bscf respectively. The Kudu Gas to Power project calls for gas to be produced by a Floating Production Unit before being exported by pipeline to a new 885 MW gas to power plant onshore Namibia.
"Kudu represents another opportunity for BW Offshore to take a proactive development role in a project that will produce for 15-25 years. Falling development costs after the 2014 drop in oil prices has helped in making the project economically feasible. The electricity generated by the power station will reshape electricity supply in south-western Africa, providing a secure long-term supply to support the development of Namibia and potentially neighboring countries", added Carl K. Arnet.
NAMCOR's Managing Director Immanuel Mulunga said the project will play a fundamental role in shaping the energy dynamics of Namibia. "The Kudu Gas-to-Power Project is a key strategic power generation project for Namibia, which will significantly reduce reliance on imported power while at the same time accelerating economic development." He further remarked that the project has the potential of strengthening Namibia's international standing: "The Kudu Gas to Power Project will not only enable Namibia to entirely cater for its own power needs but become a net exporter of power to regional markets".
Following the agreement made between the Government of Curaçao and Damen Shipyards Group in September last year, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) has taken over the management of the Curaçao Droogdok Maatschappij (CDM) as of February 1st, 2017. The location will continue its activities under the name of Damen Shiprepair Curaçao (DSCu).
With this step Damen expands its ship repair activities across the Trans-Atlantic Ocean. The yard is strategically located on the route to the Panama Canal, outside the Hurricane Belt and offers excellent working conditions within a natural bay. As Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, smooth logistic connections and fast import of required materials are guaranteed.
The yard features two graven docks; one sized 280 x 48 metres and the other 193 x 26 metres and almost 2 kilometres of quay side. In the coming years Damen will invest approximately 40 million USD in a third floating dock and the yard’s infrastructure and equipment. A new management team, led by Jaap de Lange as Managing Director, has been appointed and is already on site to introduce and implement Damen working methods and standards.
Furthermore Damen, together with the Curaçao Government, will invest in training and schooling of local technical personnel, ensuring the development of local skills, further developing the local industry and encouraging employment opportunities in the area.
The commencement of Damen Shiprepair Curaçao was celebrated on February 2nd at the yard in the presence of all staff as well as parties involved during the negotiation period.
Durk-Jan Nederlof, Group Director Damen Shiprepair & Conversion said, “The cooperation between Damen, the Curaçao Government, local trade unions and the personnel of the yard has been very pleasant during the period of negotiations and transfer of ownership. We are very much looking forward to continuing this collaboration in the future. It is excellent to see the enthusiasm of all parties to make this yard such a success”.
Damen Shiprepair Curaçao is part of the Damen Shiprepair & Conversion group, which currently operates 42 dry docks in 16 shipyards worldwide.
Fugro has been awarded a framework contract in the Asia Pacific region for inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) services. Under this contract, IRM services can be called off as needed by the client. The total value of the contract is estimated at around EUR 80 million over the three year period.
The services cover an extensive range of inspection and engineering activities across the client’s operated offshore facilities, targeted at keeping them operational and in good condition. They are provided from Fugro’s Asset Integrity business line which is centered around inspection and monitoring services, supporting optimal utilization and longevity of our clients’ infrastructure.
The work will be performed under Fugro's quality and safety procedures, which are in accordance with industry leading standards. The work is expected to start in the second half of this year.
Mark Heine, Divisional Director Marine and member of the Board of Management: “We now have three multi-year IRM contracts in Asia Pacific, creating a solid base for this region’s Asset Integrity business line during the coming years.”