September 24, 2021 / 11:55 AM (Bloomberg) -- ConocoPhillips agreed to acquire Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Permian Basin assets for $9.5 billion in cash, accelerating the consolidation of the largest U.S. oil patch. The deal, announced by Shell in a statement Monday, will give ConocoPhillips additional daily production of 175,000 barrels of oil equivalent. That will make ConocoPhillips one of the Permian’s biggest producers, rivaling Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Chevron Corp. in terms of crude output.

The Permian, which straddles West Texas and New Mexico, is the world’s busiest shale patch and accounts for nearly half the current activity in U.S. oil fields. Houston-based ConocoPhillips already boosted its footprint there earlier this year when it took over independent producer Concho Resources Inc. for about $13 billion. 

Shell’s retreat from the Permian comes as the Anglo-Dutch giant reconfigures its strategy in favor of less carbon-intensive fuels while targeting net-zero emissions. Shell was ordered by a Dutch court in May to slash emissions harder and faster than planned after losing a case against an arm of Friends of the Earth. 

Shell said the proceeds will be used to fund $7 billion in additional shareholder distributions after the close of the deal, which is expected in the fourth quarter. The company also disclosed the Permian business had a pretax operating loss of $491 million in 2020, a year in which oil prices collapsed due to the pandemic.

Morgan Stanley and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. were Shell’s financial advisers on the deal and Norton Rose Fulbright was its legal adviser.

ConocoPhillips dropped 0.5% to $56.76 at 4:51 p.m. in after-hours trading in New York. Shell’s American Depositary Receipts climbed 1.3% to $39.99.

The transaction is just the latest in a string of shale-related transactions in 2021. Fueled by higher cash flows on the back of a recovering oil price, independent U.S. exploration and production companies have sought out mergers to cut costs and gain scale, with the encouragement of investors who have suffered over several years of disappointing returns from the industry.

U.S. shale has also kept a lid on production in the past year despite the rebound in prices, in an effort to avoid repeating the output boom during the previous cycle that led to a glut and helped erode profitability. 

September 23, 2021 / 12:10 PM Synergy Marine Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Synergy Group, has signed an agreement to take over Maersk Tankers’ technical management business. This will strengthen Synergy Group’s position within technical management, and Maersk Tankers will become a service company focused on commercial management.

“Maersk Tankers has been transformed from a traditional tanker company into a service company over the past few years. The agreement with Synergy Group marks the next big step on our strategic course, offering both the technical and commercial businesses optimum conditions in which to thrive. Maersk Tankers will become a service company focused on the commercial management market, delivering financially and environmentally viable solutions for shipowners,” says Christian M. Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers. The technical management business, which has been part of Maersk Tankers since 1928, maintains vessels to ensure their safe, efficient and cost-competitive operation. It employs close to 3,300 people, of which 140 work onshore. Synergy Group, a leading ship manager founded in 2006 and with 14,000 seafarers and more than 1,000 shore-based employees, has been carefully chosen as the new owner to grow and develop the technical management business.

“At Synergy, we have always strived to provide high-quality services to our ship-owning partners. Being considered the right owner of Maersk Tankers’ technical management business is testament to our beliefs and philosophy of working towards creating a platform for high-quality and technically adept services. The crew’s well-being is paramount, and we are committed to providing sustainably responsible services,” says Captain Rajesh Unni, founder and CEO of Synergy Group. Under the agreement, Synergy Group will take over the entire technical management business of Maersk Tankers. This includes customer and supplier contracts, as well as the technical management of 82 vessels, including the vessels in Maersk Product Tankers. More vessels mean access to more data, which Synergy Group will use to optimise vessel performance and reduce the environmental impact of shipping.

The vast majority of the employees in Maersk Tankers’ technical management business will become part of the Synergy Group, which will strengthen the company’s presence in Denmark, Singapore and India.

Following the takeover, the two companies will work together on the management of the vessels in Maersk Product Tankers.

The takeover of the technical management business is expected to be completed during November 2021.

September 21, 2021 / 5:15 PM The monumental construction of the Panama Canal took grit, guts and American spirit under the leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt.

The canal, finally connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, took both American imagination and industry to pull off. Even though the French were first to take on the project, which ultimately failed, Roosevelt was eager to take on the challenge.

"Teddy Roosevelt was sort of the embodiment of the modern presidency in that he was able to sort of use the force of his will to get a lot of projects going," Temple University history professor Alan McPherson said.

According to MS&T engineering professor David Rogers, Roosevelt was deeply appreciative of the U.S. Navy and pushed to get the job done knowing the canal would serve as a speedy shortcut for warships.

"He was the kind of guy that would follow through and if something hadn’t been done before, that didn’t scare him off much," Rogers said. "He was willing to take risk."

The project encountered countless obstacles including first-time mountain excavation and jungle-borne illness. The Panama Canal has been marked in history as one of the largest construction projects, NYU engineering professor Magued Iskander confirmed, and remains to be to this day.

"The scale was simply incredible," McPherson agreed. "It was like nothing that had been attempted before."

Once the threat of diseases like malaria and yellow fever were eradicated, construction workers were reassured of safety and security by engineer John Stevens who built YMCAs for leisure and revamped the railroads. But after six years, Roosevelt was itching to speed up the progress on the canal.

"Roosevelt looked for results," Rogers said. "You had to have your whole heart into the operation or he wasn’t interested in having you on the team."

In 1906, Roosevelt took matters into his own hands and became the first president in history to travel not only to Panama but outside of the United States while acting as president. Once he reached the canal zone, the president also participated in the first photo-op abroad.

"After his visit, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the project moving ahead," historian Danny Martin said. "And America as a whole really embraces this as their national mission." 

The project was advanced by the modern technology of track shifters and steam shovels which Rogers described as the most "important piece of American ingenuity and hardware."

To prevent damage and death from devastating landslides as the canal was dug deeper and deeper, then-project director General George Washington Goethals resulted to flooding the excavation and dredging which drastically sped up the process.

The canal was nearly finished by the U.S. presidential election of 1912 which Roosevelt lost to successor Woodrow Wilson. On Oct. 10, 1913, President Wilson did the honors of flipping the switch which would detonate the final strip of land signaling the canal’s completion. 

"The Panama Canal ranks as probably one of the largest engineering feats in history, certainly in American history," McPherson said. "Americans are extremely proud of what they’ve done in the canal zone. The canal demonstrates to them that they’ve achieved the status of great power."

September 13, 2021 / 10:25 AM Seably, the global online marketplace for dedicated maritime training is unique in the industry. Launched in 2020, the digital platform was created by The Swedish Shipowners’ Association in response to the strong demand for a better way for seafarers to conduct mandatory and general training.

Seably was three years in development before its launch as a virtual marketplace. A previous website managed by the Association had uncovered gaps in maritime technology, especially in HR, training and personal development. Rich with customer insights, feedback from seafarers and shipping companies, as well as industry expertise, the development tech team started with a clean slate. This allowed them to maximise the new technologies that were emerging in online platforms and virtual training.

David Svensson, Seably Chief Technology Officer formed part of the original team that migrated the concept from a limited website to the rich marketplace it is today. As he said, “Developing the Seably marketplace for the Maritime Industry is an innovation in itself. Our industry is very niched and underserved by technology. Our approach as a digital platform using mobile apps is where our innovation stands out. The cloud-based system does not need to be installed on ship servers which can crash, need expensive satellite connectivity which is not always available to seafarers or out of signal while the vessel is out at sea. This makes Seably extremely agile and highly competitive on price, especially as both setup and running costs are kept very low.”

David continued, “Seably is highly attractive for shipping companies, providing numerous features for data and HR integration, quality content and cutting-edge learning and development for real-life learning, all available almost from the word go. With Seably, a company can subscribe as a customer today and access the content on the vessels the following day. Compare such benefits to setting up a full server on a ship and integrating with systems.”

The technology underwriting the Seably marketplace was developed by a small team initially operating from Gothenburg, Sweden. After the first year, Seably recruited international talent to bring on board the very best app developers. There is now a global and highly skilled team in place that is still growing. Development is ongoing, with planned updates and new features being introduced in the coming months. Seably is also engaged in ongoing discussions on collaboration and innovation with partners and industry suppliers to enhance the richness of the platform and the quality of the content delivered.

Andrea Lodolo, CEO of Swedish-owned Seably said, “Having David as part of our highly experienced team, driving the innovation and technology behind the Seably platform, helps us to achieve and maintain the extremely high level of quality in eLearning, training and development and realise the global vision behind the Seably marketplace within the maritime industry”

The Seably story is still at an early and exciting stage. Since its launch, it has signed over 55 companies, has more than 21,000 active users, issued well over 60,000 certificates and is regularly adding new course titles into the marketplace. It is changing the landscape providing company own training, as well as affordable and free access to all the content in marketplace covering the latest training and development; seamless integration to company systems and learning that can be carried out at anytime and anyplace. This is an innovative concept in a sector that is global, and largely tied to regulations and shipping schedules that make learning and career progression hard for seafarers who may be at sea for many months at a time.

Source: Seably


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