Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lafourche gets $16M DoT grant

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Dec. 11 that $1.5B in discretionary grant funding to 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The grants, 14 of which are to go to port-related projects, which will include Port Fourchon, La., are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) transportation grants program and support road, rail, transit, and port infrastructure projects across the country. Port-related projects will receive a total of $229.23M or about 15.28 percent of the $1.5B. The Greater Lafourche Port Commission is to receive $16.42M for the Port Fourchon to Airport Connector: Bridging a gap to critical rural infrastructure. The project will construct a new three‐lane vertical lift span bridge over Bayou Lafourche and a new two‐lane, 2,000‐foot connector road extending from LA 1 to LA 3235. (Source: Maritime Professional 12/12/18)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Chouest support vessel option: $7M

Edison Chouest Offshore of Cut Off, La., is awarded $7,374,825 to exercise an option under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N3220517C3513) with reimbursable elements for one maritime support vessel. This vessel will be utilized to launch, recover, refuel, and resupply small crafts in the U.S. Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) area of responsibility. This contract includes a 12-month base period, three 12-month option periods, and one 11-month option period. This is option one of the current contract. If all options are exercised this would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $41,079,507. Work will be performed in the USPACOM’s area of responsibility, and is expected to be completed Dec. 22, 2019. If all options are exercised, work will continue through Nov. 22, 2022. Navy working capital funds in the amount of $6,018,015 are obligated for FY 2019 and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with 50-plus proposals solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with five offers received. Military Sealift Command of Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD 12/12/18)

CG wants ScanEagles for NSCs

For the past 17 years, the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center has experimented with various types of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), including a helicopter drone and MQ-1 Predator, for cutters, but found all unsuited for the CG’s dual mission of national security and law enforcement. In 2018, the CG tested a ScanEagle UAS aboard the cutter Stratton on a six-week deployment to the Eastern Pacific. Those commanders who have used ScanEagle have told Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz they “don't ever want to sail without ScanEagle again," he told the National Press Club on Dec. 7. The commandant proclaimed that all CG National Security Cutters (NSC) should have ScanEagle drones aboard and available for launch to boost high seas surveillance and aid in drug interdictions and arrests. "I'd like to see every (NSC) have one on the back." ScanEagle is made by Boeing subsidiary Insitu. It was developed from a commercial version designed to collect weather data and scan the ocean for fish. The CG version is about eight feet long, with a wingspan of 16 feet. In June, Insitu announced a $117M contract with the CG for the installation of ScanEagles aboard cutters. The fate of the UAS plan depends on the outcome of upcoming budget battles in Congress. (Source: 12/10/18) Gulf Coast Note: Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Miss., is the sole builder of Legend Class National Security Cutters. The first five ships in the NSC class have all been delivered. NSC 6 Munro (WMSL 755), NSC 7 Kimball (WMSL 756) and NSC 8 Midgett (WMSL 757) are still in the finishing stages.

Live WWII ordnance found on wharf

HARPSWELL, Maine - Authorities in Maine say a military projectile found here on a lobster wharf was a live, WWII-era Navy ordnance. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office described the object as a “military ballistic projectile” and was discovered Dec. 11 at Bailey Island Lobster Company's wharf. State police spokesman Steve McCausland described the object as six-feet long, of “World War II vintage,” live and most likely from a Navy aircraft. The projectile was caught in lobster netting gear about 12 miles off the coast before it was brought to the wharf. Police responded and removed the object, which was later detonated. (Source: The AP 12/11/18)

ESG launches post-Michael tug

Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Fla., announced Dec. 7 the launch of the 100-foot escort/rescue Z-drive tug Ava M. McAllister for McAllister Towing & Transportation Co. – just 58 days after Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle. It is currently under construction at one of Eastern’s two facilities. The vessel arrived at Eastern earlier this year and is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2019. The lead vessel of this four-vessel series is the Capt. Brian McAllister, which was delivered in Summer 2017, and built by Horizon Shipbuilding of Bayou La Batre, Ala. (Source: Work Boat 12/12/18) Horizon was acquired in June by Metal Shark shipyards of Jeanerette/Franklin, La. The Horizon yard was renamed Metal Shark Alabama.

Big Foot reaches production

Chevron’s troubled Big Foot tension leg platform got its final pre-production inspection from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on Nov. 15; and saw its first oil five days later, according to BSEE. Big Foot is located in the Gulf of Mexico about 225 miles south of New Orleans. The platform was originally scheduled to go into production in 2014. But strong Gulf loop currents delayed its arrival for months, and then a major failure of the mooring system – nine of 16 tendons and buoys sank - putting the project on hold. The platform had to be towed back to South Texas while the company investigated the failure of equipment used to latch the steel platform to GoM’s seafloor. BSEE’s mission is to ensure offshore oil and gas companies operate in a safe and environmentally sustainable way, says Amy Pellegrin, BSEE’s Houma (La.) District acting district manager in announcing the inspection results. Big Foot is the second deepwater production facility to come online in the Houma district in 2018. Big Foot’s mooring tendons needed to be able to better withstand the loop current - open waters of the Caribbean, Yucatan Channel and through the Gulf of Mexico. With each physical inspection, BSEE confirmed that Chevron’s schematics, diagrams and plans were “accurate and that the systems would operate as designed,” says Pellegrin. Big Foot is located in the Walker Ridge 29 area of the GoM in about 5,200 feet of water. It has a production capacity up to 75,000 bbls. of oil and 25M cubic feet of gas per day. (Source: Work Boat 12/11/18)

La. conflict of interest alleged to CoE

The outgoing president of Plaquemines Parish, La., and his staff, has raised questions to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about potential conflict of interests issues with the decision of state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Johnny Bradberry to accept a job as president of the company (GEC Inc.) overseeing part of the proposed Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion diversion’s federal permitting process. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Dec. 6 that Bradberry would be leaving his post Jan. 1 to become president of GEC Inc. GEC has a contract with Louisiana to oversee the writing of the environmental impact statement that is a key part of the Corps of Engineers’ (CoE) decision-making process on environmental permits for the diversion. Staff of Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier III, whose term expires Jan. 1, sent an e-mail Dec. 11 to CoE director, Col. Michael Clancy, with questions about the decision of Bradberry accepting the contractor job. It raises questions about whether GEC violated federal rules prohibiting it from taking actions that might prejudice COE and Louisiana's decision-making obligations, according to Vincent Frelich, coastal zone management director for the parish. In the letter, Frelich pointed to a Baton Rouge Business Report article indicating Bradberry had been discussing the job with GEC since September. (Source: 12/12/18)

Safer offshore Gulf system grants

In 2018, the National Academies’ Gulf Research Program (GRP) sponsored two workshops to identify specific research areas to improve process safety within the offshore oil and gas industry. “The Human Factors of Process Safety and Worker Empowerment in the Offshore Oil Industry” workshop was organized to examine a holistic approach to synthesizing scientific knowledge related to the role of the worker in the context of organizational, social, and physical structure of offshore oil operations. The workshop explored best practices and lessons learned from other high-reliability industries for the benefit of enhancing safety in the offshore industry. “SPE Summit: Safer Offshore Energy Systems” was conceived to identify research gaps in offshore operations from exploration through production that could result in safer offshore development. Those two workshops were used to identify and prioritize areas of research for the Safer Offshore Energy Systems Grants 4 competition. GRP is seeking proposals for research and/or design of pilot projects to improve offshore safety. In the case of pilot projects, the intent of this solicitation is to support the background work needed to develop and design a pilot program; future implementation would involve the use of funding other than that sought under this solicitation. The GRP is interested in four specified areas, but will welcome proposals for other areas of research that could lead to improved understanding of safety culture within the context of offshore oil and gas operations. Additional information about application requirements of the submission and review process will be posted by Dec. 19, at which time the online application system for the RFA will open. (Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine 12/2018)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sealab’s REU '19 program taking apps

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, returns to the Dauphin Island (Ala.) Sea Lab (DISL) from May 27-to-Aug. 2, 2019. The 10-week program gives undergraduate students the chance to dive deeper into the field of marine science and gain first-hand research experience. The program offers a range of research opportunities with internationally recognized faculty. The opportunities for research include benthic ecology, fisheries and marine mammal ecology, toxicology, and biological, chemical, and physical oceanography. Students who complete the program come away with a strong knowledge base on how to design and conduct a research project, produce a scientific poster, and publish results. From the field to the lab, REU students participate in a series of career building seminars from how to prepare a CV and apply to graduate school to entering the workforce and managing work-life balance. DISL’s Research Experience for Undergraduates is accepting applications for the May-August 2019 season. Application deadline is Feb. 15, 2019. (Source: DISL 11/2018)

Gulf Coast Defense Forum event

KEESLER AFB, Miss. - Leaders from Keesler Air Force Base participated here at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Defense Forum on Dec. 3-4. The event connected Defense Department and state leadership to bring key decision-makers to show DoD’s assets, facilitate communication between military bases with their associated community leaders. The forum highlighted issues of mutual concern, addressed gaps in military value and quality of life, and educated key stakeholders on state-wide defense missions. Some 130 people attended the event, including Richard Hartley, Air Force Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Installations, Environment, and Energy; and Phyllis Bayer, Naval Assistant Secretary, Installations, Energy, and Environment; along with keynote messages from U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) and Gov. Phil Bryant. The forum was a product of the Association of Defense Communities, an organization focused on advancing community-military partnerships. (Source: 81st Training Wing 12/07/18)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Murphy sub closes GoM joint venture

Murphy Oil Corp.’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Murphy Exploration & Production Company-USA, has closed a previously announced deal to form a strategic deep water Gulf of Mexico (GoM) joint venture with Petrobras America for net cash consideration of approximately $795M. The transaction has an effective date of Oct. 1, 2018. Murphy’s net cash consideration is funded by $470M of cash-on-hand with the remaining $325M being drawn on the company’s new senior credit facility. Under the deal, both companies contributed all of their current producing GoM assets to the joint venture company, MP Gulf of Mexico, LLC (MPGOM). Eighty percent of MPGOM will be owned by Murphy; and 20 percent by PAI. Murphy will oversee operations. The company expects to account for the PAI share of the transaction as a non-controlling interest. (Source: Marine Technology News 12/04/18) ME&P-USA, a subsidiary of integrated oil giant Murphy Oil, is engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, primarily in the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas, as well as in oil and gas fields located in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in Louisiana. HQ is located in Houston with offices in Amelia and Gueydan, La.

Gulfport’s port earns Gov. award

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant presented awards to four Mississippi companies at the 2018 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Exporting event in Jackson on Dec. 7. The awards recognize Mississippi companies for their success in beginning, maintaining or increasing export sales to international markets. The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Trade was presented to the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport. The Port of Gulfport is a key gateway for Central America and is preparing to handle potential future growth with South America, the Caribbean, the Far East and Europe. The port’s main exports include linerboard, fabric, general container cargo, project cargo and rolling stock. Other winners were NaturePlex of Olive Branch that won the award for Excellence in Exporting. The award for Achievement in Exporting was presented to the Petal-based gourmet snack manufacturer Flathau’s Fine Foods. Hyperion Technology Group of Tupelo received the Governor’s Award for Innovation. (Source: Daily Journal 12/08/18)

COBRA mod pact for MCM

Aretè Associates Inc. of Northridge, Calif., is awarded a $17,083,516 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N61331-18-D-0012) to exercise an option for coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis (COBRA) systems. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona (35 percent); Destin, Fla. (35 percent); and Santa Rosa, Calif. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2021. No funding will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as delivery orders are issued. Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD 12/10/18) The COBRA system is a mission payload for the MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned air system, which can be embarked on an Littoral Combat Ship or other air-capable ships. The COBRA system is a component of the mine-countermeasures (MCM) mission package when employed from an LCS.

Update2: Oil well leak in La.

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard responded to an oil discharge near Port Sulphur, La., on Dec. 9 Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report from the National Response Center that a crude oil well in Rattle Snake Bayou, southwest of Port Sulphur, was reported to be leaking. The amount discharged had not yet been determined. The well is rated to produce 5,476 gallons of oil per day. The source of the leak had not been secured as of late Sunday. Hilcorp, the owner of the well, has contracted ES&H as an oil spill response organization. ES&H currently has four response boats and 13 personnel conducting containment and cleanup. Wild Well Control has been contracted to work on securing the source of the leak. Hilcorp also contracted an overflight of the incident. A CG helicopter also conducted an aerial assessment. (Coast Guard 12/09/18) Hilcorp of Houston is one of the largest privately held exploration and production companies in the U.S. with field offices in Venice and Lafayette, La. Port Sulphur is about 35 miles south of Belle Chasse, La. UPDATE: On Dec. 10, the CG reported the establishment of a Unified Command, and consists of the Coast Guard, Hilcorp, and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office. About 1,700 feet of hard boom has been deployed to contain the discharging oil, 2,000 feet of absorbent boom to collect it, and 630 gallons of oily water have been recovered so far. UPDATE 2: The Unified Command continues to respond to the well discharge of crude oil, gas, and water near Port Sulphur. Source control crews have controlled the leak, and continue to work to repair the well. About 11,000 feet of hard boom has been deployed. About 4,830 gallons of oily water mixture have been recovered so far. There are 116 oil spill response personnel on scene conducting containment and clean-up.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

GC shipyards make 2018 maritime list

The Gulf Coast’s Metal Shark of Jeanerette/Franklin, La., Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Fla., and VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Miss., were among Maritime Professional’s top compelling maritime storylines of 2018. There were several compelling story threads played out that impacted North America’s waterfronts - each in their own unique way, according to Joseph Keefe, lead commentator for Maritime Professional and Marine News. Metal Shark delivered more than 14 ferries in less than 18 months. Metal Shark has shipyards in Jeanerette and Franklin, La. Metal Shark also began to implement its methodologies, production and project management systems at its newly-purchased Alabama facility (formerly Horizon Shipbuilding). MS-Alabama supported aluminum and steel shipbuilding for vessels up to 300 feet and 1,500 tons launch weight. A partnership with autonomous technology provider ASV global – an L3 Technologies-owned firm - rounded out an extraordinary year. Metal Shark was “clearly one of the big success stories of 2018 and the firm continues its growth as one of the most diversified shipbuilders in the business,” wrote Keefe. Eastern Shipbuilding Group resumed operations at both of its shipbuilding facilities within two weeks of Hurricane Michael’s devastation of Panama City, and surrounding area. Within the gates of ESG’s production facilities, the damage was unparalleled. Eastern first took a “family” approach to recovery, stressing basic needs of its workers and picking up the pieces. The second part yielded fruit and today, the majority of ESG’s workforce has returned to work, as well as all of its Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Craft-building staff. Carnival Corp. contracted with Shell to fuel LNG-powered cruise ships in North America. Carnival will also fuel its vessels via Shell’s LNG Bunker Barge. The Articulated Tug Barge (ATB), a first of its kind in North America, will allow ships to refuel with LNG at East Coast ports. The ATB is being built at the VT Halter Marine of Pascagoula on behalf of Quality Liquefied Natural Gas Transport LLC (Q-LNG) of New Orleans. (Source: Maritime Professional 12/09/18)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

CG rescues duo from capsized skiff

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard rescued two people after their boat capsized near Grand Bay, Miss. on Dec. 8. Coast Guard Station Pascagoula, Miss., received a report from Jackson County dispatchers that there were two people in the water in Grand Bay. CGS Pascagoula relayed the report to CG Sector Mobile, Ala., and directed the launch of a response boat/crew. CG Mobile directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter/crew and CGS Dauphin Island, Ala., launched a response boat/crew. The Pascagoula boatcrew located the survivors, one clinging to the hull of the capsized 12-foot aluminum skiff and one in the water. Both survivors were wearing life jackets. The survivors were transported to Station Pascagoula in good health. (Source: Coast Guard 12/08/18)

LHA 7 commissioning at NASP in ’19

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The commissioning ceremony for the Navy’s newest Amphibious Assault Ship, the future USS Tripoli (LHA 7), will be held onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola on a non-specified date in 2019. The ship is currently about two-thirds through the process to activation at Huntington Ingalls’ shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Tripoli is among the first class of ships designed to support the Marine Corps’ F-35B vertical and/short take-off and landing (V/STOL) fighter jet. A local group is now working to plan the commissioning activities and raise the funds to pay for them. The commissioning ceremony will be paid for by the Navy. The USS Tripoli Commissioning Committee of Pensacola will pay for other portions of a week-long celebration. Committee Chairman, retired aviator Rear Admiral Don Quinn, says the group likely will have to raise as much as $300,000. This will be Pensacola’s sixth commissioning ceremony dating back to USS Mitscher in 1994. The Navy christened Tripoli on Sept. 16 in Pascagoula. (Source: WUWF 12/06/18)

Weeks Marine dredging: $12.7M

Weeks Marine of Covington, La., was awarded a $12,787,500 firm-fixed-price contract for dredging. Work will be performed in Plaquemines Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of May 26, 2019. FY 2019 Army operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $12,787,500 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of New Orleans is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD 12/06/18)

Friday, December 7, 2018

La.’s CPRA chair to resign

Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Chairman Johnny Bradberry, who has overseen Louisiana’s coastal restoration and hurricane levee construction since January 2016, is stepping down on Jan. 1 to pursue an opportunity in the private sector, according to a Dec. 6 announcement from Gov. John Bel Edwards. Chip Kline, deputy director for coastal activities for the governor, was named interim chairman, and executive assistant to the Gov. Edwards. Bradberry, who did not specify the private sector jobs, oversaw the 2017 rewrite of Louisiana’s coastal Master Plan, a $50B, 50-year plan for restoration and storm surge protection projects. He helped design the make-up of the rapidly-growing coastal agency to handle what is quickly becoming a $1B annual budget for those projects. (Source: 12/06/18)

Judge rules eminent domain to ETP

Judge Keith Comeaux of the 16th District Court in St. Mary (La.) Parish ruled Dec. 6 that Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a firm building the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, has the right to seize private property to construct the 162-mile long oil pipeline. He also ruled that ETP had trespassed on private property when it began construction - before finalizing land-seizure procedures. Louisiana is one of a few states that allow oil companies to take private land through expropriation - commonly known as eminent domain. This right is usually reserved for governments. In a statement, ETP said it was “pleased with the ruling” and was looking forward to “bringing the pipeline into service before the end of the year.” Pipeline’s opponents plan to appeal, according to Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor and one of the lawyers representing property owners. The judge awarded each of three property owners contesting the pipeline $150 for expropriation and trespass. (Source: 12/06/18)