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International 3/16

Statoil: Ambitious drilling rig in the Barents Sea
Norway’s largest oil company Statoil was able to cut its expected development costs to keep alive its delayed Johan Castberg develompent in the Barents Sea. The decision comes as welcome news for an industry that’s struggling with a deep plunge in oil prices and tens of thousands of job cuts. The plan of Statoil will also benefit other companies that have made discoveries in the Barents Sea, such as Lundin Petroleum with its Gohta and Alta finds. The project will proceed after it managed to lower estimated investments to 7 billion US-Dollar from earlinger around 15 billion US-Dollar.

The company will further continue working on plans for a possible onshore oil terminal at Veidnes as a seperate project with operatores on Castberg and for other fields in the north. The terminal was part of an original development solution presented by Statoil in 2013 but later scrapped. The Norwegian authorities had signaled a preference for a development of Castberg involving pipelines and a terminal with capacity for future discoveries in the area, which would have strengthened incentives to explore the Barents Sea. (Source: UPI/Arctic News)


Future Payment Trends: Shell take the lead in Payment Apps
The successful launch of Apple Pay has set the tone for a new form of payment. After years of research and development some fuel retailers have launched their own payment apps. Shell’s Fill Up & Go stands out as the frontrunner in a marathon soon to be joined by most, if not all major fuel retailer.

Shell has rolled out a remonte mobile payment app for the United Kingdom now accepted in more than 1,000 gas statios – around 50 percent company owned. Powered by PayPal, the Full Up & Go app allows drivers to pay for fuel from within their own car. All the driver needs to do is select the amount and scan the QR code displayed at the pump. Once the payment has gone through, the user gets out of the car, leaving the phone in the vehicle, fills up the tank, and leaves. Through the app users can spend between 20 and 150 Pounds per transaction. „It works very well. The only problem is that people do not really knwo how to use it yet“, explains a Shell station operator, although promising, that he does not expect, that the mobile apps becomes a mainstream form of payment for at least 10 years. (Source: Shell)


United Kingdom: A Muslim Family has removed Alcohol from hundred of Gas Stations
Following a number of recent acquisitions, the owners Zuber and Mohsin Issa have decided to remove alcohol from its 350 gas stations claiming it is ethically wrong to sell alcoholic drinks to drivers. Other point at religious reasons behind the ban.

Euro Garages has experienced a period of steady growth in recent years with a current network of 360 sites across the United Kingdom. Earlier in 2015, the company announced the acquisition of 104 Esso and 68 Shell sites, consolidating its position as one of the largest independent forecourt operators in the UK. (Source: Petrol Plaza)


Climate Change: Nobel Peace Prize Winners call for halt to Arctic drilling
In a letter, six female Nobel laureates urged Arctic countries to put a stop to drilling in the region. With the address, the peace prize winners Mairead Maguire (Ireland), Rigoberta Menchu Tum (Guatemala), Jody Williams (USA), Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and Tawakkoi Karmal (Yemen) kick the leg of Norway, the country responsible fort he Nobel Prize. Despite its mounting climate committments, Norway continues to explore Arctic waters and the country’s government has no plan to reduce its drilling program, probably because of budget reasons as Statoil is a fully stateowned energy company.

At the same time, other Arctic countries appear to be putting on the breaks. In the USA, the Department of Interior in October 2015 cancelled two planned auctions of Arctic offshore oil leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and turned down requests from oil companies for more time on existing leasing.

In a meeting a short time ago, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a joint plan to cut methane emissions from oil and gas industry and a suite of plans to protect the environment in the Arctic. (Source: Brookings, Washington)


US Navy Submarine emerges through the Arctic Ice
Two Los Angeles-class submarines arrived at US Navy Ice Camp Sargo, a temporary station on top of a floating ice sheet in the Arctic, March 14, as part of the Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. USS Hardford from Groton, Connecticut and USS Hampton from San Diego will conduct multiple arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing, scientific data collection and other training evolutions during their time in the region.

Submarines have conducted under-ice operations in the Arctic region for more than 50 years. USS Nautilus made the first transit in 1958. USS Skate was the first submarine to surface through arctic ice at the North Pole in March 1959. USS Sargo which the temporary ice camp is named after, was the first submarine to make a winter Bering Strait transit in 1960.

Since those events, the US Submarine Forces has completed more than 26 Arctic exercises. ICEX 2016 is the latest exercise demonstrating the important and unique role the Submarine Forces play in implementing the US Department of Defense’s Arctic strategy. (Source: Brookings, Washington)