Workers to strike at three Total North Sea oil and gas platforms

Union officials had met representatives from Total on Thursday where the union made a series of counter-proposals, to be discussed at talks scheduled for August 23. (Reuters)
Updated 16 August 2018
0

Workers to strike at three Total North Sea oil and gas platforms

LONDON: Workers at three of French oil company Total’s North Sea oil and gas platforms will go ahead with a 24-hour strike on Monday despite holding talks with the company on Thursday in a dispute over pay and conditions, the Unite union said.
The three platforms are Alwyn, Elgin and Dunbar.
“The scheduled 24-hour stoppage on Monday (20 August) will still go ahead as planned,” Unite said in an emailed statement.
The workers are striking over proposed changes to their working rotas and pay.
The union said its officials had met representatives from Total on Thursday where the union made a series of counter-proposals, to be discussed at talks scheduled for Aug. 23.
Unite said further strikes are planned for Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Oct. 29.
The fields account for about 10 percent of Britain’s gas output, while their oil production contributes about 45,000 to 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the Forties and Brent Blend crude streams.
Workers have already held four strikes at the sites as part of the dispute.
The latest, a 12-hour strike on Aug. 13, contributed to a near 4 percent rise in prompt British wholesale gas prices.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
0

Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”