Daily Archives: February 17, 2011

Bahraini army tanks take position near Pearl SquareBloody clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police in Bahrain have got many people outside the Middle East looking at the island state for the first time. But does it matter to business and investors?

The answer is yes. Not so much because Bahrain is a financial centre and home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet. But because Bahrain has the potential – belied by its tiny size – to inspire political ructions in Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer. That explains why the protests have exacerbated jitters in the Middle East’s already shaky stock markets.

Sheila McNulty

When Hercules Offshore agreed to buy Seahawk Drilling’s 20 jackup rigs, the obvious question was whether it planned to use them in the Gulf of Mexico. After all, Seahawk is only focused on the Gulf, and it is pricey to move rigs.

But Hercules chief executive John T. Rynd says he got a good deal on the rigs. Seahawk agreed late Friday to sell substantially all its assets to Hercules in a cash and stock deal. The deal includes $25m in cash and 22.3m Hercules shares, which, based on the February 10 closing price of $3.62 per share, put the value of the transaction at $105m.

The asset sale is to be done through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in which Seahawk will seek expedited hearings to obtain court approval. The companies expect to the close the transaction – subject to the various approval required – in the second quarter of 2011.

Sheila McNulty

Bad news for those out there with high hopes of moving quickly to convert the world to electric vehicles.

A new report by Accenture, the consultancy, says that the large-scale rollout of plug-in electric vehicles will be hindered unless investors stimulate demand, lower the cost of public charging infrastructure and manage the impact on the grid. Those are three pretty big challenges.

The report is based on analysis of electric vehicles trials around the world – from Japan to The Netherlands to the UK.

FT Energy Source

- HK Electric considering bid for Eon’s UK grid distribution business – WSJ (£)

- Abu Dhabi fund buys Spain’s Cepsa – FT

- Oil hits $104 as Iran warships head for Suez – The Telegraph

- GE Hitachi and Lockheed in nuclear security tie – FT

- US 2009 emissions lowest since 1995 – Argus

- Auditors find oil and gas oversight still lacking – NY Times Green blog

- US court upholds Airgas’s ‘poison pill’ – FT

- Tullow falls on report of Total’s Ugandan talks – The Telegraph

- Providence promises Irish boom if he finds oil – The Times (£)

- Uranium forecast to hit new highs – FT

- A lawmaker’s critique for Obama’s energy stance – NY Times Green blog

- Saudi turns to alternatives to prop up oil – Reuters

- Santos says earnings climbed 15% – Bloomberg

- Williams Cos plans to split in two – WSJ (£)

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