Monday, May 9, 2011

UPDATE: Nexen's Yemen Operations Hit By Strike; Buzzard Operating At Reduced Rates

By Edward Welsch


CALGARY (Dow Jones)--Nexen Inc. (NXY) said oil production in Yemen has been shut down due to a worker strike, and that equipment problems at its offshore oil operations in the North Sea will reduce production rates.

Problems in Yemen and the North Sea add to Calgary-based Nexen's troubles, which have included production problems at a Canadian oil-sands operation and a negative outlook for its investment-grade credit rating by rating agency Moody's.

The strike at Nexen's Masila operations in Yemen began Sunday. With about 1,000 local workers represented by the Masila Labour Union making up more than 90% of Nexen's workforce, the company had to shut-in oil production there. The shut down is expected to affect between 28,000 and 35,000 barrels of oil a day, or as much as 15% of total production.

The strike is related to an ongoing dispute between workers and management, not the political unrest in Yemen's capital or the wave of protests against governments across the Arab world, Nexen spokesman Pierre Alvarez said.

The company also said production at its Buzzard offshore oil platform in the North Sea would be reduced due to problems with cooling equipment. A solution has been found, but production is expected to be reduced until the repairs are completed this summer.

Raymond James analyst Kristopher Zack said the strike in Yemen is likely factored into Nexen's stock price due to the unrest in the region, but that Buzzard's problems are more meaningful. Buzzard production was 80,500 barrels a day net to Nexen last year, or about a third of its total production. Zack estimated production at about 35,000 barrels a day during the second quarter, which could cut into cash flow per share by about 8%.

"This could be an overhang on the stock until the company demonstrates that the proper repairs are in place," he said.

Nexen shares declined 3.2% to $23.75 in recent trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sources: Six killed in Yemen protests

From Journalist Hakim Almasmari, For CNN

May 9, 2011
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Yemeni security forces opened fire on protesters in Taiz on Monday, killing at least six and injuring hundreds, a medical official in the southwestern city said

Security forces moved in to disperse the marchers with batons and tear gas before opening fire with live ammunition, witnesses said. The marchers were teachers -- accompanied by opponents of the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- who were protesting salary cuts. Clashes occurred in five locations in Taiz, the witnesses added.

Similar clashes occurred in al-Hodiedah, a city on the Red Sea, and in Dhammar, witnesses and medical officials in those cities said.

Government officials declined to comment on the reports.

CNN cannot independently verify the witness accounts.

Saleh's impoverished and unstable nation has been wracked by anti-government protests and clashes between demonstrators and security forces for many weeks.

Hayden: Yemen more dangerous than Libya

Monday in Taiz, more than 50 of the injured had gunshot wounds, while others were suffering from the effects of tear gas or other injuries, said Salem Sharjabi, the media liaison for the field hospital there. Several of the injured were in critical condition, Sharjabi said.

Three of those protesters who were fatally shot were teachers, said Fuad Dahabi, the president of the teachers' syndicate.

"The government is using force to make us give in and go home. This is our home and we will protest until the last man," said Muneef Ariki, a youth leader in Taiz who was involved in Monday's protests.

"Nearly 100 days have passed and we are being killed and oppressed by this regime," said Abdul Salam Mikhlafi, a protester. "We vowed to hold Saleh accountable and no immunity will save him from the wrath of his own people."

The Organizing Committee for the Youth Revolution, which helped organize the protests, said that security forces arrested at least 15 activists at the protests.

"Most of those arrested were female activists," a committee member said.

Protesters also were attacked in al-Hodiedah's change square by Republican Guard forces on Monday, resulting in seven protesters being shot, witnesses and medical personnel said.

"Attacks on protesters is a sign that our mission will soon be accomplished. Attacks is the last option in front of a dying regime," said Rami Suliaman a protester in al-Hodiedah.

Security forces also attacked anti-Saleh protesters in Dhammar city, witnesses and medical personnel there said. Medical staff confirmed that 12 were injured, six of them with gunshot wounds.

Yemen Is ‘Collapsing’ Amid Stalemate, Former Premier Numan Says

By Vivian Salama -

May 9, 2011

Yemen is “collapsing” amid a political stalemate between the ruling General People’s Congress and opposition groups seeking to topple President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said Yasin Said Numan, secretary general of Yemen’s opposition Socialist Party.

To avoid “catastrophic consequences,” Saleh and the Gulf Cooperation Council should immediately sign a GCC-brokered plan that would grant the president immunity if he steps down 30 days afterward, Numan said today in a telephone interview from Sana’a, Yemen’s capital.

Numan was prime minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen from 1986 until unification of north and south Yemen in 1990.

On the GCC peace plan:

“The GCC plan should be implemented as soon as possible. We don’t have time to waste. We will have 60 days to elect a new president once the two sides sign.

‘‘In that time, the economic situation and the security situation we are facing here need to be considered. The people in the streets are refusing any delay. If there is a delay, we will witness catastrophic consequences.’’

On succession:

‘‘This country without this regime will be much better off than it is now. People need to know that this regime has created a lot of problems for this country.’’

On Yemen’s economic situation:

‘‘There is no cooking gas, no petrol, things are vanishing and if things continue this way, we will learn what a real crisis is. The country is collapsing everywhere.

‘‘We have considerable resources, maybe not enough, but considerable. If you look at the aid and financial aid that have been given to this regime over the recent period -- it’s been substantial, but the people have not seen a penny.

‘‘The problems of this economy will first be overcome if we get rid of corruption. One of the biggest problems in this country is corruption.’’

Source: Bloomberg

Official: Unruly passenger appears to have "mental issues"

From Rick Martin, CNN

May 9, 2011

(CNN) -- The unruly passenger who had to be restrained aboard an American Airlines flight to San Francisco appears to have "mental issues," a law enforcement source said Monday.

Rageit al Murisi was "pounding on the cockpit door" minutes before he was subdued on American Airlines Flight 1561 on Sunday night, said Sgt. Michael Rodriguez.

Murisi was quickly restrained by employees and passengers, according to American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith.

"He never breached the cockpit door. The door was locked," said Smith.

According to San Francisco police, Murisi was traveling with a passport from Yemen. A law enforcement official has said police have seen nothing to indicate links to terrorism, including a possible trial run.

Murisi was placed in flex handcuffs and met by Transportation Security Administration officials and San Francisco police when the flight landed in California, Smith said.

Flight 1561 from Chicago to San Francisco departed at 7:05 p.m. Sunday and landed at 9:12 p.m. The Boeing 737 plane had 156 passengers and six working crew members on board. No one was hurt, Smith said.

It was at least the second incident on Sunday in which a passenger described by authorities as disorderly was restrained.

A Continental flight bound for Chicago from Houston made an unscheduled stop in St. Louis because of an "unruly passenger," a St. Louis airport spokesman said Sunday.

The man tried to reach the exit door during the flight but was stopped by a flight attendant, spokesman Jeff Lea said.

The plane landed at St. Louis and the man was taken off the plane for questioning by airport police and federal authorities, he said.

Continental Flight 546 landed in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, an hour late.

Also on Sunday, a Delta flight was diverted after a flight attendant found a suspicious note in a lavatory, a TSA official told CNN.

The flight from Detroit to San Diego was diverted to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the FBI said, adding that it was informed of "a potential security threat" on the plane.

Flight 1706 landed in Albuquerque shortly before 10 a.m., and agents were on the scene to investigate, the FBI office in Albuquerque said.

TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the flight landed without incident, and all passengers deplaned safely.

"Passengers and carry-ons were cleared by a canine team, and the plane was swept with negative findings," a TSA statement said.

Abdul Atief Al-Zeiani: GCC Initiative is Suitable to Tackle the Crises in Yemen

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a, May 9, 2011- The head of GCC, Abdul Atief Al-Zeiani said that the discussions are still continuing to achieve a suitable agreement between the two differing political sides in Yemen, the ruling General People Congress party and the Joint Meeting Party in order to solve the current crisis in Yemen.

Al-Zeiani mentioned in an interview with the Saudi newspaper, Okad, that the GCC's leaders are determined that the GCC initiative is suitable to solve the crises and it is satisfied with the stance of both the opposition and the ruling party.

He confirmed that the GCC initiative aims to help Yemeni people, ''Our aim from the GCC initiative to help our brother in Yemen. we also work to ensure security and stability in the country. ''

The GCC offered an initiative to solve the current crises in Yemen between the GPC and the opposition, but it was stalled because Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected to sign the agreement.

Yemen's President Saleh has been facing nationwide protests since the beginning of February demanding his immediate ouster.