BP attempts to stop oil leak



Coastal residents today anxiously awaited the outcome of efforts to contain the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with a giant domelike structure and limit damage from what is becoming an environmental catastrophe. A crane lowered the 100-ton dome onto the "Joe Griffin" before the barge embarked on the 12-hour journey from Port Fourchon on the Louisiana coast to the epicentre of the disaster some 80 kilometres offshore.

The structure ? a white silo with a dome-shaped top that stands five stories high ? carries with it the hopes of coastal communities from Texas to Florida whose way of life is threatened by the slick. Energy giant BP said the device is aimed at containing the oil spill to allow the crude spewing on the seabed about 1,500 metres below up to be pumped into a nearby tanker ship. "We are all hoping this containment system will work," said Coastguard Rear Admiral Mary Landry.

But she and BP officials cautioned that the operation had never been tried at such depths. "What we're undertaking is unprecedented," BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said. "We're landing a very large, essentially, metal building." BP used the occasion to publicise the lengths to which it is going to contain the spill, bringing the barge and dome back to its starting point at one point so that media could get a second shot at its departure.

The laborious task of transporting the dome, lowering it precisely over the leak and attaching it to the ship is expected to take five days, meaning officials hope it will be operational by Monday. Meanwhile, response teams raced to stave off an environmental and economic disaster as a slick the size of a small country threatening to swamp fragile wetland nature reserves and vital fishing grounds.

BP managed to cap the smallest of three leaks haemorrhaging crude into the Gulf, and resumed burning operations later yesterday of some of the heaviest parts of the slick. The successful operation to place a valve over a ruptured pipe and shut off the flow using one of 10 remotely-controlled submarines has no impact on the volume of oil gushing into the sea, but allows efforts to focus on the two remaining leaks.

But the huge oil slick threatened a wide area and some feared the mess may be caught up the Gulf's loop current, pushing the oil slick as far as the Florida Keys. One concern would be the impact of the toxic crude on Florida's beaches and nature preserves such as those in the keys and the Dry Tortugas islands marine sanctuary, which include some of the largest and best preserved coral beds in the world.

"It would be tragic if the contamination even indirectly affected the coral," Diego Lirman, a coral expert at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science said. Fears are growing that sea life is already being affected in a region that contains vital spawning grounds for fish, shrimp and crabs, and is a major migratory stop for rare birds. A sea turtle was spotted swimming through part of the slick about 15 miles (25 kilometres) off the coast by a National Wildlife Foundation boat, but no animal rescue experts were on board to treat the struck animal.

More than two weeks after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, the full impact of the disaster is still unfolding. If estimates are correct, more than 2.5 million gallons of crude have entered the sea since the BP-leased platform spectacularly sank on April 22, still ablaze more than two days after the initial blast that killed 11 workers. The riser pipe that had connected the rig to the well head now lies fractured on the seabed a mile below spewing out oil at a rate at some 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

BP began operations on a relief well Sunday, but the process is expected to take up to three months so the containment dome is seen as the best short-term fix. In Washington, the White House said Wednesday it supported "significantly" raising the cap on damages energy firms that pollute the environment face. Under a law introduced after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster in Alaska, oil companies by law must pay for the full clean-up and containment costs of any oil seeping from their facilities after an accident.

But the law caps the damages for which the firm is liable at 75 million dollars, unless the company is guilty of "gross negligence." Bills introduced in the House and the Senate would fix the cap at 10 billion dollars. * AFP

Disability on screen

Empire — neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis; bipolar disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Rosewood and Transparent — heart issues

24: Legacy — PTSD;

Superstore and NCIS: New Orleans — wheelchair-bound

Taken and This Is Us — cancer

Trial & Error — cognitive disorder prosopagnosia (facial blindness and dyslexia)

Grey’s Anatomy — prosthetic leg

Scorpion — obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety

Switched at Birth — deafness

One Mississippi, Wentworth and Transparent — double mastectomy

Dragons — double amputee

MATCH INFO

Europa League final

Who: Marseille v Atletico Madrid
Where: Parc OL, Lyon, France
When: Wednesday, 10.45pm kick off (UAE)
TV: BeIN Sports

Salah in numbers

€39 million: Liverpool agreed a fee, including add-ons, in the region of 39m (nearly Dh176m) to sign Salah from Roma last year. The exchange rate at the time meant that cost the Reds £34.3m - a bargain given his performances since.

13: The 25-year-old player was not a complete stranger to the Premier League when he arrived at Liverpool this summer. However, during his previous stint at Chelsea, he made just 13 Premier League appearances, seven of which were off the bench, and scored only twice.

57: It was in the 57th minute of his Liverpool bow when Salah opened his account for the Reds in the 3-3 draw with Watford back in August. The Egyptian prodded the ball over the line from close range after latching onto Roberto Firmino's attempted lob.

7: Salah's best scoring streak of the season occurred between an FA Cup tie against West Brom on January 27 and a Premier League win over Newcastle on March 3. He scored for seven games running in all competitions and struck twice against Tottenham.

3: This season Salah became the first player in Premier League history to win the player of the month award three times during a term. He was voted as the division's best player in November, February and March.

40: Salah joined Roger Hunt and Ian Rush as the only players in Liverpool's history to have scored 40 times in a single season when he headed home against Bournemouth at Anfield earlier this month.

30: The goal against Bournemouth ensured the Egyptian achieved another milestone in becoming the first African player to score 30 times across one Premier League campaign.

8: As well as his fine form in England, Salah has also scored eight times in the tournament phase of this season's Champions League. Only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, with 15 to his credit, has found the net more often in the group stages and knockout rounds of Europe's premier club competition.

MATCH INFO

Euro 2020 qualifier

Fixture: Liechtenstein v Italy, Tuesday, 10.45pm (UAE)

TV: Match is shown on BeIN Sports

THE BIO

Ms Davison came to Dubai from Kerala after her marriage in 1996 when she was 21-years-old

Since 2001, Ms Davison has worked at many affordable schools such as Our Own English High School in Sharjah, and The Apple International School and Amled School in Dubai

Favourite Book: The Alchemist

Favourite quote: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Favourite place to Travel to: Vienna

Favourite cuisine: Italian food

Favourite Movie : Scent of a Woman

 

 

 


 

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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Tips for newlyweds to better manage finances

All couples are unique and have to create a financial blueprint that is most suitable for their relationship, says Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial. He offers his top five tips for couples to better manage their finances.

Discuss your assets and debts: When married, it’s important to understand each other’s personal financial situation. It’s necessary to know upfront what each party brings to the table, as debts and assets affect spending habits and joint loan qualifications. Discussing all aspects of their finances as a couple prevents anyone from being blindsided later.

Decide on the financial/saving goals: Spouses should independently list their top goals and share their lists with one another to shape a joint plan. Writing down clear goals will help them determine how much to save each month, how much to put aside for short-term goals, and how they will reach their long-term financial goals.

Set a budget: A budget can keep the couple be mindful of their income and expenses. With a monthly budget, couples will know exactly how much they can spend in a category each month, how much they have to work with and what spending areas need to be evaluated.

Decide who manages what: When it comes to handling finances, it’s a good idea to decide who manages what. For example, one person might take on the day-to-day bills, while the other tackles long-term investments and retirement plans.

Money date nights: Talking about money should be a healthy, ongoing conversation and couples should not wait for something to go wrong. They should set time aside every month to talk about future financial decisions and see the progress they’ve made together towards accomplishing their goals.

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3.05pm: Al Furjan – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,200m; Winner: Bosphorus, Dane O’Neill, Bhupat Seemar

3.40pm: Mina – Rated Condition (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Royal Mews, Tadhg O’Shea, Bhupat Seemar

4.15pm: Aliyah – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,900m; Winner: Ursa Minor, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash

4.50pm: Riviera Beach – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 2,200m; Winner: Woodditton, Saif Al Balushi, Ahmad bin Harmash

5.25pm: Riviera – Handicap (TB) Dh2,000 (T) 2,000m; Winner: Al Madhar, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi

6pm: Creek Views – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Al Salt, Dane O’Neill, Erwan Charpy

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Nausea
Vomiting
Swollen glands
Rash

The specs

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Transmission: 8-speed auto

Price: from Dh850,000

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Managing the separation process

  • Choose your nursery carefully in the first place
  • Relax – and hopefully your child will follow suit
  • Inform the staff in advance of your child’s likes and dislikes.
  • If you need some extra time to talk to the teachers, make an appointment a few days in advance, rather than attempting to chat on your child’s first day
  • The longer you stay, the more upset your child will become. As difficult as it is, walk away. Say a proper goodbye and reassure your child that you will be back
  • Be patient. Your child might love it one day and hate it the next
  • Stick at it. Don’t give up after the first day or week. It takes time for children to settle into a new routine.And, finally, don’t feel guilty.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 1 (Fernandes pen 2') Tottenham Hotspur 6 (Ndombele 4', Son 7' & 37' Kane (30' & pen 79, Aurier 51')

Man of the match Son Heung-min (Tottenham)


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