Mar 14, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Authorities in Azerbaijan have reported that three people who died of suspected avian influenza were infected with an H5 virus, and further tests very likely will confirm it to be H5N1, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.”H5N1 is the only strain within the H5 subtype known to cause human infections,” the WHO said. “It is highly likely that the H5N1 strain will be detected in further tests.” Those tests will be conducted at a WHO reference laboratory in Britain.If confirmed as H5N1, the three cases will be the first ones in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus region on the west side of the Caspian Sea. The country would be the eighth nation to face human cases of H5N1, following Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Turkey, and Iraq.Yesterday the WHO recognized the avian flu in a 12-year-old Indonesian girl who died Mar 1, apparently the same girl whose case was announced by Indonesian authorities Mar 10. Her case increased the WHO’s reckoning of the global toll to 177 cases with 98 deaths. Confirmation of the Azerbaijani cases would boost the death toll to 101.The WHO announced Mar 10 that Azerbaijani authorities were investigating 10 suspected human cases of H5N1.The victims who tested positive for an H5 virus included a 17-year-old girl from Sarvan settlement who died Feb 23 and a 20-year-old woman from Daikyand settlement who died Mar 3, the agency said. Both villages are in the southeastern area of Salyan.The other patient was a 21-year-old woman from the central-western province of Tarter, who died Mar 9, the WHO said.In its Mar 10 statement, the WHO mentioned a 17-year-old girl who died Feb 23 but said she was thought to have died of a respiratory illness that had afflicted her for more than a year. That report also had said all 10 patients were from the same town (Daikyand).A portable field laboratory provided by US Naval Medical Research Unit 3, based in Cairo, Egypt, tested samples from the three patients, the WHO said. The lab, which arrived in the country yesterday, provides reliable results, the agency said.A Reuters report today said the three patients became ill after contact with sick birds and were not thought to have infected one another. “I do not believe the virus passed from human to human,” said Shyakar Babayeva, head nurse at the institute in Baku, the capital, where the patients were treated.WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said test results were still pending on two other Azerbaijanis who died of suspected avian flu, according to a Canadian Press report published today.Thompson also said several other possible cases are being investigated, including some clustered in families, according to the report.In confirming the case in the Indonesian girl, the WHO said she lived in Boyolali in central Java. She fell ill Feb 19, was hospitalized Feb 23, and died Mar 1. Chickens in her household had died in the days just before she got sick, the agency said.The girl had a 10-year-old brother who became ill on Feb 19 and died Feb 28, the WHO said. But because his symptoms looked like dengue hemorrhagic fever, he was not tested for avian flu. “It will therefore never be known whether he may have died following co-infection with dengue and H5N1 avian influenza,” the WHO said.In other developments:A Hungarian H5N1 vaccine for humans has been approved by Hungary’s pharmaceutical authorities, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today. Announcing the approval, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said the vaccine is intended for people working with diseased birds.India reported new outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry in Maharashtra state, about 85 miles from India’s first outbreak, discovered last month, according to AFP. An agriculture ministry official said four samples from four different villages in the Jalgaon district tested positive. Officials said 75,000 birds in the area would be killed to contain the outbreak.Several seagulls from southern Croatia tested positive for the virus, according to another AFP report. The seagulls came from the town of Pantana, near Split on the southern coast, officials said. About 1,200 birds from the area have been tested since two swans there were found infected with the virus in mid-February, AFP reported.See also:Mar 14 WHO statement on situation in Azerbaijanhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_03_14/en/index.htmlMar 13 WHO statement on case in Indonesiahttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_03_13/en/index.html
Cost-saving measures In light of recent developments in the oil market, oil and gas company EnQuest has decided not to re-start production at the Heather and Thistle/Deveron fields located offshore the UK. Thistle platform. Source: RMTEnQuest was in October 2019 forced to evacuate workers from its Thistle platform following an inspection relating to a support element on a redundant subsea storage tank. During the same month, a small fire broke out on the Heather platform and two workers were injured. Production at Heather had been shut down for maintenance prior to the incident.EnQuest said in November 2019 that single compressor operations had impacted production at Heather.Production has been shut down at both platforms ever since. EnQuest previously planned to restore production at both platforms in the first half of 2020.In an update on Thursday EnQuest said it had reviewed each of its assets and related spending plans in light of the current lower oil price environment.EnQuest’s updated working assumption is not to re-start production at the Heather and Thistle/Deveron fields. Total combined production from these fields in 2019 was c.6,000 Boepd. At the same time, the company is implementing a material operating cost and capital expenditure reduction program. This action will significantly lower EnQuest’s cost base, with group free cash flow breakeven targeted at c.$38/Boe in 2020 and $35/Boe in 2021, the company explained.For 2020, the company is targeting base operating expenditure savings of c.$150 million, which would lower operating costs by c.30% to c.$375 million.In 2021, the group is targeting unit operating expenditures of c.$15/Boe. These savings are driven primarily by cost savings at Heather and Thistle/Deveron, but also through the removal of non-critical and discretionary operating expenditures and support costs.The company’s 2020 cash capital expenditure is also expected to be reduced by c.$80 million to c.$150 million. The majority of the group’s 2020 program relates to the recently concluded drilling program at Magnus and the two-well program now underway at Kraken, with approximately $50 million of 2020 cash capital expenditure relating to the phasing of cash payments into 2020.The group’s 2021 capital expenditure program is expected to reduce further, although production is also likely to be impacted as a result.The group retains significant liquidity with cash and available facilities of $268.2 million at February 28, 2019.EnQuest Chief Executive, Amjad Bseisu, said: “Over the last few years, EnQuest has made significant progress in strengthening the business with our three world-class assets in Kraken, Magnus and PM8/Seligi, and a materially reduced debt position.“Given the prevailing low oil price environment, we are taking decisive action to reduce operating and capital expenditure in 2020 and beyond, with a view to targeting cash flow breakeven of c.$35/Boe in 2021. While these actions have reduced our production expectations, free cash flow has improved and with no senior credit facility amortizations due in 2020 and long-dated bond maturities, we are positioning ourselves to manage through the current low oil price environment.”It is also worth mentioning that offshore accommodation specialist, Prosafe, has recently been awarded a contract to provide accommodation in support of the redundant subsea tank removal and safe re-habitation of the Thistle Alpha platform in the UK North Sea.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Mike Pence is on a nine-day trip to Israel as part of an economic development mission to bring jobs and investment to Indiana.“Hoosiers and Israelis have a bond connecting us in education, business, culture and values. With this trip we’ll focus on deepening those relationships, looking at ways to nurture shared growth and success,” said Pence.“As friends, we’re stronger together, and together our shared entrepreneurial spirit and drive can lead to opportunities that are boundless.”This is Pence’s fifth international job-hunting mission as governor.