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July 22, 2013

News Briefs July 22, 2013

Air Force considers drilling for oil at Vandenberg

U.S. Air Force officials said they will study the economic and environmental feasibility of a proposal to lease land on Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to companies that want to drill for oil and natural gas on California’s central coast.

Mark Meier, chief counsel for the State Lands Commission, said the proposal, which is opposed by environmental groups, would require the first new offshore lease for drilling in state waters since the 1960s.

The proposal from Sunset Exploration Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. would employ a type of extraction called “slant drilling,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The drilling uses onshore equipment to reach offshore deposits, and it would have to be compatible with the base’s space missions.

Environmental groups have long fought drilling on California’s coast, saying it poses risks to marine life.

This would be a new oil drilling project along a very biologically rich and sensitive area of the California coast. It would threaten migrating whales and other important species with oil spills and other impacts that result from offshore oil drilling, Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center, told the Times.

Sunset Exploration President Bob Nunn said the proposed operation is land-based and would avoid the marine environment, with its drill bit a half mile below the seafloor. He called it “the antithesis of offshore drilling.

Sunset and Exxon tried to drill on the land in 2006, but their application was found incomplete by Santa Barbara County because the military didn’t approve it.

Military officials say Vandenberg has five active oil wells.

To advance, the project also needs approval from the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission. AP

U.K. revokes export licenses for Egypt’s military

The British government said July 19 it has revoked five export licenses for equipment destined for Egypt’s military and police in light of recent unrest in the country that has led to the deaths of civilians.

Egypt has witnessed street skirmishes and protests since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi as president. About 60 people have been killed in the clashes.

Business Secretary Vince Cable’s department said the decision was taken because of the Egyptian authorities’ recent actions with regard to crowd control.

The five licenses covered components for armored personnel carriers, machine guns, and armored fighting infantry vehicles, along with communications equipment for tanks and licenses for vehicle antennas and radio equipment.

Cable said the government had not had reports of British equipment being used in Egypt’s unrest, but took the decision to revoke the licenses upon advice from the Foreign Office.

The U.K. assesses all arms export licenses to ensure there is no risk that weapons and other equipment might be used for internal repression. AP

Rockwell Collins third quarter profit tops Street’s view

Aviation and military electronics maker Rockwell Collins said July 19 that its fiscal third-quarter net income dipped slightly as its income tax expense rose.

But the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company’s earnings managed to top analysts’ estimates. It also narrowed its full-year earnings forecast on its year-to-date performance.

For the three months ended June 30, Rockwell Collins Inc. earned $164 million, or $1.20 per share. That’s down from $166 million, or $1.14 per share, a year ago. Earnings per share rose because there were fewer shares outstanding in the latest quarter.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.16 per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue slipped 3 percent to $1.17 billion from $1.21 billion as sales from the government systems segment declined. The performance still met Wall Street’s forecast.

Income tax expense increased to $70 million from $64 million.

Rockwell Collins expects full-year earnings in a range of $4.55 to $4.60 per share. Its prior guidance called for earnings between $4.45 and $4.65 per share. Revenue is predicted to be about $4.65 billion, the midpoint of its previous outlook of $4.6 billion to $4.7 billion.

Analysts expect earnings of $4.58 per share on revenue of $4.62 billion.

The company’s CEO, Clay Jones, plans to retire at the end of the month. He will be succeeded by President Kelly Ortberg. Rockwell Collins said in April that Jones will remain with the company as non-executive chairman. AP




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