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WTI Rises for Second Day Before Stockpiles Data; Brent Gains

Filed in Prices by on 22 July 2014

West Texas Intermediate rose for a second day before stockpile data that will signal the strength of fuel demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent gained in London. Futures climbed as much as 0.6 percent in New York. Crude inventories probably shrank by 2.8 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey before tomorrow’s Energy Information Administration report. The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling for an international probe into the downing of a Malaysian Air passenger jet in Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is holding talks in Cairo to end fighting in the Gaza Strip. “Inventories are something that can influence prices as in the past weeks there were large draws which were bullish,” Gerrit Zambo, an oil trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich, said by phone today. “The biggest issue supporting prices are the crises [...]

Oil gains further on concerns over Ukraine, Gaza

Filed in Prices by on 22 July 2014

The price of oil rose above $103 a barrel Tuesday on persisting jitters over the situation in Gaza and the standoff over the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine. U.S. benchmark crude for September delivery was up 21 cents to $103.06 a barrel at 0615 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 91 cents to $102.86 on Monday. The August contract, which expires Tuesday, was up 41 cents at $105.00 a barrel. Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, gained 3 cents to $107.71 on the ICE exchange in London. Israel bombed five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the late Hamas military chief across the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Cairo to launch the highest-level push yet to end two weeks [...]

Natural-Gas Prices Fall to Near Eight-Month Low on Cool Weather

Filed in Prices by on 22 July 2014

Natural-gas prices on Monday slid to a nearly eight-month low as another sweep of unseasonably cool weather across the U.S. is expected to keep a lid on demand. Gas prices have slid 24% since mid-June as cooler-than-normal temperatures have reined in the use of power-thirsty air conditioning. In the hotter months of summer, rising electricity consumption has spurred power plants’ natural-gas demand. This year, the lack of that additional demand has resulted in a rapid buildup of natural-gas supplies, which has weighed on prices. Natural gas for August delivery, the front-month futures contract, dropped 10.2 cents, or 2.6%, to $3.849 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Monday’s close was the lowest since Nov. 26. The cooler-than-normal temperatures have extended into the latter half of July and are poised to continue into the beginning of August, a period that is usually the [...]

Natural gas falls to an 8-month low

Filed in Prices by on 22 July 2014

Natural gas was falling to its lowest level in eight months following forecasts that nationwide summer temperatures are expected to be milder than normal. The price of natural gas fell 10 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $3.85 per 1,000 cubic feet on Monday. That’s the lowest since mid-November. Weather analysts expect U.S. temperatures to be lower than normal for the next two to three weeks, which is typically when U.S. temperatures are at their hottest. In the summer natural gas is used for to generate electricity, particularly when demand is high and other sources are at full capacity. Crude oil rose $1.46, or 1.5 percent, to $104.59 a barrel and wholesale gasoline rose three cents, or 1 percent, to $2.89 a gallon. Gold and silver rose. Crop prices fell.

Kurdish Oil Gambit Hits Troubled Waters

Filed in Iraq by on 22 July 2014

Shortly before midnight, an oil tanker set sail from Turkey’s Ceyhan port one day in late May with a historic, $100 million cargo. The tanker, United Leadership, ferried the first major consignment of Kurdish crude into the Mediterranean that night, a million-barrel payload with the potential to shift oil markets and transform the geopolitics of the Middle East. The oil, pumped to Turkey through a newly built pipeline, is part of a gambit by northern Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to carve out a nation for Iraq’s 6.5 million Kurds, even as Iraq defends its north against the Jihadist Sunni militant group, the Islamic State. Iraq, with U.S. backing, is treating the oil as stolen goods and an attack on its sovereignty. Iraqi authorities have accused the Kurds of treason, and threaten to sue any buyer of crude taken from Iraq without permission. After zigzagging the Mediterranean [...]

Five Kuwait politicians’ citizenship revoked

Filed in Kuwait by on 22 July 2014

Kuwait has stripped five well-known opposition figures of their citizenship, including the owner of a newspaper and television station. The official Kuwait News Agency announced the decision by Kuwait’s cabinet on Monday, which approved a draft decree to revoke the citizenship of the five. Among those named in the decision is Abdullah al-Barghash, a former Islamist opposition legislator, and three other members of his family. The government also revoked the nationality of Ahmad al-Shemmeri, owner of the independent Al-Youm television station and Alam Al-Yawm newspaper. His newspaper was ordered temporarily shut down twice this year by a court for defying a prosecutor-ordered media blackout about an investigation into a coup plot to overthrow the Gulf monarchy’s government. The state news agency account did not give a reason for the cabinet’s decision.

Seven killed in clashes between army and militants in Libya’s Benghazi

Filed in Libya by on 22 July 2014

Islamist militants attacked an army base in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, triggering fierce clashes involving helicopters and jets that killed at least seven people and wounded 40 others after days of escalating violence. Benghazi’s clashes followed a week of fighting between rival militias for control of Tripoli International Airport in the capital that has prompted the North Africa country to appeal for international help to stop Libya becoming a failed state. Tripoli was calmer on Monday, but in Benghazi, militants linked to Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia attacked an army camp and were repelled by troops and forces loyal to renegade retired general Khalifa Haftar, who has been carrying out a self-declared war on Islamist fighters, security sources said. “Ansar al-Sharia tried to take over one special forces camp, but the special forces and Hafter’s forces fought back, using helicopters and military [...]

Lebanon Set to Delay Oil and Gas License Auction Until 2015

Filed in Lebanon by on 22 July 2014

Lebanon is likely to delay again the first auction of oil and natural gas licenses in its coastal waters until 2015 because of political gridlock over decrees needed to start the bidding process, people familiar with the matter said. The nation, which claims it may have as much as 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 850 million barrels of oil off its coast, repeatedly has delayed the bidding round for the licenses after a cabinet failed to approve two necessary decrees. “The situation is quite complicated. The ministerial committee that was formed to review the decrees has not done much since some members are not happy about the royalties and taxes mentioned in the drafts,” one official familiar with the matter said. “Now no one wants to move forward with any action until the parliament elects a new president and we have a new government, which could [...]

Libya publishes parliamentary election results

Filed in Libya by on 22 July 2014

 Libya’s electoral committee on Monday announced results of an earlier parliamentary election, but many fear it might fuel the ongoing clashes between pro-secular militia and armed Islamist groups. The polls, held on June 25, elected the new parliament House of Representatives to replace the previous General National Congress. All 1,714 contestants were registered as independent candidates, as party lists are not allowed under current electoral law. Of the total 200 seats in the new parliament, 188 were set, while the remaining 12 seats were absent due to boycott or insecurity in some electoral districts, according to Libya’s High National Electoral Commission. Analysts said the secular factions have seemingly taken most of the seats, while the Islamist lawmakers, who had a bigger say in the old parliament, only won around 30 seats this time. Some feared that the results might intensify the current armed clashes between [...]

Toll Climbs in Fight for Syrian Gas Field

Filed in Syria by on 22 July 2014

More than 100 people were killed in two days in a continuing fight between government forces and militants for control of a gas-production facility east of Homs, according to opposition activists and media outlets aligned with the regime. Among the casualties as of Sunday evening were at least 65 members of the regime’s forces, according to Syrian opposition activists, while the rest were fighters from the extremist group Islamic State. The fighting erupted after gunmen from Islamic State mounted an attack late Wednesday on the Al-Shaer gas field and production facility, located in the desert about 150 miles northeast of the capital Damascus. Over 270 guards, workers and members of a pro-regime paramilitary group known as the National Defense Force were killed in the initial attack and subsequent executions carried out by Islamic State militants, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an [...]

Israelis barely break stride under missile shield

Filed in Israel by on 22 July 2014

Civilians take cover in an air raid shelter in Sderot, south Israel, as several rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip Several large booms rang out over Ashkelon, southern Israel, on Monday afternoon as Israel fired interceptor missiles from its Iron Dome defence system to destroy incoming rockets fired by militants in the Gaza Strip, 7km away. The sound has become common across Israel since it began its war in Gaza two weeks ago; people shopping near a crowded town centre shopping mall did not break their stride. More On this story On this topic IN Arab-Israel conflict As of Monday, Hamas and other Gaza-based militants had shot 154 rockets into Ashkelon, a seaside city of 137,000, since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge began. Of these, 85 were intercepted and blown to pieces mid-air by Iron Dome; one of the few that landed in a populated area where residents were [...]

Palestinian death toll rises in Gaza fighting; Israel thwarts infiltration attempts

Filed in Gaza by on 22 July 2014

The Palestinian death toll rose to more than 500 on Monday as Israel announced that it had prevented two more attempts by Hamas militants to infiltrate the nation via tunnels from the Gaza Strip. As international concern mounted over the growing casualties on both sides in the conflict, now in its 14th day, yet another diplomatic push was underway to bring about a cease-fire. U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were both expected in Cairo later Monday in hopes of finding a diplomatic resolution that has so far proved elusive. Israeli airstrikes continued to bombard Gaza on Monday — more than 50 Hamas targets were attacked, including two weapons manufacturing sites, six underground rocket launchers and five tunnels, Israel’s military said. Over the past few hours, Israel reported intense rocket fire across its southern communities, reaching up to Tel [...]

Fracking Opponents Renew Call for South African Shale-Gas Halt

Filed in South Africa by on 22 July 2014

A South African environmental group renewed its call for a moratorium on shale-gas fracking, as the government moves closer to a decision on whether to allow the process opponents say imperils water quality. The Treasure Karoo Action Group, named after the semi-desert area of South Africa that has attracted petroleum exploration companies, started in Johannesburg today the latest phase of a campaign to block the drilling technique. An April 2011 moratorium placed on shale-gas exploration in South Africa ended in September 2012. The government on Oct. 16 published proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing as it seeks to tap as much as 390 trillion cubic feet of resources in the Karoo. Opponents of fracking, which blasts water, chemicals and sand into rock to release natural gas, say it risks contaminating ground water. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) is among explorers to have applied for permits to explore the Karoo. South [...]

Production Dries Up Amid Currency Woes and a Scramble for Parts

Filed in Venezuela by on 22 July 2014

This car-crazed country’s auto industry, once the third largest in South America, is seizing up as manufacturers struggle to produce a few vehicles a day. Car makers, including global giants like Ford Motor Co. , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. , have cut output by more than 80% in the first six months of the year compared with a year earlier because of a lack of dollars to pay parts suppliers, according to data compiled by the Automotive Chamber of Venezuela, which represents car makers. “This is the first time I have ever seen things this bad,” said 61-year-old Antonio Lopez, a Ford worker who recently prepared a sedan for painting at the auto maker’s factory [...]

Pakistan working with China on gas needs

Filed in Pakistan by on 22 July 2014

Pakistan’s government said Monday it was getting China’s help with the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal and associated pipeline infrastructure. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said it consented to the construction of an LNG terminal for the port city of Gwadar near the Iranian border. An associated pipeline would be built through a government-to-government arrangement. “We are running from pillar to post to get this mega LNG terminal-cum-pipeline included in the list of early harvest projects agreed with China,” Pakistani Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khagan Abbasi told The News , a Pakistani newspaper. “It will take three to four years to get commissioned.” The minister said the pipeline would cost an estimated $1 billion and more than $2 billion would be needed for the LNG terminal. The Pakistani government has said aging infrastructure in the country is leaving it short on energy supplies. Sanctions on [...]

Sinopec First-Half Production Increases 8% on Overseas Output

Filed in China by on 22 July 2014

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) , Asia ’s biggest refiner, reported an 8 percent gain in first-half oil and gas production as overseas output doubled. Output rose to 237 million barrels in the six months ended June 30, the Beijing-based company known as Sinopec said in a statement yesterday after the close of trade. Production rose faster than the 3.8 percent increase a year earlier. Overseas crude oil production increased to 23.7 million barrels in the first-half, Sinopec said. Output rose after the refiner bought foreign assets from its state-owned parent last year, according to Laban Yu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Jefferies Group LLC. “The increase came totally from the acquisition of the parent’s assets last year,” Yu said by phone. “Its organic growth was flat in the first-half, although the near 10 percent increase in natural gas could be considered positive, compared with the around 7 [...]

California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste

Filed in Shale Gas by on 22 July 2014

California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there. The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells. The action comes as California’s agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state [...]

Corralling Carbon Before It Belches From Stack

Filed in Air Quality, Climate by on 22 July 2014

 So much soot belched from the old power plant here that Mike Zeleny would personally warn the neighbors. “If the wind was blowing in a certain direction,” Mr. Zeleny said, “we’d call Mrs. Robinson down the street and tell her not to put out her laundry.” That coal plant is long gone, replaced by a much larger and cleaner one along the vast Saskatchewan prairie. Sooty shirts and socks are a thing of the past. But as with even the most modern coal plants, its smokestacks still emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, the invisible heat-trapping gas that is the main contributor to global warming. So this fall, a gleaming new maze of pipes and tanks — topped with what looks like the Tin Man’s hat — will suck up 90 percent of the carbon dioxide from one of the boilers so it can be shipped [...]

Temporary Closing of Indian Point Power Plant Is Considered

Filed in Nuclear, USA by on 22 July 2014

Business groups and the operator of the Indian Point Energy Center have aligned against a proposal by New York state to close the nuclear power plant in spring and summer months to protect fish in the Hudson River, an idea drawing tentative support from some environmental advocates. Indian Point produces about 25% of the electricity consumed in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is proposing the shutdown, hasn’t specified how the loss of power produced by Indian Point would be made up, though it said it would do what it could to prevent service disruptions. The DEC is advocating the shutdown as an alternative to proposed engineering changes to the facility that have largely been rejected by Entergy Corp. , the plant’s operator. Millions of fish and larvae are killed as Indian Point sucks in 2.5 billion gallons of Hudson [...]

North Dakota’s Oil Bonanza Is Unsustainable

Filed in Shale Oil by on 22 July 2014

A decade ago, North Dakota was a wind-swept also-ran in the oil industry. Wildcatters struck oil there in the 1950s, but the rock was too dense to get most of it out, and the fields never amounted to much. The state produced about 30 million barrels of oil in 2004, enough to satisfy U.S. demand for about a day and a half. Then everything changed. In the mid-2000s, companies in Texas had figured out how to extract natural gas from dense shale rock near Fort Worth. A few enterprising oil men figured the same approach might work in North Dakota’s oil fields, and after a few false starts, they proved correct. Between 2004 and 2008, North Dakota’s oil production doubled. Then it doubled again. And again. This month, the Energy Information Administration said North Dakota produced 30 million barrels of oil in April — as much as it had [...]

Few limits offshore, Shell says

Filed in Oil Supply by on 22 July 2014

Oil companies have yet to reach the point that technology is limiting access to offshore reserves, a Shell official in charge of deep American waters said. Shell announced a discovery in the Rydberg area of the Norphlet play in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico last week. The company said it’s still assessing the data from the exploratory well in the area but expects it to hold about 100 million barrels of oil equivalent. John Hollowell, Shell’s vice president in charge of deep waters in the Americas, told The Daily Telegraph in London there were few limitations to how deep or how far offshore oil companies can drill. “How far you can go is really technology based,” he said in an interview published Sunday. “When we can’t overcome the technical barriers, that will be the end, but we have yet to reach that stage.” [...]

Delta sources Bakken crude for Pa. refinery

Filed in Shale Oil by on 22 July 2014

A subsidiary of said Monday it signed a five-year deal to send 65,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day to its refinery in Trainer, Pa. Delta subsidiary Monroe Energy signed the deal with midstream energy company Bridger LLC to supply about 30 percent of the crude oil refined daily at the Trainer facility. The crude oil would be sourced primarily from the Bakken reserve area in North Dakota, which the company says is cheaper than oil imported from overseas markets. “Supplying a third of the crude refined at Trainer from the Bakken further reduces the overall cost of fuel for Delta,” Graeme Burnett, a senior vice president for fuel optimization for Delta and chairman of Monroe, said in a statement . Bridger is a midstream company that recently invested $200 million on railcars, which are said to exceed current safety standards for crude oil transportation. There’s not enough [...]

Russia’s Message on Jet: Conciliation and Bluster

Filed in Russia, Ukraine by on 22 July 2014

Russia presented a combination of conciliation and bluster on Monday over its handling of the downed Malaysia Airlines jet, with President Vladimir V. Putin seemingly probing for a way out of the crisis without appearing to compromise with the West. On one hand, he offered conciliatory words in a video statement , oddly released in the middle of the night, while the separatists allied with Moscow in southeastern Ukraine released the bodies of the victims and turned over the black box flight recorders from the doomed aircraft to Malaysian officials. However, two senior military officers forcefully demanded that the United States show publicly any proof that rebels fired the fatal missile, and again suggested that the Ukrainian military shot down the Malaysia Airlines jet despite the fact that Ukraine has not used antiaircraft weapons in the fight along its eastern border. Mr. Putin seemed to respond to [...]

Peak Oil: Abundance? Not Really

Filed in Peak Oil by on 22 July 2014

It’s certainly understandable and indeed common practice in probably every sales conversation in every profession known to man that putting the best spin on the story told is a given. Most buyers/consumers would be surprised at the very least if a presenter offered up her or his best but then immediately discounted that version with other information contradicting it all and discouraging the consumers from even considering what’s being offered. We all understand there’s a game to be played. While that may be standard practice and simply part of the bargain to eventually be struck in the great majority of consumer transactions where the parties tend to be on equal footing, energy supply conversations don’t fall into that category when the discussion is between everyday consumers and industry officials or their representatives. Matters of such scope tend to be outside the range of interest for all but a few, [...]

Tech Talk – and things continue to get worse

Filed in Peak Oil by on 22 July 2014

It is difficult to see any positive interpretation of the changes and conflicts that are increasingly filling the headlines of the press. Fluctuating optimism over the return to credible export production from Libya, to take but one example, is no sooner reported when the news comes of increased fighting in Tripoli , including the international airport. At the same time violence is spreading towards Egypt . Without a strong central government it is likely that the conflicts in that country will continue into the foreseeable future, with continued negative impacts on the export of oil from the country. Transient attempts to maintain a cease-fire and stabilize South Sudan have apparently failed again . The fighting has shut down local oil production, while overall production from South Sudan has been cut to 165 kbd. Capital continues to leave Russia (h/t Nick) and that flight is only likely to accelerate as [...]

Oil prices ease but remain elevated

Filed in Prices by on 21 July 2014

Oil prices fell further Monday as concern about Ukraine eased but still were elevated on anxiety about the Middle East. Prices rose last week on fears stemming from the escalating crisis in Ukraine and Israel’s offensive in Gaza, though analysts said the likelihood of disruption in supplies was small. Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 32 cents to $102.81 per barrel at 0730 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That added to a 6 cent decline on Friday to $103.13. Brent crude for September delivery, a benchmark for international oils, gave up 30 cents to $106.94 on the ICE exchange in London. Washington announced new sanctions last Wednesday on Russia, including its biggest oil company, over Moscow’s support for separatist forces in Ukraine. On Thursday, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down in Ukraine, raising concern a possible Western response might disrupt Russian [...]

Iran Seen Keeping Oil Sales Steady as Nuclear Talks Extended

Filed in Iran by on 21 July 2014

Iran ’s oil exports will remain near the highest level in two years as talks with six global powers over the Persian Gulf state’s nuclear program are extended for four more months, according to six analysts in a survey. Sales of crude and condensates by Iran to six main buyers averaged 1.27 million barrels a day in the first six months of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from customs statistics and International Energy Agency estimates. Shipments will stay near that level in the second half, according to the analysts Bloomberg surveyed on July 16 and 17. “Iran’s going to want oil exports to keep edging up, and the U.S. has been willing to allow some wiggle room,” Robin Mills, an analyst at Manaar Energy Consulting & Project Management, said by phone from Dubai yesterday. “The extension is a sign they’ve made progress on nuclear talks and [...]

Overnight attacks in Iraq kill at least 16 people

Filed in Iraq by on 21 July 2014

 Attacks overnight in two Iraqi cities killed at least 16 people, officials said Monday as authorities struggle to stop the Sunni militants’ offensive that has left huge areas in northern and western Iraq outside of government control. In one of the attacks, mortar rounds rained down on Shiite neighborhoods in the town of Mahmoudiya on Sunday night, killing 11 civilians and wounding 31, a police official said. The mixed Shiite-Sunni town is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. And in Baghdad’s western suburb of Abu Ghraib, a roadside bomb struck an army patrol, killing two soldiers and three volunteers who took up arms following the Sunni militant push across Iraq in recent weeks. Eighth people were wounded in that attack, said the police official. Two medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to [...]

Besieged Iraqi oil sector buoyed by southern expansion

Filed in Iraq by on 21 July 2014

 Iraq is on track for a strong month of oil sales, as southern fields increase output into revamped export infrastructure.The success of the southern oil sector to date has been essential, partly compensating for the loss of nearly all Iraqi production and refining capacity north of Baghdad, following a massive insurgent offensive led by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Making good on growth plans will be equally as important.”Currently our output is estimated at 3.15 million… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Iraqi Army comes under attack in Haditha

Filed in Iraq by on 21 July 2014

The Islamic State’s Anbar Division released a series of photos that purport to document the overrunning of Iraqi Army bases in the city of Haditha. Nineteen photographs captioned with “Charging at a number of barracks of the Savafid army in the city of Haditha” were released yesterday on the jihadist group’s Twitter feed. At least one military outpost appears to have been overrun in the attack. The exact location of the base was not disclosed. The photographs show a convoy of Islamic State technicals, or pickup trucks with machine guns mounted in the beds, advancing through the desert, stopping, and taking up position to fire on the outpost. The Islamic State deployed at least one mortar team during the attack. At one point, a squad of Islamic State fighters is photographed entering the base. The Iraqi combat outpost appears to have been manned by troops. The bodies of several [...]

Libya’s Largest Oil Field to Make First Export

Filed in Libya by on 21 July 2014

The first export from Libya’s largest oil field Sharara is due later Monday but production has fallen since last week , an official said. The expected shipment is the first tangible sign that a recent recovery in the country’s troubled oil industry could translate into extra supplies to global markets. Eni’s West Libyan Gas Project, Wafa oil field in Libya-the French firm also owns a share of the Sharara oil field that is due to make its first export on Monday 21 July. European Pressphoto Agency The reopening of two key Eastern terminals and of the Sharara field have been overshadowed by the pullout of oil expatriates following escalating violence in Tripoli’s airport . But a spokesman for Libya’s state-run National Oil Co. said that “shipment will start today” for Sharara’s oil. The field, located in Western Libya, resumed production 12 days ago but its initial supply was used [...]

Clashes between rival militias in Libya kill 47

Filed in Libya by on 21 July 2014

Clashes between rival Libyan militias fighting for control of the international airport in the capital, Tripoli, have killed 47 people over the past 24 hours, Libya’s Health Ministry said. The ministry said on its website late Sunday that the fighting also left 120 people wounded. It also said it had not yet received the full casualty report. The weeklong battle over the airport is being waged by a powerful militia from the western city of Zintan, which controls the facility, and Islamist-led militias, including fighters from Misrata, east of Tripoli. The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed. Television footage broadcast Sunday showed a mortar shell striking a Libyan Arab Airlines plane and a column of black smoke billowing from inside the airport, which has been closed since last Monday. Libya is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since the ouster of longtime dictator [...]

Can Libya remain united?

Filed in Libya by on 21 July 2014

Libya is evidently disintegrating as the daily escalation of violence is aimlessly continuing and it seems that there is no hope insight for a ceasefire of some sort. The situation is getting progressively from bad to worse, by the hour, as Libya is quickly heading back almost to the time of pre-unification of the country in the middle of the previous century. Many observers are rushing to history books to inquisitively review that part of Libya’s past in an attempt to understand what is currently happening in the country and in which direction is it going. One day in late 1991, my brother-in-law, the late Mansour Rashid Al Kikhya, first foreign minister of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, briefed me about that period of his country’s history, which he and a few hundred other young Libyans had aspired to build. They had in their sight the task of rebuilding a modern [...]

Libya truce shattered by fresh fighting

Filed in Libya by on 21 July 2014

Fighting between powerful militias battling for control of Tripoli’s airport broke out again Friday, just hours after they had agreed a truce, an airport official and witnesses said. The clashes came a day after the government sought the United Nations’ help to prevent the country from becoming a “failed state.” “The airport was once again today hit by mortar fire which struck the security offices,” but caused no casualties, airport security official al-Jilani al-Dahech told AFP. Airport security forces returned fire, he said without giving further details. Libya’s main international airport has been closed since Sunday, with rockets causing damage to aircraft and the main terminal building amid warnings by officials that the facility could remain closed for months. The violence erupted when Islamist gunmen from the city of Misrata attacked anti-Islamist fighters from the city of Zintan who have been controlling the airport for the past [...]

Gunmen kill 21 Egyptian military border guards near Libya

Filed in Egypt, Libya by on 21 July 2014

Gunmen killed 21 Egyptian military border guards near the frontier with Libya on Saturday, highlighting a growing threat from an area that security officials say has become a haven for militants seeking to topple the Cairo government. Security officials said the assailants were smugglers. But an army spokesman said on his Facebook page that “terrorists” – the term authorities use to describe Islamist militants – were behind the attack. He said a weapons storage facility was blown up by a rocket-propelled grenade in an exchange of fire, killing the soldiers and wounding four others. The attack took place in Wadi al-Gadid governorate, which borders both Sudan and Libya. Two smugglers were killed in clashes with the guards, security officials said. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has repeatedly expressed concerns about militants who have capitalized on the chaos in Libya and set up operations along the border. [...]

Toll Climbs in Fight for Syrian Gas Field

Filed in Syria by on 21 July 2014

More than 100 people were killed in two days in a continuing fight between government forces and militants for control of a gas-production facility east of Homs, according to opposition activists and media outlets aligned with the regime. Among the casualties as of Sunday evening were at least 65 members of the regime’s forces, according to Syrian opposition activists, while the rest were fighters from the extremist group Islamic State. The fighting erupted after gunmen from Islamic State mounted an attack late Wednesday on the Al-Shaer gas field and production facility, located in the desert about 150 miles northeast of the capital Damascus. Over 270 guards, workers and members of a pro-regime paramilitary group known as the National Defense Force were killed in the initial attack [...]

Armed bandits demand water in dry northern India

Filed in India by on 21 July 2014

Armed bandits are threatening villagers with death unless they deliver 35 buckets of water each day in northern India, where water is scarce thanks to an ongoing drought and a poor supply. So far, 28 villages have been obeying the order, taking turns to deliver what the bandits are calling a daily “water tax,” police said. “Water itself is very scarce in this region. Villagers can hardly meet their demand,” officer Suresh Kumar Singh said by telephone from Banda, a city on the southern border of central Uttar Pradesh state and caught within what is known in India as bandit country. Though the number of bandits has declined drastically in recent decades, India’s bandit tradition, which began more than 800 years ago when emperors still ruled, has continued in the hard-to-reach forests and mountains of the Bundelkhand region. The area is cut off from supply [...]

Energy in Australia: Peak oil, solar power and Asia’s economic growth

Filed in Peak Oil by on 21 July 2014

Graham Palmer, an industrial engineer from Melbourne, discusses energy use and needs. He predicts that the declining energy surplus of fossil fuels will be one of the defining features of energy systems in the twenty first century. ABC Name (required) Email Address (required) Website

China Boosts June Net Diesel Exports to Highest in Four Years

Filed in China by on 21 July 2014

China raised its net diesel exports to the highest level in four years as domestic demand trailed output growth amid a slowing economy. Overseas sales of the fuel in the world’s largest energy consumer exceeded imports by about 440,200 metric tons in June, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s the highest since May 2010. “China is expected to export 300,000 to 400,000 tons of diesel a month regularly as domestic production grows faster than demand,” Chen Li, an analyst with ICIS-C1 Energy, said by phone from Guangzhou. China’s diesel demand is estimated to grow 0.3 percent to 1 percent this year, while output will expand about 1 percent, the Shanghai-based consultant said last month. The nation may export a record 3 million tons of the fuel this year, exceeding the previous high of 2.87 million tons in 2010, ICIS-C1 said. China [...]

Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse

Filed in Japan, Nuclear by on 21 July 2014

Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse Fukushima’s radiation disaster is “far from over” There is broad disagreement over the amounts and effects of radiation exposure due to the triple reactor meltdowns after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) joined the controversy June 4, with a 27-page “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report ‘Levels and effects of radiation exposures due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.’” IPPNW is the Nobel Peace Prize winning global federation of doctors working for “a healthier, safer and more peaceful world.” The group has adopted a highly critical view of nuclear power because as it says, “A world without nuclear weapons will only be possible if we also phase out nuclear energy.” UNSCEAR , the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, published its deeply flawed [...]

West Raises Pressure on Russia in Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Filed in Ukraine by on 21 July 2014

The U.S. accused Russia of hiding evidence after the downing of Flight 17 and cited video posted on social media. An image from footage released by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry purports to show a truck carrying a missile system out of Ukraine toward Russia. Associated Press The U.S. leveled its most-explicit allegations yet of Russia’s involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and subsequent efforts to conceal evidence, and European leaders threatened broad new sanctions against Moscow, marking a turning point in the standoff between the West and the Kremlin. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin “for the last time” to accede to Western demands to disarm pro-Russian separatists and stabilize Ukraine. (Follow the latest updates on the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine.) Officials in Europe, meanwhile, departed from their initially muted reaction as anger grew across the continent over the [...]

Collapse is Inevitable

Filed in Peak Oil by on 21 July 2014

There has been considerable discussion lately as to whether or not total collapse of the world’t economies will happen in the relatively near future. I think that is the wrong question. Let me explain. Ecological collapse of the world’s ecosystem is a lead pipe cinch. It is already well underway and instead of slowing down, it is gaining momentum fast. Here are just a few examples from recent news. ‘Peak soil’ threatens future global food security “Under business as usual, the current soils that are in agricultural production will yield about 30 percent less than they would do otherwise by around 2050.” Surging food consumption has led to more intensive production, overgrazing and deforestation, all of which can strip soil of vital nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms, reduce its ability to hold water and make it more vulnerable to erosion. Such factors, exacerbated by climate change, can ultimately lead to [...]

Oil Futures Ease Back as Geopolitical Fears Fade

Filed in Prices by on 19 July 2014

Oil futures inched lower Friday as markets calmed and traders awaited new developments from Ukraine and the Middle East. Light sweet crude futures for August delivery slid 6 cents, or 0.1%, to $103.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Brent September contract lost 65 cents, or 0.6%, to $107.24 a barrel, on the ICE futures exchange. News that a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet may have been shot down by Russian-backed separatists, according to statements made by the White House Friday , has raised concerns that the U.S. may expand the round of sanctions it announced earlier in the week, with European countries following suit. The sanctions so far have targeted large Russian energy firms like Rosneft and Gazprom without cutting them off from world markets completely, but harsher conditions may be imposed if the investigation finds Russia at fault. “There’s growing outrage against Russia, particularly in [...]

Crude Posts First Weekly Gain in a Month on Ukraine

Filed in Prices by on 19 July 2014

West Texas Intermediate crude capped its first weekly gain in a month after a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was downed in Ukraine and Israel sent ground forces into the Gaza Strip. WTI has climbed 3.2 percent since July 15, when it dropped below $100 for the first time in two months. The Boeing Co. 777 crashed in the main battleground of Ukraine’s civil war, threatening to escalate the worst crisis between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War. Israel’s movement of troops and tanks into Gaza marks the first significant ground operation in the coastal enclave since 2009. “The geopolitical threat was discounted too quickly and has rapidly been priced back in,” John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy, said by phone. “The events in eastern Ukraine and in the Middle East are a reminder [...]

Natural-Gas Prices Fall to Seven-Month Low

Filed in Prices by on 19 July 2014

 Natural gas fell to a seven-month low. Bloomberg News Natural-gas prices tumbled to a seven-month low on Thursday, falling below $4 a million British thermal units, after a government report showed U.S. stockpiles last week increased at an above-average pace. A mild summer in the nation’s biggest gas-consuming regions has eased concerns about supplies. Worries flared up last winter, when extremely low temperatures translated into record demand for the heating fuel. This summer, unseasonably cool weather across swaths of the U.S. has damped the use of power-thirsty air conditioners, limiting the use of natural gas in generating electricity. “This is significant and extraordinary weather in that it’s so cold,” said Teri Viswanath, a natural-gas strategist at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “This summer is largely being written off.” Prices for the front-month August contract settled down 16.5 cents, or 4%, to $3.954 [...]

OPEC Says Oil Production, Market Share Fell in 2013

Filed in OPEC by on 19 July 2014

OPEC said Friday its crude production and market share fell last year as a boom in U.S. shale dents demand for its oil. In an annual statistical report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said its collective crude production was down 2.5% during 2013 on an annual basis. OPEC’s share of total global production in 2013 averaged 43.4%, down from the 44.6% in 2012, it said. Global oil production and demand rose last year but was largely captured by OPEC’s rivals, notably a rise in nonconventional U.S. production. The group said in early July demand for its oil will continue to decline next year, when it is likely to fall by 300,000 barrels a day. In the report, OPEC also said its members’ petroleum export revenue fell to $1.112 trillion in 2013 from $1.208 trillion the previous year. Among the most significant increases in reserves, Iraq’s crude oil [...]

Iran shuts border to oil tankers from Kurdistan

Filed in Iran, Iraq by on 19 July 2014

Iran shuts border to oil tankers from Kurdistan Iranian authorities have shut the border to tanker trucks from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, cutting off a major avenue for oil sales.The ban, put in force on July 10, may complicate the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) efforts to achieve economic independence, and also represents a setback for producing companies that need to sell their oil. At times, Iran had been providing a route to market for more than a quarter of the region’s oil production.The ban covers all trucks ca… This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial .

Iran nuclear talks given four month extension

Filed in Iran by on 19 July 2014

Iran and six world powers have agreed to a four-month extension of negotiations on a nuclear deal with Tehran after failing to meet a July 20 deadline due to “significant gaps” between the two sides, the European Union and Iran said on Saturday. “There are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a joint statement, the Reuters news agency reported. Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China had set a July 20 deadline to complete a long-term agreement that would resolve the decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. But diplomats said they were unable to overcome significant differences on major sticking points. “We will reconvene in the coming weeks in different formats with the clear determination to reach agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan [...]

Sanctions Nearly Halve Iran Oil Export Revenue in Two Years, OPEC Says

Filed in Iran by on 19 July 2014

LONDON—Sanctions have nearly halved Iran’s petroleum export revenue in the past two years, OPEC data showed Friday, as the impact of international restrictions on its oil deepens. Iran has been locked in talks with six world powers to reach a final understanding over its controversial nuclear program. But despite the signature of an interim deal in November, the two sides have failed to make significant headway, leaving Iran’s economy in tatters. In its annual statistical report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said revenue generated by Iranian petroleum exports fell to $61.92 billion in 2013, down 46% from $114.75 billion in 2011. International sanctions banning sales of Iranian oil to the European Union and limiting them in Asia cut the country’s petroleum exports by 42% in 2013 compared with the previous year. Though oil sales had already fallen in 2012, the drop in volumes had been largely compensated [...]

U.S. ‘comfortable’ with Iran’s oil exports

Filed in Iran by on 19 July 2014

The U.S. federal government is “comfortable” with the amount of crude oil exported from Iran, a spokeswoman for the State Department said. Iran secured consent to export around 1 million barrels of oil per day as part of a November agreement to curb its nuclear activity. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Iran has been operating according to the terms of agreement. “We feel comfortable that the crude oil exports of Iran are remaining in the million to 1.1 million barrel a day average,” she said during her regular press briefing Thursday. Iran this week brushed off reports from the International Energy Agency saying its crude oil exports were in decline. IEA in its latest monthly market report suggested Iranian crude oil exports were down considerably. Psaki said Iran isn’t skirting its international obligations, though Washington is monitoring the situation closely. “The secretary [of state] [...]